From the Torah
“And HaShem said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years.”(Genesis 1:14)
We often take these signs and seasons for granted, but a closer look will reveal that HaShem gave them to us as guideposts for our journey here on earth. They form the pathway through the cycle of the seasons, the ‘round of the year to connect us to our Creator and His Divine Timeframe… from Sabbath to Sabbath, New Moon to New Moon and Festival to Festival, He lovingly calls upon us to meet with Him.
Though our being cognizant of these signs and seasons given to us since the beginning of time we are afforded the opportunity to have a richer, fuller and more purposeful life as we celebrate them. One of these special signs is mentioned specifically in Psalm 104:20,”He appointed the moon for seasons…”
What Does Rosh Chodesh Actually Mean?
In Hebrew Rosh means head; Chodesh means new; so Rosh Chodesh literally means a new or renewed head or a renewal of consciousness. With the birth of each New Moon something new is born. There is a thought provoking teaching from the Jewish sages of blessed memory that the first day of the New Moon actually holds within it the entire month to come, yet only a tiny sliver is first visible to the naked eye.
It is fascinating to make a comparison between this tiny sliver of the New Moon that is birthed each month with that of the tiny little human fetus and the hidden potential existent within it. In the tiny fetus, the head develops first with the brain which actually contains the entire body within it. Ultimately the limbs and all the organs will develop, but in the beginning, only the mere potential to develop is present in that tiny little creature. Like the New Moon, it is concealed, hidden… only to be revealed in its fullness in the proper time.
The Hebrew calendar is cyclical, not linear, so it follows that this is the initial message of each and every Rosh Chodesh. It is a New Beginning gifted to us and set into motion to repeat itself month by month by our loving Creator… a New Beginning, filled with potential and the ever present challenge to dig more deeply and to reveal some of those Hidden Sparks beneath the surface, sparks that are all around us and within us, sparks that are waiting to be discovered.
The Uniqueness of Each Individual
With all of this is mind, go outside and look up into the night sky and peer at that tiny little sliver and ponder what this month has to teach you. You can see the moon reflected in a lake, in a pond, in a teacup, or in a single drop of water…it is still the same moon. This teaches us that the same essential Torah is reflected within each person who studies it, from a small child to a great sage. As the moon waxes and wanes each month, it is born and reborn again. What can we learn from this cycle of the moon?
It’s waxing and waning has often been compared to the resiliency of the Jewish people…how they have continued to survive throughout the centuries; but it can also be brought down to each individual…to each of us who are striving to follow HaShem.
Ask yourself – are you ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead for you this month? Are you ready to discover the latent G-d given potential that lies hidden within you? These are questions that can only be answered by each of us individually; and b’ezrat HaShem, with the help of HaShem, we will rise to the occasion and overcome whatever obstacles that may come our way and in the process become stronger and more resilient as we push through them.
Chodesh Tov…Have a good month and Blessings to all!
by Elisheva Tavor aka Betty Tabor Givin
Betty Tabor Givin (who is known by her Hebrew pen name as Elisheva Tavor) is a lifelong teacher. After having retired from her teaching career of several decades in the public and private school sector, she turned her full attention to religious education. She is an ordained teacher and long-time board member for United Israel World Union. Her popular teachings demonstrate the depth and beauty of her Jewish faith. Her articles have been featured in various publications and on the web. She is a regular contributor to Netiv Center for Torah Study and the United Israel Bulletin and is presently writing a book entitled, Hidden Sparks Beneath the Surface.