MARCH 20-21, 2015 1 NISAN 5775
"This month shall be for you the beginning of the months." (Shemot 12:2)
This Shabbat is Rosh Hodesh Nisan and we read the special reading of Parashat Hahodesh. Our Sages teach (see Rashi) that when Hashem first told Moshe Rabenu about the misvah of sanctifying the month, which is to pronounce the moment of each new month's appearance, Moshe had difficulty understanding how it is done. Finally Hashem pointed to the image of the new moon and said, "When you see this, pronounce the day holy as Rosh Hodesh. What was it that Moshe found so difficult?
Rabbi Moshe Mizrahi quotes the Maor Vashemesh that answers this question based on another of the Sages' teachings (Hulin 60b). When first created, the sun and moon were of equal size and brightness. After the moon suggested that it would be better if one was greater than the other, Hashem instructed to moon to diminish itself.
Hashem did not simply make the moon smaller; He told the moon to make itself smaller and it submitted humbly to Hashem's will. Each month it repeats this noble act, diminishing its visible surface until it disappears from view. The moon thus became a symbol of absolute humility.
Hashem told Moshe, "Hahodesh hazeh lachem - this moon is meant to be an example for you." To become the redeemer of My people, you and Aharon must embody the same humility as the moon. Moshe, however, was afraid that he had not met this requirement. His humility was so absolute that he questioned whether he was indeed humble.
This was Moshe's difficulty with the misvah of sanctifying the month. But Hashem countered that his hesitation was proof that he attained the greatest level of humility. "When you will see this, pronounce it holy." Your total effacement is what qualifies you as the redeemer.
Our imminent redemption, Be'ezrat Hashem, will be led by someone equally humble. As stated in Penei David, this is alluded to in the words "Hahodesh hazeh lachem," which has the same numerical value (424) as "Mashiah ben David." Maybe we will witness it this very month - "In Nisan they will be redeemed." Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"He called to Moshe." (Vayikra 1:1)
The first word of this week's perashah, Vayikra, is written with a small alef (t) at the end. The Rabbis tell us that this was a compromise between Hashem and Moshe. When Hashem called out to Moshe, which signifies a very special honor, Moshe, who was extremely humble, didn't want to write it that way. He asked Hashem whether he could skip the alef and write rehu, which means "He chanced" upon Moshe. Hashem said, "No, but you may write it with a small letter."
With this, we can understand a very amazing Midrash. We know that Moshe had rays of light shining from his face. The Midrash says that this came about when Moshe took the leftover ink from his quill and put it on his face. It gave him a special light. What ink was leftover, and how could ink produce light? In a homiletic approach we can understand it based on the previous thought. Moshe was a self-effacing, extremely humble person. He wanted to make sure that no attention is called to his greatness. Therefore, he wanted to write rehu, and finally wrote trehu with a small alef. When a person makes himself smaller, he eventually becomes greater, because people who are humble are those we appreciate and acknowledge. This was the light on Moshe's face. Those that toot their own horns, however, are usually known as precisely that: people who make a lot of noise.
We know many people who suffer from "I" trouble, always punctuating their sentences with "I" this and "I" that. We also know those who are quiet, self-effacing, looking to stay out of the limelight. We know whom we'd rather be with. That's also who we should try to be. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
Science has developed instruments to measure all types of things. Some items are so large that we would be unable to measure them were it not for specialized equipment, and other things are so microscopic that without particular tools to magnify them, they would not be visible to the human eye. People would not even know that they exist! But despite all these scientific advances, no tool has yet been created that can measure a person's belief.
Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, zt"l, said that if people truly believed that Hashem was providing all they needed, then they could have whatever they wished without having to work for it.
A man who worked in plaster and paint heard this speech and asked the Rabbi to confirm the truth of his statement, and the Rabbi told him it was a fact. The worker left his job and stayed home, reading and praying all day long.
The man's financial situation steadily declined day by day. When the situation became unbearable, the man and his wife approached the Rabbi. "Why did your promise to my husband not come true?" the woman demanded. The Rabbi listened patiently to her tirade, and then answered, "It will come true if you are patient. I understand you want $10,000. Perhaps, if you can't wait, you will sell me this pending sum of $10,000 for $5,000 today." The man jumped at the opportunity for a quick $5,000.
The Rabbi turned to the man's wife. If your husband truly believed what I said, then he would not sell $10,000 for $5,000 under any circumstances. It is obvious that his belief is less than one-hundred percent." Then Rabbi Salanter faced the man, and, with an understanding smile, he said, "I think you should return to work as soon as possible."
Matters of faith require constant reinforcement. People never know when something may happen to damage their beliefs. The Torah commands us to believe in Hashem - that He is our Creator, and that He is in control of all that happens all of the time. Individuals should work on these concepts on a regular basis to strengthen them within their belief system. (One Minute with Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
Call to 646-279-8712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
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