Vayakhel and pekudai

This Parsha this week is Parshas Vayakhel and Parshas Pekudai. This weekend is also called Parshas Hachodesh, which is the Shabbos before the month of Nissan begins. On this Shabbos we read at the maftir reading the instruction that G-d gave to Moses in Egypt, when He commanded us to sanctify the beginning of the month. This is the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh. As we pause to reflect about the meaning of this mitzvah, we must discover why is this particular reading is done at this time of the year?

When the Jews were about to leave Egypt, even before G-d gave them the commandment to prepare for the Paschal offering, He told them the commandment to sanctify Rosh Chodesh, to sanctify the New Moon. Truth be told, this is a very important commandment, for without the proper method of establishing Rosh Chodesh, the calendar we have would be all messed up. How would we know when the holidays should come out? However, there still is an explanation required: why was this commandment necessary to be given to the Jewish people before they left Egypt? Could it not have waited until the Jews got all the commandments at Mount Sinai?

We are taught that the Jews are compared to the moon. What is the idea of having us compared to the moon?

One obvious unique factor that we see in the moon is that it waxes and wanes. As the month progresses it totally disappears, only to be “reborn” and reappear. Passover also comes at a time of year, the Spring, when the world around us seems to be in a state of renewal revival. When the Jews were given this mitzvah of celebrating Passover, they were fist given this key to their very survival as a people. Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem – This concept of Rosh Chodesh, of renewal and rebirth as we live the life of a Jew, must be the very basis of the way we live as a Jew. If celebrating mitzvos or serving Hashem is just a task, a chore, a matter of rote, we will get very little reward for what we do. If, however, we learn from the message of the moon and live a life of passion, emotion, renewal and dedication, then our service to Hashem is meaningful, fulfilling, and a vibrant lasting relationship.