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This Shabbos we read Parshas Tazria. It is also Parshas Hachodesh, in which we read of the instructions that Moses was given to sanctify Nissan as the first month of the Jewish year. We always read this on the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the Shabbos before the month of Nissan begins. Although the Jewish New Year begins in Tishrei, when the Jewish calendar year changes, the months start over from the month of Nissan.

What is the meaning of starting to count the months from a different time of the year than we start to count the year? Rav Moshe Feinstein zt’l explains that there is a great lesson in this concept. The Jewish year starts from the day that the Almighty created the world. When we recall this day we are affirming our belief that the Almighty created the world. The month of Nissan, on the other hand, represents another idea totally. In the Exodus we were shown not the Hashem created the world in the past, but that He Directs it in the present, that He is involved in it. This is a most important principle of Judaism, and therefore we count the months of the year from Nissan.

The commentaries teach us one more point about this Shabbos Hachodesh. They say that the entire redemption from Egypt occurred only began when the Jews took this power of Chiddush – of novelty, and of rebirth – and applied to their own service of Hashem. This is the lesson of Parshas Hahochodesh – not to allow ourselves to get caught in “small” busy work but to build a constant feeling and passion for our relationship of Hashem..