Friday, January 18, 2013

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

A new nation is created, and now it's time for its founder to deliver his first speech to the newbies.

The Founder will not be speaking directly to the people today; instead He has sent His chief-of-staff to pass on the first order of business.

"Umm… Mmmm… Today we are going to discuss the lunar cycle. We need to teach the courts of law how to establish months of a lunar year. Here it is: if two witnesses see the crescent moon on the…"


Imagine the scene. The Torah portion  this week Bo (Shmos [Exodus] 10:1- 13:16) tells of the final moments of the Jewish people’s enslavement in Egypt. Now for the very first time ever they will hear a Torah lesson. And it's about the moon.

The moon?!  Is that what's on the agenda?

Are the moon and galaxies the most crucial topic to discuss with a newly formed nation?

Wouldn’t  the  Ten Commandments be more appropriate for the opening address, or better yet, a general introduction to the Jewish mission. But astronomy?  The explanation is powerful.

When the Jewish court (the Bet Din) declares on a new month, based on the testimony of two witnesses who claim to have seen the new moon, they cause the whole universe to follow their lead.

For example, the mystics explain that on every Rosh Hashanah a new and unprecedented divine energy and light, which keeps the universe in existence, enters the world. But who decides when Rosh Hashanah is? The bet din! - based on whose testimony? Two simple Jews testifying in Bet Din that they saw the new moon which will then result in the fixing of the months in the Jewish calendar with all of its holidays !   Because of  you and I, as witnesses to the sighting of a new moon, Judaism with all its holidays and thereby, the entire creation, revolves!

In this premier lesson, G‑d revealed to us the biggest secret and most vital piece of knowledge:

My dear friend, you have the power and what you say has the power, to change and influence the entire world. Your actions have an effect on the universe and the entire cosmos!

(Excerpts from  - from Rabbi By Levi Avtzon)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion,
please contact Rabbi Shusterman at

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