Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei - Exercise Your Freedom
By Rabbi Yissochor Dov Krakowski
Following the regular Sedra this Shabbos we read Parshos HaChodesh; this is the fourth of the Four Parshios. This Parsha is read either the Shabbos before or on the Shabbos of Rosh Chodesh Nissan. It contains the passage in which Hashem tells Moshe Rabeinu that the new moon of Nissan is the first of the beginnings of months in the Jewish calendar year. It is explained (Gemoros and see Mishnah Berura) that we read this Parsha in order to sanctify and distinguish Nissan as the first of all months. The Haftorah we read reflects this idea because it mentions "the first day of the first month" meaning Rosh Chodesh Nissan. While the portions read for Maftir and Haftorah fortify the point that Nissan is the first month of our year – neither of them seems to shed to much light on what is significant about it being the first month. What is special about Nissan being a New Year for Jewish months?
The Haftorah talks about the Korbanos that were supposed to be brought on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Then right afterwards the Haftorah tells us about Pesach’s Korbanos. It seems that somehow there is a direct correlation between Rosh Chodesh Nissan and the Yom-Tov of Pesach. While the implication of a connection between these two times is there, there isn’t any explicit mention of such a relationship.
Chazal tell us that in Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will ultimately be redeemed (the Final Redemption) – this seems to be an implication from Chazal that there is some sort of correlation between Chodesh Nissan and redemption. What in particular is special about Chodesh Nissan and Geula?
Chazal explain to us (see Medrash Rabba and gemorah Rosh Hashanah) that when Hashem told Moshe Rabeinu that this new moon (of Nissan) was to be the first month of the Jewish year Hashem also transmitted to Moshe Rabeinu (Beis Din) the ability to sanctify the new moon as the beginning of a new month. In essence Hashem gave us much more than just naming a first month or having a lunar year – Hashem gave us the ability to control when exactly the beginning of a month would be. This ultimately means Hashem gave us the ability to control time.
Before Geula, Am-Yisroel in Egypt was enslaved. As slaves they had no control on their own time, as even their time belonged to their masters.
We needed to receive the mandate to control Rosh Chodesh in order to be fully emancipated. We needed Hashem to give us control over time so that there would be a full transformation from bondage to freedom.
Chazal tell us that there is no such thing as a free person other than one who toils in Torah. We all want to learn Torah. Unfortunately, we are all enslaved to a materialism that demands from us its constant pursuit. As such we deny ourselves the pleasure of learning Torah. Consequently, someone who actually spends time toiling in Torah is at one and the same time developing and exercising his freedom.
We thank Rabbi Yissachar Dov Krakowski for this dvar Torah - Parshas HaShavua sponsored by Dr. Shapsey Tajerstein, DPM Podiatry Care 410.788.6633