Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guest Posting By "Ben Aharon" - Rosh Chodesh Nissan & Inner Renewal

(Picture by A. Summey)

The Jewish calendar is based on the waxing and waning of the moon -- every month we observe that after the moon seems to disappear, it reappears and becomes full again. This can help us understand one of the most famous sayings of the Rebbe, Reb Nachman of Breslov, zy’a: "Ein shum ye'ush ba-olam klal, there is no such thing as despair!" God's mercies are immeasurable, and no situation in the world is hopeless. Just as the moon seems to disappear and then a short time later reappears to become a full moon again, so too a person has the potential to rise from the lowest spiritual level to the highest.

This is alluded to beautifully from the verse in the Torah that defines the day of Rosh Chodesh Nissan as the beginning of the year: "Ha-chodesh ha-zeh lachem (הַחדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם)" (Shemos 12:1). This verse also defines the special sanctity of the day of Rosh Chodesh, the first of every month. The word "ha-chodesh" is the exact gematria of "ye'ush" or despair: 317. Then the Torah says "ha-zeh lachem," meaning this is a lesson for you -- teaching that instead of giving up hope, you must take a lesson from the moon and turn the יאוש into הַחדֶשׁ, "despair" into the paradigm of "Rosh Chodesh," by starting afresh (התחדשות) and striving to fulfill your potential.


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