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Shabbat Parashat Bo 5784

Parashat Hashavua: New Month, New Effort

Harav Shaul Yisraeli from Siach Shaul, p. 214-215

The Jewish Nation counts and sets its calendar based on the moon. The idea behind the counting of months (which, in the Torah, are referred to by numbers, not names), is that everyone must start anew. One should not be overly focused on the accomplishments of the past, as this is a world that is based on renewal.

Everyone must start his development from the beginning. The Torah is not acquired by inheritance. A good family tree does not suffice for anything substantial. Not only is one not assured anything based on who is father is, but one is not even assured anything based on what he himself has accomplished. Every month begins anew. The accomplishments and attainments one has accumulated in the past are not the key. Rather, it takes hard work, industriousness, effort, drive, and the ability to recreate himself. All of this we learn from the moon.

This is also behind the statement, “David, King of Israel, is alive and existing” (from Kiddush Levana). The monarchy in Israel starts specifically from the small. Hashem said, “My firstborn son is Israel” (Shemot 4:22). It is specifically Israel, which is a young nation, that is called the firstborn. Similarly, David, who was the young child in his family, became the king. It is specifically the one who knows how to rise out of his starting point to higher levels who is important.

It is this same idea that Hashem commanded Israel, surprisingly, when they were still involved in idol worship living within a foreign culture. They were to elevate themselves not by using a strong education from their fathers’ houses but specifically from within a defiled atmosphere and a corrupt country. Straight from there, they went to serve Hashem. This is the achievement they attained in the “iron cauldron” of Egypt, where they were formed as a nation.

“I shall remember My covenant with Yaakov and even My covenant with Yitzchak, and even My covenant with Avraham I shall remember” (Vayikra 26:42). This pasuk is found in the context of the Rebuke. It teaches us that we need to set a proper path for ourselves even at a time when the path seems clear due to the actions of the forefathers. In fact, we can learn from them, that each one of the forefathers was his own patriarch, each paved his own unique path, and certainly none of them was willing to suffice with only that which he “inherited” from his father(s).

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