We are all left reeling from the latest brutal murders of Jews in Toulouse, France. What monster would attack of all places a Jewish school, shooting at children and at everything he could see, pursuing an 8-year-old girl and coldly shooting her point blank?! This tragedy leaves us groping in the dark for… anything.
Eerily, we are now in the waning days of the monthly lunar cycle, witnessing the moon darkening. But as the moon is dying it is also preparing to be renewed again as we enter into the Jewish season of freedom – and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The dark days of the Egyptian exile – and the subsequent Exodus – offer us deep lessons for dealing with our shadows.
As Moses was standing in the streets of ancient Egypt he, too, was wondering how his people would achieve redemption after so much suffering. And the answer he received gives us hope as our universe trembles today. It all began with the new moon that we bless this Shabbat Parshat HaChodesh, as we get ready to enter the new month of Nissan, the month of Redemption.
In our quest for harmony, we can learn much from the workings of the Jewish calendar, which is a unique model of perfect balance, a compass that helps us navigate and align our lives with the cycles of time and space which we occupy and travel through.
Imagine yourself on a speeding train, being thrown from side to side, unable to maintain steady balance. The flow and movement of time and space can upset our equilibriums in a similar way.
But the Jewish calendar directs us to configure our bearings and synchronize them with the coordinates of the universe in which we live. And discover hope after loss.
This is a two-part sermon:
Part I: “The Balanced Calendar” explains what the Jewish calendar can teach the world in this time of instability and unrest.
Part II: “The Moon Quandary” explains why Moses balked when he first heard God’s commandment to sanctify the new moon.