Shabbat Rosh Chodesh and 10th Grade Trip to Israel
This Shabbat in addition to reading this week’s parsha, Tazria, we read the special parsha known as Ha’Chodesh. It begins by instructing B’nai Yisrael to designate the month of Nisan as the first month in the monthly cycle of the year. Parshat Ha’Chodesh continues with all the specific regulations involved with the Pesach sacrifice and the very first seder held in Egypt.
However, this Shabbat also happens to be Rosh Chodesh Nisan. These two special days, Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh, bring together an important confluence of ideas. Shabbat celebrates the idea that God brought about the existence of the universe, all matter and energy, out of nothing. All creation was completed by the arrival of the first Shabbat and all future miracles were programmed into the fabric of the universe at that time as well.
The celebration of Rosh Chodesh revolves around the concept that the creation and continuation of the universe depend on an intricate, sophisticated and harmonious system, the laws of physics. This idea, however, was not visible or apparent by the start of the first Shabbat. The moon, as we know, goes through a cycle that takes place over 28 plus days. We speak of Rosh Chodesh in terms of “renewal.” The moon waxes and wanes, going through various phases in an eternal process. Hence the “new moon” cycle is a tangible, recognizable, and discernable worldwide display of God’s wisdom in creating the universe and His constant involvement in its renewal and continuation.
The blessing that we recite upon seeing the new moon can be said from the third day into the lunar cycle, from the time we can benefit from the light of the moon, until day 15, when the moon reaches its fullness midway through the lunar cycle. It is interesting to note that while this blessing is in praise to God for His creation of the entire universe, the blessing ties in an important idea concerning the Jewish people. They too are part of God’s creation and they are also subject to His laws of divine providence. That too is a system on display in the world. The Jewish people are also subject to cycles of waxing and waning. This is true not only in terms of their population but also in terms of their religious and spiritual commitment as well.
Today, we live in truly remarkable times. Due to another confluence of circumstances, political, economic and sociologic, we are witnessing a resurgence of the Jewish people and their commitment to the Land of Israel. The Prophet Jeremiah comforted the Jewish people thousands of years ago by saying, ”ושבו בנים לגבולם,” “the children will return to their borders,” (Jeremiah 31:17). To further foster this goal, students at Posnack are educated about Judaism intellectually and experientially. They are infused with a love of Israel and its people through one of its signature events, the 10th Grade trip to Israel.
Lead by dedicated faculty members Morah Anat Nagar, Morah Ayelet Fridman, Rabbi Adi Goodman and Nurse Margie Moreau, Posnack 10th graders are currently in the midst of their Israel trip. On this trip, they will explore, up close and personal, the multifaceted culture of Israel. Students get to interact with their Israeli peers, participate in chesed activities, learn about and see our ancient and modern historical sites and live their Judaism in our homeland. Morah Anat plans this trip so that our students can discover that whatever they like, they can find it in Israel. We are grateful to her for creating such an encompassing, rewarding and educational experience. As important, when the students return to Davie, Florida, they return with renewed commitment and resolve to support Israel and advocate on her behalf.
Wishing our 10th Graders a safe and meaningful trip to Israel and return to our Posnack campusShabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Rabbi Robert Kaplan