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Rosh Chodesh

On Rosh Chodesh we have a special Kurban (sacrifice) וּשְׂעִ֨יר עִזִּ֥ים אֶחָ֛ד לְחַטָּ֖את לַיהוָ֑ה עַל־עֹלַ֧ת  it is seen in the Siddur:

סידור נוסח ספרד ו׳:א׳:י״ט

וִיהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתַי לְמַלֹּאת פְּגִימַת הַלְּבָנָה וְלֹא יִהְיֶה בָּהּ שׁוּם מִעוּט. וִיהִי אוֹר הַלְּבָנָה כְּאוֹר הַחַמָּה וּכְאוֹר שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי בְרֵאשִׁית כְּמו שֶׁהָיְתָה קוֹדֶם מִעוּטָהּ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֶת שְׁנֵי הַמְּארוֹת הַגְּדוֹלִים:

Siddur, Sefard 6:1:19

And it should be the will before You Hashem our G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, to complete the missing part of the moon, and it should not be incomplete at all. And the light of the moon should be like the light of the sun and like the light of the seven days of creation before it was reduced, as it says “the two great lights.”

What does this mean?  What is this Tikkun?

It is written that:

בראשית א׳:ט״ז

טז. וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃

Genesis 1:16

(16) Hashem made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the smaller light to dominate the night, and the stars.

Though we see in Gemarah Chullin that it was not so simple and did not start out that way.  As we see from the pasuk it says that there were 2 great luminaries sounding like they were the same size and in the very next line that one is larger than the other.  What is the story?

חולין ס׳ ב:ה׳-ל׳

רבי שמעון בן פזי רמי כתיב (בראשית א, טז) ויעש אלהים את שני המאורות הגדולים וכתיב את המאור הגדול ואת המאור הקטן אמרה ירח לפני הקב”ה רבש”ע אפשר לשני מלכים שישתמשו בכתר אחד אמר לה לכי ומעטי את עצמך … אמר הקב”ה הביאו כפרה עלי שמיעטתי את הירח והיינו דאמר ר”ש בן לקיש מה נשתנה שעיר של ראש חדש שנאמר בו (במדבר כח, טו) לה’ אמר הקב”ה שעיר זה יהא כפרה על שמיעטתי את הירח

Chullin 60b:2-4

Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi asked it is written (Bereshis 1:16) “Hashem made the two great lights” and it is also written “the greater light and the smaller light.” The moon said before Hashem, “Master of the universe, is it possible for two kings to use one crown ?” Hashem said to the moon, “Go and make yourself smaller”… Hashem said, “Bring an atonement for Me for reducing the size of the moon.” And this is consistent with what Raish Lakish said, what is different about the goat offering on Rosh Chodesh that it says about it (Bamidbar 28:15) “for Hashem”? Hashem said that this goat will be an atonement for My reducing the size of the moon.

This Gemara is very puzzling, Hashem needs an atonement? Hashem is perfect, I would like to open this story up with more details.  

The midrash opens the story further showing us that the moon was so to speak insulated, and asked if I made a legitimate statement then why am I being punished? 

Hashem wanted to appease him and offered that unlike the sun he can rule in the day and night.  The Moon was completely not satisfied saying what good is a small lamp in the light of midday? Hashem again tried to console him and said that Israel will count the days of the months by her, without considering the solar year.   They will know their festivals by you, but the moon was not appeased.  Hashem said that the pious sages of Israel will be named after you, (Shemuel the Small, Yaakov the Small, and David the Small light) but the moon was not appeased.  With this Hashem said “bring atonement for Me for I made the moon small”  and the moon was appeased as we see in Bamidbar that this is the only Kurban were it is written; 28:15

וּשְׂעִ֨יר עִזִּ֥ים אֶחָ֛ד לְחַטָּ֖את לַיהוָ֑ה עַל־עֹלַ֧ת הַתָּמִ֛יד יֵעָשֶׂ֖ה וְנִסְכּֽוֹ׃

And there shall be one goat as a sin offering to Hashem, to be offered in addition to the regular burnt offering and its libation.

Kurban = to is to לכפר To clean or fix the sin and bring back to his status from before

Although this brings a lot of light to the story it also raises more questions.  Every Kurban it is written “Sair lachatat” and in Rosh Chodesh, it is written Ve Sair Ezim le Chatat Hashem” (a kid goat as a sin offering of Hashem) if it was not written we could not say it, that it was so to speak wrong to make the moon smaller.  And he needs to bring a Kurban to fix it.  

The moon said what he said and Hashem ‘thought’ (if we can say such a thing) that the moon’s intentions were against the sun when he understood his real intentions Hashem wanted to appease the moon.  

[Hashem know everything, this should not in any way make one think that there are things equal to Hashem rather Hashem wishes to teach us a valuable lesson]

Why does Hashem need a Kurban?  Why did Hashem not just make him big again?

It is apparent that Hashem was happy with the moon’s suggestion and wishes him to stay small is so why the Kurban?

This means that on Rosh Chodesh the moon was able to get her request. Since a Kurban means that the situation is fixed. 

What did the moon really want?

רבנו בחיי, בראשית א׳:י״ד:ט׳

(ט) … הד’ כי אור הלבנה נמשך מאור החמה כי הלבנה אין לה אורה מצד עצמה כי אם מאור השמש ומזה תקנו רז”ל בתפלת יוצר ראה והתקין צורת הלבנה כלומר שהיא צורה בלתי אורה, ומה שקורין רז”ל אור הלבנה באמרם אין בודקין לא לאור החמה ולא לאור הלבנה על האור הנאצל אליה מן החמה אמרו כן והוא כחום הברזל שהוחם באש שאין החום מצד הברזל רק מצד האש שהוא מחמם והברזל מקבל החמימות ממנו, ועל זה אמר והיו למאורות חסר וא”ו למארת כתיב כי שניהם אור אחד, וכן דרשו רז”ל לא נברא להאיר אלא גלגל חמה בלבד והוא קטרוג הלבנה שאמרה אי אפשר לשני מלכים שישתמשו בכתר אחד כי הכתר כנוי על האור והזוהר,

Rabbeinu Bahya, Bereshit 1:14:9

(9) The light of the moon comes from the light of the sun because the moon has no light of its own, but rather reflects the light of the sun… and that’s why the vav is missing from the word “me’oros” (luminaries), to show that they are one light. And this is what is meant that the moon complained that two kings cannot use one crown, because “crown” refers to light, and the moon complained that it needed light of its own.

The sun is a hot ball of glowing gases giving light to the earth along with energy and heat.  It warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth.  The moon on the other hand even according to science that says that the moon only moderates the earth’s wobble on its axis, has no light of its own only reflecting the light of the sun like a mirror.  

If one would project light towards a mirror we would not know from where the light comes from it looks identical.  And this is the way the sun and the moon are.  At the beginning of creation, there were 2 luminaries the same size and that only one had true light and the other reflected and no one knew the real source. 

I heard once in a lecture from Rabbi Pincus have he explained; The moon requested to be bigger the sun, how is it possible for the moon to be bigger if only it reflects the sun? Unless the moon wanted something much greater and selfless.  Knowing that he is only a reflection, but also the sun even though it gives out real light of its own, but is the sun’s light really from him? NO.  Hashem is the source of the light even though it is hidden all the sun’s light and energy come only from Hashem. If so the moon said why should I need to get the light from the sun who gets it from Hashem, The moon wanted to receive the light directly from Hashem and then he would glow much greater then the sun.  The moon wanted a direct connection with Hashem without a middle man.  

When Hashem understood that it was not to be better than the sun since he was not appeased by the presents of kavod (honor and glory) rather than the moon wanted to have a connection with Hashem Yisbarach!

The purpose of Kabbalah the purpose of the Torah the Purpose of creation is to have a connection to Hashem.  

The light of the moon is reflected by the dynasty of David Hamelech

The 2 sons of Yehudah and Tamar, Zerach and Peretz, are symbolized by the sun and moon;

רבנו בחיי, בראשית ל״ח:ל׳:א׳-ז׳

(א) ויקרא שמו זרח. זרח על שם החמה, פרץ על שם הלבנה, ומלכות בית דוד בא מפרץ שהוא כנגד הלבנה. וידוע כי ימות הלבנה כ”ט יום וע”כ תמצא מפרץ בן יהודה עד צדקיהו כ”ט איש… הם כ”ט איש כנגד ימות הלבנה. וכשם שהלבנה שוקעת אחר כ”ט יום כן מלכות בית דוד נפסקה וחרב המקדש בימי צדקיהו שהוא כ”ט לפרץ. (ו) ומעתה התבונן בענין יהודה ותמר ושני הילדים האלה פרץ וזרח… וראוים היו פרץ וזרח להיותם נאצלים מתמר, כי הם כנגד חמה ולבנה הנאצלים מן האור הראשון הכולל זכר ונקבה, כי זרח כנגד החמה שזורחת תמיד בענין שוה, ופרץ כנגד הלבנה שהיא פעם מתמלאת פעם חסרה ונפרצת, ע”כ יתחייב מלכות בית דוד הבא מפרץ להיות בזמן מן הזמנים פעם קיים פעם בטל… ולפי שמלכות בית דוד בא מפרץ ופרץ כנגד הלבנה הזכירו חכמי האמת בחדוש הלבנה ושלח לי’ סימנא דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיים. והמאמר הזה ע”ד פשוטו כי קרא הלבנה בשם דוד לפי שדוד בא מפרץ שהוא כנגד הלבנה ועוד שהלבנה נקראת המאור הקטן. וכתיב בדוד (ש”א יז) ודוד הוא הקטן. ובאמרו חי וקיים כונתו לומר נראית הלבנה.

Rabbeinu Bahya, Bereshit 38:30:1-7

(1) ויקרא שמו זרח, “he called his name Zerach.” The name Zerach (shines) symbolized the sun, whereas the name Peretz (interruption) symbolized the moon. We know that the moon’s orbit is completed every 29 days. This is why you will find that there were 29 righteous people (descended from him) listed in the Bible from the time of Peretz until the last King of the Davidic dynasty, Tzidkiyahu… These comprise a total of 29 men corresponding to the days in the lunar orbit; the lunar “sun” sets after such a period of time. The dynasty of David underwent a similar decline after Tzidkiyah and this is why the Temple was destroyed during the lifetime of Tzidkiyah who was the twenty-ninth scion counting from Peretz. (6) And now you will understand what occurred in the case of Yehudah, Tamar, and these two children born to Tamar and Yehudah respectively… Zerach corresponded to the element sun, the male element, the sun which shines without interruption, whereas Peretz corresponded to the element moon, the female element, a light which is uneven, sometimes stronger sometimes waning completely such as the light of the moon. It was therefore almost a historical must that the dynasty of King David be the product of Peretz rather than Zerach, seeing that he, Peretz — as indicated by his name already — represented the type of light we get from the moon, i.e. light which fluctuates constantly in intensity as does the light of the moon… Seeing that the kingdom of the house of David is derived from Peretz, and Peretz, in turn, has been likened to the moon, the sages formulated the words דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיים, “David King of Israel is alive and endures,” when we recite the monthly benedictions welcoming the arrival of the renewal of the light of the moon.

The manifestation of the Malchut

In the holy Zohar and in the writings of the Ariza”l, it says that the moon is a manifestation of the Malchut, relating to the Shechina, which is the unity of the souls of Am Yisrael. There are different levels of cycles like the cycle of the moon, as we saw in the words of Rabenu Bahya that refers to the cycle of the history of Am Yisrael, there is a bigger cycle that includes all of the time dimension of creation.  When we look at the biggest cycle that we can think of we can see that within the time of creation the moon was big and shining as we stated above, and since that time that Hashem told the moon to make itself smaller within many generations the light of the revelations of the kingdom of Hashem was diminished.  The light came to be hidden at the time of the destruction of the 2nd Temple. which is basically the middle of the timeline of the 6000 years. Since then until our days we see how slowly the ‘moon’ is getting bigger and the revelation of the kingdom of Hashem comes to be revealed to the point that no one can deny the presence of Hashem and his absolute control of the creation. 

The virus that hit the world made many people to recalculate their ways and to think about their priorities for those that felt that they control the path of their life this virus is a very hard experience.  Since it reveals to us that in truth we have no control and everything is in the hands of Hashem!  If we will be wise to use this opportunity to strengthen our faith and to put our trust in Hashem, to reorganize our priorities in life according to the Holy Torah we will gain to be part of the wonderful process to reveal the Kingdom of Hashem!  As the light of the Moon/Am Yisrael shines stronger like a big wave that rises up one should aim to be part of it and not against it.

The Light of the Shechina is Rising Up

Dedicated in the memory of Baruch Nachshon Ben Avraham and Eidal

English translations of holy texts are taken from https://www.sefaria.org.il/

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