Today is Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of a new Jewish month.
We Jews count our months by the moon – we have the lunar year. Secular society goes by the sun – solar year. We are compared to the moon in that the moon becomes smaller and almost disappears and then becomes big again. The Jews ought to know that life is about ups and downs, that at times it feels like we failed or that we have destroyed ourselves. You always have to keep in mind that just like the moon seems almost gone and grows big again until full moon time, we have to push through our weaker moments and build ourselves up again. This is true on an individual level, with each one of us needing to know that in our lives.
It is also true with the Jewish nation. You see a Hitler come around and wipe out millions and there are very few Jews are left. But Jews are not scared, because we know we will become many again, that our nation will be built up again. They can try to kill us, they might succeed in dwindling our populations, but they will never destroy us. We will always wax big again, even after we’ve waned.
Because of this amazing message, in many generations when enemies came to power, the first thing they wanted to take away from us is the concept of our monthly lunar calendar. In the times of the Chanuka story that is what happened. They wanted to let us keep many of the Jewish laws, but one of the ones they didn’t want to let us keep is Rosh Chodesh because Rosh Chodesh’s lessons gives Jews hope. Even the communists made it illegal for Jews to have calendars in Russia.
So, today, I dress a bit finer, I eat a bit yummier, and I sing and praise G-d with Hallel, thanking G-d for giving us Rosh Chodesh, the celebration that says, “fret not, we will yet become full and strong.” A Gutten Chodesh, my friends!