- January 27, 2023
- Posted by: DR Jack
- Category: Article
After the chassan places the ring on the finger of his beloved kallah, the two witnesses announce “Mekudeshes — She is consecrated.” The same declaration is found in connection with the mitzvah of kiddush hachodesh, the sanctification of the new month. In this week’s Parsha, after accepting testimony from witnesses that a new moon was seen in the skies, the Beis Din would announce, “Mekudash — It is sanctified,” thus beginning a new month.
These two pronouncements of kiddush are linked in another way. The first mitzvah recorded in the Torah is that of “Peru urevu,” the command to procreate, which is the ultimate responsibility of a Jewish union. But the first mitzvah given to the Jewish people as a nation, which is in this week’s Parsha, is “Hachodesh hazeh lachem rosh chadashim” (Shemos 12:2) — the mitzvah of kiddush hachodesh. The Torah could have begun with this pasuk, the first Rashi in Chumash points out.
Moreover, both the marriage ceremony and the establishment of the new month share two characteristics: kiddush and chiddush — consecration and renewal, two themes that are indispensable to Judaism. Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohein Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, encapsulated these two themes, stating that the Jewish mission in Eretz Yisrael was to renew the old, and to consecrate the new.”
These words are the secret to Jewish survival. The ability of the Jewish people to maintain their beautiful, venerable, holy traditions throughout the centuries has kept our nation timely, vital and vigorous. The observance of each generation of Torah Jews renews an ancient mandate.
The Midrash (Pesikta Rabbasi 15) likens the Jewish people to the moon, and the Jewish calendar follows a lunar schedule. The fate of the Jewish nation, says the Midrash, waxes and wanes like the moon. Shlomo Hamelech reigned in Jerusalem fifteen generations after Avraham Avinu lived, corresponding to the fifteenth day of the month, when the moon is full. Fifteen generations later, corresponding to the end of the month, when the moon is dark, Tzidkiyahu Hamelech was exiled by Nevuchadnetzar.
Just as the moon renews itself each month, the Jewish people are challenged to regularly renew themselves and their commitment to G-d. The pasuk states: “On this day the L-rd, your G-d, commands you to do” the mitzvos (Devarim 26:16), to which Rashi notes, “Every day they should be in your eyes as new, as if they were commanded on that day.” In order for Torah and Judaism to be continually meaningful and relevant, one must view them through the element of chiddush. This notion is amplified in the blessing said both before and after the reading of the Torah, when we bless G-d “Who gives the Torah.” We must perpetually feel that the Torah is being given to us in the here and now.
My dear chassan and kallah, may you bring into your marriage these two lofty ideals, chiddush and kiddush. As you build your Jewish home, view every day of your life together through the prism of renewal and consecration. Renew your commitment, faith, love and devotion to each other every day. Do not allow your marriage to become stale and antiquated.
Do not be afraid to face new challenges, to uncover new horizons, to embark on new voyages. Allow the compass of kedushah to navigate you through unchartered waters and turn them into spiritual waters. May G-d fortify you with these two spiritual moorings and may your home be a place where the A-mighty is forever present.