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Hachodesh: New For Us

“Sometimes there is something of which someone says: ‘Look, this is new!’ – it has already existed in the ages before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:10) When the Children of Israel heard the Torah they thought that it was new. It already was for ages, for Abraham knew the Torah, as it says, “Because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs.” (Genesis 26:5) This is why Ezekiel says, “Abraham was but one.” (Ezekiel 33:24) “Haya,” as in “kvar haya l’olamim.”


If Rabbi Akiva would extrapolate secrets of the Torah from the crowns of the letters (Menachot 29b), it was not new, for it already existed for ages as a Law haneded to Moshe from Sinai.

“It already existed for ages,” for God showed to Adam each generation with its leaders. (Avodah Zarah 5a, Sanhedrin 38b)

Although something may be new for us, it is not necessarily new. The new moon appeared last month and the month before, and yet, it is considered new.

The Mitzvah of Hachodesh, Sanctifying the New Moon, is not to say that something that has never occurred before is happening now, but it is a reminder that we can always see even what is there with new eyes and a fresh perspective.

In fact, the ability to look at life as new is essential to freedom. Each day presents new opportunities even if everything else seems old. (For those with Spiritual Exercises for Shabbat Hachodesh: Use this as a  Kavanah in Blessings of Shema of the morning.)

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