HaChodesh: Sanctifying Time
“This month is for you” (Exodus 12:2) What does it mean to “sanctify time”? Time is the medium through which change comes about. The changes wrought by time can either bring the world closer to its goal, or the opposite, God forbid. By sanctifying the times, Israel ensures that they convey creation to its Divinely ordained destiny.
In the Midrash, we find three opinions regarding what blessing Israel should recite when sanctifying the month. “Some of our Rabbis say, ‘Blessed He Who renews months’. Some say, ‘Blessed He Who sanctifies months’. And some of them say, ‘Blessed He Who sanctifies Israel'”. Each of these options relates to another aspect of the phenomenon. First, there is the very fact of renewal, the fact that time is instrumental for bringing about change. Secondly, there is the steering of time towards holiness, which is to say, towards the Divine purpose of existence. And, thirdly, it is stipulated that the sanctification occurs through Israel. (Based on Rav Kook, In The Desert- A Vision, HaChodesh II)
We often race against the ticking of time and relate to it as an enemy we are constantly fighting. On Shabbat HaChodesh, we realize that time is in fact a gift that can allow us to bring change to ourselves and to the world. It is an empty canvas awaiting for us to bring our creative touch and turn it into the reality we are stepping towards. It is the magical call of endless opportunities, the anticipation of promises yet to be fulfilled, of dreams to realize, of secret hopes to come true.
And, as the sand in the hourglass inexorably trickles down, it is our responsibility and privilege to take each moment and embrace it with arms wide open, instead of running away from it. It is when we make that moment our own, infusing it with the joy that comes from knowing that we can make a difference, that we can elevate it; bringing the world, one second at a time, closer to its perfection.