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Rosh Chodesh Tevet: Kavanot

We derive the appellation for God’s Name, used in the Rosh Chodesh Mussaf – Additional Prayer – from the combination of letters and vowels of the following verse: “Declare the greatness

of God with me, and let us exalt His Name together.” (Psalms 33:4)

I. Individual Divine Providence

There are those who believe that God is so exalted and that it is not respectful of Him to even believe that He is directly involved with the physical beings of this earth. Therefore, Moshe declared, “Declare the greatness of God,” – “Who is with me,” meaning, who is directly involved with me. (Ketav Sofer)

We are entering winter the darkest time of the year. The Kabbalists teach that Tevet is one of the months that because of their darkness are in the hands of the angel of Eisav. However, the beginning of Tevet always falls during Chanukah, and the light of the Menorah can weaken and even defeat the darkness of Eisav right from the beginning of the month.

II. Partners

The Talmud teaches that we should never rely on a miracle. (Ta’anit 20b) A person must accept responsibility to act with an absolute trust that God, Who will be, “With me,” and will bless and empower our efforts, will join his efforts. (Ketav Sofer)

This flows directly from the strength of Chanukah, when the Chashmonaim chose to act without relying on miracles. Their choice stirred the heavens and God empowered their victories and success. We pray on Rosh Chodesh that we should have the clarity to define how much effort is necessary, the courage to act, and that God will join with us and empower our actions.

III. Humility

Usually when someone says, “Do this with me,” he is asking the other to join him, but he is primary. Moses begins by inviting us to praise God with him, but he concludes, “We will exalt His Name together.” We will all be equal. (Rabbi Akiva Eiger)

We can attach to the strength of those greater than we, and join them in serving God. The name of God hidden in this verse, allows us to draw on that strength and actually rise to the level of those greater individuals who inspire us.

We pray that during this coming month we will be able to draw on the strength of all those who teach us Torah and Service of God, even if only through their sefarim – books – written long ago. We pray that we can then make that strength part of our own service and growth.

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