Shabbat is more than a day of refraining from worldly activity.

When experienced to its spiritual fullest, its holiness enlightens all other days of the week.

We invite you to enhance your Shabbat with these words of Torah.


Full moon in the sky with wind blowing

The Mystery of the New Moon

The Mystery of the New Moon

Jacobson, Rabbi Simon
January 26, 2023

“This new moon (Ha’chodesh Hazeh) shall be to you the head of month”

(Exodus 12:2)


“The waxing and waning moon reflect the ups and downs of life and history. By commanding to sanctify the new moon, G-d was imparting to Moses the power of renewal: Just as the moon is reborn right after it disappears, so too will the Jewish people experience a renaissance following their darkest moments.


“Moses, however, was… bothered by the fact that when things get so dark, … how do we gather strength when we don’t see any glimmer of hope? Moses understood that a mortal human being will never fully fathom the mystery of pain and suffering [and] that the ‘end story’ was that we will endure and prevail over all our adversaries. Indeed, the Egyptian oppression forged a nation with enormous power, an eternal nation.


But Moses was saying: ‘If you want man to grow through the dark challenges, You, G-d, must give us the power of hope – the strength to see it through and forge ahead despite the inability to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”.’ In response, G-d ‘pointed His finger’ and showed Moses something that is otherwise impossible to see: The birthing itself. The point when the darkness turns into light, the exact moment when the seeds of suffering yield the fruits of greatness, the mystery of transformation, how darkness turns into light.


What power did the Jews have when they were herded into the gas chambers to sing ‘Ani Maamin‘ (‘I believe’)? How is it possible that in situations that were absolutely hopeless, a nation has not just survived but thrived?


This enormous, superhuman, power is rooted in Moses’ vision [when] G-d pointed his finger and directed Moses to look closer: Hachodesh hazeh – here, look at the secret of rebirth,… the moment of transition, when one state is about to end only to open up a new state. Here is the invisible intersection where dark meets light, pain meets joy and exile meets redemption. We can never actually see the exact moment when the old becomes new. [However] If we look hard enough perhaps we may get a glimpse of what Moses saw [and] even if we can’t, our yearning, for the sliver of the new moon’s birthing, carries immense power – strength that can help us though any challenge.”