New month and Renewal at Pesach. By Yarden Freimann
The first mitzvah that the Israelites are commanded to do as a nation is the commandment to sanctify the month. We received this commandment in Egypt even before the revelation at Mount Sinai: "This month shall be to you the head of the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year." The word "month" from the root of חדש shows constant renewal, the moon is filling up, and is renewed. Still, it is somewhat paradoxical to claim that a star moving in a circular motion is a repetitive cycle. On the face of it, this is not a novelty, but a repetition of something old. Let us look at other examples that combine the innovation with the familiar and the fixed, and relate it to the Exodus. But when we look at the Pesach seder itself, there is very little about the story of the exodus from Egypt,”And you shall tell your son” "והגדת לבנך" (Shemot 13:8). There are some references in the Talmud and the first sources, but it is difficult to understand exactly what happened in the story of the exodus from Egypt only from the Haggadah, and the proof is that the name of Moshe Rabbeinu is not mentioned in the Haggadah even once! What happens during the Seder night? There are a lot of activities: a cup for Elijah the Prophet, a plate full of food, poems, questions and all sorts of things that are actually meant for one thing - to make people want to know what happened in the Exodus, to ask questions: As the Rambam wrote in the Mishneh Torah (Laws of Chametz and Metzah): "The [The parent] should make changes on this night so that the children will see and will [be motivated to] ask: 'What has changed this night from all other nights?' This and that happened and so it was . And how does it change, to give them nuts and nuts, and to remove the table from them before they eat, and to cut off the matzah immediately and so forth. He who has no son - his wife asks him. He who has no wife - ask himself: 'What has changed this night,' and even if they are all wise. He who is alone - he asks himself: 'What has changed this night?” When a person asks a question he tries to bring himself into the story, to understand for himself what it was, and the mitzva says that in every generation a person must see himself as if he had left Egypt. What actually happens is that in every generation we have a commandment not only to tell about the Exodus but to connect with the story itself, to understand how each of us comes out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom. It is precisely the understanding of finding the new within the permanent framework, just like the sanctification of the month. There is a two-way connection here - we are not only influenced by the story of the exodus from Egypt, but also by the movement of the moon above, but also committed to bringing ourselves there, to renew. "We replied to you and replied," Our days are as old as before. "There are two directions here: return and return, renewal as before. Both new and old in the same action, in the sense that "the old will be renewed and the new will be sanctified" (R. Kook). I wish everyone a Passover filled with joy and innovation!