Shabbat Hachodesh: Our New Beginning

You only get one shot to make a first impression. What is the first thing you say on a first date? You get an audience with your Senator to advocate on behalf of your community, what are the first words that come to mind? What is the first commandment G-d instructs the newborn nation of Israel as he is orchestrating the Exodus of our people as we prepare to depart Egypt after 210 years, walk through the Red Sea, and receive the Torah at Sinai? It is the commandment of sanctifying the new month of Nissan. Out of all the commandments, why did G-d choose this one? 
On the holiday of Chanukah one of the three Mitzvoth the Greeks forbade the Israelites to fulfill was the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh (Sanctifying the New Moon). They understood that this was a very significant Mitzvah. However, why was it the first commandment given to the nation of Israel? Why Rosh Chodesh and why the month of Nissan? In Exodus 12:2 it states:
הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחׇדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃
This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.

The answer has 3 parts:
1. G-d wanted to celebrate and commemorate the specific time of Rosh Chodesh Nissan because it was the beginning of a new world. It is the birth of the People of Israel who will leave Egypt and receive G-d's Torah at Sinai. 
2. G-d also wanted to impress upon the Jews the importance of sanctifying and utilizing time. In effect, saying we control time, time does not control us. 
3. Finally, there is a message in the waxing and the waning of the moon. There is a built-in refresh button that G-d embedded into the Creation with start of every month as the image of the moon starts growing larger every 29 days.

As we begin this important month of Nissan when the flowers begin to bloom again and the trees awaken and nature returns to life, it is our opportunity to reawaken our own spirits, take control of our precious time, and celebrate our birth as a nation on Passover. We also pray for the success of the trip of our President Harry Platt and CEO Jen Weiss as they travel to Poland this week to greet and embrace Ukrainian refugees with medicine, relief, and friendship. May G-d bless these refugees and all those in harm’s way with a new beginning this Nissan, the month of miracles and new beginnings.
Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom and a Chodesh Tov.
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein
Community Scholar in Residence