FROM THE RABBI’S DESK – VAYAKHEL-PEKUDEI-SHABBAT HACHODESH:
It is not coincidental that the Torah reading this week of Vayakhel-Pekudei is connected to the special reading of Parshat Hachodesh. The latter section deals with the first commandment given to the people of Israel as a nation to establish a Jewish calendar with Nisan being the first month. The end of the reading of Pekudei speaks about the completion of the construction of the Mishkan which takes place on the first day of Nisan exactly one year later.
Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, in his magnum opus, Sefer Hatodaah, Book of Jewish Knowledge, describes Nisan as a month of miracles. Our development into a nation comes on the heels of a miracle which we commemorate on Shabbat Hagadol. Our ancestors are able to choose a lamb for the Paschal sacrifice without any hindrance or interference from the Egyptians who worship this animal as a god. Of course, the Exodus itself, the splitting of the Red Sea and the giving of the Torah as Sinai point to the ever presence of G-d among the Hebrews . Concomitantly, the presence of the Divine Cloud hovering over the Mishkan exactly one year later demonstrates the miraculous facet of the interrelationship between Hashem and the Israelites which continues till today. While we no longer have the Temple, the Divine presence remains with us.
The reading of the Torah portion, and by extension, the Haggadah, are not simply religious requirements to remember what happened thousands of years ago. They serve as a reminder to us that though circumstances have changed, and years have passed, G-dâ€™s commitment to us, and hopefully, ours to Him, remain constant and unwavering.