This week we will be taking out two Sifrei Torah, one for Parshas Tazria and one for Parshas HaChodesh. As mentioned previously we read the Haftorah of Parshas HaChodesh due to the rule that the Haftorah always follows the preceding Torah reading. Therefore the Haftorah’s words are connected to Parshas HaChodesh.
In Parshas HaChodesh, Klal Yisrael was given the first Mitvah, the Mitvah of Rosh Chodesh- sanctifying the new moon. Since Rosh Chodesh was the first Mitvah given, it obviously has deep significance to it. The majority of Meforshim explain that what makes the Mitvah of Rosh Chodesh so special is because through this Mitzvah, Hashem gave us control over time. In the Tamud we find many places where the idea is stressed that the Jewish calendar only functions based upon the declaration of Beis Din to when the new moon is. The determination of the dates for the Yomim Tovim and Moadim all depend upon the declaration of Beis Din. The declaration itself only comes as a result of the testimony of two valid witnesses who testify that they’ve seen the new moon. Parshas HaChodesh is read on the Shabbos preceding Rosh Chodesh Nissan since the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh was given on the first of Nissan.
In this week’s Haftorah we read about the different Korbanos the Nasi would be required to bring on Rosh Chodesh, Shabbos, and the Yomim Tovim.
Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik explains a very fundamental idea in the understanding of Rosh Chodesh. The Talmud in Rosh HaShana (24b) states a rule that Beis Din does not sanctify the moon at night and rather Rosh Chodesh can only be declared during the day. We can ask, is this rule that Rosh Chodesh can not be declared at night, due to the general rule that Beis Din does not meet at night or is it a special concept within Rosh Chodesh that it must be declared during the day. Rav Soloveitchik explained that this rule is specific to Rosh Chodesh since the main fulfillment of the day is done through the special Korban that is brought during the day. The time for the declaration of Rosh Chodesh is based upon its main fulfillment, the Korban. This also explains why at night if one forgets to say ‘Yaaleh VeYavo’ one does not need to go back but during the day one must.
This idea of Rav Soloveitchik is seen throughout many places in Tanach including this week’s Haftorah.
An important lesson can be learned out based upon this explanation. Nowadays, without a Beis Hamikdash we no longer have the ability to actualize the main fulfillment of Rosh Chodesh. It is important for us to realize that we are lacking an integral part of our lives with the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. However, Rosh Chodesh can also be symbolized as the potential for renewal. That just although the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed and we were sent into exile, still the new moon every month reminds us that HaShem is still with us and we will ultimately reach the final Geulah Sheleimah.