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Rabbi Kalmar's Message Parshat Bo - 5781

The Tougher Moon and the Secret of Jewish Continuity

In the Journal Nature Communications, a study was recently published by a team of researchers from China, Italy, and Iceland in which they identified and mapped over 109,000 new craters in the low and mid latitude regions of the moon using artificial intelligence.  A machine learning algorithm trained with data collected from Chinese lunar orbiters allowed them to observe that the moon’s surface is even rougher than was thought.  We always knew the moon’s surface was rugged, but we just didn’t know how tough it was.  The craters on the moon were created by meteor strikes that occurred early in Earth and the Moon’s history.  

Our parsha contains the famous first commandment to the Jewish people – HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem – this month shall be to you – the commandment to keep the new moon and to set up the Jewish calendar.   Although our system is not a purely lunar calendar, and we have elements of the solar calendar as well, our system is primarily a lunar one:  the Jews follow the moon.

The Sefas Emes, R. Yehuda Leib Alter of Ger, posits that the great powers of world history did well in the sun – when things were good.  When the light of history shined on them, they flourished.  But when things started to go badly – they went from bad to worse to no more.  The great peoples and empires of world history are no longer with us.  

But the Jews’ secret, says the Sfas Emes, was that they have always been able to handle the tough times and the dark periods.  Like the moon – the Jewish people have survived the meteor strikes and come back stronger.   We are a people who knows that life waxes and wanes and that even when there are times of darkness, there are times of light in our future.  This ability, to know that life comes with ups and downs, has allowed the Jewish people to stand the test of time.  May we continue to do so as individuals and as a people, and may we be zocheh (may we merit) to see the great light at the end of days and the time of Moshiach.

Good Shabbos!

Wed, May 18 2022 17 Iyyar 5782