In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Bo, we are given the mitzvah of The New Moon Festival/Rosh Hodesh/ראש חודש. God instructs Moses, “This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you/הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים, רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם לְחָדְשֵׁי הַשָּׁנָה (Ex. 12:2).” Rashi, quoting an earlier Midrash, teaches that Moses had difficulty (נתקשה) in calculating the beginning of the new month. However, Rabbi Levi Yizthak of Berdichev sees something else happening in that Midrash. The difficulty was not a passive lack of understanding on Moses’ part. He was actively causing difficulty and not wanting to accept this mitzvah. By accepting a mitzvah that is attached to the waxing and waning of the moon, he is accepting that the moon is still diminished from its original state (as the Rabbis tell of the moon’s punishment to be decreased in size in the b. Talmud Hulin 60b). Taking on this mitzvah means that we accept that the world is imperfect, and that redemption has not yet come (may it come speedily and in our days).
Yet, ultimately, Moses accepts this mitzvah, as we know from our routine and recent celebration of the New Month. It is often difficult to accept that we live in a world that is not the world we want to live in. Yet, we must not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Sometimes, a botched pie is delicious, even if it does not look the way we want it to. And despite our lackings and imperfections, thanks to God, good things happen all around us in every moment/hamehadaseh b’tuvo bchol yom tamid/המחדש בטובו בכל יום תמיד (Page 107 in Siddur Sim Shalom). This week, let us open our eyes to the miraculous and renew our sense of wonder in a world that is often difficult, yet never lacking in beauty if we can accept it.