March 16, 2012 ~ 22 Adar 5772
This Shabbat we will bless the new month of Nissan, celebrating the historic month of our national birth and pretending not to notice that it’s time to start cleaning and shopping for Pesach!
As the Jewish people prepared to leave Egypt and a lifetime of slavery, they were given their first mitzvah – to establish a calendar with the month of their redemption at its head. Nissan, as it was later to be called, was our new first month and symbolized the importance of a free people taking ownership of their own time. (Today, we effectively celebrate three New Years – at Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world, at Pesach, the birthday of our people, and at Tu Bshvat, the birthday of the trees.)
This past week, I have watched, once again, as our brothers and sisters have tragically become slaves to time. If you live in Israel within 10 miles of Gaza, you have 15 seconds. 20 miles? Then you might have 30 seconds. At 40 miles, there is a whopping 60 seconds to find cover before the missiles land.
Entire families are sleeping together in cramped bomb shelters in the basements of their homes. Children are not going to schools. The playgrounds are empty. The terrorists are controlling our time.
As we freely stop work for this Shabbat and proclaim ownership of our own time, we pray that our brothers and sisters in Israel will know peace and can be blessed to fulfill the very first of our mitzvot, the basis of our freedom – the ability to be in control of one’s own time.
See you in shul. Shabbat Shalom,