Parashat Tazria-Metzora: Celebrating a New Moon


It’s a new month — the month of lyar — when we will celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday. In this Haftarah, the Prophet Isaiah explains that every new moon should be celebrated. The monthly renewal of light in the heavens shows hope for light and peace on earth.


Although the moon does not give off as much light as the sun does, light is always a symbol of God’s presence in the world. As small as the new moon is, that little sliver of light always tells us when it’s a new month — an opportunity for new beginnings and new goals. Seeing each new moon invites us to make the world a better place in the days and weeks ahead, and when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat, as it does this week, it has a very special holiness. Rosh Chodesh is also a time to be reminded about how grateful we are for what we have.

Jews have a contract with God — called a “covenant” — and this special connection is our motivation to do good, to be kind and commit ourselves to make sure that we help all people whenever we can. We should never take what we have received, from God or from people, for granted. Showing gratitude by sending a thank-you note to someone who gives you a gift is very important and very much appreciated. We don’t send thank-you notes to
God, but we say prayers of thanks every day.

In my family, gratitude is very important, and being Jewish means being part of a community where each one of us is accepted and respected. My parents taught me that one of the ways to express our gratitude is to help others who are not as fortunate as we are. Every year, on Dec. 25, our family participates in the Jewish community’s Mitzvah Day, helping to fill bags with important items for needy families, making cards, cooking casseroles and helping however we can. It makes us feel good knowing how many smiles we’re putting on people’s faces.

Every month when Rosh Chodesh comes, we are reminded to commit ourselves to help others, respect each other and bring more joy into the world.

Emma Kean is a sixth grader at Krieger Schechter Day School.

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