How To Grow In The Dark

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Friday, April 8th
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Shabbat, April 9th,
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Torah Portion: Tazria

How To Grow In The Dark

Can people actually change?

We all have habits we could do better without, and shtick that gets in the way of a better life.
Inertia has a crushing, paralyzing effect on people, so the possibility of change can feel like an impossible illusion. Should we just shrug our shoulders and accept our warts? Or is there some way we can reach a better self?

Our Sages, connoisseurs of the soul and the human condition, have long told us that we can improve our personalities and behaviors. Provided that we really want to.

Our lunar calendar actually sends us a monthly message to this effect. Our daily calendar is in sync with the moon’s waxing and waning, reflects our own uneven struggle to live better lives. A fuller moon represents days in which we feel more soul energy, days in which we’re more connected to strongest selves. Waning reflects the opposite.

Once a month, there’s no waxing or waning. Just darkness. When the moon passes between the sun and the earth, the moon disappears and we have an opaque night. No moonlight at all. Yet perhaps counter-intuitively, that’s actually when the new moon is born; a time when our calendar takes a quantum leap forward into the future.

The Jewish calendar teaches us that sometimes we need to close our door and shut the lights. Instead of tweaking yesterday’s habits, it’s time to shut down yesterday’s system and decide who I want to be from now on. That’s darkness with a mission, darkness that can herald rebirth.

Rosh Chodesh is the term we use for the beginning of a new month, triggered by the birth of the new moon. Rosh Chodesh is an ideal time for this darkness/rebirth dynamic. And this coming Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh of the month of ‘Nissan,’ the month of Passover. Our mystical greats tell us that each day of Nissan has special rebirth potential; each day is like Rosh Chodesh. Each day reflects the Passover energy, the energy that once expressed itself in the birth of a nation, the energy that once gave Jews the power to ‘pass over’ – transcend – their slave mentality.
It happened once and it can happen again.

We’re heading into a month of personal rebirth. Rebirth which begins with the willingness to turn out the lights on one’s old self, and progresses with the genuine desire for –recreation.
It starts this Shabbos.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

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