Sunday, March 14, 2010
Jewish Time for the Jewish State
By Michael Fuah
How many times have you asserted that "everything is under control?" Is that really true? We live in a world that is time-oriented. Everything is scheduled and anticipated and as we perceive it - under control. But do we control our time or does time control us?
The Western approach that plans and controls everything finds its expression is its solar calendar. In the Western calendar, everything works on a precise schedule. Every month has a pre-determined amount of days, there is one day added to February every four years and the sun remains a source of constancy. It makes us feel in control and easy to forget about G-d, Who created the sun and all the rules of nature.
The Moslem calendar is lunar - shorter than the solar calendar. It does not use extra days to balance the seasons. Thus, it is a calendar that travels around the seasons; a Moslem holiday will occur in different seasons in different years. The Moslem calendar expresses a reality in which man is out of control, dependant on outside factors such as "fate."
The Jewish calendar, about which we read this Shabbat, (Parshat Hachodesh) creates the proper synthesis between a calendar that preserves the basis of the seasons like the solar calendar, while remaining in synch with the waxing and waning of the moon. It gives order to our lives, while reminding us that G-d controls the world.
Today, the Jewish calendar is in exile. It has been pre-determined and no longer depends upon the sighting of the new moon and the Sanhedrin's decree of the new month. As we emerge from our long exile and return to our Jewish heritage, we must also return to our Jewish calendar.
"This month is the head of all months for you. It is the first for you of the months of the year." (This week's Torah maftir reading, Exodus 12:2). G-d gives the Jewish People control over the year. It is their wise men who determine when the months will start and when to insert a leap year. The Jewish People control time; time does not control them.
It is time to begin our return to the Jewish calendar. The best place to start is the school system, which can easily schedule its summer vacation and return to school according to Jewish dates. If we would decide that the first day of school would coincide with the first day of the month of Elul, the two months of summer vacation would necessarily be the Hebrew months of Tamuz and Av. When the kids are on vacation, their parents prefer to be on vacation and slowly but surely, Israeli society will return to its Jewish calendar. This will be one more step in transforming Israel from the State of the Jews to a Jewish State that illuminates the world with its message of true freedom for all.
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 3/14/2010 04:58:00 PM