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Dvar for Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Parshat Bo contains the very first commandment the Jews received as a nation; the Mitzvah to have a first Rosh Chodesh (new month), and to mark the beginning of every month thereafter (Exodus 12:2). What makes this commandment so important for it to be the very first commandment for the Jews? Also, when describing the first month that the Jews need to acknowledge, the Torah fails to name that month. If the Torah values the months, wouldn’t it be important for the Torah to name those months, just like the Torah names important places the Jews had traveled through?

The Ramban explains that the Torah called the months as first, second and so on because the numbers refer to how many months the Jews were removed from the moment when we were established as a people. This helps focus our attention to the most important moment we had as a nation. But it also focuses us on something else; The months we now control (both in name and in timing) dictate when holidays occur, when customs are performed, and even when G-d judges us. The very first commandment is the one that empowers us. The first commandment as a nation makes us partners with G-d, because although we didn’t determine the holidays to celebrate, we do determine when they are celebrated. So every time we celebrate Rosh Chodesh, we should celebrate our partnership with G-d, and our being empowered to individually “name” the month as we, as a people, see fit!