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Vayakhel-Pikudei: Shabbos HaChodesh, when the gates are opened

Updated: Aug 27, 2018

ביום החודש הראשון באחד לחודש.

On the day of the first month, the first of the month…” (Shemos 20:2)

The verse mentions the “day of the first month” without being specific, and only then says “the first of the month.” Why doesn’t the verse begin with the words “On the first day of the first month?”

The Agra d’Kallah explains that each month of the year is represented by one of the first days of the first month – the month of Nissan. In other words, the first day of Nissan represents the entire month of Nissan; the second day of Nissan represents the month of Iyar; the third day of Nissan represents the month of Sivan, and so on until the twelfth of Nissan which represents the month of Adar. The wording of the verse is reminding us about this and telling us to be careful with our actions on these twelve days, as they have a strong impact on the entire corresponding month.

The holy tzaddik, the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin, would write down during the first twelve days of Nissan the significant events that would happen in the corresponding month. One year, he wrote as usual for the first five days, and then he stopped and did not continue writing between the sixth and twelfth of Nissan. That year, the Chozeh passed away on the ninth of Av – the fifth month. His disciples finally understood why their Rebbe stopped writing after the fifth day of Nissan.


In the haftorah of Parshas Hachodesh we read a verse in Yechezkel (46:1), “Thus said Hashem: The gate of the interior courtyard should be closed for the six weekdays and on the Sabbath it should be opened and on the day of the month it should be opened.”

Some people mistakenly think that by keeping Shabbos they lose a day’s worth of income. In actuality, the opposite is true. On Shabbos, besides for being a day of serenity and peace, the blessings for the upcoming week come forth from heaven. “On the Sabbath it should be opened…” The heavenly gates of blessing are opened. When a person keeps Shabbos according to Halacha, he merits benefiting from these blessings throughout the entire week.

This Shabbos is Parshas Hachodesh, when the “gates are opened” as well. This Shabbos, the blessings for the entire year come forth from heaven!

“This month is for you – for all of your needs.” The Gemara says (Kiddushin 82a), “My deeds were wrong and my livelihood was decreased.” It appears as if Hashem chooses to decrease a person’s livelihood when he sins. In truth, Hashem wants to avoid doing this, as it says (Yechezkel 18:32, mentioned in the Ne’ilah prayer of Yom Kippur) “I do not desire the death of the deceased, but that he shall return from his ways and live.” What is the meaning of this strange statement? If a person is already dead, he can no longer die.

Our sages consider some people to be dead, among them sinful people (Berachos 18b) and people suffering of extreme poverty (Nedarim 64b). The above-mentioned verse now reads as follows: “I do not desire the impoverishment of sinful people, but that they shall return from their evil ways and enjoy wealth.”

The verse can also be read differently. A person who suffers from poverty should accept this trial and remain faithful to the Torah, for “I do not desire that the poor should become sinful, but that they shall return from their evil ways and be righteous amidst prosperity.”

Many people are rushing about, always in a hurry to earn a few dollars. They might be unaware that with all their rushing, they are actually “running away” from their fortunes, instead of hurrying towards it…

May Hashem bless us all that this month should be a harbinger of prosperity and all types of yeshuos.


In the Parsha of Hachodesh, we see that the entire consecration of Rosh Chodesh, and consequently the entire Jewish calendar, rests on the decision and statement of Bais Din. When the Bais Din declared the month to be “sanctified,” Rosh Chodesh was established, and automatically the dates of the festivals were set.

This is a most amazing phenomenon. Thousands of laws – indeed, the very cycle of the universe, was hinged on the declaration of Bais Din! The power of one word!

Each of us must take this into consideration and realize the value of every word we utter. Words can be powerful tools for growth or powerful weapons of destruction. Count your words and consider their tremendous power before allowing them to leave your mouth!


The month of Nissan is about to begin. The saintly Maggid of Trisk said that we are permitted to say, “Father in Heaven, thus is written in the Torah (Kiddushin 32a), In Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will be redeemed in the future (Rosh Hashana 11a)!” We are allowed to “remind” Hashem that it is high time for us to be redeemed. May we indeed merit the final redemption this month and may we welcome Moshiach with joy.

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