“Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem Rosh Chodashim.” “This month is for you the first of the months…” (12:2) The language of this pasuk seems very strange for two reasons. Firstly, we all know that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the “first of the months,” is in Tishrei, or early fall which is months away from Pesach which is in Nisan. Secondly, if it isn’t referring to Rosh Hashanah, it seems strange to mark this moment as the first month when the B’nei Yisrael (Jewish People) had been existing for many years.
Sforno explains that HaShem was saying to the Jewish people, “From now on the months will be yours to do with them as you see fit.” This statement is similar to that which the Midrash says, “This month is given into your jurisdiction, and you are no longer under its influence.”
One can deduce that before this proclamation, B’nei Yisrael were being “shepherded.” Every little move was under strong guidance. Now, they are set free “to graze”, and they can choose where to graze in the pasture. However, G-d – The Shepherd – does set some limitations.
Hagaon Rav Avrohom Pam, points out that the concept of freedom attained at Yitziat Mitzrayim (Exodus from Egypt) was the freedom to utilize our time as we see fit, and not to live by the rules and constraints placed upon us by others. This idea teaches us that we shouldn’t waste time. We should always try to do what is right and get our message across without useless sidetracking.
We all make mistakes in life. HaShem is giving us a second chance when saying, “This month is the first of the months…” HaShem is saying that this is the first month of the rest of your lives. It’s time to put a new foot forward and start acting in a way that we’ll be able to reflect upon and be proud about.
If we all would take a step back and do a little retrospection and maybe even some introspection, we could realize what areas we could make better in our lives. We should all make a new step forward and make this the first day to be nicer to our siblings or to having more patience. Once that first step is taken, we will have the first month to new and better lives.