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  • Yehuda Pevzner

The Moon & Sun

Rabbi Nachum Markowitz was a young Israeli man who came to study in 770 in New York. He had no desire to study and was hardly present during classes. One night, he went in for a private audience with the Rebbe and poured out his heart. He had no satisfaction with his situation, did not see what his purpose is in life, but deep down, really cared to make a change in his life.

The Rebbe instructed him to set a daily time for learning Torah, but to learn for only five minutes, not more than that. From time to time, he should add on another additional minute. Nachum made sure to study five minutes of Torah each day, constantly looking at the clock to see when time was up. Frequently, he stopped in the middle of a sentence or explanation because his allotted time was finished.


The result of this consistency was that these five minutes became the basis of his daily schedule, and more than that: he thought about the study and longed to continue what was interrupted at its peak.


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The Jewish calendar goes according to the lunar cycle, starting at the first sighting of the new moon. Every few years, however, we double up the month of Adar so that the lunar and solar calendars can meet up. This is to ensure that the festivals take place in the proper seasons, such as Passover, which must always take place in the spring.


The lunar and solar cycles symbolize two basic spiritual principles, namely, consistency and innovation. The sun symbolizes stability. Every day, the amount of light it radiates is the same. The sun is unwavering and consistent. The moon symbolizes change, as it waxes and wanes throughout the month. The lunar cycle in our lives is the strive for improvement and growth.


For one’s service to G-d to be complete, we need both opposing poles. Each type of service - constant and changing - possesses certain advantages. When new mitzvot or higher levels of observance are carried out with constancy, they become second nature. And yet, the commitments that we are accustomed to should still be done with the eagerness of a first time act.


Candle lighting time 5:24 PM


Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Yehuda