Do you wonder why there is more than one Sefer Torah in the Aron Kodesh? That’s because on special occasions, we have to read from more than one. On Shabbos Parshas HaChodesh we read from two Sifrei Torah. And if Rosh Chodesh is on Shabbos, we read from three! Each scroll will be opened to a different portion. From one Sefer Torah, we will read the portion of the week. From the second, we will read about the special offerings brought on Rosh Chodesh — the beginning of a new month. And from the third Sefer Torah, we will read Parshas HaChodesh.

Parshas HaChodesh is the last of the four parshiyos which are read before the holidays of Purim and Pesach. In this portion, HaShem commands the Jewish people to calculate the days of the months and ensure that all the holidays fall at their proper time. The portion begins with the words: Hachodesh hazeh lechem Rosh Chodashim — “This month is the first of months for you....”

Why does the Torah say “for you”? Is this the first month for us, but not for other people?

Actually — yes! The Jewish calendar is different from other calendars. While most other nations fix their calendars according to the cycle of the sun, the Jewish calendar is arranged according to the cycle of the moon.

The sun follows a steady course in the sky. It rises and sets every day, 365 days a year, without changing its size or shape.

But the moon is different. It appears in many shapes and sizes. At the beginning of the month, it looks like a banana. Afterwards, it grows and looks like a slice of melon. Between the 14th and 15th days of the month, it becomes full like a ball. For the next two weeks, the moon becomes smaller day by day, until at the end of the month, we don’t see it at all. But soon afterwards, it reappears and begins its cycle once again.

Like our calendar, every one of us follows the moon’s pattern. Instead of remaining constant like the sun, we change like the moon. When we study the Torah and fulfill its mitzvos, the light of HaShem within us shines more powerfully. But if we are careless, that light may be covered up.

Our entire people also follows the pattern of the moon. Throughout our history, we have had periods when we shone brilliantly with the light of Torah, reaching far and wide. But there have been other times when our light has been hidden in the shadows of galus.

The moon shines brightest between the 14th and 15th days of the month. Fourteen generations after Avraham Avinu, when the light of the first Jew began to shine, our people shone brightly during the time of King David. And in the 15th generation, King Shlomo built the Beis HaMikdash, from which HaShem’s light spread to the entire world.

Since then, our people have had high points and low points. We are now living in a very special time. We must prepare ourselves for the light of geulah which will shine with the coming ofthe descendant of Mashiach, the House of David.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 16, p. 481ff; Sichos Shabbos Parshas Noach, 5752)