1. This Shabbos is unique as reflected by the fact that three scrolls are taken out for the Torah reading;1 we read the weekly portion from one scroll, the Rosh Chodesh reading from another scroll, and the special HaChodesh reading from a third scroll.

This is a very rare phenomenon. There are many occasions when two Torah scrolls are taken out, but taking out three scrolls is extremely uncommon. The only time we read from three scrolls each year is Simchas Torah.2 In addition, from time to time, when Rosh Chodesh Teves, Rosh Chodesh Adar, or Rosh Chodesh Nissan falls on Shabbos, this phenomenon repeats itself.

There is a unique dimension to the passages read from the three Torah scrolls taken out this Shabbos, because each of the readings concerns Rosh Chodesh Nissan, today’s date. This week’s parshah, Vayikra was communicated to Moshe on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the day the Sanctuary was erected. The HaChodesh reading was also communicated to Moshe on Rosh Chodesh Nissan (a year previously, while the Jews were still enslaved in Egypt). Furthermore, it relates the mitzvah of sanctifying the months and thus shows how there is a special connection between the ordinary Rosh Chodesh passage and Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

Surely we can derive a lesson in the service of G‑d from the above concepts. This lesson can be clarified by contrasting the taking out of three Torah scrolls on Simchas Torah3 with the taking out of three scrolls on the present Shabbos.

The lesson to be derived from taking out a Torah scroll is reflected in the prayers recited at that time which begin, “Whenever the ark set out, Moshe would say, ‘Arise, O L‑rd, and Your enemies will be dispersed; Your foes will flee before You.’ ” This verse is relevant to every Jew, even in the present era when the ark is entombed. Every Jew possesses a spark of Moshe within his soul. This spark brings about “Arise O L‑rd,” an increase in the service of holiness and “Your enemies will be dispersed,...” the nullification of undesirable influences.4 Thus, taking out the Torah scrolls reflects both the services of “turn away from evil” and “do good,” the two prongs of our service of G‑d and endows that service with new strength and vigor.

[The “setting forth of the ark” also endows our material concerns with blessing so that we will be able to carry out our service of G‑d without worry or difficulty. This is alluded in the fact that a portion of manna was placed in the ark as “a keepsake for your generations,” teaching the Jewish people that at all times, their material fortunes are dependent on G‑d as they were during the journey through the desert.]

Thus, taking out three Torah scrolls represents a chazakah,5 a strengthening and reinforcement of the above concepts. In particular, there are two types of chazakos: a) a chazakah that is necessary to maintain our everyday service of G‑d. This is brought about by taking out three Torah scrolls on Simchas Torah. b) A chazakah that is intended to endow the Jewish people with new and additional powers. This comes about only at special times; among them, our present circumstance, taking out three Torah scrolls on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

The contrast between Simchas Torah and Rosh Chodesh Nissan is also reflected in the subject matter which is read on these two occasions and in particular, from the subject matter read from the third scroll. On Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the reading from the third scroll concerns the unique service of the month of Nissan. In contrast, on Simchas Torah, the reading from the third scroll6 relates the narrative of creation.

The contrast between these readings are reflected in Rabbi Yitzchak’s statement, quoted by Rashi at the beginning of his commentary to the Torah:

There was no need to start the Torah before HaChodesh Hazeh Lochem (the beginning of Parshas HaChodesh), for it is the first mitzvah which was commanded to the Jews. Why did the Torah begin with Bereishis (the narrative of creation)? Because... [G‑d] “related the power of His deeds to His people.”

Thus, Simchas Torah is associated with Bereishis, the creation of the world, and Rosh Chodesh Nissan, with the unique reading of HaChodesh. In this context, the contrast between these two Torah readings reflects the contrast between Tishrei which reflects the natural order of the world and Nissan which reflects the Jews’ potential to step above nature7 as the Midrash relates, “When G‑d chose Yaakov and his descendants, He established for them a month of redemption.”

Thus the taking out of three Torah scrolls on Simchas Torah represents a chazakah — strengthening — of our services with the limits of ordinary experience8 and the taking out of three scrolls on this Shabbos,9 Rosh Chodesh Nissan, represents a chazakah in regard to service which is above the ordinary, the revelation of a miraculous pattern of conduct.

The above concept can be explained in greater detail through focusing on the association of Parshas HaChodesh with “the first mitzvah with which the Jews were commanded.” Here we see an emphasis on a mitzvah, rather than the Torah. The Torah is fundamentally above worldly existence. In contrast, the intent of mitzvos is to guide a person’s conduct within the world and thus create a tzavsa, bond, between man, the world, and G‑d.

Thus, the chazakah established by the three Torah scrolls on Rosh Chodesh Nissan does not relate to a miraculous sequence of events as it exists above the worldly plane, but rather to the service of drawing this miraculous source of influence into contact with the natural order, elevating our ordinary conduct. In particular, this is true during the present year, a year when “I will show you wonders.”

The above concepts are also related to the passages which are read from each of these three scrolls. This is particularly reflected in the reading of Parshas HaChodesh which begins with the verse describing the establishment of a month of redemption for the Jewish people and continues describing the Paschal sacrifice, an offering associated with making a radical leap forward, beyond all limits.

Similarly, the Rosh Chodesh reading represents an increase beyond the ordinary pattern of revelation. This is reflected by the fact that Rosh Chodesh is associated with the moon, while the weekly cycle is associated with the sun. Among the differences between the sun and the moon is that the sun shines constantly without change. In contrast, the moon goes through phases. On Rosh Chodesh, there begins a constant process of growth until on the fifteenth, the moon shines in its fullness.

Thus Rosh Chodesh reflects an addition above the normal order of Divine influence. Its connection today with Shabbos, the fulfillment of the weekly cycle, indicates the fusion of the natural and the supernatural.

A similar concept is also associated with the weekly Torah reading which begins, “And He called to Moshe,” revealing an influence granted to Moshe, allowing him to enter the Tent of Meeting. As mentioned above, every person contains a spark of Moshe. This represents the potential of Daas, knowledge, within the Jewish soul which grants the potential for “meeting,” i.e., for unity between man and G‑d. We have the potential to bind our thoughts to Him and experience an awareness of G‑d that parallels the level of connection that will be achieved by our entire people in the Era of Redemption. Furthermore, as explained later on in the parshah, G‑d has established “a covenant of salt” with the Jews, i.e., an eternal bond that will continue forever.

[These concepts are continued in the parshiyos to be read in the coming weeks, including Parshas Shemini which also describes the events which took place on Rosh Chodesh Nissan and relates how the Divine Presence was revealed to the entire people and how the people praised G‑d in response. Similarly, it describes the service of Nadav and Avihu, whose souls expired in love for G‑d.10 Thus the reading of Parshas Vayikra also reflects a fusion of a miraculous order of conduct with a Jew’s everyday service.]

In particular, the three readings can be seen as a progression. Parshas HaChodesh introduces the concept of a miraculous order of conduct. The Rosh Chodesh reading describes how this miraculous order of conduct can influence our ordinary lives and Parshas Vayikra reveals how this fusion of the above natural with the natural can become a permanent and fixed dimension of our existence.

This idea is also borne out by the Haftorah which focuses on the service of the Nasi.11 The word Nasi, generally translated as “prince,” literally means “the uplifted one,” i.e., it reflects how the person is raised above the natural order.

As mentioned above, the miraculous order of conduct also relates to the negation of all undesirable influences and their transformation into good. This concept is also reflected in the three Torah readings, and in particular in the conclusion of the Torah readings. The conclusion of the HaChodesh12 reading, “in all of your dwellings, eat matzos” reflects the negation of the yetzer hora (which is described as chametz) in a complete way, “I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the earth,” so that all that remains will be matzah.

The Rosh Chodesh reading also involves the concept of transformation as reflected in the goat offered for atonement. Furthermore, the atonement achieved through this offering is all-encompassing in nature. Indeed, our Sages associate this offering with atonement for G‑d Himself, as it were, for His reducing the size of the moon.13 The positive effects of this sacrifice reflect the state of the moon in the Era of Redemption when, “the light of the moon will resemble the light of the sun.”

A similar concept is communicated in the conclusion of Parshas Vayikra where the guilt offerings are described. Also, the verse describing “the covenant of salt” conveys a similar idea for salt makes food that are bitter tasting, taste sweet.

Similarly, the Haftorah concludes with the final verses of the Book of Yeshayahu:

And it shall be that every [Rosh] Chodesh and every Shabbos, all flesh will come and bow down before Me... And they shall go forth and they shall look on the carcasses of the men that rebelled against Me... and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.

Afterwards, to conclude on a positive note, the verse “And it shall be...” is repeated again. This repetition emphasizes how the undesirable elements will not only be blotted out, but also will ultimately be transformed and bring about an increase in holiness, a redoubled emphasis on the Jews’ appearance before G‑d.

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2. The above concepts can be related to a difference of opinion found among our Sages. The Mishnah states:

We inquire and extrapolate on the laws of Pesach thirty days before the holiday. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says, “Two weeks [before the holiday].”

Although the halachah was decided according to the former opinion, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel’s view is also significant as our Sages teach, “These and these are the words of the living G‑d.” Surely, in regard to a person’s spiritual service, it is always possible to fulfill both opinions. In this instance, however, it is also possible to fulfill both opinions in regard to actual deed.

To explain: One should start reviewing the Pesach laws thirty days before the holiday. As the holiday approaches, however, one must reassess one’s situation and increase both the quality and the quantity of one’s study. This increase is alluded to in the prooftext quoted by the Talmud as support for Rabban Shimon’s view, “This month will be a head of months for you,” the verse which, as explained above, relates to a miraculous order of conduct. Taking this step above one’s nature allows one to increase the quality and quantity of one’s service as required by Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel’s opinion.

Just as we must make an effort to study the Pesach laws, we must also make efforts to provide others with their Pesach needs, giving maos chittim, the special tzedakah associated with Pesach. Here also, though surely one gave thirty days before Pesach, as the Pesach holiday grows nearer, one must reassess and increase his donations.

Similarly, in regard to the size of one’s donations; although one has given a tenth or even a fifth of one’s income to tzedakah, one must reassess one’s earnings and give according to the nature of the blessings with which G‑d has provided one. Giving in this manner will not cause one any losses. On the contrary, as G‑d sees the extent of one’s generosity, He will provide one with more blessings. A person who gives without reservations and limitations, will likewise receive Divine blessings that know no bounds.

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3. The above shares a connection with the Nasi who brought his offerings on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Nachshon ben Aminadav. Aminadav can be interpreted as a reference to generosity, the meaning of the word nadav.14 Nachshon is connected to the service of jumping into the sea, giving himself over with mesirus nefesh, serving G‑d without limitations.15 Thus, Nachshon ben Aminadav reflects how our generosity must be expressed without limitation, giving in a miraculous manner.

This will bring about the transformation of all undesirable influences. Just as Nachshon’s jumping into the sea, caused the sea to split,16 and led to the final and the most complete phase of the exodus from Egypt, so too, our unbounded gifts to tzedakah will bring near the redemption and indeed transform all the negative influences into good.

The connection to the Redemption is particularly appropriate on the present date, Shabbos Parshas Vayikra, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5751, a year when “I will show you wonders.” Each of these factors shares a connection to the future redemption: Shabbos is a reflection of “the era which is all Shabbos and rest for all eternity;” Parshas Vayikra begins by describing how “G‑d spoke to Moshe from the Tent of Meeting.” The ultimate expression of the Tent of Meeting, the Sanctuary, will be the Third Beis HaMikdash. Rosh Chodesh represents the renewal of the moon which is associated with the renewal of the Jewish people that will take place in the Era of Redemption. Greater emphasis is placed on this in the present month, Nissan, the month of redemption. 5751 (תנש"א) spells out the word Tinasei which calls to mind the phrase Tinasei Malchuso, “May His sovereignty be upraised.” And “I will show you wonders,” is part of the prophecy, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.”

May the chazakah established by taking out three Torah scrolls lead to our service in the Third Beis HaMikdash, where “we will partake of the Paschal sacrifices and the festive offerings... and give thanks to You with a new song for our redemption and for the deliverance of our souls.”