1. Each week, Friday is distinguished as the day before the Shabbos. Since this week, Rosh Chodesh Shevat falls on Shabbos, the day possesses even greater importance. In addition to using the day to prepare ourselves for the Shabbos, we also must prepare for Rosh Chodesh.

The difference between Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh can be explained as follows: Shabbos is connected with the weekly cycle which is dependent on the sun.1 In contrast, the monthly cycle of Rosh Chodesh is associated with the phases of the moon.

Everything in the world at large has its parallels in the personal world of our individual soul. The sun and the moon, thus represent two different potentials possessed by every Jew. The sun is a source of light, thus, it represents the potential of each individual to serve as a mashpia, “source of influence,” for others. The moon merely reflects the sun’s light. Thus, it alludes to our capacity to be mekablim, “recipients,” and to take in influence from others.

Thus, Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh are connected with the potentials of serving as a mashpia and a mekabel. When the two days are observed simultaneously, this implies that we have the potential to fuse together these two potentials. Furthermore, the fact that the day is not divided into two — one part Shabbos and one part Rosh Chodesh — but rather, every element of the day combines both these influences, implies that the two services should be united as one.

An example of this fusion is a teacher who conveys to his student the essence of the concept he teaches him and trains him how to think creatively about it. In this manner, the student becomes more than a recipient, he can bring out new dimensions of the concept and thus, become a mashpia as well.

Each person has to translate these concepts into a form which is relevant to him individually. In his everyday life, there are times that he will serve as a mashpia, times that he will serve as a mekabel, and times that he will fuse both these potentials together, accentuating one or the other. He must remove any obstacles that prevent him from expressing these potentials, realizing that these obstacles are there only to give him greater reward as implied by our Sages’ statement, “The reward is commensurate to the difficulty.”

May all the above guidelines be carried out with success, utilizing the unique influence of the present month, the tenth (“And the tenth shall be holy”) month, “the month when the body derives pleasure from the body.” May we realize all of the above before the Messianic redemption2 and immediately thereafter, proceed together with Mashiach to the ultimate and complete redemption.