Post-Parsha Point: Hachodesh
I have a number of thoughts to blog about on this past weekend's retreat, but since today was Rosh Chodesh Nissan, I'll start by sharing the brief d'var torah I delivered at one of the Shabbos meals there, since it relates to the special Parshas Hachodesh Maftir [additional reading] for that Shabbos.
The Torah in Exod 12:1-11 provides the rules pertaining to the korban pesach, the pascal sacrifice. The korban was to consist of an unblemished sheep or goat, which must be roasted whole and completely eaten by midnight; leftovers are to be destroyed. But what about a family for whom an entire sheep is much too big a meal to complete in a single night? How are they to comply with this regulation and avoid massive waste? Verse 12:4 provides the solution: "Im Yimat Habayis Mihiyos Miseh...". If a household is too small in number for a sheep, they are to combine with other households and share the meal.
This reading put me very much in mind of our own situation and of the reason for this weekend's retreat. We are all sadly in a state of "Im Yimat Habayis", of households forever diminished. Whatever number of children we are now blessed with, all of our families are tragically, as the Torah puts it, "too small". So we must look to the advice which the Torah gives: join with other households which are equally afflicted. Just as the too-small families in Temple times needed to unite in order to complete their "seh tamim", their complete sheep, so too, may our coming together this weekend, to get and give chizuk to one another, comfort us in our bereavement and allow us to once again move towards timimus, wholeness.