Parshat Hachodesh: The Open Door

Passover tells us that there is a second chance.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7

We all know about the Jewish prisoner who petitioned the warden to allow him to hold a Passover Seder in jail. When asked by a fellow inmate why he was so adamant about davka celebrating Pesach, more than any other Jewish holiday, the prisoner whispered in his ear, "You'll find out when I go open the door for Eliyahu!"[after the meal, participants rise and welcome the prophet by opening the door to their home while holding their winecups aloft-ed.]

We close out the amazing Book of Shmot (Exodus) this Shabbat, and also add the Maftir (last part of reading) of the moon - we are a resurgent people. Yes, we may wane, but we never disappear.
Parshat HaChodesh. Always read before the month of Nisan, this last of the four special Parshiyot (Sabbath readings) commands us to honor Nisan as month #1. In essence, our calendar - & our history - begins again.

This is the primary message of Passover, is it not? No matter how gloomy things appear, no matter how hopeless the situation seems, we need never despair. There is always hope, always a second chance for us if we are ready to seize the moment  and act upon it.

The Jews of Egypt had reached a dead end: They had sunk to moral depths barely above the Egyptians; they
were bitter, depressed & resigned to their cruel fate as slaves (a syndrome I call, "I've grown accustomed to your
mace!"). They did not even want to bring children into the world, knowing what awaited them. No slave, Chazal (our Sages) say,
had ever before escaped from Pharoah's clutches. How would they, so downtrodden & despairing, find salvation?

But their pessimism proved unfounded. There is always hope, because - like the moon - we are a resurgent people. Yes, we may wane, but we never disappear. From the most unlikely of places - Pharaoh's own palace! - our hero would emerge. He would forsake a life of luxury, cast his lot with his enslaved brothers  and evoke G-d's saving hand. In short order, the tables would turn: We would become star players on history's stage while the once-mighty Egyptians would be reduced to a mere footnote in history.

Among all the holidays, only Passover  has a phenomenon called Pesach Sheni. In Temple times,  If you missed  the first Passover (for a valid reason) you could make it up a month later  and bring the Korban Pesach (sacrifice) in Iyar. Again, second chances. All is not lost. There's always an open door, if you really want in.

Passover, then, is the holiday of open-doors. Not just for Eliyahu, but for everyone - even the wicked son has a
reserved seat at our Seder table! And, appropriately, we open the Hagaddah each Seder by welcoming strangers to
join our Passover celebration; indeed, close to 90% of the Jews in Israel attend a Seder each year!

So don't be "plagued" by pessimism; have faith in G-d  and take a chance - a second chance - to make it right.