Shine God’s Light to the World

Yael Eckstein  |  January 5, 2022

Full moon against a black background.

“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” – Exodus 12:2

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Bo, which means “come,” from Exodus 10:1–13:16.

In Judaism, there’s a little-known custom that most people who are not Jewish probably have not heard about. It’s called birkat hachodesh, the blessing of the moon.

Each month, within the first two weeks of the month, Jews go outside on a night when the sky is clear and bless God for renewing the moon. During the first two weeks of the lunar month, the moon grows a little bit each night. growing. After the fifteenth of the month, which is always a full moon, the moon starts to shrink again until the end of the cycle.

The Hebrew word for “month” is chodesh, from the word chadash, meaning “new.” The Hebrew word for month literally means, “renewal,” because every month is a new beginning.

There is one line in this blessing that I want to share with you because I’ve always found it so interesting. We say to God, “May it be Your will that You fill the moon so that its light may be as great as the light of the sun.”

Now obviously, this prayer makes no scientific sense. So, what does it mean?

Shine God’s Light to the World

Unlike the sun, the moon waxes and wanes, grows and shrinks, every month. We also know that the moon has no light of its own. It only reflects the light of the sun. So, what are we asking God to do?

According to Jewish tradition, the moon is a symbol of the Jewish people. Throughout our history we have gone through times of darkness and suffering and times of great light. Our purpose is to be like the moon, to reflect the light of God, the source of light.

The prayer that we say once a month to bless the moon asks God to help us fulfil our mission to shine all of God’s light to the world.

In this week’s Torah portion, God commanded Moses and Aaron to establish the calendar of Israel according to the cycles of the moon. This was the first commandment that He gave to the nation of Israel just as they were about to leave Egypt and begin their journey as God’s chosen people.

Let’s pray together that the light of Israel shines fully so that the world is illuminated by the glory of God forever.

Your Turn:

Help Israel shine God’s light to the world. Tell a friend about The Fellowship and spread the word about all that God is doing through the nation of Israel and through Christians friends like you!