What does Parshas Bo, Tu’B”Shevat, Parshat Be’shalach and the pasuk פותח את ידך,ומשביע לכל חי רצון, have in common with each other?
In parshas Bo we learn about respect, and we also get three mitzvahs. In terms of respect we are shown by the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu never addresses Pharaoh by anything less than his title, even when he is burning with anger at him. Pharaoh’s sovereignty over the Egyptian people was not in question here, but rather his right to rule the Jewish people was. If even when we are angry with someone who is torturing our brethren we are not allowed to be disrespectful then even more so on a regular basis we cannot show disrespect to our fellow man. We also get the mitzvahs of and Pidyon Haben- redeeming the firstborn. Rosh Chodesh – the new month , Pesach- Remembering the redemption from Egypt- which is also the month when the Jewish people became a nation Hence this is when the months are counted from.
Parshat Be’shlach comes to teach us some important lessons. We see from the parsha how important it is to believe in G-d. Yet we also find that in order for a miracle to happen you must be willing to do it yourself, by doing something contradictory to your nature by taking action. When we turn to prayer we are asking that things happen in the way of nature, but when something needs to happen immediately, we must take action to bring it out about, such as jumping into the Yam Suf by Nachson not only did he trust Hashm to take care of him, he took action. Another very important lesson we learn is how to say thank you properly, a thank you is always more meaningful when we give the details of what we are grateful for, we see this twice in parsha’s be’shalach, where all of Klal Yisrael sang shira led by Moshe, and then again by the song of the women led by Miriam, being specific shows that you took notice and that you will remember what has happened. The third lesson we learn is to keep our promises even if we didn’t directly make them, we learn this from taking the bones of Yosef out. Yosef had made the the Children of Israel promise that they would bring his bones up out of Egypt and rebury them in Eretz Yisroal. We see that Moshe did this and by having Yosef’s bones with the camp, they had extra merit with them. A fourth lesson we learn here is that if G-d rests then so do the Jewish People, in this week’s portion we are reintroduced to the concept of Shabbos a day of rest. We cannot do more then G-d, for he is all powerful, so therefore in order to really be in his image we have to do our utmost to follow in his footsteps.
Tu’B” Shevat is a time of renewal, its the new year for the things that grow from the ground. It is the start of spring, just like Pesach it is a time to look at yourself and take stock, have you accomplished your goals from Rosh Hashana, do they need to be reevaluated or do you need to work on them with more focus? It is not just a time of renewal for plant life, but its a reminder for the Jewish people in the dead of winter as we approach spring that we cannot bury ourselves in the sand and not come out again. We must continue to work on ourselves so that when we reach Pesach and the beginning of the counting until we get the Torah again, we have made ourselves worthy of this truly special gift.
What does this all have to do with the pasuk from Ashrei ? פותח את ידך,ומשביע לכל חי רצון
We say this pasuk three times a day, it is supposed to remind us to open our hearts and minds and our souls to the idea that ’ה is always with us. He is capable of giving us what we need if we would just allow ourselves to be open to seeing him and allowing him to be part of our lives. If we cannot let him into our life on a daily basis then it is much harder for us to get what we need because we are blocked. So let us use this time of renewal to remind ourselves that ‘ה is all knowing. But, if we connect to him then we are able to see the goodness in our lives and realize that we have all that we need.