Perek Shira: The Song of Existence - The Song of the Moon
by Rabbi Shmuel Kraines
The Moon says: “He created the Moon for festivals; the Sun knows its [time of] setting.” (Tehillim 104:19)
The moon’s light is but a dim reflection of the sun that is only significant when the sun sets. It waxes and wanes in a monthly cycle that forms the lunar calendar necessary for the sanctification of the festivals. The moon sings that it was created not for its own light, but rather to indicate the meetings between Hashem and His nation. It thus teaches of self-effacement and of humble dependency upon Hashem.
On a metaphoric level, the moon is symbolic of the Jewish nation, whose calendar it conducts. Like the moon, our brilliance is only to the extent that we reflect Hashem’s light and teachings. Our history, therefore, has ups and downs corresponding to our relationship with Hashem. Although we all but disappeared when we were exiled, we will yet wax to a full moon and radiate the world with Hashem’s light.
- Sources: Radak; Bereishis Rabbah (6:1); Succah 29a
*In loving memory of Harav Zeev Shlomo ben Zecharia Leib