- The Moon's Desire for the Crown
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- I listened to a taped lecture which a Rabbi gave on the Medrash
(story) of the Moon "complaining" that it and the Sun should
not be the same size, as "two kings cannot wear one crown".
And G-d's subsequent reduction of the Moon's size. He explained this
metaphor as follows:
- The Moon represents the system of Divine Intervention, and the Sun
represents the natural laws. The Moon was saying to G-d, "both of
our systems cannot be realized by man at this point, "we both
can't share the same crown" (crown referring to a higher level of
importance). The Moon was saying that man is not capable of
functioning in both realms, meaning, living in accordance with natural
laws, and simultaneously living in line with pure devotion to G-d's
promise of intervention.
- G-d's desire is that man understand and believe firmly that G-d
controls the workings of the world, and G-d should be Who we rely on
for sustenance, and not believe that all is just nature following a
set pattern. The Rabbi showed the same idea to be the purpose of the
Manna fed to the Jews by G-d in the desert for 40 years. The purpose
of the Manna arriving each day, and just enough for each day, was to
teach the Jews how to follow G-d's law, "hayelech im Torasi im
lo", "to determine whether you walk in My Torah or
not". How is complying with the statutes of the Manna a trial to
prove that walks in G-d's Torah? Isn't that a fairly large level of
importance placed on a single area of command? The Rabbi stated that
the entire concept of the Manna was to elevate one's realization of
G-d's actual involvement with the day to day workings of man. If man
is convinced that he alone is the sole cause of his sustenance, G-d is
ipso facto removed from the equation, and one must, by definition,
have an incorrect notion of G-d and his numerous promises to provide.
The Manna trained man to be convinced that G-d will in fact cause
sustenance each day. It broke man out of the security in himself and
natural laws, and raised him to a higher level of dependence on the
Creator. This idea also permeates the command of Tzedaka, providing
money to the poor. G-d even states that this is one area where man may
"test" G-d, and see if by giving Tzedaka, G-d doesn't in
fact create more wealth for that individual, beyond his needs.
(Malachi, Chap. III)
- Following the statutes associated with the Manna then is in reality
a demonstration by man that he is convinced of G-d's word, and for
this reason the Manna is considered as "walking in G-d's
Torah". Manna represents the underlying conviction of G-d's
existence, and His intervention, the basic concepts of the Torah.
- Regarding the Medrash of the Moon, G-d reduced it in size, a
metaphor teaching that the system of G-d's intervention is not
something which man can live with yet, he is not on that level. Man is
too convinced at this point, that he must function within the laws of
nature, i.e., "if I give charity, I will have less". G-d
teaches us the opposite, but man is still weak in his conviction. He
is lead astray by his simple understanding of natural laws, and he
cannot comprehend how G-d will cause him to have more, by giving
Tzedaka. Since man cannot comprehend, he doesn't follow the ideas of
the Manna, and Tzedaka. G-d therefore reduced the size of the Moon,
meaning, somehow G-d made the preferred system less apparent to us,
and now man sees the Sun as dominant, "natural laws grab man's
- This is also why there is a sin offering on the New Moon, which is
the only sin offering described as "chatas la'Hashem",
"a sin offering to G-d". How can the Torah say such a thing?
G-d requires a sin offering? This means that it is not G-d's preferred
way of having the world run, where Divine intervention is not as
apparent as natural law. It is "as if" it is a sin of G-d.
Sin meaning not preferred choice.
- In summary, the Medrash uses real physical phenomena, the Sun and
Moon, as a metaphor for true ideas.