A. What’s The Relevance?
The haftarah read following the Torah reading is similar in content to a subject of the Torah reading (Source 1). When the day before Rosh Chodesh, the first of the new month, is on Shabbat, we read the haftarah titled “Tomorrow is the new month” (Source 2). This haftarah describes at length the relationship between King Saul, King David, and Jonathan, and an event that took place on the eve of Rosh Chodesh.
The Rebbe questions the relevance of this haftarah to the day before Rosh Chodesh, as only the first verse mentions the date, while the content of the story is seemingly unconnected.
B. The Difference Between The Kings
The verse tells us that Saul was a year old when he reigned. What does that mean? (Source 4). The Talmud explains that he was as pure as a newborn child. The Talmud continues that Saul’s dynasty didn’t last, because Saul had flawless ancestry. Only David whose lineage was tainted, as a grandson of Ruth the Moabite, merited that his dynasty survived. All leaders are meant to be flawed, to keep their ego in check and remind them of where they come from. (Source 5)
Why, asks the Rebbe, is being descended from a convert a flaw? And secondly, it is forbidden to remind a penitent or a convert of their past. (Source 6)
Rabbi Eliezer says that a convert has a negative predisposition, they still have muscle memory from their previous state. Thus, they must be exceedingly careful not to return to those ways. (Source 7)
This idea is expressed in every Jew. The always-righteous one is told: “Admit it. You want non-kosher food, but G-d has forbidden it.” The penitent, on the other hand, is told: “You may not even think about enjoying it. Run in the opposite direction!” (Sources 8-9)
Accordingly, the Rebbe explains, when the Talmud speaks of a flawed lineage, it means one must remember that their past is associated with sin, thus they must be very careful to avoid it. This is what the community reminds them of.
A flawed leader has an advantage. The Talmud says to only appoint a community leader who has a can of worms behind him, because such a person will be able to connect with regular people, understand their struggles and be able to help them. This was David, and this is why he dynasty lived on. Saul, on the other hand, was a pure, always-righteous man, thus his dynasty was short-lived.
The Rebbe cites the story of the Mitteler Rebbe who when answering questions would look
for the petitioner’s issue in his own life, putting himself in their shoes and connecting with
C. Descend to Ascend
Now we can understand the relevance of the Haftarah to the date.
On the eve of the new month, the moon is hidden. Thus, we say, “tomorrow is the new month,” from the concealment will come the revelation. The Jewish people have periods where we feel intense darkness. The answer is – tomorrow is the new month, the light will yet come. This is the lesson from the story of Jonathan and David. Although David was in a difficult situation, with no ray of hope, Jonathan told him not to worry, tomorrow is the new month. Out of the darkness comes the light.