Contributed by: R. Yaacob Savdie
The "Carpe Diem" or "Seize the Day" Western philosophy assumes that one day is no different than any other. Only people have the ability to make each day special in its own way. Therefore, one should make the best out of each and every day. Even if one does "seize the day", that day will be just another ordinary day the following year, until it is "seized" again. The Torah's perspective is quite different. There are certain days which inherently carry significance with them from year to year.
The first Misva which Hashem gave the Jews as a nation was Kidush Hahodesh- the obligation to establish and maintain the Jewish Calendar. (Each month the Beit Din must convene and await the arrival of witnesses who saw the new moon. If their testimony is found true the Beit Din should then proclaim that day as Rosh Hodesh- the first of the month).
Many ask why should this be the first mitzvah? Our rabbis tell us that Hashem wished to delegate responsibility to Am Yisrael. Due to their extended enslavement, they developed a 'slave mentality'. A slave makes no decisions, they are all made by his master.
Furthermore, a slave has no realm of time; his time belongs to his master. In order to help Am Yisrael rid themselves of this mentality, Hashem gave them this mitzvah which is time-related. "Hahodesh hazeh lachem"-for you, now you are in control of your own time. You will establish the beginning of each month, which dictates the days upon which the Jewish holidays will fall.
This responsibility is much greater than it seems. The NEsib explains, 'it is a great rule in the creation, the day upon which something is created, that day is suited to strengthen that same thing in the future.' Once an event occurs on a specific day, that day will be imbued with a special essence forever. Hence, we say Zeman Herutenu in our prayers on each because G-d sends a special aura of freedom to the world.
Although Yessiat Missrayim occurred once in our history, it reverberates every year. The same holds true for all the holidays. Hence, when Am Yisrael fulfills this special Misva, it determines which day will be bestowed with a special aura, unique to that day from Hashem.
It is our obligation to be in touch with that special aura of freedom which emanates throughout Pesah. We must understand that only when we place all of our trust in G-d, as our ancestors did when they left Egypt and headed towards the desert, we are truly free. We should "seize the day", but only with a realization of what's contained in that day. Hag