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 focus".
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.

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