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Thought for the Day: Zatu Bo Dahd Uvyo -- The Four Parshiyos

There are four Shabbosim during the year that Chazal want us to add a short selection to the normal Shabbos leining between Rosh Chodesh Adar and Rosh Chodesh Nissan.  These are known fondly to klal yisrael as Shabbos Sh'kalim, Shabbos Zachor, Shabbos Para, and Shabbos haChodesh.

Shabbos Sh'kalim is to remind us that the machtzis ha'shekel is due before Nissan.  The Torah distinguishes Nissan as the first of months (though not the first month of the year).  That distinction is commemorated by a requirement to buy the communal korban tamid offerings with funds collected from Nissan to Adar.  Nissan is coming up, so it's time pony up (or lamb up, I suppose) that machtzis ha'shekel to fill the coffers with the funded needed to restock the flock.

Next come Shabbos Zachor; the shabbos of "We will never forget!"  We read again of the sneaky and cowardly behavior of Amaleik attacking the weak of the newly formed klal yisrael as they left Mitzrayim.  This reading fulfills the mitzvas asei m'd'oraisa to keep the importance of wiping out the memory of Amaleik always near the front of our mind.  Chazal put the reading on the Shabbos before Purim because Haman is from Amaleik, putting the mention of the destruction of Amaleik before the execution.  (You better believe "pun intended"!  I want full credit.)

Shabbos Para comes next, reminding us to be on the look out for a completely red heifer.  We'll need her ashes to become tahor; needed for bringing korbanos to the Beis HaMikdash; may it be rebuilt soon and in our lifetime.  It comes before Shabbos haChodesh because that's when the ashes were prepared in the midbar to be able to use the Mishkan b't'hara as soon as possible.  The Mishkan we erected on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, so there you go.

Finally we have Parshas haChodesh, as an extra sanctification of the first month.

Now get this, Rosh Chodesh Adar (the one closest to Nissan) can only fall on Shabbos (7/zayin), Monday (2/beis), Wednesday (4/dales), or Friday (6/vav).  Also, there are five or six Shabbosim between Rosh Chodesh Adar and Rosh Chodesh Nissan, but only four parshiyos.  So we'll need to take a break in the middle.  If Rosh Chodesh Adar falls on Shabbos, then we'll take a break on the 15th of Adar; that's zatu.  Monday, the 6th of Adar; that's bo.  Wednesday, the 4th of Adar; that's dahd.  If Rosh Chodesh Adar falls on Friday, then there'll be six Shabbosim, so we'll need to take two breaks: on the 2nd and 16th of Adar; that's uvyo.

That last bit of information is brought to you by the Shulchan Aruch, O.Ch. 685:6.  Why is that information so important that Chazal created an acronym and the Shulchan Aruch states it l'halacha?  I haven't got a clue.

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