Chapter: 1 – Rosh Chodesh

1 – The Jewish Month

HaKadosh Baruch Hu created luminaries – the sun and the moon – and placed them in the heavens. They are the means by which we establish the order of time. The sun shines during the day, the moon at night. … Continue reading

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2 – The Authority to Fix the Months was Entrusted to Israel

A new month does not automatically begin when the moon reappears. Rather, the judges of the Beit Din sanctify the month, as it says, “This month shall be for you” (Shemot, 12:2). HaShem showed Moshe Rabbeinu the configuration of the … Continue reading

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3 – The History of the Sanctification of the Moon

As a result of Roman persecution, the Jewish settlement in the Holy Land dwindled during the Talmudic period, while the larger community of Jews became ensconsed in Babylonia advanced in all areas. Nonetheless, the Sages of Eretz Yisrael retained the … Continue reading

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4 – Rosh Chodesh – One Day or Two?

When a month is incomplete (29 days), the following Rosh Chodesh is one day. When it is full (30 days), the following Rosh Chodesh lasts two days, the first day being the thirtieth of the previous month, and the second … Continue reading

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5 – The Status of Rosh Chodesh in the Torah

The Torah lists Rosh Chodesh together with all the other holidays on which we offer additional sacrifices (Musafim) in honor of the day’s sanctity. Chazal derive from a verse in Eichah(1:15) that Rosh Chodesh is also called mo’ed (an appointed … Continue reading

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6 – Festive Meals on Rosh Chodesh and the Prohibition to Fast or Grieve

Rosh Chodesh is among the holidays on which it is appropriate to rejoice. However, there is no explicit commandment to rejoice on Rosh Chodesh by partaking in festive meals. While it is meritorious to have special meals on the day, … Continue reading

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7 – The Custom of Women Refraining from Work on Rosh Chodesh

It is permissible to do work on Rosh Chodesh. Ideally, though, one should not work on Rosh Chodesh, similar to the law regarding Chol HaMo’ed. The holier the day, the more it is designated for spiritual endeavors, and the more … Continue reading

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8 – Shabbat Mevarchim (Blessing the New Month)

On the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh, the custom is to announce the day or days on which the new month will fall, and to pray that “HaKadosh Baruch Hu renew it for us and all of Israel for goodness and … Continue reading

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9 – A Time of Atonement and Yom Kippur Katan

Rosh Chodesh is a time of atonement, as we say in the Musaf prayer, “A time of atonement for all [the Jewish people’s] offspring.” In addition, when the Temple stood, a he-goat would be sacrificed as a sin offering. In … Continue reading

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10 – Ya’aleh VeYavo in Shemoneh Esrei

The unique nature of Rosh Chodesh finds expression in our prayers. After all, Chazal instituted our prayers in place of the sacrifices, and the Torah commands us to offer a musaf sacrifice on Rosh Chodesh. Therefore, the Rabbis prescribed that … Continue reading

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12 – Hallel on Rosh Chodesh

There is a widespread custom to recite Hallel on Rosh Chodesh. Indeed, according to the letter of the law, there is no obligation to do so, because Hallel is required only on days that are called mo’ed (appointed times), and … Continue reading

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11 -Ya’aleh VeYavo in Grace After Meals

One must say Ya’aleh VeYavo in Birkat HaMazone (Grace after Meals), as well. Even though one is not obligated to eat a meal on Rosh Chodesh, one must mention it when reciting Birkat HaMazone because of the importance of the … Continue reading

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13 – Customs Relating to the Recital of Hallel

One must stand while reciting the Hallel, because Hallel is a testimony to God’s glory, and witnesses must stand while testifying. After the fact, if one said Hallel sitting or lying down, he has nonetheless fulfilled his obligation. Someone who … Continue reading

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14 – The Torah Reading and Musaf Service

In honor of Rosh Chodesh we call up four people to the Torah. The reading begins with the daily burnt offering and ends with the special Rosh Chodesh sacrifices (Bamidbar, 28:1-15). This hints to the fact that the special sanctity … Continue reading

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15 – The Meaning Behind the Blessing of the Moon

In the Blessing of the Moon (Birkat HaLevanah), we thank Hashem for creating the moon, and for the benefit we receive from its light. Many attach special honor to this blessing, because it alludes to deep concepts concerning the Jewish … Continue reading

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16 – The Laws of Reciting the Blessing Joyously

Because of the exalted themes behind the moon’s renewal, the person who recites the Blessing of the Moon is considered as one who receives God’s Presence (the Shechinah). Thus, Tanna D’vei Rebbi Yishmael states, “Had the Jews been privileged to … Continue reading

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17 – Seeing the New Moon

We recite the blessing over the new moon at night, because that is when it is clearly visible and one can benefit from its light. One may not recite the blessing if he sees the moon at twilight, because the … Continue reading

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18 – The Proper Time for Birkat HaLevanah

Many Rishonim hold that the time for Birkat HaLevanah starts on the first day that the moon is visible, and that the earlier one says the blessing the better (Rambam, Hilchot Berachot 10:17; Rosh; and others). Several poskim, however, maintain … Continue reading

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