Rosh Chodesh - The First of the Month

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One of the most minor of the Jewish holidays is Rosh Chodesh, which in Hebrew means literally “First of the Month.” This is exactly what this holiday is, the first of each month on the Hebrew Calendar. In the Hebrew calendar, the first of each month is ushered in by the appearance of the New Moon. The New Moon occurs when the dark part of the moon is the side that is facing the earth, so that even though the moon is there, people on earth are not able to see it. In this article you will learn about the historic origin of Rosh Chodesh, as well as Jewish customs and observances of this holiday.

According to several biblical books, G-d spoke to Moses several times about the importance of the New Moon and equated the days on which the New Moon appeared with festival days. This was the origin of Rosh Chodesh. In ancient times, before there was a fixed Hebrew calendar, months were announced only when witnesses observed the appearance of the New Moon. The witnesses had to be judged reliable. They would report what they saw to the authorities then a new month would be declared. Months were either twenty-nine or thirty days long. Sometimes extra days were added to a month to control when important holidays, such as Yom Kippur would occur.

Even though there is a fixed Hebrew calendar now, Rosh Chodesh is still announced in synagogues as a matter of custom. For many modern Jews, this holiday is considered a holiday for Jewish women. This means that women do not have to work on this first day of each Hebrew month. There are even some groups of Jewish women who gather and have meeting. These groups are referred to as Rosh Chodesh groups. They meet to discuss various issues that face Jewish women of all ages. They also discuss different strategies for educating young Jewish women about themselves and about their culture.

Rosh Chodesh is a minor holiday. Compared to many other Jewish holidays, there are not many stories or customs behind this day. Sometimes prayers at synagogues are extended on this day. Mainly, however, this day is important for its historical significance. It is an interesting part of Jewish history and culture. To learn more about this day and about why women refrain from work on this day, you can find a local Rosh Chodesh group in your area or ask a local rabbi.

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Posted by on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010. Filed under Rosh Chodesh. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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