February 27, 2024

The religious observances of Judaism rely on the lunar calendar and the monthly arrival of a new moon is an occasion for special prayers and celebration.  Rosh Chodesh, Hebrew for “head of the month”, is the monthly holiday that celebrates the arrival of the new moon, marking the start of a new month on the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Chodesh Tishrei is different than all other months on the Hebrew calendar. On the final Shabbat of Elul there is no special “blessing for the new month” of Tishrei because the first day of Tishrei is also Rosh Hashanah. A technical explanation for omitting the monthly blessing can be found in the Shulchan Aruch Harav 582:9, which states

“On Rosh Hashanah, one says, ‘And You have given us this Day of Remembrance’ and there is no need to mention Rosh Chodesh and to say ‘And this day of Rosh Chodesh.’ Because, when one says, the ‘Day of Remembrance,’ Rosh Chodesh is also included in it because it is also called ‘remembrance’ as the verse states, ‘On your days of rejoicing and on your festivals and on your new months… and you shall remember.

As explained by Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer (1698-May 22, 1760), also known as the Ba’al Shem Tov, the fact that the month of Tishrei has no blessing on the preceding Shabbat indicates this month’s unique quality. “On the seventh month [i.e., Tishrei, the seventh month from Nisan], which is the first month of the year’s months, the Almighty Himself blesses it on the preceding Shabbat, which is the final Shabbat of the month of Elul, and by this power the Jewish People bless the other months eleven times a year.

Rosh Hashanah is is the first day of Tishrei as well as the day on which the first man was created; Happy Birthday to mankind. As the secular calendar turns from September to October and the Hebrew calendar turns from Elul to Tishrei, the Florida Region of FJMC wishes you a Happy New Year and L’Shana Tova.

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