THIS WEEK
THIS WEEK

Rosh Chodesh

Beginning of the Month — ראש חדש


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TORAH: Numbers 28:9-15
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HAFTARAH: Isaiah 66:1-24
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Note: The regular readings above are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.


Portion Summary

Rosh Chodesh (Hebrew: ראש חודש‎; trans. Beginning of the Month; lit. Head of the Month) is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the birth of a new moon. It is considered a minor holiday, akin to the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot.

The occurrence of Rosh Chodesh was originally confirmed on the testimony of witnesses observing the new moon.[4] After the Sanhedrin declared Rosh Chodesh for either a full month or a defective, 29-day month, news of it would then be communicated throughout Israel and the diaspora.

During the evening service of Rosh Chodesh, a prayer Ya'a'le Ve-Yavo is added to the Avodah, the prayer for the restoration of the Temple and a segment of the Amidah. During the morning service, Ya'a' le Ve-Yavo is again recited, and half Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited (except on Rosh Chodesh Tevet, which is during Chanukkah, when Full Hallel is recited). The Book of Numbers 28:1-15, which includes the offerings of Rosh Chodesh, is read. An additional prayer service, called Mussaf, is added to commemorate the original sacrifices in the Temple. The middle blessing here is "Rashei Chadashim". After the service, many recite Psalm 104. The Ya'a'le Ve-Yavo prayer is also inserted in the Grace after Meals (Birkat Ha-Mazon). Many have a custom to make sure to eat a special meal in honor of Rosh Chodesh, as the Code of Jewish Law suggests. This gives one the opportunity to recite the Ya'a'le Ve-Yavo in the Grace after Meals. Some Hasidic Jews sing Psalm 104 during this meal.

If Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat, the regular Torah reading is supplemented with a reading of Numbers 28:9-15. The Mussaf prayer is also modified when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat. The central benediction is replaced with an alternate version (Ata Yatzarta) that mentions both the Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh. If Rosh Chodesh falls on a Sunday, a different Haftarah, Mahar Chodesh ("Tomorrow is the New Moon", I Samuel 20:18-42) is read. The Kiddush Levanah (sanctification of the moon) is recited soon after Rosh Chodesh, typically on the first Saturday night after Rosh Chodesh.




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