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Why don't we bless the month of Tishrei on the Shabbat beforehand?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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On the Shabbat directly preceding the month of Tishrei we do not bless the incoming month during the Shabbat prayers as is traditionally done on the Shabbat before a new month.

Several reasons are given for this aberration:

a) One of the primary reasons for blessing the month is to notify the congregation that Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the new month) will occur the following week. This is unnecessary for the month of Tishrei, when every Jew is well aware of the impending holiday of Rosh Hashanah which signals the entry of the new year as well as the new month.

b) We cannot bless the incoming Rosh Chodesh as we do each month, because the first day of Tishrei is not called Rosh Chodesh, but Rosh Hashanah.

When Satan sees that we do not bless the incoming month of Tishrei, he assumes that he must have miscalculated the calendar dates, with Rosh Hashanah not starting until after the following Shabbat
c) Regarding Rosh Hashanah the verse says,1 "Sound the Shofar on the New Moon, in the hidden time ('bakeseh') for the day of our festival." We therefore attempt to "conceal" the date of the holiday.

d) This is a tactic by which we bewilder Satan. When Satan sees that we do not bless the incoming month of Tishrei, he assumes that he must have miscalculated the calendar dates, with Rosh Hashanah not starting until after the following Shabbat. Hopefully he then misses the court date set for the 1st of Tishrei, and we are thus rid of the prosecuting angel. (See here for more details regarding the idea of "confusing Satan")

e) The Baal Shem Tov explains: "The seventh month (Tishrei), first of the months of the year, is blessed by G-d Himself, on its Shabbat Mevorchim. With this power, Israel blesses the other months eleven times a year."2

Note: Those who customarily recite Psalms on every Shabbat Mevorchim, do so on this Shabbat as well. For those who have not yet adopted this meaningful tradition, the Shabbat before the new year is a good time to start!

Footnotes

  • 1. Psalms 81:4.
  • 2. Hayom Yom 25 Elul

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » A Month of Preparation

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Tishrei
The seventh month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which arrives in early autumn, has more holidays than any other month: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
Shofar
The horn of a Kosher animal. The Shofar is sounded on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and is intended to awaken us to repentance. Also blown to signify the conclusion of the Yom Kippur holiday.
Rosh Chodesh
The "Head of the Month," Rosh Chodesh is observed the first day of every Jewish month. If the previous month had 30 days, then the last day of the previous month is also observed; hence a two-day Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is a semi-holiday, marked by Torah-reading and special prayers.
Baal Shem Tov
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), Polish mystic and founder of the Chassidic movement.
Psalms
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.