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What is Parshat HaChodesh?

by Mrs. Shaina B. Lipskier

  

Library » Shabbat » Reading of the Torah » Torah Reading | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Parshat HaChodesh is a special section of the Torah (Exodus 12:1-20) which is read on the Shabbat before the month of Nissan. Or, if Rosh Chodesh Nissan falls out on Shabbat, this section is read on that day. It is read as a preparation for Pesach, and discusses various commandments related to the holiday, including the Paschal offering, bitter herbs, Matzah, and the Seder.


This portion begins with the instruction to create a lunar calendar, (the first commandment given to the Jews as a nation,) giving the portion its name, Parshat HaChodesh, which means "the Portion of [the Torah which discusses] the Month."


 


See also:  "Why do Jews maintain a lunar calendar."


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Holidays » Purim » The 4 Parshiot

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.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Matzah
(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Nissan
The first month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which falls out in early spring, is known for the holiday of Passover which starts on the 15th of Nissan.
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.
Seder
Festive meal eaten on the first two nights of the holiday of Passover (In Israel, the Seder is observed only the first night of the holiday). Seder highlights include: reading the story of the Exodus, eating Matzah and bitter herbs, and drinking four cups of wine.
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.
Pesach
Passover. A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.