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What is Shabbat Mevarchim?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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The Shabbat which precedes the arrival of every new Jewish month is called "Shabbat Mevarchim," the "Shabbat [when] we Bless." During the morning services of this Shabbat, after reciting the Haftorah, we bless the incoming month, and beseech G-d to grant us blessing and protection during the following month. This ceremony is known as "Birkat Hachodesh." For more information about this ceremony, see What is Birkat Hachodesh?

The only exception is the Shabbat before the month of Tishrei, when we do not bless the new month. See Why don't we bless the month of Tishrei on the Shabbat beforehand?

We bless the incoming month, and beseech G-d to grant us blessing and protection during the following month
According to Kabbalah, blessings for the entire week emanate from the Shabbat beforehand. Thus, the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh is the appropriate time to draw blessings for the entire month.

On Shabbat Mevarchim, the “Av Harachamim” (“Compassionate father”) prayer is omitted (with the exception of Shabbat Mevarchim Sivan).

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Chabad Rebbe, suggested that everyone recite the entire book of Psalms before the morning prayers of Shabbat Mevarchim.1 The recitation of Psalms certainly assists in obtaining much needed blessing for the incoming month.

Amongst Chassidim, this Shabbat is also designated as a day of "farbrengens," Chassidic gatherings whose objective it is to promote the study of Torah and strengthen our Mitzvah observance.

Footnotes

  • 1. This custom is also followed on the Shabbat before Tishrei -- although we do not recite the Birkat Hachodesh.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Miscellaneous » The Jewish Calendar

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
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.
Av Harachamim
A solemn piece of the Sabbath prayer service. In this prayer we ask G-d to avenge the blood of Jewish martyrs throughout history. This piece is omitted if Sabbath falls out on a festive day.
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.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Chassidim
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) Following the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
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.
Haftorah
Section from the prophetic writings that is read at the conclusion of the Torah reading on the Sabbath, Jewish holidays and fast days. The Haftorah contains a message similar to the weekly reading, or speaks of the current holiday.
Sivan
The third month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to May-June. This month features the holiday of Shavuot.
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.