Askmoses-A Jews Resource
Is sushi Kosher?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

What is the "Blessing of the New Month"?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Holidays » Other Days of Note | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

Before beginning the Musaf prayer on Shabbat Mevarchim,1   the incoming new month is "blessed." This short prayer is called "Birkat Hachodesh" -- the "Blessing of the Month."


Customarily, the congregation rises, and the Chazzan holds the Torah in his arms while leading this solemn prayer.


This prayer is first mentioned in the writings of the medieval sages. The original intent of the prayer was to make the public aware of when Rosh Chodesh would be. Adding this extra prayer certainly accomplishes that objective.


In many congregations the Birkat Hachodesh is preceded by a short prayer (Yehi ratzon) requesting divine beneficence for the coming month. This prayer is recited first by the congregation, and is then repeated aloud by the chazzan.


We eagerly await the moment when the sanctification of each new month will be done by the reinstated Sanhedrin
Before blessing the new month it is proper to know the time of the molad.2   Thus it is customary for the beadle or president of the congregation to announce when the molad will be.


The actual prayer consists of three parts.


The first part, (Mi She'asah,) is a short request for the Redemption. We eagerly await the moment when the sanctification of each new month will be done by the reinstated Sanhedrin.3   This part, too, is recited first by the congregation, and then the chazzan.


Immediately after concluding the first part, the chazzan declares "Rosh Chodesh (name of the month) will be on (the day or days of the week on which it falls) which will come to us for good!"


The congregation repeats this declaration and then proceeds to recite the third part -- a request for life, peace, gladness, joy, deliverance and consolation in the upcoming month. The chazzan repeats this prayer with the congregation interjecting to respond "Amen" to each individual request.


   

Footnotes

  • 1. See "What is Shabbat Mevarchim?" (http://data.askmoses.com/object_edit.html?ot=1&o=2094379&r=).
  • 2. The exact moment of the "birth" of the new moon. For more information on this subject, see http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=216238.
  • 3. See "When -- and why -- did the Jews switch to a perpetual calendar?" (http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/283,79392/When-and-why-did-the-Jews-switch-to-a-perpetual-calendar.html).

ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

RELATED CATEGORIES

Miscellaneous » The Jewish Calendar

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.
Sanhedrin
The Jewish Supreme Court. The court would convene in a designated chamber in the Holy Temple, and was comprised of 71 of the greatest scholars of the time. Continued after the destruction of the Temples, but was dissolved in the 5th century when due to Roman persecution the seat of Torah scholarship relocated from Israel to Babylon.
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.
Musaf
The additional prayer service added (after the morning prayers) on Sabbath, Biblically mandated holidays and the first day of the Jewish month.
Chazzan
A cantor, or any individual who leads the congregation in prayer.