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What is Birkat Hachamah (Blessing over the Sun)?

The Short Answer: Birkat Hachamah is a special prayer recited once every twenty-eight years. The Talmud1 explains that at these times...

December Blues

I was in my car last December listening to the radio. Being late December and all, most of the non-Jews who usually occupy the airwaves were off shopping...

What is this I hear about "The King is in the Field"?

Question:  I've read and heard a lot about this analogy that in the month of Elul the "King is in the field." Everyone seems quite...

What is "Halachic Time" or an "Halachic Hour"?

In Halachah, time is based on Sha'ot Zmaniyot, “proportional hours” that depend on the season. Halachic hours are not necessarily sixty...

Revealing the Spiritual in Nature

And on your day of gladness, and on your festivals, and on your new moons...."1 Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the lunar month, is called literally...

The Month of Mazal

When the archenemy of the Jews, Haman, was drawing lots for an opportune time to wage his personal war against the Jews, he was delighted that the date of...

Maintaining the Cosmic Balance

On the secular Gregorian calendar, every four years an extra day is added to the month of February, since the solar revolution takes nearly 365 plus...

How is Nissan considered the first month, if the year starts on Rosh Hashanah?

Jews are anything but straightforward. We celebrate the New Year in the 7th calendar month! Actually, Rosh Hashanah recalls when the world was created. In...

Happy (11th of Tevet) New Year!

When the New Year comes, some celebrate in an uproarious fashion: some just change the calendar. What about American Jews? They do just what the others...

What is the "Blessing of the New Month"?

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