The Jewish Year

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Sanctification of the Moon

How many times a year must one bless the moon? Do we have to see the moon in order to recite the blessing? Why is King David mentioned in the blessing of Moon? Rabbi Lauffer elaborates on the ritual known to us as birkat hachodesh, “the blessing of the new moon”. This custom is widely observed in synagogues throughout the world. On the last Shabbat of the Hebrew month, the cantor stands with the Torah scroll in his arms, and announces the day of the coming week on which the New Moon, Rosh Chodesh, will fall

Ten Days of Repentance

Why do we fast on the "Fast of Gedaliah"? What are the ten days of Repentance?  Why do the Jewish people bless the moon? Out of His great love for His people, G-d seeks to be merciful, and would prefer that man repent rather than perish, so that He might grant him good in the end. He therefore awaits and anticipates the repentance of those who transgress. In His abundant mercy, He granted us special days when He is closest to us, so that our penitence might be immediately accepted.

What’s Rosh Chodesh? - Part 1

Why did G-d command the moon to lower itself? What is the unique virtue of each month? Why do some moths have a two-day Rosh Chodesh? In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh (the “head” of the month) was a significant festival day. At that time, the new months were determined by observation. Each month began when the first sliver of moon became visible after the dark of the moon. Observers would watch the sky at night for any sign of the moon. If they saw the moon, they would report their sightings to the Sanhedrin (Rabbinical Supreme Court)

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