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How Do you Celebrate Rosh Chodesh

 
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: August 21, 2017
How Do you Celebrate Rosh Chodesh

Every working individual gets holidays from his or her work, but a woman never gets a holiday from her household. But Rosh Chodesh is one such day in the Jewish religion that is dedicated to give a holiday to women once a month. It is the day on which a new month begins in the Hebrew calendar with the birth of a new moon. Kabbalistic teachings mark a special relationship between women and the moon, and women celebrate a holiday on this day. Here at oneHOWTO, we are going to tell you: how do you celebrate Rosh Chodesh?

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When is Rosh Chodesh celebrated?

A Jewish month is linked with the cycle of the moon, and has 29 or 30 days to count. On the last day, the last month ends and the new month begins. This day is called as the Rosh Chodesh. The new month starts at the mid of the night of the last month’s last day. Before the invention of calendar, the new month was observed when the new moon was seen.

How to celebrate Rosh Chodesh traditionally

On Rosh Chodesh, the evening service includes a prayer to the Avodah, and recite it in the morning service. They also read the Book of Numbers 28:1-15, that includes the Rosh Chodesh offerings. Mussaf, an extra service of prayer, is added for commemorating the original temple sacrifices. Some also recite the Psalm 104. Special meals are prepared to honor the day, and prayers are recited after the meals. Some sing the Psalm 104 during their meals. These include the following:

  • Stuffed tomato
  • Tabouli
  • Grilled mushroom
  • Braided bread
  • Kipfel
  • Blintzes

If the day of Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat are the same, then they sing Half Kaddish before Maftir in a special tune. They replace Haftorah with the special Rosh Chodesh Haftorah. Mussaf prayer is modified slightly to mention both Rosh Chodesh and the Shabbat.

How Do you Celebrate Rosh Chodesh - How to celebrate Rosh Chodesh traditionally

Celebrating it as a holiday

Since women observe Rosh Chodesh as a holiday, they do not engage in household work on this day. In fact, Talmud even forbids women to do activities like sewing, weaving and spinning. The celebrations vary from one group of women to other, depending on their personal situation and household adjustments. One woman may completely abstain from doing any work at all, while another woman may choose not to get engaged in heavy activities like laundry and cleaning. If a woman has no servants or domestic help at her home, she may choose not to have any holiday at all for the sake of her family. However, it is important to point out that the rest of the family should take part in household chores every day of the year, so if you practice Judaism and want to honor Rosh Chodesh, it's a question of letting the rest of the family do chores that you ALL share on a daily basis.

Celebrating to socialize

Apart from how much work a woman does on Rosh Chodesh, one common thing that all women get engaged in is a small gathering. Groups of women gathering to celebrate Rosh Chodesh are called Rosh Chodesh groups. Shekinah is the God’s feminine aspect, and these groups show particular interest in it on this day. When these women gather, they use different ways to explore spirituality, gather some religious education, do some chanting and follow rituals. They sing prayers, cook special food, discuss health issues and get involved in some art activities. Some Rosh Chodesh groups work towards educating young women about self-image, sexuality, and a variety of physical and mental health issues. Some women play games to enjoy their time and have fun with friends, neighbors and relatives.

Celebrating to enjoy

In certain communities, women customarily wear new clothes and gather together. During these meetings, they learn Torah together and get involved in religious activities and rituals. They also discuss about the special days, festivals and other special things in the upcoming month. In some meetings, people pray together from Psalms or their individual special prayers. Some families take this day as an opportunity to cook special meals and enjoy their food together. They recite special prayers and ask God to bless them with happiness, health, goodness and all the good things in life. People wish each other ‘chodesh tov’, which means ‘good month’.

How Do you Celebrate Rosh Chodesh - Celebrating to enjoy

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