The start of every month, Rosh Chodesh, is a minor festival. As Numbers 10:10 declares: “And on your joyous occasions — your fixed festivals and new moon days — you shall sound the trumpets.”
The opportunity for renewal and hopes for good things in the coming month are part of the celebration of Rosh Chodesh. On the Shabbat before (known as Shabbat Mevarchin), we announce the date of Rosh Chodesh and bless the month: “May You renew this month for us for good and for blessing.”
As far back as the Talmud, Rosh Chodesh has been a special day for women. The Talmud exempts women from work on Rosh Chodesh (Megillah 22b). Today, many women come together in informal Rosh Chodesh groups for learning and fun.
Recently Rosh Chodesh has been mooted as a monthly public holiday in Israel. Sundays are a regular work day so some have suggested that Rosh Chodesh be a monthly “Sunday” for shopping, trips, hanging out and family.
Rabbi Julian Sinclair