Monday, November 8, 2010


1st of Kislev, 5771 - Second day of Rosh Chodesh

Rosh Chodesh -the beginning of the Hebrew month- is a semi festive day. In the times of the Bet haMikdash there was a special Korban (sacrifice) offered in Rosh Chodesh with sounds of Shofar and trumpets.

During Rosh Chodesh we are indicated to behave and be in a happier mood (raui lismoach bahem). We are not forbidden to work on Rosh Chodesh, as in formal Yamim Tobim, however, it is meritorious -although not mandatory - to celebrate Rosh Chodesh with a special meal(Shulchan Arukh, OH. 419, 1). This is done by having some foods on Rosh Chodesh which are considered luxuries foods, particularly meat and wine. That is the reason, by the way, Sephardic communities avoid eating meat during the month of Ab, only from the second day of Ab, once Rosh Chodesh is over.

It is forbidden to fast on Rosh Chodesh. It is also customary to avoid visiting the cemetery on Rosh Chodesh. Most cemeteries are closed for visits on Rosh Chodesh.

When the anniversary of a loved one (sal, yehrtziat) falls on Rosh Chodesh it is customary to fast or visit the cemetery before or afterRosh Chodesh.

For this same reason -some exceptional cases apart- eulogies should not be delivered on Rosh Chodesh. Depending on the circumstances, rabbis will rather deliver a Debar Torah -general words of Tora wisdom- in honor of the deceased, minimizing personal emotional remarks, which might cause an additional sadness to the audience.

Chodesh Tob!!!