Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rosh Hodesh Kislev

√ Today is the first day of the month of Kislev. Rosh Ḥodesh Kislev will be celebrated for one day only.  

√ Rosh Ḥodesh -the beginning of the Hebrew month- is a semi festive day. The hierarchal order of the Jewish festive days is: Shabbat, Yom Tob, Ḥol haMo'aed, and then Rosh Ḥodesh. In the times of the Bet haMiqdash, when there was a special qorban (sacrifice) offered in Rosh Ḥodesh with sounds of Shofar and trumpets, men used to avoid working in Rosh Ḥodesh. Today, in some communities, mostly Ashkenazi communities, women do not work or refrain from doing certain melakhot during RoshḤodesh. 

√ In Rosh Ḥodesh we are indicated to behave and be in a happier mood (ra-ui lismoaḥ bahem). As we said, although it is not forbidden to work on Rosh Ḥodesh, it is meritorious to celebrate Rosh Ḥodesh with a special meal (Shulḥan Arukh, OH. 419:1). This is done by having some foods on Rosh Ḥodesh which are considered luxuries foods, particularly meat and wine (By the way, this is the reason why Sephardic communities refrain from eating meat during the month of Ab, only from the second day of Ab, once Rosh Ḥodesh is over).

√ It is forbidden to fast on Rosh Ḥodesh. It is also customary to avoid visiting the cemetery on Rosh Ḥodesh. Most cemeteries are closed for visits on Rosh Ḥodesh. When the anniversary of a loved one (sal, yohrtzait) falls on Rosh Ḥodesh it is customary to fast or visit the cemetery before or after Rosh Ḥodesh. For this same reason -some exceptional cases apart- eulogies should not be delivered on Rosh Ḥodesh. Depending on the circumstances, rabbis will rather deliver a Debar Tora -general words of Tora wisdom- in honor of the deceased, minimizing personal emotional remarks, which might cause an additional sadness to the audience.

                                  מי שברך לחיילי צה"ל  
מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ, אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב, הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵֽנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַֽיִם, וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה, בַּיַּבָּשָׁה, בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן יְיָ אֶת אוֹיְבֵֽינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵֽינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמוֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָּלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶֽגַע וּמַחֲלָה, וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵֽינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם, וִיעַטְּרֵם בְּכֶֽתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבַעֲטֶֽרֶת נִצָּחוֹן, וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהוֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם, לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם אוֹיְבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִֽׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

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