Rosh Chodesh (Head of the Month) – New Moon Festival is described in the Torah as the day of rejoicing (Bamidbar (Numbers) 10:10) , the time of renewal. Even the word “Chodesh” – month – comes from the root “חדש” – “Chadash” – “NEW”.
Like all “moadim” – appointed times – Rosh Hodesh is the time of opportunity. The deeper meaning of Holidays and special times in Torah is not “commemoration” of some event, but an active opportunity to use the flow of energy that is descending at that time into the physical world. On Rosh Chodesh, the surge of energy that is creating the reality of the upcoming month is available to us – and the way to receive it is to be joyous!
This is because joy causes us to be expansive and enables us to receive Hashem’s light. On the contrary, negative emotions e.g., sadness, make us contract and unable to turn on our “receptive mode”
After ensuring that we do fulfill Torah’s directive to be joyous, we can harness that energy of Rosh Chodesh withTefillah. We can target specific issues in our prayer – because it’s much easier to change the month in its conception.
This can be compared to a garden hose that can create various shapes of a spout by twisting the nozzle – because it’s changing the shape of a jetstream of water in the place where it is forming.
Of course when we talk about “Changing the month”, we mean “Changing ourselves” in order to create the new month of opportunities for spiritual growth. The change is always easier when level of energy is high – if we direct the energy into changing ourselves in Tefillah, it will be used constructively, if we are oblivious to the chance, the energy can even destabilize us or dissipate inconsequentially.
In a sense, Rosh Chodesh is similar to Rosh HaShanah – just with a different scope.
Just like Rosh HaShanah helps us to create a new year full of opportunities, so does Rosh Chodesh give us a chance to break out of our routine and rise up.
Rosh Chodesh is also regarded as a special time for Jewish women. You can read the standard explanation “why?” here, but I think the deeper reason for women’s special connection to Rosh Chodesh, is that our ladies are much more in tune with the dynamics of time and renewal.
Men need rigorous halachic times laws just to be basically in sync with spiritual reality,
while women are exempt from those laws – because they are generally already in tune with times and do not need specific Halachah for that. Interestingly, many Chassidic Tzaddikim were known to be very liberal with halachic times – perhaps because they reached the level of being in tune with times – similar to what most women have from birth.
So while women might be more in tune with the energy of Lunar renewal, men also try to catch up with Kiddush Levanah – another wonderful mitzvah using the Lunar energy of growth and rejuvenation. B’Ezrat Hashem we will discuss it in one of the future postings.
Today is the first day of Sivan and in 4 days we have Chag Shavuot – holiday of receiving the Torah. The energy needed to form the Holiday is also descending today – so we start defining our receiving of the Torah already today!
Good Month Sivan to everyone!