October 8th, 2021 | 2nd of Cheshvan, 5782 | Noach נֹחַ
Dear Beit Rabban Community,
This Wednesday we bid farewell to the month of Tishrei, and began two days of Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. Entirely void of Jewish holidays, this month is also referred to as “mar Cheshvan” the “bitter” month of Cheshvan. We welcomed this new month at school by distributing sad face stickers and wishing each other a bitter day. We also welcomed the month by sharing a joyful tefillah in honor of a student’s bat mitzvah.
We celebrated Rimonim student, London, at her in-school bat mitzah on the second day of Rosh Chodesh. In her dvar Torah, London aptly pointed out that we have a lot of Jewish holidays, especially if you include all the days of Rosh Chodesh. She asked “isn’t it a little much to sacrifice all these animals at the beginning of each month.” The question stands even nowadays sans animal sacrifices, as we have a longer prayer service on Rosh Chodesh and even devote time on the Shabbat before to say a special prayer for the new month. It seems especially “much” this month: we just barely caught our breath post chagim and then move right back to reciting Hallel. London offered a beautiful insight into why we treat the first day of each new Jewish month as a mini-holiday: taking time to mark Rosh Chodesh eleven times a year in addition to Rosh Hashanah reminds us to embrace the fact that the only constant is change, we are always starting something new. In London’s words, we celebrate that each new month brings the possibility of “new opportunities, relationships and adventures.”
What a hopeful and optimistic read, especially right after the High Holidays. Even while we focus in Chodesh Tishrei on sealing our fates for the upcoming year, we affirm the blessing of being able to start over again just a few days later.
Wishing all an optimistic start to Mar Chesvan.
P.S. These pesky kids are constantly derailing our attempts at bitterness.