Rosh Chodesh (2)
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ROSH CHODESH - THE BEGINING OF THE MONTH
“Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful noise to the God of Jacob. Raise a song, and beat the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow a Shofar on Rosh Chodesh - at the New Moon” Psalms 81:3.
The Hebrew name for month is Chodesh and the first day of the month is called Rosh Chodesh, which literally means Head of the Month. The Jewish month begins with the reappearance – the first tiny sliver appearance - or renewal, of the moon, the New Moon.
During the Temple days, Rosh Chodesh was kept as other major feast days. It was a time of sacrificing, rejoicing and rest from work. During the 16th century, Rosh Chodesh was sometimes called “Yom Kippur Katan” (the Little Day of Atonement) and became a day of fasting, self-reflection and prayerful examination of the previous month along with a renewing of the individual’s commitment to God for the month ahead. Today in Rabbinical Judaism, Rosh Chodesh has been reduced to less than a minor holiday with only a small prayer or mention during the services. The reason given for the diminishing celebration of Rosh Chodesh is that after the destruction of the Temple the sacrificial system ended. But this is not a satisfactory answer, because we still observe Yom Kippur and Pesach, both of which center on sacrifices. Apart from sacrifices and rest, we are told little in Scripture of how to observe Rosh Chodesh — except for blowing the Shofarim as mentioned in Psalm 81 above.
For the Messianic believers Rosh Chodesh brings a new opportunity to worship God, to walk in the joy of His teachings, because His words written in the Torah are inseparable from the life of a Jew. The word Chodesh, meaning month, is the same at its root as the word that means “new,” Chadash. Therefore, why not gather together at the beginning of each month to worship God by sounding of the Shofar and rejoicing in God's provision of a new beginning, of a new life that has been given to us in Messiah Yeshua? Rosh Chodesh provides us with a rare opportunity to set an example to the Jewish community. Each month we can establish Rosh Chodesh as a major part of our lives and an important event within the Messianic community. We can invite friends and family as we serve a God of memorials, times and seasons. Some things are good not because they are better, but because they stayed the same - rituals are like this, dynamic and equilibrant. They counteract the slow erosions of time and become the illustrative points of God’s enduring values.
Each feast established by God brings us into a time of fellowship with Him and with each other. Each month’s observance of Rosh Chodesh will build on our vision of believers in Messiah to be a light and salt to the world and will provide a time of unity and strengthening for our congregation. It will also be a time of preparedness for eternity because “it shall be from Rosh Chodesh to Rosh Chodesh and from Shabbat to Shabbat, that all mankind will come to worship before Me, says the Lord,” writes Isaiah in chapter 66:23.
Let us make a joyful noise to the Lord, worship Him and renew our commitment to Him for He is good.