17. Seeing the New Moon
We recite Birkat Ha-levana over the new moon at night, because that is when it is clearly visible and one can benefit from its light. If one recites the berakha when the moon is covered by clouds he has not fulfilled his obligation, because he cannot benefit from its light.
16. The Laws of Reciting Birkat Ha-levana Joyously
Because of the lofty idea that the moon’s renewal represents, Birkat Ha-levana has been hallowed to the point that one who recites it is viewed as if he is greeting the Shekhina (Divine Presence).
15. The Meaning of Birkat Ha-levana
In Birkat Ha-levana (the Berakha of the Moon), we thank God for creating the moon, from whose light we benefit at night.
14. Torah Reading and Musaf
In honor of Rosh Ĥodesh we call up four people to the Torah. The passage that we read first describes the daily burnt offering, followed by the special Rosh Ĥodesh offerings.
13. Customs Related to Reciting Hallel
One must stand while reciting Hallel, One should not interrupt one’s recitation of Hallel, The Sages ordained that it is proper that one recite Hallel immediately following the Amida of Shaĥarit.
12. Hallel on Rosh Hodesh
There is a widespread custom to recite Hallel on Rosh Ĥodesh. Technically there is no obligation to do so.
11. Ya’aleh Ve-yavo in Birkat Ha-mazon
One must recite Ya’aleh Ve-yavo in Birkat Ha-mazon as well. Even though one is not obligated to eat a festive meal on Rosh Ĥodesh, one must mention Rosh Ĥodesh when reciting Birkat Ha-mazon because of the importance of the day, on which the musaf offering was brought.
10. Ya’aleh Ve-yavo in the Amida
The unique nature of Rosh Ĥodesh must find expression in our prayers. Therefore, the Sages prescribed that we recite the Ya’aleh Ve-yavo prayer, in which we beseech God to remember us for good on Rosh Ĥodesh.
9. Yom Kippur Katan: A Time of Atonement
Rosh Ĥodesh is a time of atonement. In order to make this atonement complete, pious Jews customarily repent in for the time leading up to Rosh Ĥodesh. Some people fast on the day before Rosh Ĥodesh and recite special Yom Kippur Katan prayers prior to the Minĥa service.
8. Shabbat Mevarkhim
On the Shabbat preceding Rosh Ĥodesh (known as Shabbat Mevarkhim), it is customary to announce when Rosh Ĥodesh will take place and recite Birkat Ha-ĥodesh (“blessing the new month”), a prayer that God “renew this month for us and for all His people, the house of Israel, for good and blessing.”
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