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Monday, January 23, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Shevat
Jewish History

On the first of Shevat in the year 2488 from creation, Moses convened the Jewish people and began the 37-day "review of the Torah" contained in the Book of Deuteronomy, which he concluded on the day of his passing on Adar 7 of that year.

Overview of Deuteronomy
Moses: The Man of G-d

Laws and Customs

Today is Rosh Chodesh (“Head of the Month”) for the month of Shevat.

Special portions are added to the daily prayers: Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited -- in its "partial" form -- following the Shacharit morning prayer, and the Yaaleh V'yavo prayer is added to the Amidah and to Grace After Meals; the additional Musaf prayer is said (when Rosh Chodesh is Shabbat, special additions are made to the Shabbat Musaf). Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Many have the custom to mark Rosh Chodesh with a festive meal and reduced work activity. The latter custom is prevalent amongst women, who have a special affinity with Rosh Chodesh -- the month being the feminine aspect of the Jewish Calendar.

The Jewish Month of Shevat
The Laws of Rosh Chodesh
How Does a Jewish Woman Celebrate Rosh Chodesh?

Daily Thought

We all have a little pharaoh inside. Sprawling through the veins of every human animal is a voice that says, “This world belongs to me and I have created myself.”

Just like Pharaoh:

“Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the big crocodile who sprawls in his channels, who says, ‘My Nile is my own and I have made myself.” (Ezekiel 29:3)

Resistance is futile. To imagine that you could confront and defeat your own ego is absurd. You are your ego. How will you defeat yourself?

Domesticate it, yes. It’s inconvenient when your little pharaoh bites people you need to live with. But a tame crocodile remains a crocodile.

Rather, the only strategy is to reframe this little pharaoh.

What, after all, is this voice inside that says "I am"?

It is really nothing less than G‑d Himself, the only true “I,” breathing inside you. Only that it has lost its frame, its greater context. And now it feels as an “I” all its own.

Your job then is to reconnect this ego of yours to its higher purpose and meaning.

Why does G‑d wish to breathe within you?

Because He wants you to complete His world from within.

And such a job requires a mighty ego.

Mighty, because it is tied up with the only true ego, the One above.

Grant your little pharaoh its wish. Make your ego a true ego.