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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
Laws and Customs

Today is the second of the two Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") days for the month of Cheshvan (when a month has 30 days, both the last day of the month and the first day of the following month serve as the following month's Rosh Chodesh).

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.

Links: The 29th Day; The Lunar Files

The month of Cheshvan is also called "Mar-Cheshvan." Mar means "bitter" -- an allusion to the fact that the month contains no festive days. Mar also means "water", alluding to the month's special connection with rains (the 7th of Cheshvan is the day on which Jews begin praying for rain (in the Holy Land), and the Great Flood, which we read about in this week's Torah reading, began on Cheshvan 17th).

Links: The Last Jew

Daily Thought

Our world is a world where a rainbow could be.

At first, there was a world that only received and returned no dividends. Its inhabitants took no ownership. They lived with their Creator’s benevolence, they did what they did with no need for excuses, and eventually died as they died. And that was it.

With the Flood, this world was recreated. The earth was cleansed, the atmosphere purified. It became a world that could take the sunshine that poured in from above and refract it into many colors.

It became a world where a created being could be born, take the soul, body, share of the world and all the sustenance its Maker gave to it, use that, do something with that—and then return it, saying, “See what I have done with that which You gave me!”

And so, G‑d vowed to never destroy the world again. For, if the inhabitants would go wrong, they might always turn around and clean up their own mess.