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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Adar I
Jewish History

On this date, in the year following the Holy Temple’s destruction, G‑d tells Ezekiel to take up a lamentation for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, foretelling his downfall in the hands of the Babylonians.

Read the prophecy here: Ezekiel ch. 32

The highly regarded Biblical commentator, Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra (1089?-1164CE), passed away on Adar 1, 4924.

Link: Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra

Adar 1 is also the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of the great Halachist Rabbi Shabtai Hakohen Katz (1621-1663?), author of the Siftei Cohen commentary on Rabbi Yosef Caro's Code of Jewish Law. He is known as "Shach" -- an acronym of the name of his work, which serves to this day as a primary source of Halachah (Jewish law).

Link: The Shach

Laws and Customs

Today is the second of the two Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") days for the month of Adar I (this year being a leap year there are two months called "Adar" -- Adar I and Adar II).

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

This year is a shanah meuberet (lit., "a pregnant year") or a leap year on the Jewish calendar. The Jewish leap year, which occurs 7 times in a 19-year cycle, has 13 months instead of the regular year's 12. This is so that the lunar-based Jewish year should remain aligned with the solar seasons (12 lunar months make up a total of 354 days -- slightly more than 11 days short of the 365.25 day solar cycle). The added month is called "Adar I" and is inserted before the month of Adar (termed "Adar II" in leap years).

The festival of Purim celebrated on Adar 14, is in Adar II on leap years, while the 14th of the Adar I is marked only as "Purim Minor." Similarly, birthdays and most other anniversaries are marked on the 2nd Adar.

Links:
The 19-Year Marriage
Leap Year Explained

Daily Thought

Some gripe that they cannot reach out for G-d‘s help because they are not worthy.

Others celebrate that, as unworthy as they are, they have a G‑d who answers their cries.