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Tuesday, Elul 23, 5781 / August 31, 2021


Every Hebrew month begins with Rosh Chodesh. Some have one day Rosh Chodesh while some have two days Rosh Chodesh. Every Rosh Chodesh we recite the Hallel, we say additional services and read the special Rosh Chodesh reading from the Torah.


Rosh Hashana, which is the beginning of the month Tishrei is also Rosh Chodesh (in addition to being Rosh Hashana). However, we do not recite the Hallel or even mention the fact that it is also Rosh Chodesh.


Q.  Why is there no specific mention in the Rosh Hashana prayers to the fact that it is also Rosh Chodesh?  Why isn’t the regular Rosh Chodesh Torah reading read on Rosh Hashana?


A.    Rosh Hashana is the day when we crown G-d as the King of the Universe. When a king visits a city with his ministers and officers, the attention is centered only on the King, not on the officials accompanying him. The same is with Rosh Hashana.  We focus our entire attention on the major holiday, on Rosh Hashana and our acceptance of G-d’s Kingdom, rather than on Rosh Chodesh, which is a minor event by comparison.


Q.The traditional Rosh Hashana greeting we wish each other is, “L’Shana Tova Tikateivu V’teichateimu (“For a good year you shall be inscribed and sealed”). Why is this recited only the first night of Rosh Hashana?


A. The Talmud states that the righteous ones are inscribed for a good year immediately, on the first night of Rosh Hashana. Therefore, if we greet someone in this manner after the first night of Rosh Hashana, we are in a way implying that that person is not among the righteous. Thus, after the first night of the holiday, we refrain from using that greeting, which speaks about being “inscribed.” However, we do wish each other a happy holiday and a good year (omitting the word inscribed). May it indeed be a healthy, wonderful, and great year for all. 


Q.  Why is Rosh Hashana the only Biblical holiday which is celebrated two days in Israel, the same as in the Diaspora?


A. This is because Rosh Hashana is the only holiday which begins on Rosh Chodesh – the first day of the new Hebrew month. In the days of the Temple, messengers would travel throughout Israel and notify the exact day in which Rosh Chodesh was declared.


The other Biblical holidays begin in the midde of the month. By then all of Israel knew the exact day. But Rosh Hashana, which begins on the first day of the month (Rosh Chodesh), and is celebrated on the same day in which the High Court declared Rosh Chodesh, there was no time to inform the people of the exact day. To be on the safe side, everyone throughout Israel celebrated Rosh Hashana two days. That is why Rosh Hashana which was always two days in Israel is now also observed two days in Israel.