Sign up to TorahFax


Thursday, Mar-Cheshvan 1, 5782 (Rosh Chodesh) / October 7, 2021


Today, is the second day Rosh Chodesh of the new Hebrew month Mar-Cheshvan.


About half of the Hebrew months have one day Rosh Chodesh, and half are two days Rosh Chodesh. Mar-Cheshvan always has two days Rosh Chodesh.


Q.What determines if a month has two days or one day Rosh Chodesh?


A.Some months consist of 29 days, while other months have 30 days. When the outgoing month has 29 days, then there is only one day Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the new month. But, when the outgoing month has 30 days, then the last day of the outgoing month (30th day) and the first day of the new month, are both Rosh Chodesh. As the outgoing month, Tishrei, has 30 days, we celebrate the incoming month, Mar-Cheshvan, with two days Rosh Chodesh.


Q.Is there any connection between the month of Mar Cheshvan and this week’s Parsha, Noach?


A.Yes. The story of The Great Flood, which is recorded in Parshat Noach, began on the 17th day of Mar-Cheshvan. Noach (Noah), his family and all the animals spent a full year in the ark. On the 27th of Mar-Cheshvan (365 days later) Noach and all who were saved emerged from The Ark.


At the end of Parshat Noach we read about the birth of Abraham. Although, Noach and Abraham were both righteous people, yet, there was a great difference between them. Our sages explain it with the following parable:


Many people were sitting in a freezing cold room. Two of the people decided they couldn't stand it any more.  One person put on a fur coat. Although he was now comfortable, everyone else in the room, was still freezing. The other person decided to get wood and make a fire. He not only warmed himself, but everyone else in the room as well.


Noach was similar to the first person. He was righteous, but he didn't go out of his way to call people to repent which would have saved his generation. He didn’t even pray that G-d spare the people. If people asked him the purpose of the Ark, Noach told them, but he didn't do enough to prevent the disaster of The Great Flood. This is the reason the Great Flood is at times called, "The waters of Noach."


Abraham, by comparison, was different. When G-d wanted to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorra, Abraham went out of his way and prayed that G-d save the people


The lesson is obvious: It is not enough to think only about ourselves. We have to do our best to help others too. This is why Jews are called, Children of Abraham, although we come from Noach too. It teaches us that we must be like Abraham – to think of others and feel responsible for their wellbeing.