In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!
Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.
Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!
“This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:2)
החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים ראשון הוא לכם לחדשי השנה.
“Sing to God a new song, sing to God all of the earth.” (Psalms 96:1)
שירו ליהוה שיר חדש שירו ליהוה כל הארץ.
Chadash, meaning “new,” is most commonly found in the Bible in the form chodesh, meaning “month.”
God’s very first commandment to the people of Israel was the order of the months. “This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you” (Exodus 12:2). The first day of each month is known as Rosh Chodesh, literally “the head of the month,” and it is a special day dedicated to repentance and joy. In the Temple in Jerusalem, extra sacrifices were brought on the first day of every month to express this sentiment.
The Hebrew calendar is primarily a lunar calendar. After the moon has all but disappeared from the night sky, it reappears, marking the beginning of a new month. The constant waning and waxing of the moon teaches us that we can always start again. No matter our failures or what we have been through, we can begin anew.
Renewal is essential to serving God. “Sing to God a new song” (Psalms 96:1). King David encourages us to constantly strive for new ways to serve God. The “old songs” we have sung for God are beautiful, but we must never stop composing new songs of service for God!
Eventually this will bring a new and brighter era for humanity, when the whole world will be cognizant of God’s presence, as it says in the Jewish prayer book: “A new light will shine upon Zion.”