Rosh Chodesh – New Month
The New Moon Celebration

The G*d of Yisrael commanded to His people:

Shemot (Exodus) 12:1-2
“And the L*RD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: ‘This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.'”

Bamidbar (Numbers) 10:10
“And on your joyous occasions – your fixed festivals and new moon days – you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your sacrifices of well-being.”

In Hebrew, Rosh Chodesh means, literally, “head of the month” or “first of the month.” Rosh Chodesh is the first day of any new month. If a month is 30 days long, then the 30th day is treated as part of the Rosh Chodesh for the next month, and the Rosh Chodesh for next month extends for two days (the 30th of the earlier month and the 1st of the later month).

In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh was a significant festival day. At that time, the new months were determined by observation. Each month began when the first sliver of moon became visible after the dark of the moon. Observers would watch the sky at night for any sign of the moon. If they saw the moon, they would report their sightings to the Sanhedrin, which would interrogate them to make sure that they were not mistaken. Where in the sky did the moon appear? Which direction was it pointing? If two independent, reliable eyewitnesses confirmed that the new moon had appeared and described it consistently, the Sanhedrin would declare the new month and send out messengers to tell people when the month began.

The day after the moon appeared was a festival, announced with the sounding of the shofar, commemorated with solemn convocations, family festivities and special sacrifices. The importance of this holiday in ancient times should not be underestimated. The entire calendar was dependent upon these declarations; without the declarations, there would be no way of knowing when holidays and the Holy Sabbath were supposed to occur.

In later days, however, the calendar was fixed by mathematical computation. After the destruction of the Temple, sacrifices were no longer available. Accordingly, the significance of this festival has substantially diminished. There are some slight changes to the liturgy for Rosh Chodesh, including the addition of part of Hallel (Tehillim (Psalms) 113-118 after the Shemoneh Esrei (Amidah-standing prayer), and some additional Torah readings.

It remains a custom in some communities for women to refrain from work on Rosh Chodesh, as a reward for their refusal to participate in the incident of the Golden Calf.
In Messianic Judaism this festival is celebrated with liturgy, song and dance and Oneg (delight)-a festival meal. Most Messianic Congregation celebrate this festival and usually all members of the congregation (not just women) participate. Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) would have celebrated this festival as He would have celebrated all of His Father’s festivals and holidays.