Rosh Chodesh or new moon blessings: It’s all about balance

In Judaism we follow a lunar calendar, that requires us to bless the new moon which also signifies the beginning of a new month. This new moon is a super new moon which means it is remarkably close to the Earth. On October 18 and 19 we celebrate Rosh Chodesh or the beginning of the new month of Cheshvan and we say a blessing over the new moon. It is said that whoever says the blessing over the new moon, it is the same as coming face to face with the Shekinah or the innermost feminine essence of G-d.

“To bless the new moon at it’s proper time is like greeting the Divine Presence.”- Talmud, Sanhedrin 42a

We say the blessing because the new moon or Rosh Chodesh ushers in the new month and another opportunity for a new beginning. As the week ends on Shabbat, we say a blessing to thank Hashem for bringing us to this moment by lightning Shabbat candles and sanctifying the space in time. On Saturday night after Havdalah we bless the new moon and thank G-d for the sun, moon, and stars.

The sanctification of the new moon is a series of blessings that are said outside. They can be recited inside, but only if illness or disability is keeping you from going outside. So tonight, through Saturday night if you feel drawn to do so, say the new blessing outside. Click the link to for the blessings we recite during the new moon.

This is an exciting time as new moon rituals and blessings will be taking place for the next two nights. It is also a sign that we are being called back to our roots. Africans, especially nomadic pastoral tribes, mapped the stars to differentiate between the seasons, and to guide them through the desert. Most ancient civilizations lived by a lunar calendar, so it’s beautiful to see so many people, especially Black women, honor the new moon and keep track of the moon cycles. Tracking the moon not only connects us to our Jewish ancestors, but our African ancestors as well. According to Nabta Playa, the world’s first astrological site was built in Africa 7,000 years ago and is older than Stonehenge.  Nigerian Astronomer Johnson Urama created the African Cultural Astronomy Project, to reconnect Africans and those is the Diaspora with “the science of the skies” and how it bridges our past, present, and future.

If we as Black Jews take an earnest approach to Judaism and begin to create our own traditions, celebrating the full moon should be at the top of our priority list. This new moon in Libra is all about being centered kicking off the new month of Cheshvan, and the zodiac of sign of Scorpio.  This particularly time is when we feel the effects of the judgments of Yom Kippur, so we are moving from the scales of justice to the repercussions of our past decisions.

This new moon in Libra gives us the opportunity to bring a sense of newness to our relationships and look at where there needs to be more balance. Are we giving or taking too much? Where can we create more beauty in our lives?  What is keeping us off balance? And what brings more balance into our lives? Every new moon gives us a chance to take stock of what we want and us the energy to draw more of that into our lives. So what do you want? What are heart’s deepest desires? Do you want to start a new business? Do you want more rest? Do you want love? Write it down on a piece of paper, say it out loud under the new moon, fold up the piece of paper and keep it in a wish box or under your pillow. Or just meditate on the newness of time Hashem is offering us.

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