What’s so special about Rosh Chodesh that we say Hallel and that it’s called a מועד?
There are three elements that can be easily seen in every Rosh Chodesh. And if you ignore them or just think about them in a superficial manner, then you are wasting a valuable opportunity. And many people do waste this opportunity. Yes, many people.
First of all, we must look back and thank Hashem for letting us live through the past month. Do you think that it’s a small thing to live a whole month?! Many people haven’t made it to this Rosh Chodesh. Boruch Hashem we’re still around! Boruch Hashem! And that’s why we say Hallel. Hallel is to thank Hashem for the past month.
Now, Rosh Chodesh is also a זמן כפרה לכל תולדותם (Musaf Davening Rosh Chodesh). It’s an opportunity for a kaparah, an atonement, for the sins we did in the past month. Look back and remind yourself of the things you did wrong during the past month. Not only the things you did wrong but even more important – the good things that you didn’t do. What a loss. What a loss! Look back and do teshuva. It’s a זמן כפרה, a special opportunity for teshuva and atonement.
And the third element is that it’s a יום תפילה for the upcoming month – it’s a special day for davening. At minimum you must say יעלה ויבוא – the words of יעלה ויבוא are an important tefillah for the coming month – but you can daven much more than that on Rosh Chodesh.
So these are the three elements. Again: One is to thank Hashem for the past month. That’s Hallel. And the second is to be מפשפש במעשיו – to examine your deeds of the past month and do teshuva. That’s זמן כפרה. And the third is to ask Hashem for help for the coming month. These are very important ideas. And that’s why Rosh Chodesh is a very important occasion – it’s reminding you, another month just went by.
You think that a month is a small thing in our lives?! A month is not a day. It’s not a week either. It’s a whole month! That’s a big slice of life! If you look back and you see that you didn’t accomplish anything in the past month then you should be worried. Yes, you should worry. And make up your mind that in the next month you’re going to start doing all the good things that you hear here. At least that. Get busy doing all these good things next month – make up your mind that a month shouldn’t be wasted.
TAPE E-266 (February 2001)