In the opening lines of the prayer it says: Yehi Ratzon ………..shetechadesh… letovah vilevracha – May it be your will G-d the G-d of my fathers to provide for us a New Month that is good and blessed. The commentators discuss the implication of the words good and blessed. If it is good isn’t it blessed? And if it is blessed isn’t it good?
Perhaps we can understand the prayer based on something that Rav Simcha Zissel zt”l taught regarding a verse in Tehillim. The verse states, “ Hineh Mah Tov Umah naim – Behold what is good and sweet is when brothers come together.” The Alter (Rav Simcha Zissel) remarks that there are many things in this world that are good for us e.g. medicines, but may not be sweet. So too there are many things in this world that are sweet e.g. like candy but may not be good for you. The one thing that is both intrinsically good and sweet is when brothers come together.
Applying the lesson just stated we could understand the opening verse of Rosh Chodesh Bentching. Our lives can be good but may not feel like a blessing. The Talmud teaches that death can also be very good. We pray at the outset of the month that G-d should bless us with a palpably good month that appears to us like a blessing.
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein
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