By Rabbi Elchanan Adler
Few of our prayers arouse as much nostalgic appeal as Birkat HaChodesh, the joyful proclamation of the new month. Yet this familiar tefillah abounds with intriguing questions.
- What is the source for reciting a special prayer on the Shabbat before the new month?
- What is the connection between Birkat HaChodesh and the sanctification of the new moon in previous times by the beit din, based on eyewitness testimony?
- Why is it customary to announce the astronomical calculation of the molad and what is the significance of the obscure mathematical computations associated with the molad?
- Why does the chazan hold a sefer Torah?
- What is the significance of reciting “Chaverim kol Yisrael”?
These are just some of the issues explored by Rabbi Elchanan Adler in this engaging work. Also featured in the book are a line-by-line explanation of the text of Birkat HaChodesh, as well as an informative annotated bibliography which lists all the works and authors cited in the book. Geared toward the scholar and layperson alike, this book is a boon for all who are interested in a greater understanding and appreciation of our liturgy.