Torah Readings for Sunday, February 26, 2017
First Day Rosh Chodesh Adar28:1-15 Bamidbar (Numbers)
This is the standard reading for each Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is the name of the minor holiday that marks the start of each month. The term Rosh Chodesh is translated as New Moon. The first day of the month is referred to as Rosh Chodesh because the months are lunar and the first day of each month comes with the start of the new moon. In the days of the Temple special sacrifices were brought in honor of the new moon. With the destruction of the Temple, the sacrificial system ended. In place of the sacrifices, Jews read a description of the sacrificial offerings, which is described in the first fifteen verses of chapter 28 in the book of Numbers. The Torah reading takes place during the daily morning service. There are many Jews who have no desire to return to the sacrificial system. They use these readings as a way of providing a connection with the past which is one of the keys to our future. Because of its connection with the moon, Rosh Chodesh is thought to have a special meaning for women. Some sages suggest that wives and mothers should be given gifts on Rosh Chodesh. There are other sages who think that Tzedakah should be given in the name of these women. Once again, Jewish fund raisers would seem to be missing a golden opportunity (no pun intended).
Adar is the 12th month counting from Pesach and the 6th month counting from Rosh Hashanah. A second month of Adar is added to the calendar during a leap year. In a leap year all Adar related observances such as Purim are observed in Adar II. Adar is mentioned by name numerous times in the Bible, most frequently in the Scroll of Esther but also in the Book of Ezra. As reported in the Book of Ezra, the Second Temple was dedicated on the third of Adar. According to tradition, Moses was born and died on the 7th of the month. For this reason, officers of Jewish Burial Societies observed 7th of Adar as a minor fast day. During the Maccabees’ war with the Syrians, Judah Maccabee defeated the Syrian General Nicacnor on the 13th of Adar. Purim, which falls on the 14th of Adar, is the most famous event connected with this month. Because of Purim, Adar is viewed as a joyful month causing the Rabbis to write, “When Adar comes in, rejoicing is increased.”
Torah Readings for Monday, February 27, 2017
Second Day Rosh Chodesh Adar28:1-15 Bamidbar (Numbers)
Same as the first day; this is actually the first day of the Month of Adar.
The Second Temple was dedicated on the third of Adar, 350 BCE. 14) And the elders of the Jews builded and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded and finished it, according to the commandment of the G-d of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15) And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. (JPS Translation) http://www.aish.com/dijh/Adar_3.html
You would think such a monumental event would rate some sort of annual observance on the Jewish calendar. After all, everybody knows the date of the destruction of the Second Temple. Why are we not as conversant with our successes as we are with our failures? What was the true nature of the Second Temple? These and other questions surrounding the generation that did and did not return from the Babylonian Exile take on a special urgency as we move from the unremembered 3rd of Adar to the lionized 14th of Adar. Why do we make such a tumult over a group of Jews who were in danger only because they had not returned to Jerusalem; a group that had forgotten the promise that if I forget thee O! Jerusalem may my right hand forget its cunning? Yet we turn our historical and celebratory backs on those Jews who remembered Jerusalem and went home to rebuild the Temple in fulfillment of the prophetic visions.
Copyright; February, 2017; Mitchell A. Levin