The month is an important increment of time. The first day of the month, called Rosh Chodesh (head of the month) in Hebrew, marks the birth of a new moon.
The Book of Exodus establishes the beginning of the Hebrew calendar: “And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: ‘This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.'” (12:1-2)
In the Book of Numbers, God speaks of the celebration of the new moon to Moses: “And on your joyous occasions – your fixed festivals and new moon days – you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your sacrifices of well-being.” (10:10)
In Psalm 81:3, both new and full moons are mentioned as a time of recognition by the Hebrews: “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day. For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob.
I Samuel 20:18 states: “Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Tomorrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.'” This shows that there was a marking (observing) of the new month.
In regard to how to observe the new month, we are told to sound the shofar and to make offerings. With this in mind, it would appear that not much can be done today to mark this important day. However, within Judaism today, Rosh Chodesh is considered a woman’s holiday. Many women refrain from certain types of work, such as housework, etc.
They organise women’s gatherings, where they study Torah, including what is coming in the new month such as certain holidays, etc. This coming Rosh Chodesh, the month of Tishrei, will be a very important observance. The reason is that this next month will contain Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
There is much to review and study in preparation for these holidays. There is the food aspect, the religious aspect and its requirements as well as the logistics for carrying out all of the laws and restrictions. We will get together to review, share and plan. This month and the month of Nisan (during which Passover falls) are the two most important meetings.