Monday, 14 September 2020

Perfect Mis-Understandings #5 - Why no Blessing for Hodesh Tishre? [Reprint]

first posted September 26, 2008
Why is there no Hodesh Benching [blessing of the New Month] before Tishre? The oft-stated answer is: "in order to confuse the Satan" [k'dei l'arbeiv hasatan] Well, the Satan must be REALLY confused to not "get it" 'after all these years! As stated in the previous perfect mis-understanding, we often know what to do [or in this case what NOT to do] but do we know the REAL reason? I posit that there is likely to be a more rational rationale for this omission. Here is my hypothesis: The REAL underlying rationale for not blessing the new month for Tishrei is that it creates a Halachic dilemma!
  • OTOH If one ONE day is mentioned, it would lead to the erroneous assumption that only ONE day of Rosh Hashsana is to be observed!
  • OTOH If TWO days are mentioned, it would avoid the above problem, but it would lead people to believe that Day ONE is the 30th of Ellul and Day 2 is the FIRST of Tishre, when in fact day ONE is Tishre ONE and Day TWO is Tishre TWO. This is because every 2-day Rosh Hodesh is assumed to be day 30 of month 1 and Day 1 of month 2. Tishre breaks the mold!
Therefore the confusion has little to do with the Satan per se, rather with making a highly unconventional birkat/kiddush haHodesh. There is no way to do this w/o creating an ambiguity in the calendar - and so let's blame the Satan for OUR confusion! Years later, I confirmed this hypothetically more rational explanation in the Shulchan Aruch Harav who says something along the same lines. I guess that at some point of history the reason given was "in order to avoid confusion". And that later on this explanation morphed into "In order to confuse the Satan." So again the common practice is revealed as sensible, it's just its accompanying story that is re-examined and shifted to make more sense. 

Shana Tova 


No comments: