As we approach the reading of Parshas HaChodesh this Shabbos, in which we read about the first mitzvah given to the Jewish people, the sanctification of the new month, and Shabbat Mevarekhim Chodesh Nissan, the first month of the Jewish year, OU Press is proud to announce the new book Yerach Tov: Birkat HaChodesh in Jewish Law and Liturgy, by Rabbi Elchanan Adler.
In this book, RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Adler discusses Birkat HaChodesh, the special prayer recited on Shabbat Mevarekhim announcing the upcoming Jewish month. Drawing from a wide range of sources, from the earliest siddurim to a diverse collection of halakhic works, liturgical and Talmudic commentaries, Rabbi Adler addresses questions such as:
• What is the relationship between Birkat HaChodesh and Kiddush HaChodesh, the sanctification of the new month performed in the Temple era?
• What is the significance of the molad calculation, and why did Rav Chaim Volozhiner instruct rabbis to always know the time of the molad?
• Why does the chazzan hold a sefer torah during Birkat HaChodesh? Why do we proclaim “chaverim kol yisrael”?
The book also offers a detailed, line by line explanation of the prayers that make up Birkat HaChodesh, discusses their sources, and their integration to form the service we recite today. Also included in the book is a comprehensive annotated bibliography of all sources and authors cited, which provides an excellent background for the Birkat HaChodesh prayer.
Despite the breadth of sources and depth of analysis, Rabbi Adler’s book remains clear and engaging, making it accessible to the layman and scholar. In short, this book is required reading for anyone seeking a better understanding of this prayer and its significance.
Rabbi Elchanan Adler has served since 1998 as a Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva University, where he occupies the Eva, Morris and Jack Rubin Chair in Rabbinics. An accomplished speaker and author, Rabbi Adler has lectured in communities across the country and has published numerous Torah articles in both Hebrew and English on diverse topics of Jewish thought. Rabbi Adler studied at the Mirrer Yeshiva and Yeshivas Beis Yosef-Novardok, and received semikha from Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva, Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem and holds a BA in Psychology from CUNY and an MS in Secondary Jewish Education from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School.