Rosh Hodesh

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‘Head of month’, the first day of the month (see CALENDAR). In Bible times Rosh Hodesh was an important festival, being compared to the Sabbath in a number of passages (2 Kings 4: 23; Isaiah 1: 13; Amos 8: 5), but it is now only a minor festival (see FESTIVALS) on which it is forbidden to fast but on which work is permitted. There is an ancient tradition, however, that women do not work on Rosh Hodesh, perhaps an echo from the biblical period. There is an old Midrashic idea that because women refused to paricipate in the making and worshipping of the golden calf they were given Rosh Hodesh as a reward for their steadfastness.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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