Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rosh Chodesh & the Libyan Candle Wick Maker

Is Rosh Chodesh a holiday or a special day? In the Bible it is clearly regarded as a holiday with a festive meal (what else is new in Judaism?). During the times of the Temple it was put on an equal footing with Shabbat, where in addition to eating a sumptuous meal the people refrained from all work. The latter continued to be practiced in the 20th century by many Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities.

Now we're into the 21st century and asking how we can continue making Rosh Chodesh relevant. The answer is clear. Today's frantic pace necessitates a framework for R&R. Which is why we should look to the past as to how this can be accomplished. Throw out the virtual and bring in the real with a custom of Libyan Jews who lit a special oil candle on Rosh Chodesh. Work was forbidden as long as the candle remained lit.

I like the idea of a designated Rosh Chodesh candle. It ties in beautifully with Shabbat. And I like the idea of an oil wick candle. It makes the decision of how long you want to take a break from your daily routine up to you. You pick the size of the wick and the amount of oil.

What do you say? Rosh Chodesh Kislev is 2+ weeks away. Hanukkah is 5 weeks away. True, there's no miracle with this oil lamp but a cause for celebration is always oil right.

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