Today is Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the new Jewish month. The Jewish calendar (and in turn, the Jewish monthly cycle) was the first instruction that God ever gave the Jewish people over 3,000 years ago. Over the past few thousand years of Jewish history the first day of the month has been held as a special day for women. It all started when the Jewish people were first made into a nation, at Mt. Sinai. The story goes that when Moses went up to speak to God on Mt. Sinai the Jews lost faith and wanted to build a golden calf, when the women were asked for their jewelry to help build the calf, they refused and Aaron, the priest, gave them this day as a reward.
This story led our sages to instruct Jewish men and women that women are exempt from all work on this day (Megillah 22b). This means that the men needed to pick up the slack and honor the women for their special role in Judaism. Additionally, their is deep kabalistic link between Jewish women and the new month. Jewish women are the carriers of our tradition, our mothers are what defines us as Jews and the women who have traditionally led the Jewish people have been amongst the strongest and most influential people in history. They renew the Jewish people, just like the moon renews itself each month.
Today’s Jewish mission is to spend some time learning about Jewish women throughout history. If you are a girl, take the day off! Pamper yourself and enjoy your special holiday. If you are a guy, tomorrow is a great opportunity to do something nice for the special girl in your life, whether it be your mom, girlfriend, sister or friend who just happens to be a girl.
Some ideas of Jewish women to research: