Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Haftorah Question

It's been a long time since I've posted one of these liturgical quizzes - or for that matter much of anything besides my bi-weekly editions of Musical Monday. But here's an interesting question I thought up yesterday, relating to the special haftorah which was read for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh:

As it happens, this haftorah is actually ever read on just five out of the twelve months of a standard Jewish year. For which five months can it be read, and why is it never read on each of the other seven? Post your answers in the comments; a special Elie's Expositions no-prize to whoever gets the complete solution first!


At 10/10/10, 1:25 PM, Blogger trn said...

What a pleasant surprise this post is!

Well for Tishrei we have Rosh Hashanah not Rosh Chodesh, so it isn't read then.

And we know it can be read for Cheshvan.

Is it a matter of brute-force calculating based on the four days when Rosh Hashanah can fall and the chaser and malei variations (and not the leap year variation since you say "the twelve months of a standard Jewish year")?

Probably it's something more clever.

Chodesh tov!

At 10/10/10, 5:17 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

TRN, also if it's Nissan, it would be Parshas Hachodesh. So you only need to solve for 3 months.

At 10/10/10, 6:35 PM, Blogger Elie said...

As a small hint, there are actually different reasons for each of the months where it is not read. So two of the seven have been given above.

At 10/10/10, 8:44 PM, Blogger trn said...

Ah, okay.

Maybe it isn't read for Av because we are in the middle of the Three Weeks?

And not for Elul because we are in the middle of the series of the Haftorot of comfort?

At 10/11/10, 8:19 AM, Blogger trn said...

Chances are there is at least one month with a one-day Rosh Chodesh that only ever falls on weekdays, no?

At 10/14/10, 1:08 PM, Blogger trn said...

Just noticed that Elie posted this post on 10/10/10 at 10:10.

At 10/14/10, 3:52 PM, Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Great question! Wish I could figure out the answer.

At 10/14/10, 4:28 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Not bad; so far you guys have accounted for four of the seven months where it *isn't* read: Tishrei, Nissan, Av, and Elul. Three to go! Just walk through the rest of the months in order and think about what other special conditions might or might not apply to each Rosh Chodesh.

Full solution tomorrow!

At 10/14/10, 8:53 PM, Blogger trn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10/14/10, 8:54 PM, Blogger trn said...

Iyyar and Sivan because of the omer?

Adar because of one of the special Shabbatot?

At 10/18/10, 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adar for Shekalim, just like Nissan for Hachodesh.

At 10/20/10, 10:03 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Nice job folks, you got most of them! Here is the complete solution, month by month:

Tishrei: No, since it is Rosh Hashanah, not Rosh Chodesh.

Cheshvan: Yes, as it did this year.

Kislev: Yes

Teves: No, because Rosh Chodesh Teves is Chanukah, and when it coincides with Shabbos the Chanukah haftorah is read.

Shevat: Yes

Adar: No, as stated above, when Rosh Chodesh Adar coincides with Shabbos it is Parshas Shekalim and that special haftorah is read.

Nissan: No, as stated above, when Rosh Chodesh Nissan coincides with Shabbos it is Parshas Hachodesh and that special haftorah is read.

Iyar: Yes

Sivan: No, because as it happens Rosh Chodesh Sivan never falls on Shabbos! If it did, Shavous would start that Thursday, and that cannot occur since Yom Kippur would then be on Sunday.

Tammuz: Yes

Av: No, because the special three "haftorahs of rebuke" are always read the three weeks before Tisha B'Av, even on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh.

Elul: No, because the special seven "haftorahs of consolation" are always read the seven weeks after Tisha B'Av, even on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh.

At 10/20/10, 10:25 PM, Blogger trn said...

Teves: No, because Rosh Chodesh Teves is Chanukah, and when it coincides with Shabbos the Chanukah haftorah is read.

I totally didn't think about Chanukah right. I went through the months in order as suggested and thought about Chanukah beginning towards the end of Kislev and therefore far away from Rosh Chodesh Kislev, but failed to think about Chanukah extending into Tevet.

Sivan: No, because as it happens Rosh Chodesh Sivan never falls on Shabbos!

See, I knew this had to be so for at least one of the months! And I actually considered maybe it was Sivan, but not for any logical reason.

What a great puzzle this was, Elie!

At 10/21/10, 9:09 AM, Blogger Elie said...

Thanks TRN - glad you enjoyed it!!

BTW, interestingly, Rosh Chodesh Sivan is the *only* one that never falls on Shabbos. Obviously all months that have a two-day Rosh Chodesh can, and the other three months whose Rosh Chodesh are always one day - Shevat, Nissan, and Av - can as well.

At 10/25/10, 2:27 AM, Blogger Robin Epstein said...

I disagree about Elul. The custom is to read the haftorah of Rosh Chodesh, and then read the haftorah that would have been read that week (Aniyah Soarah) with Rani Akarah (the haftorah of Ki Teitzei), since the two haftorahs follow each other in the Navi. See Rema on Shulchan Orach 425:1, and the Mishna Brerurah there.

At 10/25/10, 10:06 AM, Blogger Robin Epstein said...

Another thought - I don't think Rosh Chodesh Kislev can come out on Shabbat. It it was on Shabbat, the 29th of Kislev (5th day of Chanukka) would also be on Shabbat, and that cannot happen. Also, Rosh Chodesh Kislev cannot be Shabbat-Sunday, since in that case Rosh Hashana would have fallen on Wednesday, which cannot happen.

At 10/25/10, 10:18 AM, Blogger Elie said...

Robin: Thanks for the comments! On Elul, I had not seen that source, but was going by the practice in the shuls I've attended (granted a small sample!). So I guess there are multiple minhagim here.

In terms of Shabbos Chanukah, it absolutely can fall on Rosh Chodesh, and does every few years - in fact this happened at my bar mitzvah! :-)

At 10/25/10, 10:22 AM, Blogger Elie said...

Oh sorry, I misread your 2nd comment - you're referring to Rosh Chodesh *Kislev* several weeks before Chanukah, not RH Teves. Hmmm - interesting!! So the list stays at five months even if it can be read in Elul, or actually goes down to four based on the minhag I've seen.


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