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    Prayers for the New Moon – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Someone told me that in Frankfort it was not customary to say the prayer for the New Moon. Do you happen to know why this was so?

    A. There are several customs in regard to the prayer for the New Moon. The important part is the actual announcement of the day of Rosh Chodesh.

    There is an introductory prayer, Y’hi Ratzon, which was composed by Rav in the 3rd century, for daily, not monthly recital (Ber. 16b). This is why there are Siddurim that call it T’fillat Rav, The Prayer of Rav.

    A number of rites omit Rav’s prayer and go straight into the announcement of Rosh Chodesh. Their main objection to the prayer seems to be that it asks for parnasah, prosperity and it was considered inappropriate to think of one’s livelihood on Shabbat.

    The same motive is behind the rule that if you read a newspaper or magazine on Shabbat you should not look at the financial pages and certainly not at the advertisements. (I cannot understand how some people can imagine that it is alright to sit in synagogue and talk business to their shule neighbours during the service. They shouldn’t be talking to each other at all, and they certainly shouldn’t even be thinking of business.)

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