In each Biblical year, there are 12 or 13 New Moon days. These are the days which begin with the sighting of the sliver of the moon on the western horizon just after sunset or after 30 days are completed if no sighting was possible that month. There is a long history of this process in ancient Israel and how to determine the New Moon is not the topic of this post. Here we are going to discuss the Torah about how to observe the New Moon Day.
The following verses in the Torah are the total of instruction for the New Moon Day:
Numbers 10:10 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
“Also on your days of rejoicing, at your designated times and on Rosh-Hodesh, you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; these will be your reminder before your God. I am Yehovah your God.”
Numbers 28:11-15 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
11 “‘At each Rosh-Hodesh of yours, you are to present a burnt offering to Yehovah consisting of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs in their first year and without defect; 12 with six quarts of fine flour mixed with olive oil as a grain offering for the one ram; 13 and two quarts of fine flour mixed with olive oil as a grain offering for each lamb. This will be the burnt offering giving a fragrant aroma, an offering made by fire for Yehovah. 14 Their drink offerings will be two quarts of wine for a bull, one-and-one-third quarts for the ram, and one quart for each lamb. This is the burnt offering for every Rosh-Hodesh throughout the months of the year. 15 Also a male goat is to be offered as a sin offering to Yehovah, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.
Numbers 29:1-6 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
1 “‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; it is a day of blowing the shofar for you. 2 Prepare a burnt offering to make a fragrant aroma for Yehovah — one young bull, one ram and seven male lambs in their first year and without defect — 3 with their grain offering, consisting of fine flour mixed with olive oil — six quarts for the bull, four quarts for the ram, 4 and two quarts for each of the seven lambs — 5 also one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for you. 6 This is to be in addition to the burnt offering for Rosh-Hodesh with its grain offering, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to the rule for them; this will be a fragrant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yehovah.
Leviticus 23:23-25 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
23 Yehovah said to Moshe, 24 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. 25 Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Yehovah.’”
So what can we know from these verses about how to observe the New Moon Day? We are only discussing the verses from the Torah, because Yehovah was clear that we are not to add or take away from these instructions so that we can properly following His Torah. (Deut 4:2 & 12:32)
We see in Numbers 29 that special offering were to be brought on the day of the New Moon – two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs, one male goat, 20 quarts of flour mixed with olive oil, and 10.33 quarts of wine. We also see that according to Numbers 10, the shofar is to be blown over all of these offerings. Since there is not currently a Temple in the place where Yehovah chose for His Name to dwell forever, and since there is no priesthood to officiate these offerings, this is not an instruction that we can live out. These instructions were given to the whole nation of Israel and must be lived out by the whole nation of Israel. When the Messiah returns, this is what the whole nation of Israel will once again do on the day of the New Moon.
So what about Numbers 29 and Leviticus 23? These two passages both discuss a special New Moon day, the first day of the 7th month. This day is known as Yom Teruah, Feast of Trumpets and/or Rosh HaShanah. This annual feast day is the only one to fall on the first day of the month. On this day we are instructed to have a set apart assembly, do no work, completely rest, blow the shofar and make special offerings in addition to the Rosh Hodesh offerings. We already discussed not being able to make the offerings, but we can assemble, rest, blow the shofar and take the day off from work.
To be clear, the 7th New Moon day is the only day we are instructed to rest and take off from work. There is no instruction for the other New Moon days that we can observe today without a Temple. In memorial, and in anticipation of future observance, we can mark the New Moon sighting and blow the shofar. Knowing when the New Moon is sighted is a monthly reminder of living on Yehovah’s timing, not our own, and helps us to know when the moedim will be.
If you would like to get instant reports from Israel of New Moon sightings each month, join Devorah’s Date Tree on Facebook.