This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Isaac ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama.
By: Samantha Hulkower
While most of the world is focused on celebrating the change of month (and year) that occurred four weeks ago on Thursday night (December 31), the significant change in the Jewish calendar happened Sunday night, January 10th instead - the start of the new month of Shevat. We're in the depths of winter, but Shevat isn't about being in the darkness, it's the symbolic turning point - when we can look towards spring. The days are now getting longer, although it feels pretty imperceivable at this point.
Rosh Chodesh Shevat, the first of the month, is special. Not just because all Rosh Chodesh days are mini holidays (when it's a mitzvah just to eat bread and say an extra blessing in the normal after-blessing), but because Rosh Chodesh Shevat is the day that Moshe began his repetition of the rules of the Torah to the Jewish people in the desert, before he died 37 days later on the 7th of Adar. It is for this reason considered to be like a mini-Shavuot (so now you don't have to wait until Sivan for an excuse to eat cheesecake).