Shabbat Mevarchim HaChodesh
I haven't yet fully 'recovered' from our trip to Israel & our son's wedding; it was quite a stressful, if happy, time. And after an awful week, my feeling sick and coughing and my starting a new work project, I am grateful for the respite of Shabbat.
There is nothing like it: we are commanded (yup!) to lay our stressful work-week aside, and devote our attentions to spiritual matters, to 'resting from creation,' to emulating Ribono-shel-Olam (as much as we humans can), and remembering the Holy One and from whence we came...we study the Torah, read holy works and stories, express our love of Hashem in prayer and song.
This Shabbat is even more special, because it blesses the new coming month of Nissan, the month in which the Jewish people became a nation. It also commemorates the very first mitzvah, or commandment, which the Children of Israel were told to do by G-d. As it is written on the Chabad.org site:
Shortly before sundown on the 29th of Adar, G-d commanded Moses regarding the mitzvah of sanctifying the crescent new moon and establishing a lunar calendar. This is the first mitzvah the Jews were given as a nation.
Moses had difficulty envisaging the moon's appearance at the exact moment of its monthly rebirth. After the sun set, G-d showed Moses the crescent new moon of the new month of Nissan, showing him the precise dimensions of the moon at the moment the new month is to be consecrated.
For the generations that followed, each new month was ushered in when two witnesses testified before the Sanhedrin (rabbinic supreme court) that they had seen the molad, the new moon. In the 4th century CE, Hillel II foresaw that the Jews would no longer be able to follow a Sanhedrin-based calendar. So Hillel and his rabbinical court established the perpetual calendar which is followed today -- until Moshiach will come and reestablish the Sanhedrin
There isn't anything like it, and I am thankful I am able to celebrate it with family and friends. Just wish my kids were here, together with us. . .