Last Sukkot I had the opportunity to discuss with my daughter the concept of Rosh Chodesh, lighting of the beacons and the beginning of the month in the Jewish calendar. We got to the topic in a round about way- we had several young women from the US and UK who are learning in seminary for the year, staying with us for the first day(s) of sukkot. They were, in effect, keeping three days of yom tov, and this was a bit confusing.
It did make for an interesting way to talk about time and how we determine time. I explained how although we have a set calendar today the way we used to figure out the beginning of the new month was by sighting the moon and sending out messengers. The reason why people outside of Israel kept more than one day was they weren’t sure when the first day of the month had started and were compensating for this until they could ascertain the correct date. This part made a good story and my daughter really got into the idea of using fire on mountaintops to pass along the message. She liked the concept of the lighting of the beacons.I didn’t realize how much of an impression it made until I heard her explain it to my husband. He told her “You are right and I will show you how they did it.”
Lord of the Rings Lighting of the Beacons Rosh Chodesh Tie in
This is my favorite part of this post because who would have thought that you could use Lord of the Rings to teach about Rosh Chodesh? But here you go:
How fun is that? There are, of course, other resources that show lighting beacons but Lord of the Rings is certainly very visually appealing.