Erev Rosh Chodesh - A Glass Almost Empty Or Almost Full?
I once told a friend that I found saying Birchas HaChodesh each month to be somewhat of a depressing occurrence since it marked yet another month of life that had too quickly passed by. My friend admitted that he too shared these feelings. He confided that tears actually came to his eyes when saying הוא יגאל אותנו בקרוב ("He will redeem us soon") on Shabbos Mevorchim Nissan because it almost felt like Hashem was teasing us by by witholding Moshiach and forcing us to continually say the words בקרוב (soon).
While contemplating the meaning of Erev Rosh Chodesh as a Yom Kippur Katan, I concluded that I had not taken advantage of this day properly in the past. Some people say additional tefillos during Mincha on this day and others even fast in atonement for their sins for the previous month. I, on the other hand, hadn't ever done anything.
I began learning more about the observances of Erev Rosh Chodesh and discovered that it was also the minhag of the Baal Shem Tov to fast on this day. In my initial burst of excitement, I decided that I would like to follow this minhag. However, once I started thinking about the taxing nature of fasting and what abiding by this minhag would mean in all its practicality, I considered otherwise.
I then discovered that Imrei Pinchas mentioned that Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz said the entire Sefer Tehillim without a break on Erev Rosh Chodesh. I once again contemplated taking this on as a new avoda. I reasoned that it was certainly easier than fasting, yet in a certain way it was equally challenging since it would require that I find two hours of interrupted time - most likely in the middle of the night - to complete saying the whole Sefer Tehillim.
Nevertheless, Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz's practice appealed to me because it approached Rosh Chodesh from both "glass almost empty" and "glass almost full" perspectives. In certain sense, I could see saying the entire Sefer Tehillim as a tikun for my aveiros the past month. Yet, on the other hand, I could also view it as a supplication for Hashem to help me in the upcoming month. One can easily find both these themes within the pages of Tehillim.
Starting this morning, I am going to try to abide by this practice of completing the whole Sefer Tehillim every Erev Rosh Chodesh. Instead of viewing Rosh Chodesh as marking just another month behind me, I hope to view it as a blank canvas in front of me; in the way the Biala Rebbe describes:
"The constant renewal of the months and the ever-changing cycle of time enable a person to continue in life, persevering through his hardships. As the time changes and the difficulties of the past are forgotten, we hope towards a new and better future..... Rosh Chodesh is a renewal, a new face in time, in which the world is transformed from one state of being to another. A new reality is conceived, which never before existed."