Shabbos HaChodesh (“Sabbath [of the] month” החודש שבת) precedes the first of the Hebrew month of Nisan during which Pesach is celebrated. Exodus 12:1-20 and the laws of Pesach are read as the maftir aliyah, along with a special haftorah. On the first day of Nisan, Hashem presented the first commandment of how to “sanctify the new moon” (kiddush hachodesh) for the onset of Rosh Chodesh and thus Nisan becomes the first month of the Jewish year (counting by months). This special reading helps to prepare us for Pesach.
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