JewishEncylopedia: New Year


Based on the siting of the new moon as stated in the Torah, Yom Teruah will begin at sunset on Saturday September 7, 2013 and continue until sunset on Sunday September 8, 2013.

Happy Yom Teruah!






WORK IN PROGRESS...

another good reference How the Day of Shouting Became Rosh Hashanah by Nehemia Gordon

Confirmed on Jewish Virtual Library: Jewish Calendar:
The "first month" of the Jewish calendar is the month of Nissan, in the spring, when Passover occurs. However, the Jewish New Year is in Tishri, the seventh month, and that is when the year number is increased.
The year number is increased in the seventh month?

The traditional Jewish New Year known as Rosh Hashannah (head of months) is not found anywhere in the Tanakh; therefore, it is tradition. On the same day that Rosh Hashannah is celebrated, Yom Teruah (day of shouting; commanded from the Torah (see Lev 23:23-25; Nu 29:1-6)) is celebrated. Both Rosh Hashannah and Yom Teruah are on the first day of the seventh month; however, the day is most recoginized for being Rosh Hashannah (or the Jewish New Year).

The first day of the first month is commonly understood as the new year. The New Year, the one in the first month, is in fact, defined as the beginning of months in Exodus 12 which shows it was selected by YHWH as a remembrance for His leading the children of Israel from Egypt with a strong hand. It is defined based on the ripeness of aviv and leads to preparations for Passover.

So, let's examine the tradition, commonly known as Rosh Hashannah, which starts the traditional "new year" in the fall when we are told, in Exodus 12, the first month begins in the spring.


Exodus 12 deals with the exodus from Egypt, at the powerful hand of YHWH, in the spring...
Exodus Chapter 12
1 And YHWH spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying:
2 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Leviticus Chapter 23
24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation.
25 Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YHWH.

Numbers Chapter 29
1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.

New Year
By Isidore Singer, J. F. McLaughlin, Wilhelm Bacher, Judah David Eisenstein

Biblical Data:

In the earliest times the Hebrew year began in autumn with the opening of the economic year. There followed in regular succession the seasons of seed-sowing, growth and ripening of the corn under the influence of the former and the latter rains, harvest and ingathering of the fruits. In harmony with this was the order of the great agricultural festivals, according to the oldest legislation, namely, the feast of unleavened bread at the beginning of the barley harvest, in the month of Abib; the feast of harvest, seven weeks later; and the feast of ingathering at the going out or turn of the year (; see Ex. xxiii. 14-17; xxxiv. 18, 22-23; Deut. xvi. 1-16).

Even the American culture has an economic year beginning in the fall. It is called the corporate fiscal year.

Exodus Chapter 23
14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto Me in the year.
15 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep; seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib -- for in it thou camest out from Egypt; and none shall appear before Me empty;
16 and the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of thy labours, which thou sowest in the field; and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year, when thou gatherest in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord YHWH.

Exodus Chapter 34
23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord YHWH, the God of Israel.

Deuteronomy Chapter 16
16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before YHWH thy God in the place which He shall choose; on the feast of unleavened bread, and on the feast of weeks, and on the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before YHWH empty;

This system of dating the New-Year is that which was adopted by the Semites generally, while other peoples, as the Greeks and Persians, began the year in spring, both methods of reckoning being primarily agricultural and based on the seasons of seed-time and harvest.


The Regnal Year.

The regnal year was evidently reckoned in the same way as late as the end of the seventh century B.C. This is evident from the account of the eighteenth year of King Josiah, in which only by such a reckoning can sufficient time be allowed for the events of that year which precede the celebration of the Passover, assuming, of course, that the Passover was celebrated at the usual time in the spring (II Kings xxii. 3, xxiii. 21-23).

Regnal year is the year the current king is reigning. So, it was the 18th regnal year of King Josiah...

Second Kings Chapter 22
2 And he did that which was right in the eyes of YHWH, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of YHWH, saying.

Second Kings Chapter 23
21 And the king commanded all the people, saying: 'Keep the passover unto YHWH your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant.'
22 For there was not kept such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
23 but in the eighteenth year of king Josiah was this passover kept to YHWH in Jerusalem.

Only in the same way can the fourth year of Jehoiakim be made to synchronize with the twenty-first year of Nabopolassar, in which the battle of Carchemish was fought, and also with the first year of Nebuchadrezzar, the Babylonian year having been reckoned from the spring (Jer. xxv. 1, xlvi. 2).

The Babylonian year begins in spring

Jeremiah Chapter 25
1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;
2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying:
3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even unto this day, these three and twenty years, the word of YHWH hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, speaking betimes and often; but ye have not hearkened.

Jeremiah Chapter 46
1 The word of YHWH which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.
2 Of Egypt: concerning the army of Pharaoh-neco king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah.


The second half of the Hebrew year would thus correspond to the first half of the Babylonian year. In Ezek. xl. 1 the prophet has his vision at the beginning of the year, apparently in the month of Tishri.

Tishri is the seventh month. Clearly, there is no direct connection and/or reference made to this verse being Tishri. So, how is this connection made? Hmm, 10th day of Tishri is Yom Kippur (day of atonement/forgiveness - Lev 23:26) and the 10th day of Abib is when the Passover Lamb (a Lamb without blemish - Exo 12:3-5) is selected.

So, are there other references in Ezekiel which we can refer to? Yes there is. All part of this very same story where Ezekiel is selected to describe the temple to the Israelis, another reference to the new year exists in Ezekiel Chapter 45 verses 18-22, YHWH explains Passover with reference to the first day of the first month.

Therefore, it is proven that this authors reference of the new year being in Tishri based on this verse in Ezekiel is without merit and ignorant of the facts.


Ezekiel Chapter 40
1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day, the hand of YHWH was upon me, and He brought me thither.
2 In the visions of God brought He me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the frame of a city on the south.
3 And He brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.
4 And the man said unto me: 'Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thy heart upon all that I shall show thee, for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought thither; declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.'

Exodus Chapter 12
1 And YHWH spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying:
2 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying: In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household;
4 and if the household be too little for a lamb, then shall he and his neighbour next unto his house take one according to the number of the souls; according to every man's eating ye shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats;
6 and ye shall keep it unto the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at dusk.

Leviticus Chapter 23
26 And YHWH spoke unto Moses, saying:
27 Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YHWH.
28 And ye shall do no manner of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before YHWH your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from his people.

Ezekiel Chapter 45
18 Thus saith the Lord YHWH: In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish; and thou shalt purify the sanctuary.
19 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court.
20 And so thou shalt do on the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple; so shall ye make atonement for the house.
21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover; a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
22 And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering.

The Levitical law places the beginning of the Sabbatical year in the autumn, on the tenth day of the seventh month, according to the later reckoning (Lev. xxv. 9).

The horn blast could also be used to prepare the farmers and ranchers not to plant seeds for the following year. And, perhaps, that they have 6 months to prepare to return everything to their rightful owners during the Sabbatical year.

Leviticus Chapter 25
8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years.
9 Then shalt thou make proclamation with the blast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land.
10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you; ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the undressed vines.
12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
13 In this year of jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.

It has been pointed out also that the story of the Flood places the beginning of the deluge on the seventeenth day of the second month, which would, on an autumn reckoning, coincide with the beginning of the rainy season (Gen. vii. 11; Josephus, "Ant." i. 3, Number 3).

Even in Josephus, it says that Moses changed the beginning of the year. Moses was well after Noah... so talking about when Noah thought the new year began is not applicable. I question whether the rainy season is in the spring or fall as well -- very thin example of Autumn reckoning!

http://www.science.co.il/Israel-climate.php
Climate in Israel
The rainy season extends from October to early May, and rainfall peaks in December through February. Rainfall varies considerably by regions from the North to the South. Highest rainfall is observed in the North and center parts of the country and decreases in the southern part of Israel, from the Negev Desert to Eilat where rainfall is negligible.

Josephus Antiquities Book I - Chapter 3
3. This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government, [age,] in the second month, called by the Macedonians Dius, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan: for so did they order their year in Egypt. But Moses appointed that Nisan, which is the same with Xanthicus, should be the first month for their festivals, because he brought them out of Egypt in that month: so that this month began the year as to all the solemnities they observed to the honor of God, although he preserved the original order of the months as to selling and buying, and other ordinary affairs. Now he says that this flood began on the twenty-seventh [seventeenth] day of the aforementioned month; and this was two thousand six hundred and fifty-six [one thousand six hundred and fifty-six] years from Adam, the first man; and the time is written down in our sacred books, those who then lived having noted down, with great accuracy, both the births and deaths of illustrious men.


Genesis Chapter 7
10 And it came to pass after the seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Possibly Two Modes of Reckoning.
(see image) Blowing the Shofar on New-Year's Day.(From a Passover Haggadah, Amsterdam, 1695.)
(see image) Celebration of the New-Year in Germany in the Eighteenth Century.(From Bodenschatz, "Kirchiiche Verfassung," 1748.)There is much difference of opinion as to whether or not there was in preexilic times a second mode of reckoning from the vernal equinox. This inference has been drawn from such passages as II Sam. xi. 1, I Kings xx. 22, 26, and II Chron. xxxvi. 10.





more study needed...




Second Samuel Chapter 11
1 And it came to pass, at the return of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem.
2 And it came to pass at eventide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house; and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said: 'Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?'

First Kings Chapter 20
21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Arameans with a great slaughter.
22 And the prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said unto him: 'Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest; for at the return of the year the king of Aram will come up against thee.'
23 And the servants of the king of Aram said unto him: 'Their God is a God of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
24 And do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put governors in their room:
25 and number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot; and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.' And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.
26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad mustered the Arameans, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
27 And the children of Israel were mustered, and were victualled, and went against them; and the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Arameans filled the country.

Second Chronicles Chapter 36
9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem; and he did that which was evil in the sight of YHWH.
10 And at the return of the year king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of YHWH, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
11 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem;
12 and he did that which was evil in the sight of YHWH his God; he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of YHWH.

The expression used here, "at the return of the year," is, however, sufficiently explained as "the time when kings go out"; that is to say, the usual time for opening a military campaign. Of course if the law of the Passover (Ex. xii. 1; Lev. xxiii. 5; Num. ix. 1-5, xxviii. 16-17) is pre-exilic, the question admits of no further argument. It seems, however, to be now very generally accepted that this law in its present form is not earlier than the sixth century and that it represents post-exilic practise.
"it represents post-exilic practise" - that is correct. The decision to make Nissan the first month was made by YHWH during the time he was using his strong hand to release the Israelites from Egypt.

Exodus Chapter 12
1 And YHWH spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying:
2 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Leviticus Chapter 23
4 These are the appointed seasons of YHWH, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season.
5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk, is YHWH'S passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto YHWH; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread.

Numbers Chapter 9
1 And YHWH spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying:
2 'Let the children of Israel keep the passover in its appointed season.
3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at dusk, ye shall keep it in its appointed season; according to all the statutes of it, and according to all the ordinances thereof, shall ye keep it.'
4 And Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
5 And they kept the passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at dusk, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that YHWH commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.

Numbers Chapter 28
16 And in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, is YHWH'S passover.
17 And on the fifteenth day of this month shall be a feast; seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.

According to this legislation, which henceforth prevailed, the month Abib, or Nisan (March-April), became the first of the year. It is possible that this change was due, in part at least, to the influence of the Babylonian sacred year, which likewise began with the month Nisan. It appears, however, that the festival of the New-Year continued to be observed in the autumn, perhaps originally on the tenth, and later on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri. Josephus asserts (l.c. i. 3, & 3) that while Moses appointed Nisan to be the first month for the sacred festivals and other solemnities, he preserved the original order of the months for buying and selling and for the transaction of other business. The Seleucidan calendar, from 312 B.C., placed the beginning of the year in the autumn; but it appears that the Palestinian Jews still reckoned from the spring and dated the Seleucidan era according to that reckoning (see Schurer, "The Jewish People in the Time of **** ****," 2d ed., Eng. transl., I. i 36-46, on the dates in the Books of Maccabees; comp. Esth. iii. 7).
Moses was after Noah, Moses changed the month to Aviv. The argument is both confusing and meaningless...

Josephus Antiquities Book I - Chapter 3
3. This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government, [age,] in the second month, called by the Macedonians Dius, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan: for so did they order their year in Egypt. But Moses appointed that Nisan, which is the same with Xanthicus, should be the first month for their festivals, because he brought them out of Egypt in that month: so that this month began the year as to all the solemnities they observed to the honor of God, although he preserved the original order of the months as to selling and buying, and other ordinary affairs. Now he says that this flood began on the twenty-seventh [seventeenth] day of the aforementioned month; and this was two thousand six hundred and fifty-six [one thousand six hundred and fifty-six] years from Adam, the first man; and the time is written down in our sacred books, those who then lived having noted down, with great accuracy, both the births and deaths of illustrious men.

Schurer: NEEDS STUDY.



How Celebrated.

It is altogether probable that the beginning of the year was celebrated from ancient times in some special way, like the New Moon festival. The earliest reference, however, to such a custom is, probably, in the account of the vision of Ezekiel (Ezek. xl. 1) which, as stated above, took place at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month (Tishri ?).








Ezekiel Chapter 40
1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day, the hand of YHWH was upon me, and He brought me thither.
2 In the visions of God brought He me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the frame of a city on the south.

On the same day the beginning of the year of jubilee was to be proclaimed by the blowing of trumpets (Lev. xxv. 9). According to the Septuagint rendering of Ezek. xlv. 20, special sacrifices were to be offered on the first day of the seventh month as well as on the first day of the first month.








Ezekiel Chapter 45
18 Thus saith the Lord YHWH: In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish; and thou shalt purify the sanctuary.
19 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court.
20 And so thou shalt do on the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple; so shall ye make atonement for the house.
21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover; a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
22 And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering.

This first day of the seventh month was appointed by the Law to be "a day of blowing of trumpets" (). There was to be a holy convocation; no servile work was to be done; and special sacrifices were to be offered (Lev. xxiii. 23-25; Num. xxix. 1-6; comp. ib. x. 1-10). This day was not expressly called New-Year's Day, but it was evidently so regarded by the Jews at a very early period (see R. H. i. 1).









Leviticus Chapter 23
22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corner of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleaning of thy harvest; thou shalt leave them for the poor, and for the stranger: I am YHWH your God.
23 And YHWH spoke unto Moses, saying:
24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation.
25 Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YHWH.

Numbers Chapter 29
1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.
2 And ye shall prepare a burnt-offering for a sweet savour unto YHWH: one young bullock, one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year without blemish;
3 and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for the bullock, two tenth part for the ram,
4 and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs;
5 and one he-goat for a sin-offering, to make atonement for you;
6 beside the burnt-offering of the new moon, and the meal-offering thereof, and the continual burnt-offering and the meal-offering thereof, and their drink-offerings, according unto their ordinance, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto YHWH.

Bibliography: Hastings, Dict. Bibl. s.v. Time;
Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl. s.v. Year and New Year;
Benzinger, Arch.;
Dillmann, Monatsberichte, Societas Regia Scientiarum, Berlin, 1881.S. J. F. McL.

�In Rabbinical Literature:

The Rabbis recognize four beginnings of the year from different standpoints: (1) the 1st of Nisan for regnal dating; it was based on the Exodus (comp. I Kings vi. 1); (2) the 1st of Tishri, as, agricultural New-Year the beginning of the harvest (Ex. xxiii. 16, xxxiv. 22); (3) the 1st of Elul for reckoning tithes of cattle (R. Eleazer, however, would reckon these from the 1st of Tishri); and (4) the 1st, or, according to Bet Hillel, the 15th of Shebaṭ, the New-Year for Trees.
(1) the 1st of Nisan for regnal dating

First Kings Chapter 6
1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of YHWH.

(2) the 1st of Tishri, as, agricultural New-Year the beginning of the harvest

Exodus Chapter 23
15 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep; seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib -- for in it thou camest out from Egypt; and none shall appear before Me empty;
16 and the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of thy labours, which thou sowest in the field; and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year, when thou gatherest in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord YHWH.

(3) the 1st of Elul for reckoning tithes of cattle

Exodus Chapter 34
21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest; in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the turn of the year.
23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord YHWH, the God of Israel.

(4) the 1st, or, according to Bet Hillel, the 15th of Shebaṭ, the New-Year for Trees.


According to the Talmud, servants were formally freed on the 1st of Tishri, but were allowed to remain on the homesteads of their former masters and to enjoy themselves for ten days, until Yom Kippur, when the trumpet was blown (Lev. xxv. 9) as a signal for their departure, and for the restoration of the fields to their original owners (R. H. 8b). This is cited to explain the passage in Ezek. xl. 1; "the beginning of the year in the tenth day of the month," which refers to the jubilee year that occurred on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Exile ('Ar. 12a).









Ezekiel Chapter 40
1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day, the hand of YHWH was upon me, and He brought me thither.
2 In the visions of God brought He me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the frame of a city on the south.


Rosh ha-Shanah.

The observance of the 1st of Tishri as Rosh ha-Shanah, the most solemn day next to Yom Kippur, is based principally on the traditional law to which the mention of "Zikkaron" (= "memorial day"; Lev. xxiii. 24) and the reference of Ezra to the day as one "holy to the Lord" (Neh. viii. 9) seem to point.









Leviticus Chapter 23
23 And YHWH spoke unto Moses, saying:
24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation.
25 Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YHWH.

Nehemiah Chapter 8

8 And they read in the book, in the Law of God, distinctly; and they gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
9 And Nehemiah, who was the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people: 'This day is holy unto YHWH your God; mourn not, nor weep.' For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
10 Then he said unto them: 'Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye grieved; for the joy of YHWH is your strength.'

The passage in Psalms (lxxxi. 5) referring to the solemn feast which is held on New Moon Day, when the shofar is sounded, as a day of "mishpaṭ" (judgment) of "the God of Jacob" is taken to indicate the character of Rosh ha-Shanah. Rosh ha-Shanah is the most important judgment-day, on which all the inhabitants of the world pass for judgment before the Creator, as sheep pass for examination before the shepherd (R. H. i. 2; See Day of Judgment).











Psalms Chapter 71
4 O my God, rescue me out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of the unrighteous and ruthless man.
5 For Thou art my hope; O Lord YHWH, my trust from my youth.
6 Upon Thee have I stayed myself from birth; Thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb; my praise is continually of Thee.

Three books of account are opened on Rosh ha-Shanah wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of an intermediate class (not utterly wicked) are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed, and they are sealed "to live." The middle class are allowed a respite of ten days till Yom Kippur, to repent and become righteous (R. H. 16b); the wicked are "blotted out of the book of the living" (Ps. lxix. 28 ).









Psalms Chapter 69
27 For they persecute him whom Thou hast smitten; and they tell of the pain of those whom Thou hast wounded.
28 Add iniquity unto their iniquity; and let them not come into Thy righteousness.
29 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
30 But I am afflicted and in pain; let Thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.


The zodiac sign of the balance for Tishri is claimed to indicate the scales of judgment, balancing the meritorious against the wicked acts of the person judged. The taking of an annual inventory of accounts on Rosh ha-Shanah is adduced by R. Naḥman b. Isaac from the passage in Deut. xi. 12, which says that the care of God is directed from "the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year" (R. H. 8a).









Deuteronomy Chapter 11
10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou didst sow thy seed, and didst water it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs;
11 but the land, whither ye go over to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water as the rain of heaven cometh down;
12 a land which YHWH thy God careth for; the eyes of YHWH thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love YHWH your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

The 1st of Tishri was considered by the best authorities as the beginning of Creation; e.g., by R. Eliezer, against the opinion of R. Joshua, however, who held the 1st of Nisan as the first day of Creation (R. H. 11a; Targ. Jonathan on Gen. vii. 11, counts the second month as Marḥeshwan).










Genesis Chapter 7
10 And it came to pass after the seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

On Rosh ha-Shanah the means of sustenance of every person are apportioned for the ensuing year (B. B. 10a); so also are his destined losses. The indications of the weather prognostications, according to R. Zebid, may likewise be ascertained on Rosh ha-Shanah: If the day be warm, it indicates a warm year; if cold, it foretells generally a cold year (ib. 147a).

Omens of Good Luck.
(see image) Blowing the Shofar on New-Year's Day.(From Picart, 1726.) As an omen of good luck for the New-Year, Abaye said one should eat on Rosh ha-Shanah pumpkins, fenugreeks, leeks, beets, and dates (Hor. 12a), because they all grow quickly and because, it is declared, their names in Aramaic mean "plentiful" or "forgiveness." Ezra told the people on Rosh ha-Shanah (the first of the seventh month) to "eat the fat, and drink the sweet" (Neh. viii. 10).











Nehemiah Chapter 7
9 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.
10 The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.
11 The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen.
12 The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

The prevailing custom was to partake of some specially palatable meal on New-Year's eve. "In France in the twelfth century the custom was to supply the table with red apples; in Provence, with grapes, figs, and a calf's head, or anything new, easily digested, and tasty, as an omen of good luck to all Israel" (Maḥzor Vitry, p. 362). R. Jacob M�lln (14th cent.) in his "Maharil" mentions the custom of eating apples with honey and a deer's head in remembrance of the 'Aḳedah incident. Another reason for eating an animal's head is to presage that the consumer will be "ahead" and not backward in his undertakings during the ensuing year. But one may not eat nuts on Rosh ha-Shanah, as the numerical value of the letters in the Hebrew term for nut, , is equivalent to that of the letters = "sin" ("ḥet, minus the vowel א = 17), and also for the more plausible reason that nuts stimulate saliva and consequently distract one's mind from his prayers on the solemn day.

In modern times the table is served with grapes, other fruits, and honey. After the benediction of "Ha-Moẓeh" the bread is dipped in the honey, when the following benediction is recited: "May it please the Lord our God and God of our fathers to renew for us a good and sweet year." The feasting is in anticipation that the prayers will be acceptable, and in reliance on the goodness of God. In ancient times the Jews on Rosh ha-Shanah were dressed in white. "Unlike the accused who is dressed in black before the tribunal, the Jews are dressed in white on the Day of Judgment" (Yer. R. H. i. 3).

The idea of a good omen probably introduced the custom in the Middle Ages of greeting one another on New-Year's eve with "Le shanah ṭobah tikkateb" = "Mayest thou be inscribed for a good year," with reference to the book of life of the righteous.

The Second Day.

Only the 1st of Tishri was celebrated as New-Year's Day in Palestine prior to the time of R. Johanan b. Zakkai; but ever since, Palestine, like other countries, observes Rosh ha-Shanah for two days (see Palestine, Laws Relating to). The Zohar lays stress on the universal observance of two days, and claims that the two passages in Job (i. 6 and ii. 1), "when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord," refer to the first and second days of Rosh ha-Shanah, observed by the Heavenly Court before the Almighty (Zohar, Pineḥas, p. 231a).










Job Chapter 1
5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said: 'It may be that my sons have sinned, and blasphemed God in their hearts.' Thus did Job continually.
6 Now it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan came also among them.
7 And YHWH said unto Satan: 'Whence comest thou?' Then Satan answered YHWH, and said: 'From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.'

Job Chapter 2
1 Again it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan came also among them to present himself before YHWH.
2 And YHWH said unto Satan: 'From whence comest thou?' And Satan answered YHWH, and said: 'From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.'

For the services on Rosh ha-Shanah, see Prayer; for the ceremony and significance of the shofar-calls, see Shofar; and for the ceremony of "tashlik" on the first day of Rosh ha-Shanah, see Tashlik; see, also, Day of Judgment; Greeting, Forms of; Month; Seliḥot.

Bibliography: Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 581-603;
Carl Rehfuss, Sermon for Rosh ha-Shanah, 1839, in Kayserling, Bibliothek J�discher Kanzelredner, pp. 359-368, Addresses to Young Children, xxii. 202-212, London, 1858;
Schwab, Contribution to the History of Reform of the Jewish Ritual, i., St. Joseph, Mo., 1904;
idem, in Jewish Messenger, Oct. 3, 10, 1902;
Some New Year's Cards, in Jew. Chron. Sept. 18, 1903.W.