On September 4th 2013 we will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, which is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Back in Biblical times, the beginning of the New Year was celebrated at spring time, since this was time of year in which the Israelites left Egypt, making the month of Nisan the first month of the year.
The Jewish people who returned to Israel from Babylon after the destruction of the First Temple brought with them the names of the months that they used in the diaspora- גָּלוּת as well as the beginning of another new year, namely, the agricultural year-חַקְלָאוּת. There are in fact two beginnings of a year; the Biblical and the Post-Biblical, according to the sages of the Mishnah. If you were to ask people from Israel which is the more important festival, Rosh Hashanah or Passover, the likelihood is you would be told both because of the historical significance of their dates.
So, what then is month of Tishrey-תִּשְׁרֵי? The word originally comes from the Acadian word “tašrītu” which means “a beginning”. Also, in Arabic the word “Thishrin” means “a start”. In Aramaic, the root of this word is Shin-Resh-Yod, which means “to permit.” The sages saw in this root the significance of asking forgiveness from one another.
There are two descriptions in the Bible for month of Tishrey. The first appears in Leviticus 23:24 as the “seventh month”-בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי, in the understanding that the first month is Nisan as mentioned above. The second name appears in 1 Kings 8:2-
|“All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.”||
“וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה כָּל-אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּיֶרַח הָאֵתָנִים בֶּחָג-הוּא הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי.”
The name יֶרַח הָאֵתָנִים is probably Canaanite. It means that in this month, flowing rivers reach high tide. Another meaning for the word “eitanim” is strong; the sages of Israel suggested that the name derives from the fact that in this month in which the patriarchs were born.
September is a busy months of festivals. Shortly, you will see videos about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in your inbox. The zodiac sign of this month is the scales (Libra) – מֹאזְנַיִם which signify the balance we seek in our lives. This month is the time in which God measures our actions, both good and bad. There’s a beautiful description of this in relation to the creation of the world in Isaiah 40:12:
|“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales?”||
“מִי-מָדַד בְּשָׁעֳלוֹ מַיִם, וְשָׁמַיִם בַּזֶּרֶת תִּכֵּן, וְכָל בַּשָּׁלִשׁ, עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ; וְשָׁקַל בַּפֶּלֶס הָרִים, וּגְבָעוֹת בְּמֹאזְנָיִם”
I wish you all Happy New Year from Israel!
For more information visit- www.eteacherhebrew.com
Month -Yerach- יֶרַח
The month-Hachodesh- הַחֹדֶשׁ
Beginning –Hatchalah- הַתְחָלָה