What You May Not Know About the Jewish New Year

Apples and honey are common food for Rosh HaShanah. (Pxhere)

Is it New Year's again?

Every year, about this time of year, (no matter what calendar you follow) websites and social media fill to overflowing with articles and posts deriding the Jewish people and any other person for not recognizing that "the Bible says the new year is on Nissan 1 (Abib 1), which falls somewhere within March or April on the Roman (proclaimed by these folks, "the Pagan") calendar.

These closet anti-Semites proclaim that due to their vast knowledge of Scripture they know more about the Bible, and know the Hebrew text better than thousands of Jewish people for thousands of years. Their announcement that Tishri 1, known as Rosh HaShanah (New Year's), is actually Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) is spoken in unmatched authority as if the Jewish people didn't know that Tishri 1 was Biblically called Yom Teruah. A simple internet search would have assured them that they were not the first person to notice the words in Leviticus 23:24:

"Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial with the blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation."

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So you may ask, "Why is it, if the Scripture calls this day the Day of Trumpets, do the Jewish people call it Rosh HaShanah or New Year's?" It is because a day can serve more than one biblical purpose. I know that idea may seem revolutionary, but if you were born on July Fourth, that day would be both your birthday and Independence Day (if you live in the USA)—two memorials, one day.

The other reason is that, unlike those who are looking for reasons to insist that the Jewish people are wrong about everything, those who read and study the entire Bible will find out that there are five "Rosh Hashanahs," or new years, demonstrated in the Bible.

Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah marks the new year starting with the creation of man and time. This is the point from which we count the year. Hence, we are in the year 5777, about to enter 5778.

Nissan 1: This is when we begin our year of biblical feasts. This is the first of our months. This lets us know when to observe the Feasts of the L-RD. Exodus 12:2: "This month shall be the beginning of months to you. It shall be the first month of the year to you."

Yom Kippur: the new year for counting the Sh'mittah Year (when the land would rest every seventh year) and the Year of Yovel (The Jubilee Year).

Lev 25:9: "Then you shall sound the horn blasts on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall make the sound of the horn throughout all your land."

The two below are inferred by both Scripture and practice, but do not have a direct scriptural date attached. Elul 1 is the new year for tithing on livestock and Tu-B'Shavat is the new year for tithing on trees.

So this year, as we enter this amazing season of the fall Holy Days, let's remember that G-D loves new beginnings so much He gave 52 new weeks, 12 new months and five  New Year's, and rejoice that we get to participate in newness.

Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry and #Man Wisdom: With Eric Tokajer.

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