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Tishrei is an essential month in the Hebrew calendar. It contains many significant Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashana- the Jewish new year.
Tishrei is the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It usually occurs in September and October on the Gregorian calendar. Many significant Jewish holidays occur during this month, such as Rosh Hashanah– the celebration of the new year. Today there is some controversy over whether Jews should consider Tishrei as the first or the seventh month of the year since it contains the new year holiday. To learn more about this controversy, among other interesting facts about Tishrei, keep reading!
Here is what you can discover in this article:
* An overview of the month Tishrei
* Holidays celebrated in Tishrei
* The debate over Tishrei being the first or seventh month of the Hebrew calendar
An Overview of the Month Tishrei
On the Hebrew calendar, Tishrei is the seventh month. This means that it falls around September and October of the Gregorian calendar. Due to the number of days in the Hebrew calendar year, it does not coincide with the timing that most people use around the world.
Some of the major Jewish holidays celebrated during Tishrei are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Simchat Torah, and Sukkot. Therefore, this month is a particularly vital one for those who practice Judaism. Each holiday has its symbolism and history behind it, but they are all united within the month of Tishrei.
Holidays Celebrated in Tishrei
As mentioned before, Tishrei holds many significant Jewish holidays. Here is some information about these holy days.
Yom Kippur, or the “Day of Atonement,” occurs on the 10th day of Tishrei. This means that it takes place around the beginning of October. You can tell by its name that Yom Kippur is a holiday dedicated to reflecting on sins and asking for forgiveness. Many consider it one of the holiest days of the year in Judaism. Recognizing Yom Kippur means fasting, not wearing leather shoes, and going to the synagogue.
Before Yom Kippur is the Ten Days of Repentance. It is during this period that allows Jews to prepare for Yom Kippur. There are many traditions associated with these ten days, including extra prayer and practicing good deeds.
After the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur comes the holiday known as Sukkot. This begins on the 15th day of Tishrei and lasts until the 20th day. It is an exciting celebration as Jews remove themselves from their daily routines and build small huts where they do various activities, such as eating meals and, for the more devout, sleeping. Sukkot commemorates the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Israel after the Exodus. The little huts, or makeshift dwellings, remind people of the way Israelites lived during their 40-year trek to the promised land.
Shemini Atzeret and the Simchat Torah follow the holiday of Sukkot. Shemini Atzeret begins on the 22nd day of Tishrei- the day following Sukkot. Simchat Torah comes after, on the 23rd day. However, the two holidays coincide as they both celebrate the end of Sukkot. Shemini Atzeret mostly comprises of prayer- mainly for abundant rain because the day marks the beginning of the rainy season in Israel. Simchat Torah is a cheerful and joyous observance. On this day, Jews finish reading the last section of the annual cycle of the Torah. To celebrate, Jews read the final passages in a very dynamic and energetic manner.
The final holiday that holds prominent importance in the month of Tishrei is Rosh Hashanah, also called the Jewish new year. This celebration commences on the first day of Tishrei and ends on the second day. There is not much information about the holiday’s origins. It is possible that Jewish tradition adopted the holiday from the Babylonians in ancient times. No matter where it comes from, Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah as the anniversary of the creation of the world. So, Rosh Hashanah deservedly comes with festivities full of joy and excitement.
As recognition of Rosh Hashanah, Jews light candles and eat celebratory meals. Although the holiday has a connotation of celebration, it is essential to remember that there is also a religious side to it. Jews spend a lot of their day in the synagogue, praying for a good and prosperous new year. When they are not in the synagogue, Jews typically feast and celebrate!
The Debate Over Tishrei Being the First or Seventh Month of the Hebrew Calendar
Since Tishrei is the month that hosts Rosh Hashanah- the celebration of the new year, how come it is the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar?
According to the Torah, which is the sacred text of Judaism, God declared that the Hebrew calendar should begin with the month of Nissan. This is because Nissan is the month that contains Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the Exodus. After the Exodus, when the Israelites escaped enslavement in Egypt, God gifted them with the Torah. Within the text, He declared they should have a calendar that began with the month they were in at the time- Nissan. Theorists say that Nissan is the month which corresponds to the beginning of the national history within Judaism.
Additionally, the Torah makes no mention of celebrating the Jewish new year. There was no concrete evidence of Rash Hashanah until the publication of the Mishna in the second century C.E. The Mishna is also considered the oral Torah. Still, its publication did not occur until long after the Torah. The Mishna causes controversy about certain Jewish laws, including the dispute over the Jewish new year.
The Mishna establishes Rosh Hashanah and the purpose behind its celebration. Likewise, the theory that the creation of Rosh Hashanah has outside influence is very plausible. The development of Jewish holidays is evident in the contrasting ideas between the Torah and the Mishna.
All in all, many Jews consider Nissan the first month because God declared it the beginning, and because the Jewish practice of tracking time began during it. Rosh Hashanah takes place in the seventh month of Tishrei and acts as the anniversary of the world. Ultimately, the difference between the start of the calendar depends highly on tradition.