Monday, April 22, 2024
Monday, April 22, 2024
Get the Daily
Briefing by Email

Subscribe

The Birthday of the World:Rosh Hashanah’s Meanings

Ernst Simon
Commentary Magazine, September 1955

“Today the “Days of Awe” are an embarrassment for most of us because we can give them neither a national, a ritual, nor a purely natural meaning.”
 
The calendar, with its rhythmic division of the year, its beginning and its end, its workdays, rest days and holidays, provides a characteristic expression of the spirit of different religions, cultures, and peoples. This is especially true of that moment or event which is taken as the starting point from which time is reckoned. For Christianity, Jesus, as the son of God, had only to be born to open a new era in world history; Islam, however, whose prophet claimed no divinity for himself, begins its reckoning, quite consistently, not with Mohammed’s birth but with his first great act as the founder of a religion, the flight from Mecca to Medina, the “hegira” of 622.

Secular movements too, like the French Revolution and Italian Fascism, have attempted—mostly without success—to introduce new calendars, and thus to symbolize their epochal importance. With us also one occasionally sees a date given as “In the year such-and-such since the foundation of the Jewish state,” but the idea does not seem to have caught on. Jews, even those of Israel, still reckon time from the creation of the world; their New Year is its birthday.
 
This was not always wholly undisputed. The Mishnah tract “Rosh Hashanah” begins as follows: “There are four beginnings of the year: the first of Nisan is Rosh Hashanah for the kings [i.e., their reigns] and for holidays. The first of Elul is Rosh Hashanah for the tithe of cattle. . . . The first of Tishri is Rosh Hashanah for the year and for the fallow year and the jubilee year, for planting and for vegetables. The first of Shebat is Rosh Hashanah for trees, according to the school of Shammai; but the school of Hillel says the fifteenth. … [To read the full article, click here

Donate CIJR

Become a CIJR Supporting Member!

Most Recent Articles

Day 5 of the War: Israel Internalizes the Horrors, and Knows Its Survival Is...

0
David Horovitz Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2023 “The more credible assessments are that the regime in Iran, avowedly bent on Israel’s elimination, did not work...

Sukkah in the Skies with Diamonds

0
  Gershon Winkler Isranet.org, Oct. 14, 2022 “But my father, he was unconcerned that he and his sukkah could conceivably - at any moment - break loose...

Open Letter to the Students of Concordia re: CUTV

0
Abigail Hirsch AskAbigail Productions, Dec. 6, 2014 My name is Abigail Hirsch. I have been an active volunteer at CUTV (Concordia University Television) prior to its...

« Nous voulons faire de l’Ukraine un Israël européen »

0
12 juillet 2022 971 vues 3 https://www.jforum.fr/nous-voulons-faire-de-lukraine-un-israel-europeen.html La reconstruction de l’Ukraine doit également porter sur la numérisation des institutions étatiques. C’est ce qu’a déclaré le ministre...

Subscribe Now!

Subscribe now to receive the
free Daily Briefing by email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  • Subscribe to the Daily Briefing

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.