10.04.2005

Feast of Trumpets

Today is Rosh Hashanah, so downtown Chicago is pretty quiet. It's considered the Jewish New Year, but in Leviticus, it's called the Feast of Trumpets:

23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.' "

That's all it says. There's no mention of a new year there. So why do people consider it a New Year? Here's an explanation:

The name "Rosh Hashana" literally means "Beginning of the Year." You may wonder how this can be, since it is called the first day of the seventh month! The reason is that the Jewish calendar is built on two cycles-the religious calendar beginning in the Spring, and the civil calendar beginning in the Fall. In the Torah, the months are never named but only numbered, beginning with the month of Nisan in the early Spring, which is the first month according to the religious calendar.

Since the source of the holiday is the Bible, I'm tempted to say "Happy Feast of Trumpets." But that will confuse people, and I wonder if they even know what any of this means.

2 comments:

a guy in pajamas said...

What I want to know is, how did Nissan get sponsorship of that month? Is the next month 'Honda'?

Oh, Nisan, not Nissan. In that case, is the next month 'Shigo'? Whatever happened to 'Reiichi'?

Um, I'll just be going now.

mj said...

And what about "niisan"? Or is that brother missing?