About the Jewish New Year
Often people, especially those who are not familiar with the Jewish
customs, get confused over the occurrence of the Jewish New Year in the
seventh month of the Tishri.
Though the Bible speaks of
the first day of the seventh month, the question is how people can
celebrate a New Year on the seventh month of their own calendar
Instead it could have celebrated on the Nissan, the first month of the
Tishri. And Nissan occurs in March and April.
Here goes an explanation:
Instead of the usual unique one, the Judaism
has several "new years," each
one dedicated to a specific cause.
The concept, though, may appear strange at first, has got the logic
of its own. For instance, the American "new year" starts
in January, but the new "school year" starts in September. Again, many
businesses have "fiscal years" that start at various times of the year.
So, even here we have different new years, each book marked for a
Similarly in Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of
kings and months on the calendar.
Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for
the tithing of animals.
Shevat 15(in February) is the new year for trees. It helps determining the
time when first
fruits can be eaten.
Accordingly, Tishri 1, when the Rosh Hashanah is celebrated is the new year
for years. This is when Jews start counting the the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years
begin at this time.
According to historians like Josephus Flavius, Tishrei indeed served as
the beginning of the year, based on the tradition that the world was
created in that month. But the Torah determined that "This month
[i.e. Nisan] is for you the beginning of the months, it shall be the first
month of the year to you." All counting is to be in accordance with
from Egypt. Because by counting this way, Israel is
distinguished from the other nations; counting from Nisan marks the date
on which God's majesty was revealed to Am Yisrael. And specifically on
"yom teru'ah", the day on which Israel's special character is
manifest, we understand the idea of counting the year starting from the
month of Nisan making Tishrei seventh in that cycle.