Why is the first feast of the Jewish 7th month called Rosh Hashanah which means the 'Head of the year', i.e. the New Year, when those words were never used by YHWH in Vayikra (Leviticus) chapter 23? Those words were used by YHWH in Exodus (Sefer Shemot) chapter 12 when YHWH told Moses that this month shall be the first month of the year to you - The words YHWH uses are Rosh hachodesh and Hashanah. So I am curious. If YHWH started the Jewish calendar in the month of Nisan, why do Jews celebrate the New Year in the month of Tishrei? As Far as I can see, the first day of Tishrei is called a memorial of trumpets by YHWH, not the beginning of the year. And what does YHWH mean when HE refers to a memorial of Trumpets?

  • 1
    Lisa, please look around this site some more. You can say "it's written in the Torah that...", or "G-d says", or "Hashem says." ("Hashem" literally means "the name" -- we are respectful of the name of G-d and don't use it unnecessarily.) A question might say "why was G-d angry at Moses?" If you're being very specific, you might say "why does this verse use Elokim at the beginning and Hashem at the end?" In your case here, everything you're describing is the typical "G-d told Moses the following laws", so we'd generally write it as: "what does Leviticus 23 mean by..."
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2023 at 7:02
  • 1
    The point is -- we don't go around using "the Y name." It's disrespectful and it smells Christian.
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2023 at 7:03
  • You have two questions here, which you can break and ask separately. 1.) To what degree is 1 Tishrei the new year vs. 1 Nissan; 2.) what does "remember the horn-blowing mean?"
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2023 at 7:05
  • 1
    This is Judaism.SE. We follow the Jewish interpretation of the Torah, based on the spoken tradition written down in the Talmud. So a lot of the answers are going to be based on the Talmud. Now why did the written Torah focus on A when the Talmud says there's also B is an excellent question. But if you don't start with the basis that the Talmud's interpretation is binding ... I suspect that Christianity or Hermeneutics are the better StackExchange sites for you.
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2023 at 7:08
  • Over the past few years, many of the Jewish Bible translations, and English translations of classical commentaries, have been put online at sefaria.org. If you just want to know "what does this verse mean?", I strongly suspect you start there. sefaria.org/…
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2023 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


Ramban on Exodus 12:2 states:

Now the purport of the expression, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months, is that Israel is to count this as the first of the months, and from it they are to count all months — second, third, etc., until a year of twelve months is completed — in order that there be through this enumeration a remembrance of the great miracle, [i.e., the exodus from Egypt, which occurred in the first month]. Whenever we will mention the months, the miracle will be remembered. It is for this reason that the months have no individual names in the Torah. Instead, Scripture says: In the third month; And it came to pass in the second year, in the second month … that the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle of the Testimony; And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, etc., and so in all cases. Just as in counting the weekdays we always remember the Sabbath-day since the weekdays have no specific name of their own, but instead are called “one day in the Sabbath,” “the second day in the Sabbath,” as I will explain, so we remember the exodus from Egypt in our counting “the first month,” “the second month,” “the third month,” etc., to our redemption.This order of the counting of the months is not in regard to the years, for the beginning of our years is from Tishri, [the seventh month], as it is written, And the feast of ingathering at the turn of the year (Exodus 34:22), and it is further written, And the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year (Exodus 23:16). If so, when we call the month of Nisan the first of the months and Tishri the seventh, the meaning thereof is “the first [month] to the redemption” and “the seventh month” thereto. This then is the intent of the expression, it shall be the first month to you, meaning that it is not the first in regard to the year but it is the first “to you,” i.e., that it be called “the first” for the purpose of remembering our redemption.

  • 1
    Is this a quote from somewhere?
    – Joel K
    Sep 21, 2023 at 5:55
  • @JoelK Ramban on Shemot 12:2
    – mbloch
    Sep 21, 2023 at 6:41
  • @Shababnik - if this is a quote, please both format and attribute it accordingly
    – Dov
    Sep 21, 2023 at 11:24
  • 1
    @Shababnik - I have linked and formatted accordingly.
    – Dov
    Sep 21, 2023 at 11:35
  • @shababnik Thank you for your answer. Am I correct in deducting then that the understanding of Rosh Hashanah as the New Year is based on tradition and Rambam's interpretation of scripture? Sep 22, 2023 at 5:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .