Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Spring Jewish New Year!

THAT'S TONIGHT AT SUNDOWN: “May this coming year come upon us in peace”; The Ancient 1st of Nisan Celebration (Joel Davidi Weisberger, Times of Israel Blog).
The celebration of the first of Nisan as the beginning of the new year is rooted both in Biblical, extra-Biblical and Talmudic sources. Exodus 12:1-2 states that Nisan is the first month in the setting of the new year. The book of Ezekiel (45:18-19) says: “Thus saith the Lord God: In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish; and thou shalt purify the sanctuary.”

Ezekiel contains many laws and festivals that are not found in the Pentateuch. Many interpret these as being meant for a future (third) Temple. Ezekiel does not explicitly describe the first of Nissan as a celebration of the new year per se but this description is nonetheless the earliest evidence of the day having special significance.

We find a similar reference in the Temple Scroll (11Q19) of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Temple Scroll describes the ideal Temple of the Qumran sectarians. The Festival of the first day of the first month (Nissan) is one of three additional extra-biblical festivals that are mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls: ...

If the first of Nisan is such an important date to both the Bible and Talmud then, why is the day celebrated today only by this small Jewish community? To answer this question we must look to the Geonic period of Jewish history, corresponding roughly to the second half of the first millennium. ...
The celebration began on the Sabbath last week in that Egyptian-Jewish rite.

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