Note: This is the new year used in the Hebrew Bible; whenever any date is given according to the reign of any king, the months are numbered with Nisan being the first month. At that time they were much more rational about the calendar. All the names of months had dropped away (we do not even know all the original month names), leaving only numbers. No one had to memorize a list of arbitrary month names, and the leap month fell at the end of the year. Then the months gained new names during the Babylonian Exile, as demonstrated by their use in the Book of Esther. I have yet to track down when the new year was moved to its current location, 1 Tishri, the first day of the seventh month, AKA Yom Teru‘oth (“the Day of [Shofar] Blasts”) or Ro’sh hashShanah (“the new year”); this has to have been before the compilation of the Mishnah. The current setup makes the month numberings all wrong, puts the leap month awkwardly in the middle of the year, and forces us to memorize a bunch of names of questionable origin. (Anyone want to argue with me what “Tammuz” means?) There is also a serious question about whether we got the year numbering right. May the next Sanhedhrin please do something to unbungle the situation.
Today’s news and commentary:
- “Mojave tortoises moved for Army training”
- “Scientists find host of antibiotic-eating germs”
- “6 Health Foods That Aren't”