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Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2007 at 6:39 AM
Yom Teru`ah is a holiday on the 1st day of the Seventh Month (Tishrai). The rabbis wrongly call it New Years ("Rosh Ha-Shanna") when really it is a Day of Shouting (Teru`ah) in prayer to God.
On the 1st day of the Seventh Month (Tishray) the Torah commands us to observe a "Day of Shouting" (Wayiqra/Lev 23,23-25; BeMidbar/Nu 29,1-6) on which work is forbidden. This holiday is widely known today by the Rabbinic label "Rosh Ha-Shanna". The Jewish Bible never calls this holiday "Rosh Ha-Shanna" but instead variously calls it Yom Teru`ah (Day of Shouting) and Zichron Teru`ah (Remembrance of Shouting). The rabbis renamed the holiday Rosh Ha-Shanna (New Years) claiming the Jewish year actually begins in Tishray. But it is immediately apparent that the Jewish Bible refers to this holiday as falling out in the Seventh Month (Tishray is a later name never used in the Torah). How could New Years fall out in the Seventh month?!
The actual beginning of the year is described in Shemot/Ex 12,2 which states "This month will be for you the beginning of months; It is first of the months of the year". After this explicit statement the Torah proceeds to describe the ceremony of the Passover sacrifice which is to take place in this First Month. Similarly, Wayiqra/Lev 23 and BeMidbar/Nu 28 list the holidays and both passages describe Passover in the First Month and Yom Teru`ah in the Seventh Month. Thus there can be no question that the "beginning of months" mentioned in Shemot/Ex 12,2 refers to the first of Nissan (in which Passover is celebrated) and not to Yom Teru`ah which takes place in the Seventh Month.
The rabbis claim that later in the Tanakh Yom Teru`ah is referred to as Rosh Ha-Shanna. Indeed, the expression "Rosh Ha-Shanna" does appear in Ez/Yehezqel 40,1 which reads "In the beginning of the year (Rosh Ha-Shanna) on the tenth of the month". The fact that Ez 40,1 refers to the tenth day of "Rosh Ha-Shanna" makes it clear that the reference here is to the ENTIRE First Month and not to the first day of the year. Even if Yehezqel is referring to the 1st day of the 1st month there is no justification to say he is referring to anything other than the 1st day of Nissan (First Month).
Undoubtedly the rabbis felt a need to associate Yom Teru`ah with New Years because they felt uncomfortable that the Jewish Bible does not give us a reason for celebrating this holiday as it does for all of the other Biblical holidays (such as the Exodus for Hag Ha-Masot and Harvest for Shavu`ot). However, the true nature of Yom Teru`ah can be adduced from its name. In the Jewish Bible, "Teru`ah" means to make a loud noise either by blowing a horn (e.g. Shofar Lev/Wayiqra 25,9; Silver Trumpets Nu/BeMidbar 10,5-6) or by shouting in prayer (Tehilim/Ps 100,1). The purpose of Yom Teru`ah then was probably to shout to YHWH in prayer similar to the idea commonly expressed in the Psalms such as "Shout unto God with a singing voice!" (Tehilim/Ps 47,2) which uses the same verbal root as "Teru`ah". The rabbis claim that this noise making can only be done with a Shofar (ram's horn). There is no Biblical evidence for this assertion and on the contrary, as has been shown the word "Teru`ah" can indicate various methods of noise making from shouting in prayer to blowing on the Silver Trumpets (BeMidbar/Nu 10) all of which the Jewish Bible describes as acts of worshipping YHWH (see also Psalm 150).
Biblical Verses which mention Yom Teru`ah:
Wayiqra/Lev 23,23-25 "And YHWH spoke unto Moshe saying, Speak to the Children of Yisra'el, saying: In the Seventh Month on the first of the month will be a day of rest (Shabbaton) for you, a Remembrance of Shouting, a holy convocation. You shall do no work and you will bring a fire sacrifice to YHWH."
BeMidbar/Nu 29,1-6 "And in the Seventh Month on the first of the month will be a holy convocation for you; you shall do no work, it will be a Day of Shouting for you. [List of Sacrifices for Yom Teru`ah.]"
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