Happy New Year: High Holidays - Rosh Hashanah Response on Ask the Rabbi
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Happy New Year

I am confused about some time frames. When is the Jewish New Year? Is it the month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah) or the month of Nissan (Passover)? In the Bible (Exodus 12:2), God says the first day of the year is in the spring, but I always see Tishrei referred to as the new year. Can you clarify this?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Excellent question!

Rosh Hashanah commemorates the sixth day of creation - the day that the first human being was created. The reason why we celebrate Rosh Hashanah on this day (and not on the first day of creation) is because the entire world was only brought into existence for the sake of man.

The reason why the months are counted from Nissan is because that is when God brought the Jews out of slavery in Egypt - marking the birth of our people.

This reflects two aspects of God's involvement in the world. With Rosh Hashanah, we acknowledge God's role as Creator, while Passover commemorates God as the guiding hand of history. This dual-facet is reflected in the Kiddush over wine, where we say that Shabbat is "a remembrance of creation... a remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt."

So although the years are counted from Rosh Hashanah, the months are counted from the month of Nissan. Hence we have two new years!

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