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[Updated: 2024.02.28]

רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה

Dr. UrꞋi Gab•baiꞋ (Ph.D. senior lecturer in Assyriology, Hebrew University, Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim) baselessly ignores, by misascription, the Biblical mention of שַׁבָּתוֹן זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ, a יוֹם תְּרוּעָהnot רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה (Rosh Hashanah = New Year)!!!

Ignoring the Scriptural Authority of this command, he declares: "Rosh Hashanah, now one of the most important festivals in the Jewish calendar, is hardly mentioned in the Bible" [emphasis mine]. That's because Scripture doesn't mention any autumnal "New Year" (Rosh Hashanah) at all! To the contrary, Scripture commands Yom Tᵊru•ãhꞋ, not Rōsh ha-Shãn•ãhꞋ!

Specifically, רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה is only mentioned once in the Bible: in Yᵊkhë•zᵊq•eilꞋ 40.1, where the season is neither specified nor inferable. If anything, the theme of this passage, laying out construction, is a springtime endeavor. Fall ushers in the rainy cold winter season, during which most construction was (and still is) suspended. Thus, the passage tends more to corroborate the explicit Biblical specification of "Firstmonth".

Dr. Gab•baiꞋ admits, "There is nothing in this laconic [Scriptural instruction (paragraph 1), explicitly specifying יוֹם תְּרוּעָה, not Rosh Hashanah/​New Year] that would indicate that this is the New Year’s festival, especially since the seventh month ([Babylonian month name] Tishrei), not the first ([Babylonian month name] Nissan), is mentioned."

Origin of Spring v Autumn New Years — cBCE 2000

Ninevah & Babylon
Click to enlargeNinevah & Babylon

Though the origin of "Ti•shᵊreiꞋ" on the modern Jewish calendar is Babylonian, and while a "Babylonian Calendar" is widely published, no free public-​access source appears to document the possibly-​correct cuneiform 𒌚𒇯

“The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about BCE 2000 in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 BCE the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE.” 

Just as the Biblical names of the days of the week are numbers, Firstday through Sixthday (and Sha•bãtꞋ), the month names are documented in Ta•na"khꞋ as the number of the lunar month in the lunar year: Firstmonth through Twelfthmonth. Ta•na"khꞋ documents (Shᵊm•ōtꞋ 12.2) that the Judaic New Year is the same as that of Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ (c BCE 1879) on the ancient Iraqi lunar calendar: falling on the first day of Firstmonth, not Seventh­month. In the later (Chaldean/​Neo-) Babylonian Empire of Shar Nᵊvū-khad-nëtzꞋarꞋ  and the (Chaldean/​Neo-) Babylonian Denucleation  of Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim, by contrast, practically the entire empire celebrated Akitū commemorating the birthday of their creator god Ma•rᵊdūkh in the Babylonian autumnal Seventhmonth, 𒌚𒇯 – transliterated into Hebrew as תִּשְׁרֵי. The exception was the immediate region around the capital of Babylon (city); where Av•rãmꞋ had been born more than 1¼ millennia earlier. Early in the Chaldean (neo-Babylonian) Empire, Babylon (city) continued to celebrate New Year in the spring. Soon, though, even the capital Babylon region was absorbed into the wider autumn celebration of the "New Year" idolatrously celebrating the Creation by Ma•rᵊdukh, which was universal throughout the rest of the (Chaldean/​Neo-) Babylonian empire. Even the post-BCE 538 returnee Orthodoxies from the (Chaldean/​Neo-) Babylonian Denucleation verified that Biblical Firstmonth correlated to the Babylonian month name 𒌚𒁈.

BCE 8th Century — Yi•sᵊr•ã•eilꞋ Deracinated Throughout Ancient Mesopotamia
BCE 539 Chaldean /​ Neo-Babylonian Denucleation 

"… [T]he Babylonian New Year ritual, whether celebrated in spring or fall, contained the following elements: combat and victory, creation, divine enthronement, and judgment."

Throughout the rest of the ancient Iraqi empire, where Shar Nᵊvū-khad-nëtzꞋarꞋ  had deliberately fragmented and dispersed the elite leaderships of both Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim religious Orthodoxies (kō•heinꞋ & Beit-Dã•widꞋ) into tiny isolated and Babylonian-dependent cells, the Babylonian idolaters commemorated the motif of Ma•rᵊdukh's impending judgment, followed by the "New Year", in the autumn — Babylonian 7th month: 𒌚𒇯. This autumn "New Year" commemoration was brought back to Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim in their שִׁיבָת צִיּוֹן between cBCE 538 and BCE 142. These returnees comprised a Babylonian-assimilated mixture of returnee Jews (some doubtless intermarried with children) of the former leaderships of kō•han•imꞋ & Beit-Dã•widꞋ Orthodoxies who had previously ruled in Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim.

There is no evidence of any autumn Judaic "New Year" tradition in YᵊhūdꞋãh before BCE 539. By contrast, we know they were exposed to it in Babylonia, We know that it became the practice since their " שִׁיבָת צִיּוֹן ". They displaced the Biblical name of "Seventhmonth" with the Babylonian name they use today: תִּשְׁרֵי — and displaced the Ta•na"khꞋ-mandated New Year with the idolatrous Babylonian birthday, judgment and creation-commemoration of Ma•rᵊdūkh—an a•vōd•ãhꞋ zãr•ãhꞋ!

Misconceptions About שִׁיבָת צִיּוֹן
Misconception: Yi•rᵊmᵊyãhꞋū ha-Nã•viꞋ Ch. 24 — Two Baskets of Figs

Two things you must know about Yi•rᵊmᵊyãhꞋū Bën-Būz•iꞋ (ha-Nã•viꞋ) to understand his writings and prophecies:

  1. Yi•rᵊmᵊyãhꞋū's animosity toward Tzi•dᵊq•i•yãꞋhū Bën-Yō•shi•yâꞋhū ha-MëlꞋëkh (cursing his predecessor-nephew, Yᵊhō•yâ•khinꞋ Bën-Yᵊhō•yâ•qimꞋ and his descendants") stems from the king's rejection of his foreign relations & political advice, the king's attempts to kill him in order to shut him up, and the king having Yi•rᵊmᵊyãhꞋū thrown in a well to die. These attempts by the king against Yi•rᵊmᵊyãhꞋū brewed-up a tankfull of rile. "Coniah", the king's nephew (who had wierdly preceded Tzidqiyahu as king), had instigated ! The nephew, Coniah, reigned before his uncle succeeded him on the throne.

  2. JᵊdalꞋyãh (of Beit-Dã•widꞋ, descended—like RibꞋi Yᵊhō•shūꞋa—through ZᵊrūꞋ-Bã•vëlꞋ, and "Coniah") was the son of the man who saved his life from Tzi•dᵊq•i•yãꞋhū Bën-Yō•shi•yâꞋhū, ha-MëlꞋëkh.

"However, the destruction, exile, and national crisis were the beginning of a new stage in the history of the people and th,e land. The exiled elite in Babylon were forced to adjust to life without a land, without a nation, and without the Temple. They were exposed to the influence of the wealthy, powerful, ancient Babylonian culture and religion (and, in the course of time, to the cultures and religions of the Persian Empire) and developed new patterns of community life and a new system of faith, ideas, and ways of looking at history that were suited to exiles living as a small minority in a foreign country. The need to understand the past and to reshape spiritual life and religion led to the creation of an extensive body of literature, unparalleled in size and importance. This was the beginning of a new Judaism—the Judaism of the Second Temple period. ¶ The people who remained in their houses in the land, on the other hand, without a royal house, Temple, or ancient capital were forced to develop alter natives that, until then, could not have evolved. … However, after the royal house and the old elite had disappeared, there was room for a new elite, an alternate local leadership under the aegis of the Babylonians, and other government and religious centers as well to emerge."[Lipschitz x12]

" With the support of the Persian regime, the exiled elite in Babylon through their representatives, the returnees to Zion, initiated the long process by which Jerusalem was again established as the nation’s uncontested political, social, and religious capital. Success was finally achieved by the exiles, after long years of struggle against economic hardship, the neighboring provinces, and the large number of residents who had remained in Judah—residents who were less than delighted to reassume the" Lipschitz xiiia (14)

"The “myth of the empty land” was granted credence by means of a historical “blackout.” The exiled elite who participated in the Return to Zion, along with their representatives in Judah, attempted to expunge the history of those who remained in the land during the Babylonian exile. The historiographical literature opened with the period of return being a direct continuation of the period of destruction." Lipschitz xiiib (14)

Returnees, facing disputations about Authority upon returning, spun "Exile" to encourage assuming the entire population. Everyone has interpreted prophecy under that assumption—which is wrong. The "galut" specified by Yirmeyahu had 2 elements (Yerushalamites exiled to Babylon and Yerushalamites who fled to Egypt). Population of Judah isn't in this prophecy at all. Neither are Yerushalamites who neither fled to Egypt nor were exiled to Babylon. Thus, the "good figs" contrasts those exiled to Babylon only against those who fled to Egypt. And the prophecy holds. Hileil-Orthodoxy hasn't been uprooted. But this doesn't "overflow" to endorse the Babylonian Talmud, nor the Tzedoqim nor Beit Shammai; whether or not they went to Babylon.

Duel (sic) Orthodoxies

Seeds of the Future Tzᵊdōq•imꞋ-Pᵊrush•imꞋ Zūg•ōtꞋ

It is then self-evident that the returning dual Orthodox leaderships had become a Babylonian Re-formed Orthodoxy that had mingled the parallels between

The conflict between the resulting continuous Orthodoxy of the Judaeans versus the rival Babylonian-assimilated Orthodoxy of the returning former Orthodox leadership is reflected in their respective rival Ta•lᵊmūd•imꞋ:

The Babylonian-assimilated—Reformer—returnee Jews of the שִׁיבָת צִיּוֹן (in contrast to most Judaeans who never left Judaea during that period) is the only historical evidence for the origin of the autumn Rōsh ha-Shãn•ãhꞋ ("New Year")—displacing Yōm Tᵊrū•ãhꞋ—in Judaism or among Jews.

Continue Pretending Assimilated Strayings Are From Har Sin•aiꞋ?

Dr. Gab•baiꞋ elides over the unbridgeable ha•vᵊdãl•ãhꞋ between Scriptural autumnal "Yōm Tᵊru•ãhꞋ" v lᵊ‑ha•vᵊdilꞋ, the reform of assimilating the autumnal "New Year" of Ma•rᵊdukh celebrated by the Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Phoenicians and distant Egyptians.

Skipping over more than a millennium of assimilation, the first mention in Rabbinic literature of Israelis/​Jews celebrating an autumnal "New Year" — doesn't occur until the MiꞋshᵊnãh Rōsh ha-Shãn•ãhꞋ, compiled by Yᵊhud•ãhꞋ ha-Nã•siꞋ (of the Great Συνέδριον) after 135 CE! This documents the rabbinic internalization of the tradition, assimilated during the Denucleation  in Babylonia, which had gone on for centuries — displacint the Biblical רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה on the 1st of Firstmonth (in the spring) with, lᵊ‑ha•vᵊdilꞋ, the autumnal Seventhmonth New Year of Ma•rᵊdukh, celebrated by all of the rest of the Middle East peoples.

Most rabbis and halakhists mindlessly offer the excuse that many (idolatrous) cultures commemorate various "new years": secular, religious, agricultural, fiscal, etc. — as if an idolatrous example of goy•imꞋ justifies contradicting the Bible. Well, those same cultures worship idols. Would they dare argue consistently that, therefore, Jews should worship like the goy•imꞋ (Christmas? Easter? Muslim festivals?) instead of as the Bible instructs? mushroomMushrooms neglect to ask pertinent questions, the consequences of which are that they become blind followers of cult leaders who lead them astray from Tor•ãhꞋ.

Surely inadvertently like many others, Dr. UꞋri Gab•baiꞋ coaxes readers down the same straying path. Prior to 135 CE, the only evidence — dismissing baseless and non sequitur, naked assumptions — of celebrating a "new year" in autumn tracks back, in the manner of the golden calf-mask of Hãt-HōrꞋ, to assimilation during the Babylonian Denucleation.

Scriptural New Year

Like the Scriptural weekday names (Firstday, Secondday, etc., not lᵊ‑ha•vᵊdilꞋ, today's idolatrous god names for each day), Biblical references cite Firstmonth (Secondmonth, et al.), which declare explicitly that the beginning of the year is the spring month in which PësꞋakh occurs—the month beginning with the New Moon closest to the spring Equinox.

The Scriptural autumn celebration is explicitly specified as Yom Tᵊru•ãhꞋ—in the month beginning with the New Moon closest to the autumnal Equinox.

Celebrating New Year (Rosh ha-Shanah) in autumn is a•vōd•ãhꞋ zãr•ãhꞋ of Ma•rᵊdukh in intractable contradiction of Scripture, celebrating lᵊ‑ha•vᵊdilꞋ, Egypto-Babylonian, Assyrian, Phoenicio-Persian gods no less a•vōd•ãhꞋ zãr•ãhꞋ than adopting a Hellenist Roman Christmas "Hanukah bush" and New Year!

Ergo, while Yōm Tᵊru•ãhꞋ is Biblically ordained, lᵊ‑ha•vᵊdilꞋ, an autumn Rōsh ha-Shãn•ãhꞋ (New Year), which blatantly and deliberately syncretized Babylonian a•vōd•ãhꞋ zãr•ãhꞋ of Ma•rᵊdukh, incontrovertibly contradicts Tor•ãhꞋ instruction that explicitly anchors the Firstmonth of the year, in early spring (the month of PësꞋakh)!

Restore Pristine Tor•ãhꞋ? Or Continue Assimilated Strayings?

Inescapably, the reform from Yōm Tᵊru•ãhꞋ to, lᵊ‑ha•vᵊdilꞋ, an autumnal "New Year" celebrating Creation by Ma•rᵊdukh is post-Sin•aiꞋ, a product of assimilation of the Babylonian Denucleation  a•vōd•ãhꞋ zãr•ãhꞋ that displaced the Biblical instruction; perverting it with the idolatrous Babylonian motif of Ma•rᵊdukh's autumn New Year of Judgment, even adopting the Babylonian month name, Tishrei — but under the faux-Biblical Hebrew cover name Rōsh ha-Shãn•ãhꞋ. And Orthodox religious Jews today mindlessly follow their Dark Ages, European-assimilated, cult-leader Kha•reid•iꞋ rabbis in continuing this assimilated — reform — perversion; all while claiming to be Tradition-correct and condemning the minutest disagreement as "reform". (Yet, today, Kha•reid•imꞋ are tenaciously engaged in accelerating unprecedented reforms to "Orthodox" Judaism unparalleled in all of history).

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