The Religious New Year of Feasts


Counting from 1 Tishri (Rosh Hashannah), the third Jewish new year is 1 Nisan, which corresponds to the season of the redemption from Egypt and the birth of the Israelite nation. This particularistic national event defines the nature of the New Year celebrated on 1 Nisan. The Torah’s command that “this month [Nisan] is for you the beginning of the months, it shall be the first month of the year to you” tied all counting of Jewish religious festivals to the Exodus from Egypt, and this special religious counting system distinguished Israel from other nations.

The first of Nisan is also the New Year for the reigns of Jewish kings (in line with the national emphasis of the season), the renting of houses, and the counting involved in the prohibition against delaying the fulfillment of vows. When a person vows to dedicate an object to the Sanctuary, he must fulfill the vow before three festivals, beginning with Passover, have passed. 1 Nisan is also the due date for using the half-shekel contribution described on Shabbat Shekalim to purchase communal sacrifices for the Temple.

Back to the 4 Jewish New Years

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