All About Tishrei

Where does the name for this month come from? What happened in Tishrei? What festivals do we celebrate in Tishrei? Read on to find out!

The Month of Tishrei


Tishrei is the first month in the current way of counting, and the seventh month counting  from the Exodus from Egypt.


During Tishrei, we start praying for rain.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Tishrei is the Babylonian name which our forefathers brought with them upon their return from Babylonia.

The source of the name “tishrei” is to be found in the Acadian language, in which “tashreytu” means “beginning”, since it is the first of the months of the year.

According to tradition, it was in Tishrei that the world was created.

In the Torah, the month is termed “the seventh month”, as it is written: “In the seventh month, on the first of the month, it shall be a Sabbath for you, a memorial of blowing of horns, a holy occasion.” (Leviticus XXIII, 24).

In the prophetical literature, it is called “Eithanim”.  “And all the men of Israel assembled themselves to king Solomon at the feast in the month Eithanim, which is the seventh month” (I Kings VIII, 2).

The sages, of blessed memory, commented on the name “Eithanim” (mighty ones).

According to Rabbi Eliezer, the patriarchs who are “mighty ones of the world” were born in this month.  The sages, of blessed memory, further commented: “It is called ‘the seventh (shevi’i from the root: shin-beit-ayyin) month’ because it is full  (mesubba’ from the root: sin-beit-ayyin) of everything; in it the wine-vats are full, in it there are blessings, there is atonement in it, there is the festive booth, the palm-branch and the willow in it.” (Midrash Rabba Leviticus XXIX, 8).

Constellation


The constellation of Tishrei is Libra (scales or balance), because it is in Tishrei that the days and nights are in balance with each other (are of equal length).  The merits and debits of the world  and of each individual are also weighed in the balance on the Days of Justice: Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Festivals


Most of the important dates in Tishrei are associated with festivals decreed in the Torah.


Inspecting lulavs at the shuk. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archives

  • Rosh Hashanah (New Year) is celebrated on the first two days of the month, both in Israel and in the Diaspora.

 

  • The Fast of Gedaliah, set after the Babylonian conquest, was originally called “the fast of the seventh [month]” (Zecharia VIII, 19) and falls on 3 Tishrei.

 

  • The Ten Days of Repentance begin with Rosh Hashanah and peak on Yom Kippur, on the tenth day of Tishrei.

 

  • The Festival of Succoth [Tabernacles or Booths] is celebrated from 15 – 22 Tishrei in Israel (and from 15 - 23 in Diaspora communities).  It includes Hoshana Rabba which falls on 21 Tishrei and ends with Shmini Atzeret (Eighth Day of Assembly) and Simchat Torah (Rejoicing with the Torah).

 

  • Simchat Torah is not mentioned in the actual Torah and was first marked in the Talmudic period.  In Israel, it is celebrated on Shmini Atzeret and, in the Diaspora on the following day, as a separate festival, adding an extra day to the Festival of Succoth.

Events in Tishrei


Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive


According to legend, it was on the first day of Tishrei that Adam was created.  It is also the date of the Binding of Isaac.  The matriarch Sarah and the prophetess Hanna died during Tishrei; the patriarchs were born that month and Joseph was let out of prison.

It was in Tishrei that the servitude of our forefathers in Egypt was revoked and this was the month in which the First Temple was dedicated, and when Gedaliah the son of Ahikam was assassinated by Ishmael the son of Nethaniah.  With his death, the Jewish community in the Land of Israel after the destruction of the First Temple ceased to exit.

Tishrei Milestones

 


  • Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archives

    On 22 Tishrei 5666 (1905), the Herzlia Gymnasium (high school) was founded in the city of Jaffa.


  • On 14 Tishrei 5700 (1939), the Nazis invaded Warsaw and started enacting decrees against Jews.


  • On 11 Tishrei 5707 (1946), eleven new settlement points were founded in one night in the Negev, contrary to the wishes of the British Mandatory Government in Palestine of those days.


  • On 15 Tishrei 5709 (1948), the “Ten Plagues” military campaign was launched in the Negev and the South and the road to Eilat was broken through.


  • On 18 Tishrei 5709 (1948), the Israel Defense Forces conquered the city of Beersheba.


  • On 26 Tishrei 5709 (1948), the Hiram Campaign for the liberation of the Galilee was started.


  • On the Day of Atonement 5734 (1973), the Yom Kippur War broke out, with a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria against the State of Israel.