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).
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).
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
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.
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.