Well, I celebrate my Hebrew birthday (13 Adar Aleph) and my English birthday (20 February), as well as all the days in between. Yet this is simply awesome. So basically there are four Jewish New Years.
- 15 Shvat – known conveniently as Tu B’shvat, is the birthday of the trees and plants. Some have a custom to eat 15 kinds of fruit on that day. According to the Torah, one cannot eat the produce of their tree for the first three years. Tu B’Shvat is the benchmark for each year. So you need to wait for 3 Tu B’Shvats to come before you can eat your lemon from the lemon tree you planted. Tree Huggers – this is for you!
- 1 Nisan – The New Year for kings. Really Nissan is considered the first month in the Torah, as it was the first Rosh Chodesh that the Jews had. Then it became the new year for counting the years of the ruling of kings. Interestingly enough, if a king is anointed in Adar, after that Nissan, he is considered to be in his second year. Confusing heh?
- 1 Elul – the new year for animals. On this day, people gave tithes of their livestock and cattle. Hey Fido, want some birthday cake? I made it for your birthday because today is the first of Elul.
- 1 Tishrei – The most famous of the New Years – it is Rosh HaShonah! (Rosh HaShonah, is a new year, Rosh Hashonah is coming very soon. Apples dipped in honey we do eat, we daven to Hashem to make our new year sweet). In fact Roch HaShonah literally means Head of the Year. It is also Adam and Eve’s birthday – their 5773rd birthday – though I advise you against lighting all the birthday candles, unless you have a big cake and a fireman on duty!
Next Weeks question: What three things about the upcoming year are not decided on Rosh HaShonah?