We are entering the action packed month of Tishrei, many festivals occurring and also events in Jewish history.
I will firstly briefly touch on some of the festivals taking place in this month. The 1st and 2nd of Tishrei comprises of the two days of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, this festival is related in the Torah, in Parshat Emor (Vayikra 23:24-25) and Pinchus (Bamidbar 29:1-6). Before the festival, it is customary to go through a process of annulling all vows and asking for forgiveness to people whom one may have wronged during the course of the year or life (Yoma 87).
It is customary to eat apple with honey in this festival, too promote a ‘sweet’ new year. We most notably blow the ‘Shofar’ (Ram’s horn) on this festival.
This festival is followed the next day by the ‘Fast of Gedaliah’ (Tzom Gedaliah), this fast laments over the assassination of the righteous governor of Yehuda, his name was Gedaliah. His death ended Jewish rule and completed the destruction of the First Temple. The Jewish nations fasts on the anniversary of Gedaliah's death (Nedarim 12a)
The 10th of Tishrei features the festival of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, a day one has to fast for 25 hours, if one is sincere, it is a day when transgressions can be atoned. Most of the day is spent praying in Synagogue, one may not wear lather shoes, no marital relations are allowed, no washing or bathing and one may not use perfumes. Much information on the procedure of this festival in the Temple period is featured in Parshat Acharei Mot (Vayikra 16:1-34).
This festival is followed by Succot, between 15th - 21st Tishrei, it is one of the three Pilgrimage festivals, blessings over the four species are made and one ideally should dwell in the shelter of a Sukkah. This festival is completed with the festivals of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. This takes place on the 22nd of Tishrei.
The month is packed out with happenings in Jewish history; it was on the 1st of Tishrei that Adam and Eve were created, according too commentators of Parshat Bereishit (Vayikra Rabbah 29:1).
The first sin and repentance also took place on this day, after Adam and Eve transgressed due to eating from the tree, they were banished from the Garden of Eden, and death was brought about to the world, however they did repent.
The Matriarch, Sara, passed away on this day, as related in Parshat Chaya Sara (Bereishit 23:1), however in the previous Parshah, Vayeira, we learn about the Binding of Isaac on the alter that took place on 1st of Tishrei, as Avraham was ready to sacrifice Yitzchak, on G-d’s command. This Torah portion is read on Rosh Hashanah (Bereishit 22:1-24).
The 1st Tishrei is also the day when the ‘Daf Yomi,’ was started by Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lubin, its goal is that one is able to complete learning the entire Talmud in seven years. This was instituted in the year 1923.
The 3rd of Tishrei, as I mentioned before, marks the anniversary of the death of Gedaliah.
The 5th of Tishrei is the day, when the great Talmudic sage, Rav Akiva, died as a martyr by the cruel Romans.
The First Temple dedication celebrations started on the 8th of Tishrei, lasting for 2 weeks, ending with the finishing of Succot. The First Temple would stand for 410 years.
The 10th Tishrei, as well as being the day of repentance, marks the anniversary of the date when Moshe came down from the heavenly realms with the second tablets, achieving forgiveness for the Jewish people because of the sin of the ‘Golden Calf,’ as related in Parshah Ki Tisa.
The 19th of Tishrei marks the passing of the great Vilna Gaon, in the English year 1797.
The 25th Tishrei marks the death of the Chatam Sofer and the 29th Tishrei was the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Abarbanel, who was one of the leaders of the Spanish Jews at the time of the 1492 expulsion, he wrote many commentaries on the Torah that we use today.
Hope you all have a fantastic month and a happy and healthy new year!
Michael Zaroovabeli from Ohr Sameach Yeshiva in Israel.