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Premit me to correct one of your comments. The first of the seventh
month is not referred to biblically as Yom hazzikkaron "day of
rememberance". It is called yom teruah and yom zikron teruah but not,
to my recollection, yom hazzikkaron. The biblical term zikron teruah,
remeberance of the (trumpet) blowing, is, as you well know, the basis
for the treatment of the Rosh hashanah liturgy for when rosh hashanah
occurs on Sabbath as it did this year. Every time yom teruah is
mentioned we substitute zikron teruah. By the way, I learned on erev r
osh hashanah from my colleague and yom tov guest Ted Fram that in the
Geonic period only one day of Rosh Hashanah was observed in certain
places (this is way before there were reform shuls!) and that when rosh
hashanah was on Shabbat teh shofar was not blown at all and instead, the
commandment of blowing shofar was replaced by teh commandment of
remembering the shofar blowing.
As for the pagan antecedents of the cutoms of Rosh Hashanah in particular
and the holidays of tishrey in general, I highly recommend the treatment
of teh akitu festival in Mark Cohen's volume on cultic calendars of the
ancient near east. He, of course, does not deal with the Israelite or
Jewish practices, but presents the relevant Mesopotamian material in a
way that a biblical scholar will find most helpful.
The major idea of the akitu festival, which occured inmost places twice a
year was the enthronememt of the city god in his tutelary city. by the
way, there are also some texts a vailable (unrelated to the akitu) about
tablets of destiny being associated with the seventh month.
On Mon, 16 Sep 1996 PWEGNER@BROWNVM.brown.edu wrote:
> The question asked about Rosh Hashanah by "Uri" was awkwardly timed -- he
> asked it after the 2-day festival began, with the result that those in the
> best position to give an answer were unable to do so at the time. Apparently
> the questioner was unaware that on this (jointly with Yom Kippur) most sacred
> day of the Jewish calendar, even Jews who are far from strictly observant
> tend to abstain from such secular activities as talking on the net.....
> The person who did answer the question was in general correct, except for
> the historical anachronism inherent in his comments, when he said:
> >It was not called Rosh Hashana (Head of the Year) until Mishnaic times. It
> known as Yom ha-Din (Day of Judgement). The oldest name for the observance in
> Bible is found in Numbers 29:1, Yom Teruah (The Day of Blowing the Horn). The
> of the Shofar was to call the devout to repentance before divine judgement.
> The first sentence is correct; but the implication that in biblical or pre-
> Mishnaic times it was known as Yom Ha-Din is not -- nor does the Bible in
> any way indicate that the purpose of blowing the shofar in biblical times
> was to call the devout to repentance before divine judgment! All of those
> ideas are connected with the later, post-biblical (i.e., post-OT) entrance
> into Judaism of that whole slew of ideas concerning resurrection and judgment.
> It is therefore ahistorical to retroject them into the Torah's references to
> the Day of Blowing the Shofar (though they could have gained currency at any
> point after the completion of the HB and perhaps well before the writing of
> the Mishnah).
> Another important and perhaps pre-mishnaic aspect of the festival is its
> function as a memorial of the creation of the world. This is reflected in
> a central segment of the liturgy. However, one can't assume that the biblical
> name Yom Ha-Zikkaron (Day of Memorial) necessarily points to this rather than
> to some other "memorial" that has become lost to us. Both the shofar-blowing
> and the "memorial" are presumably vestigial remnants of some pagan observance
> or other (like so much that is obscure in biblical ritual).
> Judith Romney Wegner