Also – why do Jews also use Hebrew letters to refer to the Jewish year and not just numbers?

Joseph Magen | September 25, 2022

Rosh Hashanah, known as the Jewish New Year, is translated from Hebrew to English as “the head (rosh) or beginning of the year (ha-shana).”

This Jewish holiday or biblical feast is surprisingly not called Rosh Hashanah in the Bible. Instead, it is referred to as the Day of Remembrance (Yom Hazikaron in Hebrew) or the Feast of Trumpets or the Day of the Blowing of the Shofar (Yom Teruah in Hebrew) (Leviticus 23:23-25Numbers 29:1-6).

A second surprising fact about Rosh Hashanah is that it begins on the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, not the first month. Today’s solar-based Gregorian calendar starts with the first month, January, so we would naturally assume that the first month of the lunar-based Hebrew calendar starts the year.

But the first Hebrew month is called Nissan and is in the spring. That makes Passover the first holiday or Jewish feast of the year starting on the 15th day of Nissan. 

The seventh month of the lunar-based Hebrew calendar is called Tishrei and occurs in the fall, and Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh Hashanah) is the first day of the seventh month.

The Lord said to Moses,“Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. (Leviticus 23:23-24) On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets. (Numbers 29:1

Today is the beginning of the Jewish year 5783

The years of the modern-day Gregorian calendar mark the time from Jesus’ birth, approximately 2022 years ago. The year count of the Jewish calendar dates back to the creation of the world in Genesis 1. Today in Israel, we are ending the year 5782 and, at sundown, the new year of 5783 begins.

The Hebrew year is not only written with numbers, but is also known by the corresponding Hebrew letters. Each letter in Hebrew has a numerical value. Hence, the upcoming Jewish year in known as Tav-shin-peh-gimel (תשפ”ג) which equates to 5783.

Tav (ת) represents 5000.

Shin (ש) represents 700.

Peh (פ) represents 80.

Gimel (ג) represents 3. (gimel is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet).