Rosh Hashanah LaBehema

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rosh Hashanah LaBehema
Official name Hebrew: ראש השנה לבהמה
English: New Year for (Domesticated) Animals
Observed by Jews in Judaism
Type Jewish
Significance Tithing domestic animals
Observances Reflecting on domestic animals and their treatment
Date 1st of Elul
2017 date Sunset, August 22nd–Nightfall, August 23rd
2018 date Sunset, August 11th–Nightfall, August 12th
2019 date Sunset, August 31st–Nightfall, September 1st
2020 date Sunset, August 20th–Nightfall, August 21st
Frequency annual
Related to Four New Years

Rosh Hashanah L'Ma'sar Behemah (Hebrew: ראש השנה למעשר בהמה‬ "New Year for Tithing Animals") or Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (Hebrew: ראש השנה לבהמות‬ "New Year for (Domesticated) Animals") is one of the four New Year's day festivals (Rosh Hashanot) in the Jewish calendar as indicated in the Mishnah. During the time of the Temple, this was a day on which shepherds determined which of their mature animals were to be tithed. The day coincides with Rosh Chodesh Elul, the New Moon for the month of Elul, exactly one month before Rosh Hashanah.

Beginning in 2009, the festival began to be revived by religious Jewish animal protection advocates and environmental educators to raise awareness of the mitsvah of tsar baalei chayim, the source texts informing Jewish ethical relationships with domesticated animals, and the lived experience of animals impacted by human needs, especially in the industrial meat industry.[1][2][3]

Origin[edit]

The Mishnah in Seder Moed Rosh Hashanah 1:1 indicates there are four New Year's Day festivals (Rosh Hashanot) that take place over the course of the year: "The first of Elul is the Rosh HaShanah for tithing behemah (domesticated animals)."[4] A minority opinion holds that the festival occurs on the first of the month of Tishrei.[5] This disagreement is explained in the Babylonian Talmud Rosh Hashanah 8a as a difference of opinion between Rabbi Meir, who holds that the animals conceive in the month of Adar, and Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Shimon, who hold that the animals conceive in the month of Nissan and give birth in Elul.[6]

Ritual[edit]

In the Temple era, the tithing of the animals on Rosh Hashanah L'Ma'sar Behemah occurred by means of passing animals through a gate where every tenth animal was marked.[7]

Modern revival[edit]

A poster advertising a communal seder for Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot in Jerusalem at Ginger House in 2012.

Informal celebrations of Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot[8][9] began in 2009 at the goat barn of Adamah Farm on the campus of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, including a blessing of assembled farm and pet animals, and a meditation on beginning the period of cheshbon hanefesh with a personal accounting of all the domesticated animals relied upon, followed by the shofar blast for Rosh Chodesh Elul.[10] Activists have reached out to synagogues and Jewish food, environment, and animal protection organizations, in order to raise the profile of the festival and raise awareness for the conditions of domesticated animals in contemporary society in Jewish communities.[11] In 2012, the first guided ritual communal meals for Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot were held at the Ginger House in Jerusalem, and in major cities across the United States.[12][13] Several prominent Masorti and Open Orthodox rabbis have since lent their support for reviving the festival, including Adam Frank,[14] Yitz Greenberg,[15] Jonathan Wittenberg,[16] David Wolpe,[17] and Shmuly Yanklowitz.[18][19]

Rosh Chodesh Elul[edit]

Rosh Hashanah L'Ma'sar Behemah coincides with Rosh Ḥodesh Elul.[20]

Commencing the first of Elul (and continuing throughout the month), the shofar is blown at the end of the shacharit morning service in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah.

The period of heshbon hanefesh (the traditional accounting for one's relationships during the month of Elul) begins on this day. (This period of self-reflection and relationship repair is also commonly referred to as Elul Zman, the Elul season.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schwartz, Richard H. (8 August 2012). "New Year for Animals: The Time Has Come". Tikkun. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  2. ^ Varady, Aharon. "Rosh Chodesh Elul: Jewish New Year for Animals". Hazon. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  3. ^ W-M, Jake (24 August 2012). "Spotlight on a Siach Partnership: Rosh Hashanah LaBehema". Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation. Siach. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Seder Moed, Rosh Hashanah 1:1. 
  5. ^ Seder Moed, Rosh Hashanah 1:1. 
  6. ^ Babylonian Talmud Rosh Hashanah 8a. 
  7. ^ Babylonian Talmud Bekhorot 57b. 
  8. ^ Schwartz, Richard (1 August 2012). "Animal Rights and Jewish Law: Restoring and Transforming an Ancient Holiday". Haaretz. Retrieved 20 July 2017. Rosh Hashanah Le'ilanot (New Year’s Day for the trees), a day initially intended for tithing fruit trees for Temple offerings, was reclaimed in the 17th century by mystics as a day for healing the natural world (Tu Bishvat). It is important that Rosh Hashanah Labehemot (New Year’s Day for animals) becomes a day devoted to increasing awareness of Judaism’s powerful teachings on the proper treatment of animals and to a tikkun, a healing, for the horrible ways that animals are treated today on factory farms and in other settings. 
  9. ^ Cohan, Jeffrey (15 August 2012). "New Year for Animals: The Time Has Come". The Jewish Daily Forward. The Forward. Retrieved 23 July 2017. It is therefore, in the spirit of our Prophetic tradition, that a creative effort has arisen to rouse us from our chilling complacency and to focus attention on Judaism’s teachings about animals: Concerned Jews in Israel and the United States are trying to resurrect and reframe the ancient but long-forgotten holiday of Rosh Hashanah La B’Heimot, or New Year for Animals. 
  10. ^ Varady, Aharon (5 August 2013). "Rosh Chodesh Elul: Jewish New Year for Animals". Hazon. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  11. ^ Schwartz, Richard (19 August 2012). "An Overlooked Mitzva: 'Tsa'ar Ba'alei Chaim'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 20 July 2017. Jewish Vegetarians of North America, of which I am president, is spearheading a coalition of groups that is making an audacious proposal: that the ancient Jewish New Year for animals, a day originally involved with the tithing of animals for sacrifices, be restored and transformed. 
  12. ^ W-M, Jake. "Spotlight on a Siach Partnership: Rosh Hashanah LaBehema". Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation. Siach. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  13. ^ Dubkin Yearwood, Pauline (14 August 2012). "Op-Ed: At the New Year, let's give animals a new Jewish chance". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  14. ^ Schwartz, Richard H. (8 August 2012). "New Year for Animals: The Time Has Come". Tikkun. Retrieved 20 July 2017. In addition a number of rabbis have endorsed the initiative, including Orthodox Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg who has written a comprehensive book on the Jewish festivals, Rabbi David Wolpe, a leading U.S. Conservative rabbi, and Rabbi Adam Frank, rabbi of the largest Conservative (Masorti) synagogue in Israel. 
  15. ^ Dubkin Yearwood, Pauline (14 August 2012). "Op-Ed: At the New Year, let's give animals a new Jewish chance". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2017. it is a beautiful idea to renew/revive a classic day, [Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot] … Your contemporary application … in the form of addressing humanity’s relationship to animal life and the widespread mistreatment of food animals and environmental abuse in today’s economy, marked by industrial farming and animal husbandry, is inspired. 
  16. ^ Wittenberg, Jonathan (12 August 2015). "Why Animals Need Their Own New Year". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 20 July 2017. "What might a New Year for Animals look like? Alef Elul is when we first blow the shofar, whose raw call awakens an awareness of a world deeper and more extensive than human society alone. This cry should be accompanied by two modes of liturgy: penitence, "For the sins we've committed in cruelty to lives with no political voice or economic power"; and praise, "Praise God, wild and domestic animals, creeping creatures and birds on the wing" (Psalm 148). If I was brave, I would add a Council of All Being, … to help us recognise, not just intellectually but experientially, our bond with nature. Participants choose an animal, and through quiet reflection, try to imagine how life feels from inside its skin. 
  17. ^ Dubkin Yearwood, Pauline (14 August 2012). "Op-Ed: At the New Year, let's give animals a new Jewish chance". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2017. The Jewish tradition mandates that we are stewards of all God's creation. In our day, we are increasingly sensitized to suffering of those living creatures in our care. This initiative [Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot] helps us to recognize our obligation to animals and so helps us be more fully human. 
  18. ^ W-M, Jake (24 August 2012). "Spotlight on a Siach Partnership: Rosh Hashanah LaBehema". Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation. Siach. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  19. ^ Yanklowitz, Shmuly (7 Aug 2017). "The Lost New Year: Celebrating the Animals". Times of Israel. Retrieved 8 August 2017. Rosh Hashanah La’Behemot is thus a day to reflect upon (and begin to correct) how our choices impact all the holy creatures we share the planet with; to take responsibility for the creatures we rely upon, and who depend entirely on our choices for their livelihood, freedom, and quality of life. 
  20. ^ Seder Moed, Rosh Hashanah 1:1. 

External links[edit]