Counting the Days of a Jewish Year

Elul2 reduced

This is one of those years when you hear “the holidays are SO late this year!” While the Jewish holidays always fall on the same day of the Jewish calendar, the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar are always moving around.

The Gregorian calendar was put into practice by Pope Gregory in 1582. Just thinking about how the calendar shapes our daily thinking makes you realize how Jewish time & culture are naturally different than Gregorian/Christian time and culture. It’s really quite fascinating. One of these days I’m going to as a rabbi to teach about Jewish time – that’ll blow your mind!

Back to the High Holy Days – they fall late in the Western calendar this year, Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of October 2. The month leading up to Rosh Hashanah is Elul and it will begin Sept. 3 at sundown. For the entire month of Elul Jewish tradition teaches that we reflect on our selves. How are we doing? What would we like to improve? Similar to the January 1st New Year, this is a time to reassess one’s life.

For those of you who like to reflect here are some interesting options.

Take a look at a calendar where the Jewish dates are dominant and the Gregorian dates are subordinate.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat discusses the two times a year that Jews count the days here.
She gives this reason for counting:
We count the days between one thing and the next because that helps us stay situated in this moment in time. The counting can help us combat the tendency to draft either into the remembered past or into the anticipated future. Beyond that, it links us both with that past and with that future.

Rabbi Ruth Adar discusses Teshuvah (often translated as repentance but a better translation is return, as in returning to the right path) and how we can go about it without beating ourselves up.

What do you hope to do better in the coming year? Please tell me; I’d love to hear from you.

Shabbat Shalom,