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What is the origin of the names for the Jewish months (Nissan, Tishrei...)?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 1:2), the names of the months “went up with [the Jews] from Babylonia.” This is generally understood to mean that during their exile in Babylonia the Jews borrowed these names from the language of their host country. (See Ibn Ezra, Chizkuni and Ramban on Exodus 12:2.)

However, the Talmud’s statement can also be understood to mean that the use of these names went up with them from Babylon, but that they existed long before. See, for example, the commentary attributed to Rashi on Bereishit Rabbah 48:9: “before that time [these names] were not revealed,” implying that they existed before.

See Likutei Sichot, vol. 32, p. 73-4.


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