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Rosh Hashanah vs. The Prime Minister: The Ultimate Head-to-Head

A new Jewish year is on the horizon! But what's that got to do with the big cheese running our nation?

Heads up! When you think of a "Rosh," you're probably picturing the thing sitting atop your neck. But in Hebrew, "head" (רֹאשׁ) can mean so much more! It can be the top of a mountain, the tip-top of a tower, the pinnacle of a ladder, or even the headline of a page. (Side note: It’s a hoot imagining a mountain wearing a hat!). It’s the part that comes before everything else, kind of like the leader in a marathon or, on the animal front, the opposite of a tail. So on Rosh Hashanah, we're asking to be the head honcho, not the caboose.


But hey, objects can have "heads" too. Like the headboard of a bed or the head of the table. And when we're talking war – heads of bridges and arrowheads make an appearance. There are also the herd's leader and the line's starter. Speaking of leaders, in various contexts, the "Rosh" can mean the big boss. We've got headmasters, mayors, army chiefs, and yep, our one and only Prime Minister.

But wait, there’s a twist: “Rosh” can also be tied to time, hinting at the concept of beginning, much like the words "start" or "first". It's about taking the lead! And just as the start of a month is called the “head of the month,” the New Year kicks off with Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year). But here’s a fun fact: while the "first of months" mentioned in the Book of Exodus is in Nissan, we party it up and celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Tishrei, the seventh month! Looks like our ancestors were mixing it up with dual calendar systems: one starting in spring and another in fall. Eventually, the fall-based calendar stole the limelight.


And for a little international flavor: while languages like English, French, and Russian don't have an exact phrase like "head of the year," Arabic and Aramaic are on Team Hebrew with this term. High-five to linguistic cousins.


And there you have it! The head isn't just about brains and hairstyles; it’s about beginnings, leaders, and celebrations! So, next time you think about the "head" of something, remember it's not just at the top; it’s leading the charge. 🎉🎩🍎🍯

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