Rabbi Eliezer asks: From where do we learn that the world was created in Tishrei? From the verse: God said, let the earth sprout grasses, seed bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth bearing fruit with the seed in it—and it was so. (Genesis 1:11) In what month is the earth bringing forth grasses while the trees are filled with fruit? You must say that it is the fall month of Tishrei.
Rabbi Joshua asks: From what source that the world was created in Nisan? From the verse that says: God said, let the earth bring forth grasses that carry seed of their own kind and trees that produce fruit each containing its own kind of seed—and God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:12). In what month is the earth filled with grasses while the trees are bringing forth fruit? You must say that it is the spring month of Nisan.
For the 2nd century teacher, Rabbi Eliezer, creation’s pattern and plan appeared in the ripe evidence of Tishrei—the month of Rosh Hashanah. Said Rabbi Eliezer, the world was created with fruit trees already bearing fruit and containing their seeds. In the beginning, fruit carried the seed.
For his rival, Rabbi Joshua, the world’s first movement was not from fullness to promise but from promise to fullness. Said Rabbi Joshua, Nisan—the season of Pesah—annually recalls the beginning of the beginning—the time of year when Israel would burst into blossom. In the beginning, seed carried the fruit.
For the poet, Rivka Miriam, Nisann (Pesah) and Tishrei (Rosh HaShanah) tell separate stories. But once around the cycle, beginnings join and endings vanish.
Seder night, or New Year’s day.
I ask the questions and have my say.
To be both young girl and elder is my nature’s way.
One is the time that at first blush changes; “one!” does time’s image cry.
My father commanded me never to die.
One is the time that at first blush changes. Pesah and Rosh Hashanah are distinct beginnings of a single timeless story that joins seed and fruit, question and answer. That story and its teller contain and produce one another. They are ever new, ever old—and ever living.