Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"New Year"

My sister and I just watched the Ball fall on TV. All comfy on our couch we watched the weirdo's standing outside in the freezing weather on Times Square. Why would anyone want to stand outside in this freezing cold weather to watch the SAME ball fall. Year after year I try to comprehend this concept, and I just can't seem to chop it. Anyone know?

Plus, my neighbors have just walked out onto their porch with their obnoxiously loud guests. I looked at my sister and said "First smoke of the New Year" ... So much for a new years resolution on their part, huh?

34 comments:

flatbush gal said...

Yeah I just got back from my friend's party (more like get-together of 7 girls..) we watched it too- I sorta understand why those ppl stood out in the cold, it looked like so much fun! plus some got to talk to ryan seacrest..how invigorating- not.

ProfK said...

Someone last night put it this way: "Gotta love New Yorkers. The state has problems no one is fixing. They "drop the ball" all year long when it comes to doing anything positive for NY. So of course they have established an official holiday to "drop the ball." Sort of validates all the screw ups of the rest of the year and makes dropping the ball into a fun thing."

Orthoprax said...

"Why would anyone want to stand outside in this freezing cold weather to watch the SAME ball fall."

I guess you didn't notice, but it was actually a new ball this year.

mlevin said...

Orthoprax - who cares if that's a new ball or an old ball? IT IS A BALL falling down year after year, and one has to get there before 10 am in order to be close to that stupid ball.

frumskeptic said...

ortho: oh well, does it really matter that the ball was new considering no one really noticed. its still the same ball. Its like jumping up and down that you got a new car, but its the same model and same color as the old one...woohoo?

Orthoprax said...

Not that it's a big deal, but it was different in a number of ways. I wasn't criticizing your point, just fact checking.

I think it's lame too but I think it's clear that the point isn't to watch the ball but to be at Times Square when it happens. The draw for people is the crowd and the music, etc, not the big shiny ball.

frumskeptic said...

i know you werent criticizing. I just get defensive when I'm wrong. lol.

ure fave commentor said...

Even more pathetic - last year the city spent about $37,000 just CLEANING UP from the celebration. Is it just me or can I list 10 places the money could have gone to instead???

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

yo, new years if a f---ing PAGAN holiday ok? Even slightly being absorbed in the festivities is a חשש עבודב זרה. ..like, ok?

oh, uh, 'hi' by the way...

Orthoprax said...

Ure fave,

"Even more pathetic - last year the city spent about $37,000 just CLEANING UP from the celebration. Is it just me or can I list 10 places the money could have gone to instead???"

And how much revenue do you think the city made by all the people who came into the city to so celebrate? I'm confident the city came out ahead.


Hashbar,

"yo, new years if a f---ing PAGAN holiday ok? Even slightly being absorbed in the festivities is a חשש עבודב זרה. ..like, ok?"

No, it's a secular holiday. What pagan deity is invoked by New Year's celebrants? Old Man Time?

frumskeptic said...

Hashbar and Ortho: "new years" is neither secular nor pagan. The calander we have today was created by the Catholic Church
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Hashbar and Ortho: "new years" is neither secular nor pagan. The calander we have today was created by the Catholic Church
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar"

And therefore what? As your source notes:

"Though Gregory's reform was "enacted" in the most solemn of forms available to the Church, in fact the bull had no authority of its own. The changes which he was "proposing" were changes to the civil calendar over which he had no authority. The changes required "adoption" by the civil authorities in each country to have legal effect."

And anyway, the chosen date for New Year's was different for every country that used the Gregorian system until relatively recent times when January 1st became popular.

In conclusion: secular.

frumskeptic said...

well, I wouldn't conclude it as secular. It may have lost its religious value over time, but it still had religious stuff in there, which mostly reflected the church. It's like Valentines Day. It's practically secular, but still does hold some christain theme.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"well, I wouldn't conclude it as secular. It may have lost its religious value over time, but it still had religious stuff in there, which mostly reflected the church. It's like Valentines Day. It's practically secular, but still does hold some christain theme."

But it's not like Valentine's Day. It's a system of keeping time not a holiday. Just because it was developed by the Church doesn't mean it is a religious calendar. Furthermore, even if you do conclude it is a religious calendar the particular date on that calendar which was selected for New Year's has no religious meaning whatsoever.

frumskeptic said...

Maybe the date itself has nothing to do with anything religious, but the calender, still is, based on the assumption that it is 2008 years after the death of Jesus (or considering he was 33(?) at death make it1975 years after). The entire concept of using that calender to tell time, is basically accepting time based on Jesus's life...which is Christain. Therefore, whatever day the society declared as "new years" still does not disqualify the christain connotation. Therefore, the concept cannot merely be deemed "secular."

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"The entire concept of using that calender to tell time, is basically accepting time based on Jesus's life...which is Christain. Therefore, whatever day the society declared as "new years" still does not disqualify the christain connotation. Therefore, the concept cannot merely be deemed "secular.""

The dated year may be based on the theoretical presumption of Jesus' birth, but the actual calendrical system is not. It's as if you're saying that any date in history if referred to by the Gregorian calendar has Christian connotations. If I celebrate the 4th of July, is that also a religious holiday? The event happened 1776 years since Jesus.

I will accept that New Years is as secular as the Fourth of July, Presidents Day, and Martin Luther King's Birthday if that's what you're saying.

frumskeptic said...

Thats not at all what I am saying. Maybe January 1st is just a random date, but it was chosen to be THE date to determine the year. The year based on Jesus, so we do have to take that into consideration. There would be no concept of "new year" at all had it not been for the calender that was influenced by a religious institution. However, the events of 1776 have absolutely nothing to do with the calender, the events would have occured with/without the calender. However, since the day January 1 was ordained a day (by whoever, doesnt matter) to measure the concept of how many years after Jesus, that day would not exist without the christain concept of having a calender based on Jesus's death.

Orthoprax said...

Ok, I get what you're saying. But that only makes celebrating the year change itself as a unique count from Jesus a religious event. Celebrating the end of one Gregorian year and the start of the next has no religious meaning.

In any case, the modern calendar is so attenuated from such religious origins that it's a stretch to call it a religious holiday in any respect.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Oh, look it seems like Mickey Mouse has started a discussion! Very well my children! All I can say is Frum Skeptic is skeptical of this idea no more- for she has understood my reasoning. Orthoprax though is being unreasonably illogical obviously because he probably had some boos with friends, partied his brains out, and had some un-safe sex on New Years Eve, and wants to justify it! (ok, my ex-girlfriend was right, maybe my humor is a bit too aggressive...)

אל נא מכובדים, תחשבו לי את זה לחטאת

Yes, I agree more with the skeptic; the whole premise of the Anno Domini is Chistian, to quote Mr. wikipedia again; "Anno Domini Latin: 'In the year of (Our) Lord'. Abbreviated as AD or A.D., defines an epoch based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception (Annunciation) or birth (Nativity) of Jesus of Nazareth. Similarly, Before Christ (from the Ancient Greek "Christos" or "Anointed One", referring to Jesus), abbreviated as BC or B.C., is used in the English language to denote years before the start of this epoch.

The designation is used to number years in the Christian Era, conventionally used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars.[3] More fully, years may be also specified as Anno Domini Nostri Iesu (Jesu) Christi ("In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ").

Year numbering using the Anno Domini system (or its related CE designation) is the most widespread numbering system in the world today. For decades, it has been the unofficial global standard, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union. Its preeminence is due to the historical processes of European imperialism, by means of which the Christian calendar came to be imposed upon those who wanted to be recognized as members of the modern world. Its association with the Gregorian calendar is another factor which promoted the spread of the numbering system."

Um, what I think is always quite important to note in these subjects, is that the lines between sociology, geography, politics and religion are often confused (like your (skeptic) atheist buddy’s commentary to that nonsensical second minyan issue- religion- burocracy?

I covered a little chunk of massechet (Tractate) Avodah Zara (of the Talmud) during the summer, and it's true, this issue of culture vs. religion (which in a way is one of main points of interest these days) is imestakeble. Especially in the bible's prohibitions on idolatry it takes a keen eye to differentiate between the two.

(It was always an issue, by the way, in the Christian church (for example), Raman Christians thought it was a great honor to G-d to replace Jesus (שר"י) with the sun-g-d (but that's a Christmas issue), and Arab Christians thought is directly going against G-d. Obviously because 'images' were much more natural to the Roman than to the Arab, so they tried to justify their practices in religion.)

So it's true, many poskim (Rabbis) say it's not right to use a calendar supposedly based on the death of a 'paganism' (and to have to bend over backwards and count backwards from so recently). See, we Jews don't say that our calendar starts from Moses’ birth or something, we say it's a 'general' count, from 'as early as we can remember'. The Muslims start their calendar with Muhammad’s first pilgrimage with is followers; hence our calendars have far from religious a flavor as the calendar of the western Europeans, whose hands the world is in today.

ואת דברי אמרתי- להגדיל תורה ולהאדירה- אנכי שלמה בן רפאל ס"ט

Orthoprax said...

Hashbar,

"Year numbering using the Anno Domini system (or its related CE designation) is the most widespread numbering system in the world today."

Yet for those who count by CE (Common Era) - none of these religious correlations apply. Furthermore, if you claim that CE itself is some sort of unnacceptable foreign religious notation then you've just labeled all sorts of Jewish sefarim which use it as minut.

Additionally, if you're going to argue that the issue is Christian-based then it cannot, by definition, be an issue of paganism.

If you go by your understanding that the very counted year is A"Z, then writing it anywhere and using it for anything would be not permitted. Hell, even this blog labels comments to be published in 2008 (AD), right?

"See, we Jews don't say that our calendar starts from Moses’ birth or something, we say it's a 'general' count, from 'as early as we can remember'."

Who says this? As I understand it, the Jewish numbering system is based on AM (Anno Mundi) - creation of the world.

frumskeptic said...

ortho: i definitly wouldnt call "new years" a religius holiday, i'd classify it as something like "not exactly secular." Well atleast after this discussion, before this discussion, it was "religius enough we shouldn't recognize it as more than just a day off" :)

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

orthoprax,

you're a cool guy, and I respect you and all, but without vulgarities; I'm not 'hashbar', and I would sort of like to know what it even means...

OK, I know someone here would like to say "f' it with the whole 'new years' discussion already, lets put it off till next year", but I see this as representative of a very core issue in the סוגיא of עבודה זרה.

Re: your comment- "Furthermore, if you claim that CE itself is some sort of unacceptable foreign religious notation then you've just labeled all sorts of Jewish sefarim which use it as minut." Traditionally Jewish books used the Hebrew Date.

"Additionally, if you're going to argue that the issue is Christian-based then it cannot, by definition, be an issue of paganism."- What does that mean? I understand Christianity (for us) to be paganism (if you want I even wrote a bit about it in my blog last week).

"If you go by your understanding that the very counted year is A"Z, then writing it anywhere and using it for anything would be not permitted. Hell, even this blog labels comments to be published in 2008 (AD), right?"- We are not responsible for the blog labels, we are responsible for all that getting stoned and unsafe sex you supposedly were engaged in on new years : )(based on my second comment here). Listen, first off, even religious evangelical(bible belt) Christians don't celebrate new years, again, because it's not 'Christian' in the fact that it has no religious flavor. Secondly, some poskim also say that that which G-d is said to have said "החודש הזה לכם ראש חודשים" is partially a prohibition of 'using' non-Hebrew calendar systems.

But just to make it (much) more complicated- the Hebrew calendar uses almost all pagan names! Tamuz for example is quoted in sefer yechezkel as being the Babylonian sun-god. So, Jews have picked up a lot of crap on the wayside that's far from 'Jewish' (like the word "jewish').

Again, but based on my minimal understanding of the Talmudic guidelines for 'abstaining from idolatry', I think it makes sense o say that there is a big difference between passive adherence to things that might have started in a pagan culture, and having despicable orgies on 'leil (ליל) New Years'! You should be ashamed of yourself! : 0

אוהבכם כנפשי
הצעיר לבית שריקי

Orthoprax said...

"I'm not 'hashbar', and I would sort of like to know what it even means..."

Like I explained on my blog, it's an acronym based on the first four words in your (long) name.

"Traditionally Jewish books used the Hebrew Date."

Everything ever published by Artscroll, for example, has Gregorian years in it somewhere.

"What does that mean? I understand Christianity (for us) to be paganism (if you want I even wrote a bit about it in my blog last week)."

Typically 'paganism' means anything that isn't Judaism, Christianity or Islam.

"Secondly, some poskim also say that that which G-d is said to have said "החודש הזה לכם ראש חודשים" is partially a prohibition of 'using' non-Hebrew calendar systems."

That's interesting, but obviously not the halacha.

"But just to make it (much) more complicated- the Hebrew calendar uses almost all pagan names! Tamuz for example is quoted in sefer yechezkel as being the Babylonian sun-god."

An excellent point - and a much stronger association between paganism in our own system than paganism in the Gregorian system.

"and having despicable orgies on 'leil (ליל) New Years'!"

As I understand it, orgies are generally frowned upon by Jewish tradition no matter the date.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

"Typically 'paganism' means anything that isn't Judaism, Christianity or Islam."


Christians are seen by the Rambam (and other poskim)as full flegged pagans). Eastern European Jews traditionally considered the Roman Catholics to be pagan (they called crosses 'chachkas', which seemingly means idol or something, so..).

Sikh and Bahai for example also aren't pagan (Budhists; haven't done a lot of research unfortunately, but it defenetely doesn't seem like it. Same for Hindus).

"As I understand it, orgies are generally frowned upon by Jewish tradition no matter the date."- Well, if it's frowned upon wouldn't it make sense to stop having them?!

שבוע טוב

(oh, and by the way; it's Rashba"r to you!) : )

Orthoprax said...

"Christians are seen by the Rambam (and other poskim)as full flegged pagans). Eastern European Jews traditionally considered the Roman Catholics to be pagan (they called crosses 'chachkas', which seemingly means idol or something, so..)."

That is most doubtful since "Paganism" is a Christian term. Jews have their own terms for things, but you cannot just equate things. And since there's no Hebrew word for "Pagan" you must be using an atypical understanding of the word.

Anonymous said...

Whoever says that new years is a secular holiday is wrong....It is a religious holiday...100%...
just because it may not be celebrated in a religious fashion by everyone it still is a religious holiday...
If it would be a secular holiday, then why does the pope get up in Rome in the Vatican and says his special prayer for the new year...and why is there a special prayer for the new year in the first place?
If it is not a religious holiday, then why do christians and catholics get together in church for mass and do their things there.
The catholic church follows
"Pope" Gregory XIII calender...New years is part of that calendar...So please do not say that New years has nothing to do with religion...
Yes most of the world does follow the gregorian calendar...but that is because a big # of the world is christian or catholic!!!
New Years is observed as the feast of jesus' ,circumcision...and he is their "lord".
I have nothing left to say!!!

Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"then why does the pope get up in Rome in the Vatican and says his special prayer for the new year...and why is there a special prayer for the new year in the first place?"

Because it's a unique time of year and the Catholic Church takes note of it. The Pope also has a special prayer for every month - can I still observe February?

"If it is not a religious holiday, then why do christians and catholics get together in church for mass and do their things there."

Because back in the day, when it was eight days past Christmas, the whole circumcision connection was noted. But that was before it was ever *New Year's*.

"The catholic church follows
"Pope" Gregory XIII calender...New years is part of that calendar"

Actually it was simply not. If you knew the history, you would know that most places made the switch to Jan 1 as the start of the year based on their own reasons before Gregory was ever pope. Think of France, Spain, Portugal, Prussia, (what-was-to-become)-Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway. The Church was _following_ their lead.

And ironically, most places that later adopted the Gregorian calendar were Protestant countries which didn't recognize Papal authority! It was just a good calendar.

"New Years is observed as the feast of jesus' ,circumcision...and he is their "lord"."

Some groups do celebrate that holiday on January first - but not because it's New Years. It's just January first.

"I have nothing left to say!!!"

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

orthoprax:
But the pope does not say a prayer on january first because it is a new month, he says it because of the new year which he observes due to it being a religious holiday.I don't what there is to understand about that...

"Because back in the day, when it was eight days past Christmas, the whole circumcision connection was noted. But that was before it was ever *New Year's*."

That is the whole point...before it was just the brit...today new years has it has a "religious backround". You have to look at where this whole thing came from... not just what it is today.

Why are we even arguing a fact here...i do not know...
And plus we are jewish...why should we celebrate holidays that do not belong to us. Its one thing to celebrate thanksgiving and july $. They are American holidays and since we are in America, we have to appreciate all that they have done for us...(so far)...but new years is not american so there is no need to celebrate it.
"It was just a good calendar."
If its such a good calendar then why don't the buddhist or muslims celebrate it?

Anonymous said...

ignore the $ sign...

Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"But the pope does not say a prayer on january first because it is a new month, he says it because of the new year which he observes due to it being a religious holiday."

You're mixing things up. January 1st is a Catholic holiday, but one unrelated to it being New Year's. The Pope blesses the New Year in the same way in which he blesses each month - i.e. as a random stretch of demarcated time, not as a meaningful religious event.

They could move New Year's to August and the Catholic Church wouldn't care.

"That is the whole point...before it was just the brit...today new years has it has a "religious backround". You have to look at where this whole thing came from... not just what it is today."

But it _did not_ come from there. They just happen to come out on the same day. There is no religious link.

"And plus we are jewish...why should we celebrate holidays that do not belong to us."

So don't celebrate it. Nobody is forcing your hand. Personally I don't celebrate it either but I also don't think it is a religious holiday.

"If its such a good calendar then why don't the buddhist or muslims celebrate it?"

Who says they don't? Tokyo and Hong Kong are especially well known for their New Year's Eve parties. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in world, has huge displays and public fireworks.

But my point wasn't about celebration, but about adoption of the calendar which is essentially universal today.

Anonymous said...

ortho,
i get that most of the world celebrates it...but its a mtter of where it came from...why would jewish people celebrate a holiday established by a pope...in that case why don't jews celebrate easter or christmas???new years was Jc's brit so we might as well celebrate his birth...
about adopting the calendar...we can use it today because most of the world uses that calendar....but there is no point in adopting something that is not ours... why don't non jews celebrate rosh hashana, (lehavdil)???
one more thing...why is it that just because we are the minority, we have to adopt the majority's view and all....it is not right or fair...we have our own calendar and holidays... we should stick with them...

Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"i get that most of the world celebrates it...but its a mtter of where it came from...why would jewish people celebrate a holiday established by a pope."

Now you're just not listening. As I said before, New Year's was not established by any pope, nor is it recognized as a religious holiday by the Catholic Church.

I agree that it matters where it comes from, but it doesn't come from Christianity. You keep saying that it is but you're just wrong.

I'd be willing to engage the rest of your post, but I won't keep on repeating myself about the point above.

Anonymous said...

ok ...fine ortho...lets agree to disagree on this one because no matter what we say we will still end up with our own views....



I honestly don't understand this whole blogging thing...people come here to say what they feel...but for what purpose? just to stam say how they feel...(inluding me)? '
its interesting to me...lol...
I guess its good in a way because no one knows who you are and you do have a right to say what you feel....

Orthoprax said...

Anon,

This isn't about my subjective view of things. You are factually incorrect. I encourage you to read up on the subject.

Sometimes blogging is about feelings, but generally I participate in blogs for the exchange of ideas, a chance to see how people think, and generally as a learning tool. On my own blog I often try out new ideas and see how well they stand against my readers' criticisms. Whether my initial ideas are right or wrong, I end up with a greater understanding of the relevant material because of what others bring to the table or because it drives me to do more intensive research.