Hashem gave us the Torah, but the power of Halacha is that of humankind. Whilst there are few poskim and gedolim in the world today with the ability to create a modern Yom Tov, the development of Chag Eofys in recent years has been firmly a matter of Minchag Shtuss.
EOFYS (Yud Eiyin, Peh Eiyin Somach) End of Financial Year Simcha, is celebrated in Austraila on 30 June, this year corresponding to 18 Tammuz. It is of special merit when the Chag commences with the breaking of the fast of Shvar Assar BTammuz.
Some argue with the creativity of the advent of a new chag. Rav Tzadok learns out from the bracha ‘v’romamtanu mikol ha’l’shonot” that we have the ability to make a Yom Tov, as opposed to the unstinting regularity of Shabbat. It is the gift of the Lashon itself that makes this new Chag such a modern miracle.
If you look closely at the shoresh of EOFYS you have the root letters of Eyian Peh Eiyan. Note carefully the use of the peh preceding the (ayin). In addition to the grammatical construct of Peh Eiyan in the sequence of a Hebrew verb (a definitive switch), this is also an allusion to the sins of the spies of Sefer BeMidbar who slandered Eretz Yisrael. We learn that the meraglim uttered with their mouths (Peh) what they did not see with their eyes (Eiyan). The spies placed their mouths before their eyes, which teaches us a fundamental lesson about EOFYS. The idea is also reflected by the construct of chapters two, three and four in Megillat Eichah where we see that Peh consistently precedes the Eiyan (see the Gemara in Sanhedrin 104b).
The gematria of Eiyan Peh Eiyan is 220, which equates to Hebrew root words such as
- Nun Peh Tzadik – to break or smash
- Nun Kuf Eiyin – to loathe or despise
- Somech Peh Peh – to collect or receive
- Mem Tzaddik Tzaddik -to suck out or deflate
All of these Hebrew roots define the taxation process that accompanies the EOFYS. It is hashgacha pratit that my current bank balance is also $220.00.
The Lahson of the EOYFS shoresh Eiyan Peh Eiyan is converted into English by use of the strong ashkenazic accent, causing the pronunciation to be “I Pay”.
The Kabbalists go even further to claim that the unspeakable name of G-d, the Tetragrammaton is also prevalent in EOFYS. There are various Kabbalistic methods for substituting one Hebrew letter for another to arrive at the same but different form of a word, one of which is Temurah-Albam. Using this medium, the true name of Hashem becomes SHIN-EIYIN-PEH-EIYAN. It is too dangerous to go on to try and understand this, and by now you have probably already gone a bit meshuggah just contemplating the idea.
So, now that I have revealed to you the linguistic meaning of EOFYS, it is perhaps worthwhile looking more towards the development of the Chag, which really entered its modern form in 1986 when the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) was introduced.
A group of Rabbis who were secretly trading as accountants and their melamdim who laundered their kittel and their wallets, would sit and eat herring and kichel all night while they processed their tax returns until some minuval would knock on the door and tell them it was time for Zman Kriat Shema.
As the festival has developed the basic minhag has not changed much, except today it is more likely that you will find that they eat cholent and drink whisky (Glenmorangie Highland Malt. The Quinta Ruban perfected by the sixteen men of Twain, 46.5% proof). They would continue this until they started farting louder than a Vivuzela in Bloemfontein.
As a modern Chag, melacha is permitted, (according to some it is encouraged) on EOFYS. Some have the minhag of shredding their annual accounts and making the bracha of Borei morei Haaish. Some have the tradition of clearing their corporate credit card and saying “baruch Sheptarani”. Others book tickets to the Cayman Islands and recite tefillat haderech.
It is a common practice not to say tachanun on EOFYS, and only to resume once your tax refund has been deposited into your bank account. Some recite a Hallel with a bracha, and read the maftir of Shekalim. The scrupulous give an extra donation to tzedakah if they have not fully utilised their donor gift recipient tax credit.
Wishing you all a chag kasher vsameach, a brachah for parnasah and many more tax returns, ad meah v’esrim.