Unlike in English (and in many other languages) where the days of the week are named after gods and mythological figures, the Hebrew days of the week are faithful only to the Bible and are simple ordinal numbers, named after the order of the Creation as described in the Bible. Starting today, we’ll review each day in light of the Bible. For contrast, we’ll also briefly mention the origin of the English and the ancient Greek names.
1. English and Ancient Greek – Unlike in Hebrew, Sunday is not considered the first day of the week. This day is now set to Monday through international consensus as codified in ISO 8601 (International Organization for Standardization). Sunday is named after the sun, and in Ancient Greek it is hêméra Hêlíou.
2. Hebrew – yom ri•shon indicates an ordinal number. “Yom” means “day” and “ri•shon” simply means “the first.”
In the Bible the First Day is called “Yom E•chad,” literally, “One Day.” In most Bibles it is not capitalized. Here, we took the liberty to shift away from the standard and we do capitalize this special day. In case you are not familiar with Hebrew (yet), there is no capitalization in Hebrew for anything, including names. We leave however, the English Biblical text below as is:
On Yom Ri•shon God creates the light, separates it from darkness and calls the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.”
“…vayhi erev vayhi voker Yom Echad.” “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”