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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2014 / 1 Adar II, 5774

In the Hebrew calendar, a leap year has extra month, not day

By Alina Dain Sharon




The second month of Adar begins today


JewishWorldReview.com | No, it isn't nearly as rare as "Thanksgivukkah," the once-in-75,000-years overlap of the first day Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Day that took the Jewish world by storm in 2013. But this year's 13-month Hebrew calendar isn't an annual occurrence, either. As February turned to March on the Gregorian calendar this year, the Hebrew month of Adar Aleph transitioned into Adar Beis, which begins today, March 3. The incidence of a second Adar, representing a Jewish leap year, comes up seven times every 19 years on the Hebrew calendar.

Traditional teaching attributes the standardization of the Hebrew calendar—in which the months represent the course of the moon, but must be aligned with the seasons of the year—to Hillel II, the leader of the Jewish Sanhedrin in the 4th century, but some experts believe the evolution of the calendar was much more gradual.

"The Bible contains some basic references to solar and lunar elements, but it does not lay out clear rules. Over time, these emerged, and by the rabbinic period the calendar looked very similar to the one we use today, although there were sectarian groups who did not accept it and had their own traditions of calendar rules," Elisheva Carlebach, professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society and Columbia University in New York City, told JNS.org. Carlebach is the author of "Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe."

Sasha Stern, head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London and author of "Time and Process in Ancient Judaism," told JNS.org that "a lot of people use the word 'lunisolar' to indicate that the calendar is regulated by the moon (which defines the beginning of the month) as well as by the sun (which demands the addition of 13th lunar month every two or three years)."

But a core aspect of the original establishment of a Hebrew calendar was the need to determine the timing of biblical and religious holidays, such as Passover, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah. Later, non-biblical holidays such as Purim and Hannukah, and even Israeli Independence Day, were added to the calendar.

"In the Jewish calendar, the addition of a 13th month is required for keeping up with the seasons (e.g. spring for Passover), not with the sun," he said. In meteorology, the schedule of the seasons does not quite correspond with the movement of the sun.

Therefore, Stern believes the term "lunisolar" is actually a misnomer.

The lunar year is 12 lunar months of an average of 29 and a half days each, with a total of approximately 354 days in a year, Stern explained. "This falls short of the seasons by about 11 days," and thus "an extra month needs to be added every two or three years in order to make up for this and keep up with the seasons," he said.

The ancient Israelite calendar was therefore most likely lunar, with 12 months in the year, each of which begins with a new moon. Stern said all lunar calendars in the world "have always added a 13th (leap) month," with the exception of the Islamic calendar.


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Another Hebrew calendar is mentioned in some documents from the Hellenistic and early Roman periods, as well as in the books of Enoch, Jubilees, and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. This non-lunar Hebrew calendar had a fixed year of 364 days—exactly 52 weeks. The festivals recurred every year on the same day of the week. This is the earliest Jewish calendar described explicitly in any Jewish text, but the degree of its actual use at the time is unknown, and it seems to have died out.

After the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the first Temple, Jews adopted the Babylonian calendar, from which the names of the modern Hebrew months originate.

"The Babylonian calendar was very influential, as the Jews adopted it almost whole piece in the 6th century BCE," Stern said. "In the Babylonian calendar, the addition of a 13th month was required for keeping up with certain stars."

The lunar Hebrew calendar, as influenced by the Babylonian calendar, prevailed for centuries, but various Jewish communities did not always agree on when the months began, depending on who first saw the full moon. Holidays were celebrated at different times by different Jewish communities.

Experts believe that after the rise of Christianity, the Christian and Hebrew calendars both influenced each other. The Christian Easter holiday originally took place at about the same time as the Jewish Passover, but eventually came to be calculated separately. This also influenced the evolution of the Hebrew calendar from one based on new moon sightings to one based on a calculation.

Additionally, for centuries since the Middle Ages, "calculating the date of Easter and trying to separate that calculation from direct dependence on the Passover of the Jewish calendar occupied the energies of great Christian theologians," Columbia's Carlebach said.



A fixed calculation of the Hebrew calendar was finalized in the 10th century. Some diversity in how the calendar was applied persisted well into the medieval period, but the fixed Hebrew calendar became largely universal over time.

"In order to have society marching in synchrony to the music of time (for festivals, new years, to honor contracts, etc.) there has to be a means of disseminating calendars," Carlebach said.

Carlebach describes in her book that following the 15th century in Europe, Jews began to treat calendars not only as conceptual measurements of time, but as material things. Manuscripts of the Hebrew calendar began to circulate in various forms. The printing revolution allowed for the reprinting of the calendar, not only by Jews but also by Christians.

In addition to the calendars themselves, other materials circulated such as "Ibburim," which explained how to compute the exact times of the the solar equinox and solstice. The first printed Ibbur was actually edited by a Catholic calendar expert, Sebastian Münster. In his partially translated edition, he included a standard Catholic Latin calendar that contained both Saints Days, and the names of the Jewish months in Hebrew in the margins. Later, many Protestants judaized their calendars by giving the names of Jewish months equally prominent placement as the names of the Christian months.

The Jews took note of Christian holy days in their calendars, both to avoid potential acts of persecution, which tended to occur more often on holy days, but also to trade with Christians, whose market fairs often took place on holy days.

"There are parapegma from ancient Judea, calendars etched on small stones; calendars could have been incised on wood; there are many medieval calendars on parchment and later on paper. Today there are calendars on our phones and on the Internet. The medium is less important than its durability for the time it is needed and its portability," Carlebach said.

While the age-old intricacies of the Hebrew calendar aren't novel, the calendar is gaining newfound relevance in Israel today through a Knesset bill that was approved in a preliminary reading Feb. 26. The bill stipulates that official identification issued to Jewish citizens by a public authority should use Hebrew calendar dates, instead of the Gregorian dates commonly used worldwide.

Member of Knesset Elazar Stern (Hatnua) said regarding the bill that the Hebrew calendar "is an integral part of the history of the Jewish people," Israel National News reported.

"This bill, which would increase the use of the Hebrew date, is another step in strengthening Jewish democratic character of the state of Israel," Stern said.

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