How is this year different
from all other years?
מַהנִּשְׁתַּנֵּית
הַשָּׁנָה הַזֹּאת
מִכָּלהַשָּׁנִים?
An essay about the Jewish calendar in honour of the New Year 5765 תשס"ה
© Copyright 5765/2004 by Ari Meir Brodsky. All rights reserved. Permission is given to copy, forward or print
this document for personal use, provided this copyright notice is included. You may not print or distribute this document
or any part of it for profit or for commercial purposes. For any other form of distribution please
request permission by email to ari.brodsky@utoronto.ca.
This essay is available on the internet at http://individual.utoronto.ca/aribrodsky
A.
INTRODUCTION
What’s so special about the year 5765?
I’m glad you asked.
A casual
glance at a Jewish calendar for the year 5765 (September 2004 through October
2005 on the civil calendar) should be enough to identify a few interesting
features of the year, such as: Erev Pesach falls on Shabbat, Pesach falls so
“late” that it extends into May (except in Israel), and the Jewish calendar year
ends in October 2005 rather than September.
If you pay close attention to detail, you may also notice that there are
no “double parashiyyot” the whole year, something which hasn’t happened
(except in
What I have compiled here is a collection of calendrically fascinating events of the year 5765. This essay is divided into sections. In most cases, the section title describes an important event occurring during the year 5765. At the beginning of each section, there is general information about the important event, including how often it happens. Each section then contains a list of many interesting events that occur only in years when the important event in the section title occurs.
As you
will see, the essay is quite long. If
you don’t want to read the whole thing, that’s fine – you can skim through
the (lettered) section headings and individual (numbered) items to see
which facts you find most interesting. As
you read the details of a particular item, make sure to look at the information
given at the beginning of the section containing the item, in order to find out
how often the event occurs.
It would
probably help your understanding of what I’ve written if you follow along
with your Jewish calendar for 5765 as you read, so that you can better understand
and verify the events for yourself as you read them.
I’d be
thrilled to receive feedback from anyone who has any comments,
corrections, questions, clarifications, or additions to anything written here
or to anything about the Jewish calendar in general. Also, there are several places in this essay
where I have left questions open as “Exercises for the reader”. Feel free to submit any answers you come up
with. My email address is ari.brodsky@utoronto.ca. (Note that some of the exercises are there
because I have not yet figured out the answers myself. Enjoy!)
When I indicate halakhic sources for the
information presented, here are the abbreviations I use:
SA stands for Shulchan Arukh, the Code of
Jewish Law by Rav Yosef Karo,
section Orach Chayyim.
Rama refers to the additional comments of Rav
Moshe Isserlis to the Shulchan Arukh.
MV refers
to the Mishna Verura, the famous commentary to SA by the Chafetz Chayyim, Rav Yisrael Meir (Hakkohen)
Kagan of Radin. (Most people would call this MB for Mishna Berura, but grammatically there should probably not be a dot
in the letter vet, so I’ll use MV.)
In
addition, at the end of this essay there is a suggested reading list for
general information about the Jewish calendar.
Thanks to
my many friends who have provided various insights that I have included in this
essay. I have tried to acknowledge them
by name in the body of the essay, where their contribution is included. I apologize if I have forgotten anyone. Special thanks go to Henry Segal, Tzvi Goldman, Zvi Golish, Rabbi Y. M. Gross, and my parents, who have read
parts of this essay and offered valuable comments. Thanks to Rabbi Yosef
Simon for his technical assistance. Thanks
also to those who have provided general encouragement during the time I’ve been
writing this essay – usually in the form of “Ari, is your calendar essay done
yet?”
This essay is dedicated in honour of my dear parents
Elaine and Marten H. Brodsky
מרדכי צבי
ואסתר יוטא
בראדסקי
who have always encouraged me to pursue excellence both in
Torah study and in general knowledge.
Also
dedicated in memory of my beloved grandparents
Mary and Jack A. Silverberg
אברהם
ירחמיאל בן
ישראל שלמה
הלוי ע"ה
מרים רבקה
בת שמחה בונים
ע"ה
Gertrude and Morris O. Brodsky
משה אשר בן
מרדכי אייזיק
ע"ה
גיטל בת
יוסף ע"ה
whose lives and accomplishments always remain a source of inspiration
to me.
B.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT 5765
The
Jewish calendar year תשס"ה (tavshinsamachhei)
– 5765 from Creation – runs from
The year 5765
is a Jewish leap year, meaning that the calendar year contains 2 months of
Adar, for a total of 13 months in the year, rather than 12.
Every
Jewish calendar year is assigned a threeletter “keviut” or “yeartype”
symbol. The yeartype has nothing to do
with the 19year cycle of leap years, and does not determine the relationship
between the Jewish calendar and the civil calendar. The yeartype simply characterizes the
features of the Jewish calendar year itself, such as the length of each month,
the day of the week on which each holiday and calendar date falls, and the
distribution of the Torah readings throughout the year. Based on the rules for setting up the Jewish
calendar, it turns out that there are 14 possible different yeartypes. 7 of them represent leap years (with 13
months) and the other 7 represent regular years (with 12 months).
The yeartype
of the year 5765 is החא (heichetaleph). The three letters of the yeartype are
interpreted as follows: The first letter
ה
(hei) means that the first day of Rosh HaShana falls
on Thursday. The second letter ח (chet)
means that the year is “chaseira” – both of the two variable months,
Cheshvan and Kislev, are “short” months having only 29 days each. The third letter א (aleph) means that the first day of Pesach
falls on Sunday. A year with this yeartype
must be a leap year.
The החא (heichetaleph) yeartype occurs extremely rarely, in
only 3.9% of all years. That means
about 4 times every 100 years on average, although there is no reason for the
occurrences to be equally spaced. The
last time we had one was 24 years ago, in 5741 (198081). The next one after 5765 will be only 3
years later, in 5768 (200708). But
the next one after that won’t be until 44 years later, in 5812 (205152).
Sections C through P of this essay contain events determined by the החא (heichetaleph) yeartype, in increasing order of rarity, as follows:
Section C
describes events occurring only in years when there is no Shabbat
between Yom Kippur and Sukkot (60.5%).
Section D
describes events occurring only in years when Cheshvan has 29 days
(55.1%).
Section E
describes events occurring only in years when there is no Shabbat during
the Intermediate Days of Pesach (39.5%).
Section F
describes events occurring only in leap years (36.8%).
Section G
describes events occurring only in years when Rosh HaShana falls on Thursday (31.9%).
Section H
discusses the surprising fact that Parashat Vayyeilekh is not read during the
whole calendar year (29.6%).
Section I
describes events occurring only in “chaseira” years (25.5%).
Section J
describes events occurring only in years when the first day of Kislev
falls on Sunday (21.9%).
Section K
discusses the exact length of a “chaseira” leap year (15.5%).
Section L
discusses the fact that Haftarat Tzav is read this year (13.9%), and contains a
general discussion of rarely read haftarot.
Section M
describes events occurring only in years when the first day of Pesach
falls on Sunday (11.5%).
Section N
describes events occurring only in leap years with Rosh HaShana on Thursday (10.5%).
Section O describes events occurring only in years with the first day of Tevet falling on Monday (3.9%), and discusses various characterizations of the החא (heichetaleph) yeartype.
Section P
discusses the effect of the החא (heichetaleph) yeartype on preceding
and following years.
Sections Q
through S describe events characteristic to the 8^{th} year of the
19year cycle:
Section Q discusses the fact that the Jewish calendar dates and holidays seem to fall very late on the civil calendar during most of this year.
Section R discusses the possibility of having a bar mitzva in Adar I of a leap year.
Section S
contains my novel analysis of the correspondence (or lack thereof) between
Easter and Pesach.
Sections T through V describe events involving both the Jewish and civil calendars:
Section T describes the correspondence between the Jewish and civil calendar dates for this year, including the implications for birthday coincidences.
Section U describes rare events that depend on some unusual combinations of the Jewish date, the civil date and the day of the week, and occur with unpredictable frequencies.
Section V
analyzes the fact that Good Friday falls on Purim, which hasn’t happened
since 95 years ago.
Section W describes events relating to the precise time of the Molad for a particular month, and includes discussion of the various “dechiyyot” used to determine the yeartype.
Section X is the conclusion. (Feel free to skip to it at any time!)
Section Y contains suggested references for further reading.
Wow, I’ve almost run out of letters in the alphabet!
C.
NO SHABBAT BETWEEN YOM KIPPUR AND
SUKKOT
In years
when Rosh HaShana begins on either Thursday or
Shabbat, there is no Shabbat between Yom Kippur and Sukkot. This occurs in 8 out of the 14 possible
Jewish calendar yeartypes, including our yeartype, החא (heichetaleph). These yeartypes account for 60.5% of all
years.
There can
be up to 3 consecutive years with no Shabbat between Yom Kippur and
Sukkot. In fact, this year 5765 is the 3^{rd}
year in a row with this property.
Here are
the events that occur only in years when there is no Shabbat between Yom
Kippur and Sukkot:
1.
2.
HAFTARAT HAAZINU NOT READ: Since we read Haazinu on Shabbat Shuva, the
regular haftara for Haazinu (the Song of David in Samuel II) is not read. Note that it is the same as the haftara for
the 7^{th} day of Pesach. So we
read it only once this year, rather than twice.
3.
NITZAVIMVAYYEILEKH COMBINED AT END OF
PREVIOUS YEAR: In order to make up
for the missing Shabbat, Nitzavim and Vayyeilekh must be combined at the end of
the previous year, on the last Shabbat before Rosh HaShana. See section H for the peculiarity of Parashat
Vayyeilekh. Note that in some classical
sources, such as Sefer HaChinnukh, the combination is treated as a single
parasha; in other words Vayyeilekh is not listed at all as a separate parasha.
4.
BIRKAT HACHODESH DURING CHANUKKA: In such years, we bless the month of Tevet on
a Shabbat during Chanukka. See also G.26
and J.5. In other years we bless the
month of Tevet before the beginning of Chanukka.
D.
CHESHVAN HAS 29 DAYS
8 out of
the 14 possible Jewish calendar yeartypes correspond to years in which
Cheshvan has 29 days, including our yeartype, החא (heichetaleph). These yeartypes account for 55.1% of
all years. This is not rare at all, and
in fact it happens more often than not, but I’m writing in “increasing order of
rarity”, so you can forgive me for starting with this year’s events that are
not rare.
Note that
in a year when Cheshvan has 29 days, Kislev may also have 29 days (the year is
“chaseira”) or Kislev may have 30 days (the year is “kesidrah”, meaning that
the months alternate in length between 29 and 30 days).
There can
be up to 2 consecutive years with Cheshvan having 29 days, such as this year
and next year (5765 and 5766). There can
also be up to 2 consecutive years in which Cheshvan has 30 days, such as last
year and the previous year (5764 and 5763).
This means the last time Cheshvan had 29 days was 3 years ago, in 5762
(2001).
Here are
the events that occur only in years in which Cheshvan has 29 days:
1.
ROSH CHODESH KISLEV HAS ONLY ONE
DAY: Since Cheshvan has only 29 days, there is only one day of Rosh Chodesh Kislev. This one day can fall on any one of Sunday
(as in this year), Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.
Note that even when Rosh Chodesh Kislev has 2 days, no day of Rosh
Chodesh Kislev can ever fall on Shabbat.
2.
CHANUKKA BEINGS ONE DAY EARLIER IN THE
WEEK THAN ROSH HASHANA: Because Chanukka
falls in Kislev, the day of the week on which it begins cannot be determined
uniquely by referring only to the other holidays. (That is why it is not included in the
“AtBash” mnemonic of SA 428:3.) But
once we know that Cheshvan has 29 days, it follows that Chanukka begins one day
earlier in the week than did Rosh HaShana. As MV 428:2 puts it, when Cheshvan has 29
days, Chanukka begins on the same day of the week as the previous year’s
Shavuot. There are other mnemonics given
for determining the day of the week on which Chanukka begins (see for example Beiur Halakha 428 d.h. “Bemidbar”
at the very end of the paragraph), but my general opinion of mnemonics is
that it’s often harder to remember and apply the mnemonic than to figure out whatever
the mnemonic is supposed to help you remember.
(Remember SOHCAHTOA or CAST from high school
trigonometry?)
E.
NO SHABBAT DURING INTERMEDIATE
DAYS OF PESACH
When the
first day of Pesach falls on either Shabbat or Sunday, there is no Shabbat during
the Intermediate Days of the holiday (ShabbatChol Hammoed). So there is a maximum number of “weekdays”
during Pesach – 5 in
There can
be up to 2 consecutive years with no Shabbat during the Intermediate Days of
Pesach.
Here are
the events that occur only in years when there is no Shabbat during the
Intermediate Days of Pesach:
1.
BREAK BETWEEN ZAKHOR AND
2.
3.
YOM HAATZMAUT ADVANCED TO THURSDAY: 5 Iyyar itself never falls on Thursday, but
in years such as these, Yom HaAtzmaut is celebrated on Thursday, since 5 Iyyar
falls on Friday or Shabbat. See M.26 for
details. This also means that Yom
HaZikaron is observed on Wednesday, even though 4 Iyyar never falls on
Wednesday.
4.
BIRKAT HACHODESH ON FIRST SHABBAT OF
THE 3 WEEKS: We bless the month of Menachem
Av on the first Shabbat after the Fast of 17 Tammuz, rather than the second. See also M.32.
5.
TISHA B’AV AND 17 TAMMUZ OBSERVED ON
SUNDAY: The fast days are observed
on Sunday, either because they actually fall on Sunday, or because they fall on
Shabbat and are postponed to Sunday. See
also M.34. For halakhot regarding Tisha
B’Av beginning at the end of Shabbat, see SA 551:4, 552:10, Rama 553:2, SA 556
(re Havdala), 559:12.
6.
SELICHOT MORE THAN A WEEK BEFORE ROSH
HASHANA: Rosh HaShana
of the following year will begin on Monday or Tuesday. Since we must have at least 4 days of
Selichot before Rosh HaShana, Ashkenazim begin saying Selichot a week before
the last Shabbat of the year, after Shabbat Parashat Ki Tavo (Rama 581:1). See also M.40.
7.
NITZAVIM AND VAYYEILEKH SEPARATE AT
END OF YEAR: Since the following
year there will be a Shabbat between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, we read only
Nitzavim on the last Shabbat of this year.
It’s quite a short parasha, with only 40 pesukim. (Vayyeilekh is even shorter, with 30
pesukim!) Compare what happened at the
end of last year – see C.3. Also see
section H for the peculiarity of Parashat Vayyeilekh.
F.
LEAP YEAR
I’ve mentioned this already in the introduction, but I don’t want you to forget it. This year 5765 is a Jewish leap year, meaning that it contains 2 months of Adar, for a total of 13 months in the year, rather than 12. (Incidentally, the literal translation of the Hebrew expression “shana meubberet” would be “pregnant year”, but I’ll stick to the more common usage, which is “leap year”.) Leap years are necessary in order to resolve what I call the “Fundamental Problem of Calendar Making”. This refers to the fact that the month is determined by the lunar cycle, while the year is a solar concept, and there is no whole number of lunar months whose total length corresponds to a solar year. The solution is that our calendar years are usually 12 months long, but we add a 13^{th} month when necessary, in order to ensure that the holidays fall in the appropriate seasons.
It turns out that 19 solar years are almost exactly the same length as 235 lunar months. Therefore, the leap years in the fixed Jewish calendar are arranged based on a cycle of 19 years, containing 12 ordinary years of 12 months each, and 7 leap years of 13 months each. The 7 years in each 19year cycle that are leap years are the ones numbered 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19. The position of any year in the19year cycle is determined by simply dividing the year number by 19 and taking the remainder. For example: The current 19year cycle began with the year 5758 (199798) and continues until 5776 (201516). Since 5776 is equal to 304 times 19, we often say that the current cycle, from 5758 to 5776, is the 304^{th} 19year cycle of the Jewish calendar. When we divide the current year number, 5765, by 19, we get a remainder of 8, meaning that 5765 is the 8^{th} year of the 304^{th} 19year cycle, and is therefore a leap year.
Leap years are the only calendrical events that do occur in a predictable, repeating pattern, as distinct from the other events described in the various sections of this essay. Jewish leap years happen once every 2 or 3 years, for a total of 7 times every 19year cycle. This means that leap years account for 7/19 or 36.8% of all years. The last leap year was 2 years ago, the year 5763, which was the 6^{th} year of the current cycle. The next leap year after this year will be 3 years from now, the year 5768, which will be the 11^{th} year of the cycle.
In a
later section (section Q), I will have more to say about the leapyear cycle. In particular I will discuss why the holidays
seem to fall very “late” this year relative to the civil calendar. In this section, I will just mention some
calendrical events that occur only in leap years:
1.
PURIM IN ADAR II: Purim is observed in Adar II of a leap
year, so as to celebrate the redemption of Purim adjacent to the redemption of
Pesach. (See discussion in Talmud
Megilla 6b7a.)
2.
FOUR SPECIAL PARASHIYYOT IN ADAR
II: The 4 special parashiyyot centred
on Purim and leading up to Pesach are read just before and during the month of
Adar II. See SA 685:1 and 685:5.
3.
PURIM KATAN IN ADAR I: The 2 days in Adar I of a leap year that
would otherwise have been Purim (14 and 15 Adar I) are observed as Purim
Katan. See SA 697 (the very last chapter
of Orach Chayyim!) for details. See also
event O.9.
4.
WHICH ADAR IS EXTRA? What is the status of the two months of
Adar? Which one is the “real” Adar, and
which one is extra? I’ll leave this for
you to ponder. See Talmud Yerushalmi Megilla 7a.
For a recent contribution, see Rav David Kav,
“Haggeder hahilkhati shel shnei haAdarim”
in Yod’ei Binah
vol. 2 (Drazin Institute for Kiddush Hachodesh Studies, Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, Nisan 5764), pp.
6063. Thanks to my brother Avi for buying this volume for me on his way back from
yeshiva there.
5.
TWO NEW YEARS ON SAME DAY OF THE
WEEK: Tu BiShvat (15 Shevat – the
New Year for Trees) falls in a leap year on the same day of the week as the
following 1 Tishrei (Rosh HaShana – the New Year for yearcount and other
things – see the first Mishna in Rosh HaShana).
6. MOST OF THE DOUBLE PARASHIYYOT ARE SEPARATE: Because of the extra month, a leap year contains at least 4 Shabbatot more than a nonleap year. VayyakhelPekudei, TazriaMetzora, Acharei MotKedoshim, and BeharBechukkotai are always read separately in a leap year. They are usually combined in nonleap years (with possible exceptions). For more about parashiyyot being read separately, see events E.7, N.10, and especially O.1 which contains a surprise for this year.
7.
ULKHAPPARAT PASHA: The common custom is that we add the words
“ulkhapparat pasha” to the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh during a leap year, from Rosh
Chodesh Cheshvan through Rosh Chodesh Adar II.
See MV 423:6 for alternative customs.
I am always amused by the sight of people wondering, during Musaf of the
first day of Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, whether or not the year is going to be a
leap year. I was once at an aufruf on this date, when after Kedusha of Musaf, the
chatan ran over to me and said “Ari!
Quick! The chazzan needs to know
whether it’s a leap year!” At least he
knew to ask the right person! See also
the end of section K.
The first
day of Rosh HaShana falls on Thursday in the following
4 yeartypes: הכז (heikafzayin), השא (heishinaleph), החא (heichetaleph), and השג
(heishingimel). Altogether, these
yeartypes account for 31.9% of all years. That is still not rare at all, but as with
most calendrical events the distribution is irregular. The last time Rosh HaShana
fell on Thursday was 7 years ago, in 5758 (1997).
There can be up to 2 consecutive years with Rosh HaShana on Thursday.
Here is
the list of events that occur only in years with Rosh HaShana
on Thursday. In addition to these,
all the events of section C occur in such years, as explained there.
1.
THREEDAY MIKRA KODESH FOR HOLIDAYS IN
TISHREI: Colloquially known as a “3day
yom tov”, in the Diaspora we will have 3 of them in Tishrei. The two days of Rosh HaShana,
first two days of Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah all fall on ThursdayFriday. This requires an “eiruv tavshilin” on
Wednesday for each occasion. Even
in Israel where most holidays are only one day, there will still be a
“3day yom tov” for Rosh HaShana. This is the only possible occurrence of a
“3day yom tov” in
[If
you interpret “3day yom tov” rather loosely, there was one other situation in
which Israelis observed a 3dayer. In
5758 (1998), as a onetime temporary measure in honour of the 50^{th}
Independence Day of the State of Israel, the Government of Israel legislated
that Friday 5 Iyyar 5758 would be a national holiday, in addition to Yom
HaAtzmaut which was celebrated on Thursday 4 Iyyar according to the usual
advancement rules. See www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/heb/chok_yom_haatzmaut.htm
So
one could say that for the first time in history, Israelis had two “3day yom tov”s in the same calendar year 5758 – Rosh HaShana and Yom HaAtzmaut!]
2.
NO AVINU MALKEINU ROSH HASHANA
AFTERNOON: The 2^{nd} day of
Rosh HaShana falls on Friday, so we don’t say Avinu
Malkeinu at Mincha that day (MV 584:4).
3.
RECORD NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE WEEKS
WITH ABRIDGED KABBALAT SHABBAT: For 4
consecutive Friday nights in the Diaspora (only 3 in Israel), Kabbalat
Shabbat will be abridged:
3 Tishrei – conclusion of Rosh HaShana
10 Tishrei – Yom Kippur
17 Tishrei – Sukkot
24 Tishrei – conclusion of Simchat Torah (Diaspora only)
On all of these dates Kabbalat Shabbat
is abridged. (See SA 270:2 regarding
Bamme Madlikin.) When we resume the full
Kabbalat Shabbat on 1 Cheshvan (Diaspora) or 24 Tishrei (
4.
HAAZINU ON EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE: We read Parashat Haazinu on 3 Tishrei, the
earliest possible date. See also C.1 and
C.2 regarding Shabbat Shuva.
5.
RECORD NUMBER OF VEZOT HABBERAKHA
6.
VIHI NOAM ON MOTZEI SHABBAT
SHUVA: After Shabbat Shuva, there
will be a full 6day halakhic workweek, so we do say Vihi Noam at Maariv, 4
Tishrei. In all other years, Yom Kippur would
preclude saying Vihi Noam at the end of Shabbat Shuva, and there are usually 4
consecutive weeks of omitting Vihi Noam because of the Tishrei holidays. This year, there are only 2 consecutive
omissions.
7.
FAST OF GEDALIA POSTPONED: 3 Tishrei falls on Shabbat, so the Fast
of Gedalia is observed on Sunday, 4 Tishrei.
Otherwise, it’s always on the same day of the week as Yom Kippur,
exactly one week earlier. Note that 3
Tishrei never falls on Sunday, so the only way the Fast of Gedalia can be
observed on Sunday is when 3 Tishrei falls on Shabbat.
8.
AVINU MALKEINU ON FRIDAY EREV YOM
KIPPUR: When Erev Yom Kippur falls
on Friday, we do say Avinu Malkeinu at Shacharit even
though we don’t say Tachanun. See Rama
604:2. This is the only calendrical occasion
on which we say Avinu Malkeinu without Tachanun, except for the yom tov days
(Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur). Thanks to David Cashman
for noticing the error in my original formulation.
9.
YOM KIPPUR ON SHABBAT: No cholent to
eat that day. There’s a halakhic issue
about how to fulfill the Biblical commandment of “Remembering Shabbat”
if we can’t say the usual Kiddush on wine.
We should intend to fulfill the Kiddush obligation with the Amida at Maariv. I
recall hearing this somewhere but I can’t find the source for it. Note also that this is the only occasion
where the Torah reading at Mincha on Shabbat is not taken from the regular
weekly cycle of parashiyyot. For other
halakhot relevant to Yom Kippur on Shabbat, see SA 610:1; MV 618:29; SA 619:3 and
MV #7, 911; SA 621:1 and MV #3, 5; SA 622:1, 2, 3, and Rama and MV there; SA 623:3
and MV #46, 10, 12; SA 624:3 and MV #5, 7.
10.
DON’T NEED SPECIAL CANDLE AFTER YOM
KIPPUR: The end of Yom Kippur is
also the end of Shabbat, so we say the full Havdala as on any Saturday night. No need for special candle that was burning
since before Yom Kippur. (See discussion
in MV 624:7.) However, note SA 624:3
saying that we don’t use spices after Yom Kippur even on Saturday
night. MV (#5) disputes this, so we do
use spices. What do Sephardim do?
11.
NO ABRIDGED HAVDALA IN TISHREI: In the Diaspora, because all the holidays
are followed by Shabbat, every Havdala is a full one – there is no Havdala
other than on a Saturday night.
12.
3^{rd} DAY OF
13.
HOSHANA RABBA ON WEDNESDAY: Hoshana Rabba is always on the same day
of the week as Shavuot of the previous year.
14.
RECORD NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE MUSAF
DAYS: In the Diaspora we say Musaf
on 10 consecutive days, from Thursday 15 Tishrei through Shabbat 24 Tishrei. This is a record number of consecutive days,
and this is the only scenario in which it occurs. Note that in
15.
SIMCHAT
16.
NO TIME TO LEARN BEREISHIT: We complete the cycle of Torah reading on
Simchat Torah, which falls on Friday (Diaspora) or Thursday (
17.
EARLIEST DATE FOR ALL PARASHIYYOT
UNTIL TOLEDOT: As Simchat Torah
falls on Friday or Thursday, we read Bereishit on the earliest possible
calendar date, 24 Tishrei. Similarly,
all parashiyyot until the end of Cheshvan are read on their earliest possible
calendar dates:
24 Tishrei – Bereishit
1 Cheshvan – Noach (with maftir and haftara for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh)
8 Cheshvan – LekhLekha
15 Cheshvan – Vayyeira
22 Cheshvan – Chayyei Sara
29 Cheshvan – Toledot (with Haftarat Machar Chodesh)
Exercise for the reader: Why is
the same not necessarily true for the month of Kislev and further?
18.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR CHESHVAN ON
EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE: We bless the
month of Cheshvan on Shabbat 24 Tishrei, the earliest possible date. (This is on Shabbat Bereishit, as
always.) Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan will
fall on Friday and Shabbat. Friday
is 30 Tishrei, and Shabbat is 1 Cheshvan.
For an interesting surprise about the timing of the molad this month,
see W.3.
19.
SHABBAT ROSH CHODESH CHESHVAN: We read the special Maftir for Shabbat
Rosh Chodesh from the 2^{nd} sefer Torah. We also read the special Haftara for Shabbat
Rosh Chodesh from the end of Isaiah (HaShamayim Kis’i), rather than the regular
haftara for Noach (also from Isaiah).
See item P.5 for more information about this haftara.
20.
21.
YOM KIPPUR KATAN ADVANCED IN CHESHVAN: For those who observe the day before Rosh
Chodesh as Yom Kippur Katan, it must be advanced from Shabbat 29 Cheshvan to
Thursday 27 Cheshvan. See also M.9.
22.
MACHAR CHODESH FOR KISLEV: Rosh Chodesh Kislev falls on Sunday, so
we read the special Haftara called “Machar Chodesh” on Shabbat 29 Cheshvan,
rather than the regular haftara for Toledot.
See item P.6 for more information about this haftara.
24.
DAYS OF THE WEEK DETERMINED FOR
TISHREI AND CHESHVAN: Each calendar
date from 1 Tishrei until 29 Cheshvan can fall on any one of 4 days of the
week, depending on the weekday on which Rosh HaShana falls. The fact that Rosh HaShana
falls on Thursday determines the day of the week of each calendar date in these
2 months.
25.
MIKKETZ READ ON MONDAY MORNING: There will be a Monday morning reading of
the beginning of Parashat Mikketz. In
other years, the Monday of Mikketz is already Chanukka. Note that the Thursday (and Friday) of
Mikketz is always Chanukka so Mikketz is never read on a Thursday.
26.
BIRKAT HACHODESH ON MIKKETZ: We bless the month of Tevet on Shabbat Parashat
Mikketz. In other years it would be on
Vayyeishev. See also C.4 and J.5.
H.
VAYYEILEKH NOT READ THE WHOLE YEAR
The cycle of Torah readings is such that Parashat Vayyeilekh can be read either before or after Rosh HaShana. This causes Vayyeilekh to have the peculiar property that it can be read either twice, once, or not at all in any Jewish calendar year, depending on whether it is read before or after Rosh HaShana, both at the beginning and at the end of the year.
We read Vayyeilekh combined with Nitzavim on the last Shabbat of the year 5764, just before Rosh HaShana 5765 (see event C.3). A year later, we will read Vayyeilekh by itself on Shabbat Shuva 5766, just after Rosh HaShana (see event E.7). Combining these two events, it follows that we do not read Vayyeilekh at all during the calendar year 5765!
Well,
let’s be careful about that. A
significant portion of Vayyeilekh (almost half!) is read on the last Shabbat
afternoon of the year, after we have read Nitzavim in the morning. So to be precise, what we mean is that Vayyeilekh
is not read on any Shabbat morning during the calendar year. We can also say that the last section of Vayyeilekh,
Devarim 31:1430, is never read publicly during the entire calendar year.
There are 4 yeartypes corresponding to years in which this occurs: הכז (heikafzayin), השא (heishinaleph), זחא (zayinchetaleph), and החא
(heichetaleph). These yeartypes account
for 29.6% of all years. The last
time we had such a year was 4 years ago, in 5761. The next time after 5765 will be 3 years
later, in 5768.
I.
“CHASEIRA” YEAR – CHESHVAN AND KISLEV
HAVE 29 DAYS EACH
The term
“chaseira” or “missing” refers to the fact that both of the two variable
months, Cheshvan and Kislev, are “short” months having only 29 days each. As explained earlier (section D), Cheshvan
has 29 days more often than not, but it is less common for Kislev to be
shortened to 29 days from its usual length of 30 days. If Kislev has 29 days then Cheshvan must
also have 29 days. This means that a
“chaseira” year is characterized by the fact that Kislev has 29 days.
There are
5 yeartypes which correspond to “chaseira” years: זחא (zayinchetaleph), בחג (betchetgimel), החא (heichetaleph), זחג (zayinchetgimel), and בחה
(betchethei). The “chaseira”
yeartypes account for 25.5% of all years. This is the least common of the 3
possible configurations for the CheshvanKislev month lengths.
The last
time we had a “chaseira” year was 4 years ago, in 5761 (200001). The next one after this year 5765 will be 3
years from now, in 5768 (200708).
There cannot
be 2 consecutive “chaseira” years. Successive
occurrences of “chaseira” years can be as close together as 2 years apart (very
rarely) or as far as 6 years apart.
In
section D, we described calendrical events that occur in years when Cheshvan
has 29 days. In this section, we
describe events that occur only in “chaseira” years, when Kislev also has 29
days:
1.
ROSH CHODESH TEVET HAS ONLY ONE
DAY: Since Kislev has only 29 days, there is only one day of Rosh Chodesh Tevet. This day is the 6^{th} day of Chanukka. In years when Kislev has 30 days, both the 6^{th}
and 7^{th} days of Chanukka are Rosh Chodesh.
2.
FEWEST MUSAF DAYS DURING CHANUKKA: There are only two days during Chanukka
on which we say Musaf – one Shabbat and one day of Rosh Chodesh. This gives us the minimum number of 26
times saying “Al Hannissim” during Chanukka – 3 tefillot
each of 8 days plus 2 times Musaf. If
there were a second day of Rosh Chodesh we would (usually) have an extra Al
Hannissim. Exercise for the reader: Consider all cases carefully and figure out why
I added the word “usually” to the previous sentence.
3.
6^{th} DAY OF CHANUKKA IS 1^{st}
DAY OF TEVET: It is very important
to realize that events occurring on the 6^{th}, 7^{th} or 8^{th}
days of Chanukka (such as birthdays, anniversaries, yortzeits, etc.) must not
be remembered by the day of Chanukka on which they happened. This is because these days of Chanukka can
fall on different calendar dates each year, depending on whether Kislev has 29
or 30 days. The 1^{st} day of
Tevet can fall on either the 6^{th} or 7^{th} day of Chanukka;
this year it is the 6^{th}.
4.
7^{th} DAY OF CHANUKKA IS 2
TEVET: See comment above. 2 Tevet can be either the 7^{th} or 8^{th}
day of Chanukka. Yochanan
Shrira Melnick (Jeremy and
Diana’s baby boy) has his birthday on 2 Tevet, which is the 7^{th} day
of Chanukka this year, even though he was born on the 8^{th} day of Chanukka
last year.
5.
8^{th} DAY OF CHANUKKA IS 3
TEVET: See comment above. 3 Tevet has the distinction of sometimes
being the 8^{th} day of Chanukka and sometimes not being Chanukka at
all. Mr. Melech
Goldman was born on 3 Tevet, so he celebrates his birthday some years by saying
Hallel and some years not. This year it
will be a Hallel day. For more about Mr.
Goldman’s birthday, see section O.
6.
10 TEVET SAME DAY OF THE WEEK AS CHANUKKA: Since the last day of Chanukka is 3
Tevet, the Fast of 10 Tevet will be exactly one week later, on the same day of
the week as the first and last days of Chanukka. In other years, 10 Tevet would be one day
later in the week than the first and last days of Chanukka.
The first
day of Kislev falls on Sunday in the following 2 yeartypes: הכז (heikafzayin) and החא (heichetaleph). Kislev begins on Sunday precisely in years
when Rosh HaShana falls on Thursday and Cheshvan has
29 days. These yeartypes account for 21.9%
of all years. The last time Kislev began on Sunday was 7 years ago, in
5758 (1997).
Here are
the 6 possible days of the week on which Kislev can begin, along with
their corresponding frequencies:
1 Kislev on Sunday (= first day of Chanukka on
Wednesday): 21.9% of years
1 Kislev on Monday (= first day of Chanukka on Thursday): 10.0% of years
1 Kislev on Tuesday (= first day of Chanukka on
Friday): 10.1% of years
1 Kislev
on Wednesday (= first day of Chanukka on Shabbat): 18.4% of years
1 Kislev on Thursday (= first day of Chanukka on
Sunday): 11.5% of years
1 Kislev
on Friday (= first day of Chanukka on Monday):
28.0% of years
Kislev
cannot begin on Shabbat. In fact, even
when Rosh Chodesh Kislev has 2 days, no day of Rosh Chodesh Kislev can ever fall
on Shabbat.
When
Kislev begins on Sunday, it may have either 29 or 30 days. Sunday is the only day of the week with this
distinction. (When Kislev begins on
Monday, Wednesday or Friday it must have 30 days, and when it begins on Tuesday
or Thursday it must have 29 days. Note
however that when Kislev begins on Sunday, it may have 29 days only in a leap
year, or 30 days only in a nonleap year.)
The
possible interval lengths between occurrences of 1 Kislev on Sunday are 3, 4,
7, 10, 11, or 14 years.
All of
the events listed in sections C, D, E, G, and H occur in years with Kislev
starting on Sunday, as explained in each section. The following calendrical events occur
only in years with 1 Kislev on Sunday:
1.
ROSH CHODESH
2.
PARASHIYYOT DETERMINED FOR KISLEV: Here are the dates on which each parasha is
read:
7
Kislev – Vayyeitzei
14
Kislev – Vayyishlach
21
Kislev – Vayyeishev
28
Kislev – Mikketz (with maftir and haftara for Shabbat Chanukka)
3.
FIRST AND LAST DAYS OF CHANUKKA ON
WEDNESDAY: (This follows from item D.2
combined with section G.) We light the
first Chanukka candle on Tuesday evening.
We light 8 Chanukka candles the following week on Tuesday evening. In general, the first day of Chanukka can
fall on any day of the week except Tuesday.
We never light the first candle on Monday night.
4.
SHABBAT CHANUKKA ON 4^{th} DAY
OF CHANUKKA: We read the dedication
of the tribe of Reuven as maftir from the 2^{nd} sefer Torah. In general, any day of Chanukka except the 5^{th}
can fall on Shabbat.
5.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR
6.
DAYS OF THE WEEK DETERMINED FOR
KISLEV: Each calendar date from 1
through 29 Kislev can fall on any one of 6 days of the week, depending on the
weekday on which 1 Kislev falls. The
fact that 1 Kislev falls on Sunday determines the day of the week of each
calendar date this month (in addition to the days of the week for dates in
Tishrei and Cheshvan, which are already determined from G.24).
K.
“CHASEIRA” LEAP YEAR – 383 DAYS
LONG
Combining
the information in sections F and I, we see that this year is a “chaseira” year
that is also a leap year. That is, the
months of Cheshvan and Kislev have 29 days each, and there are 2 months of
Adar. All of the other months have fixed
lengths, as described in chapter 8 of Rambam, Hilkhot Kiddush HaChodesh. This means that the year contains 7 29day
months (Cheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Adar II, Iyyar, Tammuz and Elul) and 6 30day
months (Tishrei, Shevat, Adar I, Nisan, Sivan, and Av), for a total of 383
days in the year, which amount to 54 weeks and 5 days.
There are
3 yeartypes which correspond to 383day years:
החא (heichetaleph), זחג (zayinchetgimel), and בחה
(betchethei). These yeartypes account
for 15.5% of all years. It is
interesting to note that it is relatively common for “chaseira” years to be
leap years, and for leap years to be “chaseira” years.
What I
mean is this: Although only 25.5% of all
years are “chaseira” years (see section I), it turns out that 42.0% of leap
years are “chaseira”. So although
the “chaseira” year represents, in general, the least common configuration of
the CheshvanKislev month lengths, in the particular case of leap years this is
not so. Leap years are more likely to be
“chaseira” than “kesidrah” (where Cheshvan has 29 days and Kislev has 30 days).
Similarly,
although only 7/19 or 36.8% of all years are leap years (see section F), it
turns out that 60.6% of “chaseira” years are leap years. So “chaseira” years are more likely to be
leap years than nonleap years, which is somewhat surprising.
I can
give a partial explanation for this statistical anomaly: In a leap year, the “extra” month of Adar I adds 30 days to the year length. This is longer than the average month length
in the Jewish calendar, which is slightly more than 29½ days. To compensate for this extra length, it is
more likely in a leap year than in a nonleap year that a day will have to be
removed from Kislev, making the year “chaseira”.
In any
event, here is a list of recent and upcoming years that are 383day years, i.e.
“chaseira” leap years: 5662 (190102),
5668 (190708), 5670 (190910), 5679 (191819), 5687 (192627), 5695 (193435),
5703 (194243), 5706 (194546), 5714 (195354), 5719 (195859), 5722 (196162),
5730 (196970), 5733 (197273), 5741 (198081), 5746 (198586), 5749 (198889),
5757 (199697), 5765 (200405), 5768 (200708), 5784 (202324), 5790
(202930), 5793 (203233), 5801 (204041), 5812 (205152), 5817 (205657), 5820
(205960), 5828 (206768), 5831 (207071), 5839 (207879), 5844 (208384), 5847
(208687), 5855 (209495).
Note that the “chaseira” leap year is the shortest possible leap year, and in fact has fewer Rosh Chodesh days than any other leap year. There are 18 Rosh Chodesh days during a “chaseira” leap year. There are only 9 Rosh Chodesh days from the beginning of the year until Adar II, so we add “ulkhapparat pasha” on these 9 occasions. (See F.7.) This is the fewest number of times we can say “ulkhapparat pasha” in a leap year. In other leap years there would be 10 or 11 such days.
L.
HAFTARAT TZAV IS READ
This
year, we read the regular haftara listed for Parashat Tzav, which is a rare
occurrence. In all nonleap years, we
read Parashat Tzav on Shabbat Haggadol. In
most leap years, we read Tzav on a Shabbat when there is a special maftir and
haftara – either Zakhor or
Here is a
list of recent and upcoming years in which we read Haftarat Tzav: 5660 (1900), 5670 (1910), 5681 (1921), 5684
(1924), 5687 (1927), 5698 (1938), 5708 (1948), 5711 (1951), 5714 (1954), 5725
(1965), 5738 (1978), 5741 (1981), 5752 (1992), 5755 (1995), 5765 (2005),
5768 (2008), 5776 (2016), 5779 (2019), 5782 (2022), 5803 (2043), 5806 (2046),
5809 (2049), 5812 (2052), 5833 (2073), 5836 (2076), 5839 (2079), 5850 (2090),
5860 (2100).
The possible interval lengths between years when we read Haftarat Tzav are 3, 8, 10, 11, 13, or 21 years.
Note that
the years in which Haftarat Tzav is read are precisely the years in which there
are no “double parashiyyot” read in
Note also that in walled cities such as Yerushalayim, Haftarat Tzav is NOT read in a החא (heichetaleph) yeartype, as the Shabbat of Parashat Tzav is Shushan Purim. See event M.7. So in walled cities, Haftarat Tzav is read in only 10.0% of years, and this year is not one of them.
While on
the topic of rarely read haftarot:
There are two other rare haftarot which we do read this year – Haftarat
Vayyakhel (see item N.2) and Haftarat Pinechas (see item N.9). Some examples of rare haftarot which we do
NOT read this year are: Mikketz, Tazria,
and Acharei Mot. Exercise for the
reader: For each of these 3 rare haftarot,
verify why we don’t read it this year, and then figure out which yeartypes are
the ones in which we do read it, how often it is read, and what are the
possible interval lengths between occurrences of its reading. Since this is a multipart exercise, partial
credit is available. Warning: The haftara for Acharei Mot is tricky, as
there are different minhagim involving the haftarot for Acharei Mot and
Kedoshim. Superduper extra credit
exercise: Repeat the above exercise
not only for the rarely read haftarot, but for all haftarot in the book. This is a project which I might like to do at
some point but probably will never get around to it. If you plan to work on this one (or even if
you don’t), I’ll be happy to send you a copy of B. Alperin’s
“Permanent Haftarah Calendar” (found in the back of
some chumashim, published in 1928 by the Hebrew
Publishing Company), which would be helpful.
Thanks to Ethan Rotenberg for sending it to me.
M.
PESACH ON SUNDAY
A whole
book could be written on the halakhot of Erev Pesach on Shabbat. In fact, I think several such books have been
written. One booklet I happen to have
come across is “What to do when Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos”,
by Rabbi Simcha J. Weissman,
first published in 5710 (1950) and then revised in 5734 (1974) and 5737
(1977). Thanks to Chaim
Greenspan for showing me this one. I’m
sure there are others, and new ones will become available in a few months. In any event, my goal here is not to examine
the halakhic details. For that, consult
your Local Orthodox Rabbi. All I want to
do is point out various calendrical events that occur in this situation.
The first
day of Pesach falls on Sunday in the following yeartypes: השא (heishinaleph), זחא (zayinchetaleph), and החא
(heichetaleph). Altogether, these
yeartypes account for 11.5% of all years. In fact, Sunday is the least common of the
possible days of the week on which the first day of Pesach can fall. The other possible days are Tuesday,
Thursday, and Shabbat.
Why is it
so rare for the first day of Pesach to fall on Sunday? In a sense, the basic answer is relatively
simple: We know that according to our
fixed calendar system, Pesach cannot fall on Monday, Wednesday or Friday – in
mnemonic form, “La BaDU Pesach”, where בדו
(betdaletvav) stands for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So what happens in years when Pesach should
have been on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday?
In a certain sense, the calendar is adjusted so that Pesach is observed
on the following day of the week. (This
adjustment is made by varying the lengths of the preceding and following
Cheshvan and Kislev.) For the purpose of
this question, the important point is that Pesach falls on Tuesday whenever it
“should have been” on either Monday or Tuesday; it falls on Thursday whenever
it “should have been” on either Wednesday or Thursday; and it falls on Shabbat
whenever it “should have been” on either Friday or Shabbat. This explains why the first day of Pesach is
twice as likely to fall on each of Tuesday, Thursday or Shabbat as it is to
fall on Sunday.
Of course all this must be taken with a grain of salt,
as the calculations determining the yeartype are more complex than this. In fact, the day of the week on which Pesach
begins in any year depends on the day on which the following Rosh HaShana falls. Here
are the various possibilities and their corresponding frequencies:
Rosh HaShana on Monday (=
previous Pesach on Shabbat): 28.0% of
years
Rosh HaShana on Tuesday (=
previous Pesach on Sunday): 11.5% of years
Rosh HaShana on Thursday (=
previous Pesach on Tuesday): 31.9% of
years
Rosh HaShana on Shabbat (= previous Pesach on Thursday): 28.6% of years
I will
have more to say about yeartype frequencies in a later section. Well, I may or I may not get around to
writing more about yeartype frequencies later in this essay, depending on how
much time I have. This essay must be
finished before Rosh HaShana in order to be useful,
and I’m supposed to be working on a Ph.D. now, but this essay is taking up way too
much of my time.
Here is a
list of recent and upcoming years in which the first day of Pesach falls on
Sunday: 5663 (1903), 5670 (1910), 5683
(1923), 5687 (1927), 5690 (1930), 5710 (1950), 5714 (1954), 5734 (1974), 5737
(1977), 5741 (1981), 5754 (1994), 5761 (2001), 5765 (2005), 5768 (2008),
5781 (2021), 5785 (2025), 5805 (2045), 5808 (2048), 5812 (2052), 5832 (2072),
5835 (2075), 5839 (2079), 5859 (2099).
The
possible interval lengths between occurrences of Pesach on Sunday are 3, 4, 7,
13, 16, 17, or 20 years.
As you
can see from the list above, the current decade is extremely
unrepresentative with regard to the frequency of Pesach on Sunday. Pesach falls on Sunday 3 times within 8 years,
in 5761, 5765 and 5768! Kids growing up
nowadays will not appreciate how rare is the experience of Pesach on
Sunday. In my childhood I was deprived
of the experience, as it did not happen for 13 years, between 5741 (1981) when
I was too young to appreciate it and 5754 (1994) when I was already in Grade 12.
Note that
in a year when the first day of Pesach falls on Sunday, the previous Rosh HaShana must have been on either Thursday or Shabbat. Therefore, all of the events of sections C,
E, and H occur in years with Pesach beginning on Sunday. Here is the list of events that occur only
in years with the first day of Pesach on Sunday. Recall that these events occur in 11.5% of
years.
1.
3 SIFREI TORAH FOR SHABBATROSH
CHODESHSHEKALIM: Rosh Chodesh Adar
(II) falls on Shabbat, so we read from 3 sifrei Torah (see SA 685:1). The sections usually read as “shishi” and
“shevii” from the regular parasha are combined into one, and the 7^{th}
person called to the Torah reads the Rosh Chodesh reading in Pinechas from the
2^{nd} sefer Torah. The Maftir
is Parashat Shekalim, read from the 3^{rd} sefer Torah. The usual haftara for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh
(HaShamayim Kis’i) is replaced by the haftara for Shekalim (see MV 685:3). [Some communities read the first and last
verses of HaShamayim Kis’i after the haftara for Shekalim.] See O.12 for an extra twist on this event for
this year. See item P.5 for more
discussion about ShabbatRosh Chodesh and the omitted haftara.
2.
NO BREAK BETWEEN SHEKALIM AND ZAKHOR: SA (685:6) gives mnemonics to remember
when the breaks are between the Four Special Parashiyyot of Adar. This year’s mnemonic is זטו
(“zayintetvav” or “zatu”), meaning that Rosh
Chodesh Adar (II) falls on Shabbat (=zayin) so the “break” when we don’t read a
special parasha falls on 15 (=tetvav) Adar (II), between Zakhor and
3.
PARASHAT ZAKHOR ON EARLIEST POSSIBLE
DATE: Since Purim falls on Friday,
we read the special maftir called Zakhor from the 2^{nd} sefer Torah (as
well as the corresponding haftara) on the previous Shabbat, 8 Adar (II), which
is the earliest possible calendar date.
This means that inevitably there will be more than 12 months from now
until next year’s reading of Parashat Zakhor, and so a certain extrapolation
from an analysis of the Chatam Sofer
implies that we should make sure to hear Parashat Zakhor again properly when we
read Parashat Ki Teitzei in the summer, on 13 Elul. See Eliezer Bulka’s Weekly Shtikle at www.geocities.com/ez_bulka/shtikle.html#Zachor
although I’m pretty sure I came up with this extrapolation independently. Note that this is a chumra
not required by halakha so don’t worry too much about it.
4.
FAST OF ESTHER ON THURSDAY: Note that the Fast of Esther [13 Adar
(II)] actually falls on Thursday this year, as opposed to last year when
it was observed on Thursday because 13 Adar fell on Shabbat. The Fast of Esther is observed on Thursday in
43.4% of years – 11.5% with Purim immediately following as in this year, and
31.9% with Purim on Sunday.
5.
PURIM ON FRIDAY: The regular Purim for nonwalled cities
[14 Adar (II)] falls on Friday, which makes observances somewhat constrained
because of Shabbat. Rama 695:2 advises
making the Seuda in the morning. If
you’re concerned about the day being an extremely busy workday, see section V for
an unusual surprise.
6.
SHUSHAN PURIM ON SHABBAT: Purim for walled cities such as
Yerushalayim [15 Adar (II)] falls on Shabbat.
This scenario is known as “Purim Meshullash”
or Triple Purim, because the observances are spread over 3 days – Friday,
Shabbat and Sunday, in order to avoid chillul
Shabbat. This also means that everyone
reads the Megilla on the same day, both in walled and nonwalled cities. For the detailed halakhot see SA 688:6.
7.
SAME HAFTARA TWO CONSECUTIVE
SHABBATOT: Since Purim in walled
cities falls on Shabbat, the Torah reading for Purim (from Beshallach) is read
as maftir from the 2^{nd} sefer Torah.
The haftara for Purim on Shabbat is the same as the haftara for Parashat
Zakhor the previous week (the story of King Shaul and Amalek in Samuel I). Exercise for the reader: There is one other situation where the
same haftara can be read on two consecutive Shabbatot. Figure out what it is. Thanks to Tzvi
Goldman and Danny Hershtal for bringing this to my
attention, and also to David Woolf who I think used
it as a riddle one year.
8.
9.
YOM KIPPUR KATAN ADVANCED IN ADAR (II),
TAMMUZ AND AV: Those who observe the
day before Rosh Chodesh as Yom Kippur Katan must advance the observance from
Shabbat 29 Adar (II) to Thursday 27 Adar (II); from Friday 29 Tammuz to
Thursday 28 Tammuz; and from Shabbat 29 Av to Thursday 27 Av. See also G.21.
10.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR
11.
MACHAR CHODESH OMITTED BECAUSE OF
HACHODESH: We read the special
maftir called HaChodesh from the 2^{nd} sefer Torah on 29 Adar
(II). This maftir is taken from Shemot
chapter 12, and describes the preparations for the exodus from
12.
RECORD CONSECUTIVE NO AV HARACHAMIM
WEEKS: What’s the greatest number of
consecutive Shabbatot on which we don’t say Av HaRachamim (before Ashrei)? That’s a difficult question, because there
are many different minhagim regarding when to say Av HaRachamim,
especially regarding Nisan and Sefira. See
Rama 284:7. (If I’m not mistaken,
Sephardim don’t say it at all, so their answer would be infinity.) The record seems to occur this year, and
depending on custom, the answer may be 10, although I think 9 is more
likely. Here is the sequence of
consecutive Shabbatot on which we don’t say it:
(Note that in all other years, there would be one Shabbat in Adar (II)
when we do say it.)
24
Adar I (or 24 Shevat if not a leap year) – Blessing the month of Adar (II)
1
Adar (II) – Rosh Chodesh and Parashat Shekalim
8
Adar (II) – Parashat Zakhor
15
Adar (II) – Shushan Purim
22
Adar (II) – Parashat Para
29
Adar (II) – Blessing the month of Nisan and Parashat HaChodesh
7
Nisan – No Av HaRachamim in Nisan
14
Nisan – Erev Pesach
21
Nisan – 7^{th} day of Pesach, but note that in Israel this is a Yizkor
day, so Israelis would say Av HaRachamim at the end of Yizkor, thereby limiting
the record to 8
28
Nisan – this is the controversial one. MV
(284:18) says we say Av HaRachamim because of Sefira, thereby limiting the
record to 9 (Diaspora), even though it is still Nisan and also Blessing the
month of Iyyar. But from discussion with
Rabbi Yacov Felder it seems that Shomrai
Shabbos in
Exercise
for the reader: Let me know if you
know anything further about different minhagim and how they affect this record.
13.
RECORD CONSECUTIVE NO TACHANUN: What’s the greatest number of consecutive
days on which we don’t say Tachanun? For
the question to be meaningful, we must exclude personal situations such as
weddings, britot and mourning, and agree to count only
calendrical considerations.
Otherwise someone could get married every week and never have to say
Tachanun. So, let’s work it out. We never say Tachanun in Nisan, nor on 1
Iyyar which is Rosh Chodesh. That’s 31
consecutive days every year. But this
year 29 Adar (II) falls on Shabbat, so we get 32 consecutive Tachanunfree
days. That seems to be the
record. If you enjoyed that, here’s an exercise
for the reader: What’s the record
number of consecutive days of no Tachanun at Mincha? If you think that’s too easy, don’t forget to
consider the various possible configurations of Yom HaAtzmaut. (Does anyone have any authoritative
information as to whether or not we say Tachanun at Mincha the day before Yom
HaAtzmaut?)
14.
DERASHA A WEEK AHEAD: Shabbat Haggadol falls on Erev Pesach, so
the usual Derasha would be given a week ahead of time, on Shabbat 7 Nisan (MV
430:2).
15.
FAST OF FIRSTBORN MOVED TO THURSDAY: Since Erev Pesach falls on Shabbat, the
Fast of the Firstborn (or, more likely, the seudat mitzva held to break the
fast) is observed on Thursday, 12 Nisan (SA 470:2). Note that Erev Pesach never falls on
Thursday, so the only way the Fast of the Firstborn can be observed on Thursday
is when Erev Pesach falls on Shabbat.
16.
SEARCH FOR CHAMETZ EARLY: Since Erev Pesach falls on Shabbat, we
search for chametz on Thursday evening, the night of 13 Nisan. We do say a berakha on this search (see SA
444:1 and MV #1), despite the fact that if the search is done early for any
other reason there would be no berakha.
We then burn the chametz on Friday morning, 13 Nisan.
17.
SHABBAT HAGGADOL EREV PESACH: I won’t belabour the point. Just see SA 444. For more about this Shabbat, see O.13.
18.
FIRST SEDER SATURDAY NIGHT: The Seder begins with the KiddushHavdala
combination known as “YaKNeHaZ” (see SA 473:1).
There’s also a controversial issue about reversing the order of the
words “min hazzevachim umin
happesachim” in the berakha “Asher gealanu” before drinking the second cup. See Shaar Hatziyyun 473:80.
Thanks to Eliezer Bulka
who discussed this in his Weekly Shtikle for Pesach
5761. (Note that in
19.
THREEDAY MIKRA KODESH FOR BEGINNING
OF PESACH: In the Diaspora we have
ShabbatSundayMonday for the first days of Pesach. It’s the kind of 3dayer that never
happens in
20.
ATBASH MNEMONIC WORKS BEST: SA 428:3 (quoting the Tur) gives
a mnemonic for determining the day of the week on which each holiday falls in
any year, according to the days of Pesach.
The letters of the alephbet counting from the beginning are matched in
sequence to the letters counting backward from the end. The mnemonic is known as “AtBash”,
meaning Aleph corresponds to Tav, Bet to Shin,
etc. The correspondence is interpreted
to mean that the first day (aleph) of Pesach falls on the same day of
the week as Tisha B’Av (tav); the second day (bet) of Pesach
falls on the same day of the week as Shavuot (shin); etc. (See SA and other sources for the remaining
details.) The “AtBash” mnemonic
applies to all years. However, this
year, since the first day of Pesach falls on Sunday, the number of each day of
Pesach is the same as the number of the day of the week on which it falls. In other words, for this year only, we
can reinterpret “AtBash” to mean aleph (the first day of the week –
Sunday) matches with tav (Tisha B’Av), etc., making the days of the week
easier to determine for the various holidays.
21.
7^{th} DAY OF PESACH ON
SHABBAT: This riddle comes from the
Yiddish newspaper “Der Yid”, on 2 Iyyar 5764: Q: How
can it happen that we read 4 different “songs” on one Shabbat? A:
When the 7^{th} day of Pesach falls on Shabbat, we read the Song
of Moshe (“Az yashir”),
the Song of Miriam (“Vattaan lahem Miriam”), both from the Torah reading in Beshallach;
the Song of David in the haftara from Samuel II; and the Song of
Songs (Shir HaShirim),
as it is the Shabbat during Pesach.
Thanks to Rabbi Yisroel Meir Gross for
bringing this riddle to my attention.
22.
8^{th} NIGHT OF PESACH – “YAKNEHA” WITHOUT “Z”:
When yom tov falls on Saturday night, the usual mnemonic for the Kiddush/Havdala
combination is known as “YaKNeHaZ”, referring to the order of the berakhot
– “Yayin, Kiddush, Ner,
Havdala, Zeman” (SA 473:1, MV #3). But
on the 7^{th} and 8^{th} nights of Pesach we don’t say Shehecheyanu (SA 490:7). This year the 8^{th} night falls on
Motzei Shabbat, so the usual mnemonic doesn’t quite work. We have Kiddush and Havdala without the Zeman
at the end. This situation is unique to
the Diaspora because the 7^{th} night of Pesach cannot fall on Motzei
Shabbat. Exercise for the
reader: There is one other
Kiddush/Havdala combination that is unique to the Diaspora. Figure out what it is.
23.
OMER COUNT BEFORE
KIDDUSH/HAVDALA: Another issue with
the 8^{th} night of Pesach, unique to the Diaspora: In general, we count the Omer after Kiddush in
shul on Friday night and yom tov night, but before
Havdala on Saturday night and motzei yom tov.
So what happens when the 8^{th} day of Pesach falls on Saturday
night and we say Kiddush and Havdala combined?
SA (489:9) says that we count the Omer before the Kiddush/Havdala
combination, because the holiness of the (exiting) Shabbat is greater than the
holiness of the (incoming) yom tov day (MV #43).
24.
YOM HASHOAH ADVANCED TO 26 NISAN: Because 27 Nisan falls on Friday, Knesset
law stipulates that Yom HaShoah is observed on Thursday, 26 Nisan. See the relevant legislation at www.knesset.gov.il/shoah/heb/memorial_law.htm
. I found one source stating that this
adjustment was introduced in 5761 (2001) [“Errata and Notes for Calendrical
Calculations: The Millennium Edition”,
available from www.calendarists.com,
referring to page 110 of the book, by Edward M. Reingold
and Nachum Dershowitz]. I found another source implying that the
adjustment has existed for longer than that [“Shearim
LaLuah HaIvry” by Rahamim SarShalom, page 88]. I suppose I need a “katuv
shelishi lehakhria beineihem”. (Exercise
for the reader: Please find me an
authoritative source indicating when this and other similar adjustments were
introduced.) If the first source is
correct, then this year is the 2^{nd} time in history that we observe
Yom HaShoah on 26 Nisan.
25.
ROSH CHODESH
26.
YOM HAATZMAUT ADVANCED TO 3 IYYAR: Because 5 Iyyar falls on Shabbat, Knesset
law stipulates that Yom HaAtzmaut is celebrated on the previous Thursday, 3
Iyyar, and Yom HaZikaron is observed on Wednesday, 2 Iyyar. See the relevant legislation at www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/heb/chok_yom_haatzmaut.htm
and www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/heb/chok_yom_hazikaron.htm
. My understanding is that this
adjustment has been in effect for as long as Yom HaAtzmaut has existed. As you can see from the years listed at the
beginning of this section, this year is the 8^{th} time in history
that we celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut on 3 Iyyar.
The first one was 5710 (1950).
For other comments regarding Yom HaAtzmaut, see events E.3, G.1, M.13,
section Q, and event T.4. Wow, someone
could probably write a whole book about the Calendrical Complications of Yom
HaAtzmaut, especially after last year’s episode. Maybe that will be my Ph.D. thesis. Can one get a Ph.D. in Calendars?
27.
PESACH
28.
LAG BAOMER ON FRIDAY – HAIRCUTS FOR
EVERYONE: Sephardim generally do not
get haircuts until after Lag BaOmer, as opposed to the Ashkenazic custom of
allowing haircuts on Lag BaOmer day itself.
However, since Lag BaOmer falls on Friday, all agree that haircuts are
allowed in honour of Shabbat (SA 493:2).
29.
ROSH CHODESH SIVAN ON WEDNESDAY: We bless the month of Sivan on the previous
Shabbat, 26 Iyyar.
30.
SHAVUOT ON MONDAY: Also Yom Yerushalayim (28 Iyyar) is on the
previous Monday, as it is exactly one week before Shavuot.
31.
ROSH CHODESH
32.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR MENACHEM AV ON
EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE: We bless the
month of Menachem Av on Shabbat 23 Tammuz, the earliest possible date. Rosh Chodesh will be on Shabbat.
33.
SHABBAT ROSH CHODESH AV – HAFTARA
OMITTED: We read the special Maftir
for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh from the 2^{nd} sefer Torah. However, the usual haftara for Shabbat Rosh
Chodesh (HaShamayim Kis’i) is omitted, as we read the second Haftara of Tragedy
(from Yirmeyahu) for the “3 weeks” before Tisha B’Av (see Rama 425:1 and MV
#8). [Some communities read the first
and last verses of HaShamayim Kis’i after the haftara from Yirmeyahu.] See also O.15 for more about this day’s Torah
reading this year. See item P.5 for more
discussion about ShabbatRosh Chodesh and the omitted haftara.
34.
17 TAMMUZ AND TISHA B’AV ON SUNDAY: The fast days actually fall on Sunday, as
opposed to falling on Shabbat and being postponed to Sunday. See E.5 for the halakhot.
35.
15
36.
DATES DETERMINED FOR PARASHIYYOT IN
DEVARIM AS WELL AS HAFTAROT OF TRAGEDY AND CONSOLATION: Here are the dates on which each parasha
and/or haftara is read. (The earlier
parashiyyot depend more subtly on the yeartype – see O.2.)
23
Tammuz – 1^{st} Haftara of Tragedy
1
Av – Masei (either with or without Mattot) – 2^{nd} Haftara of Tragedy
– see item 33 above
8
Av – Devarim – 3^{rd} Haftara of Tragedy (Chazon)
15
Av – Vaetchannan – 1^{st} Haftara of Consolation (Nachamu)
22
Av – Eikev – 2^{nd} Haftara of Consolation
29
Av – Re’ei – 3^{rd} Haftara of Consolation
6
Elul – Shofetim – 4^{th} Haftara of Consolation
13
Elul – KiTeitzei – 5^{th} Haftara of Consolation
20
Elul – KiTavo – 6^{th} Haftara of Consolation
27
Elul  Nitzavim – 7^{th} Haftara of Consolation
5
Tishrei of following year – Vayyeilekh – Haftarat Shuva
12
Tishrei of following year – Haazinu
37.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR
38.
MACHAR CHODESH OMITTED BECAUSE OF
CONSOLATION: Although Rosh Chodesh
Elul falls on Sunday, the usual haftara “Machar Chodesh” is omitted, as we read
the 3^{rd} of the 7 Haftarot of Consolation after Tisha B’Av, from
Isaiah (see Rama 425:2). [Some
communities read the first and last pesukim of “Machar Chodesh” after the
haftara from Isaiah.] See item P.6 for
more discussion about the omitted haftara, Machar Chodesh.
39.
3 WEEKS COMBINED PIRKEI AVOT, EVEN IN
40.
LONGEST POSSIBLE SELICHOT PERIOD: Better start catching up on your sleep
now. Rosh HaShana
of the following year will begin on Tuesday.
Since we must have at least 4 days of Selichot before Rosh HaShana,
Ashkenazim begin saying Selichot on Motzei Shabbat (or Sunday morning), 21
Elul. This is the earliest possible date
to begin Selichot. This means (at least
in theory!) that unlike most years, we say everything in the book – we get all
the way to “Selichot for the 7^{th} day” before continuing with “Selichot
for Erev Rosh HaShana”.
41.
TORAH
42.
DAYS OF THE WEEK DETERMINED FOR ADAR
(II) THROUGH ELUL: Each calendar date from 1 Adar (II) until 29 Elul can fall on any one of 4
days of the week, depending on the weekday on which Pesach begins. The fact that the first day of Pesach falls
on Sunday determines the day of the week of each calendar date in these 7
months. Even more is true: the fact
that Pesach begins on Sunday determines the day of the week for all calendar
dates until the end of Shevat of the following year! This is because Rosh HaShana
of the following year must begin on Tuesday, and when Rosh HaShana begins on
Tuesday it turns out that the year must be kesidrah, i.e. Cheshvan must have 29
days and Kislev must have 30, so there is only one possible dayoftheweek configuration
for all dates until the end of Shevat.
N.
LEAP YEAR WITH ROSH HASHANA ON
THURSDAY:
Leap
years in which Rosh HaShana falls on Thursday are
years with the following yeartypes: החא
(heichetaleph) and השג (heishingimel). These yeartypes account for 10.5% of
all years. The last time we had a leap
year with Rosh HaShana on Thursday was 21 years ago,
the year 5744 (198384).
Here is a
list of recent and upcoming years that are leap years with Rosh HaShana on
Thursday: 5670 (190910), 5673 (191213),
5676 (191516), 5687 (192627), 5700 (193940), 5714 (195354), 5717 (195657),
5727 (196667), 5741 (198081), 5744 (198384), 5765 (200405), 5768 (200708),
5771 (201011), 5774 (201314), 5795 (203435), 5798 (203738), 5812 (205152),
5822 (206162), 5825 (206465), 5839 (207879), 5852 (209192).
The possible interval lengths between these years are 3,
10, 11, 13, 14, 21, or 24 years.
In
sections C and G, we described calendrical events that occur in years in which
Rosh HaShana falls on Thursday. In section F, we described events occurring
in leap years. In this section, we
describe additional events that occur only in leap years beginning with Rosh
HaShana on Thursday.
Recall that the last time these events occurred was 21 years ago, in
5744.
1.
29 SHABBATOT BETWEEN SIMCHAT TORAH AND
PESACH: The number of Shabbatot
between Simchat Torah and Pesach affects the distribution of the parashiyyot. In most nonleap years, there are 24 Shabbatot
during this period. We combine Vayyakhel
and Pekudei, so we read Tzav on the Shabbat before Pesach. (Count the parashiyyot, and you’ll see it
works!) There is one yeartype (השא
– heishinaleph) where there are 25 Shabbatot during this period, so we
separate Vayyakhel and Pekudei and we still read Tzav on the Shabbat before
Pesach. In leap years, of course, there
is an extra month, so we get at least 4 extra Shabbatot. In most leap years there are 28 Shabbatot
during this period, so with all the parashiyyot separated we get to Metzora
before Pesach. But this year, since
Simchat Torah was on Friday (or Thursday), we effectively squeezed in an extra
Shabbat between then and Pesach, so there are 29 Shabbatot. This means we read Acharei Mot on Shabbat
Haggadol, the Shabbat before Pesach.
This is essentially the cause for all of the other events described in
this section.
2.
HAFTARAT VAYYAKHEL IS READ: We read Parashat Vayyakhel by itself this
year on an ordinary Shabbat, so we also read the haftara assigned to the
parasha. In nonleap years, Vayyakhel is
either combined with Pekudei or on Parashat Para, and in other leap years it is
on Parashat Shekalim, so we don’t usually read the haftara for Vayyakhel. There are no years in which both haftarot
for Vayyakhel and Pekudei are read. This
leads me to wonder why we don’t simply have the same haftara assigned to both parashiyyot
Vayyakhel and Pekudei, since their content is similar and we never need to read
2 different haftarot the same year. In
fact, B. Alperin’s “Permanent Haftarah
Calendar” lists only one haftara, “Vayyaas Chirom” (Melakhim I
3.
4.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR
5.
ACHAREI MOT BEFORE PESACH: As described in item 1 above, because of
the 29 Shabbatot between Simchat Torah and Pesach, Acharei Mot is read on
Shabbat Haggadol. This is in violation
of the mnemonic “sigru ufischu”,
stating that Metzora should be read immediately before Pesach in a leap year
(SA 428:4). In other leap years it would
be Metzora, and in nonleap years it’s always Tzav. For more about this Shabbat, see O.13.
6.
KEDOSHIM 5 TIMES: The beginning of Parashat Kedoshim is
read 5 times, because of the (extra) Shabbat Mincha during Pesach.
7.
BIRKAT HACHODESH ON KEDOSHIM: We bless the month of Iyyar on Parashat
Kedoshim. In other leap years it would
be Acharei Mot.
8.
NASO BEFORE SHAVUOT: Parashat Naso is read on the Shabbat
before Shavuot. This is in violation of
the mnemonic “minu veitzru”,
stating that Bemidbar should be read on the Shabbat before Shavuot (SA 428:4). In all other years, Bemidbar is read on the
Shabbat before Shavuot.
9.
HAFTARAT PINECHAS IS READ: We read Pinechas on the Shabbat before
17 Tammuz, so we read the haftara corresponding to the parasha (from Melakhim
I). This is the only way Haftarat
Pinechas can be read. In all other
years, Pinechas is read on the first Shabbat after 17 Tammuz, so its haftara is
replaced by first Haftara of Tragedy for the “3 Weeks” (often listed as the
haftara for Parashat Mattot). For more
about rare haftarot, see section L.
10.
MATTOT AND MASEI SEPARATE: What a relief for the baal keria. The 244 pesukim of MattotMasei are not read
all at once, for the first time in 21 years (only 10 years in
SPECIAL
NOTE REGARDING TORAH
HISTORICAL
NOTE: It seems that the current
system of division of the parashiyyot, leading to the special events listed in
this section, was not always universally practiced. According to the system described by Rabbi Avraham bar Chiyya Hannasi in his Sefer HaIbbur (4883
/ 1123 CE), Parashat Metzora was always read immediately before Pesach in all
leap years. This means that most of the
events in this section would not apply under the system of the Sefer HaIbbur: Shekalim
would always be read on Parashat Vayyakhel in a leap year; Shabbat Haggadol
would always be Metzora in a leap year; Acharei Mot would always be the Shabbat
after Pesach in a leap year; Bemidbar would always be read on the Shabbat
before Shavuot; Pinechas would never have its “own” haftara as it would always
be read after 17 Tammuz; Mattot and Masei would always be combined. But wait a minute – how would we deal with
the fact that in leap years with Rosh HaShana on Thursday there are 29
Shabbatot from Simchat Torah until Pesach, but only 28 parashiyyot from
Bereishit until Metzora to read on those 29 Shabbatot (see item 1 in this
section)? Apparently, the custom in such
years was to split up one of the early parashiyyot (possibly one of “Vayyeira”,
“Mikketz”, “Vaeira”, “Mishpatim”, or “Ki Tissa”), and spread its reading over 2
Shabbatot. See “Shearim
LaLuah HaIvry” by Rahamim SarShalom, page
112. SarShalom
doesn’t seem to explain what would happen in
O.
1 TEVET ON MONDAY
Tevet
begins on Monday in only 1 out of the 14 different calendar yeartypes. This is the yeartype החא (heichetaleph), the one corresponding to
our current year 5765. This means that the
description “Tevet beginning on Monday” completely characterizes the structure
of this Jewish calendar year. In
particular, a year in which 1 Tevet falls on Monday must be a leap year that
began with Rosh HaShana on Thursday and contains
Pesach beginning on Sunday.
As
described earlier (section B), this yeartype occurs vary rarely, only in
3.9% of all years. The last time it
happened was 24 years ago, in 5741 (198081). After this year 5765 it will happen again
3 years later, in 5768 (200708), but after that it won’t happen until 44
years later, in 5812 (205151).
Most
calendar dates can fall on 4 different days of the week (see G.24 and M.42),
and any of the four can occur in a leap year or a nonleap year. Dates in Kislev can fall on 6 different days
of the week (see J.6), but again each of the 6 can occur in a leap year or a
nonleap year. Dates in Tevet and Shevat
are different: they can fall on 5
different days of the week, but one of them can occur only in a leap year. In particular, 1 Tevet cannot fall on Monday
in a nonleap year, nor in any year other than this yeartype. It turns out that it is more than 4 times as
likely for 1 Tevet to fall on any other legal day of the week as for it to fall
on Monday.
Here are
the 5 possible days of the week on which Tevet can begin, along with their
corresponding frequencies:
1 Tevet
on Sunday: 28.0% of years
1 Tevet on Monday:
3.9% of years (must be a leap year)
1 Tevet
on Tuesday: 18.0% of years (must be a
nonleap year)
1 Tevet
on Wednesday: 20.1% of years
1 Tevet
on Friday: 30.0% of years
A similar
observation is correct for the month of Adar I.
When Tevet begins on Monday, Adar I will begin on Thursday (see below,
item 8). Neither Adar II of a leap year
nor the single Adar of a nonleap year can begin on Thursday. Only Adar I of a leap year can begin on
Thursday, and it can do so only in this yeartype. This means that Thursday is by far the
least likely of the possible days of the week for any Adar to begin.
As a
result of this analysis, it follows that anyone who was born in Tevet,
Shevat or Adar I of a החא (heichetaleph) year will celebrate their
birthday very rarely on the same day of the week as when they were born. See below for a list of such years. In particular, the last time this yeartype
occurred was 24 years ago, in 5741 (198081).
So anyone who was born in Tevet, Shevat or Adar I of 5741 will celebrate
their Hebrew birthday this year on the same day of the week as when they were
born, for the first time in their lives, as they turn 24 years old. This includes my sister Sara, who was born on
Wednesday, 21 Adar I, 5741. This year
will be the first time since she was born that her Hebrew birthday falls on
Wednesday. For an example from a
different year, Mr. Melech Goldman was born on
Wednesday, 3 Tevet, 5714. This year will
be the second time since he was born that his birthday falls on Wednesday. Mr. Goldman’s birthday is interesting for
another reason – see item I.5. (Of
course the same is true for anniversaries or yortzeits, etc.)
There are
other characterizations of the yeartype החא (heichetaleph), obtained by combining
pairs of events described in the preceding sections. For example, each of the following
descriptions can refer only to this yeartype and no others:
“Leap
year with first day of Pesach on Sunday”
“Leap
year with 1 Kislev on Sunday”
“Chaseira
year with Rosh HaShana on Thursday”
“Chaseira
year with 1 Kislev on Sunday”
“1 Kislev
on Sunday and first day of Pesach on Sunday”
Based on
the first one of these alternate characterizations, we can easily derive the
list of years in which 1 Tevet falls on Monday.
It is simply the intersection of the lists of years from section M (first
day of Pesach on Sunday) and section N (leap years with Rosh HaShana
on Thursday). Here is a list of recent
and upcoming years in which 1 Tevet falls on Monday: 5592 (183132), 5616 (185556), 5643
(188283), 5670 (190910), 5687 (192627), 5714 (195354), 5741 (198081), 5765
(200405), 5768 (200708), 5812 (205152), 5839 (207879), 5863 (210203),
5890 (212930), 5917 (215657), 5961 (220001), 5988 (222728).
The
possible interval lengths between occurrences of 1 Tevet on Monday are 3, 17,
24, 27, 44, or 47 years.
Note
however that the description “Rosh HaShana on Thursday and Pesach on Sunday”
does NOT characterize this yeartype.
There is another yeartype, השא (heishinaleph), sharing this
description. (It is a nonleap year and
is the rarest of all the 14 yeartypes, occurring only 3.3% of all years.)
All of
the events listed in the preceding sections (C through N) occur in years with 1
Tevet on Monday, as explained in each section.
The following calendrical events occur only in this yeartype החא
(heichetaleph), that is, they occur only in years with 1 Tevet on Monday. Recall that the last time these events
occurred was 24 years ago, in 5741.
1.
NO “DOUBLE PARASHIYYOT” THE WHOLE
YEAR! This is the ultimate dream for
any baal keria (unless they pay you double for a double parasha – thanks to Gershie Deutsch for pointing this out). See also events E.7, F.6, and N.10. Let’s add up the number of Shabbatot during
the year’s Torah reading cycle and see what we get. There are 29 Shabbatot between Simchat Torah
and Pesach (see N.1), 6 Shabbatot between Pesach and Shavuot, 6 Shabbatot
between Shavuot and 17 Tammuz, 3 Shabbatot between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av, and 7
Shabbatot from 9 Av to the end of the year.
Then there is Shabbat Shuva at the beginning of the following year, followed
by one more Shabbat between Yom Kippur and Sukkot. This adds up to 53 Shabbatot, which is enough
to read each parasha on its own Shabbat, except for the 54^{th} one,
Vezot Habberakha, which is read on Simchat Torah in all years. The important factor here is that there is a minimum number of holidays falling on Shabbat – only
one during Sukkot, one during Pesach, none on Shavuot, and next year’s Rosh
HaShana and Yom Kippur are not on Shabbat.
Combined with the “extra” Shabbatot between Simchat Torah and Pesach (N.1),
this gives us the maximum number of available Shabbatot for Torah readings. Note that in
2.
PARASHIYYOT FROM VAYYIGGASH TO MASEI
HAVE DATES DETERMINED: These
parashiyyot are read on the corresponding calendar dates in this yeartype
only. (The dates of all other
parashiyyot are specified in sections G.17, J.2, and M.36.)
6
Tevet – Vayyiggash
13
Tevet – Vaychi (chazak!)
20
Tevet – Shemot
27
Tevet – Vaeira
5
Shevat – Bo
12
Shevat – Beshallach (Shabbat Shira)
19
Shevat – Yitro
26
Shevat – Mishpatim
3
Adar I – Teruma
10
Adar I – Tetzavve
17
Adar I – Ki Tissa
24
Adar I – Vayyakhel
1
Adar II – Pekudei (chazak!) (with 3 sifrei Torah – see
item 12 below)
8
Adar II – Vayyikra (with maftir and haftara for Zakhor)
15
Adar II – Tzav (see M.7 regarding walled cities)
22
Adar II – Shemini (with maftir and haftara for
29
Adar II – Tazria (with maftir and haftara for HaChodesh)
7
Nisan – Metzora
14
Nisan – Acharei Mot (with Haftarat Haggadol)
28
Nisan – Kedoshim
5
Iyyar – Emor
12
Iyyar – Behar
19
Iyyar – Bechukkotai (chazak!)
26
Iyyar – Bemidbar
4
Sivan – Naso
11
Sivan – Behaalotekha
18
Sivan – ShelachLekha
25
Sivan – Korach
2
Tammuz – Chukkat
9
Tammuz – Balak
16
Tammuz – Pinechas
23
Tammuz – Mattot (see also M.36)
1
Av – Masei (chazak!) (see item 15 below)
3.
ROSH CHODESH TEVET ON MONDAY ONLY: This is Monday, 1 Tevet, the 6^{th}
day of Chanukka. See also item I.3.
4.
FAST OF 10 TEVET ON WEDNESDAY: The other possible days for the Fast of 10
Tevet are Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, each occurring more than 4
times as often as Wednesday.
5.
BIRKAT HACHODESH ON 27 TEVET: We bless the month of Shevat on Shabbat 27
Tevet (Parashat Vaeira). Other possible
dates are 23, 25, 26, or 28 Tevet, each occurring more than 4 times as often as
27 Tevet.
6.
1 SHEVAT AND TU BISHVAT ON
TUESDAY: The other possible days for
Rosh Chodesh Shevat and Tu BiShvat are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and
Shabbat, each occurring more than 4 times as often as Tuesday.
7.
BIRKAT HACHODESH ON 26 SHEVAT: We bless the month of Adar I on Shabbat 26
Shevat (Parashat Mishpatim). Note that we
never bless Adar of a regular year on 26 Shevat.
8.
ROSH CHODESH ADAR I ON WEDNESDAY AND
THURSDAY: Wednesday is 30 Shevat,
and Thursday is 1 Adar I. Neither Adar
II of a leap year nor the single Adar of a nonleap year can ever begin on
Thursday. See further explanation at the
beginning of this section regarding birthdays in Adar I.
9.
PURIM
10.
DAYS OF THE WEEK DETERMINED FOR TEVET,
SHEVAT AND ADAR I: As explained at
the beginning of this section, the fact that 1 Tevet falls on Monday determines
the day of the week of each calendar date in Tevet, Shevat and Adar I. This is in addition to dates throughout the
rest of the year, whose days of the week are already determined from G.24, J.6,
and M.42. Actually, the fact that 1
Tevet falls on Monday determines the day of the week for calendar dates farther
away than you would expect. See section
P for more about this.
11.
BIRKAT HACHODESH FOR ADAR II
12.
PEKUDEI – ROSH CHODESH – SHEKALIM –
SHISHI IS CHAZAK: Combining the
events described in M.1 and N.3, we see that we have 3 sifrei Torah for Parashat
Pekudei – Shabbat Rosh Chodesh – Parashat Shekalim. In order to read from 3 sifrei Torah, the
person called up for “shishi” reads all the way to the end of Pekudei,
which is the end of the book of Shemot.
Consider the following interesting scenario: Suppose one synagogue member bought the
honour of “shishi” for the entire year, and another member bought the honour of
“chazak” for the whole year. This
week there will be a conflict. This
is the only calendrical situation in which this can happen. Thanks to Rav Dovid
Pam of Zichron Shneur (
13.
ACHAREI
14.
HAFTARAT CHUKKAT ON EARLIEST POSSIBLE
DATE: We read Parashat Chukkat on
Shabbat 2 Tammuz. Although there are
some other years in which we read Chukkat on 30 Sivan, that date is Rosh
Chodesh, and so the regular haftara would be replaced by “HaShamayim Kis’i”. So 2 Tammuz is the earliest possible date on
which we read the haftara for Chukkat.
15.
P.
NEIGHBOURING YEARS DETERMINED BY
YEARTYPE
In this section we will consider the effect of this year’s yeartype on the years preceding and following it. As we have emphasized, the yeartype החא (heichetaleph) is rare, and it turns out that the fact that 1 Tevet falls on Monday is enough information to determine the yeartypes of the preceding and following years, and even some information about calendar dates farther into the past or future.
In order to clarify the presentation (I hope!) when referring to various years before and after the current year, I will use the symbol “X” to refer to the principal year under discussion, i.e. the year with yeartype החא (heichetaleph) (i.e., the year with 1 Tevet on Monday). So year X could refer to the year 5765, or to any other year with 1 Tevet on Monday (see the list at the beginning of section O for examples). Then, “X – 1” refers to the year prior to the year with 1 Tevet on Monday (for example, 5764), and so on.
Here are various effects determined by the fact that the year X has 1 Tevet on Monday. Note that I do not claim that the events in this section cannot happen in any other case. I just say that they will necessarily happen when 1 Tevet of year X is on Monday.
1. PRECEDING YEAR HAS YEARTYPE זשג: Since year X is a leap year, it is clear that year X – 1 must be a nonleap year. However, since year X has 1 Tevet on Monday, it turns out that the year X – 1 (for example, 5764) must have yeartype זשג (zayinshingimel). That represents a nonleap year that is “sheleima”, with Rosh HaShana on Shabbat and the first day of Pesach on Tuesday. I will not describe all the features of the yeartype, as that would require another whole essay.
2. FOLLOWING YEAR HAS YEARTYPE גכה: Since year X is a leap year, it is clear that year X + 1 must be a nonleap year. However, since year X has 1 Tevet on Monday, it turns out that the year X + 1 (for example, 5766) must have yeartype גכה (gimelkafhei). That represents a nonleap year that is “kesidrah”, with Rosh HaShana on Tuesday and the first day of Pesach on Thursday. Again, I will not describe all the features of the yeartype, as that would require another whole essay. Maybe I’ll write another essay next year in honour of the year 5766.
3. YEAR X + 2 HAS YEARTYPE זש_: The year X + 2 may or may not be a leap year, but either way it must be a sheleima year with Rosh HaShana on Shabbat. This means that all calendar dates until Adar (I) of year X + 2 (for example, 5767) are on fixed days of the week. The yeartype must be either זשה (zayinshinhei) or זשג (zayinshingimel) respectively, depending on whether the year is or is not a leap year.
4. YEAR X – 2 HAS PESACH ON THURSDAY: The year X – 2 may or may not be a leap year, and it may have any one of 4 different yeartypes, but it must have Pesach on Thursday. This means all calendar dates from Adar onward in year X – 2 (for example, 5763) are on fixed days of the week.
The point of all this is: Not only does the fact that 1 Tevet falls on Monday determine the features of the current Jewish calendar year, but it also determines the yeartypes of the immediately preceding and following years (X – 1 and X + 1), and it determines the day of the week for every calendar date from Adar of year X – 2 until Adar of year X + 2. In addition, if we know the year number of year X in the 19year cycle (so that we know whether X – 2 or X + 2 is a leap year), then the yeartypes are determined for years X – 1 through X + 2, and so are the days of the week for every calendar date from 1 Tevet of year X – 2 until Cheshvan of year X + 3.
5. 19MONTH INTERVAL WITHOUT HASHAMAYIM KIS’I: The haftara beginning “HaShamayim Kis’i” is usually read when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat, which tends to happen once every 4 or 5 months. We read it this year on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan (see G.19). However, it will be 19 months until we read it again, on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Iyyar of year X + 1. There are 3 occasions during this interval when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat but HaShamayim Kis’i is omitted for various reasons: Rosh Chodesh Adar II falls on Shabbat, but the haftara is replaced by the special haftara for Parashat Shekalim (see M.1). Rosh Chodesh Av falls on Shabbat, but the haftara is replaced by one of the special Haftarot of Tragedy for the “3 weeks” (see M.33). Next year, Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be on Shabbat (and Sunday), but the haftara will be replaced by the haftara for Shabbat Chanukka. [Note that in all these cases, some communities read the first and last pesukim of “HaShamayim Kis’i” after the competing haftara.] 19 months is NOT the longest possible interval during which we don’t read HaShamayim Kis’i – there can be intervals of up to 29 months where we don’t read it.
6. 19MONTH INTERVAL WITHOUT MACHAR CHODESH: The haftara known as “Machar Chodesh” is usually read on Shabbat when Rosh Chodesh falls on Sunday, which tends to happen once every 4 or 5 months. We read it this year on Shabbat 29 Cheshvan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev (see G.22). However, it will be 19 months until we read it again, on Shabbat 29 Iyyar (Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan) of year X + 1. There are 3 occasions during this interval when Rosh Chodesh falls on Sunday but Machar Chodesh is omitted for various reasons: Rosh Chodesh Nisan is on Sunday, but Machar Chodesh is replaced by the special haftara for Parashat HaChodesh (see M.11). Rosh Chodesh Elul is on Sunday, but Machar Chodesh is replaced by one of the special Haftarot of Consolation (see M.38). Next year, Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be on (Shabbat and) Sunday, but Machar Chodesh will be replaced by the haftara for Shabbat Chanukka. [Note that in all these cases, some communities read the first and last pesukim of “Machar Chodesh” after the competing haftara.] 19 months is the longest possible interval during which we don’t read Machar Chodesh.
This concludes the description of all calendrical events that depend on the yeartype of the current year. All events described from section C until this point occur in all years whose yeartype is החא (heichetaleph). A list of such years was given at the beginning of section O.
From here on, we will discuss other events occurring this year, which are independent of the yeartype. These events certainly do not occur in all החא (heichetaleph) yeartypes, and generally may occur in other yeartypes as well. The important thing for us is that they all occur in the year 5765.
Q.
8^{th} YEAR OF THE 19YEAR
CYCLE – EVERYTHING IS “LATE”
As
explained in section F, a Jewish leap year contains 2 months of Adar, for a total
of 13 months in the Jewish calendar year, rather than 12. The purpose of the extra month is to ensure
that the Jewish holidays, including Pesach, fall in the appropriate seasons,
rather than drifting earlier and earlier throughout the solar year. The years of the 19year cycle that are
Jewish leap years are the years numbered 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19. This year 5765 is the 8^{th} year of
the current 19year cycle (5765 modulo 19 is 8), and so it follows that the
year is a Jewish leap year.
The insertion
of the extra month of Adar causes the subsequent Jewish calendar dates and
holidays to fall “later” than they otherwise do, relative to the seasons and to
the solar calendar year. In other words,
in a leap year, Pesach (for example) falls later in April than it does in a
nonleap year. However, you may have
noticed that the holidays in 5765 (from Adar onward) seem to fall a lot
“later” than they fall even in other leap years. Why is this?
A glance at the sequence of leap years in the 19year cycle (listed
above) will help to explain.
As we have explained already, the 8^{th} year of the cycle is a leap year, and so the Jewish dates (from Adar onward) will be later relative to the seasons than in a nonleap year, because of the extra month. But there’s more: The 8^{th} year of the 19year cycle is a leap year which follows the previous leap year by only 2 years (i.e., the 6^{th} year of the cycle is also a leap year). There is only one other year in the cycle, namely the 19^{th}, that shares this property. Any other leap year, other than the 8^{th} and 19^{th} years of the cycle, follows the previous leap year by 3 years. This means that holidays in the 8^{th} or 19^{th} year of the cycle will be later than in other years, because there have been 2 leap years in a shorter period of time than usual.
Furthermore,
the 8^{th} year of the cycle concludes a span of 11 consecutive
years containing 5 leap years (the 17^{th}, 19^{th}, 3^{rd},
6^{th}, and 8^{th} years of the cycle are leap years). This is the only year in the cycle with
this property. Any other 11year
span contains only 4 leap years, even the span ending with the 19^{th}
year of the cycle. This means that
holidays will fall later in the 8^{th} year of the cycle than in all
other years, because there have been 5 leap years in a shorter period of time
than usual.
The result of all this is that all Jewish calendar dates and holidays from Adar of the 8^{th} year of the cycle until Shevat of the following year will fall later in the solar year (i.e. relative to the civil calendar) than they do in all other years of the 19year cycle. We will refer to this yearlong period, from Adar of this year until Shevat of the next year, as the “lateyear” period. In our case, the “lateyear” period runs from Adar of this year 5765 until Shevat 5766, i.e. (roughly) from March 2005 until February 2006.
Here is a
list of recent and upcoming “lateyears”.
Remember that the lateyear period runs from Adar (roughly March) of one
year until Shevat (February) of the following year. The “lateyear” period occurs in 567071
(191011), 568990 (192930), 570809 (194849), 572728 (196768), 574647
(198687), 576566 (200506), 578485 (202425), 580304 (204344),
582223 (206263), 584142 (208182), and 586061 (210001). Note that the interval from one “lateyear”
to the next is always 19 years.
So that’s
why everything seems so late this year.
The holidays haven’t been this late since 19 years ago, the year 5746
(1986). In particular, Purim this year falls
on March 25 (March 26 in walled cities); the first day of Pesach falls on April
24 and Pesach extends until May 1 (Diaspora) or April 30 (Israel); and the
following year’s Rosh HaShana 5766 begins on October 4, rather than in
September as usual.
Now, the
obvious question arises: Why is the
leap year cycle arranged the way it is? If
the purpose of the leap year is to ensure that Pesach falls in the spring
season, it would seem that the 8^{th} year of the cycle should not need
to be a leap year. After all, spring
begins around March 21, and Pesach will be this year on April 24. Without the extra month, Pesach would begin
on March 25, well after the beginning of spring. So why do we add the extra month this year?
I will
not deal with this question further here, except to say that much has been
written on this topic. The book “Al HaSheminit” by Yaaqov Loewinger (Tel Aviv, 5746 / 1986, now apparently out of
print) deals exclusively with the question of why the 8^{th} year in
the 19year cycle is a leap year. (This
year would be a good time for a second printing.) In addition, my friend Tzvi
Goldman has written an essay on the topic, called “Al Hattekufa”,
in Beit Yitzchak vol. 36, pp. 140148 (published
by
IMPLICATION FOR BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES AND YORTZEITS:
If you know both the Jewish and civil calendar anniversaries of a particular event (such as your birthday), it can be interesting to notice which one precedes the other in any given year, and by how much. For most people, there will be some years when their Hebrew birthday precedes their civil one, and some years in which the opposite is true. Similarly, in most years, there will be some people whose Hebrew birthday precedes their civil one that year, and other people for whom the opposite occurs.
(I am using birthdays as examples of events whose Hebrew and civil dates are likely to be known. Of course the same is true for anniversaries or yortzeits or all other events. By the way, if you don’t know what your Hebrew birthday is, now would be a good time to figure it out. There are many books containing calendars spanning long periods of time, such as 100 years or more, which you can use to determine the Jewish date corresponding to any civil date. Also, there are many computer programs as well as web sites that can do the same. One web site I’ve found to be useful is www.hebcal.com/hebcal, where you can get a Jewish calendar display for any desired year.)
The period from Adar II of this year until Shevat of the next year is different. As we have explained, this is the “lateyear”, when all Hebrew dates fall later on the civil calendar than they do in any other year of the 19year cycle. This fact has the following interesting consequences:
During the “lateyear”, unless your age becomes a multiple of 19 years, your Hebrew birthday will definitely fall later than your civil birthday. Depending on which year you were born, your birthdays may even be close to a month apart. But there’s no chance your Hebrew birthday will be as early as, or earlier than, your civil birthday during this period.
Also, anyone born during the “lateyear” will have their Hebrew birthday precede their civil birthday in all other years. The reason is that if you are born during the “lateyear”, when the Hebrew dates fall later on the civil calendar than they do in other years, your civil birthday will be later than any other civil date on which your Hebrew birthday can fall.
As
examples of this latter phenomenon, consider two events in modern Jewish
history: the Independence of the State of Israel (5 Iyyar 5708 /
NOTE
REGARDING BIRTHDAYS IN ADAR:
If you were born either in Adar II of a leap year or in Adar of a nonleap year, then your Hebrew birthday will always fall on later civil dates in leap years (when it is celebrated in Adar II) than in nonleap years, and it will fall on its latest possible civil date in Adar II of the 8^{th} year of the cycle (e.g. this year 5765). As well, anyone born during Adar II of the 8^{th} year will have their Hebrew birthday precede their civil one in all other years. However, if you were born in Adar I of a leap year, then your Hebrew birthday will always fall on later civil dates in nonleap years (when it is celebrated in the single Adar) than in leap years (when it is celebrated in Adar I), and it will fall on its latest civil date in Adar of the 9^{th} year of the cycle.
For yortzeits, the situation is slightly different, as the Ashkenazic custom is that for someone who passed away in Adar of a nonleap year, the yortzeit is observed in Adar I of a leap year (Rama 568:7). (For Sephardim, the rules are the same as for birthdays, as above. The following results apply to Ashkenazim.) If someone passed away in Adar II of a leap year, their yortzeit will fall on later civil dates in leap years than in nonleap years, and it will fall on its latest possible civil date in Adar II of the 8^{th} year of the cycle (e.g. this year 5765). As well, if someone passed away during Adar II of the 8^{th} year, their yortzeit will precede their civil date of death in all other years. However, for someone who passed away either in Adar I of a leap year or in Adar of a nonleap year, their yortzeit will fall on later civil dates in nonleap years (when it is observed in the single Adar) than in leap years (when it is observed in Adar I), and it will fall on its latest civil date during Adar of the 9^{th} year. As well, if someone passed away during Adar of the 9^{th} year, their yortzeit will precede their civil date of death in all other years.
R.
BAR MITZVA POSSIBLE IN ADAR I
Have you
ever noticed that in many leap years you don’t get invited to a bar mitzva
during the month of Adar I? Here’s
the story: If a boy is born in Adar of a
nonleap year, and the year he turns 13 is a leap year, he becomes bar mitzva
in Adar II (Rama 55:10). The only way a
boy can become bar mitzva in Adar I of a leap year is if he was born in Adar I
of a leap year as well.
For a
particular leap year, if its position in the 19year cycle is such that the
year 13 years prior was not a leap year, then no boy will become bar mitzva during
Adar I of that year – anyone born during Adar of 13 years prior will become bar
mitzva during Adar II. On the other
hand, if the year’s position in the 19year cycle is such that the year 13
years prior was a leap year, then any boy born in Adar I will become bar mitzva
in Adar I.
Looking
at the list of leap years in the 19year cycle (above in section Q), we can see
that the leap years in positions 8, 11, and 19 of the cycle are such that 13
years prior there was a leap year as well, whereas the leap years in positions
3, 6, 14, and 17 are such that 13 years prior, the year was nonleap.
It
follows that in 3 years out of every 19year cycle it is possible for a boy
to become bar mitzva in Adar I, namely in the 8^{th}, 11^{th},
and 19^{th} years of the cycle. The intervals between these years are 8
years, then 3 years, then 8 years.
In all other leap years, a boy cannot become bar mitzva in Adar I. Since this year 5765 is the 8^{th}
year of the cycle, you may be invited to a bar mitzva this year in Adar I. The previous time there could have been a bar
mitzva in Adar I was 8 years ago, in 5757 (1997), which was the 19^{th}
year of the previous cycle. The next
time will be 3 years from now, in 5768 (2008), the 11^{th} year of the
cycle.
Note that
a girl can never become bat mitzva in Adar I because there is no way to
have two leap years exactly 12 years apart.
Any girl born in a leap year will necessarily become bat mitzva in a
nonleap year, and any girl becoming bat mitzva in a leap year must have been
born in a nonleap year, so she will not become bat mitzva in Adar I.
S.
EASTER IS NOT ON PESACH
In most
years, the Christian holiday of Easter seems to fall some time during the 8
days of our Pesach holiday. This year it
doesn’t. This has led me to wonder how
often Easter falls during Pesach, and whether there is any pattern describing
when it does. I have not yet seen any
explicit analysis of this issue, and I am certainly not an expert on the rules
for setting the date of Easter.
Therefore, the results in this section are very tentative. BIG Exercise for the Reader: Verify the analysis and conclusions in this section. Here are the results of my limited research
and analysis of the Easter/Pesach issue:
We know
that Pesach starts approximately at the time of a full moon, being the middle
of the Jewish month. Easter is supposed
to be the first Sunday after the day of the first full moon on or after March
21 (the approximate day of the spring equinox).
Most years, the first full moon after March 21 is the full moon during
Nisan, so that Easter falls some time during the week of Pesach. But when Pesach falls very “late” in April,
the full moon one month earlier than Pesach is used to set the date of Easter.
Now, it
turns out (not surprisingly, I suppose) that the rules for determining the date
of Easter use a sort of 19year cycle to determine the solar date of the full
moon. By the way, in the nonJewish
literature, the 19year cycle correspondence between the lunar months and solar
years is known as the “Metonic” cycle, named
after the Greek astronomer Meton of Athens who
apparently came up with the idea in 432 BCE.
So, one might hypothesize (as I did) that the 19year cycle should
determine which years have Easter during Pesach, and which ones have Easter
about a month before Pesach.
That
hypothesis seems to be essentially correct, but there are a few
complications. The first source of
confusion is simply a question of convention.
The year that we (Jews) consider to be the “beginning” of a 19year
cycle is not the same year as the beginning of the cycle for the Easter
calculation. That’s not an essential
difficulty once you realize how to deal with it. (Just add 3 (mod 19) to the year number in our
cycle to get their “golden number”.)
Another problem is that the Easter rules get adjusted every couple of
hundred years because of the fact that the 19year cycle isn’t a perfect
correspondence. After all that, here’s
what we get:
Most
years, Easter falls some time during the 8 days of Pesach. The exceptions are the years that are the 8^{th},
11^{th}, and 19^{th} years of our (Jewish) 19year cycle. In those years, i.e. 3 times every 19
years, Easter will be approximately a month before Pesach. (These correspond to years with “golden
numbers” 11, 14, and 3, respectively.)
The intervals between such occurrences in the cycle are 8 years, 3
years, then 8 years. Since this year
5765 is the 8^{th} year of our cycle, it follows that Easter falls
about a month before Pesach this year.
The previous time this happened was 8 years ago, in 5757 (1997), which
was the 19^{th} year of the previous cycle. The next time it will happen is 3 years from
now, in 5768 (2008), the 11^{th} year of the cycle. (Incidentally, note that the years in which
Easter falls a month before Pesach seem to be the same
as the years in which a boy can become bar mitzva in the month of Adar I, as
explained above.)
The above
description works from 5460 to 5959 (17002199 CE). Before that, i.e. from 5343 to 5459
(15831699 CE), there were only 2 times every 19 years that Easter would be a
month before Pesach. These were the 8^{th}
and 19^{th} years of our 19year cycle (“golden numbers” 11 and 3, resp.). Starting
with the year 5960 (2200 CE), there will be 4 times every 19 years that Easter
will be a month before Pesach. They are
the 3^{rd}, 8^{th}, 11^{th}, and 19^{th} years
of our 19year cycle (“golden numbers” 6, 11, 14, and 3, resp.).
All of
this is based on the Gregorian calendar and its Easter rules. My understanding is that according to the
Julian calendar rules (which all of Christianity used until 1582, and the
Eastern Orthodox churches still use today), Easter can never fall earlier than
Pesach, and it may sometimes be a month after Pesach. So, it seems that the first time in history
that Easter was celebrated earlier than Pesach was in the year 5347 (1587), the
8^{th} year of a cycle, just over 4 years after the introduction of the
Gregorian calendar.
Most of
my information about the Easter rules comes from Chapter 13 of the book
“Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent
the Perfect Calendar”, by Duncan Steel (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,
2000). Thanks to Ephraim Stulberg for giving me his copy of the book. As I said earlier, the analysis is my own and
it is somewhat tentative, so I would be very happy for someone to corroborate
it.
See section V for an even more unusual correspondence between this year’s Easter and the Jewish calendar.
T.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN CIVIL AND
JEWISH BIRTHDAYS
The correspondence between the Jewish and civil calendar dates depends roughly on the 19year cycle of leap years in the Jewish calendar, but there are many reasons why corresponding Jewish and civil dates may be a day or two apart even after 19 years. The lengths of Cheshvan and Kislev vary from year to year, as does the length of February in the civil calendar. These are some of the reasons why the calendar dates may not correspond exactly after 19 years. In this section we examine the exact details of the calendar correspondence for this year. Note that the discussion in this section refers only to the correspondence between the Jewish and civil (Gregorian) calendar dates, and not to days of the week on which the calendar dates fall. Days of the week are determined by the yeartype, as explained in sections C through P. The 19year cycle has nothing to do with the days of the week on which calendar dates fall. Note also that these birthday correspondences work only if you were born during the day, i.e. before sunset. If you were born after sunset, things get a little more confusing. Thanks to Steven Tenenbaum for pointing this out.
First, here is a table listing all years from 5343 through 6000 (1582 through 2240) in which the dates in some portion of the year fall on the same civil dates as they do in the current year 5765. The “YES” in a particular spot means that in those months of the year, all Jewish dates fall on the same civil dates as they do in 5765. In other words, if you were born in any month and year indicated by a “YES”, then your Jewish and civil birthdays will coincide in the year 5765. (Your age is indicated in the “Age” column.) Also, anyone born during this year 5765 will have their Jewish and civil birthdays coincide in subsequent years if the relevant month and year is indicated by a “YES”.
Year 
Pos 
Civil
year 
Age 
TishreiCheshvan 
Kislev 
TevetShevat 
Adar
IIElul 
5355 
16 
159495 
410 


YES 

5374 
16 
161314 
391 
YES 
YES 
YES 

5393 
16 
163233 
372 
YES 
YES 


5412 
16 
165152 
353 
YES 
YES 
YES 

5431 
16 
167071 
334 

YES 


5450 
16 
168990 
315 


YES 

5469 
16 
170809 
296 

YES 


5480 
8 
171920 
285 


YES 

5488 
16 
172728 
277 
YES 
YES 


5507 
16 
174647 
258 

YES 


5526 
16 
176566 
239 
YES 
YES 
YES 

5545 
16 
178485 
220 
YES 
YES 


5556 
8 
179596 
209 


YES 

5575 
8 
181415 
190 

YES 


5583 
16 
182223 
182 
YES 



5594 
8 
183334 
171 


YES 
YES 
5602 
16 
184142 
163 
YES 
YES 


5632 
8 
187172 
133 
YES 
YES 
YES 

5670 
8 
190910 
95 
YES 
YES 
YES 
YES 
5689 
8 
192829 
76 

YES 


5700 
19 
193940 
65 


YES 

5708 
8 
194748 
57 

YES 

YES 
5727 
8 
196667 
38 

YES 


5746 
8 
198586 
19 
YES 
YES 
YES 
YES 
5754 
16 
199394 
11 
YES 



5765 
8 
200405 
0 
YES 
YES 
YES 
YES 
5776 
19 
201516 
11 


YES 

5784 
8 
202324 
19 
YES 
YES 
YES 

5795 
19 
203435 
30 


YES 
YES 
5803 
8 
204243 
38 

YES 


5822 
8 
206162 
57 

YES 


5830 
16 
206970 
65 
YES 



5841 
8 
208081 
76 


YES 
YES 
5849 
16 
208889 
84 
YES 
YES 


5860 
8 
20992100 
95 


YES 
YES 
5898 
8 
213738 
133 
YES 
YES 
YES 
YES 
5917 
8 
215657 
152 
YES 
YES 
YES 
YES 
5928 
19 
216768 
163 


YES 

5936 
8 
217576 
171 
YES 



5947 
19 
218687 
182 


YES 
YES 
5955 
8 
219495 
190 

YES 


5966 
19 
220506 
201 
YES 
YES 
YES 
YES 
5974 
8 
221314 
209 
YES 



The column labelled “Pos” in the above table refers to the position of the year in the 19year cycle of leap years. As this year 5765 is the 8^{th} year of a 19year cycle, it seems reasonable that many of the years listed in the table are also the 8^{th} year of a cycle, as the dates tend to correspond after 19 years. However, it is also possible for Jewish and civil dates to correspond after a period of 8 or 11 years. This explains why there are many years in the table whose positions are either the 16^{th} or 19^{th} years of a cycle.
Now, let’s discuss some of the particulars. Don’t forget to glance at the chart above as you read the following descriptions:
1.
The civil date of Rosh HaShana determines the civil
date of all Jewish calendar dates and holidays until 29 Cheshvan, which falls
on November 13 this year. As listed in
the table above, anyone born between 1 Tishrei and 29 Cheshvan in any of the
years 5670, 5746, or 5754 (i.e. between September 16 and November 13 of the
years 1909, 1985, or 1993) will have their Jewish and civil birthdays coincide
this year, as they turn 95, 19, or 11 years old, respectively. Their birthdays will coincide again 19 years
from now, in 5784 (2023), as will happen to anyone born during this period this
year.
2. 1 KISLEV ON NOVEMBER 14: The civil date of 1 Kislev determines the civil date of all Jewish calendar dates from 1 through 29 Kislev, as well as the civil dates of the 8 days of Chanukka. This year, the 29 days of Kislev correspond to the dates from November 14 through December 12, and Chanukka runs from December 8 through 15. As listed in the table, this exact correspondence has been occurring regularly every 19 years for the past 5 cycles (95 years), and will continue to do so for the next 3 cycles (57 years). So anyone born between 1 and 29 Kislev in any of the years 5670, 5689, 5708, 5727, or 5746 (i.e. between November 14 and December 12 of the years 1909, 1928, 1947, 1966, or 1985) will have their Jewish and civil birthdays coincide this year, as they turn 95, 76, 57, 38, or 19 years old, respectively (all multiples of 19). Their birthdays will coincide again in the years 5784, 5803, and 5822 (2023, 2042, and 2061), as will happen to anyone born during this period this year.
3. 1 TEVET ON DECEMBER 13: This determines the civil date of all Jewish calendar dates and holidays (except for Chanukka) from 1 Tevet until 19 Adar I, which falls on February 28. (The year must be a Jewish leap year unless it was more than 230 years ago.) As listed in the table, anyone born between 1 Tevet and 19 Adar I in any of the years 5670, 5700, or 5746 (i.e. between December 13 and February 28 of 190910, 193940, or 198586) will have their Jewish and civil birthdays coincide this year, as they turn 95, 65, or 19 years old, respectively. Their birthdays will coincide again several times in upcoming years – in the years 5776, 5784, and 5795 (201516, 202324, 203435), which are 11, 19, and 30 years from now, respectively.
4.
FIRST DAY OF
5.
EXACT CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE WHOLE
YEAR: Looking at the table above, we
can determine which years have their civil and Jewish dates correspond the way
they do in 5765, for the whole year.
These are the years with a “YES” in all 4 columns. The years in which all Jewish dates
correspond to the same civil dates as they do in 5765 are: 5670 (190910), 5746 (198586), 5765
(200405), 5898 (213738), 5917 (215657), and 5966 (220506). So there are only 6 years from the time of
the introduction of the Gregorian calendar until the Jewish year 6000 in which
all Jewish dates fall on the same civil dates as they do this year. Note that all of these Jewish years must be
“chaseira” leap years (see section K), and the corresponding civil calendar
year must be a nonleap year (so that there is no February 29).
U.
SPECIAL EVENT COMBINATIONS DUE TO
CIVIL AND JEWISH DATES AND DAYS OF THE WEEK
In sections C through P we discussed events occurring in 5765 that depend on the yeartype of the Jewish year, that is, events that depend (mostly) on the day of the week on which Jewish calendar dates fall. Those events do not depend on any correspondence with the civil calendar. In section T we discussed the correspondence between the Jewish and civil calendars for this year 5765. What about correspondences between the Jewish and civil calendars and days of the week, all at the same time?
In item T.5 we listed the years in which the Jewish and civil dates correspond the way they do in 5765, for the whole year. For the days of the week to correspond as well throughout the whole year, the yeartype must be החא (heichetaleph). Of the years listed in T.5, the only ones with the required yeartype are the years 5670 (19091910), 5765 (200405), and 5917 (215657). So there are only 2 years other than the current year (from the time of the introduction of the Gregorian calendar until the year 6000) that have the exact same correspondence between Jewish and civil dates and days of the week as this year 5765. If you are a calendar publisher and you still have a supply of leftover Jewish calendars from the year 5670 (190910), then you can reuse them for this year 5765, without changing anything other than the year number. (Well, you may want to add some of the newer holidays like Yom HaAtzmaut that didn’t exist way back then. Be careful also with some of the civil holidays whose rules may have changed. Also, make sure the calendar you are using from 190910 was based on the Gregorian calendar, not the Julian calendar which was then still in use in many countries, including most of Eastern Europe.) And don’t forget to save your calendars at the end of 5765, because your greatgreat…grandchildren will be able to use them for the year 5917 (215657).
However, there are other years in which there are partial correspondences. 11 years ago, the months of Tishrei and Cheshvan (until 29 Cheshvan) of the year 5754 (1993) corresponded to the same civil dates and days of the week as they do this year – from Thursday September 16 until Saturday November 13. So the Jewishcivil calendar for those months this year looks exactly as it did in 5754. Thanks to Chaim Greenspan for pointing this out. (In 5754, Cheshvan had 30 days, so the correspondence doesn’t continue further.) In case you haven’t bought a calendar yet for this year, pull out your old one from 5754 to use for the first 2 months, and then ask to buy a calendar for this year starting with Kislev. Maybe you’ll get a discount by not taking the first two pages.
Now,
there are many events on the civil calendar that don’t depend on a particular
calendar date, but rather they depend on a day of the week. For example, Thanksgiving in
1.
UNIVERSITY SCHEDULE ADJUSTED FOR ROSH
HASHANA: The
2.
CLOCK CHANGE ON YOM TOV UNDER OLD
RULES: Until 5746 (1986), daylight
saving time (DST) used to begin in
3.
MOTHERS’ DAY ON EREV ROSH
CHODESH: Mothers’ Day is celebrated
(in
4.
VICTORIA DAY ON PESACH SHEINI: Victoria Day is celebrated in
5.
ROSH CHODESH
6.
4 CONSECUTIVE 3DAY WORKWEEKS IN
OCTOBER 2005: This really belongs to
5766, but I couldn’t resist including it here.
Thanksgiving in
V.
GOOD FRIDAY ON PURIM
If you’re
worried that Purim falling on Friday makes for an extremely busy workday (see M.5),
you’ll be surprised to realize that the day is Good Friday, so depending on
which country/province/state you live in, you probably won’t have to go to work
or school. How often does this
happen? Assuming my Easter analysis of
section S is correct, the last time it happened was 95 years ago, in
5670 (1910), but it will happen again 3 years from now, in 5768 (2008).
For Good
Friday to be on Purim, we need: (a) a year of the 19year cycle that causes
Easter to be a month before Pesach, as described in section S (the year is
necessarily a Jewish leap year); and (b) Purim to be on a Friday (and since it
is a leap year, the yeartype must be החא (heichetaleph), as described in section O). These two conditions are clearly necessary,
and I think they are also sufficient. Exercise
for the Reader: Verify this.
As I
explained earlier, this can only happen under the Gregorian rules for Easter,
not the Julian rules. So here is this complete
list of all years when Good Friday falls on Purim, until the year
6000: (The ordinal number indicates the
year of the 19year cycle.)
5396 – 19^{th}
(1636), 5423 – 8^{th} (1663), 5518 – 8^{th} (1758), 5521 – 11^{th}
(1761), 5616 – 11^{th} (1856), 5643 – 19^{th} (1883), 5670 – 8^{th}
(1910), 5765 – 8^{th} (2005), 5768 – 11^{th} (2008),
5863 – 11^{th} (2103), 5890 – 19^{th} (2130), 5917 – 8^{th}
(2157), 5988 – 3^{rd} (2228)
So this
year 5765 is the 8^{th} time in history that Good Friday falls on
Purim, and there will be 5 more until the year 6000. The possible interval lengths between
occurrences seem to be 3, 27, 71, or 95 years.
W.
THE MOLAD AND THE DECHIYYOT
In order to discuss any peculiarities resulting from the times at which the molad (traditional mean lunar conjunction) occurs each month, let us start with a table of the moladot for all months of the year 5765:
MONTH 
CLASSICAL MOLAD 
CLOCK FORMAT 
Tishrei 5765 
day 3, 19 hours 287 chalakim 
Tuesday

Cheshvan 
day 5, 8 hours 
Thursday

Kislev 
day 6, 20 hours 793 chalakim 
Friday 2:44 p.m. 1 chelek 
Tevet 
day 1, 9 hours 506 chalakim 
Sunday 3:28 a.m. 2 chalakim 
Shevat 
day 2, 22 hours 219 chalakim 
Monday 4:12 p.m. 3 chalakim 
Adar I 
day 4, 10 hours 1012 chalakim 
Wednesday 4:56 a.m. 4 chalakim 
Adar II 
day 5, 23 hours 725 chalakim 
Thursday 5:40 p.m. 5 chalakim 
Nisan 
day 7, 12 hours 438 chalakim 
Saturday 6:24 a.m. 6 chalakim 
Iyyar 
day 2, 1 hour 151 chalakim 
Sunday 7:08 p.m. 7 chalakim 
Sivan 
day 3, 13 hours 944 chalakim 
Tuesday 7:52 a.m. 8 chalakim 
Tammuz 
day 5, 2 hours 657 chalakim 
Wednesday 8:36 p.m. 9 chalakim 
Av 
day 6, 15 hours 370 chalakim 
Friday 9:20 a.m. 10 chalakim 
Elul 
day 1, 4 hours 83 chalakim 
Saturday

Tishrei 5766 
day 2, 16 hours 876 chalakim 
Monday 
The
column “Classical Molad” gives the time of the molad the way the classical
sources, including Rambam, would have described it. The “day” number refers to the day of the
week, where the day begins at
The column “Clock Format” gives the day and time in a more familiar format, the way it is usually announced at Birkat HaChodesh. The day of the week is given, the hours are given using a.m. or p.m., and the chalakim are converted into minutes (18 chalakim = 1 minute) with the remaining chalakim noted. Note that in this format, we can determine each successive molad by adding 1 day 12 hours 44 minutes and 1 chelek to the previous one. (Note also that 1 chelek is 3 1/3 seconds, so if you really want you can convert the times to h:mm:ss.)
Now, the
question arises: According to whose
clock does the molad occur at the time specified in the chart? One might guess that it is
The
consensus among those who have something to say about this issue seems to be
that the molad times are given in
Now, let’s discuss some of the interesting features of this year’s moladot. Don’t forget to glance at the chart above as you read the following descriptions:
1.
2DAY POSTPONEMENT FOR ROSH HASHANA
5765: The molad for Tishrei is on
Tuesday afternoon. So why is the first
day of Rosh HaShana on Thursday? In general, the keviut (yeartype) of the
Jewish calendar year is determined based on the molad for Tishrei. We set 1 Tishrei to be the day of the molad,
except for several situations in which 1 Tishrei is postponed by one or two days,
as explained in chapter 7 of Rambam, Hilkhot Kiddush HaChodesh. (The calendar is adjusted by varying the
lengths of Cheshvan and Kislev of the previous year.) One of the postponement rules is known as
“molad zaken”. This rule states that if
the molad falls after
How often does this happen? It turns out
that Rosh HaShana is 2 days after the molad in 14.0%
of all years. These are years when
the molad is on Tuesday, Thursday or Shabbat, but Rosh HaShana
is postponed to Thursday, Shabbat or Monday, respectively. In other words, the molad for Tishrei
falls on 28 Elul, 2 days before Rosh HaShana. (For the advanced reader, note that this
figure also includes instances of dechiyyat GaTRaD, which occurs in 3.3% of
years.)
Here is a list of recent and upcoming years in which Rosh HaShana is 2 days
after the molad: 5667 (1906), 5674
(1913), 5683 (1922), 5687 (1926), 5690 (1929), 5694 (1933), 5699 (1938), 5703
(1942), 5710 (1949), 5714 (1953), 5718 (1957), 5719 (1958), 5745 (1984), 5761
(2000), 5765 (2004), 5772 (2011), 5777 (2016), 5781 (2020), 5789 (2028),
5790 (2029), 5796 (2035), 5797 (2036), 5801 (2040), 5816 (2055), 5817 (2056),
5823 (2062), 5843 (2082), 5859 (2098).
2.
MOLAD ALMOST 29 HOURS BEFORE ROSH
HASHANA: The previous item describes
the fact that the molad occurs on the calendar date which is 2 days before Rosh
HaShana, i.e. on 28 Elul. The molad may occur any time from
It turns out that the molad for Tishrei is as early as it is this year or
earlier on 28 Elul in 5.6% of years.
(Once again, this includes instances of dechiyyat GaTRaD.) Here is a list of recent and upcoming years
in which this occurs: 5667 (1906), 5683
(1922), 5687 (1926), 5718 (1957), 5745 (1984), 5765 (2004), 5789 (2028),
5790 (2029), 5796 (2035), 5816 (2055), 5823 (2062). Note that the last time this happened before
this year was 20 years ago, in 5745 (1984).
The next time it will happen after 5765 will be 24 years from now, in
5789 (2028). Note also that 4 years ago,
in 5761 (2000), the molad was almost as early as it is this year – it
was on 28 Elul at
The point of all this is that the molad is very early this year relative to the
beginning of Rosh HaShana. In fact, since the date of Rosh HaShana is set by adjusting the lengths of Cheshvan and
Kislev, the unusually long discrepancy between the molad and Rosh Chodesh
extends backward throughout most of the previous year (5764). You may have noticed that the moladot for
most months of 5764 were significantly earlier than Rosh Chodesh. It all comes from the fact that the molad of
Tishrei 5765 is very early on Tuesday afternoon.
3.
MOLAD AT WHOLE HOUR FOR CHESHVAN: Notice that the molad for Cheshvan is on
Thursday at
4.
KIDDUSH LEVANA FIRST SATURDAY NIGHT IN
CHESHVAN SOME PLACES: If you live
far enough west, you may be able to say Kiddush Levana right after Shabbat, the
night of 2 Cheshvan. The earliest time
for Kiddush Levana is 3 days from the molad (MV 426:20), which takes us to
Sunday at
5.
MOLAD PRIOR TO ANNOUNCEMENT FOR
KISLEV: When we announce the molad
during Birkat HaChodesh for Kislev, the molad will already have occurred in the
past. Rosh Chodesh will be on Sunday,
but we will announce that the molad has already taken place, on Friday at
6.
MOLAD PRIOR TO ANNOUNCEMENT FOR NISAN: The same thing will happen during Birkat
HaChodesh for Nisan, unless you announce the month very early in the morning
(in
7.
SPECIAL POSTPONEMENT “BETUTAKPAT” AT
END OF YEAR: The molad for Tishrei
5766 is on Monday morning. So why is
Rosh HaShana 5766 on Tuesday? Based on what I’ve said earlier (see item 1
above), Rosh HaShana shouldn’t have to be postponed
from the day of the molad, since the molad occurs before
This special postponement is known as “dechiyyat BeTUTaKPaT”. It applies only to Rosh HaShana
immediately following a leap year, if the molad is on Monday at 15 hours
589 chalakim (= Monday 9:32 a.m. and 13 chalakim) or later, hence the name
“BeTUTaKPaT” (בטו
תקפט)
representing 215589. The reason for
this strange cutoff is that if the molad is at this time or later, then the
molad at the beginning of the previous year, 13 months earlier, would have been
on Tuesday at noon or later, causing the 2day postponement of Rosh HaShana to
Thursday, as we have described. This
would cause the year to be too short, unless we postpone Rosh HaShana to Tuesday at the end of the year. Thus, when BeTUTaKPaT occurs, it is always
at the end of a החא (heichetaleph) yeartype, and it begins
a גכה (gimelkafhei) year, which would otherwise have been a בשה
(betshinhei) year if not for the postponement.
How often does this happen? BeTUTaKPaT
occurs very rarely, only in 0.54% of years, or approximately once
every 190 years!
Here is a complete list of all occurrences of dechiyyat BeTUTaKPaT
according to the rules of the fixed calendar, from the time of Hillel II (who
seems to have established the rules of the fixed calendar) until the year
6000: 4179 (418), 4257 (496), 4504
(743), 4602 (841), 4849 (1088), 5096 (1335), 5194 (1433), 5441 (1680), 5519
(1758), 5688 (1927), 5766 (2005).
Notice that Tishrei 5766 will be the last time before the year 6000 that
dechiyyat BeTUTaKPaT occurs! The next
occurrence according to the fixed calendar rules would be in the year 6013
(2252). The intervals between
occurrences of BeTUTaKPaT are 78, 98, 169, or 247 years. However, if we extend the fixed calendar far
enough, we get an interval of 345 years from 6605 (2844) until 6950 (3189).
X.
CONCLUSION
When I started writing this essay, my original title was “How is this year different from all (or most) other years?” Then I decided it would look better without the phrase “or most”. But is this change legitimate? Is this year, 5765, really different from all other years, and not just most other years?
Let us summarize what we have seen so far. The yeartype החא (heichetaleph) is quite rare, characterized by the fact that Tevet starts on Monday, as described in section O. What else distinguishes the year 5765? The exact correspondence between Jewish and civil calendar dates that occurs in 5765 occurs in only a small number of other calendar years, as described in section T (item T.5). Of these years, the only ones that are החא (heichetaleph) years are 5670 (19091910), 5765 (200405), and 5917 (215657). As described in section U, these 3 years all seem to have the exact same calendar – every Jewish date falls on the exact same Gregorian (civil) date and day of the week in 5765 as it fell in 5670 and as it will fall in 5917. Even Good Friday falls on Purim in all of these 3 years. You can reuse your old 5670 calendars for this year 5765, and then reuse them again for 5917. Recycling is good, but it seems that I may be out of luck, and I may have to reinsert “or most” into the title of this essay.
But
wait! The events of section W come to
the rescue! In particular, the fact that
the determination of the yeartype involves the application of dechiyyat
BeTUTaKPaT at the end of the year (see event W.7) is extremely significant, as
this occurs very rarely. In particular,
it does not occur in either of 5670 or 5917!
It turns out that this year 5765 is the only year in all of history whose
“keviut” (yeartype determination) involves dechiyyat BeTUTaKPaT at the end of
the year, and whose Pesach falls on April 24.
Whew. This year really is
different from all other years!
Wow, you
made it all the way to the end of this essay!
Okay, so you may have skipped a few details, or held the “Page Down” key
for a while. I don’t mind. But if you really did read and enjoy a
significant portion of this essay, then I really want to know who you are! Welcome to the club of calendar nerds! Please send me an email and feel free to
include any comments or corrections: ari.brodsky@utoronto.ca
Oh, and
don’t forget to submit your solutions to the exercises. Speaking of exercises, here is one more
exercise for the reader: In the
Hebrew subtitle of this essay, I used the word נִשְׁתַּנֵּית (“nishtanneit”)
as the feminine equivalent of נִשְׁתַּנָּה (“nishtanna”, familiar
from the Pesach Seder), but I’m not sure that this is the correct feminine
conjugation. My alternative option was נִשְׁתַּנְּתָה (“nishtanneta”).
The problem is that these are not
Biblical Hebrew verb forms, and so they don’t appear in the usual Biblical
Hebrew grammar books. Can anyone with
any expertise in Rabbinic (Mishnaic) Hebrew verb
forms tell me which version (if either) is the correct conjugation?
Y.
REFERENCES FOR FURTHER
In the body of this essay I have already indicated
sources for many of the individual facts that I quote. For general background and information about
the Jewish calendar, here are my recommendations:
The main classical
halakhic source for the historical background and detailed calculations of
the Jewish calendar is Rambam (Maimonides), Hilkhot Kiddush HaChodesh,
included in the Zemanim volume of his halakhic code, Mishne Torah (approx. 4938 / 1178 CE). In the first 10 chapters, Maimonides gives
all the theoretical background and calculations necessary to construct the
Jewish calendar. (According to
Maimonides (11:4), these calculations can be learned by schoolchildren in 3 or
4 days.) For the advanced reader, the
last 9 chapters describe an algorithm for determining when the new moon will
first be visible each month. I’ve used
it and it works!
Another
extremely valuable classical halakhic source is the Arba’a
Turim (known simply as the “Tur”), by Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher, section Orach
Chayyim, chapters 427428. The Tur
seems to be the earliest source to use the lettercodes to refer to each of the
14 different “keviut” yeartypes (although he uses 2letter codes rather than
the 3letter codes that have become more common in modern writings). The Tur also gives rules for the distribution
of the Torah readings throughout the calendar year, and most importantly gives
tables for determining the yeartype of any Jewish year from 5055 until after
the year 6000. Be careful with the
tables though – many old printings of the Tur contain an incorrect version of
one of them. The correct version is
printed in the 5753 (1993) edition, published by Machon
Yerushalayim. This edition also contains
extensive footnotes, clarifying and elaborating on the various calculations.
My
favourite book on the Jewish calendar is Shearim LaLuah HaIvry (Gates to the
Hebrew Calendar), by Rahamim SarShalom, Netanya 5744
(1984). This book contains everything
you could possibly want to know about the Jewish calendar, but it will take
you several lifetimes to read it. It is
an excellent reference; in fact a lot of my statistical information and all of
my lists of years in the various sections of this essay were taken from Shearim LaLuah HaIvry. The book
also contains an extensive bibliography for further reference.
References in English:
The first
source from which I learned about the details of the Jewish calendar was the “Calendar”
entry in Encyclopaedia Judaica (Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd., Jerusalem 1972
(5732), vol. 5 columns 4353). It gives
all the details necessary for the construction of the Jewish calendar.
A good
book in English describing the Jewish calendar is “Understanding the Jewish
Calendar”, by Rabbi Nathan Bushwick (Moznaim Publishing Corporation: New York 1989). It gives a very readable description of all
the details of the calendar, based on Rambam and Tur.
When you
finish all those, let me know and we’ll discuss them. J Really, even if you haven’t finished them,
I’ll be happy to discuss calendar issues with anyone!