web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: The Leap Year At Adar (Part I)

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Why does the Jewish leap year always consists of two Adars? Why specifically Adar?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: Both the Babylonian Talmud (in two places: Rosh Hashanah 7a and Sanhedrin 12a) and the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 1:2) state that we only create leap years during Adar. The Rambam (Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh 4:1) codifies this as the halacha. Seemingly everyone, even a young child, is aware of this fact. However, your question is a good one: Why only Adar?

A baraita (Sanhedrin ibid., which is the source for this halacha) states: “We do not intercalate the year before Rosh Hashanah [in Elul], and if they did intercalate, it is [not valid]. However, in times of duress, they may intercalate immediately after Rosh Hashanah. Even so, the intercalation is done for the month of Adar.”

Not only is the intercalation restricted specifically to the month of Adar, but beit din (in earlier times) was only allowed to meet in Adar regarding the intercalation. The Gemara (Sanhedrin ibid.) makes note of this and the unusual exception that was made when Rabbi Akiba was in prison. The sages joined him there and proclaimed not one but three (successive) intercalations (for three different years). The Gemara explains that after sitting with Rabbi Akiba, they then met and sat again as a beit din in Adar.

Rashi (ad loc. svein ma’avirin”) explains: “Beit din does not sit before Rosh Hashanah to delve into the matter and proclaim that this year be intercalated with two Adars because there will be forgetfulness due to the [long] lapse of time, with the result that people will come to be careless with chametz [on Passover].”

Tosafot (Sanhedrin 12a, svEin me’averin ela Adar”) offer a scriptural reason for intercalating Adar specifically: “We do not intercalate [any of] the other months [save for Adar] because of the following verse (Esther 3:7) ‘[Bachodesh harishon hu chodesh Nissan bishe’nat shteim esreh la’melech Achashveirosh hipil pur, hu hagoral lifnei Haman, miyom l’yom u’me’chodesh] l’chodesh shneim asar hu chodesh Adar – [In the first month, which is the month of Nissan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast pur, that is the lot, before Haman from day to day, from month to month,] to the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.’ Now if we are to intercalate one of the other months, then Adar will not be the twelfth month.”

We must note the reason for intercalating altogether: the discrepancy between the lunar and solar years. Simply put, the lunar year is basically 354 days, which is the approximate time it takes for 12 new moons to occur. On the other hand, the solar year is basically 365 days, which is the approximate time it takes for the earth to complete one solar revolution. There remains an approximate discrepancy of 11 days between the two. Thus, every several years, the cumulative missing days are combined to form an additional month of Adar, delaying the next lunar year from starting again and allowing the lunar and solar years to be in sync once more.

It is interesting to note that many other peoples follow a lunar year. The most prominent examples are the Muslims and Chinese. Since Muslims do not have a leap year, their calendar proves to be quite interesting in that their principal month-long fast and feast, Ramadan, occurs in different solar months in different years. Not so the Jewish year, where the lunar year is adjusted with extra months to ensure that the holidays are celebrated in their correct seasons.

(To be continued)

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: The Leap Year At Adar (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Judaism Stories
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

“But you have all our credit card details from when we paid for the car.”

Niehaus-030615

Even though it sometimes seems as if we have been abandoned, nothing could be further from the truth.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The moment Moshe Rabbeinu was deemed by the mixed multitude to be an inept leader, it was Yosef who filled the void in people’s hearts.

Business-Halacha-logo

“This sounds like a question for Rabbi Dayan,” said Mr. Cohen. He took out his cell phone and called Rabbi Dayan.

To the glee of all Israel haters it was Netanyahu who was accused of endangering US-Israel relations

Over and over, the text tells us about “keeping” Shabbat, about holiness, and a covenant – but why?

Aharon’s guilt with the golden calf is not clear-cut. What if Moshe were in his brother’s place?

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-leap-year-at-adar-part-i/2014/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: