web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Terrorists attack Israeli soldiers with a Molotov cocktail in Arab village near Ramallah.
Palestinian Authority-American Shot Dead while Trying to Kill Jews
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

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: