web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

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

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Summary of our response up to this point: We cited several sources for the law that we only intercalate Adar, including the Bavli (Rosh Hashanah 7a and Sanhedrin 12a), Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin 1:2), and Rambam (Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh 4:1). However, your question is a good one: Why?

Tosafot (Sanhedrin 12a) offers a scriptural reason: to ensure that Adar will remain the twelfth month, as it is referred to in Megillat Esther (3:7).

We noted the reason for any intercalation – the 11-day discrepancy between the lunar and solar years. The lunar year is 354 days, which is the approximate time it takes for 12 new moons to occur. The solar year is 365 days, which is the approximate time it takes for the earth to complete one solar revolution. Thus every several years, an extra month is added to the Jewish lunar year, allowing the lunar and solar years to be in sync again and ensuring that the holidays are celebrated in their correct seasons.

* * * * *

Tosafot’s explanation for why we only intercalate Adar is quite difficult to understand. In truth, the only logical month to intercalate is Adar, but not for Tosafot’s reason. If we would intercalate Nissan or Iyar, we would be presented with a problem when counting the omer. There are 49 days from the second day of Passover, the 16th day of Nissan – when we start to count the omer – to Shavuot, the 6th day of Sivan. If we added a month anywhere between the two, Shavuot wouldn’t fall out in Sivan.

But this just raises another question: Does Shavuot actually need to be in Sivan? According to the Gemara, Shavuot need not fall out on a specific date. We find the following in Rosh Hashanah 6b: R’ Shmaya taught that Shavuot at times falls on the 5th of the month, at times on the 6th, and at times on the 7th. How so? If both Nissan and Iyar are full, 30-day months, then it falls on the 5th. If both are deficient, 29-day months, then it falls on the 7th. If one is full and the other deficient, then it falls on the 6th. (Of course, with our set calendar, Nissan is always full and Iyar is always deficient. This means that Shavuot always falls on the 6th – and in the diaspora, the second day always falls on the 7th.)

Further proof that the specific day of Shavuot is not fixed is found in the Kiddush and Shemoneh Esreh for the three festivals where Shavuot is referred to as “zman matan Torateinu – the time of our being given the Torah.” It makes sense that “zman – time” is used in reference to Pesach and Sukkot (“zman cheiruteinu – the time of our freedom” and “zman simchateinu – the time of our joy”) since these holidays are weeklong festivals. But Shavuot is just a one-day festival (two days in the diaspora). It rightly, therefore, should be referred to as “yom matan Torateinu – the day of our being given the Torah.” Since the term zman is used, it is clear that our sages, who fixed the texts of our prayers, were aware that Shavuot need not fall out on any specific day of Sivan.

However, the month is fixed as the Torah specifically states (Exodus 19:1), “Bachodesh ha’shelishi l’tzeit bnei Yisrael me’eretz Mitzrayim ba’u midbar Sinai – In the third month [Sivan] from the exodus of the Children of Israel from the land of Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai.” Thus, the Torah is emphatic that the giving of the Torah is in the third month, and, as such, Shavuot must fall in the third month.

(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.

2 Responses to “Q & A: The Leap Year At Adar (Part II)”

  1. Interesting article, as myself, a gentile trying to understand true truth, please put definitions, in parenthesis, of the Hebrew words. Thank you in advance. I do honor the sabbath, friday sunset to saturday sunset, but i’ve yet to honor the seven festivals :/

  2. Interesting article, as myself, a gentile trying to understand true truth, please put definitions, in parenthesis, of the Hebrew words. Thank you in advance. I do honor the sabbath, friday sunset to saturday sunset, but i’ve yet to honor the seven festivals :/

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The new security fence is under construction along the Israel-Egypt border.
Israel to Extend Security Fence Along Eastern Border
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

It occurred to me, as my brain rattled in my skull on a two-hundred mile ride through rural Virginia, that our souls work in much the same way.

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

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-leap-year-at-adar-part-ii/2014/03/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: