web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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


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 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.

The only logical month to intercalate is Adar. If Nissan or Iyar were intercalated, we would be presented with a problem when counting the omer. We count 49 days starting on the second day of Pesach, Nissan 16, until the omer’s conclusion at Shavuot, the 6th day of Sivan. If we would add a month anywhere between the two, Shavuot would no longer occur in Sivan.

While Shavuot is not necessarily required to fall on a fixed day, Exodus 19:1 specifically states that “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 took place in the third month. As such, Shavuot – when we celebrate being given the Torah – must fall in Sivan.

Last week, we examined scriptural mentions of specific dates for other holidays. Parshat Pinchas tells us that Rosh Hashanah is on the first day of the seventh month, Yom Kippur on the tenth day of the seventh month, and Sukkot on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. If we were to intercalate any of the months preceding these festivals, they would not occur in the seventh month as the Torah mandates.

The Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 7a) intimates that we only intercalate right before Nissan because the Torah (Deuteronomy 16:1) requires Passover to fall in the spring. The Rambam writes explicitly that we make two Adars to prevent Passover from sometimes falling in the winter. Pirush Rabbeinu Ovadia adds that in Adar, beit din examines the crops to see whether the wheat has already ripened, a sign that spring has arrived. If it has, there is no need to intercalate that year.

Clearly there are biblical sources to rely on. Why, then, does Tosafot cite a verse in Esther for intercalating Adar? Furthermore, it seems that the verse in Esther refers to a regular year, not a leap year. Otherwise, it would not have referred to Adar as the twelfth month.

* * * * *

My understanding is that the year of the Purim story was a regular one of twelve months. I make this assumption because I find no indication otherwise anywhere in Megillat Esther or the Talmud.

Rabbi Yosef Grossman in Otzar Erchei HaYahadut (p. 28 – “Adar Sheni”) writes: “The reason for the importance of Adar Sheni [i.e., why we celebrate Purim and read the parshiyot this month and not in Adar Rishon] is because in the year of the issuance of Haman’s evil edict against the Jews, these events occurred during Adar Sheni. This means that it was a leap year consisting of thirteen months.”

Yet, after a thorough search, I could not find the source upon which Rabbi Grossman bases his conclusion. And as previously mentioned, I find Tosafot (Sanhedrin 12a) problematic – specifically their statement that we only intercalate Adar because of a verse in Esther (3:7) that calls Adar the twelfth month. It may have been the twelfth month that year, but the verse doesn’t necessarily imply that it must be so every year.

Now, according to Rabbi Grossman, and based on the Gemara’s conclusion that Purim and the associated mitzvot are celebrated and observed during the Adar closest to Nissan (i.e., Adar Sheni), Adar winds up being the thirteenth month. Even so, Tosafot concludes that Adar is the twelfth month and uses this as proof that we only intercalate Adar so that it remains the twelfth month. This reasoning differs from that of the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 7a), which states that we intercalate only right before Nissan because the Torah (Deuteronomy 16:1) instructs: “Shamor et chodesh ha’aviv v’asita pesach la’Shem Elokecha – You shall observe the month of springtime and perform the paschal offering.” This verse clearly indicates that Passover must fall in the spring (aviv).

(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 IV)”

  1. In the Hebrew calendar when ali’s leap, given 13 months, last month called Adar bis.

  2. Yori Mendel says:

    Stuttering! Smile.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A mother greets her lone soldier at Ben-Gurion airport.
El Al Reunites Parents of Lone Soldiers from ‘Protective Edge’ for Rosh Hashanah
Latest Judaism Stories
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

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

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

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: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-leap-year-at-adar-part-iv/2014/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: