web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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

Questions-Answers-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 required to fall on a fixed day, Exodus 19:1 specifically states 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.

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.

I did not find any indication anywhere in Megillat Esther or in the Talmud that it was a leap year. The only source stating so is Rabbi Yosef Grossman in Otzar Erchei HaYahadut, who explains that we celebrate Purim in Adar Sheni because the events occurred during a leap year. However, I cannot find a source for Rabbi Grossman’s contention.

* * * * * Both Adar Rishon and Adar Sheni are properly Adar” in some sense – both in regards to Purim and in regards to the halachot of observing aveilut and yahrzeit.

First, let us discuss aveilut and yahrtzeit so that we can end this discussion on a happy note. If a parent dies in Adar, the yahrzeit the next year should be observed in Adar Rishon (if it’s a leap year). This can be explained based on the time the aveilut commences. A full mourning period is 12 months (even though kaddish is only recited for 11 months as we do not wish to imply that our parents are wicked – see Rema, Orach Chayim 376:4, who notes that judgment of the wicked lasts 12 months). If the yahrzeit was observed in Adar Sheni, the person would wind up mourning for 13 months.

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 V)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IDF soldier surveys a Palestinian terror tunnel.
IDF: Not Sure We can Get to All Tunnels
Latest Judaism Stories
PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

The midrash says that Pinchas, (this parsha), and Eliyahu, prophet of Kings, are one and the same.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-leap-year-at-adar-part-v/2014/03/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: