web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Two Adars (Part I)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

QUESTION: I have a few questions regarding the Jewish leap year. Why is Adar the month that is picked for this purpose? Why do we call it Adar Alef? Why is Purim celebrated in the second Adar? Which one of them is the real Adar?

Shea Aronovitch
(Via E-Mail)

 

ANSWER: We will answer your questions, however, not necessarily in the order that you have asked. First, we deal with the name Adar. The Gemara (Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 1:2) cites Rabbi Chanina who states, “The names of the [Jewish] months were brought up with them [the exiles who returned to the Land of Israel] from Babylonia.” Indeed, these were not the original names, as we see in the various biblical verses that refer to them only in a numerical fashion (as previously discussed in this column regarding the name of the eighth month – Marcheshvan).

The Gemara supports Rabbi Chanina’s statement by citing the following months and their scriptural sources (all post-exile), Nissan in Esther (3:7), Kislev in Nechemia (1:2), and Tevet in Esther (2:5).

Though not included in the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah, through a scriptural search, we find mention of the month of Shevat in Zecharia (1:7), Adar and Nissan in Esther (3:7), Sivan in Esther (8:9), and Elul in Nechemia (6:15), which are all post-exile references found only in the prophets and Hagiographa.

However, we find no scriptural mention of Iyar, Tammuz, Av and Marcheshvan. Our tradition, based on the Gemara’s statement (“The names of the months were brought up with them…”), is that these names, too, were brought up from Babylonia. Indeed, when the exiles came to Babylonia they found a society that used a lunar calendar similar to ours and that they were quite knowledgeable of astronomy.

Eventually, the Babylonian names for the months were popularly adopted. The only names for months that were used were the 12 that we currently use – in the following order: Nissan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishrei, Marcheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar. This is possibly due to their (the Babylonians, unlike us) having no real need of a leap year. We, on the other hand, need the occasional leap year in order to maintain the seasonal integrity of our festivals.

There was no extra Babylonian name to be used for the purpose of a “leap” month that needed to be added to the Jewish year, and certainly our sages did not create another Babylonian name for that purpose.

As to which of the two Adars is considered the “leap” – or extra – month, it is actually the second, which we refer to as Adar Sheni (or Adar Bet), meaning the second Adar. This is because the Talmud (beraita, Rosh Hashanah 7a) refers to Nissan (the first of the months and that which immediately follows Adar) as the Rosh Hashanah of ibburin – intercalations.

The Gemara concludes that normally (when ibbur was done only through testimony presented to beit din, before our fixed calendar was established), the leap month can only be added before Purim.

The Gemara cites this halacha (Pesachim 6a) to prove the point, “We inquire [study in depth] the laws of Pesach before Pesach for 30 days,” and explains that once they have already begun that study, they will come to violating the laws of chametz (on Pesach).

Rashi (s.v. ‘ati l’zilzulei b’chametz’) explains that this refers to the practice of the rabbis to publicly lecture on the subject of the laws of Pesach for one entire month preceding the festival. Once this process has commenced, people will not accept the testimony of the messengers of beit din that an extra month has been added. In such case, the result will be that they will end up eating chametz on what is actually the “real” Pesach.

(To be continued)

 Rabbi Yaakov Klass can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

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: Two Adars (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rocket that hit a field in the Eshkol region on July 3, 2015
Gaza Launches Rocket Attack, Israelis Not Warned
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

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

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(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)

Vol. LXVI No. 29 5775 New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME July 17, 2015 – 1 Av 5775 8:06 p.m. NYC E.D.T.   Sabbath Ends: 9:12 p.m. NYC E.D.T. Sabbath Ends: Rabbenu Tam 9:36 p.m. NYC E.D.T. Weekly Reading: Mattos-Mass’ei Weekly Haftara: Shim’u Devar Hashem (Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2) Daf Yomi: Nedarim 54 Mishna Yomit: […]

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-two-adars/2011/02/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: