web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
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.



Home » Sections » Arts »

The Politics Of Jewish Calendars

 

Bar Hiyya had no more compassion for the calendar of the “pagan nations,” by which he meant Christians. “The entire evil kingdom of Edom, who count according to the hanged one, compute most of their civil matters according to the solar calendar like the Greeks,” he wrote, “however they are forced to compute according to the moon along with the sun to set their fasts and some of their feast days, because they liken themselves to Israel in this counting.”

 

 

Sefer Evronot. 1779. Cincinnati, Klau Library,

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. ms 902. Fol. 1r.

 

 

The Jewish calendar, meanwhile, was a divinely inspired enterprise. A 1779 Sefer Evronot (a book of high-level calendar formulation) shows the divine hand in the top left corner pointing at a moon in the opposite corner of the page. On the ground level stand Moshe and Aharon – identified by their light-filled horns and tablets of the law on the one hand, and priestly garb and incense on the other – and Moshe himself points up at the moon. A banner – which somewhat bizarrely takes particular pains not to mask letters except in the final word – displays the text from Exodus 12 that first outlines the biblical commandment to set Nissan as the “head of the months.”

 

The central text in the 1779 book identifies the calendar tradition as one tied to mystical secrets – a theme which also surfaces in a 1716 Sefer Evronot, which shows an angel instructing Yissachar who is about to ascend a ladder to the heavens, where he will learn of the secrets of the calendar. The ladder derives from Yaakov’s vision, but the figure is his son Yissachar, due to the description in Divrei Hayamim112:33 that the sons of Yissachar “have knowledge of time.”

 

 

Elephant. (Hebrew pil is a pun for the Hebrew root “to fall,” like a holiday falling on a certain date). Sefer Evronot, 1627. Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Ms 2662, fol. 21v.

 

 

When considered in light of the 1716 illustration, Carlebach’s title, Palaces of Time, makes a lot of sense. Jewish artists – or at least the Jewish patrons who commissioned the works – envisioned the calendar, which embodied time, as a palatial structure. Devarim 30:12-13 declares that the Torah isn’t in the heaven, such that one needs to ascend skyward to retrieve it, nor is it across the sea, such that one must traverse the sea to acquire it. When one considers Sifrei Evronot, though, one gets the impression that a celestial journey or odyssey of some sort is necessary to grasp the inner workings of the calendar. One might even say early Jewish calendars were more ambitious than even their most technologically savvy descendants are today.

 

 

Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blog.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.

About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.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 “The Politics Of Jewish Calendars”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Menachem Wecker
Menachem Wecker

The exhibit, according to a statement from guest curator Michele Waalkes which is posted on the museum website, “examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.”

Weck-051812

It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.

One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)

Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.

It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.

Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.

The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?

Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/the-politics-of-jewish-calendars/2011/08/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: