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“Older” By A Month
… I Shall Not Taste Wine…Until The Beginning Of Adar’
(Nedarim 63a, Mishna)



Our Daf discusses the dispute between two Sages, R. Meir and R. Yehuda, in reference to the month of Adar, when, in a leap year, “Adar” is stated without any additional specification. R. Meir views the second month as Adar and the first as an added month. R. Yehuda, on the other hand, opines that when it is not specified, Adar applies to the first Adar, and the second Adar is considered an added month.

Ran, Rosh (ad loc.), Raavad (to Rambam, Hilchos Nedarim 10:6), and Rema (O.C. 427:1) rule in accordance with R. Yehuda that when one is not specific, the reference is to the first Adar with regard to dating a document (as well as vows [nedarim]). The Magen Avraham (O.C. 427:s.k. 27) comments that according to this view, the chazzan need not specify “Adar I” when blessing the month of Adar I in the synagogue (on the Sabbath, prior to Mussaf), but when blessing the second Adar, he must specify “Adar II.”

Rambam (Hilchos Nedarim 10:6) disagrees with the above-cited Rishonim and rules, in accordance with R. Meir, that if one simply states “Adar,” he refers to Adar II. This also seems to be the opinion of Tosafos (Nedarim 63b s.v. Vehatanya), who cite two proofs that Adar II is “the real Adar,” so to speak, whereas Adar I is merely an intercalated month in a leap year: Adar II has 29 days, which is the same length as the month of Adar during non-leap years, whereas Adar I has 30 days; the festival of Purim is observed in Adar II.


Applying the Halacha

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 320:8, Hilchos Nedarim) cites both views and does not opt for a clear position. However, it advises (Even HaEzer 126:6) specifying both Adar I and Adar II when dating a get so as to satisfy both opinions. The Magen Avraham concludes, accordingly, that when blessing the new month, it is best to specify that it is either Adar I or Adar II.


A Bar Mitzvah in a Leap Year

Mahari Mintz (Responsum 15, as cited by Rema, O.C. 55:10) deals with the question of a bar mitzvah in Adar during a leap year. Based on the logic of Tosafos, Mahari Mintz rules that if a boy was born in the month of Adar, and the 13th year of his life is a leap year, he is not halachically recognized as an adult until Adar II, since Adar II is the “real” Adar.


Now, Turn That Around

Binyan Tziyyon (siman 151) rules, with regard to bar mitzvah, that if a boy was born on the 30th day of Adar I, and the year of his bar mitzvah is not a leap year, he becomes bar mitzvah on the 30th day of Shevat. He is of the opinion that since the 30th day of the month is the first day of Rosh Chodesh of the following month, it is to be considered the first day of the new month rather than the last day of the previous month. Therefore, the birthday of a boy born on the 30th of Adar I is marked as the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar. Thus, if there is only one Adar in the year of his bar mitzvah, his birthday is marked as the 30th of Shevat, since that would have been the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar in a non-intercalated year.

Other authorities (such as Birkas Kohen to Arachin 31b) disagree, and are of the opinion that if a boy was born on the 30th of Adar I and the year of his bar mitzvah is not a leap year, his bar mitzvah is delayed until the first of Nissan – since Adar in a non-leap year does not have 30 days. (If the year of his bar mitzvah is also a leap year, all agree that he becomes a bar mitzvah on his birthday – the 30th of Adar I.)


The ‘Older’ Is ‘Younger’

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayyim 427:1) cites the following intriguing halacha with regard to a bar mitzvah in the month of Adar (based on Arachin 31b). If Reuven was born in a leap year on the 29th day of Adar I, and his friend Shimon was born two days later on the first of Adar II, Shimon reaches his 13th birthday (and becomes a bar mitzvah) four weeks before Reuven (if the year of their bar mitzvah is not a leap year). Shimon, who was born on the first of Adar II, becomes a bar mitzvah on Rosh Chodesh Adar, whereas Reuven, who was born before Shimon, does not become a bar mitzvah until the 29th of Adar.

Later authorities – Levush (Orach Chayyim 685), Responsa Mahari Mintz (15, above), Mishna Berura (O.C. 55: s.k. 43) have all codified this as the halacha.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.