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Outside of Israel, we start saying "v'tain tal oomatar livrachah" ("and provide dew and rain for a blessing") in the amida on the evening of December 4th or 5th (depending on the year). Chanukah starts the evening of the 25th of Kislaiv. How often does Chanukah start before we switch to "v'tain tal oomatar livrachah"?

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It feels off topic. I just can't pinpoint why –  Shmuel Brin Nov 28 '13 at 17:44
    
Once every 80,000 years? ;-) –  Seth J Nov 28 '13 at 18:22
    
@Seth that's definitely not true. –  Double AA Nov 28 '13 at 20:24
    
The more interesting question is how often chanukkah ends before we start asking for rain in the diaspora. –  Double AA Nov 28 '13 at 23:07
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2 Answers 2

I have a book here that lists the Hebrew-calendar dates for starting "v'sen tal umatar" for the years 5750 through 5851. Counting, I see that in 26 of those 102 years (25%) Chanuka starts before that date. (And in two of the years they start the same night: 5787 and 5833.)

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There can't be a constant ratio for this, as the date of starting v'sein tal umatter changes (on the english calendar) every 3 out of 4 centuries (thus if you look in the Tur you will find a different date than the one in the shulchan aruch, which are both different from what we do). This is because we follow two different opinions in Maseches Rosh Hashana for how to calculate the exact length of a year, and v'sein tal umattar follows the "less exact" calculation. Theoretically, in a few thousand years v'sein tal will start very late and never be before chanuka.

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But there can be a ratio for each set of 100/200 years of "constant" dates. Perhaps someone can provide a complete table until the century where the ration is zero. –  Double AA Jan 16 at 4:56
    
@Double AA The question was how often, not how many times. I was pointing out that "how often" has no answer. There would be a how often for "how often Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos" or something which occurs with regular frequency, or how many times Pesach starts on Shabbos in the 19 year or 247 year cycles. There is no "how often" for this question though. –  YEZ Jan 16 at 18:42
    
I don't understand your comment. I said "ratio" not "amount". –  Double AA Jan 16 at 18:44
    
I was addressing the question that was asked by the originator of the question. I was pointing out that there is no pattern, as the two halachos are based on different calculations. There is only a coincidental "ratio" was all that I was trying to point out. –  YEZ Jan 16 at 18:56
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