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In older books and other publications that describe the Jewish calendar, it's quite common to see the extra leap month referred to as "Veadar." (One example is here.)

But I have yet to hear that usage nowadays, in speech or in print; everyone seems to call it "Adar Sheini" or "Adar Beis."

When and why did this shift occur?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Shalom's suggestion that it was a corruption from ב׳ אדר seems plausible, although of course ב׳ אדר is itself awkward. Another guess might be that in listing months sometimes people wrote the 12 and after אדר simple added ואדר, as if to say "and Adar," like "Shevat, Adar and [again] Adar."

See Shekalim 2b-3a in the Vilna edition where ואדר השני is found. It's possible that the influence of the expression אדר הראשון ואדר השני gave birth to ואדר. Also see M.D. Davis's Shtaros, Hebrew Deeds etc. (pg 105) which includes a document from Norwich, dated 1264, which refers to ירח ואדר, so it's quite old.

It's a good topic, and I think I'll research it more!

As for why it should have fallen into disuse, it's anyone's guess. But there are numerous examples of common useages which simply disappeared for no apparent reason. Take the use of gershayim (") in abbreviations and the like. Today I think they are universally applied only in the second to last letter of a term (like רמב"ם). But well into the 19th century you could still find רמ"בם and the like. What happened and why? I don't know, but it did change.

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I just thought it was ignorance, someone saw ב׳ אדר and read it as "Vadar." (Which is how it appeared, if I'm not mistaken, in Childcraft about 20 years ago.)

I've also heard ketubahs that spelled out "Adar HaSheini."

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You have a good memory! google.com/… –  Dave Oct 27 '10 at 14:33
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Possible, I guess, but you also see it written in Hebrew as ואדר. (One example, I think, is in the back of the 150-year calendar.) –  Alex Oct 27 '10 at 16:29

In a previous discussion, Dave brought a resource about months and their Akkadian/Babylonian origins. Opposite VeAdar is Arhu Maakru-sa Addaru. Arhu means month, and I've seen it spelled with a parenthetical "w" - (w)arhu. The maakaru is probably related to machar or achar referring to an after month of Addar. (I don't know if the sa is a common ending or a word.)

Perhaps the vav is a shortened version of warhu maakaru-sa?

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A "Vav" at the beginning of a word means "and". When you see Adar Sheni referred to as "Veadar" it means and Adar. The truth is that the additional Adar is really the first Adar as we celebrate Purim, birthdays, etc. in Adar Sheni - unless it happened originally in Adar Rishon. This may be the reason it was called VeAdar as this is the actual Adar. The shift may have occurred in order to have clarity as to which Adar we are talking about.

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