Questions about calendars. The Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar that determines the dates of Jewish festivals.

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How do we know that the civil Saturday is the correct Shabbat?

Disclaimer: I am not a religious Jew, this question is only out of curiosity. I understand that observant Jews observe Shabbat from Friday night to Saturday. And from this question and this it seems ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

In a leap year, is the extra month Adar I or Adar II?

I'm implementing support for the Hebrew calendar in Noda Time, my date/time library for .NET. I think I'm mostly there aside from text support (although beta testers would be very welcome!) but one ...
21
votes
3answers
550 views

The Fanatic Badge

Here on Mi Yodeya, one can earn the "Fanatic" badge for visiting the site for 100 consecutive days. Is it halachically possible to earn the fanatic badge in the Diaspora?
17
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8answers
421 views

Birthdays in Judaism

Is there any significance in Judaism attached to the day someone was born (aside for the 13th year)? Is there anything wrong with celebrating one's birthday? And is it more correct to celebrate the ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

When did we start counting the Year since Creation?

This year is 5772 / תשעב (Taf-Shin-Ayin-Bet) on the Hebrew Calendar. What is the earliest reference to the Year counting from the Creation of the world?
13
votes
5answers
750 views

Nittle Nacht Meaning

What is Nittle Nacht? What does the name mean? What is its significance? Which Halachic authorities speak about it, and what do they say? What is the actual date for it? How is it effected this ...
13
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2answers
298 views

Is it heresy to follow secular dating on the destruction of the first Temple?

There is a discrepancy between rabbinic and secular sources regarding when the first Temple was destroyed -- a difference of some 165 years or so, which are called the "Missing Years." My question is ...
12
votes
2answers
681 views

How does one “add a year” in the Hebrew calendar?

I'm trying to support the Hebrew calendar in my Noda Time project, and need to support an operation of "add a year" - or more generally, answer the question of "Given an original date and a target ...
12
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3answers
462 views

Why is Rosh Chodesh sometimes TWO days?

Why for certain months of the year do we celebrate the festival of Rosh Chodesh for two days while on other Roshei Chadashim we have one day of Rosh Chodesh?
12
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1answer
1k views

Why does the Jewish calendar HAVE to end?

It seems to be common knowledge that on or around the year 6,000 of the Jewish calendar "everything" (left intentionally vague) will come to an end and there will be a 1,000 year 'Shabbos'. I'm ...
11
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1answer
527 views

Praying for rain in the Diaspora

Why on this year (and on other years that precede civil leap years) do we start praying for rain in the Diaspora (by inserting the phrase 'Vetein tal umatar") at maariv of December 5 and not maariv of ...
11
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1answer
135 views

First-Temple-Era names of the Hebrew months?

The Chumash refers to the months simply as "the first", "the second", and so on. Today we know them by their Babylonian names (Nisan, Iyar ...) Occasionally the Prophets from the First-Temple Era use ...
11
votes
1answer
345 views

Why is Purim on Adar II during a leap year?

On a leap year, when a second Adar is added, we celebrate Purim on the second Adar. I would think it should be celebrated on the first Adar, since the Megillah goes out of its way in several places to ...
10
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3answers
234 views

9 Days of Chanukah?

All Yomim Tovim we celebrate in Chutz Laretz an extra day because of A safek, why do we not do the same for Chanukah?
10
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3answers
229 views

Do more fasts fall out on monday and thursday, or does it just feel that way

On Monday and Thursday, we say a longer Tachanun. On a fast day (where the weekday prayers are still said), Selichot are said in addition to Tachanun. It feels like there are many more fasts that ...
10
votes
1answer
291 views

When does a day start/end in the far North/South?

As I understand it, a day in the Jewish calendar is from sunset to sunset. How is this handled if you are living so far north or south that you have long periods of daylight or darkness?
10
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1answer
244 views

“Wedding anniversary” in Jewish thought.

Does the concept of "wedding anniversary" specifically enter Jewish thought or is it to be thought of as another of the many occasions for giving thanks to HKB"H?
9
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5answers
1k views

How Do I Know If it's a Hebrew Leap Year?

How can I tell if a given year is a Hebrew Leap Year? The simpler, the better. [Assuming we are using a fixed calendar, not like the "olden days".]
9
votes
3answers
204 views

Lag Baomer - why not Laomer?

Nusach Askenaz says Baomer, Nusach Sefard and Sefardim say Laomer - Why does everyone call it Lag Baomer - why not call it Lag Laomer?
9
votes
4answers
216 views

Getting a head start on Shnayim Mikra

(Inspired by this question) Can one get a head start on Shnayim Mikra? Would it count if someone either started early (perhaps during the weeks with no Sedra in Tishrei), or just had some spare time ...
9
votes
4answers
495 views

“Veadar” as the name of the extra month in leap years?

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
142 views

Counting the omer with doubt before the fixed calendar

Currently, according to a previous question on this site, we count the omer without doubt: "Today is the Xth day of the omer" because we have a fixed calendar, and because counting with doubt is ...
9
votes
1answer
146 views

A year with eight Sh'minis is plenteous?

I've heard an idea that a year (like 5772) in which parashas Sh'mini is read eight times[1] is a particularly auspicious one: the wording of the maxim is something like "sh'mona Sh'mini sh'mena" ([a ...
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3answers
241 views

Is one allowed to make Kneidlach when the last day of Pesach is Shabbos?

According to those who eat Gebrotz only on the last day of Pesach, is one allowed to make Mazta balls when the last day of Pesach is Shabbos? On a normal year, one can cook and eat Gebrotz on the ...
8
votes
3answers
186 views

“When Adar Comes We Increase in Joy” - already from Adar I?

Does the Talmudic dictum משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה (When Adar comes we increase in joy) start even in אדר ראשון (Adar I) in a leap year?
8
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3answers
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When is the next shmita year (as of 5772)?

When is the next shmita year? Is there disagreement about which year? If so, which Jewish sects or traditions believe the shmita is in which years? If you specify years since creation, please also ...
8
votes
1answer
248 views

20 Sivan and the inappropriateness of new days of commemoration

The kina (elegy) "Mi yiten roshi mayim" recited on 9 Av was composed in commemoration of the events of the First Crusade as it passed through the Rhineland. It includes the following lines (freely ...
8
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1answer
208 views

When does one stay up all night?

Can we get a complete list of occasions (dates or other occasions) on which someone (everyone, or just those with a particular circumstance) stays up all night (on purpose)?
8
votes
3answers
253 views

Hours, minutes, and chalakim

On Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh, the time of the molad is generally announced in units of hours, minutes, and chalakim. However, minutes are not a traditional Jewish unit of time; rather hours are ...
8
votes
1answer
154 views

S'feika D'yoma in Niddah

There are several types of vestos (patterns in menstrual cycles) that a woman is able to aquire. One such vesses is the vesses hachodesh, which relies on the day of the (Jewish) month. So for ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the rarest Haftarah?

Which Haftarah is read with the least frequency?
7
votes
3answers
96 views

What is the shortest interval during which we read publicly from each of the five Chumashim?

What is the shortest interval during which we read publicly from each of the five Chumashim? There is actually a practical issue involved here as well. The halachah is that if a community has a Sefer ...
7
votes
1answer
369 views

Is the Yovel every 49 or 50 years?

When is Yovel? Is it in the 49th year of the shmita cycle, or the 50th? And if it is in the 50th, when is the next shmita, in the 56th or 57th year? What is the practice in modern day Israel?
7
votes
1answer
129 views

Is there a best time to make aliya?

If one has decided to make aliya, are there particularly good (or bad) times during the year to do so, beyond the desire to be there for chagim? Factors that seem relevant would include tax-related ...
7
votes
2answers
69 views

Joseph and Chanukkah

The Parshiot about Joseph always fall right before or during Chanukkah. It their a relationship between the Joseph stories and the Chanukkah stories? It there something to be learned from the fact ...
7
votes
1answer
143 views

Why celebrate Lag Ba'Omer on the 33rd according to the MaHaRIL?

There are several different opinions about when the students of Rabbi Akiva died, and which days we mourn for them. Sefer HaToda'ah quotes the Maharil, who says that the students of Rabbi Akiva died ...
7
votes
1answer
85 views

Getting a late start on being Maavir Sedra for the year

I remember hearing when I was younger that ואלה שמות - is Roshei Teivos V'Chayav A'dam L'haavir H'sedra S'htayim M'ikra V'echod T'argum. If someone who has not been Maavir Sedra so far this year is ...
7
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1answer
141 views

Tachanun on Monday and Thursday

Why do we say a longer Tachanun on Mondays and Thursdays compared to the other days of the week?
7
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0answers
96 views

Why does the torah give us exact dates for the flood?

This question asks why the flood didn't end on the 18th of Cheshvan (one year after the start). My question is more basic: why does the torah give us precise dates here at all? Bereishit 7:11 tells ...
6
votes
3answers
242 views

Parashas Shavua calculation

I'm writing a site where the user would be able to see the calendar with jewish-civil translation of dates, and also which parasas shavua falls on which Shabbos. I'd like to know what is the formula ...
6
votes
4answers
410 views

Eclipse of the moon, bad sign for the Jews

Tonight, December 20, 2010, there will be a full lunar eclipse visible from North America and many other areas. I recall there is a Gemara that says that a lunar eclipse is a bad omen for the Jews as ...
6
votes
3answers
513 views

Two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel

Why do we continue to keep two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel? The reason for two days was revelant during the temple era as we needed two witnesses to see the new moon. But today, with no Temple ...
6
votes
4answers
715 views

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'? I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this ...
6
votes
2answers
87 views

Why do the Destruction-related Fasts not have names?

There are three Fasts on our calendar that commemorate stages in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple: 17 Tammuz 9 Av 10 Tevet (I realize that we could consider Tzom Gedaliah a partial ...
6
votes
1answer
154 views

Late Yom Hatzmaut

What is the rule: when is Yom Hatzmaut moved from the fifth of Iyar to an earlier or later date?
6
votes
3answers
183 views

Is it permissible to write the English/secular date?

Is it permissible to write the secular/Christian date? Example: On a letter (bad example but you get what I mean). Some conceivable issues: We're told "this month (Nisan) shall be for you the head ...
6
votes
1answer
284 views

Who divided the Tehillim into days?

Who divided the Sefer Tehillim into daily sections (both day of week and day of month)?
6
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1answer
124 views

When is “vesain tal umotor” said in Australia?

When is "vesain tal umotor" said in the Southern Hemisphere eg Australia?
6
votes
1answer
155 views

Rosh Hashana can't currently land on a Friday, but the first one did

The current fixed calendar works in such a way so that the first day of Rosh Hashana can never fall out on a Friday, but this is the very day on which the first Rosh Hashana fell! What gives?
6
votes
2answers
167 views

Walled cities for Purim other than Jerusalem

The holiday of Purim is unique in that some locations celebrate it on different days. The rule is: if the city was walled at the time of Joshua's conquest of the Land of Israel then they celebrate on ...