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14

Let's take a step back: the Hebrew calendar uses lunar months of either 29 or 30 days (for 354 days altogether). Now the Bible says that Passover should be in the spring, and if you keep having years of 354 days you'll keep sliding backwards until Passover won't be in the spring anymore, so every so often they'd add a leap month. Sure, other peoples may have ...


14

In Tanach there are only four: Aviv = first month = Nissan (Ex. 13:4, et al) Ziv = second month = Iyar (I Kings 6:1) Eisanim = seventh month = Tishrei (ibid. 8:2) Bul = eighth month = (Mar)cheshvan (ibid. 6:38) In a letter from the era of the first Beis Hamikdash found in Arad, there is mention (according to some reconstructions) of ירח צח, "the month ...


10

Rama writes, when discussing how to spell the various Hebrew months in a Get (Shulchan Aruch EH 126:7): אייר, בשני יודי"ן; ואם כתב בחד יו"ד, פסול, אם לא בשעת הדחק. ויש נמנעין ליתן גט באייר, אך במקום הדחק נותנין וכותבין בב' יודי"ן.‏ Iyar is spelled with two Yuds. If one wrote it with one Yud, it is invalid except in pressing circumstances. Some ...


10

This practice is also brought down by Simla Chadasha (11:10); see the מטה אשר there (12) who brings from the פלתי that this practice is from ר' יהודה החסיד and was only a concern then, because in his time there were many who practiced כישוף (magic) on geese, but is now no longer a concern. אין להקפיד ע"ז, כי אז בימי ר"י החסיד היה הזמן גורם, כי רבו אז ...


8

I forget who told me this, but I heard that Tomer Devorah is traditionally studied in the month of Elul. I've been told that the Bobover Rebbe told his chassidim to learn Tomer Devorah this year, and that Rav Moshe Wolfson told his Kehilla the same a few years back. This practice makes sense, because the first chapter of Tomer Devorah is about Hashem's 13 ...


7

The gemara in Megillah 6b-7a explains why when it investigates the Mishnaic statement that in a leap year, one is required to read the megillah in the second Adar to be yotzei the requirement. (as per dafyomi.co.il) R. Eliezer says, every year we celebrate in the month next to Shevat. R. Shimon says, every year we celebrate in the month adjacent to Nisan. ...


7

Rabbi Yosef Ber Soleveitchik would teach Likkutei Torah from the Ba'al HaTanya during Elul in preparation for Rosh Hashana. The relevant Ma'amarim start in Parshas Reih and continue from there. I haven't been able to find someone who reports specifically what from there he would learn with his students.


7

Shulchan Aruch HaRav writes (O.C. 429): חכמים הראשונים תקנו בזמן שבית המקדש היה קיים שיתחילו הדרשנים לדרוש ברבים הלכות הרגל שלשים יום לפני הרגל דהיינו ... ומי"ד באלול ואילך ידרשו הלכות החג ... ותקנה זו לא נתבטלה מישראל אף לאחר שחרב בית המקדש ... והעיקר לדרוש ולהורות להם דרכי ה' וללמד להם המעשה אשר יעשון ולא כמו שנוהגין עכשיו ובדורות הללו שאין החכם ...


7

The extra Adar happens when there is a leap year -- we add a month to preserve the lunar properties of the calendar. Seven in nineteen years are leap years, so every 2-3 years on average. From Judaism 101: Adar I is added in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th years of the cycle. (Technically it is Adar I (aka Adar Alef) that's the ...


6

I know many Yeshivas where the Rosh Yeshiva interrupts his regularly scheduled programming of a vaad or whatever public mussar seder he has to go through Shaarei Teshuva of Rabbeinu Yona during Elul. I know the Rosh Yeshiva of Passaic (R' Meir Stern) used to do this for his machshava chabura, but I don't know if he still does. In Ner Israel, the Rosh ...


6

Dinonline has an extensive essay on this issue. In short, the Tzitz Eliezer and Yabia Omer allow the writing of the secular date, but mention that the Jewish date is preferred when possible. They do have different ideas on how to write it out (see article for details). The Maharam Schik, on the other hand, was against such a practice (I remember learning ...


6

I've heard that after the sin of the Golden Calf, the Clouds of Glory were taken away. After Yom Kippur, Moshe told the Jews to start donating for the Mishkan. On Sukkos, all the necessary materials were obtained, and the Clouds of Glory returned.


6

Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz (author of Lecha Dodi) wrote a commentary of the Megilla called "Manos Halevi". (It is said that he sent the book to his fiance in lieu of "Shalach Manos", since he was poor and could not afford to send her food). He addresses this question, and suggests that perhaps Moshe's death was considered a bad indication for the Jews ...


5

The Babylonian calendar wasn't adopted exactly as it was, but the names of the months were. This was recognized by the Sages in the Gemara, Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana 1:2. Why the Jews adopted these Babylonian names is a good question. In fact, it seems like the Jews did have their own ancient names for the months, such as 'Ziv' and 'Bul', which are ...


5

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/987524/jewish/Why-Babylonian-Names-for-Jewish-Months.htm So why did we begin to use these names? Why didn't we stick with the Biblical practice of referring to months by their number? Nachmanides suggests that this is consistent with Jeremiah's prophecy: "Therefore, behold days are coming, says G‑d, ...


5

See Chasam Sofer on Shabbos 147b, http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=21655&st=&pgnum=80. That the names of the months come from the Babylonians, so what? The name Amraphel comes from Babylonian or some similar language, but it is darshened as having a Hebrew meaning. Same with Sancheriv and lots of other examples.


4

Tammuz originated as a Sumerian shepherd god. In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, The idolatrous ritual of mourning corresponded with the changing of the seasons. the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and ...


4

Rambam Le'am (Mosad Harav Kook, 5717) to Hilchos Kidush Hachodesh 8:6 explains that we want to make all required adjustments at the first possible opportunity in the year. We do not want to do anything to affect Tishrei because of all the Yomim Tovim in that month, and so the next possible months which we can change are Cheshvan and Kislev. (See also "Na'veh ...


4

The whole lottery scene is really lifted straight from Midrash. Midrash Esther Rabbasi, to be exact. But the tape adds the whole dialog between Haman and the heavenly voice. In the Midrash, the dialog is between G-d and the angels representing the days of the week and the months of the year. The Midrash says that the reason it didn't land on Tammuz or Av ...


4

Nissan starts without Tachnun because it is the time when the Mishkan was inaugurated - that is the first 12 days. Then the 13th is the Isru Chag of those 12 days (The Tzemach Tzedek quoting the Maharil), and then there is no Tachnun on the 14th because the Korban Pesach was brought, and then Pesach. So there is no opportunity to say Tachanun until the ...


4

One year in high school, my rebbi taught our class Hilchos Teshuva from the Rambam during the month of Elul.


3

Check out my hebcal-js library, the perfect thing you need for this. Include it, and then you can use one of the following snippets: This is only if you will never have dates in Elul (due to a bug): var hebDate = new Hebcal.HDate(new Date(2014, 11 /* meaning 12 */, 8)); hebDate.setMonth(hebDate.getMonth() + 1); var gregDate = hebDate.greg(); // a ...


3

There’s a Rabbi Frand tape on it. It appears that in the Chasam Sofer’s world, the standard Jewish custom had been to write only the Hebrew date on a tombstone, and then some progressives wanted to include the Gregorian date — he railed against that change. But that was that particular application. Apparently there are documents and letters from the Chasam ...


3

I am assuming that your question refers to the current "fixed" calendar, so it seems that you have numerous answers on that. I wanted to add that historically, this was not always the situation during the time that the Sanhedrin existed and prior to that. I just completed a class on the history and the workings of the Judaic calendar, which you will find ...


2

I see what you wrote in the comment section. Fascinating. I think it possible to trace that legend a bit more. See here. Thus, (also via this, in Geiger, where he draws connections to the Koran): "Thus, when Shamhazai noticed a certain maiden whose name was Istahar, he gazed lustfully upon her and pleaded, "Do my bidding." She replied, "I will not do ...


2

Chovos HaLevovos – Rabbeinu Bachya ibn Paquda (Early 11th Century). Arguably the most important mussar work of all time, the Chovos HaLevovos is divided into ten Shearim (“Gates”). For Ellul perhapes Shaar HaTeshuva (“Gate of Repentance”) – on repentance. Shaar Cheshbon HaNefesh (“Gate of Self-Accounting”) – on the importance of introspection and ...


2

I am learning Nesiv HaTeshuva, by the Maharal. Nesivos Olam is the Maharal's "mussar sefer" according to his introduction, and Nesiv HaTeshuva is the section about teshuva. It talks about the nature of Teshuva, and is therefore helpful in appreciating the significance of Teshuva.


2

Jewish leap years don't happen every seven or every four -- they happen as part of a nineteen year cycle. For example, see the answers to this question, about how to tell which year is a Jewish leap year -- I really liked this answer to that question :)


2

The names of the months came up with them from Bavel. Talmud Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana perek one, halacha two. This Yerushalmi is mentioned in Tosafos Rosh Hashana 7a, d.h. Midivrei. Most of the names are mentioned in megilas Esther and Nechemia. We can estimate then, at least to the latest possible date, based on Achashveirosh's reign. Wiki states ...


2

In addition to the Chasam Sofer already quoted, another source is the Shaar Yisachar in the name of "holy seforim", who addresses kabbalistically why the acronym holds despite the halacha that Iyar is written with two yuds. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains the concept at length here.



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