18 votes
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What's the point of a haftorah for Miketz if it's always Shabbat Chanukah?

Actually, Miketz does not always fall out on Chanukah. It appears that whoever told me that was mistaken. :) I ran some code (using my JavaScript Hebcal API) and discovered that in the 100 years from ...
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  • 22.8k
16 votes
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How does one "add a year" in the Hebrew calendar?

You are correct that the .NET implementation is apparently not consistent with Halacha (i.e. Jewish law) (Orach Chaim 55:10 and Mishne Berurah ibid) and your first 2 rules are correct and consistent ...
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  • 7,440
14 votes
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When is a convert's Hebrew birthday?

Dinonline answers, Although a Ger is considered to be “born anew” when becoming Jewish, this is a halachic concept that relates to family relationship and the like, and it is not a “biological ...
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  • 12.6k
13 votes

Why use Babylonian calendar instead of our own?

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 ...
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13 votes
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How can I identify which dates Jewish holidays/special days fall on?

HebCal is a full Hebrew calendar that provides lists of all the Jewish holidays, for any year. In the interest of full disclosure, i have done volunteer programming for them, but am not officially ...
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  • 22.8k
13 votes
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Does Passover occur on the first full moon after the equinox?

Your question and DoubleAA's comment on my original answer have inspired me to do some research and learn some really fascinating information about the Hebrew calendar. First, some background ...
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  • 24.4k
13 votes

Changing the day of Shabbos?

While the Jewish holidays are controlled by the Sanhedrin (though, notably, they are not controlled by non-Jewish governments, and even the Sanhedrin's control is bound by divinely received rules), ...
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12 votes
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Declare a leap year due to coronavirus?

There are two problems, both are discussed (among others) in Sanhedrin 11a. The first is that you need a Sanhedrin with a Nasi to intercalate a year. The second is that there are certain reasons for ...
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  • 7,025
12 votes
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What is the א"ת ב"ש ג"ר calendar mnemonic?

The Shulchan Aruch 428:3 explains the mnemonic: סימן לקביעת המועדים א"ת ב"ש ג"ר ד"ק ה"ץ ו"ף פירוש ביום א' של פסח יהיה לעולם ת"ב וסימן על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו ביום ...
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  • 18.5k
11 votes
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When was the last time the "Leap Year" postponement rule was used to delay the date of Rosh Hashannah?

It has been used 11 times so far since the enactment of the fixed calendar in 4119. It was used in 4179, 4257, 4504, 4602, 4849, 5096, 5194, 5441, 5519, 5688, and 5766. The next time it will be used ...
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  • 95.6k
11 votes
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What are these marks with the numbers designating the Jewish years on this calendar?

They are a Gershayim, a Hebrew diacritic used in a number of ways, but generally to indicate that a certain set of letters does not spell a word in the ordinary sense. In this case, it is used to ...
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  • 95.6k
11 votes
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Date of the Akeida?

R. Yehuda Ayash points out that there are contradictory passages in the Zohar. In Parshat Vayikra it says that the Binding of Isaac took place on Rosh Hashanah, while in Parshat Vayeitzei it implies ...
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10 votes
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Is is prefered to have the Pasach meal on the first or second night?

In Israel, only the first night is a full holiday, and as such, the Seder is only ever on the first night. In the Diaspora, both the first and second nights are full holidays. The Seder should be ...
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  • 22.8k
10 votes
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Why some biblical holidays don't occur on certain days of the week?

The current fixed calendar is arranged (by adding or taking out an extra day in Marcheshvan or Kislev) such that Yom Kippur can't fall on Friday or Sunday (so there won't be two days in a row where no ...
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  • 95.6k
10 votes
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Why do Kisidran years only occur when starting on a Tuesday or non-leap Thursday?

Modular arithmetic time: 385 mod 7 = 0 384 mod 7 = 6 383 mod 7 = 5 355 mod 7 = 5 354 mod 7 = 4 353 mod 7 = 3 That's how far Rosh Hashana moves from year to year. The Kisidran options are 4 and 6. ...
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10 votes
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Where do we first see Cheshvan (as opposed to Marcheshvan)?

Midrash Abba Gurion to Ester (ed. Buber 3:7), which was redacted in the tenth century, refers to it as חשוון (Heshvan): לתשרי זכות הרגלים, לחשוון זכות שרה It is also found in Eisenbach's edition ...
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  • 34.9k
10 votes

Why was the calendar not arranged so that Yom Kippur never falls on Shabbat?

The fixed calendar already prevents Yom Kippur from falling on a Friday or Sunday, to avoid two consecutive days where all melachot are forbidden. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 428:1 with e.g. Magen ...
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  • 38.5k
10 votes

Declare a leap year due to coronavirus?

The rabbis currently do not have the authority to declare a leap year because there is no Sanhedrin. The current calendar was set up by Hillel II and is completely fixed by calculation. Indeed, even ...
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  • 41.9k
9 votes
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Is there a best time of year to make aliya?

The best time? Get on the next flight. (listen to a clip of Gershon Veroba's song) But as for the most common/popular times to come: I am the research assistant (intern) on a study (currently ...
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  • 22.8k
9 votes
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When was the last time when we had 4 consecutive leap years when Matot and Masei were read separately?

This is the only occurrence of that phenomenon in the 247-year cycle. Source: the table in the Tur, hilchos rosh chodesh.
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  • 73.2k
9 votes
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How do non-literalist Jews interpret the "year zero" in the Hebrew calendar?

Technically you could date a check in Israel with the year 5774, and it would be valid; however, few people do so. The "Hebrew date", including the year, is used on Jewish marriage and divorce ...
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  • 127k
8 votes
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Splitting the Double Parshiyot

To answer your question as briefly as I can, during a leap year where Rosh Hashannah begins on Tursday and the year is "Chaser" - "Deficient" meaning 383 days long, then Pesach begins on Sunday, and ...
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  • 68.9k
8 votes

Where in tanach are the months named

Just searching around in Torat Emet finds a few mentions of different months, in Tanach, besides for Adar: Nissan Esther 3:7 Nechemiah 2:1 Sivan Esther 8:9 Tammuz Yechezkel 8:14 (kidding) Elul ...
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  • 18.7k
8 votes
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Why was there a huge concern to assure that Hoshanna Rabbah is not on Shabbat?

This priority is given in the Yerushalmi Sukkah 4:1: ר' סימון מפקד לאילין דמחשבין יהבון דעתכון דלא תעבדין לא תקיעתה בשבת ולא ערבתא בשבתא ואין אדחקון עבדון תקיעתה ולא תעבדון ערבתא R' Simon ordered ...
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  • 1,657
8 votes

Is there a zero year in the ancient Jewish calendar?

Since the year begins at Rosh Hashanah, the number of the year changes then. Thus the year spans the secular year which changes in January. Thus this year (5776) started at Rosh Hashana 2015 and will ...
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  • 41.9k
8 votes
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What is the greatest number of holiday days falling on weekdays in a year?

Between Purim and the next Shemini Atzeret the calendar is completely fixed (no leap years, leap days, etc.). The four possibilities are: Purim (F), Pesach (S-Sh), Shavuot (M), Tisha b'Av (S), Rosh ...
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  • 95.6k
8 votes
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Why are some dates off by one day?

I think I may have discovered the answer. After mulling over the problem for a bit, I realized that not all cycles are created equally. The 19-year cycle just determines which years are leap years; it'...
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  • 33.5k
8 votes
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Purim and Pesach in the same month

In 1999, the day of Purim fell out on the 2nd of March. This means that first few hours of pesach fell out on the 31st of March. Same happened in 1980, 1961.... The last time that Purim fell out on ...
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