The Jewish Calendar / Hebrew Calendar

Until the year 4119 (ד'קי"ט or359 AD) there was no actual Hebrew calendar.

How did Jewish back then knew the Hebrew date? The end of each month was set on the night the moon disappeared, and the beginning of the month was set when the moon appeared again. The reappearance of the moon is called congenital. When the 30th night of the month came, a tribunal would sit and wait for witnesses who saw the ”birth of the moon” to come and testify before them.If witnesses came and testified that they saw the birth of the moon, a court would sanctify the month and state that today is Rosh Chodesh.

If there were no witnesses, the tribunal would continue the current month, which means adding another day to the current month (up to 30 days), and the beginning of the next month will on the next day.

Since they did not know beforehand when the witnesses would arrive, and even if they came towards the end of the day, their testimony accepted, the thirty day of the previous month, was treated as a new chief. If the witnesses arrived, it turned out retrospectively that this is indeed Rosh Chodesh and the first of the next month, and if not, then the next day will also be Rosh Chodesh. So in fact Rosh Chodesh was actually two days. This is why even today there are months where the head of the month is two days.

Inaddition, Passover or Pesach, should always be in the spring and not in another season. In order to keep that, the Hebrew calendar must also consider the sun year and not just the lunar year. When the tribunal saw that the month of Nissan came too early (according to all kinds of calculations and signs), they would leap the year - that is, determine that the next month would be Adar Bet and not Nissan, and thus the year became a leap year. This of Corse effected the dates of all the Jewish holidays including Rosh Hashanah, The need for the leap year is because of the difference in length between the sun year (about 365 days and a half), and the lunar year (about 354 days). The difference is over 11 days ,so once every few years (two or three years), a month had to be added to close the gap, so Passover could be celebrated in the spring.

Since there was no calendar, they did not know in advance when the holidays would apply. As soon as they sanctified (or passed) the month, all Jews in the world had to be notified so they will know when to celebrate the holidays. In those days there was no internet, or other electronic media, but there was still a way to immediately announce the sanctification of the month (sanctification of the moon) - they would prepare beacons (bonfires) on the mountain tops. Once the month was set, they would light the beacon in Jerusalem (on the Mount of Olives), which they would see from the top of the next mountain (Sarbatah) and so on until all over the world they would see the beacons light up and so they knew that the month was set.

This method worked fine, but there were people who wanted to disrupt the system, and lit fires even when no witnesses arrived and the month was not set. In those days the tribunal did not have the means to fight them, and they had to stop this method of communication and settle for sending messengers.

The apostles, of course, took much longer to pass on the news than the beacons, so wherever the apostles did not arrive until the holidays, the Jews instead did not know when the holiday was exactly set. thats why they decided to celebrate two days for each holiday. .To this day, it is customary to celebrate doubled day holidays abroad, although today we have a calendar and we know the exact date, Jews continue abroad this old custom.

The most difficult holiday to announce in time is Rosh Hashanah. Because it applies to the beginning of the month itself, many times it was two days anyway, as we explained about each month. But even when witnesses arrived on the first day, there was little to no time to announce that, because the sending of the message did not surpass the sanctity of the holiday, and messengers could not be sent on holiday nights. That is why even in Eretz Yisrael (except for places close to the court that was at first in Jerusalem, then in Yavne, etc.), they would celebrate Rosh Hashana for two days, and continue to do so even today. now that the Hebrew calendar exists, the first day of Rosh Hashana is the 30th night of the previous month (Elul) and the second day is for the beginning of the next month (Tishrei).

, In the year4119(ד'קי"ט or 359 AD) , the jewish court headed by Hillel Hanassi (not to be confused with Hillel Hazaken who lived in the days of the second Temple, but a Presidential Hallel many years before they understood that it was very difficult and sometimes impossible to abide by the procedure of the sanctification this month, so they decided to create a jewish calendar, and the same Jewish calendar remains to this day.

The principles of calculating the Hebrew calendar:

  1. The years are divided into cycles of 19 years each.In each such cycle there are 7 leap years (years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, 19 to the cycle). Therefore, every 19 years the Hebrew and Gregorian calendar meet again. Although there may be day-to-day differences between them,(For various reasons we will see later) usually after 19 or 38 years the Hebrew and Gregorian birthday dates fall on the same day..
  2. An 'average birth of the moon' is set every 29 days 12 hours and 793/1080 of one hour.(After 12 such births, the next New Year is set.
  3. There are occasions in which the New Year is postponed: A. the acronym No Edo Rosh” . (i.e. the Jewish New Year will not apply on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday) B. מולד זקן בל תדרוש (if the moon is first seen after 12 noon, ie after 18 hours from the night before). C. ג'ט ר'ד בפשוטה גרוש (if in a year that is not leaped, and the birth of the moon is on a Tuesday after nine hours and 204 parts) In this case, the New Year is postponed for two days and will only be Thursday, because the next day is Wednesday where Rosh Hashanah is forbidden to apply. D. בט'ו תקפ'ט אחר העיבור עקור מלשרוש if after a leap year, the birth of the moon is on a Monday, after 15 hours and 689 parts),the first postponement (no Edo Rosh), is to prevent Yom Kippur starting close to Saturday, or from Hoshana to start close to Saturday. The second postponement (מולד זקן) is not entirely clear, it may be because the birth of the moon was so late anyway they would not have seen it and do not declare the birth of the month and the new year.The other two postponements are to prevent the year from being longer than 355 days or less than 353 days in a regular year, or more than 385 days or less than 383 days in leap year.
  4. All months have a fixed length except for the Cheshvan and its Kislev.A 30-day month is called a full month, and a 29-day month is called a missing month.These are the fixed lengths of the month: Tishrei 30, Tevet 29, Shvat 30, Adar 29, Nissan 30, Iyar 29, Sivan 30, Tammuz 29, Av 30, Elul 29. if the year is a leap year, Adar A is a full month (30 days) and Adar B is a missing month (29 days).
  5. If the month of Cheshvan and Kislev are both missing, then the year is called a missing year , if both are full this year is called complete. if the month of Cheshvan is missing and Kislev is full (never the other way around), this year is called a year in order. The reason for the differences in the length of Cheshvan and Kislev is due to the New Year's postponements mentioned in section 2).
  6. A simple year is 354 ± 1 days and a leap year is 384 ± 1 days.
  7. The year can be described as a "three-letter" sign, the sign indicates which day of the week all the times of the year will apply, and what each week's weekly episodes will be.That is, two years with the same mark are the same in all of the above.The sign consists of three letters: the first letter indicates which day of the week the New Year will apply.The second letter indicates whether the year as a series (approximately), complete (s), missing (h), the third letter indicates which day of the week Passover will apply. The simple signs of the years are: בח'ג, בש'ה, גכ'ה, הכ'ז, הש'א, זח'א, זש'ג. Signs of the leap years are: בח'ה, בש'ז, גכ'ז, הח'א, הש'ג, זח'ג, זש'ה.

Rules of postponement and advancement of Holidays and dates:

  1. Holidays written in the Torah: Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret (a.k.a Simchat Torah), Passover and Shavuot are never postponed or advanced. Rosh Hashana has some occasions in which the New Year is postponed (the acronym No Edo Rosh).
  2. Chanukah is never advanced or postponed.
  3. In the case Purim commences on a Friday: in places surrounded by a wall since the days of Yehoshua ben Nun (i.e. Jerusalem), celebrate Triangle Purim”: Read Megillah on the first day, read Megillah and give presents to the poor on the second day , and say ”Al Hanisim” prayer on Saturday
  4. The following fasting days are postponed to Sunday if they commence on Saturday: Tisha B'Av, 17th of Tamuz, and Gedaliah fasting.
  5. In the event of Purim commencing on Sunday, the fast Taanit Esther is advanced to Thursday.
  6. On holidays set by state law, the law stipulates that they will be advanced or postponed to prevent desecration of the Sabbath or other Jewish holiday: If the Independence Day (5th of Iyar) commences on Friday or Saturday, it is advanced to Thursday, and the national Memorial Day for the IDF's victims is advanced to Wednesday. If the Independence Day commences on Monday, it is postponed to Tuesday and the Memorial Day is postponed to Monday so that Memorial Day does not apply on Saturday night (this is an amendment to the law made in 2004,before the change, Independence Day could commence on a Monday). If Holocaust and Heroism Day begins on Friday, it is advanced to Thursday. If Holocaust and Heroism Day begins on Sunday, it is postponed to Monday (Amendment to the Law of 1997). If the SIgdet holiday begins on Saturday it is advanced to Thursday. If Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day commences on Friday or Saturday, it is advanced to Thursday.

Now we will explaine the different methods in calculating the times and their significance.

Lets start with halakha time concepts:

  1. Time: The term hour” is not the same as the term hour in today's clock. is the day was divided into twelve hours, and the night too.Usually when people referred to an hour, were referring to a temporary hour of the day.
  2. Midnight is after a temporary 6 hours because as we explained the day is divisible to 12, so half day is 6. Equally a quarter of the day is after 3 hours and a third today after four hours etc.
  3. Walking time.According to Chazal”, a mediocre man goes on ten horseshues” a day, which is forty miles and every mil is two thousand ”ama”.(We will not elaborate on that, , but one ama” ranges from 48 to 60 cm, also depending on the method you are measuring by).If we can define what a day is, we will also know how to measure times in this method.For example, half a day is a five horseshoe walking time.One temporary hour is a three miles and a third of a mile.Turns out the walking time of a mile is 18 minutes (temporary!)
  4. degrees-Usually when you say a certain time, it's accurate when the time and night are equal (we'll mention 21/3 and 23/9,again), but what happens at other times? Then there are times when you calculate in permanent minutes, and there are times you calculate in temporary minutes, but the mathematically most correct method is to calculate degrees. For example: If the time of dawn when the day and night are equal, is 72 minutes before sunrise. we will then calculate the angle of the sun when it is exactly below the horizon on the day when the day and night are equal. Then on the next day when the sun is at the same angle, we will know that the dawn is reached and the day begins.The logic of this is that the same amount of light exists when the sun is at the same angle.

Form the times we calculated earlier, for example, the time you can say Krias Shema is up to a quarter of the day, that is, three temporary hours from the beginning of the day. a third of a day is four temporary hours from the start of the day and so on.

To calculate both the temporal hour and the walking time we need to know when the day begins and when it ends.

This has two main opinions on how to calculate: according to one opinion the day begins at dawn and ends when the stars are seen, the second opinion is that the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset.

Sunrise time - also called the "Netz", is the time when you see at least part of the sun's body itself (not just the sun light in the planes where there are no mountains, the time of the Netz can be calculated mathematically: it's the time when the sun is 0.8 degrees below the horizon. Apparently we see the sun already above the horizon, but because the rays of light brake in the air (in the atmosphere), we actually see the sun above the horizon when it is still below the horizon.

This sunrise is called in our calendar "Plain Sunrise" because it is accurate if you are on a plain close to sea level (like in the middle of the ocean for example).But what happens when there are mountains in your area? In that case, two factors must be taken into account: one being the height we are at/ the higher you are the sooner the sunrise (and the later sunset). The second factor is whether there are mountains on the east that hide the sun, so you will see the sun later and the sunrise will be later. While the first topic can be calculated mathematically quite easily, (in our calendar, this time is called 'astronomical sunrise'). the second topic is much more difficult: when you also consider the mountains that hide the sun, it is called 'sunrise visible' or 'visible NETZ'. There is another question here: If someone is, for example, in a deep valley between two high mountains, where the sun is visible only at a very late hour, is it the "Netz" shown to him, or the Netz that is what he would have seen if he had climbed a little and ascended above the vally bank? In other words, how far do we consider the mountains around us.

The custom in this subject is usually to consider distant mountains (in Jerusalem we consider in the Moav Mountains that are formerly in Jordan), but in nearby mountains, there is controversy, and the issue is not decided.

In any case, it is customary to use a Netz sunrise that is visible to only one subject, and is a veteran prayer.The veterans are people who begin their morning prays exactly in the appearance of the Netz, for this purpose they need to start Krias Shema a few minutes before the Netz.

Regardless of the calendars, in any situation where the sun is seen in the sky, it must be day time no matter what is written in the calendars.(So there is a phrase 'clear as sun')

Sunset time is also calculated similar to sunrise, ie: the sun is 0.8 degrees below the horizon, but this time on the west side of the horizone.As at sunrise, even at sunset there is a plain sunset, an astronomical sunset and a visible sunset. As in sunrise, as long as the sun is seen, it must be daytime and certainly the date before. After sunset, doubts begin as we explained earlier (we will later see in this article that the term 'sunset' also refers to another time).

According to the Halakhah :the visible sunset determines if it is day or night. If you can see the sun – it is day, if not- it is night.

Dawn - As mentioned, dawn is the time when the morning begins to light, its not yet bright enough that the light of the sun can actually be seen directly, but you can already see some light breaking form under the horizon. From that time on, the night ends and if you practice the Mitzvot” of the day, you would have fulfilled your obligations, at least in retrospect. Chazal said dawn is four miles before sunrise. In order to know how much it is, you need to know when the day begins and ends. If it is said that the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset, then on equinox the dawn is 72 minutes before sunrise (as well as the opinion of most ruling Rabbis), and on other days it can be calculated in degrees (16.1 degrees below the horizon) in the opinion of the Spanish ruling Rabbis, dawn applies 72 minutes before sunrise in all Seasons of the year.

On the other hand, if it is said that the day begins at dawn and ends when the stars appear (this is the late Rabbi Tokchinsky opinion), then it turns out that the 10 horseshoes walking time, which is forty mils, includes the time from dawn to sunrise, and thus the time between sunset and the appearance of the stars which in this calculation, we will have to say they are equal, so we will ignore for now the method of the appearance of the stars at this point, and suppose that the difference between sunset and the appearance of the stars is the same as between dawn and sunrise. so, there is one horseshoe (four mils) before sunrise, and another horseshoe after sunset. now eight horseshoes remain ( 32 miles) between sunrise and sunset. The result is that one person walks in an hour two miles and two thirds, and if so it takes 22.5 minutes to walk one mil. Hence the dawn, which is a four-mil walking time, leaves 90 minutes before sunrise, at which time the sun is 19.75 degrees below the horizon. beginning and ending of other days can be calculated by this method.

Let's summarize the methods of calculating dawn: there's a 72-minute method and a 90-minute method. Then there is controversy on non-equal days whether you should calculate the time by degrees, or in temporary minutes.

Appearance of the Stars: This is the time when night begins without any doubt, but time itself is uncertain at all. On the one hand there is a physical definition: the time you can see three medium stars. For calculating the exit of the Sabbath, the strictest ruling Rabbis decided (Humra”) that the stars must be small stars and you need to see at least three stars in one glance. Big stars (such as a Venus star) can also be seen on the day so they are not a sign for the beginning of the night.

According to the Talmut (or Gemara) between the sunrise and the appearance of the stars, the time is three quarters of a mil. As we have seen in the calculation of the dawn, there is an opinion that the walk time of a mil is 18 minutes and if so, three quarters of a walking time fa a mil is 13.5 minutes. At days of equality the sun is 4.9 degrees below the horizon,the problem is that at this time, stars still do not appear. That is why we only hold on to this time only for the strictest ruling Rabbis (for them it is, it is not allowed to pray Mincha” and practice other mitzvahs obligated to daytime only) and not according to the lenient Rabbis (that is, not to practice mitzvot which must be practiced at nighttime only, or the day after)..

Under the ruling of the Hatam Sofer, appearance of the stars is 8.5 degrees below the horizon.

All of the above is by the method of the Geonim, whose sunset is as we have explained before.

But according to Rabbeinu Tam” and many Rishonim, as well as the halacha of Shulchan- Aruch, the concept of sunset divides into two:, there is the time we see the sun setting, (as we explained earlier) and there is another time, time of walking ofthree and a quarter mils, after then is the appearance of the stars (aka- Exit of the stars).

According to Rabbeinu Tam”, there is an astronomical logic in that the time between the (first) sunset and the appearance of the stars is the same as the time between the dawn and sunrise. As we explained earlier, when you follow the method that the day begins at dawn and ends at the appearance of the stars it must be so, otherwise midday will be much sooner than the time the sun is actually in the middle of the sky.

Well, according to Rabbeinu Tam, the appearance of the stars is walking time ofr 4 mils after sunset, ie 72 minutes (16 degrees) or 90 minutes (19.75 degrees) as we explained at the calculation of dawn. Here, too, there are differing opinions whether calculate the time in in degrees, in fixed minutes or in temporary minutes.

Lets sum up the methods of calculating the appearance of the stars: The genius method: from 13.5 minutes (4.9 degrees) to the the strictest ruling Rabbis, up to 36 minutes (8.5 degrees) with all kinds of methods and opinions in the middle.

According to Rabbeinu Tam method: 72 minutes (16 degrees) or 90 minutes (19.75 degrees). fixed minutes, temporary minutes, or degrees.

Tallit and Tefillin time: is the time that there is enough light that a person can recognize his friend from a distance of a little over four ”Amot”. This time is unclear and the main methods for calculating it are: When the sun is 11.5 degrees below the horizon, 45 minutes before sunrise, 6 minutes after dawn.

End of time for Krias Shema - is a quarter of the day, that is, three temporary hours. The two main methods are: The Magen Avraham method, which starts the day at dawn and ends it on the appearance of the stars. The Ha-Gara” and the” Baal- Tanya” method, which starts the day at sunrise and ends at sunset. Of course, the method of Magen Abraham depends on all the controversies we explained earlier about the dawn and the appearance of the stars.

End of Morning Prayer Time (Shacharit) - is one third of the day i.e. four temporary hours, like the end of krait Sheme time, it depends also on the two methods mentioned above (Magen Avraham, Ha-Gara” and the-Baal-Tanya”)

Big Mincha time: half an hour after midday. This half hour can be calculated by fixed or temporary minutes. There are methods that are more strict and follow the longer time-among other things, in winter when temporary minutes are shorter than fixed ones, they use the fixed ones, and in summer when temporary minutes are longer then fixed minutes, they use the temporary ones..

Small Mincha time: nine and a half hours from the beginning of the day. This is the time when the sacrifice of the Tamid was sacrificed on weekday. Of course, time depends on the opinions and methods we mentioned earlier. In our calendar, the Small Mincha time is calculated by the method that sets the daytime as the time between sunrise and sunset.

Plag of Mincha - From this time it is permissible to pray in Aravit evening prayer. According to one opinion and it is not allowed to pray Mincha. It is also permissible to receive the Sabbath, starting from that time, and at the time of the stress, Chanukah candles may be lit from this time. Of course,calculating this time depends on the opinions and methods we mentioned earlier. In our calendar time appears only to the method that sets the daytime as the time between sunrise and sunset.

Summary of the methods presented in JCal Calendar.

Hazon Shamayim - Compatible with the defaultsettings of Hazon Shamayim software (Ashkenazi calander).

Rabbi Eitan TZikuni - Based on this article by Rabbi EitanTZikoniShlita” (Rabbi TZikoni is also author of Hazon Shamayim Software featured on Daat website).

Rabbi Zalman Melamed

Or Ha-Chayim - Based on the calendar published by Yeshivat Or Haim, edited by Rabbi Shlomo Benizri Shlita, the calendar is based on the rulings of late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and is practiced in the Sephardi communities in Israel.

Summary of times by methods:

Wherever degrees are mentioned, it means the sun is so and so” many degrees below the horizon.

Wherever sunrise or sunset is mentioned, it means sunrise and sunset in the plains,unless otherwise stated.

Time

Hazon Shamayim

Rabbi Eitan TZikuni

Rabbi Zalman Melamed

Or Ha-Chayim

Dawn

16.1Degrees before the sunrise in the plains.

16degrees

72Fixed minutes before sunrise

72Temporary minutes beforeastronomicalsunriseas the day begins with astronomical sunrise and ends at astronomical sunset

Tallit and Tefillin

11.5Degrees before the sunrise in the plains.

11.5degrees

45Fixed minutes before sunrise

6Temporary minutes after dawn

The end of Krias Shema time Magen Abraham

Three temporary hours from the start of the day when the day begins and ends when the sun is 19.75 degrees below the horizon (there is also another method)

Three temporary hours from the start of the day as the day begins and ends when the sun is 16 degrees below the horizon

Three temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day starting 72 minutes before sunrise and ending 72 minutes after sunset.

Three temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day starting 72 minutes before the astronomical sunrise and ending 72 minutes after the astronomical sunset

At the end of Krias Shema time Ha-Gara” and the” Baal- Tanya”

Three temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at the Plain Sunrise and ending at the Plains Sunset

Three temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Three temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Three temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at astronomical sunrise and ending at astronomical sunset

End of time for morning Prayer from Magen Avraham

Four temporary hours from the start of the day.When the day starts and ends with the sun 19.75 degrees below the horizon (90 minutes on the equinox)

Four temporary hours from the start of the day as the day begins and ends when the sun is 16 degrees below the horizon

Four temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day starting 72 minutes before sunrise and ending 72 minutes after sunset.

Four temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day starting 72 minutes before the astronomical sunrise and ending 72 minutes after the astronomical sunset

The end of time for morning prayer : Ha-Gara” and the” Baal- Tanya”

Four temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Four temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Four temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Four temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Midday

The middle between sunrise and sunset

The middle between sunrise and sunset

The middle between sunrise and sunset

The middle between sunrise and sunset

Big Mincha time

30 Fixed minutes after midday

30 Fixed minutes after midday

The later of the years: 1) 30 Fixed minutes after midday.

2) 30Temporary minutes after middayt as the day begins at dawn and ends at sunset

30Fixed minutes after midday

Small Mincha time

9.5 Temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

9.5 Temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

9.5 Temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

9.5 Temporary hours from the start of the day, with the day beginning at sunrise and ending at sunset

Plag of Mincha

10.75 Hours (645 minutes) from the start of the day as the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset

10.75 Hours (645 minutes) from the start of the day as the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset

10.75 Hours (645 minutes) from the start of the day as the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset

10.75 Hours (645 minutes) from the start of the day as the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset

Appearance of the Stars (aka- exit of the stars)

4.9 degrees

13.5 Fixed minutes (forhardware)

The later of the years: 1) 18 Fixed minutes after sunset

2) 18 Temporary minutes after sunset as the day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset

13.5 Temporary minutes after astronomical sunset as the day begins at astronomical sunrise and ends at astronomical sunset

Appearance of the Stars by RabbinuTam

72 Fixed minutes after sunset

16 degrees

72 Fixed minutes after sunset

72 Temporary minutes after astronomical sunset as the day begins at astronomical sunrise and ends at astronomical sunset

Lighting of Shabbat candles

30 Fixed minutes before sunset (Except where explicitly stated otherwise) *

30 Fixed minutes before sunset (Except where explicitly stated otherwise) *

30 Fixed minutes before sunset (Except where explicitly stated otherwise) *

20Fixed minutes before the visual sunset

the end of Shabbat

8.5 Degrees (36 minutes on parity days)

8.5 Degrees (36 minutes on parity days)

8.5 Degrees (36 minutes on parity days)

30 Fixed minutes after sunset

The beginning of fasting

72Temporary minutes before sunrise

Dawn (16 degrees)

Dawn (72 minutes before sunrise)

Dawn

The end of fasting

6.45Degrees after the sunset in the plains

appearance of the Stars

appearance of the Stars

appearance of the Stars

Date Today:
12 Cheshvan 5781, 30 October 2020
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