Torah Tidbits

22 August 2014 / 26 Av 5774
Issue 1015
Shabbat Parshat Nitzavim
September 13, 2012

Word of the Month

Word of the Month

How to determine the 5773 calendar without buying one! (Okay, you can buy one if you want, but it’s still nice to know how it works.) Will 5773 have 12 months or 13? (One Adar or two?) Divide 5773 by 19 (the number of years in a Lesser (Lunar) cycle). Answer (quotient): 303 remainder 16. 303 nineteen year cycles have passed since Creation and 5773 is the 16th year of the current 304th cycle. Which cycle we are in is not relevant to setting up the calendar for 5773, but the year number (16) is.
Next, you need to know the molad of Tishrei of 5773. It can be calculated with details provided by the Rambam in his Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh. We’ll skip those details and just state that the molad of Tishrei 5773 is early Sunday morning (September 16th). Rosh HaShana is fixed on the day of the molad of Tishrei unless that day is Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday. In those cases, RH is fixed on the day following the day of the molad. This “postponement” is known as LO ADU ROSH. There are three other D’CHUYOT, rules that push RH later than the day of the molad. So, based on the molad of Tishrei and the LO ADU ROSH rule, we know that RH 5773 is MONDAY (and Tuesday).
We need one more piece of information - the molad of Tishrei 5774. The will be mid-morning of Thursday (Sept. 5th ‘13). RH 5774 will be on THURSDAY (and Friday).
A regular 12-month year has 354 days. But if 5773 were to have that many days, its last day would be Thursday, September 5th. No good. That day is scheduled to be RH 5774. We need to take one day away from 5773. The day that is “removed” when necessary is the 30th of Kislev. 5773 will not have one. The year will not be a regular 12-month year, but a deficient one - known in Hebrew as CHASEIR.
Knowing that 5773 is a 12-month year that begins on Monday and that Kislev has only 29 days is all we need to know to determine all the Rosh Chodeshes (Rashei Choda- shim), the holidays, fast days, etc. All without buying a calendar or downloading Kaluach.
Knowing how our calendar works - both when we have a Sanhedrin and when we don’t - is within the spirit of the mitzva of HACHODESH HAZEH LACHEM - the first mitzva given to B’nei Yisrael while they were still in Mitzrayim.

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