Some Common FAQs on The Hebrew Calendar

The current definition of the Hebrew calendar is generally said to have been set down by the Sanhedrin president Hillel II in approximately AD 359. The original details of his calendar are, however, uncertain.

The Hebrew calendar is used for religious purposes by Jews all over the world, and it is the official calendar of Israel.

The Hebrew calendar is a combined solar/lunar calendar, in that it strives to have its years coincide with the tropical year and its months coincide with the synodic months. This is a complicated goal, and the rules for the Hebrew calendar are correspondingly fascinating.

You will find some of your common questions answered on this and some other linked pages.

What does a Hebrew year look like?

What years are leap years?

A year is a leap year if the number year mod 19 is one of the following: 0, 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, or 17.

The value for year in this formula is the ``Anno Mundi'' described below.

When is New Year's day?

When does a Hebrew day begin?

A Hebrew-calendar day does not begin at midnight, but at either sunset or when three medium-sized stars should be visible, depending on the religious circumstance.

Sunset marks the start of the 12 night hours, whereas sunrise marks the start of the 12 day hours. This means that night hours may be longer or shorter than day hours, depending on the season.

What years are deficient, regular, and complete?

That is the wrong question to ask. The correct question to ask is: When does a Hebrew year begin? Once you have answered that question in keeping with the rules described below, the length of the year is the number of days between 1 Tishri in one year and 1 Tishri in the following year.

How is the first day of the calendar year, Rosh HaShanah, on 1 Tishri determined?

How does one count years?

Years are counted since the creation of the world, which is assumed to have taken place in 3761 BC. In that year, AM 1 started (AM = Anno Mundi = year of the world).

In the year AD 2000 we witnessed the start of Hebrew year AM 5761.


 Rosh Hashanah

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