Some Common FAQs on The Hebrew
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.
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 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
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.