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Leap Year Special!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Chag Purim Sameach!

Sort-of.

You see — this is leap year on the Jewish calendar. Because of the solar-lunar structure of our calendar, we require an additional month to be added to the normally 12-month calendar in order to keep our festivals in their proper seasons. The lunar year is approximately 354 1/3 days while the solar year is about 365 1/2 days. So you see there might be a problem without some type of adjustment. Sadly, there exists nothing as simple as adding -an-extra-day-every-four-years thing for us. Nah…let’s just go ahead and make it really, REALLY hard.

Here’s what we’ve got:

A discrepency between the solar and lunar years that adds up to 207 days every nineteen years.

Rabbis thought “hey, lets add an entire MONTH to the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th year of a 19 year period.”

I know. I would voted against it too.

Anyway, this is a leap year and in a leap year, we add an additional month of Adar. But in order to keep Purim where it is supposed to be, the extra month is technically Adar I.

Starting at sundown tonight, we entered the 14th of Adar I. Though it is the same day of the month as Purim, it is not exactly like Purim. So we call it Purim Katan or “little Purim.” On this day, Jews refrain from saying Tachanun, no eulogy would be offered at a funeral, and no fasting is permited. At least according to my friend Joseph Caro.

No groggers. No megillah. No costumes.

But otherwise…be happy, it’s Adar!!

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