Israel Forever

For the week ending 9 April 2005 / 29 Adar II 5765

Whose Calendar Is This Anyway?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

One of the beautiful things about living in Israel is that you dont hear the names of pagan deities when referring to the days of the week. In accordance with the Divine command to "Remember the Sabbath day" Jews here remember it all week long by counting the days in relation to Shabbat "Yom Rishon", "Yom Sheini", etc.

It is, however, somewhat disturbing to see how little attention is paid to counting the days of the month according to the Hebrew calendar. This is hardly in the spirit of what we will hear this Shabbat in the synagogue when the chapter of "Parshat Hachodesh" is read in addition to the regular weekly portion.

"This month is yours" is how Moshe introduces the first mitzvah given to the Jewish People while they were still in Egypt. Not only was this a command to sanctify each lunar month and to give primacy to the month of Nissan in which the Exodus took place, but is also a guideline for Jews throughout the generations to maintain a calendar based on the moon, in contrast to the other nations whose calendar is based on the sun.

It was therefore reassuring to note that the Israeli Knesset has finally passed a law in which the starting and concluding dates of the daylight savings season are no longer based on civil calendar dates but on Hebrew ones, which take into account the needs of the religious public.

This is a little step in the right direction to maintaining the Jewish nature of Israel forever.

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