Hebrew Calendar

Hebrew Calendar: The Months of the Year

Shalom everyone! The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar used by the House of Israel to determine the dates of mo’edim (appointed times), Torah readings and other sacred and cultural observances. The calendar is “lunisolar” because the months of the calendar are based on lunar months (with each new month beginning with a new moon), and the years are based on solar years. The Hebrew calendar consists of twelve lunar months of 29 or 30 days each, with a leap month added periodically to synchronize these twelve lunar months to the longer solar year. Adding the leap month, approximately seven times every nineteen years, ensures that Spring festivals such as Passover (Pesach), will always occur in the Spring; and Fall festivals, such as Sukkoth, will always occur in the Fall. The leap month is inserted after the eleventh month and is called “Adar I.”

The names of the months of the current Hebrew calendar have their origin in the Babylonian calendar. Prior to the exile of the southern kingdom of Judah to Babylon, the months were primarily identified by the number of their position on the calendar (First Month, Second Month, Third Month etc.), with a few exceptions: In the Tanakh, the First Month was called “Aviv” (Exodus 13:4, 23:15, 34:18, and Deuteronomy 16:1); the Second Month was called “Ziv” (1 Kings 6:1 and 6:37); the Seventh Month was called “Ethanim” (1 Kings 8:2); and the Eight Month was called “Bul” (1 Kings 6:38).

In Exodus 12:1-2, YAH commands Moshe and Aaron that their year was to begin with the First Month which occurs during the Spring with the ripening of the barley crop:

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” ~ Exodus 12:1-2

In pre-Exilic tradition, the 1st of the First Month marks the new year for the counting of months and festivals (Exodus 12:1-2). The 1st of the First Month also begins the new year for the reign of kings. The Hebrew calendar starts a civil year on the 1st day of the Seventh Month, advancing the year number by one. The 1st of the Seventh Month marks the new year for the calculation of sabbatical and jubilee years. According to rabbinic tradition, there are now four new years in the Hebrew calendar.

The modern Hebrew calendar was created by Rabbi Hillel II, President of the Sanhedrin, during the 4th century CE. The following is a list of the months of the year on the Hebrew calendar, and their corresponding position on the Gregorian calendar:

The Hebrew Calendar – The Months of the Year

# Month
(Biblical/Post-Exilic Name)
Length Season:
Gregorian Equivalent
1 First Month
30 days Spring:
March – April
The new religious year for counting months and festivals.
Mo’edim: Pesach, Chag HaMatzotSefirat HaOmer
2 Second Month
29 days Spring:
April – May
Mo’edim: Sefirat HaOmer
3 Third Month
30 days Spring:
May – June
Mo’edim: Sefirat HaOmerShavuot
4 Fourth Month
29 days Summer:
June – July
Post-Exilic holidays: 17th of Tamuz
5 Fifth Month
30 days Summer:
July – August
Post-Exilic holidays: Tisha B’Av
6 Sixth Month
29 days Summer:
August – September
7 Seventh Month
30 days Fall:
September – October
The new civil year for years, years of release and jubilee years.
Mo’edim: Yom Teruah, Yom HaKippurim, Sukkoth, Shemini Atzeret.
8 Eighth Month
(“Bul”/”Marcheshvan,” “Cheshvan”)
29 days/30 days Fall:
October – November
9 Ninth Month
30 days/29 days Fall:
November – December
Post-Exilic holidays: Chanukkah
10 Tenth Month
29 days Winter:
December – January
Post-Exilic holidays: 10th of Tevet 
11 Eleventh Month
30 days Winter:
January – February
Post-Exilic holidays: Tu B’Shevat
12 Twelfth Month
(“Adar I,” in leap years only)
30 days Winter:
February – March
13 Thirteenth Month
(“Adar II,” in leap years only)
29 days Winter:
February – March
Post-Exilic holidays: Purim



Categories: Hebrew Calendar

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