Dear Rabbi Ron,
I will be starting my third year (10th grade) of hebrew high school at Temple Sholom with you next year. I had a question that no one in my family was able to answer, but I'm sure that you will be able to help. I know that the hebrew calendar is different then the more commonly used calendar. I am not sure if the hebrew year is shorter or longer. My question is, why do holidays like Chanukah keep getting earlier and earlier on the commonly used calendar, then suddenly they are very late? Shouldn't they just keep getting earlier until they make a complete circle? Maybe that is the case. I just do not know.

Thank you.

The secular calendar is solar--365 days, while the Jewish calendar is lunar--354 days. This means that each year the Jewish calendar will lose 11 days to the secular calendar, and thus Rosh Hashanah will fall at a different time each year on the secular calendar, because of the day differential in the two calendars. Every three years or so an adjustment is made and a leap month is added in the Jewish calendar (called Adar 2) in order to bring the Jewish holidays back into their proper season. There are 9 leap years in a 19-year cycle, with one about every 3 years..

Rabbi Ron

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