Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will the Real Adar Stand Up?

This Shabbos we will pronounce the upcoming month of Adar! As we all have probably figured out by now, this year is a leap year and has thirteen months instead of the usual twelve. There are two Adars this year!

The question then arises, which is the real Adar? While one may be tempted to suggest that Adar I is the real one because it stands to reason that the extra month would be added after all the "real" months have had their turn, one could counter that Purim is celebrated in the second Adar and that displays that it is the "true" Adar. Conversely, one could state that Purim is only in the second Adar because the Gemara teaches that we like to have Purim close to Pesach, (see Megillah 6b) if not for this reason, perhaps, Purim would have been in Adar 1. So, which is it?

A few interesting cases may shed some light on this question. Let's say that a boy was born in Adar a standard twelve month year. Then, during the year he is to be bar mitzvahed there are two Adars, in which one does he celebrate his bar mitzvah? The Rema teaches that he celebrates his bar mitzvah in the second Adar. (Rema O.C. 55:10) Based on this logic, one would assume that Adar II is the real Adar.

However, let's look at the following case. A man dies in Adar during a standard year. In which month do his children observe the yahrzeit (for the purposes of fasting for those whose custom it is to fast on a yahrzeit), Adar I or II? Rav Yosef Karo maintains that it is observed in Adar II and this seems consistent with the Rema's opinion cited above. (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 565:7) However, the Rema mentions that there are those who disagree and observe the yahrzeit in Adar I and that that was the custom in his time. (Rema O.C. 565:7; see Magen Avraham for another opinion and as always, if applicable ask your Rav for practical application) The Rema's opinion here seems to contradict the his opinion cited above. Regarding a yahrzeit he is of the opinion that one should observe Adar 1 (at least he cites that that is the custom), yet, regarding a bar mitzvah he says Adar II and does not bother to even cite a dissenting opinion.

Rav Dovid Cohen shared the following insight with me last year, although he did mention that it was not to be taken authoritatively. Our months follow the cycle of the moon, but our year follows the sun. This is demonstrated in that the beginning of the month is dependent on the new moon, but the festivals need to be in specific seasons which is a function of the sun. (Rambam Hilchos Kiddush HaChodesh 1:1) In order to keep the year in sync with the seasons we add extra Adars every so often. Therefore, dates that are dependent on the month in which they fall will follow the order of the months. One could argue that the real Adar is the twelfth month, or that it is the last month. When it comes to a yahrzeit it does not matter what time of the year it is, it matters which month it is. Therefore, Rav Karo maintains one follows the thirteenth month and the Rema states that it is the twelfth that is important. Perhaps, this would display their opinions as to which is the "true" Adar.

A bar mitzvah is not a function of the month, rather, it is when the boy is thirteen YEARS old. If there is a thirteenth month that has been added to that year then it shows that the seasons were not in sync with the calendar and an adjustment was necessary. The boy, therefore, will have his bar mitzvah in the proper time of the year and celebrate it in Adar II. In this light, there is no contradiction in the Rema's statements. Although, the term "yahrzeit" seems interesting since it means time of the YEAR.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the insight. A few of us have been having this conversation and basically it seems that when the Megillah is read is a function of being closer to Pesach and the real Adar is not connected to it.

The Pri Hadash says that when something happens to a person on Adar in a non leap year and he wants to commemorate it every year in Adar he does so on Adar I in a leap year.

The issue of a Bar Mitzvah seems separate from that of dates and does not have to do with Adar itself, but rather than year completion.

My friend looked up in the AriZal the Kavanot for Adar I and Adar II and said they were normal for Adar I but Adar II they were special and included kavanot from the rest of the months. I wouldn't say that is a proof, but at least it helps us see that Bar Mitzvot and what is the real Adar may not be connected.

Ari S. said...

That Pri Chadash seems to be of the same opinion as the Rema and Purim's placement is not indicative of which is the real Adar. All the points you raise are great and seem to be consistent with Rav Cohen's explanation. The only thing I would point out is thatall these are not necessarily the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch and also not that of the Magen Avraham. According to the SA it seems likely that the second Adar is the true one and the MGA seems to have doubts about which is which. Even the Rema seems to give validity to the opinions that Adar II as being the real one because he mentions that those who are strigent follow that one as well when it comes to a yahrzeit.

Elitzur said...

what R' Cohen said seems to be the Aruch HaShulchan (OC 55:14)

Shtikler said...

There's one problem I have with the simple assertion made at the end regarding the extra Adar as it relates to Bar Mitzvah. If a Bar Mitzvah were to be at 19, maybe that reasoning would work - every Bar Mitzvah boy would have the same number of extra Adar's throughout his life. But in the space of 13 years, there can be varying numbers of leap years within.
Basically, in a nutshell, there is not a constant number of months required to become Bar Mitzvah.

Ari S. said...

sorry, I was out of the country this past week and am just getting around to seeing these posts now.

Elitzur - I am not sure where in the Aruch HaShulchan you see reference to a distinction to months vs. Years or that that it is due to the sun or moon. Please carify.

Shtikler - while the 19 year cycle syncs only every 19, on years there is an adar 2 it is because the lunar and solar are way out of sync. Thus in the year of the bar mitzvah the second adar is much closer to the solar point. Also, the Meiri seems to feel that even over a 3 year segment of the cycle that the solar and lunar systems are close enough to be considered in line.