July 7, 2005
Day by Day
Even though it's summer, you can still learn a thing or two. The first thing you need to know about the Jewish calendar is that it is a lunar calendar -- following the phases of the moon. That means that each month has 29 or 30 days in it. The solar calendar (that's the one whose first month is called January) has 28, 30 or 31 days.
How many days does the lunar calendar add up to?
(Here's a hint: It is 11 days shorter than the solar calendar)
We are now in the month of Tammuz. So what does Tammuz mean?
In the book of Ezekial, we are told that women are "weeping over [the death of] Tammuz." Apparently, Tammuz was a Babylonian god of grain and fertility who died every year when spring turned into summer.
Why did the Jews use Babylonian names for their months?
a) because they worshipped the Babylonian gods
b) because they sounded a lot like Hebrew
c) because it was convenient to just lift the names off the Babylonian calendar.
By the Silvery Moon
Here's one last question: If the Hebrew month follows the moon from beginning to end, then what does the moon look like in the middle of the month?