Adar 1 Anniversary

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Q: Dear Rabbi Simon,

If someone was born (or died) on 30 Adar I, when would his birthday (or yahrtzeit) be in a normal year? (Adar usually only has 29 days.)



A: Dear Esther,

Thank you for your question. As you say, in a non-leap year (only one Adar) the month has only 29 days, so the question of marking an event which took place on 30 Adar 1 is an intriguing one.

Rav Yaakov Ettlinger (rebbe of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch) in Binyan Tzion (1:151) says the boy celebrates his bar mitzvah on 30 Shevat, since that day is known as Rosh Hodesh Adar. However there are those who say he must wait until Rosh Hodesh Nissan. Interestingly, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach is of the view that he should observe the stringencies of both statuses—minor and adult—during the month of Adar of his 12th/13th year. But in my opinion one who chooses to rely on the Binyan Tzion will not go far amiss.


With regard to yahrtzeit, it may be slightly different. Although the Mishna Berurah (568:42) quotes the Magen Avraham as saying the yahrtzeit is observed on 30 Shevat=RH Adar, Rav Moshe Feinstein (YD 3:159) writes that the correct text of the Magen Avraham is uncertain, and it may make more sense to observe the yahrtzeit on the first of Nissan, since the man was alive the previous year during all of Adar.

It is interesting that so much uncertainty surrounds this question which, while not very common statistically, must nevertheless have come up thousands of times in the course of Jewish history. After all, neither the maternity wards nor the funeral parlours are closed on 30 Adar 1, even if the day only comes around 7 times in 19 years.

So, to sum up: In my view, the boy is an adult on Rosh Hodesh Adar and the yahrtzeit is observed on Rosh Hodesh Nissan.

Kind regards

Rabbi Simon

Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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