Leap!

Thirty days hath September
April, June and November


To continue the logic, if every month had 30 days, that would make 360 days in something that we call a year. Actually, a year is 365 days. Actually it’s a little more than that, it’s 365 and ¼ days. That’s why every four years we add a day. We call it a “Leap” Year, just like 2012 for example.

What exactly constitutes a year? It’s a measure of the time it takes the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun. (Did you ever wonder how the ancients knew we had completed one complete cycle? Maybe they recognized the sunspots??)

The Jewish year is only 354 days because, in the main, we rely on the lunar cycle. 354 divided by 12 months gives you 29 and ½ days per month. Actually, it’s a little more than that. Actually, it’s 29 and ½ days plus 793 one-thousand-and-eightieths of an hour. We stated that over two thousand years go. How did we know? The Talmud said it was a tradition handed down to us from generation to generation.

The people at NASA (the National Aeronautic and Space Administration of the United States) wondered how the Jewish people could have calculated it so accurately? NASA said, without the benefit of satellites, laser beams and telescopes, the best we could have done was guess.

So they decided to test our calculation. And they were right. We were off. We said a lunar month was 29.53059 days. It’s not. It’s 29.530588 days. Every thousand years, we would be off by about 17 hours. I can live with that (assuming I live for a thousand years).

So, a year is one complete revolution of the earth around the sun and a month is one complete revolution of the moon around the earth. A day, as we all know, is one complete rotation of the earth around its axis. But what’s a week? One complete cycle between paydays? Who came up with the idea of a week?

Travel to any country in the world, they all have a Tuesday, they all have a Sunday and most agree that you have to give your workers at least one day off in seven. Why seven days? Why not twelve or three or thirty?

Just like most everything else good in the world, it all comes from the Bible. Jewish, Christian, pagan or atheist, a week is a week. Seven days. The day off, for three quarters of the globe, is called the Sabbath.

Chalk it up as another giant Jewish “leap” for mankind.

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Comments icon February 1, 2012

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