HEBREW TIME SET

Day and Night

Evening to Evening

The Jewish calendar reckons the days from evening to evening starting at 6:00 pm because of the Scripture:

"And there was evening and there was morning, one day" (Gen 1:5).

When it turns nighttime the day (a 24 hour period) ends and a new one begins. Therefore the day consists of two periods, the period of light (day) and the period of darkness (night).

 

Daytime to Nighttime

The transition from daytime to nighttime, from light to darkness, and vice versa, is very gradual. Daytime ends just before sunset, and continues until shortly after sunset. Daytime begins just before sunrise and continues until shortly after sunrise. The two periods of transition cannot be defined very accurately, and they are called "erev" and "boker" (evening and morning). There is also a word in the Hebrew "neshef" (dawn and twilight).

 

Note: The rabbis fixed the duration from daytime to nighttime to be thirteen minutes, thirty seconds before night.

Beginning of Night

Nighttime, which we mentioned is the borderline between two consecutive days, is the moment when three stars of the second magnitude become visible (zet ha-kokabim). Thus the length of a day is "from the rising of the morning" (Neh 4:21) "until the stars appear."

 

It is important in Judaism that the "zet ha-kokabim" appears during Sabbaths and feast days at different times because the appearance of stars varies from day to day and from place to place. In modern Judaism these figures are calculated.

The Day

The Jewish calendar reckons the days from evening to evening starting at 6:00 pm because of the Scripture:

"And there was evening and there was morning, one day" (Gen 1:5).

When it turns nighttime the day (a 24 hour period) ends and a new one begins. Therefore the day consists of two periods, the period of light (day) and the period of darkness (night).

 

Both Biblical and Talmudic literature make mention of a division of the night into three or four watches, the morning watch (Ex 14:24), the middle watch (Judges 7:19) and the beginning of the watches (Lam 2:19).

 

The Hour

The hour is divided into 1,080 bars (halakim). The Talmud states that a day has 24 hours, one hour has 24 "onot". The "Onah" has 24 "ittot". One "et" has 24 "rega’im."

 

The Week

The Week consists of seven days, which are distinguished from one another depending upon their position in the week. They are referred to as the first day, the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day, the sixth day, and the seventh day (Sabbath). The Sabbath was the most important day in the week and the term "Shabbat" means that week’s were regarded from Sabbath to Sabbath. The Sabbath also referred to longer periods of rest, the year was sometimes called a Sabbath, and this church age his referred to in the Bible as the Sabbath.

 

The Month

The Moon passes through her different phases in 29 days, 12 hours, and 793 parts (halakim) of an hour.

 

Ps 104:19 "He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down."

 

These phases of the moon serve as a measure of time and their period is one lunar month. In simplicity the months are determined by full days and set with the beginning of night. Each month contains either 29 or 30 days.

 

The first appearance of the new moon determines the beginning of the month. It is first noticed as a small and faded arc, like a sickle, that is barely visible. Certain people with excellent eyesight would be the first to see it, yet to avoid confusion the announcement was made by the high priest who determined the New-Moon Day for the whole nation. A fire would be lit upon the Mount of Olives, which would then signal messengers waiting upon the surrounding hills, even beyond the boundaries of Israel to the Diaspora. Sometimes, as in the case of war, the revelation that the new moon had appeared over Jerusalem was sent by a written message. This helped to preserve the religious unity of the nation, and insure the uniform celebration of "the seasons of the Lord" throughout the world.

 

The Year

Even though the Hebrews divided the year by lunar months, it was revealed by the Lord that the first month should be in the spring:

 

Ex 12:1-3 "Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel…"

 

The Leap Year

As the lunar year consists of 12 months, or 354 days, 8 hours, and 589 parts, it is shorter than the solar year by 10 days, 21 hours, and 204 parts, and so every two or three years the difference is equalized by the addition of a month (intercalary month), following the twelve-month. This Leap Year consists of 383 days, 21 hours, and 589 parts. There were many methods suggested for the equalization of the solar and lunar years, but we will not get into that in this study.

 

 

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