Karaite Calendar

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Karaite Calendar

Walter J Ziobro
Dear Calendar List:

According to the Wikipedia article on the Hebrew Calendar, the Karaites have an observation based variation of the Hebrew Calendar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar#Karaite_calendar

The article states that Karaites in Israel today use the ripeness of the barley to determine the beginning of Nisan.  Has a record been kept of theses observations?  How often does the Karaite month of Nisan vary from that month in the common rabbinic calendar?

-Walter Ziobro
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Re: Karaite Calendar

Irv Bromberg
From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List [[hidden email]] on behalf of Walter J Ziobro [[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 14:45

According to the Wikipedia article on the Hebrew Calendar, the Karaites have an observation based variation of the Hebrew Calendar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar#Karaite_calendar

The article states that Karaites in Israel today use the ripeness of the barley to determine the beginning of Nisan.  Has a record been kept of theses observations?  How often does the Karaite month of Nisan vary from that month in the common rabbinic calendar?


https://www.nehemiaswall.com/aviv-barley-in-the-biblical-calendar

Depending on the variety of barley, moisture, and weather conditions, all of this makes for highly unpredictable criteria, but the leap month needed to be inserted before Adar, so that pilgrims would have enough time to plan accordingly. Thus the decision had to be made well before it was truly known that the barley would be ripe in time for the first offering.

The climate today in Israel is much warmer and drier than it was during the biblical era. This makes it easier for barley to ripen earlier and it is rarely damaged by storms.

-- Irv
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Re: Karaite Calendar

Walter J Ziobro
Dr Irv:

I thank you for your information.

The link that you provided gives another link, here:

https://www.nehemiaswall.com/002-pre-aviv-in-the-jordan-valley-feb-27-2015

which seems to indicate that the ripeness of the barley in the Jordan Valley in 2015 was a good predictor of the rabbinical Nisan.

I'm wondering if someone has kept a running record of the Karaites' observations since 1950. 

One nice feature about the barley method is that the sky doesn;t have to be clear. If the barley is ripe, then the next predicted new moon can be declared to be Nisan.

-Walter Ziobro

 


-----Original Message-----
From: Irv Bromberg <[hidden email]>
To: CALNDR-L <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tue, Aug 15, 2017 4:43 pm
Subject: Re: Karaite Calendar

From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List [CALNDR-[hidden email]] on behalf of Walter J Ziobro [000000080342b460-dmarc-[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 14:45

According to the Wikipedia article on the Hebrew Calendar, the Karaites have an observation based variation of the Hebrew Calendar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar#Karaite_calendar

The article states that Karaites in Israel today use the ripeness of the barley to determine the beginning of Nisan.  Has a record been kept of theses observations?  How often does the Karaite month of Nisan vary from that month in the common rabbinic calendar?


https://www.nehemiaswall.com/aviv-barley-in-the-biblical-calendar

Depending on the variety of barley, moisture, and weather conditions, all of this makes for highly unpredictable criteria, but the leap month needed to be inserted before Adar, so that pilgrims would have enough time to plan accordingly. Thus the decision had to be made well before it was truly known that the barley would be ripe in time for the first offering.

The climate today in Israel is much warmer and drier than it was during the biblical era. This makes it easier for barley to ripen earlier and it is rarely damaged by storms.

-- Irv
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Re: Karaite Calendar

Irv Bromberg
From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List [[hidden email]] on behalf of Walter J Ziobro [[hidden email]]
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:23

The link that you provided gives another link, here:

https://www.nehemiaswall.com/002-pre-aviv-in-the-jordan-valley-feb-27-2015

which seems to indicate that the ripeness of the barley in the Jordan Valley in 2015 was a good predictor of the rabbinical Nisan.

[Irv] I don't know what to make of a single instance.

I'm wondering if someone has kept a running record of the Karaites' observations since 1950. 

[Irv] Yes, the Karaites have these. I don't see the relevance, however.

One nice feature about the barley method is that the sky doesn;t have to be clear. If the barley is ripe, then the next predicted new moon can be declared to be Nisan.

[Irv] That's not how it works. As I explained, the pilgrims have to have enough time to plan their travels, so a leap year declaration has to be made before the point where the leap month would be inserted, that is before Adar.

Also, no lunar predictions are relevant. A month can only have 29 or 30 days. At the sunset at the end of the 29th day they look for the first visible lunar crescent (not the "new moon", which is always invisible to the unaided eye except during a solar eclipse). If they see it, then the new month began at that sunset, if not then the new month unconditionally begins at the following sunset.

It is extremely unlikely for clouds to interfere with lunar sightings in modern Israel, as there are so few clouds in the sky. Even when there are clouds, it's extremely unlikely that the entire country or even a wide area would be overcast. Light pollution from coastal Israeli cities and dust from the Sahara can interfere.

According to Maimonides, the barley whose ripeness is to be judged and that is to be offered in the Temple on the 16th of Nisan is supposed to grow naturally without any fertilizer or irrigation in one of two designated fields that alternate from year-to-year. I suspect that in the present era climate this is impossible, because the climate is too dry, and getting drier.

Using agricultural criteria to regulate a calendar is a very bad idea.

-- Dr. Irv Bromberg, University of Toronto, Canada

http://www.sym454.org/hebrew/


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Re: Karaite Calendar

Walter J Ziobro
Dear Dr. Irv:

It is admittedly a moot point to investigate the accuracy of an agricultural  method to determine the beginning of a year, especially when the original purpose for doing so was to insure that there was sufficient barley for the ritual in a temple that hasn't existed for hundreds of years.  Yet, I found it an interesting curiosity that the Karaites had chosen to revive this practice, and I was just wondering how well it has actually worked out for them.

-Walter Ziobro



-----Original Message-----
From: Irv Bromberg <[hidden email]>
To: CALNDR-L <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wed, Aug 16, 2017 4:11 pm
Subject: Re: Karaite Calendar

From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List [CALNDR-[hidden email]] on behalf of Walter J Ziobro [000000080342b460-dmarc-[hidden email]]
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:23

The link that you provided gives another link, here:

https://www.nehemiaswall.com/002-pre-aviv-in-the-jordan-valley-feb-27-2015

which seems to indicate that the ripeness of the barley in the Jordan Valley in 2015 was a good predictor of the rabbinical Nisan.

[Irv] I don't know what to make of a single instance.

I'm wondering if someone has kept a running record of the Karaites' observations since 1950. 

[Irv] Yes, the Karaites have these. I don't see the relevance, however.

One nice feature about the barley method is that the sky doesn;t have to be clear. If the barley is ripe, then the next predicted new moon can be declared to be Nisan.

[Irv] That's not how it works. As I explained, the pilgrims have to have enough time to plan their travels, so a leap year declaration has to be made before the point where the leap month would be inserted, that is before Adar.

Also, no lunar predictions are relevant. A month can only have 29 or 30 days. At the sunset at the end of the 29th day they look for the first visible lunar crescent (not the "new moon", which is always invisible to the unaided eye except during a solar eclipse). If they see it, then the new month began at that sunset, if not then the new month unconditionally begins at the following sunset.

It is extremely unlikely for clouds to interfere with lunar sightings in modern Israel, as there are so few clouds in the sky. Even when there are clouds, it's extremely unlikely that the entire country or even a wide area would be overcast. Light pollution from coastal Israeli cities and dust from the Sahara can interfere.

According to Maimonides, the barley whose ripeness is to be judged and that is to be offered in the Temple on the 16th of Nisan is supposed to grow naturally without any fertilizer or irrigation in one of two designated fields that alternate from year-to-year. I suspect that in the present era climate this is impossible, because the climate is too dry, and getting drier.

Using agricultural criteria to regulate a calendar is a very bad idea.

-- Dr. Irv Bromberg, University of Toronto, Canada

http://www.sym454.org/hebrew/


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Re: Karaite Calendar

Irv Bromberg
From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List on behalf of Walter J Ziobro
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 16:54

It is admittedly a moot point to investigate the accuracy of an agricultural  method to determine the beginning of a year, especially when the original purpose for doing so was to insure that there was sufficient barley for the ritual in a temple that hasn't existed for hundreds of years.  Yet, I found it an interesting curiosity that the Karaites had chosen to revive this practice, and I was just wondering how well it has actually worked out for them.

[Irv] The Karaites haven't "revived" this practice -- they have continued it since biblical times. They are the descendants of (plus some converts to) the sect that refused to accept Rabbinic Jewish Laws (they accept only the Torah Laws), and hence also refused to accept the (rabbinic) fixed arithmetic Hebrew calendar.