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      brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim
             Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
                      [EMAIL PROTECTED]


GENERAL : Fifth Night of Chanukah

Barry Epstein asked:

I heard a speech that the 5th day of Hanukah is the darkest day
because it is the only day that can't fall on a Shabbos.  The venue
was a bris and therefore the point was that the bris brought light to
this day.  Since Hanukah doesn't have any rules regarding specific
days, is this fact correct?  If so, is it because of other Hagim that
don't can't fall on certain days (and therefore it leads the 5th day
of Hanukah to always miss Shabbos?

Barry Epstein, Dallas, USA
The Kollel replies:

The fifth day of Chanukah is 29 Kislev. The rules for determining
whether any calendar day can fall out on any particular weekday are as follows:

1) Every month of the year, except for three, has a set number of
days. Three months can vary in length. Thus, the number of days in
each month may be listed as follows:
Nisan - 30
Iyar - 29
Sivan - 30
Tamuz - 29
Av - 30
Elul  - 29
Tishrei - 30
CHESHVAN - 29 or 30
KISLEV - 29 or 30
Teves - 29
Shevat - 30
ADAR - 29, and in a leap year the two Adars are 59 days

2) Regarding the variable months of Kislev and Teves, the rule is
that there can be three combinations: Either both are 29 (the year is
'Chaser'), or both are 30 (the year is 'Malei'), or Cheshvan is 29
and Kislev is 30 (the year is 'k'Sidran', i.e. these two months
follow the pattern of the rest of the months). The fourth possibility
is *not* acceptable: Cheshvan cannot be longer than Kislev.

3) There are two rules to keep in mind regarding the day of the week
that any calendar day falls out on:

a. We do not want Hoshana Raba to fall on Shabbos (because we won't
be able to make the Hakafos with the Lulav)

b. We do not want Yom Kipur to fall on a Friday or Sunday (because if
someone dies in the beginning of the first day, we will not be able
to bury him until after the end of the second day).

In other words, Hoshana Raba (21 Tishrei) cannot be a Shabbos,
Tuesday, or Thursday, and Rosh Hashanah cannot be on a Sunday,
Wednesday or Friday. This is known as "Lo AD'U Rosh" (see Rosh
Hashanah 20a, Rambam Hilchos Kidush ha'Chodesh 7:1,7, Ra'avad there 7:7).

4) Based on these rules, our friend Reb Yoel ha'Levi Steinberg
<[EMAIL PROTECTED]> pointed out the following:

a. If Cheshvan is 29 days, then a simple look at the calendar will
show that 29 Kislev cannot fall on a Shabbos without making the
previous Yom Kipur a Friday, which is not allowed (see above, #3b). 

b. If Cheshvan is 30 days, then Kislev must be 30 days as well (see
above, #2). If the year is *not* a leap year, then a simple look at
the calendar will show that 29 Kislev cannot fall on a Shabbos
without making the following Hoshana Raba a Shabbos, which is also
not allowed (see above, #3b).

c. However, if Cheshvan and Kislev are both 30 days and the year *is
a leap year*, then it would seem that we do not have to violate any
of the rules in #3. Why, then, can't 29 Kislev be a Shabbos when both
Cheshvan and Kislev are 30 days, and it is a leap year? (Reb Yoel did
not provide an answer to this point.)

5) To answer this, let's go back to Rosh Hashanah. If Cheshvan is 30
days and the 29th of Kislev is a Shabbos, that means that the Rosh
Hashanah of that year was a Tuesday. When Rosh Hashanah is Tuesday
and the year is a leap year, the Rambam writes (Hilchos Kidush
ha'Chodesh 8:10) that the year must be k'Sidran, and not Malei (i.e.
Cheshvan will only have 29 days). Thus, 29 Kislev will not be Shabbos.

The explanation for this is not perfectly clear; here is what I saw:


When Rosh Hashnah is Tuesday and the year is a leap year, on what day
will the *following* Rosh Hashanah fall out? 

If the year is 'k'Sidran' (Cheshvan 29, Kislev 30), the next Rosh
Hashanah will be on Monday. If the year is 'Malei' (Cheshvan 30,
Kislev 30 - the scenario we are looking for) next Rosh Hashanah will
be on Tuesday. Both cases do not violate the "Lo AD'U Rosh" rule (see
above, #3). Since we have an acceptable scenario for the year if it
is 'k'Sidran' (i.e. the months of Cheshvan Kislev follow the normal
29/30 day pattern that the other months follow), we will not make the
year 'Malei'. Thus, in a leap year when Rosh Hashanah was Tuesday,
Cheshvan is assigned only 29 days, and the 29th of Kislev will be
Friday and not Shabbos (see above, #4a).  [Based on KI HI
CHOCHMASCHEM by Rav Shlomo Rosner, p. 133]


There is a more complicated explanation for the why the leap year
under discussion must be k'Sidran, but it is beyond the scope of our
discussion.  Here is a rough outline of how it works:  

Rosh Hashanah will be on Tuesday in a leap year only if the Molad was
between 12:00 PM Monday and 11:59:59 AM on Tuesday.  When we add to
that thirteen times the length of the lunar month, we find that the
Molad of the following Rosh Hashanah will be sometime between Sunday
morning and Monday morning.  THe appropriate day for the following
Rosh Hashanah is therefore Monday (since Rosh Hashanah cannot be a
Sunday; see above #3).  If the year is "Malei", it will push off Rosh
Hashanah to Tuesday, which is unnecessary and undesired, therefore
the year will be k'Sidran.  (Based on Peirush printed in the Rambam,
Hilchos Kidush ha'Chodesh 8:10, see Itim l'Binah by R. Yosef
Ginzburg, end of Ma'amar #11.)  

I hope this was helpful.

Best wishes,
Mordecai Kornfeld

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