Hebrew Day and Month Names



The language of Hebrew (both ancient and modern) tends to be rather simplistic in its structure and use.  This article discusses the names (or rather the lack thereof in most cases) of the weekdays and the months.


Home Page Display of Dates

Aside from the normal secular date, we have added the weekday name according to Hebrew custom (with Hebrew meaning and pronunciation shown in red) and the current Hebrew date.  All of this is displayed automatically.  Between the secular and Hebrew dates is a "Makheetzah" which is a dividing curtain or wall separating the holy from the secular (or common).  This Makhitzah also graphically displays in red the current day of the week.


Hebrew Weekdays

Except for the Sabbath day, the individual days of the week have no names, just numbers.  The middle column in the table below gives the actual transliterated pronunciation of the names. Yom is pronounced "Yome".  The "Kh" is a guttural sound often spelled as "Ch".  There is no "Ch" sound in Hebrew as there is in English.  Modern Hebrew, however, can create a "Ch" sound by putting an accent mark ( ´ ) in front of the Hebrew letter "Khet" (or "Chet").  This is used only in rare cases in order to properly pronounce such words or names as Church or Churchill (referring to the person Winston Churchill.)

Secular Weekday Name

Hebrew "Name"

Hebrew Meaning

Sunday Yom Reeshone First day
Monday Yom Shaynee Second day
Tuesday Yom Shlee´shee Third day
Wednesday Yom Revee´ee Fourth day
Thursday Yom Khah´mee´shee Fifth day
Friday Yom Ha´shee´shee Sixth day
Saturday Shabbat Rest


Compare these to the origins and meanings of the secular weekday names



Babylonian vs. Biblical Calendars

This table is divided into two sections because of the changes made in the calendar as a result of the Babylonian exile.  After the Jews were exiled from Judah to Babylonia in 586 B.C.E., they adopted Babylonian names for the months of the year. Nevertheless, they still have important meanings in whole scheme of things.  Not only do most of the names of the Babylonian months have appropriate meanings, but there is also an important theme that applies to these months (Babylonian or Biblical).

Mo.
#

Babylonian
Calendar

Meaning of
Babylonian Months

Theme of Month
(Babylonian & Biblical)

Biblical
Calendar

Meaning of Biblical Months
(Harvesting Schedule)

Biblical Feasts

1

Nisan

Their flight

Redemption,
Miracles

Abib

Ripening of grain
[Barley, Wheat]

Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits

2

Iyyar

(natural) healing Introspection,
Self improvement

Ziv

Splendor or Radiance [Flowers]
(Barley harvest)

  

3

Sivan

Bright - their covering

Giving of Torah

3rd

(Wheat harvest)

Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

4

Tammuz

Hidden - giver of the vine
(A Phoenician deity)
Sin of the Golden Calf, guarding of the eyes

4th

     

5

Av

Father Av the Comforter

5th

     

6

Elul

A vain thing - nothingness Repentance

6th

(Fruit harvest)

  

7

Tishri

Beginning (from reishit) Month of the Strong or Month of the Ancients

Ethanim

Ever-flowing streams

Rosh HaShannah, Yom Kippur, Succot

8

Kheshvan

Eighth The Flood
(of Noach)

Bul

Produce (in the sense of rain)

  

9

Kislev

Security, trust (Restful) Sleep

9th

     

10

Tevet

Good (from "Tov") Divine Grace

10th

     

11

Shevat

meaning unknown Tree of Life

11th

     

12

Adar

Strength Good Fortune

12th

     

13

* Adar II

   

 

     

* Additional month added during Leap Years. About every 3rd year.   There are 7 leap years in a 19 year cycle.


Compare these to the origins and meanings of the secular months of the year


Biblical References to the Babylonian Months

NEH 2:1 - And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him; and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad before in his presence.

EST 3:7 -  In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.


EST 8:9 - Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on its twenty third day; And it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded to the Jews, and to the satraps, and the governors and the princes of the provinces which are from Hodu* to Kush**, one hundred twenty and seven provinces, to every province according to its writing, and to every people in their own language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.

       *  India
       ** That is, the upper Nile region


NEH 6:15 - So the wall was finished in the twenty fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty two days.


ZEC 7:1 - And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Kislev;

NEH 1:1 -  The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Kislev, in the twentieth year, when I was in Shushan the capital,

EST 2:16 - So Esther was taken to king Ahasuerus to his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.


ZEC 1:7 - On the twenty fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying:

EST 3:7 -  In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.

EST 3:13 - And the letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder their goods.

EST 8:12 - On one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus,on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.

EST 9:1 - And in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over those who hated them;

EST 9:15-21 - For the Jews who were in Shushan gathered themselves together also on the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the plunder they did not lay their hand.
16. But the other Jews who were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the plunder,
17. On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
18. But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day of the month, and on the fourteenth day; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
19. Therefore the Jews of the villages, who lived in the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a holiday, and of sending portions one to another.
20. And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both near and far,
21. To establish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,

EZRA 6:15 - And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

The Biblical Months - The Month of Abib

EXO 13:4 - This day came you out in the month Abib.

EXO 23:15 - You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed in the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt; and none shall appear before me empty;

EXO 34:18 - The Feast of Unleavened Bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib; for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.

DEU 16:1 - Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the Lord your God; for in the month of b the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

The Month of Ziv

1KI 6:1 - And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth* year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.

       * Hebrew; Septuagint four hundred and fortieth

1KI 6:37 - In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Ziv;

The Month of Bul

1KI 6:38 - And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications. And he was seven years in building it.

The Month of Ethanim

1KI 8:2 - And all the men of Israel assembled themselves to king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.


Scripture from the Soncino, Judaic Classics Collection


Here are some related links from which much of the material on this page comes:
Inner.org  -  www.inner.org/times/times.htm
Jewish Community Online - www.jewish.com/holidays/tishrei.shtml



By
YashaNet Staff 
March, 2003 • Adar II, 5763

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