Template:Hebrew year/sandbox

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Year 5781 since the creation of the world,
according to the traditional count.
  • This year has 353 days,
    making it a deficient (חסרה) year.
  • In 5781, Rosh Hashanah is on Saturday,
    while Passover is on Sunday.
According to the Machzor Katan, the 19-year (Metonic) cycle used to keep the Hebrew calendar aligned with the solar year:
  • This year is the 5th year of the 305th cycle.
    It is not a leap year.
According to the Machzor Gadol, a 28-year solar cycle used to calculate the date to recite Birkat Hachama, a blessing on the sun:
  • This year is the 13th year of the 207th cycle.
According to the current reckoning of sabbatical (shmita) years:
  • This year is the 6th year of the cycle.
  • It is a maaser ani year.
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This template shows a variety of information about the Hebrew calendar year.

Default behavior

{{Hebrew year}} without a parameter provides information on the current Hebrew calendar year, AM 5781.


The only allowed parameter is |1=nnnn (or simply |nnnn), where nnnn is a Hebrew calendar year (as anno mundi—years since creation).

  • See below for comments on appropriate values to use.

General comments

The fixed Jewish calendar now in use is attributed to the sage Hillel II in the mid-fourth century CE. While some scholars disagree with that notion, it is commonly agreed that:

  • During the era of the Second Temple (as late as first century CE), an observational version of the calendar was in use, not the fixed version in use today.[1]
  • By about the ninth century CE, the current calendar (without the anno mundi year numbering) was in place.

Accordingly, any use of the calendar (or this template) earlier than the calendar's establishment — whenever that might have been — must be viewed as proleptic.

This template is not designed to be used for dates earlier than AM (Anno mundi) 1, and does not work properly for such dates. Similarly, while this template will continue to calculate cycles for dates far into the future, it is not clear how meaningful such information would be for years far past AM 6000.


Anno mundi year number

Year numbers used by this template, both as input and output, are based on the Anno Mundi ("years since creation") year numbering tradition currently in use (Note that other year numbering systems [epoch dates] were more commonly used than this as late as the tenth century CE).

For Gregorian year "yyyy", the corresponding Hebrew year is "(yyyy + 3760)" before Rosh Hashanah (in September or October), and "(yyyy + 3761)" thereafter.

  • As an example, this Gregorian year is 2021, so it corresponds to Hebrew year 5781 until Rosh Hashanah, then 5782 after Rosh Hashanah.

Fixed points on the calendar (keviyah)

Because of specific rules about the calendar calculations, the day-of-the-week configuration of any year's calendar can be completely described with three pieces of information. Traditionally, this is done one of two ways:

  • Day-of-week for Rosh Hashanah, characterization of year as deficient, regular or complete, and day-of-week for Passover
  • Day-of-week for Rosh Hashanah, characterization of year as deficient, regular or complete, and whether the year is regular (12-month) or intercalated (13-month)

The first approach is used here.[2] These three pieces of information are sufficient to show whether a year is regular or intercalated. However, that information is included explicitly in the next section as well, as the year of the machzor katan actually determines whether the year is regular or intercalated.

There are fourteen legal configurations of the calendar, seven for regular years and seven for intercalated years.

These calculations are driven by a subtemplate (/rhdatum).

Small cycle and leap years (machzor katan)

The Torah requires that Jewish months be calculated based on new moon cycles;[3] at the same time, it requires Passover to be in "the month of the spring".[4] Accordingly, the Jewish calendar must reconcile both lunar and solar components; it is a lunisolar calendar.

The 19-year small/lunar cycle (machzor katan) is the Hebrew calendar's embodiment of the Metonic cycle, which reconciles lunar cycles with solar years. According to the Metonic cycle, seven lunar months must be added (intercalated) during every 19 solar years to an otherwise lunar calendar to keep the lunar and solar calendars aligned. In the current Hebrew calendar, the extra month is added in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19, and these years of the cycle are identified as "leap years". All other years are identified as "not leap years".

  • The count of small cycles is proleptic.
  • The identification of specific years as "leap" or "not leap" is also proleptic. Prior to the adoption of the fixed calendar, the Sanhedrin could and did use a variety of criteria to determine if any specific year should be intercalated.
  • For years far in advance of the adoption of the fixed calendar, it is probably more accurate to approximate the date of Passover by assuming it fell on the first full moon day following the northward equinox, using astronomical data.

Great cycle (mchzor gadol) and Birkat Hachama

The 28-year Great/solar cycle (machzor gadol) is based on the calendar of Mar Shmuel, which is identical to the Julian calendar. In a universe where the Julian calendar exactly describes a solar year, if solar year 1 is defined to start on Sunday evening at 6:00 pm, solar year 2 will begin 1.25 days later in the week (at midnight from Monday to Tuesday), solar year 3 a further 1.25 days later (Wednesday at 6:00 am), and so forth. It is not until the beginning of year 29 that another year starts on a Sunday evening at 6:00 pm. Accordingly, tradition states that the universe is "back to its original configuration" after 28 years. To honor that, Birkat Hachama is recited each 28 years on the Wednesday morning following the (Julian) northward equinox, because the sun was created on "the fourth day" (Wednesday).[5][6] Accordingly, the first year of each 28-year cycle is identified as a year when Birkat Hachama is recited.

  • It was known even in the days of Mar Shmuel that the length of a year was shorter than 365.25 days. An explanation as to why the blessing was nevertheless tied to this calculation is beyond the scope of this brief description. However, it is clear that the calculation of this cycle is symbolic, and proleptic.

Sabbatical year cycle (Shmita) and tithing

The Torah specifies that the land is to lie fallow every seven years.[7] The year when that happens is known as the sabbatical year, in Hebrew shevi'it ("seventh") or shmita ("release"). The Torah additionally specifies that the second tithe be separated during years 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the seven-year cycle, while the poor tithe is to be separated during years 3 and 6 of the cycle. Accordingly, this template outputs information related to this cycle.

  • Calculation of this cycle during years that the Temple in Jerusalem was standing is complicated by inclusion of the Jubilee year (yovel) cycles. Output of this section is therefore suppressed for years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple.


Gregorian dates for Rosh Hashanah are added to the subtemplate (/rhdatum). These were calculated using Hebcal.com. Please note that results for the years prior to 1752 C.E. may be inaccurate as Hebcal.com does not take into account a correction of ten days that was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII known. See Adoption of the Gregorian calendar.


  1. Whether there was a calculated version supporting the observational version is beyond the scope of this brief description.
  2. The traditional description using three Hebrew letters for this purpose was not included here to reduce the coding burden. Further information is available on that at Hebrew Wikipedia or Yiddish Wikipedia.
  3. See, e.g., Exodus 12:1 ff.
  4. Exodus 23:15
  5. Genesis 1:14
  6. Why the custom of Birkat Hachama is based on the tradition of a spring creation and not a Rosh Hashanah creation is beyond the scope of this brief description.
  7. See, e.g., Exodus 23:10-11