Thursday, August 29, 2013

6th Chodesh *Elul* Sep-Oct 2013-2014

Correction: I just noticed that I had a couple of days wrong at the end of the 6th month, showing Sep 4 and 5, instead of Oct 4 and 5. The oversight has been corrected.


There is a glaring anomaly in the 6th month calendar presented here below. It has to do with the lunar orbit, and presents some rather unusual circumstances. This is the first time I've encountered this issue so dramatically. So let's give it some explanation.

Usually, in the transition between the 14th and 15th day, the moon rises about the time of sunset, plus or minus a few minutes or so. This month, it does not. The moon rises about 10 minutes before sunset on Sept 19, at the beginning of the 14th lunar day, instead of the 15th lunar day. This anomaly occurs 1 day, 4 hours, and 26 minutes earlier than it normally would, from the time of the full moon until near the beginning of the 15th lunar day at sunset. There is an explanation for this, and it shouldn't affect the days of the calendar for the month, including Shabbat.

What appears to cause this anomaly this next month is the length of the lunar orbit. The first half of the month is shorter than the last half of the month. Perigee, which occurs in the first half of the month on Sept 15, is when the moon is closer to the earth, meaning the orbit is shorter and will occur faster. This is why the period between conjunction and the full moon is shorter than usual.

In the last half of the month, Apogee occurs on Sept 27. This means the moon is farther than usual from the earth causing the orbit to be a bit longer. I won't bore you with the actual time differences. If you are interested, send me an email and I'll provide further info. Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about this. Also, let me know if you notice any problems with what is presented here.


  1. Paul,
    Hello. This moon of October is the most accelerated moon phase I have seen in 3 to 4 years of observing a lunar month. If the first visible crescent is truly the new moon, then that means tonight, October 12, 2013, the moon is well over first quarter. This is assuming that this month began on October 6 when many reported seeing the first crescent around the world. I cannot find any reported sighting of the crescent anywhere in the world for October 5. I believe that we are currently in the 7th moon of the year. Yom Kippor (the 10th of the 7th moon) is fast approaching, and it is critical to determine what day we are in right now. Paul, do you have any observations on this? Thanks. Mattityahu

  2. Paul,
    Hello. I have a correction to my earlier post from October 12. I was in error when I reported that there were no reported sightings of the first visible crescent on October 5, 2013. I found a photo of a man who spotted the first visible crescent in Chile on October 5. This would help explain why the moon phase for October 12 was well past the first quarter. That means Yom Kippor begins this Monday night, October 14, rather than Tuesday, October 15. I am so glad that YHWH allowed me to see this sighting from Chile. Here is the link to the photo. Thanks. Mattityahu.

  3. Paul,
    Hello. After talking with some others, I have come to the conclusion that we have to observe Yom Kippor and Tabernacles this month by the moon sightings here in the United States and not in Chile. However, if this is true, then that means by Tuesday night, October 15, that the moon will be about two days away from the full moon on the 10th day of the 7th month. This does not make sense to me. I am not sure what I am going to do now. Do you have any insight? Thanks. Mattityahu

  4. Shalom Mattityahu;

    I sympathize with your concerns and your desire to follow Yahweh and His holy days, by observing them at the correct time. Since we have no reliable definitive calender authority in existence today, it makes it difficult. One is left to cast about trying to find their way with the calendar. Having said that, here is some food for thought. Bear in mind that I am using Jerusalem as the locating point for the calendar. If you subtract 5-8 hours, depending where you are in the USA, you will find the same beginning point, marked only by a slightly longer time between sunset and moonrise. But it will still be the same day I will describe below. Also keep in mind that I am using Astronomy below to confirm the calendar day/data. One does not necessarily have to know how to arrange the calendar if they simply use astronomy to determine certain astronomical facts.

    The point at which the 15th day begins is determined by the rising of the full moon between the 14th and 15th day, or night/day. This can only be determined just before or after sunset at that time. If the moon rises before sunset, it is still the 14th day. If it rises after sunset, the 15th day has begun.

    This occurs at sunset between the 19th and 20th, when the sun sets at 1702 (Jerusalem) and the moon rises at 1721. The fact that the moon rises after the sun sets, indicates the 15th day or night/day has begun.

    If you count backward from that point to each sunset until you have arrived at the sunset that begins the 14th/15th of October, you will arrive at the beginning of the 10th day or night/day. 18/19 begins the 14th day, 17/18 begins the 13th day, 16/17 begins the 12th day, 15/16 begins the 11th day, and 14/15 begins the 10th day.

    I think this puts Yom KIppur a day earlier than what you described above, or what your friends have concluded, but I could be wrong about that. The truth is though, that one cannot argue with the astronomy. Science will serve to confirm the scriptures if we let it.

    I hope this is helpful for you in solving your dilemma. Please let me know your thoughts after you have considered the information. Please refer to my 7th chodesh calendar at the beginning of the blog to confirm what I have outlined here. In the end, I reserve the right to be wrong.



  5. Paul,

    Shalom. Thank you for your insights. After much thought and some prayer, I am keeping Yom Kippor Monday, October 14th, sunset to Tuesday, October 15th, sunset. After viewing the photograph of the first visible crescent in Chile on October 5th, I concluded that was the evidence that Rosh Chodesh had arrived that sunset. Also, I came to the conclusion that maybe no one saw the first visible crescent on October 5 in North America because of visibility issues. It does not make sense to me that one part of the world would be able to see the moon while at the same time another part in the same longitude but not the same latitude would not be able to witness it. I agree with you that the full moon is the day when the moon rises after the sunsets. I have to do some more research on the full moon. When I observed Passover and Unleavened bread this past spring of 2013, I counted from conjunction until the moon was full. From that, I discovered that from conjunction that the moon was not full on the evening of what I believed was the 15th of Aviv. That next evening, the moon rose after sunset. From that observation, I learned that the dark moon cannot be the new moon and that the first visible crescent was the new moon. Prior to that, I believed that conjunction was the new moon. However, now I see that the only way to arrive at the Shabbat of Aviv 15 is to begin counting at the first visible crescent. But, I could be wrong in what I am saying. Take care, Paul. I do appreciate your responses. Have a blessed Sukkot.