I Adar you! Hell, I Double Adar you!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/04/25 10:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/04/25/8423349.aspx

Content of Michael Kaplan's personal blog not approved by Microsoft (see disclaimer)!
Regular readers should keep in mind that all I said in The End? still applies; the allusion to the X-Files continues for people who understand such references....

You probably wouldn't ever have guessed, but this blog is going to be about the Hebrew month of Adar (אדר).

Now most years it is a nice tidy little month, but the Hebrew calendar starts jumping too far ahead if left to its own devices, so seven out every nineteen years an extra month is added -- generally this is known as intercalation.

This happened in the very year in which we now are, as fate would have it.

And here is where we run into issues.

You see, this extra אדר (Adar) stuff has been going on for a long time.

And אדר (Adar) has some interesting holidays in it, like תענית אסתר (The Fast Of Esther) on the 13th of Adar, פורים (Purim) on the 14th of Adar, and שושן פורים (Shushan Purim) on the 15th of Adar.

This leads to an interesting question when there are two of those אדר (Adar) months popping up -- which אדר (Adar) do we use to celebrate?

Now קראים (Karaite Jews), or perhaps we could call them (for lack of a better term) Biblical Jews, keep themselves in the world of the תנ״ך‎ (The Tanakh, the Jewish Bible). This is as opposed to the (for lack of a better term) Rabbinical Jews, who have the משנה (Mishnah) and גמרא (Gemara) as a huge amount of additional commentary and law and discussion and argument.

So why is this interesting?

Well, those קראים (Karaite Jews) celebrate the holidays in the first אדר (Adar), and the rest celebrate them in the second אדר (Adar) - based on text in the משנה (Mishnah) that instructs as much. Which kind of explains why the קראים (Karaite Jews) don't heed those rules, since they don't consider the משנה (Mishnah) to be law, after all.

So most Jews look at the 14th of that first אדר (Adar) as פורים קטן (Purim Katan -- "Little Purim") and the 15th as שושן פורים קטן (Shushan Purim Katan). There aren't any specific rules on things that must be observed or anything, but there is kind of a minor festivary aspect for people who have a bit of a desire to "get their party on" as often as they can. And I have been to a couple of עדלאידע celebrations over the years (עדלאידע is one of those fun words that make for a great party theme -- it means "until you don't know" because you are supposed to keep drinking until you don't know the difference between the good guy and the bad guy of the story of Purim. I am sure you can imagine a drinking game that can come out of this quite easily!).

Okay, so we have פורים קטן and שושן פורים קטן and תענית אסתר and פורים and שושן פורים. Got it?

Now we'll add computers to the mix.

Specifically, we'll add Windows -- which calls these months אדר (Adar) and אדר ב (Adar Bet/Adar 2), which freaks out some people because they would prefer something more like the .NET side of the world has it in the HebrewCalendar class with an אדר א (Adar Alef/Adar 1) and an אדר ב (Adar Bet/Adar 2). And to make matters worse, some Microsoft products reportedly call the month אדר א (Adar Alef) during non-leap years, when technically it should be (if one had to choose between the two), something more like אדר ב (Adar Bet).

And there are also random bugs reported in programs like Outlook (as this site points out in the article Hebrew calendar leap year mistake).

And the story of פורים as told in the מגילת אסתר (Book of Esther) has interesting weirdnesses on its own -- what with Queen Vashti (ושתי) being asked by the king to dance naked for the court, and when she refused, she was killed1 and all of the other interesting pieces, including the bit about how the decree to kill the Jews could not be set aside, but a second decree to allow the Jews to defend themselves was legal and so the battle was not so one-sided as it might have been otherwise. All I know if that if I was king and I was the sort to have people naked dancing for the court, I would be allowed to do whatever the hell I wanted and reverse any decree that seemed like a bad idea, especially if I drank as much as this king reportedly did and the next morning realized that not every drunken decree is necessarily a good idea....

In the end, the report of the difference between Windows and .NET is a perpetual thread -- raised each time someone notices it, possibly with a bug or several bugs put in. But (ignoring the reported bug in Outlook with the recurring year mistake2), there is technically not a bug here, though there is an inconsistency, and the people who take offense at the implied precedence of the first אדר (Adar) being called plain old אדר (Adar) are free to their opinions but maybe they would not feel strongly if there were not reported bugs implying people were misunderstanding the rules.


1 - According to Jewish sources, some Christian sources just have a divorce happening, though given the king -- known to have people executed even for appearing when they are not called -- this seems a bit of of character.
2 - which I will conditionally choose to believe knowing how they mess up with Diwali and all. :-)


This blog brought to you by מ (U+05de, aka HEBREW LETTER MEM)

wisemx on 25 Apr 2008 10:26 AM:

Shalom! (Ruark Emmett)

Zvi on 27 Mar 2009 3:33 AM:

>עדלאידע is one of those fun words that make for a great party theme -- it means "until you don't know" because you are supposed to keep drinking until you don't know the difference between the good guy and the bad guy of the story of Purim. I am sure you can imagine a drinking game that can come out of this quite easily!).


I've ben living in Israel over three decades now and am fluent in Hebrew.

1.  עדלאידע is comprised of the words "`ad lo yada`", namely "until he didn't know".

2. Some of the Rabbinic sources interpret the `ad lo yada`imperative differently. Most seem to advocate milder drinking, either a bit more than usual to attain a mellow mood or a state of sleepiness.

Alex Cohn on 18 Dec 2011 6:39 PM:

Some people think that holiday calculation should be as easy as marking a recurring date in their calendar app. Well, the Hebrew calendar does that (except the last candles of Hanuka). But for example Easter requires additional astronomy.

Joshua on 23 Apr 2012 1:30 PM:

As for Vashti's fate: the text does indeed read banishment, but banishment of someone knowing the castle secrets would be converted to execution as far as the late medieval era so the Jews probably know what they're talking about.

referenced by

2012/06/07 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 24: I Adar you! Hell, I Double Adar you! (Windows 8 ed.)

2012/04/19 It must be a [Hebrew] leap year; I double Adar you to guess how I know....

2011/12/15 I Adar you to guess how they make it work!

2011/02/01 I Dari you! Heck, I Double Dari you!

2010/10/22 I Triple Adar you!

2008/05/08 Support of Holi^h^h^^hDAZE, in Outlook (aka Situations when competition might help customers)

go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day