The land and seven years

pohaikawahine

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I keep reading about the laws of "Shemitah "- it is a Sabbatical year. The land must lay fallow every seven years. Every 50 years (seven years, seven times) is the mitzvah of "Yovel" - the Jubilee year. Is this a seventh year? And, can anyone tell me when the next Yovel is to take place?

I think that the Jubilee year crosses over to several different cultures. If I recall the Queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani, that was on the throne when it was overthrown by the U.S., went to England for a Golden Jubilee and received a gold bracelet - which is now considered a type of jewelry that is popular on the islands. Those bracelets with one's Hawaiian name enameled on it.

I just read an interesting article on the weekly parsha in www.Mesora.org/JewishTimes on a perspective that speaks to interest on loans between Jewish people. What I am trying to understand, however, is the inner meaning of the seven years and the year of the Jubilee.

I am just curious if this is a seventh year and when the next "Yovel" is expected to take place. Mahalo nui, thanks so much, for any insights and help.

He Hawai'i Au, poh
 
Poka, I think I'd find that article interesting, too. Do you remember which one?

I think the commonly understood meaning is to remember to be patient and continue to wait for a permanent end to captivity and suffering etc., which is the ideal of a permanent state of jubilee. Seven seems like a practical legal number for resetting back to zero the inequality that accumulates in Israel every year. Jubilee is like a future time of perfection if only for a moment. By reenacting it, you preserve the goal of it and the progress towards a permanent state of happiness for all. Legally it also has to do with keeping the property ownership widely distributed, to stave off inequalities and perhaps to prevent feudal systems from developing. By enacting Jubilee you are working towards a time where the jubilee no longer has to be enacted, when there are no loans at all and no need for loans, where people stop accumulating power and property at the expense of others.
 
I'm sorry - I should have given the full reference. The article can be found in the Jewish Times newsletter - Vol IX, No. 20, May 7, 2010. I like your description of the meaning, especially about it being a "goal" yet unfilled. In the article you will see a reference about the right to rule over the earth, yet the land of Israel is more restricted because it has as a purpose "a place for the development of a Torah society" and ownership is more restricted. The question that I am grapplying with is what is meant by the "Land of Israel" - yes, there is a physical location and place that is filled with all human emotion, love, beauty, birth, war, death, etc. It is not my intent to get into that discussion - it is out of my league to speak of the physical land and all that it means. But is it also a spiritual place that resides within us that we must react to fulfill that "goal" of the regathering, the rebuilding of the temple, and a world of peace and love? Do we keep the memories by the reenactment of the special activities like the seven years and the Yovel - but we know we have not all reached it yet? That land cannot ever be owned by someone else - it is always ours. That place for the development of a Torah society is within our reach. We must go to the studyhall, the place of learning and face the unknown. Didn't mean to get carried away with my response. Still wondering the next date for the Jovel. He Hawai'i Au, poh
 
I believe I found the answer to my question - the lst Shmita in the modern State of Israel was celebrated in 1951 and the last one was in 2007 (5768) - therefore the next will be in 2014. "Jovel" is not observed in modern times because it's correct date is unknown. Hmmmmmm .... if this is not correct, I'm sure someone will graciously let me know.

When the Hawaiian Queen went to the "Jubilee" and received the gift of the gold bracelet, it was in England I believe. I'll have to check out the dates again. I'll also have to check out the background or history of the Jubilee year celebrated in England.

I would ultimately like to understand the inner meaning of the seven years X seven culminating in the 50th year of celebration. He Hawai'i Au, poh
 
hi poh,

actually, you only get a "yovel" when the majority of jews live in israel, which isn't currently the case.

in terms of inner meaning, everywhere you get cycles of 7, particularly when it's a 49 (7x7) it relates to the "midot", the seven lower sefirot. this article has some more insights:

Freedom at Fifty - Mystical Classics

and you can also find a bunch of other stuff here:

Sabbatical and Jubilee Cycles - Jewish Knowledge Base

come back to me with specific questions if you have any...

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
hi poh,

actually, you only get a "yovel" when the majority of jews live in israel, which isn't currently the case.
Well with the number of Jews around the world...this will never happen again then eh? Unless Israel expands its borders to encompass the world...

But don't say that outloud!
 
I believe I found the answer to my question - the lst Shmita in the modern State of Israel was celebrated in 1951 and the last one was in 2007 (5768) - therefore the next will be in 2014. "Jovel" is not observed in modern times because it's correct date is unknown. Hmmmmmm .... if this is not correct, I'm sure someone will graciously let me know.

When the Hawaiian Queen went to the "Jubilee" and received the gift of the gold bracelet, it was in England I believe. I'll have to check out the dates again. I'll also have to check out the background or history of the Jubilee year celebrated in England.

I would ultimately like to understand the inner meaning of the seven years X seven culminating in the 50th year of celebration. He Hawai'i Au, poh
The "Jubilee" in England was celebrating 50 years since Victoria had come to the throne (an unusually long reign).

The use of "seven" in ancient time-keeping was because it is approximately one quarter-phase of the moon, and seven quarter-phases are approximately one-seventh of the seasonal year. Actually, the "phase" week has to be sometimes seven, and sometimes eight: in the most ancient calendar of this type that we know, from king Sargon of Akkad, the special days were half-moon on the 7th of every month, full-moon on the 15th (not 14th! this week had to be long), waning half-moon on the 22nd, new moon on the 29th or 30th (whether or not to lengthen this week would change from month to month, since the cycle of phases is 29 and a half days long). A week of strictly seven days was known to Chaldean astrologers around the time of Abraham, so it was not new with Moses.

But there may have been some continued use of the variable-length "phase" week: there was an argument (recorded in the Talmud) about whether the "Sabbath of the Passover" from which seven weeks are counted until the Shavuoth (feast of Pentecost) meant the Saturday (in the strict seven-day week) or the full moon, and whether the seven weeks were 49 days, or seven phases of the moon. I think the "phase" week (occasionally skipping a day outside the cycle of seven) is what was meant there, although the "strict" week (seven days, and that's it) is almost always what is meant in other contexts. But a lot got forgotten during the Babylonian Captivity: the Jewish calendar now is just a slight variant of what the Babylonians did, and nobody seemed to remember how their old calendar went. It is not clear if the "week of years" you are asking about was a "strict" week (seven always; making 5768 a sabbath-year is based on that assumption, since the number 5768 divides evenly by 7) or if a year was skipped at the end of every seven weeks: that is, if the jubilee was every 49 years, or every 50. I assume it was every 50. The higher units are one ger "sojourn" of seven jubilees (350 years) and one 'ulam "age" of fifty jubilees (2500 years).

I keep a dice-case (dice, although early adapted as gaming pieces, were originally designed as base-seven counters) in which I run my reconstruction of what I call the Abrahamic Almanac. Follow the link to see a picture of the position on May 5: the middle and bottom rows give the long count, 2346/2066 (red dice for days, years, and sojourns; green for weeks, months, and ages; white for omers and jubilees), and the top row explicates what the last "6" is counting from. "Since Adam" (I set my zero in the spring of 4285 BC): the middle row 2346 means 2 ages (5000 years), 3 sojourns (1050 years), 4 jubilees (200 years), 6 weeks (42 years), and the bottom row 2066 adds 2 years, no omers, 6 phases, and 6 days; it was 6 days since the full moon (white marble in the upper left; green marble for waxing half, red for waning half, no marble for new) last Thursday (the red 5 in the top row) in the 2nd warm month (the green month-die is in the upper right during the warm half of the year, upper left in the cold half).

May 6, around 8 AM my time (11 AM EDT or "1500 Zulu"; the turning point depends on where I am in the world, sundown in Eden, midnight in Japan, sunrise in Polynesia, noon in Brazil) the long count turned to 2346/2100 (white die set to "1" in the current blank space, green and red dice removed).
The white "6" in the upper row is for adjustments to the normal flow ("normal" is that after one counter reaches six, it is reset to zero and the next higher counter turns). Since six is even, it is currently the even months which are lengthened to 30, taking an 8th day at two quarter-phase points (between half and full AND between half and new) instead of only one (between half and full only) as in the 29-day months: on May 13, the count will turn from 2346/2106 to 2346/2107, putting the red marble down where a die usually goes to mark "7"; only after that day is skipped do I get to 2346/2110 (removing the red marble, inserting the green die set at "1"; and in the top row, turning that red "5" to a "6" since the phase is now on Friday, and turning the green "2" to "3" as the next month will be starting). The white "6" also means that omer number "6" will take an eighth week this year (this is done every fifteen omers, to keep the lunar and solar reckonings in line).

At spring equinox 2015, the count will turn from 2346/6666 to 2346/7000, an extra year in that week of years because it is the last of a set of 49, and then in spring 2016, the count turns from 2346/7666 to 2350/0000 and this is the start of my "jubilee" year, if G-d spares me that long.
 
Let me just recap everything to make sure that I understand it.

One quarter-phase of the moon is approximately seven days, and seven times that is approximately one seventh of a seasonal year. --- So seven is convenient for telling the date. There are 4 distinctive moon phases: half, full, waning-half, and new. You just look up at the moon and remember how many new moons have passed since you started on a journey, started working on a project, or whatever significant thing. It brings fuller meaning to the expression "Many moons ago."

biblical Week = either 7 days or 7 years, depending on what fits. It could mean 8 years at the end of a 49 year period, but the general assumption is not usually. Using strict seven years as a ring-multiple you can arrive at 5768 from Adam to be a special year, though perhaps some of the the intervening weeks were not sevens but eights. Some may have been 8 or seven plus a skipped year. You cannot say for certain, and that is from a discussion in the Talmud.

Almanac
  • One 'Ger' translates as a 'Soujourn' of 7 Jubilees, each being 50 years together makes the Soujourn 350 years. You represent it with a red die in the middle row.
  • one 'Ulam' translates as an 'Age' of fifty jubilees or altogether 2500 years. This is represented as a green die in the middle row.
  • an 'Omer' translates 'Jubilee' the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot (which I thought was called Pentecost), but in the middle row of the almanac is 50 years periods. Represented as a white die in the middle row.
  • a year-week is represented by an additional green die in the middle row.
  • year in the bottom row is a green die, a white die in the bottom adds 49 or 50 days (omer), green die adds phases (the four mentioned above), and the red die adds days.
  • The top row of the almanac represents the start-time for the calendar, which you've placed at 4285BC, using the same die representations as the middle row.
  • Marbles represent the four moon stages. White = full, Green = waxing half, Red = Waning half, and None = new. And you take the red die of the bottom row for how many days since the last stage began. Each stage lasts 7 or 8 days, depending upon what the moon decides.


But in the top row you have a white 6, red 5, and a green 2. This is supposed to come out to 4285BC ? 6*50 + 5*350 + 2*2500 = 7,050 . 7050 - 2010 = 5040. I guess the picture was taken two years ago.

Two things: there is no way to figure out from the bottom green die what the moon phase is, since the first moon phase from the beginning is not mentioned in the top row. That is why you have to use the marble? Also, you might lose dice and marbles with your current system. What if you made little covers to go over a die instead of pulling it out of the case. Instead of a marble, you could swap the middle two dice in each row, using a system that lets you know what the moon phase is. Or you could use another color die.
 
Let me just recap everything to make sure that I understand it.

One quarter-phase of the moon is approximately seven days, and seven times that is approximately one seventh of a seasonal year. --- So seven is convenient for telling the date.
All the numbers in nature are stubborn irrationals, not nice integers, so figuring out the calendar drove early people crazy. The base-seven aaalmost works, except that seven days aren't quite the phase, and seven omers of seven weeks aren't quite the year. If the weeks are strictly seven days, and the omer seven weeks, then after you've counted from 000 to 666 on your dice there have been 343 days (not 365 1/4) so you need "a week, and a pair of weeks, and a fraction of a week" before you turn the dice over to 000 to start the next year. While if you lengthen the weeks to the quarter-phase, then 49 phases is 12 1/4 lunar months but the year is really more like 12 3/8 months, so after that deadly 666 you need "a day, and a pair of days, and a fraction of a day." The references in Daniel to "a time, and a pair of times, and a fraction of a time" and in Revelation to the beastly "666" go back to this maddening time-keeping problem.
There are 4 distinctive moon phases: half, full, waning-half, and new. You just look up at the moon and remember how many new moons have passed since you started on a journey, started working on a project, or whatever significant thing. It brings fuller meaning to the expression "Many moons ago."

biblical Week = either 7 days or 7 years, depending on what fits. It could mean 8 years at the end of a 49 year period, but the general assumption is not usually. Using strict seven years as a ring-multiple you can arrive at 5768 from Adam to be a special year, though perhaps some of the the intervening weeks were not sevens but eights. Some may have been 8 or seven plus a skipped year. You cannot say for certain, and that is from a discussion in the Talmud.

Almanac
  • One 'Ger' translates as a 'Soujourn' of 7 Jubilees, each being 50 years together makes the Soujourn 350 years. You represent it with a red die in the middle row.
  • one 'Ulam' translates as an 'Age' of fifty jubilees or altogether 2500 years. This is represented as a green die in the middle row.

  • So far so good.
    [*] an 'Omer' translates 'Jubilee' the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot (which I thought was called Pentecost), but in the middle row of the almanac is 50 years periods. Represented as a white die in the middle row.
    Shavuoth is the Hebrew (means "groups of seven": sheva is"seven", shavuah a "group of seven; week [of days or of years]", and shavuoth is the plural of shavuah) while Pentecost is the Greek (means "fiftieth").
    [*] a year-week is represented by an additional green die in the middle row.
    [*] year in the bottom row is a green die, a white die in the bottom adds 49 or 50 days (omer), green die adds phases (the four mentioned above), and the red die adds days.
    Slight typo here: the year is a red, considered analogous to the day (both are solar cycles) and to the sojourn (a kind of "year of years" with about as many years as a year has days). Greens are for "lunar" and "sevenish" things (months, phases, weeks) and whites for "fiftyish" things (omers and jubilees).
    [*] The top row of the almanac represents the start-time for the calendar, which you've placed at 4285BC, using the same die representations as the middle row.
    No no no. The top row is not part of the long-count at all, but is where I put little extra bits of information. The red die in the top is the weekday, to synchronize the phase-week (7 or 8) with the strict-week (7 always): I have a red "5" to mean Thursday (Saturday is the zero, Sunday the "1") which is when the waning-half phase (red marble) happened: but tomorrow morning it will go to "6" (new moon on Friday). The green die in the top is the month-number counting 1/2/3/4/5/6 on the right from spring equinox to autumn equinox (the warm months) then 1/2/3/4/5/6 on the left for the cold months; and sometimes there is a blank-numbered 13th month (always 30 days), by the rule that the full moon of "warm month 1" (that is, the Pesach or Passover) cannot come until after the week 000 to 006 which contains the spring equinox.

    The white die in the top row is special, to help keep track of when an "8th" element is irregularly added. When the white die is even (like now), the even months (like this one just ending) get an extra day in the week from waxing half to new (that is happening today, 2346/2107, with the red marble taken from the top row down to the bottom right corner for the special "7" marking). Every month gets an extra day added to the week from waning half to full (that is, months are 29 days at least, sometimes 30). The white number "6" and the white die's position in the middle of the top row rather than a corner means that this year omer "6" will take an eighth week; that happens every fifteen omers, so last year was type "5-becoming-6" (no eighth week any time that year, since it was omer 5 of the year before and then not again until omer 6 of the year to come) marked with the white die on "5" in the left corner while the green die was counting warm months in the right corner, then with the white die on "6" in the right corner while the green die counted cold months in the left. The transition from 30-day odd months to 30-day even months was done around the autumn equinox (transition from warm to cold) in such a way as to have two 30-day months in a row (this whole complication is because a simple alternation of 29 and 30, averaging 29 1/2, isn't quite right for the lunar month, which is 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 3 seconds) and making "cold month 1" (Tishri) not start on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday (I'll let bananabrain explain that little wrinkle if he wishes).
    But in the top row you have a white 6, red 5, and a green 2. This is supposed to come out to 4285BC ? 6*50 + 5*350 + 2*2500 = 7,050 . 7050 - 2010 = 5040. I guess the picture was taken two years ago.
    The picture was on Cinco de Mayo this year. White "6" is for tracking all that complicated folderol to keep the moon and sun in synch; red "5" and green "2" for phase on Thursday in the second lunar month since spring equinox.
    Two things: there is no way to figure out from the bottom green die what the moon phase is, since the first moon phase from the beginning is not mentioned in the top row. That is why you have to use the marble?
    That's right.
    Also, you might lose dice and marbles with your current system. What if you made little covers to go over a die instead of pulling it out of the case. Instead of a marble, you could swap the middle two dice in each row, using a system that lets you know what the moon phase is. Or you could use another color die.
    I used to keep the dice and marbles that weren't in current use in a plastic bag which has now fallen to shreds (I started keeping the Almanac in 1984, starting at 2343/4131) but have only lost one piece, a marble that was broken exactly in half which I therefore used for "half-moon" but it was annoying having no distinction between waxing and waning halves, so I decided the green marble (which used to mean "full") was better used for the "growing" half-moon and acquired a red for the "dying" half-moon and a white (to fit the color-scheme of the dice) for the "full". I now have a lacquered box inlaid with a Taj Mahal picture given to me by a good friend, which I use to store any currently-unused dice and marbles (plus the shreds of the old bag, and a dream-catcher, and a guardian-angel, and the matches I first used to light my Sabbath candles).
 
hmmmmm....maybe that is why it is said you need to be at least 50 years old before starting any serious study of the kaballah .... this has been so insightful, the perspectives shared. Each adds a piece to the puzzle and mahalo bananabrain for the references, I have more to study and may get back to you. Have to rush right now but have a few thoughts to share. mahalo nui, poh
 
(I started keeping the Almanac in 1984, starting at 2343/4131)
I notice I made a typo there: the date was 2342/4131 when I started in 1984, at the beginning of a very special month "June, Siwan, and triple Ramadan." The date today is 2346/2114 coming up on 26 years (four "weeks" minus two years) since I began keeping the Abrahamic Almanac.

Ramadan can have three meanings: the "nominal" Ramadan is a 30-day month in Muhammad's calendar (12 months, alternating 29 and 30 except for an extra day 11 years out of 30 to keep in synch with the lunar month); the "true" Ramadan, the period of fasting, is the real lunar month, starting with the sunset when the baby crescent moon is first visible following the sun down, and ending when that first-visible phase returns again; the "ancient" Ramadan must have been the month containing the summer solstice, since the word means "scorching hot", but Muhammad's calendar does not add any extra months to keep the year in synch with the seasons so the months slowly rotate, about twice all-the-way-around in a lifetime. According to a hadith, this was intentional: Muhammad said "It will be good for you to experience the fast in all seasons." The ancient practice of fasting in Arabia at the start of summer was presumably just a practical matter: that is when food supplies were short and needed to be rationed; in Europe, of course, winter is the bad time, so that is why there was fasting in Lent; but Muhammad changed it to an intentional, spiritual practice.

There is almost a 50% percent that the "true" Ramadan will be only 29 days long, and not include one of the days (either the first or the last) of the 30-day "nominal" Ramadan; and a slight chance that "true" Ramadan is 30 days but doesn't start and stop the same day that "nominal" Ramadan does (but Muhammad's calendar is good at keeping with the phases, doesn't miss often). So there is about 1 chance in 2 that "true" and "nominal" Ramadan are the same. The "ancient" Ramadan, at the solstice, could be any of Muhammad's months as easily as any other, so it has 1 chance in 12 of coinciding with the "nominal" Ramadan and 1 chance in 24 of being a "triple" Ramadan. Siwan is the 30-day Jewish month at summer solstice, which should agree with the "true" lunar month if it is 30 days (the Jewish calendar is also quite accurate in tracking the phases), except that every Jewish date has three weekdays it cannot fall on, so there are 4 chances in 7 that the 1st of the real month is a legal day to be the 1st of Siwan, and that means 1 year out of 42 has a "Siwan and triple Ramadan". The Christian month of June of course has nothing to do with the lunar cycle at all, and has only 1 chance in 30 that the 1st day of a 30-day lunar month would happen to coincide with the 1st of June.

So it is only 1 year out if 1260 that has a "June, Siwan, and triple Ramadan" when the Christian, Jewish, and Muhammadan months agree exactly with each other, and with the month in the system Abraham was originally using, and with the moon itself, at the solstice time when the sun shines straight down to the bottom of Hagar's well in Mecca (just below the Tropic of Cancer, where the sun gets to be straight overhead only around the solstice; that is why the observatory was set there).
 
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