1

A leap year is a year that includes an additional month.1The extra month that is added is always Adar,2 and thus the year contains two Adarin: the first Adar and the second Adar.3

Why is this month added? Because of the season of spring, so that Pesach will fall then, as [implied by Deuteronomy 16:1]: "Take heed the month of spring"4 [This command can be interpreted to mean, "Take heed] that this month falls in the spring season. Were the month [of Adar] not to be added [from time to time], there are times when Pesach would fall in the summer, and times [when it would fall] in the rainy season.

א

שָׁנָּה מְעֻבֶּרֶת הִיא שָׁנָה שֶׁמּוֹסִיפִין בָּהּ חֹדֶשׁ. וְאֵין מוֹסִיפִין לְעוֹלָם אֶלָּא אֲדָר וְעוֹשִׂין אוֹתָהּ שָׁנָה שְׁנֵי אֲדָרִין אֲדָר רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲדָר שֵׁנִי. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה מוֹסִיפִין חֹדֶשׁ זֶה מִפְּנֵי זְמַן הָאָבִיב כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא הַפֶּסַח בְּאוֹתוֹ זְמַן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טז א) "שָׁמוֹר אֶת חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב" שֶׁיִּהְיֶה חֹדֶשׁ זֶה בִּזְמַן הָאָבִיב. וְלוּלֵא הוֹסָפַת הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה הַפֶּסַח בָּא פְּעָמִים בִּימוֹת הַחַמָּה וּפְעָמִים בִּימוֹת הַגְּשָׁמִים:

2

[An extra month is added,] making the year full, because of three factors: a) the vernal [spring] equinox;5 b) the ripening6 [of the barley crop], and c) the blooming of the fruit trees.

What is implied? When the court calculates7 and determines that the vernal equinox will fall on the sixteenth of Nisan or later, the year is made full. The month that would have been Nisan is made the second Adar, and thus Pesach will fall in the spring. This factor [alone] is sufficient for the court to make the year full;8 other factors need not be considered.

ב

עַל שְׁלֹשָׁה סִימָנִין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה. עַל הַתְּקוּפָה וְעַל הָאָבִיב וְעַל פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן. כֵּיצַד. בֵּית דִּין מְחַשְּׁבִין וְיוֹדְעִין אִם תִּהְיֶה תְּקוּפַת נִיסָן בְּשִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר בְּנִיסָן אוֹ אַחַר זְמַן זֶה מְעַבְּרִין אוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁנָה. וְיַעֲשׂוּ אוֹתוֹ נִיסָן אֲדָר שֵׁנִי כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַפֶּסַח בִּזְמַן הָאָבִיב. וְעַל סִימָן זֶה סוֹמְכִין וּמְעַבְּרִין וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לְסִימָן אַחֵר:

3

Similarly, if the court sees that [the barley crop] has not ripened, but that it is late in sprouting, or that the fruit trees that usually bloom at the time of the Pesach holiday have not bloomed, these two factors are sufficient,9 and the year is made full, even though the vernal equinox will fall before the sixteenth of Nisan.10

[The reason the year is] made full [because of these factors] is so that there will be [an abundant quantity] of ripened [barley] accessible, so that the wave offering of the omer can be brought from it on the sixteenth of Nisan,11 and so that the fruits will bloom, as they always do in the spring.

ג

וְכֵן אִם רָאוּ בֵּית דִּין שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא הִגִּיעַ הָאָבִיב אֶלָּא עֲדַיִן אָפֵל הוּא. וְלֹא צָמְחוּ פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן שֶׁדַּרְכָּן לִצְמֹחַ בִּזְמַן הַפֶּסַח. סוֹמְכִין עַל שְׁנֵי סִימָנִין אֵלּוּ וּמְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַתְּקוּפָה קֹדֶם לְשִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר בְּנִיסָן הֲרֵי הֵן מְעַבְּרִין. כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הָאָבִיב מָצוּי לְהַקְרִיב מִמֶּנּוּ עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה בְּשִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר בְּנִיסָן. וּכְדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַפֵּרוֹת צוֹמְחִין כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל זְמַן הָאָבִיב:

4

There are three territories that are of consequence regarding the ripening [of the barley]: Judea, Transjordan, and the Galilee. If [the barley] ripened in two of these lands, but not in the third, the year is not made full.12 If, however, [the barley] ripened in one of these lands, but not in the other two, the year is made full if the fruit trees have not bloomed.

These are the primary grounds for making the year full, so that the years will follow the solar calendar.13

ד

וְעַל שָׁלֹשׁ אֲרָצוֹת הָיוּ סוֹמְכִין בָּאָבִיב. עַל אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה וְעַל עֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן וְעַל הַגָּלִיל. וְאִם הִגִּיעַ הָאָבִיב בִּשְׁתֵּי אֲרָצוֹת מֵאֵלּוּ וּבְאַחַת לֹא הִגִּיעַ אֵין מְעַבְּרִין. וְאִם הִגִּיעַ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן וְלֹא הִגִּיעַ בִּשְׁתַּיִם מְעַבְּרִין אִם עֲדַיִן לֹא צָמְחוּ פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן. וְאִלּוּ הֵן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵן הָעִקָּר שֶׁמְּעַבְּרִין בִּשְׁבִילָן כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַשָּׁנִים שְׁנֵי חַמָּה:

5

There are other factors for which the court makes [the year full] in the case of necessity.14 Among them: that the roads are not suitable,15 and it is impossible for the people to make the pilgrimage. [In such an instance,] the year is made full, [to allow time for] the rains to stop and the roads to be fixed.

That the bridges have been destroyed and there are rivers interrupting [the roads], and preventing the people [from continuing their journey]. The year is made full, so that the bridges can be fixed, lest the people endanger themselves and die.

That the ovens for the Paschal sacrifice were destroyed by the rains,16 and thus there will be no place for [the people] to roast their Paschal offerings. We therefore make the year full, so that the ovens can be built and can dry [in the sun].

That Jews from the diaspora who have left their homes have not arrived in Jerusalem. We make the year full, so that they will have the time to reach [Jerusalem].17

ה

וְיֵשׁ שָׁם דְּבָרִים אֲחֵרִים שֶׁהָיוּ בֵּית דִּין מְעַבְּרִין בִּשְׁבִילָן מִפְּנֵי הַצֹּרֶךְ. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִפְּנֵי הַדְּרָכִים שֶׁאֵינָן מְתֻקָּנִין וְאֵין הָעָם יְכוֹלִין לַעֲלוֹת מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה עַד שֶׁיִּפָּסְקוּ הַגְּשָׁמִים וִיתַקְּנוּ הַדְּרָכִים. וּמִפְּנֵי הַגְּשָׁרִים שֶׁנֶּהֶרְסוּ וְנִמְצְאוּ הַנְּהָרוֹת מַפְסִיקִין וּמוֹנְעִין אֶת הָעָם וּמִסְתַּכְּנִין בְּעַצְמָן וּמֵתִים מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה עַד שֶׁיְּתַקְּנוּ הַגְּשָׁרִים. וּמִפְּנֵי תַּנּוּרֵי פְּסָחִים שֶׁאָבְדוּ בַּגְּשָׁמִים וְאֵין לָהֶם מָקוֹם לִצְלוֹת אֶת פִּסְחֵיהֶם מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה עַד שֶׁיִּבָּנוּ הַתַּנּוּרִים וְיִיבְשׁוּ. וּמִפְּנֵי גָּלֻיּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּעֶקְרוּ מִמְּקוֹמָן וַעֲדַיִן לֹא הִגִּיעוּ לִירוּשָׁלַיִם מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לָהֶם פְּנַאי לְהַגִּיעַ:

6

We do not, however, make the year full because of snow, nor because of a cold climate,18 nor because of Jews from the diaspora who have not yet left their homes.

[Similarly, the year is not made full] because of ritual impurity - e.g., when most of the people or most of the priests are impure.19 The year is not made full so that they will be able to purify themselves and offer [the Paschal sacrifice] in a state of ritual purity.20 Instead, they should offer [the sacrifice] while ritually impure. Nevertheless, if the year has been made full because of ritual impurity, it may be left full.

ו

אֲבָל אֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה לֹא מִפְּנֵי הַשֶּׁלֶג וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי הַצִּנָּה וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי גָּלֻיּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נֶעֶקְרוּ מִמְּקוֹמָם. וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי הַטֻּמְאָה. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ רֹב הַקָּהָל אוֹ רֹב הַכֹּהֲנִים טְמֵאִים אֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לָהֶם פְּנַאי לִטַּהֵר וְיַעֲשׂוּ בְּטָהֳרָה אֶלָּא יַעֲשׂוּ בְּטֻמְאָה. וְאִם עִבְּרוּ אֶת הַשָּׁנָה מִפְּנֵי הַטֻּמְאָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת:

7

There are factors that, in and of themselves, are never sufficient cause to make the year full. They are, however, mentioned as contributing factors when a year must be made full so that [Pesach will fall after] the vernal equinox, because of [the barley that has not] ripened, or the fruit trees.

These factors are: That young goats or lambs have not been born, or are merely few in number, or that young doves have not [matured to the point where they can] fly.

We do not make the year full so that the goats and the lambs will be available for the Paschal sacrifices, and the doves will be available for the pilgrimage sacrifice,21 or for those individuals22who are obligated to bring doves as a sacrifice. Nevertheless, these are mentioned as contributing factors [to make] the year [full].

ז

יֵשׁ דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵין מְעַבְּרִין בִּשְׁבִילָן כְּלָל אֲבָל עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן סַעַד לְשָׁנָה שֶׁצְּרִיכָה עִבּוּר מִפְּנֵי הַתְּקוּפָה אוֹ מִפְּנֵי הָאָבִיב וּפֵרוֹת הָאִילָן. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִפְּנֵי הַגְּדָיִים וְהַטְּלָאִים שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נוֹלְדוּ אוֹ שֶׁהֵן מְעַט. ומִפְּנֵי הַגּוֹזָלוֹת שֶׁלֹּא פָּרְחוּ. אֵין מְעַבְּרִין בִּשְׁבִיל אֵלּוּ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַגְּדָיִים וְהַטְּלָאִים מְצוּיִין לִפְסָחִים וְהַגּוֹזָלוֹת מְצוּיִין לִרְאִיָּה אוֹ לְמִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב בְּקָרְבַּן הָעוֹף. אֲבָל עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן סַעַד לְשָׁנָה:

8

What does mentioning them as contributing factors [to make] the year [full] imply? The court says: "This year must be made full because the equinox falls late, or because [the barley] has not ripened and the fruit trees have not bloomed,23 and also because the young goats are small and the doves are frail"

ח

כֵּיצַד עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן סַעַד לְשָׁנָה. אוֹמְרִין שָׁנָה זוֹ צְרִיכָה עִבּוּר מִפְּנֵי הַתְּקוּפָה שֶׁמָּשְׁכָה אוֹ מִפְּנֵי הָאָבִיב וּפֵרוֹת הָאִילָן שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעוּ וְעוֹד שֶׁהַגְּדָיִים קְטַנִּים וְהַגּוֹזָלוֹת רַכִּים:

9

The year can be made full only by [judges] who were invited [to participate in the deliberations].24 What is implied? The head of the High Court25 tells [several] members of the court, "Be present at a particular place, where we will make calculations and decide whether or not it is necessary to make the year full" It is only those who were invited who [have the authority to] make [the year] full.

How many [judges participate in the deliberations whether] to declare a leap year? We begin with three judges from the High Court who have received semichah. Should two [of these judges] say, "There is no need to sit to decide whether or not [the year] should be made full" [their opinion is accepted]. [Although] one [judge] says that they should continue their deliberations, his statements are of no consequence.

If two [of these judges] say, "There is a need to sit [further] to decide whether or not it is necessary to make [the year] full" and the other [judge] says that they should not continue their deliberations, we add two of the judges who had been invited previously, and the discussion of the matter [is continued].

ט

אֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה אֶלָּא בִּמְזֻמָּנִין לָהּ. כֵּיצַד. יֹאמַר רֹאשׁ בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל לִפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי מִן הַסַּנְהֶדְרִין הֱיוּ מְזֻמָּנִין לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁנְּחַשֵּׁב וְנִרְאֶה וְנֵדַע אִם שָׁנָה זוֹ צְרִיכָה עִבּוּר אוֹ אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה. וְאוֹתָן שֶׁהֻזְמְנוּ בִּלְבַד הֵן שֶׁמְּעַבְּרִין אוֹתָהּ. וּבְכַמָּה מְעַבְּרִין אוֹתָהּ. מַתְחִילִין בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה דַּיָּנִין מִכְּלַל סַנְהֶדְרֵי גְּדוֹלָה מִמִּי שֶּׁסָּמְכוּ אוֹתָן. אָמְרוּ שְׁנַיִם לֹא נֵשֵׁב וְלֹא נִרְאֶה אִם צְרִיכָה עִבּוּר אִם לָאו וְאֶחָד אָמַר נֵשֵׁב וְנִבְדֹּק. בָּטֵל יָחִיד בְּמִעוּטוֹ. אָמְרוּ שְׁנַיִם נֵשֵׁב וְנִרְאֶה וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר לֹא נֵשֵׁב. מוֹסִיפִין עוֹד שְׁנַיִם מִן הַמְזֻמָּנִים וְנוֹשְׂאִים וְנוֹתְנִין בַּדָּבָר:

10

Should two [judges] say that it is necessary to make [the year] full, and three say that there is no necessity, [the opinion of] the two is of no consequence. If three [judges] say that it is necessary to make [the year] full, and two say that there is no necessity, two more [judges] who were invited are added to the court, and the subject is debated.

These seven [judges should] arrive at a conclusion. If they all agree to make the year full, or not to make the year full, their decision is followed. If there is a difference of opinion among them, we follow the majority, whether to make the year full, or not to make the year full.

It is necessary that the head of the High Court - i.e., the one who presides over the seventy-one [judges of the Sanhedrin] - be one of these seven. If [the three original judges] conclude26 that it is necessary for the year to be made full, it should be made full, provided the nasi27 is among the three, or consents [to their ruling].

Concerning the institution of a leap year, the opinions of the lesser judges should be offered first.28 Concerning the sanctification of the new month, we begin from the head of the court.29

י

שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים צְרִיכָה עִבּוּר וּשְׁלֹשָׁה אוֹמְרִין אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה. בָּטְלוּ שְׁנַיִם בְּמִעוּטָן. שְׁלֹשָׁה אוֹמְרִין צְרִיכָה עִבּוּר וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִין אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה עִבּוּר. מוֹסִיפִין שְׁנַיִם מִן הַמְזֻמָּנִין לָהּ וְנוֹשְׂאִין וְנוֹתְנִין וְגוֹמְרִין בְּשִׁבְעָה. אִם גָּמְרוּ כֻּלָּם לְעַבֵּר אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְעַבֵּר עוֹשִׂין כְּמוֹ שֶׁגָּמְרוּ. וְאִם נֶחְלְקוּ הוֹלְכִים אַחַר הָרֹב בֵּין לְעַבֵּר בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא לְעַבֵּר. וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁיְּהֵא רֹאשׁ בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁהוּא רֹאשׁ יְשִׁיבָה שֶׁל אֶחָד וְשִׁבְעִים מִכְּלַל הַשִּׁבְעָה. וְאִם גָּמְרוּ בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה לְעַבֵּר הֲרֵי זוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְהוּא שֶׁיְּהֵא הַנָּשִׂיא עִמָּהֶן אוֹ שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. וּבְעִבּוּר הַשָּׁנָה מַתְחִילִין מִן הַצַּד. וּלְקִדּוּשׁ הַחֹדֶשׁ מַתְחִילִין מִן הַגָּדוֹל:

11

Neither a king30 nor a High Priest should be [included in the group entrusted with deciding] whether or not to institute a leap year. A king [should not be included, lest he be influenced] by consideration for his soldiers and his wars.31

A High Priest should not be included because of the cold - i.e., he may choose not to institute a leap year so that Tishrei will not fall in the winter, and he would [thereby not] have to immerse himself five times on Yom Kippur [in such weather].

יא

אֵין מוֹשִׁיבִין לְעִבּוּר הַשָּׁנָה לֹא מֶלֶךְ וְלֹא כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל. מֶלֶךְ מִפְּנֵי חֵילוֹתָיו וּמִלְחֲמוֹתָיו שֶׁמָּא דַּעְתּוֹ נוֹטָה בִּשְׁבִילָן לְעַבֵּר אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְעַבֵּר. וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל מִפְּנֵי הַצִּנָּה שֶׁמָּא לֹא תִּהְיֶה דַּעְתּוֹ נוֹטָה לְעַבֵּר כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יָבֹא תִּשְׁרֵי בִּימֵי הַקֹּר וְהוּא טוֹבֵל בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים חָמֵשׁ טְבִילוֹת:

12

If the head of the High Court, the nasi, was on a distant journey, [the court] may institute a leap year only with the proviso that the nasi will consent. If the nasi comes and consents, the year is full. If he does not consent, it is not full.

A leap year may be instituted only in the territory of Judea, for the resting place of the Divine Presence32 is there, as [implied by Deuteronomy 12:5]: "And you shall seek out his dwelling" If a leap year is instituted in the Galilee, the year remains full.

A year should be made full only during the day.33 If it is made full during the night, it is not full.

יב

הָיָה רֹאשׁ בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא נָשִׂיא בְּדֶרֶךְ רְחוֹקָה אֵין מְעַבְּרִין אוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא עַל תְּנַאי אִם יִרְצֶה הַנָּשִׂיא. בָּא וְרָצָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת. לֹא רָצָה אֵינָהּ מְעֻבֶּרֶת. וְאֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה שֶׁהַשְּׁכִינָה בְּתוֹכָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יב ה) "לְשִׁכְנוֹ תִדְרְשׁוּ". וְאִם עִבְּרוּהָ בַּגָּלִיל מְעֻבֶּרֶת. וְאֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְאִם עִבְּרוּהָ בַּלַּיְלָה אֵינָהּ מְעֻבֶּרֶת:

13

The court has the authority to calculate, institute, and decide which year(s) shall be full whenever it desires, even several years in advance.34 Nevertheless, a particular year is not declared a full year until after Rosh Hashanah, at which time a public statement [can be] made [to the effect that] the year has been made full.35

[A leap year is announced at such an early date] only in a pressing situation.36 If the situation is not pressing, the announcement that a leap year has been instituted is not made until the month of Adar. [At that time, the court announces,] "This year is a leap year, and the following month is not Nisan, but rather the second Adar" If a court announces before Rosh HaShanah, "The year to come will be a leap year" this announcement does not make the year a leap year.

יג

יֵשׁ לְבֵית דִּין לְחַשֵּׁב וְלִקְבֹּעַ וְלֵידַע אֵי זוֹ שָׁנָה תִּהְיֶה מְעֻבֶּרֶת בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצֶה אֲפִלּוּ לְכַמָּה שָׁנִים. אֲבָל אֵין אוֹמְרִין שָׁנָה פְּלוֹנִית מְעֻבֶּרֶת אֶלָּא אַחַר רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה הוּא שֶׁאוֹמֵר שָׁנָה זוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת. וְדָבָר זֶה מִפְּנֵי הַדְּחָק אֲבָל שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק אֵין מוֹדִיעִין שֶׁהִיא מְעֻבֶּרֶת אֶלָּא בַּאֲדָר הוּא שֶׁאוֹמֵר שָׁנָה זוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְחֹדֶשׁ הַבָּא אֵינוֹ נִיסָן אֶלָּא אֲדָר שֵׁנִי. אָמְרוּ לִפְנֵי רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה שָׁנָה זוֹ שֶׁתִּכָּנֵס מְעֻבֶּרֶת אֵינָהּ מְעֻבֶּרֶת בַּאֲמִירָה זוֹ:

14

If the thirtieth day of Adar arrived without the year having been declared a leap year, it should never be made a leap year.37For that date is fit to be Rosh Chodesh Nisan, and once Nisan begins without the year having been declared a leap year, [the court] no longer has that option. If, however, they declared a leap year on the thirtieth of Adar, their ruling is binding.

If witnesses came after the leap year had been declared and testified regarding [the sighting of] the moon, the court sanctifies the new month on the thirtieth day, and makes it the Rosh Chodesh of the second Adar.38 If they had sanctified the new month on the thirtieth day before they declared a leap year, they would not have been able to declare the leap year. For a leap year may not be declared in Nisan.

יד

הִגִּיעַ יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים בַּאֲדָר וְלֹא עִבְּרוּ עֲדַיִן הַשָּׁנָה לֹא יְעַבְּרוּ אוֹתָהּ כְּלָל. שֶׁאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם רָאוּי לִהְיוֹת רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ נִיסָן וּמִשֶּׁיִּכָּנֵס נִיסָן וְלֹא עִבְּרוּ אֵינָן יְכוֹלִים לְעַבֵּר. וְאִם עִבְּרוּהָ בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים שֶׁל אֲדָר הֲרֵי זוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת. בָּאוּ עֵדִים אַחַר שֶׁעִבְּרוּ וְהֵעִידוּ עַל הַיָּרֵחַ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְקַדְּשִׁין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים וְיִהְיֶה רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר שֵׁנִי. וְאִלּוּ קִדְּשׁוּהוּ קֹדֶם שֶׁיְּעַבְּרוּ אֶת הַשָּׁנָה שׁוּב לֹא הָיוּ מְעַבְּרִין שֶׁאֵין מְעַבְּרִין בְּנִיסָן:

15

A leap year may not be declared in a year of famine39 when everyone is hurrying to the granaries to partake [of the new year's harvest] and derive vitality. [In such a situation,] it is impossible to prolong the time when the prohibition against eating from the new harvest [is in effect].40

We do not declare the Sabbatical year41 a leap year, because everyone is entitled to take the crops that grow on their own.42 Therefore, grain will not be available to offer the omer [of barley] and the two loaves of bread [offered on Shavuot].43 It was customary to make the year preceding the Sabbatical year a leap year.44

טו

אֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה בִּשְׁנַת רְעָבוֹן שֶׁהַכּל רָצִים לְבַיִת הַגְּרָנוֹת לֶאֱכל וְלִחְיוֹת וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהוֹסִיף לָהֶן זְמַן לֶאֱסֹר הֶחָדָשׁ. וְאֵין מְעַבְּרִין בִּשְׁבִיעִית שֶׁיַּד הַכּל שׁוֹלֶטֶת עַל הַסְּפִיחִין וְלֹא יִמְצְאוּ לְקַּרֵב הָעֹמֶר וּשְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם. וּרְגִילִין הָיוּ לְעַבֵּר בְּעֶרֶב שְׁבִיעִית:

16

It appears to me45 that our Sages' statement that a leap year should not be declared in a year of famine and in the Sabbatical year means that a leap year should not be declared because of the condition of the roads or the bridges, or because of factors of this nature. If, however, it is appropriate to declare a leap year because [Pesach will fall before] the vernal equinox, because [the barley has not] ripened, or because the fruit trees [have not bloomed], a leap year is declared always.46

טז

יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אֵין מְעַבְּרִין בִּשְׁנַת רְעָבוֹן וּבִשְׁבִיעִית. שֶׁלֹּא יְעַבְּרוּ בָּהֶם מִפְּנֵי צֹרֶךְ הַדְּרָכִים וְהַגְּשָׁרִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם. אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה הַשָּׁנָה רְאוּיָה לְהִתְעַבֵּר מִפְּנֵי הַתְּקוּפָה אוֹ מִפְּנֵי הָאָבִיב וּפֵרוֹת הָאִילָן מְעַבְּרִין לְעוֹלָם בְּכָל זְמַן:

17

When the court institutes a leap year, they write a letter to all [the people in] distant places, notifying them that a leap year has been instituted, and the reason for which it was instituted.

These letters were written in the name of the nasi.47 They would say, "Let it be known that I and my colleagues have agreed to add to this year this many days" - for it was possible for them to declare a month of twenty-nine days or a month of thirty days.

[The intent is that] the court had the option of notifying the people in the outlying areas that the month would [probably] be either full or lacking.48 [In fact, however,] the determination of whether the month is full or lacking is dependent on the sighting of the moon.

יז

כְּשֶׁמְּעַבְּרִין בֵּית דִּין אֶת הַשָּׁנָה כּוֹתְבִין אִגְּרוֹת לְכָל הַמְּקוֹמוֹת הָרְחוֹקִים וּמוֹדִיעִים אוֹתָן שֶׁעִבְּרוּהָ וּמִפְּנֵי מָה עִבְּרוּ. וְעַל לְשׁוֹן הַנָּשִׂיא נִכְתָּבוֹת. וְאוֹמֵר לָהֶן יוֹדֵעַ לָכֶם שֶׁהִסְכַּמְתִּי אֲנִי וַחֲבֵרַי וְהוֹסַפְנוּ עַל שָׁנָה זוֹ כָּךְ וְכָךְ. רָצוּ תִּשְׁעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים יוֹם רָצוּ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. שֶׁחֹדֶשׁ הָעִבּוּר הָרְשׁוּת לְבֵית דִּין לְהוֹסִיפוֹ מָלֵא אוֹ חָסֵר לָאֲנָשִׁים הָרְחוֹקִים שֶׁמּוֹדִיעִין אוֹתָם. אֲבָל הֵם לְפִי הָרְאִיָּה הֵם עוֹשִׂים אִם מָלֵא אִם חָסֵר: