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Those Governments who have employed Jews in public situations, have ever found them faithful to the trusts confided to them. I could have greatly extended the list of those, who have been honoured with Titles and Orders by enlightened and liberal Sovereigns; or have been selected by their Fellowcitizens for the most important duties.

To avoid a superfluity of figures, I have discontinued the Hebrew date, after page 111, except in the notices of our learned authors; when that date for any particular event is required, it can be found by adding 3760 to the Christian Æra.

The line of Hebrew in the title page requires explanation for those unacquainted with the Jewish writers, whose general custom is to select a Scriptural sentence, analogous to the work, to intimate the date, all our letters being numerals, those in larger characters than the text, added together, form the year, in the present instance 598 (the thousands being generally omitted). The most appropriate I could find I have adopted; the translation of it is

"And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." Genesis, 1, v. xiv.

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Having given to the Work the most patient attention and research to render it complete, I trust it will be found useful and instructive; and that the difficulties incident to an undertaking of the kind, will ensure it the indulgence of a liberal public.





"In reply to your application on the subject of the Almanack you intend to publish, permit me to say, it is a principle with me, which I have adopted from my Honoured Father (of blessed memory), and in which long experience has confirmed me, not to afford the sanction of my Office to any new book, the utility of which is questionable, or which, containing mere speculations of human theory, may, by possibility, propagate error, or mislead the mind. That such is my principle is well known, nor would I, on light grounds, be induced to depart therefrom; but if a work is laid before me, the general usefulness of which cannot be called in question, and which, based on certain and unerring rules, bears within itself the test of its own correctness, I think my sanction ought not to be withheld. "As such a Book I consider the Almanack to which your application refers. Its usefulness none will dispute, and that the present is a proper time for its publication must be admitted, as the computation of the late Haham Nieto (peace be with him) is so near its expiration.

"I have not been able minutely to examine the whole of the work, but such parts as here and there I have examined I find correct, and I therefore hope and trust that such is the case throughout.

"And though I am not a great proficient in Astronomy and Chronology, yet from what I have seen of your work, and as far as my limited acquaintance with these sciences enables me to judge, I do not hesitate to speak favourably of its merits, and to afford it the sanction of my approval.

5, Bury Court. 10th Adar, A. M. 5598.

E. H. LINDO, Esq.

I am, dear Sir,

Yours, very sincerely,


Chief Rabbi."




"IT is with a high degree of gratification I convey to you my sentiments on the Work you have kindly submitted to my inspection. The sublime Science of Astronomy has exercised the particular attention of our Ancient Talmudists, from the most remote periods of time, and in accordance to the language of Holy Writ, applying it to them, “For this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations;" to their accurate computations, and to the manner in which they have so wisely treated and developed the principles of this Science, they have been indebted for the high distinction in which they have been held, and for this they have been held in admiration by all nations in successive ages. The importance of their researches is obvious, and highly necessary in order that the proper observance of our Holy Festivals should be held in the due seasons and accurate times, commanded by the Scriptures, and by their profound investigations, they have established the y NDƏN

"From my early years, I have by the assistance of God, had my thoughts led particularly to this sublime subject; partly through the direction and assistance of my late revered Father, whose erudition in it was acknowledged to be profound; and partly, from an earnest desire to thoroughly understand the Science.

"From these, and similar advantages, I trust I may be allowed to express my opinion on the Work, you are now about to present to the public. I consider you thoroughly informed and well versed in this Science, and well qualified to throw additional light on the study of it. In the present times, I consider a work of this description not only highly necessary, but actually wanting; and although many eminent Works have of late appeared on this subject, particularly in Italy, yet the manner in which you have so ably and accurately treated it, shows this Work to be one of those calculated to be of eminent service to the world at large and to our Nation in particular.

"Wishing you success in this, and all your other Literary undertakings which I have so much admired,

10, Bevis Marks, 17th Adar, 5598.


I remain, with all respect,

Your's most truly,


Presiding Rabbi."

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WITHOUT entering into the Rabbinical accounts of the origin of the Hebrew Calendar, it will be sufficient to show its antiquity, and to point out the erroneous opinions of various Christian Authors, some of whom date its formation the same year as the Council of Nice, A.C. 325. The learned authors of the Encyclopædia consider it to have been formed in A.C. 360, while others date it as late as A.C. 500.

The Mishna, written by Rab Judah the Prince, more generally known by the title of Rabenu Akadosh, i. e. our Holy Master, which is a compilation of the Oral Law, written to prevent its being lost by our dispersion A.C. 180 according to their Chronologists (but according to ours A.C. 141), is the first work we have that treats in any way on the Calendar; the following extracts prove that our present form, and the intercalary month were generally known and followed at that time as at present:

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"If a person read the Meguila (the book of Esther) in the first Adar, and subsequently finds it to be an embolismic year, he must read it again in the second Adar (the intercalary month), there being no difference between the first and second Adar, except that on the latter the Meguila is to be read, and the Purim presents to be given, which is not done in the first Adar."-Treatise Meguila, Chap. 1, Aphor 4.

"If a man vows not to drink wine for a year, should it be embolismic he may not drink it all that year, although it contains thirteen months; but if a man vows not to drink wine until the beginning of Adar, he may drink it at the commencement of the first Adar."-Treatise Vows & Oaths, Chap. 8, Aphor 5.


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Our next author was Rab Samuel, the Astronomer, who boasted that the paths of the heavens, were as well known to him, as the streets of Nahardea, where he resided; by his calculation the Solar year consisted of three hundred and sixtyfive days six hours, the same as the Julian, which has been found to be incorrect; although it is supposed he was acquainted with the precise time as well as Rab Ada, but he stated it in round numbers to render the calculations easier.

The errors in the Julian, or Old Style, were corrected in 1582, by Pope Gregory 13th, who deducted ten days from October, making it that year to consist of twenty-one days only, that difference having occurred since the Council of Nice, whereby Easter had been kept at improper seasons, according to the ordinances of that Council. To endeavour to prevent the recurrence of these discrepancies, he ordered that only every fourth instead of every centenary year should be Bissextile. Thus the years 1900, 2100, 2200, and 2300 will not be leap years, but 2000 and 2400 will be Bissextiles.

Although the Gregorian calculations have been made with great nicety, they are still imperfect, and other alterations must take place in future ages. As a proof, the Council of Nice ordained that Easter should not be kept on the same day as the first day of Passover, in order that there might be no appearance of Judaism in it; "Nè videantur Judaizare” to prevent which they ordered its observance on the Sunday after the full moon, Passover being always kept the day of the full moon; and yet in 1825 both were kept on the same day, and this will again happen in 1903. (12th April.)

Holland and the Protestant States of Germany adopted the New Style in 1700, by making that year to consist of 355 days only.

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