This Saturday will be the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, which according to the Bible is the first day of the year. This fact is only noted on the “King’s Calendar,” a new calendar specifically designed for use in the Third Temple.
The calendar was created by Reuven Prager, a tailor who makes Biblically styled clothes in Jerusalem. Prager is a Levite and takes his Biblical identity seriously, using his skills as a tailor to create the banner of the tribe of Levi. Prager based the design on a description of the banner in Midrash Rabbah, an ancient collection of homiletic teachings. For 20 years, Prager has minted silver half-shekel coins, a Biblical donation that was used for Temple expenses.
As part of his passion for the Temple, Prager decided 36 years ago that he wanted to create a calendar for the Third Temple. But the project was so complicated and requires so much research that the first calendar is only coming out now.
“It’s a mind-blowing calendar for the Third Temple Era,” Prager told Breaking Israel News. “It’s the first of its kind and will be followed by calendar makers in future generations.”
The calendar is aesthetically pleasing, beautifully printed with images relevant to each month, but the calendar may not make sense at first glance to those unfamiliar with the Biblical system of dates. A Gregorian calendar goes from January to December. A Hebrew calendar usually begins in Tishrei, the seventh month in the Bible, which generally falls around September, and ends in the month of Elul. The “King’s Calendar” begins in Nissan, referred to in the Bible as “the first month” since it is the month of the Children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt.
This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you. Exodus 12:2
The upcoming new year begins this Saturday and is listed in the calendar as “New year for Kings Shekalim, Festivals, and Vows.” This title for the date is a reference to the description of the beginning of the month of Nissan in the Mishnah (oral law), which lists the first of Nissan as one of the four new years in the Jewish calendar.
The King’s Calendar tracks all the activities that took place in the First and Second Temples and which will be performed again when the Third Temple is built. This includes the Biblical feasts that are observed today, but the calendar also has many surprises, holidays and events that are only observed when a Temple stands in Jerusalem.
As the first month of the year, Nissan is particularly packed. The Korban Pesach (Pascal offering) is supposed to be performed on the 14th of the month, along with the Fast of the First Born, which is still observed today on the day before Passover. The calendar also notes that the barley for the Omer offering is reaped on the evening of the last night of Passover.
The first day of the month Sivan, the third month in the King’s Calendar, is noted for Trumat Halishka, the bringing of the silver half shekels to the Temple. The 15th of Av, the fifth month in the Temple calendar, is noted for being the last day of cutting wood for the Temple, and two weeks later, the first day of Elul marks the new year for the tithes of the cattle.
Since this is a calendar intended for the Third Temple, not all of the holidays are biblical in origin. The holidays pertaining to the modern state of Israel such as Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) and Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) appear on the calendar, as does Jerusalem Day.
One unexpected date Prager included was Sigd, a holiday unique to the Jewish Ethiopians celebrated on the 29th of Cheshvan, the eighth month of the calendar. Its origins are unclear, but it is a fast day that symbolizes the acceptance of the Torah. It is now officially recognized as a holiday by the Israeli government.
The calendar can be ordered directly from Prager via email: firstname.lastname@example.org