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The Second Hebrew Month/Iyyar - A Month of Counting the Omer

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Iyyar is the second month on the Hebrew calendar beginning with Nisan. It usually occurs during our months of April-May. In the Bible it is referred to as “the second month” but it is also referred to as “Ziv” in I Kings 6:1. The word Ziv is a Canaanite word which is said to mean “glow” or “blossom” and could refer to the season of early spring. After the Babylonian captivity the name Iyyar was adopted for the second month.


There are several important events which happen or happened during this month. Since Iyyar falls between the month of redemption (Nisan) and the month of revelation (Sivan) the entire month is referred to as the “month of passage” because it is leading up to the giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai (Shavuot). Because of this each day of Iyyar consists of the “counting of the omer”. For 49 days, beginning at firstfruits, a sheaf of barley is waved by the priests before the altar in anticipation of the great festival of Shavuot (Pentecost), thus on each day of Iyyar a sheaf would be waved. This season of counting is known as the "Feast of Weeks".


It was during this month (Iyyar 15) that the people complained to Moses and God sent down manna for them. Although the 10 commandments had not yet been given, the people were already to observe the keeping of the weekly Sabbath by not going out to gather manna on the 7th day. Please see the article linked below, “Manna – A Lesson In Trust.”


It was also during this month, according to Jewish tradition, that water was supernaturally provided to them from “The Rock” which Moses struck. In Hebrew tradition this water was called “The Well of Miriam”. Please see the article linked below, “The Rock” for more on this topic.


It was also during the month of Iyyar that the first census of Israel was taken. This happened on the 1st day of the month in the second year after coming out of Egypt (Numbers 1:1-4).


I Kings 6:1 records that King Solomon began to build the Temple in Jerusalem in the second month. This happened in the 480th year after coming out of Egypt.


A very special event happens on Iyyar 14th and it is called Pesach Sheni. This is second Passover. God provides a second chance to observe and celebrate the Passover for those who were unable to participate in the 1st month at the appointed time. God wanted no one to miss the opportunity to celebrate Passover.


There are a couple of national holidays which are celebrated during this month:


Iyyar 4 – Israel Memorial Day


Iyyar 5 – Israel Independence Day


Iyyar 28 – Jerusalem Day


Blessings during this month as we count the omer and await the Feast of Shavuot,

Leisa



References:

chabad.org

hebrew4christians.com


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