By: Emil G. Hirsch
The second month in the Jewish calendar, consisting always of twenty-nine days, and falling between the tenth of April and the eighth of June (R. H. 3a et passim; Targ. Yer. to Ex. xii. 39; Targ. Sheni to Esth. iii. 7). This month in the Bible is designated as (I Kings vi. 1 = the month of beginning the Temple-building), probably the same as the Phenician or Punic (Lidzbarski, "Nord-Semitische Epigraphik," p. 267). The word "Iyyar" is undoubtedly connected with the root , and thus denominates the month as the month of light, over and against Adar, which etymologically is the dark month. Like all the names of the months, "Iyyar" is a loan-word from the Assyro-Babylonian ("A-a-ru"; see Delitzsch, "Handwörterb." p. 34b). This month falls in the Omer, the first of Iyyar being the sixteenth day of Omer.
The principal events recorded in Iyyar are as follows:
- Iyyar 1.—According to Seder 'Olam R. viii., the census of the people was begun under Moses (Num. i.-ii. 18).
- 2.—Solomon began the building of the Temple (see above; II Chron. iii. 2).
- 7.—Anniversary of the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem (Meg. Ta'an. ii. 1, xii. 5).
- 8.—Memorial day of the massacre of the Jews of Speyer during the First Crusade (, 1096; see Grätz, "Gesch." vi. 101 et seq.; Jellinek, "Ḳonṭres Gezerot").
- 10.—Eli died (I Sam. iv. 1-18).
- 15.—Arrival of the Israelites in the desert of Sin (Ex. xvi.); also the day for Pesaḥ Sheni (Num. ix. 7; II Chron. xxx.).
- 16.—The manna began to fall (Ex. xvi.).
- 17.—On this day, rising against Florus, the Jews broke down the colonnade connecting the citadel Antonia with the Temple (3826 = 66; Josephus, "B. J." ii. 16, § 17); also the anniversary of the imprisonment of the Jews in England (5047 = Friday, May 2, 1287; Grätz, l.c. vii. 197-198).
- 18.—LaG be-'Omer = thirty-third day of Omer, when marriages may be solemnized.
- 21.—Siege of Jotapata began 3827 = 67 (Grätz, l.c. iii. 410-414).
- 23.—Arrival of Israel at Rephidim (Seder 'Olam R. v.).
- 27.—A day of victory on account of the recognition of the independence of Judea under Simon I. (Meg. Ta'an. ii.); beginning of a new Era (3618 = 142 B.C.; I Macc. xiii. 41, 42).
- 29.—Death of Samuel the prophet (Meg. Ta'an. l.c.).