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Calendar - Hebrew

NumisdocDates & calendars

Written on March 27, 2011 • Last edit: March 20, 2012
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How Hebrew year is calculated

Hebrew calendar starts counting years from the Creation i.e. Gregorian year −3761.

Hebrew numbers use the alphabet letters which makes them difficult to spot amongst the other letterings of an Israeli coin. You may use the following clues: The second character from the left is most of the time a ״. Also, the right most part usually is התש or תש.

As an example the coin on the right reads תשל״ח,meaning 5738, that is 1978 of the Gregorian calendar.

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1st figure from the left
1
א
2
ב
3
ג
4
ד
5
ה
6
ו
7
ז
8
ח
9
ט
10
י
20
ך
30
ל
40
ם
50
ן
60
ס
70
ע
80
ף
90
ץ
Separator

״
2nd figure from the left
10
י
20
כ
30
ל
40
מ
50
נ
60
ס
70
ע
80
פ
90
צ
300
ש
400
ת
Next figures
300
ש
400
ת
5
ה


How to read an Hebrew date

Hebrew calendar starts in −3761. It is synchronized with the Gregorian calendar. Hence, all that's required is to read the year and substract 3760 from it. For example, 5771 is Gregorian 2011.

Sometimes, the millennium is not printed. Context allows to know it is the 5th millennium. So, a coin only showing 771 is dated 2011 as well.

Reading the year

Hebrew numbers use the alphabet's 23 characters. In order to specify it is a number, a gershayim (״) is added just before the last letter (reading right to left).
Each letter is allocated a numeral. With all numbers smaller than 1000, the total value is the sum of the numerals, the letters/numerals being typed in decreasing order, right to left. With 1000 and larger numbers, the millennium is written as the first character (to the right).

Letter א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ ן ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת
Ending form ך ם נ ף ץ
Value 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 200 300 400
Some letters take a different form when they end the number (to the left).

Examples
  • תשכ״א is 400 + 300 + 20 + 1 = 721
  • תש״ך is 400 + 300 + 20 = 720
  • התשכ״א is 5*1000 + 400 + 300 + 20 + 1 = 5721

Conversion examples

  • התשמ״ז means à 5747. This is Gregorian year 5747 − 3760 = 1987.
  • תשכ״א means 721. The "5" was left out. This is Gregorian year 5721 − 3760 = 1961.