Mixing the Hebrew and Gregorian modes

Sometimes dates don’t just creep up on us, they almost run right past. My father died on Dec. 28, 1992, which corresponds to the fourth of Tevet.

Thanks to the same Hebrew calendar cycle that brought us Thanksgivukkah, his yahrzeit comes this Friday evening. It’s been a big, happy week in our home, what with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and our sixth wedding anniversary, so reflecting on Dad’s yahrzeit brings me up short.

Obviously, since Hanukkah is determined by Hebrew dates, it will always be the same number of days from my father’s yahrzeit. If we celebrated our anniversary on its Hebrew date (the 22nd of Kislev) instead of the Gregorian date, the anniversary would always fall during Hanukkah. This once-in-a-lifetime confluence of holidays and significant family events in the Hebrew-Gregorian mish-mosh is bittersweet. It reminds me that I’m approaching milestones for which I wish I could ask my father’s advice, but I can only guess what he’d tell me.

While Jewish time is bounded by Shabbat and the other holidays, the vast majority of us here in diaspora-ville live and define Jewish time in the Gregorian mode. Shabbat starts on Friday evening and a yahrzeit comes surprisingly early — and sometimes we’re just not ready.