In celebration of the Jewish holidays we’re just now in the midst of, I came across a most interesting and peculiar curiosity in the midst of recently doing some quality reading & learning: Something of a truly astounding coincidence, if coincidence is indeed all we choose to label it as! (Clearly, I see something else just here; a something special that’s, just perhaps!- a bit more than any mere coincidence in all of this.) The topic area for my latest bizarre quirk? It was regarding the Hebrew Calendar, as I sought to read up on exactly how that process works and the repetition or cycles found with their calendar.
Personally, I always find it most incredible indeed to take a step back and think on the matter from a more rationalized perspective, but even then shall we discover many different pitfalls into sheer and utter madness itself! If and view such things in a light like, “Roshashana fell on a Tuesday that was on October 2nd… now then, when will the next time come around where the three come into alignment, – and just how very old will I myself be?!” Well, more often than not…? The end result is me cursing myself for my inquisitiveness as the revelation of an answer makes me feel older than dirt just now: “I’ll be 89!?!?” I think to myself in a blind panic. I surely think to myself then and there. It quite makes for a humbling little experience, to say the very absolute least about it!
The article that first exposed me to this bizarre quirk can be found here: https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Mathematics_of_the_Jewish_Calendar/The_recurrence_period_of_the_calendar And, more specifically still, when it comes to what I’ll be discussing at the end hereabouts/the point of this entire post, the very final section found at the preceding link is what you need to keep an eye out for. However, rather than make you read through all of that, all on your very own (just as I myself did!), let me attempt to instead summarize everything for you here and now!
The Jewish Calendar is actually a most fascinating thing upon close examination (i.e.: a four hour Wikipedia binge, but of course!) of all of it. The means it follows in order to decide what dates fall when is based off of the lunisolar calendar, in which such things are derived from the cycle of the Moon and the Sun. Furthermore, it utilizes the 19 year Metonic Cycle to bring it into alignment with solar years, as lunar years are typically 11 days shorter than solar ones. This requires the addition of an extra month every two to three years, marking 7 years with a leap month in every 19 year Metonic Cycle.
Ah, but things are not merely so simple as all of that! This 19 year process of adding in leap months is *still* not enough to fix the discrepancy between the lunar and solar calendar! (And, if you’re anything like me, at this point you’re starting to become *really* glad we use something so “simple” as the Gregorian calendar! It seems much more straightforward to “fix” and keep in solar alignment, something we only take cycles of 400 years in order to accomplish as such.) For indeed, after 19 years of trying to fix things, we still find ourselves off by 6 minutes and 40 seconds with the tropical year.
Therefore, every 216 years, the Hebrew calendar will find itself still falling one day behind the average tropical year, just as it takes 231 years for it to fall one day behind the Gregorian year. All these games of trying to fix things and retain alignment with such systems means the recurrence rate for when certain dates fall from year to year and repeat themselves exactly is exceptionally large.
By and large, the Hebrew calendar repeats itself on a cycle of 247 years. However, those 247 years still find it being off by about 50 minutes on average. So, in order for the Hebrew calendar to repeat itself *exactly*, we find that the true, exact cycle is on the order of 689,472 years!!!
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Recall I mentioned the Gregorian calendar you most likely use yourself recycles itself every 400 years? Well then, for the Gregorian *and* the Hebrew calendar to come into alignment with each other when accounting for these various cycles, we find it necessary to multiply the 20,871 weeks that are in 400 Gregorian years by all those incredible (and downright inconceivable!) 689,472 years!
And so it is here that we find the odd little curiosity in this, and the reason for my writing this here little posting of mine. If you should want to do that – to discover how many years the cycle is for the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars to both come into alignment with one another and repeat themselves absolutely exactly, we indeed multiply 20,871 by 689,472.
Should one care to do so…? (Well, I’ll do it for you here!) The answer comes out to be a mind boggling 14,389,970,112 Hebrew years, and 14,390,140,400 Gregorian ones!
Now then, and now that we have everything down, why is it I even bothered writing all of this to begin with…? What meaning have those 14,390,140,400 years that would create such a spark in my noggin? Well, 14.3 billion years (with a B!) is pretty darn close to the currently accepted age of our universe as we now know the Big Bang model to indicate!
So it was that I found it most peculiar: Firstly, that it takes such a downright impossible number of years in order for the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars to come into absolutely perfect alignment with one another, and repeat themselves in order to begin the process all anew! Then, and clearly more importantly still, the truly impossible odds that, when we are looking at some number so eye-poppingly huge, the odds that it would come out to being so utterly close to the accepted true age of our universe. That number for the two calendars could have just as easily been 7 billion… or 143 billion! But no, we rather discover a most bizarre little coincidence here instead.
When looking at the two most commonly used calendars in Western society/theological history, and their meeting up and aligning perfectly with one another, it comes out to a cycle that is nearly identical to the current age of our universe!
Now then, is there any true meaning to be derived from this or something truly exceptional to be uncovered…? Certainly not – it simply stands as a most bizarre quirk in considering the odds of that number coming down to nearly the current age of the universe itself; that the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars only come into alignment with each other and repeat themselves identically on a cycle that’s the present approximate age of this marvelous universe of ours. Such that we are only just now starting to reach such a point as to when the two calendars have completed a single cycle and repeat themselves match for match – assuming, but of course, that we’d started counting during the moment of the Big Bang itself.
It is coming across strange and bizarre stuff such as exactly this in overwhelming abundance that led me to the consideration that it perhaps wasn’t all merely astoundingly random, utterly unbelievable coincidences whose odds of occurring just precisely so staggered the imagination, but rather -just perhaps!- spoke to something else entirely different still.
And so I’ll leave it up to you to decide here, on this: Is it all just a totally random coincidence that the Jewish and Christian calendars, based as they are off the solar and lunisolar cycles and where the Earth happens to be in this solar system, have themselves a cycle of alignment that corresponds pretty darn closely to the age of the entire universe itself? Or is this another tiny little quirk that speaks to the notion of a simulated reality where those tiny – but nearly impossible in their inconceivability – little quirks instead come as a consequence of such simulated notions? Where you find bizarre coincidences with unexpected, inconceivable connections due to the sort of “glitches” or consequence of simulating just so?
Clearly, I myself take the latter notion as what and how I choose to see: That, taken alone, they might surely seem to mean very little. But, altogether, once they start adding and stacking up by the bundle full, you might just yourself start to see them in something of a very different light entirely! And it is like here, the subject matter behind and surrounding this is hardly some second thought. Instead, between Hebrew/Christian Gregorian calendars, lunisolar cycles based on the Sun and Moon, and all the many numbers and calculations involved…?
Well then, we find that this “coincidence” involves both the theological/religious, and then the scientific and mathematical, all coming together in a neat little bundle in order to yield a most strange and unusual oddity as I’ve just described above. As the entire purpose of this body of work involves taking the understandings of religion and science together as one, I myself found this particular little quirk especially meaningful in just such a regard!
To read further still on this subject, I’ll direct you to someone else who had previously come across this coincidence all on their own and wrote it up from a mathematical perspective: https://mathpolymath.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/calendar-coincidences-part-ii/