Hebrew Calendar

Hebrew Calendar: The Days of Creation and the Days of the Week


Shalom, everyone! On the Hebrew Calendar, a week is a cycle of seven 24-hour days, which mirrors the account of the seven-day period of the Creation of the Universe found in Genesis (Bereshit1:1 – 2:3. Through science, we learn the creation of the universe occurred over millions of years. Each day during Creation Week may not have been a literal 24-hour period. The Torah does not contradict science. One day from The Almighty‘s perspective may be thousands or millions of years from man’s perspective. The Almighty is Eternal, man is not.


The 24-Hour Day

The 24-hour day on the Hebrew Calendar consists of the evening and then morning: The evening is the period of the day from sunset to sunrise, 12 hours long. The morning is the period of the day from sunrise to sunset, 12 hours long:

“…And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” – Genesis 1:5

Unlike the day on the Gregorian calendar, which begins at midnight and runs until the following midnight, the day on the Hebrew Calendar begins at sunset and runs until the following sunset; for example, the first day of the week (Yom Rishon) begins on the preceding sunset of Saturday and runs until the following sunset of Sunday.

The Divisions of the 24-Hour Day

In ancient Yisrael, the 24-hour day was divided into six parts called “watches,” three watches in the evening (nighttime), and three watches in the morning (daytime). The following are the six watches of the 24-hour day kept by Bnei Yisrael when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem:

Time of the Day Division of the Day Hours of the Day
 Evening (Night-time)  First Night-time Watch  6 PM – 10 PM
 Second Night-time Watch  10 PM – 2 AM
 Third Night-time Watch  2 AM – 6 AM
 Morning (Daytime)  First Daytime Watch  6 AM – 10 AM
 Second Daytime Watch  10 AM – 2 PM
 Third Daytime Watch  2 PM – 6 PM

The Days of the Week

The names of the days of the week correspond to the day number upon which they fall within the seven-day week, beginning with the first day and ending with the seventh day or the Sabbath. The following are the seven days of the week on the Hebrew Calendar and their relation to the Creation Week:

# Transliteration (Pronunciation) English Corresponding Gregorian Day of the Week Relation to Creation Week
1 Yom Rishon
(Yom Ree-SHON)
First Day Sunset of Saturday until sunset on Sunday. Day 1: Elohim created light, separated light from darkness, called the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.”
2 Yom Sheni
(Yom Shay-NEE)
Second Day Sunset of Sunday until sunset on Monday. Day 2: Elohim created a firmament separating waters above from those below, and called this firmament the “Heavens.” The firmament shields the Earth from extraterrestrial objects.
3 Yom Shlishi
(Yom Shlee-SHEE)
Third Day Sunset of Monday until sunset on Tuesday. Day 3: Elohim formed seas, dry land, and created vegetation (seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing trees).
4 Yom Revi’i
(Yom Re-vee-EE)
Fourth Day Sunset of Tuesday until sunset on Wednesday. Day 4: Elohim created the celestial bodies: The sun, moon, and stars. He placed these celestial bodies in the firmament to give light to the Earth; and for signs for mo’edimseasons, days and years.
5 Yom Chamishi
(Yom Ha-mee-SHE)
Fifth Day Sunset of Wednesday until sunset on Thursday. Day 5: Elohim created birds and water animals (fish, sea monsters, and other living creatures). He also commanded these creatures to multiply and fill the Earth.
6 Yom Shishi
(Yom Shee-SHEE)
Sixth Day Sunset of Thursday until sunset on Friday. Day 6: Elohim created land animals (cattle, wild beasts, and creeping things) and Mankind. He also gave mankind dominion over all the Earth and all animals.
7 Yom Shabbat
(Yom Shah-BAT)
Sabbath/Seventh Day Sunset of Friday until sunset on Saturday. Day 7: Elohim ceased from His creative work (melakhah) and sanctified this day as holy.

 

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