IYYAR (Heb. אִיָּר), the post-Exilic name of the second month of the Jewish year. Its pre-Exilic name is Ziv (i Kings 6:1), the shorter equivalent of the targumic Ziv Niẓanayya ("brightness of flowers"). Occurring in Assyrian inscriptions, in *Megillat Ta'anit, and later branches of rabbinic literature, but nowhere in the Bible, Iyyar is held to be etymologically connected with the Hebrew or ("light"). The zodiacal sign of this month is Taurus. In the present fixed Jewish calendar it invariably consists of 29 days. The first of Iyyar – bound by the same calendric rules as the first of *Tishri – never falls on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday. In the 20th century Iyyar, in its earliest occurrence, extended from April 12th to May 10th, and, in its latest, from May 11th to June 8th. All of Iyyar falls within the period of the Omer, the first of Iyyar being the 16th day of the Omer. Historic dates in Iyyar comprise the following: (1) 1st of Iyyar, the anniversary of the first census by Moses in the wilderness (Num. 1:1); (2) 2nd of Iyyar, the commencement of the building of the Temple by Solomon (ii Chron. 3:2); (3) 5th of Iyyar, Israel *Independence Day, the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel in 5708 (1948); (4) 7th of Iyyar, the *Hasmoneans' dedication of the walls of Jerusalem upon the repair of the breaches by the Greeks (Meg. Ta'an. 2); (5) 10th of Iyyar, the anniversary of the death of *Eli and his sons and the capture of the sacred ark by the Philistines, once observed as a fast (Meg. Ta'an. 13); (6) 14th of Iyyar, the Second (or "Little") *Passover (Num. 9:11), celebrated in Temple times by those unable to celebrate *Passover in Nisan, and still marked in the synagogue by the omission of the *Taḥanun prayer; (7) 18th of Iyyar, corresponding to *Lag ba-Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer; (8) 23rd of Iyyar, commemorating the Hasmoneans' expulsion of the Hellenists from Jerusalem's Acra (fortified area) in 141 b.c.e., their entrance with thanksgiving, hymns, and songs, and their ordaining that that day should be an annual occasion for rejoicing (i Macc. 13:51–52; Meg. Ta'an. 2); (9) 27th of Iyyar, formerly observed as the anniversary of another Hasmonean victory of an obscure nature (Meg. Ta'an. 2; but cf. je, 7 (1904), 15; it cannot be identified with the events in i Macc. 13:41–42); (10) 28th of Iyyar, the anniversary of the death of the prophet *Samuel, once observed as a fast (Meg. Ta'an. 13; according to a manuscript variant, the date is the 27th of Iyyar, but not the 29th of Iyyar).
[Ephraim Jehudah Wiesenberg]