web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Daf Yomi

Daf-Yomi-logo

Hillel’s Innovation
‘The Second Month Of Solomon’s Rule’
(Rosh Hashanah 2b)

The year of the Jew revolves around the moon’s monthly renewal and it is the Jewish people through beis din who proclaim the new month – kiddush hachodesh – which in turn determines the dates of the festivals. Today, we use a calendar that tells us in advance when the new moon will appear. However, in the time of the Gemara, before Hillel developed this calendar, rosh chodesh was declared by beis din based on the testimony of two witnesses who sighted the new moon. Beis din would interrogate the witnesses to ensure that their testimony was legitimate, and then announce: “Mekudash! – The new month is sanctified!” That day would then be declared as rosh chodesh.

In order to understand this process, we present here some basic background on the subject. The lunar month is calculated to roughly parallel the orbit of the moon around the earth. The moon makes one complete circuit every 29.5 days. However, we cannot declare rosh chodesh in the middle of the day. Therefore, we must alternate between 29- and 30-day months.

 The Waxing and Waning of the Moon

Why does the moon wax and wane each month? The moon does not produce its own light. Rather, it reflects the light of the sun. Therefore, only the side of the moon that faces the sun is illuminated. When the moon stands between the sun and Earth, the far side of the moon is illuminated, whereas its near side is left totally dark. The moon is therefore invisible at this point of the month. As the moon circles around the earth, the illuminated half slowly comes into our view, until the 15th of the month when the moon appears full. At this point, the earth is situated between the moon and the sun, and we can see the entire illuminated side of the moon as it stands opposite the sun. After the 15th, the moon continues its orbit, and wanes, as the illuminated side circles out of view.

The Development of the Calendar

Until the days of the Amora Hillel (a descendant of R’ Yehuda HaNassi, not to be confused with Hillel the Elder, founder of Beis Hillel), the new month was inaugurated based on the testimony of witnesses who spotted the new moon as it emerged from its position between the sun and Earth. However, when the Jewish people were plagued with a series of terrible calamities, and there was no longer a beis din authorized to sanctify the new moon, Hillel developed a calendar by which the new months could be calculated until Moshiach’s arrival. May he arrive soon.

About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Daf Yomi”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PA/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addresses Central Committee convention in Ramallah.
PA Deciding to End Security Cooperation with IDF
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To the glee of all Israel haters it was Netanyahu who was accused of endangering US-Israel relations

Ki Tisa_lecture

Over and over, the text tells us about “keeping” Shabbat, about holiness, and a covenant – but why?

Aaron and  The Golden Calf by James Tissot

Aharon’s guilt with the golden calf is not clear-cut. What if Moshe were in his brother’s place?

Rabbi Sacks

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
Daf-Yomi-logo

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Threat Of Death
‘Sign or Else…’
(Kesubos 19a)

Tethered To The Mother
‘If She Is Fit, Her Daughter Is Also Fit’
(Kesubbos 13b)

A Joy And A Blessing
‘Rejoicing All Seven Days’
(Kesubbos 4b)

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

Mitzvah Or Kinyan?
‘Both Shall Have Intention At The Same Time’
(Yevamos 102b)

A Kohen Of Choice
‘A Deaf-Mute, A Mentally Challenged Person, A Minor…’
(Yevamos 99b)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-128/2014/05/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: