web analytics
May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Daf Yomi

Daf-Yomi-logo

Sanctified For Now And Thereafter
In Front of the Sun or Behind It?
(Rosh Hashana 23b)

 

The Mishnah on this daf is central to any discussion of the role of beis din and its power to set and sanctify a new month. It describes at length how beis din would inaugurate the new month based on the testimony of witnesses who sighted the moon. Sadly, today, we no longer have the Beis Hamikdash and we no longer have a beis din authorized to receive testimony to declare a new month. Instead, we make use of a fixed calendar based on a variety of halachic principles (see Rambam, Hilchos Kiddush HaChodesh chapter 6-8 and Tur O.C. 427-428). Based on the principles known by our Sages, we can predict when the new moons will appear.

A Fixed Calendar

When did this calendar first come into use? The Gemara does not explicitly tell us. The Rashba (Teshuvos 4:254) writes: “We have a tradition that this system was instituted by Hillel, the son of Rabbeinu HaKodesh (Rebbe Yehuda HaNassi). However, I know of no source for this tradition.”

The earliest source we can find in which Hillel is attributed with developing the calendar, is the writings of R’ Avraham ben R’ Chiya HaNassi, one of the early Rishonim, who is known mostly for his sefarim on astronomy. In one of his works, Sefer Ha’Ibbur (3:7), he cites Rav Hai Gaon, who writes that the Jewish calendar was developed by Hillel in the year 4119 (1,655 years ago). The Ramban (Sefer HaZechus on Gittin, 36a) writes the same. He explains that when the Sanhedrin in Eretz Yisrael was disbanded and there were no longer any judges authorized to inaugurate new months based on the testimony of witnesses, Hillel devised a calendar which could be used by all future generations until the Sanhedrin would be restored.

The Rambam (Hilchos Kiddush HaChodesh 5:3) writes that this coincided with the end of the era of Abaye and Rava (who passed away in the years 4098 and 4113, according to the Iggeres Rav Sherira Gaon). Indeed, we find in the Gemara that the new month was still inaugurated based on the testimony of witnesses during the time of Abaye and Rava. For example, Rosh Hashana 21a reports that one year Rava was uncertain on which day to keep Yom Kippur. Also, Taanis 29b states that Tisha B’Av occurred on erev Shabbos during the time of Abaye (which is impossible under Hillel’s calendar – see Or Samei’ach on the Rambam, ibid).

On Whose Authority

From where does Hillel’s calendar derive its authority? A calendar is not a beis din. On what authority does it declare that such and such a day should be the first of the month?

The Rambam (Hilchos Kiddush HaChodesh 5:2) maintains that Hashem entrusted Moshe Rabbeinu with two different ways of inaugurating the new months: 1) via testimony when the Sanhedrin was active and 2) via a practical system after the Sanhedrin was disbanded. Hillel’s calendar is of the second method.

The Ramban, however, argues that Moshe was told only to inaugurate the new month via testimony before beis din. According to the Ramban, beis din in the time of Hillel ruled that Hillel’s calendar is binding on all future generations until the Sanhedrin would be reinstated. It had this authority since beis din, when necessary, is allowed to determine the day of Rosh Chodesh for a certain month long before that month arrives.

 

The Principles

Hillel’s calendar was based on a number of halachic principles including “molad zakein – do not consider a previous appearance of the moon.” According to this principle, if the moon appears in the afternoon, that day is not Rosh Chodesh, but rather the day after.

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
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

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

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Daf-Yomi-logo

Twice Promised
“Such And Such [I Give My Son]…”
(Kesubos 102b)

Seller’s Remorse
‘He Sold Because He Ostensibly Needed The Funds’
(Ketubbot 97a)

The Debt Lives On
‘The Orphans’ Mitzvah To Repay Their Father’s Debts’
(Ketubot 91b)

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

The Heiress?
‘Determining The Daughter’s Status’
(Kesubos 68b-69a)

A Woman Of Valor
‘Would That He Listen To Me…’
(Kesubos 63a)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-131/2014/05/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: