web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 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
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reviews details of a "bad deal" with Iran.
Netanyahu Warns of Increased Iran Aggression in Middle East
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

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

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

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)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

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

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

Daf-Yomi-logo

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

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

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

The Wedding Day Fast
‘He Accepts A Ring On Her Behalf’
(Kesubos 47a)

A Confession
‘Payment For Humiliation And Depreciation’
(Ketubbot 41a)

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

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

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: