web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Second Day Yom Tov, Eruvin And Eggs (Beitzah 4)

Why two days Yom Tov outside Israel and one day in Israel? The answer to this question depends on the answer to another basic question: How many days constitute a month in the Jewish calendar?

The rebirth of the moon, approximately every thirty days, determines the number of days in the Jewish month. The precise duration of the Jewish month is 29 days, 12 hours and 793/1080 parts of one hour. Because it is impractical to commence Rosh Chodesh in the middle of the day, the most pragmatic thing to do is to alternate the months of the year between 29 days and 30 days, respectively. That is how it is done today. A 30-day month is called “maleh” and is born with a two-day Rosh Chodesh. A twenty nine-day month is called “chaser” and is born with a one-day Rosh Chodesh.

Whether a month is chaser or maleh makes a crucial difference to our Jewish lives. If, for example, one mistakenly believed the month of Elul was maleh when in fact it was chaser, one might find oneself eating on Yom Kippur and fasting on a weekday. If one mistakenly believed the month of Adar was maleh when in fact it was chaser, one might find oneself eating bread on Pesach.

So who decides which month is 29 or 30 days? Today the issue is decided by the Jewish calendar, instituted in 385 CE by Hillel II. Prior to that, during the time of the Second Temple, a chodesh chaser was determined by the empirical evidence of two witnesses, who testified in the Jerusalem court of law, the bit din, that they had seen the new moon on the 30th day. Once their testimony was accepted, the thirtieth day, counted from the previous Rosh Chodesh, was declared the Rosh Chodesh of the new month. If no witnesses came on the 30th day, Rosh Chodesh was declared, by default, on the 31st day, rendering the previous month a chodesh maleh.

At first, the news of a chodesh chaser was spread on the night of the thirtieth by means of torching beacons on mountain peaks. If no torches were lit, all understood that the month was maleh. The Cutheans, however, disrupted this system by torching beacons on days when the Jerusalem bet din had not declared a chodesh chaser. In this situation, the only alternative was to dispatch emissaries to outlying districts in the hope they would arrive with the news of the chodesh chaser before Yom Tov. In the case of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, for example, the emissaries would have 14 days to arrive before Pesach. Those communities, too distant from Jerusalem for the emissaries to arrive before Yom Tov, such as communities in the Diaspora, were forced to hedge their bets and keep Yom Tov for two days. These two days are called Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galuyot. One of those days would genuinely be Yom Tov and one would not. Since at the time they did not know which one was which, they kept both.

That was then. But now we have Hillel’s calendar. There is no doubt. We know which day is Yom Tov. So why are we celebrating “Yom Tov” again on a “weekday”? The comforting yet chilling answer is to be found in Tractate Beitzah. “Hold on to the customs of your ancestors,” the Talmud advises, “for someday, an oppressive government may confiscate your Jewish calendar and forbid you to teach it. Then, having forgotten the methods of your ancestors, you will lose track of the days, and eat bread on Pesach.” And so, even in the darkness of Auschwitz and Soviet prisons, Jews celebrated Yom Tov based on the trustworthy tools of yesteryear.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


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 “Second Day Yom Tov, Eruvin And Eggs (Beitzah 4)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

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 no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever.

Although it is true that the Final Redemption will be accelerated when all Jews repent and accept the rule of Torah, there is also another scenario for the Final Redemption.

Should just a few communities settle the Land of Israel? Should there be a mass emigration of all Jews worldwide to Israel?

Why did so many of our great sages from the Rambam to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein live outside Israel?

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

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/second-day-yom-tov-eruvin-and-eggs-beitzah-4/2014/03/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: