Friday, December 08, 2006

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 3 - Highlights


 Rabbi Yochanan cites a scriptural verse proving that kings are counted from the month of Nissan. He learns from a verse in Kings that the same way the years after the Exodus from Egypt are reckoned from Nissan, so too the years of the king are counted from Nissan.

The Gemora questions the premise that regarding the Exodus from Egypt, we count the years from Nissan; perhaps the count is from Tishrei? The Gemora proves from several Scriptural verses that the count cannot be from Tishrei. However in conclusion, the Gemora rejects Rabbi Yochanan’s viewpoint since perhaps the years were counted from Tamuz, Av or Adar. The Gemora does cite a braisa supporting Rabbi Yochanan.

Rabbi Elozar learns from a different source that kings are counted from the month of Nissan. It is written in Divrei Hayomim regarding Shlomo Hamelech “He began to build in the second month, in the second, in the fourth year of his sovereignty.” The words ‘in the second’ are extra. Why are those words repeated? Rabbi Elozar explains it to be referring to the second month from when the king’s reign is counted. It is evident that the second month of the year, Iyar, is the second month of the king’s year, which starts in Nissan. (2b – 3a)


 Rav Chisda qualifies the ruling of the Mishna and states that our Mishna’s ruling that Nissan is the New Year for kings is only referring to Jewish Kings, however in regards to gentile kings, we count from Tishrei. This is proven from two verses in Nechemia. The first verse states that in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year, Nechemia was notified of the pathetic condition of the Jews residing in Yerushalayim. It is further written that in the month of Nissan, in the twentieth year of Artachshasta (a Persian king), Nechemia requested permission from the king to build the walls of Yerushalayim. Since the first event took place in Kislev and the second in Nissan and they are both described as taking place in the twentieth year of Artachshasta, it is obvious that there was not a New Year between them. This proves that the New Year for gentile kings cannot be in Nissan and thus we assume that the New Year for them is Tishrei.

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The Gemora questions the proof: How do we know that the Kislev event preceded the incident that happened in Nissan? Perhaps the Nissan incident occurred prior to the Kislev event, thereby explaining why they are both described as happening in Artachshasta’s twentieth year and Nissan can still be considered the New Year for gentile kings?

This question is answered by citing a braisa which states explicitly that the matters that were told to Nechemia in Kislev were repeated by Nechemia to the king in Nissan.

Rav Yosef challenged Rav Chisda’s ruling from the verses in Chagai. It is written that the people resumed construction of the Beis Hamikdosh on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Daryavesh. In the next verse, it states that in the seventh month on the twenty-first day of the month, Hashem told Chagai that the splendor of this Beis Hamikdosh will be greater that of the first one. According to Rav Chisda, the second verse should have stated “In the seventh month of the third year” since the seventh month is Tishrei and Tishrei is the beginning of the New Year for gentile kings.

Rabbi Avahu answers that Koresh was a righteous king and therefore his reign was calculated from Nissan as they would do for the Jewish kings.

Rav Yosef questions how Rav Avahu’s statement that Koresh was righteous has any bearing on the verses in Chagai which are discussing Daryavesh. The Gemora answers that we learned in a braisa that Koresh, Daryavesh and Artachshasta are all the same person. He is referred to as Koresh since he was righteous. He is called Artachshasta since that is the royal title for all the Persian kings. His name was actually Daryavesh. (3a – 3b)