Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 21 - Highlights


The Gemora relates that Levi visited Bavel on the eleventh of Tishrei. Levi notified the people residing there that it was actually the tenth of Tishrei since Beis Din made Elul thirty days instead of the usual twenty-nine. They asked Levi to testify that Beis Din had made Elul thirty days and then they would be willing to fast again on the correct day. Levi responded that since he didn’t actually hear Beis Din proclaim the thirty-first day to begin the new month, he is unable to testify in this regard. The messengers were not permitted to go out in the months of Nissan and Tishrei until they heard Beis Din announce that the day has been sanctified as Rosh Chodesh. (21a)


Rabbi Yochanan announced that anyplace where the messengers of Nissan can reach but the messengers of Tishrei cannot reach (due to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) should observe two days of Pesach as a decree because of a possible blunder that might occur in Tishrei. (21a)


Rava was accustomed to observe two days of Yom Kippur (and fast for two consecutive days) since he was concerned that Beis Din might make Elul thirty days even though this was highly unlikely to happen. There was one time that it happened that his second day was actually Yom Kippur. (21a)


Rav Huna bar Avin sent a message to Rava that when the solar season of Teves is extending until the sixteenth of Nissan, he should add a month to that year. He cites a Scriptural verse proving that the spring season should begin during the first fourteen days of Nissan, a time when the moon is becoming more visible. If the season would stretch to the fifteenth of Nissan, there is no necessity to add a month to the year; an extra day can be added onto Adar and that will be sufficient. (21a)


The Mishna states that the witnesses who are coming to testify regarding the new moon of Nissan and Tishrei may desecrate Shabbos in order to arrive by Beis Din in a timely fashion The permission was limited to these months since these were the months that messengers were sent out to Surya and we needed to determine the dates for the Biblical festivals. During the time that the Beis Hamikdosh was in existence, they would be permitted to desecrate Shabbos for every month since there were sacrifices that needed to be offered on Rosh Chodesh. (21b)


The Gemora asks a contradiction by citing a Mishna learned previously that messengers were sent out on six months of the year and our Mishna states that they were sent out on Nissan and Tishrei. The Gemora answers that on Nissan and Tishrei there was a special halacha that the messengers could not depart Beis Din and inform the public regarding Rosh Chodesh until they actually heard Beis Din proclaiming the that the new month has been sanctified. Regarding the other months, they were allowed to go as soon as they knew which day would be Rosh Chodesh. (21b)


The Gemora cites a Scriptural verse proving that the witnesses are permitted to desecrate Shabbos in order to testify regarding the sighting of the new moon but the messengers are not allowed to desecrate Shabbos. (21b)


The Mishna cites a dispute regarding the circumstances that the witnesses would be permitted to desecrate the Shabbos. Rabbi Yosi maintains that the witnesses are only permitted to desecrate the Shabbos if the moon was not clearly visible to all since then the Beis Din will need these witnesses. The Chachamim hold that even if the moon is clearly visible, they are still permitted to desecrate the Shabbos and travel to Beis Din. The Mishna cites an incident where there were more than forty pairs of witnesses traveling to Beis Din and Rabbi Akiva held them in Lod since he figured that there were probably many more witnesses that saw the moon. Rabban Gamliel disagreed with Rabbi Akiva and stated that if these witnesses will not be allowed to travel to Beis Din this time, they will not even bother to come testify in the future. (21b)