Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 21 - Levi in Bavel

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.

Tosafos asks that while it is true that Levi did not actually hear Beis Din proclaim the sanctity of the new month, how was he able to allow the Babylonians to ignore the fact that Yom Kippur is actually a day later. Tosafos answers based on the Scriptural verse “These are Hashem’s appointed [holy days] that you shall designate them as holy occasions,” and it is learned from there that Beis Din’s declaration of the new month is valid even if they choose the incorrect day through a mistake or even deliberately. Tosfos indicates that this is not only limited to the Beis din in Yerushalayim but even to a Beis Din in Bavel. If they rule that Rosh Chodesh is a certain day, it is indeed binding.

Turei Even asks many questions on Tosfos. His primary question is that it is illogical to assume that each Beis Din throughout the world can independently establish when Rosh Chodesh should be. This is only reserved to the Beis din in Yerushalayim.

The Turei Even learns different than Tosfos and states that Levi could not be believed since he is only one witness and one witness is not believed against a majority. Most of the time, Elul has only twenty-nine days and Levi couldn't testify that the Beis Din made it thirty days. If Levi would have actually heard Beis Din proclaim that the thirty-first day is Rosh Chodesh, they would have acted stringently (above the letter of the law) and they would have fasted again on the tenth of Tishrei.

Rav Elyashiv Shlita points out that the Turei Even's explanation is not consistent with the Rambam's viewpoint where he states in Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh (3:14) that one witness is believed even in relevance to a Biblical matter, providing that it is something that will eventually be made public.

The Turei Even cites a Shiltos who relates the incident a little different than in our Gemora. The Shiltos states that Reb Ivo and Reb Chiya went to Bavel and remarked that Beis Din had made Elul thirty days. According to this, they would be believed since they are two witnesses.

Chazon ish learns that any place that is too far away from Yerushalayim and will not hear that Beis Din announced the sanctity of Rosh Chodesh, they establish the new months according to the calculation and not through witnesses. According to the Chazon Ish, I am not sure why it would make a difference if Levi heard the Beis Din establishing Rosh Chodesh.


Avromi said...

Looking at the Chazon Ish again, he does answer this and states that they can only go by calculation if they didnt hear what B"D in E"Y did, but if they heard then they must go according to them and next month they can revert back to the calculations.

Renegade Kosher said...

Hey, I added you to my blogroll so I can keep up with this! Thank you for pointing me to it, and count me as a future regular reader!

Avromi said...

Thanks Renegade.

Anonymous said...

But acc. to the gemara on daf 22 anyone who testifies that bais din announced the New Moon is believed, so why not Levi?

Avromi said...

I had the same question last night and I believe the answer is that our Gemora is talking about the usual case that he would be believed, but there it is against the rov.

Avromi said...

In addition this is where Reb Elyashiv states that the Turei Even's pshat is against the Rambam and the Rambam is based on our Gemora that if it's avida ligluye, we trust him, like we mentioned in the post above.