ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
ROSH HASHANAH 21-25 - Dedicated in memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben Shlomo ha'Levi) Turkel, by his children Eddie and Lawrence and his wife Jean Turkel/Rafalowicz. Max was a warm and loving husband and father and is missed dearly by his family and friends. His Yahrzeit is 5 Teves.
(a) Our Mishnah describes how two witnesses once testified that they had seen the new moon in the morning in the east and on the following evening in the west. Rebbi Yochanan ben Nuri declared their testimony null and void. The reason for this cannot be on account of the twenty-four hour period that the moon cannot be seen (as we learned in the first Perek) - because that is not inherent in the words 'Pe'amim she'Ba ba'Aruchah, u'Pe'amim she'Ba bi'Ketzarah' (as we will shortly explain to justify Raban Gamliel).
(b) The real reason is - because it is impossible for the moon to race from one end of the sky from morning to evening.
(c) The other occasion on which Raban Gamliel accepted the witnesses, and Rebbi Dosa ben Horkinas declared them to be liars, was - when the witnesses claimed that they saw the new moon during the day, but not the following night.
(d) The problem that Rebbi Dosa's had with that was - to claim to have seen the moon one minute and not the next is akin to saying that one a woman has given birth and the next, she is pregnant.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua (who was the Av Beis-Din) - declared that he agreed with Rebbi Dosa ben Horkinas, aggravating Raban Gamliel and causing him to react harshly (because he was afraid that the authority of the Sanhedrin was being threatened - much like Moshe's strong reaction to Korach's rebellion).
(b) He therefore ordered Rebbi Yehoshua to come to him with his staff and money on the eleventh of Tishrei (the day that, in his opinion, ought to have been Yom Kippur).
(c) Rebbi Akiva consoled Rebbi Yehoshua with the Pasuk in Emor "Eileh Mo'adei Hash-m Asher Tikre'u Osam b'Moadam" - (which, seeing as "Osam" is missing a Vav, could also be read "Asher Tikre'u Atem"), to teach us that whichever of the days Beis-Din (under the jurisdiction of the Nasi) fix Rosh Chodesh, is Rosh Chodesh, whether that is the right day or not. Consequently, even if Rebbi Yehoshua had been right and Raban Gamliel wrong, the day that Raban Gamliel fixed as Rosh Chodesh was Rosh Chodesh, in which case, he had not desecrated Yom Kippur.
(d) Rebbi Dosa ben Horkinas (with whom Rebbi Yehoshua was agreeing) consoled him, using the Pasuk in Mishpatim "va'Ya'al Moshe v'Aharon, Nadav va'Avihu v'Shiv'im mi'Ziknei Yisrael" - to point out that even though Raban Gamliel and his Beis-Din were not as great as Moshe and Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, the Torah deliberately withholds the names of the seventy elders, so that we should learn to accept the Beis-Din of our days, who may well be no inferior to the seventy elders, whose names we do not know.
(a) When Rebbi Yehoshua arrived at Raban Gamliel's house on the eleventh of Tishrei - Raban Gamliel arose and kissed him on the head.
(b) 'Come in peace', he said to him, 'my Rebbe and my Talmid. My Rebbe in knowledge, and my Talmid, because you obeyed my instructions'.
(c) The Beraisa cites Raban Gamliel's reply, regarding the witnesses who claimed that they saw the new moon in the east in the morning ...) in the form of the principle 'Pe'amim she'Ba ba'Aruchah, u'Pe'amim she'Ba bi'Ketzarah' (as we already explained) meaning - that he had a tradition from his father (Rebbi Shimon ben Gamliel the first) that the speed of the moon (or perhaps he was referring to its orbit) is not constant, sometimes it travels across the sky a little a little slower and sometimes a little faster.
(d) The source for this lies in the Pasuk in Tehilim "Asah Yare'ach l'Moadim, Shemesh Yada Mevo'o", which Rebbi Yochanan explains to mean - that the sun has a fixed path, but not the moon.
(a) Rebbi Chiya threw a clod of earth at the moon when he saw it on the morning of the thirtieth of Elul - because if it would still have been there that evening, they would not have been able to prolong the month, and Yom Kippur would have fallen next to Shabbos (and we have already learned that, provided the moon is not seen that night, one may frighten witnesses to say that they have seen the new moon even if they have not). Throwing the clod of earth at the moon was merely a sign that they wanted it to move quickly and disappear (before nightfall).
(b) Rebbi sent Rebbi Chiya to Ein Tav to declare Rosh Chodesh there, because (assuming this to be a continuation of the previous episode, the people, who had seen the moon throughout the twenty-ninth, would begin talking if the month would subsequently be prolonged). Alternatively - it was because the Romans had issued a decree forbidding the declaration of Rosh Chodesh in Rebbi's town (even if it was not Tishrei).
(c) As a sign that he had accomplished his mission, Rebbi instructed Rebbi Chiya to send him back the message - 'David Melech Yisrael Chai v'Kayam'.
(d) The connection between Malchus David and the moon lies in the Pasuk in Tehilim "Kis'o ka'Shamayim Negdi, ka'Yare'ach Yikon Olam" (a sign perhaps that Malchus Beis David would prevail and outlast the Romans - in spite of their decrees).
(a) The Beis-Din of Raban Gamliel once accepted a viewing (of what they thought was the new moon) on the twenty-ninth of the month. Raban Gamliel however, rejected it outright - due to the tradition that he had received from his father that the minimum time period between one Molad and the next is twenty-nine and a half days, forty minutes and seventy-three Chalakim (there are 1080 Chalakim in an hour).
(b) He subsequently eulogized the mother of Ben Zaza, who died that day, far more extensively than he would otherwise have done - to negate the rumor that was spreading in town that it was Rosh Chodesh (and one is not permitted to make a Hesped on Rosh Chodesh).
(c) When Rebbi Yehoshua left Raban Gamliel (after he had been issued with his devastating instructions), the Tana relates how R. Akiva found him most distressed. We have already seen in our Mishnah how Rebbi Akiva consoled his Rebbe. He went on to explain the three "Osom" written in Parshas Emor" (as if they were written "Atem"): "Atem" - Afilu Shogegin; "Atem" - Afilu Mezidin; "Atem" - Afilu Muta'in - from which we see that whether the Beis-Din changed the day of Rosh Chodesh by mistake, whether they did so deliberately or whether they were tricked into declaring the wrong day Rosh Chodesh, their decision is final.
(a) The Beraisa cites the Pasuk in Shmuel "va'Yishlach Hash-m es Yeruba'al, v'es Bedan, v'es Yiftach, v'es Shmuel. The Navi refers to ...
1. ... Gid'on as Yeruba'al - because he fought with the idol Ba'al ('Yariv Ba'al').
2. ... Shimshon as Bedan - because he came from the tribe of Dan.
(b) We know that Shmuel was greater than the other three leaders mentioned in this Pasuk - because of the Pasuk in Tehilim, which mentions him together with Moshe and Aharon.
(c) Chazal therefore link Yeruba'al with Moshe, Shimshon with Aharon and Yiftach with Shmuel - to teach us that the leader of the generation, whoever he is, is to his generation, like Moshe Rabeinu was to his.
(d) And we learn from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "u'Vasa el ha'Kohanim ha'Leviyim v'El ha'Shofet Asher Yihyeh ba'Yamim ha'Hem" - that one can only visit the judge who is alive then. In other words, there is no point in complaining about the judges and the leaders not being what they used to be. We must accept the leaders that we have (perhaps, if we were more worthy, our (spiritual) leaders would be more worthy too).
2. ... "Al Tomar Mah Hayah, she'ha'Yamim ha'Rishonim Hayu Tovim me'Eileh" - that neither is there any point in complaining about the decline in living standards, because that is linked to the drop in the level of Torah and Mitzvos (see Agados Maharsha).
(a) The original version of Raban Gamliel's statement, praising a generation whose juniors obey their seniors (with reference to Rebbi Yehoshua, who obeyed his instructions) - 'Kal-va'Chomer' the juniors who obey their seniors.
(b) We reject it however - on the grounds that no 'Kal va'Chomer' is required to teach us the praiseworthiness of juniors who obey their seniors (since this is obligatory).
(c) So we amend it to read that - because the seniors obey their juniors, the juniors learn a 'Kal va'Chomer' to obey their seniors.
***** HADRAN ALACH, 'IM EINAN MAKIRIN' *****
PEREK RA'UHU BEIS-DIN
(a) 'If Beis-Din and all of Yisrael saw the new moon on the thirtieth, but night fell before they managed to declare Rosh Chodesh, Rosh Chodesh will have to be postponed until the thirty-first of the month. The Tana needs to add 'and all of Yisrael' - to teach us that the fact that everyone knows that the new moon appeared, is not sufficient grounds to declare Rosh Chodesh, and that Beis-Din will only do so through the testimony of witnesses.
(b) 'Nechkeru ha'Eidim' is an independent case (not part of the previous one). Either way (whether everyone saw the new moon, or the witnesses had already been cross-examined, if Beis-Din did not manage to declare 'Mekudash Mekudash', the month had to be prolonged.
(c) If the only ones to have seen the new moon are ...
1. ... the twenty-three members of the Sanhedrin Ketanah - then two of them must stand (as witnesses always had to do) in front of three of the others and testify.
2. ... the three members of Beis-Din - then two of them will have to stand in front of the remaining Dayan, who will have to combine with two other Dayanim from elsewhere. The Chidush in this case, is - that one Dayan is not eligible to declare Rosh Chodesh on his own.
(d) Having taught us that if the whole of Yisrael saw the new moon, but did not manage to declare Rosh Chodesh before nightfall, the Tana nevertheless needs to add that the same applies to a case where the witnesses were examined etc. - because we would otherwise have thought that, once the witnesses have been cross-examined, the final declaration of the Beis-Din is nothing more the conclusion of the Din, which in other matters, is permitted at night-time.
(a) We learn from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "va'Hayah b'Yom Hanchilo es Banav" - that (the beginning of) Din must be performed by day.
2. ... (with regard to Kidush ha'Chodesh) "Ki Chok l'Yisrael Hu Mishpat l'Elokei Yakov" - that the Chok (the final declaration) of Kidush ha'Chodesh, has the same Din as Mishpat (the beginning of Din - in other cases), and it cannot be performed by night.
(a) Even though all three members of Beis-Din saw the new moon, they need to testify - because, Rebbi Zeira explains, we are speaking when they saw the new moon at night, when they cannot declare Rosh Chodesh (had they seen it by day, they would indeed have been permitted to sit down and declare Rosh Chodesh without additional witnesses).
(b) The principle of 'v'Lo Tehei Shemi'ah Gedolah me'Re'iyah' will not apply to other cases of testimony - because the Torah uses the term 'Eidus', implying that there must be verbal testimony at all costs.
(a) Having established the previous case when they saw the moon at night - the Seifa (when the Beis-Din of three saw the new moon) comes to teach us that an individual Dayan is not qualified to handle Kidush ha'Chodesh on his own (as we explained earlier).
(b) We might otherwise have learned from money-matters, where one competent Dayan can judge on his own - and apply that leniency by Kidush ha'Chodesh, too.
(c) We do not learn from money-matters - because there is certainly no-one more competent than Moshe Rabeinu, yet the Torah writes in Bo "ha'Chodesh ha'Zeh Lachem" (in the plural) to teach us that Kidush ha'Chodesh requires three (not two, since a Beis-Din must always comprise an odd number).
(a) We know that for Beis-Din to issue the death-sentence, there must be testimony (and we will not apply 've'Lo Tehei Shemi'ah Gedolah me'Re'iyah') - from the Pasuk "al Pi Shenayim Eidim Yumas ha'Mes".
(b) Witnesses cannot testify and then sit and judge - because even the most lenient opinion, only permits potential witnesses (who saw the crime) to (decline to testify and to) judge (instead).
(c) Rebbi Tarfon permits Dayanim who saw a murder to sit as judges. Rebbi Akiva prohibits it.
(d) Rebbi Akiva could in fact, be the author of our Mishnah, which permits witnesses who saw the moon to sit as judges - because it is only in murder cases (where someone who witnessed a murder will have great difficulty in even trying to find the defendant innocent (to practice the "v'Hitzilu ha'Eidah" which the Torah specifically writes in connection with murder). But in other cases, Rebbi Akiva concedes that a potential witness is permitted to judge.