1) THE COMPLICATIONS INVOLVED WITH LENGTHENING THE MONTH OF ELUL
QUESTION: The Gemara records a dispute between Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Yosi who argue about when Beis Din may add an extra month of Adar to the year based on the calculation of when the following Sukos will occur. They both derive from the verse that the days of "Chag ha'Asif," a reference to the days of Chol ha'Mo'ed Sukos, must occur during Tekufas Tishrei (after the autumnal equinox of the solar year). Rebbi Yehudah learns that *all* of the days of Chol ha'Mo'ed must fall during Tekufas Tishrei, and Rebbi Yosi learns that only the *last* day of Chol ha'Mo'ed must fall during Tekufas Tishrei. If Beis Din sees that the lunar year is falling behind the solar year so much that Chol ha'Mo'ed Sukos (all of the days, according to Rebbi Yosi, or even one day, according to Rebbi Yehudah) will fall during Tekufas Tamuz (before Tekufas Tishrei), then they establish a leap year.
According to Rebbi Yehudah, why should Beis Din establish a leap year when only one day of Chol ha'Mo'ed Sukos will occur during Tekufas Tamuz? Beis Din should make the month of Elul a "full" month by adding one day to the month instead of adding a full month to the year (as the Gemara itself (13b) asks with regard to the month of Adar, when Nisan needs to be pushed off for only one day). Similarly, according to Rebbi Yosi, when all of the days of Chol ha'Mo'ed will occur during Tekufas Tamuz, and only *one* day (the last day) day of Chol ha'Mo'ed needs to fall during Tekufas Tishrei, Beis Din can accomplish this by lengthening the month of Elul for one day, making it a 30-day month instead of a 29-day month, without having to make a leap year with an extra month.
ANSWER: RASHI explains that Beis Din cannot simply make Elul longer by one day, because Beis Din must take into account that Rosh Hashanah may not fall on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday (see Rosh Hashanah 19b and Sukah 43b). The calendar, therefore, is set so that Rosh Hashanah does not fall on these days. Since the calendar is set so that Rosh Hashanah will fall either on Shabbos, Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday, adjusting the length of Elul by one day will cause Rosh Hashanah to fall on either Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday. Since, on most years, adjusting the month of Elul by one day will push Rosh Hashanah to a day on which it is not allowed to fall, Beis Din does not add one day to Elul. Since an adjustment to Elul which would push Rosh Hashanah from Monday to Tuesday is uncommon, the Gemara does not suggest that Beis Din rectify the problem of Sukos falling during Tekufas Tamuz by adding a day to Elul, since it will not help for most years.
Another possible way to push Sukos into Tekufas Tishrei would be to make *two* regular months (of 29 days each) during the preceding year into two full months (of 30 days each), which would leave Rosh Hashanah on a day that it is permitted to occur. However, Beis Din cannot do this because of the rule in Erchin (8b) that states that Beis Din may not institute eight full months in one year (unless the previous year was a leap year, which is not the case in the Gemara here).
TOSFOS (DH v'Rebbi Yosi Savar) questions Rashi's answer from the Gemara later (13b) which discusses the opinion of Acherim. Acherim say that Beis Din establishes a leap year when there will be *fourteen* days left in the preceding Tekufah when the month of the festival arrives. Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak explains that Acherim refer to *Nisan* (and not Tishrei, for even if the first fourteen days of Tishrei are in Tekufas Tamuz, all of Sukos will occur during Tekufas Tishrei). Acherim maintain that the Torah requires that Beis Din ensure that Tekufas Nisan (the spring equinox of the solar year) will begin during the first half of the month of Nisan, before the moon is full ("Shamor Es Chodesh ha'Aviv," Devarim 16:1). Hence, if the preceding Tekufah (Tekufas Teves) will continue for fourteen days into Nisan, Beis Din must push off the month of Nisan by making the year a leap year.
The Gemara there asks that it would suffice to add one day to the month of Adar, and Beis Din does not need to add an entire month to the year. Why, though, is the Gemara there not concerned with the problem of Rosh Hashanah occurring on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday?
1. Tosfos answers that since there is still a lot of time left until Sukos, Beis Din can *shorten* a month that was supposed to be longer in order to ensure that Rosh Hashanah will occur on the appropriate day. This is also the answer that Rashi there gives (13b, DH v'Li'abrah).
2. RABEINU TAM gives a different answer. Even if Beis Din does not shorten a month between Pesach and Sukos, the Gemara (13b) is asking according to the opinion which maintains that Rosh Hashanah is not restricted to certain days of the week (see Shabbos 113a). The BA'AL HA'ME'OR similarly explains that it was a later enactment that Rosh Hashanah must occur on certain days of the week, and therefore the Gemara was not bothered by this question. He proves this from the first Mishnah in Maseches Megilah which lists all of the days of the week as possible days on which Purim might fall, even though it is not possible for Purim to fall on certain days according to the present calendar.
Tosfos (13b, DH v'Li'abrei) asks that even according to Rabeinu Tam's approach, the Gemara's question on Acherim is not clear. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (20a) explains that Acherim maintain that Rosh Hashanah of any given year must occur four days later in the week than it occurred the previous year (for example, if last year Rosh Hashanah occurred on Sunday, then this year Rosh Hashanah must occur on Thursday). Pushing the calendar off by one day (by adding a day to Adar) will prevent that from happening. How, then, can the Gemara suggest, according to Acherim, that Beis Din just add another day to the month of Adar?
The ARUCH LA'NER points out that although Tosfos asks his question "*even* according to Rabeinu Tam," it really is a question *only* on Rabeinu Tam. According to Rashi, this question poses no problem, because Rashi explains that if Beis Din would add a day to Adar, then Beis Din would also have to subtract a day from one of the summer months, thereby maintaining the annual pattern of progression of Rosh Hashanah.
3. The RAN quotes the RAMBAN who gives a third answer to the question of why the Gemara (13b) is not concerned with pushing Rosh Hashanah to a day on which it is not supposed to fall, when it asks that Beis Din should add one day to the month of Adar according to Acherim. He explains that the Gemara is asking its question only according to Acherim, because it is they who maintain that it is a Torah law that Pesach must occur in the spring season (after the start of Tekufas Nisan). This requirement takes precedence over all other considerations (such as the law that Rosh Hashanah may not occur on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday). In contrast, according to the Rabanan who argue with Acherim, the occurrence of the Tekufah is not the sole factor in justifying a leap year. At least one more reason is necessary to justify the establishment of a leap year (see 11b). If establishing a leap year will push the Tekufah to its proper time *and* it will prevent Rosh Hashanah from occurring on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday (which adding one day to the month of Adar would not accomplish), then Beis Din may establish a leap year. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) JUDGING NORMAL CASES OF LOANS TODAY
QUESTION: The Gemara states that when a Talmid Chacham was granted Semichah, he was authorized to judge cases of penalties (monetary fines that do not correspond to the amount stolen or owed). RASHI explains that cases of penalties require expert judges because the verse refers to those who judge cases of penalties as "Elohim." The Chachamim decreed that other monetary matters, however, do not require expert judges because of "Ne'ilas Deles" -- so that potential lenders will not be reluctant to lend money (see Gemara, 2b). In cases in which "Ne'ilas Deles" does not apply, such as a case of a Shomer or a thief who owes an object, expert judges are necessary, and the only reason why such cases may be judged in Bavel (where there is no Semichah) is that Beis Din in Bavel acts as the emissary of Beis Din of Eretz Yisrael (Bava Kama 84b).
RAV YITZCHAK ELCHANAN SPECTOR (NACHAL YITZCHAK 1:3) is perplexed by the words of Rashi. Rashi in Gitin (88b) says explicitly that Beis Din today may judge cases of ordinary loans, because judges today are considered the emissaries of the judges of Eretz Yisrael. He apparently contradicts his words here, where he says that ordinary loans are judged *not* because the judges today act as emissaries of the judges of Eretz Yisrael, but because of the reason of "Ne'ilas Deles" (i.e. if ordinary loans would not be judged today, then no lender would be willing to lend money to those in need)!
ANSWER: RAV YITZCHAK ELCHANAN SPECTOR quotes the TUMIM who says that there is a difference between cases of loans and cases of theft. Loans may be judged in front of three ordinary, non-expert judges even when there are three expert judges present in the city. This is because the reason for permitting ordinary judges to judge cases of loans is so that the lender will not to have to worry about getting expert judges for the case when he wants to be repaid. Cases of theft, in contrast, are judged in Bavel by non-experts because if experts would be required, a thief would be encouraged to steal more readily, knowing that the owner of the object would not spend the money to travel to a Beis Din in Eretz Yisrael. In a place where there are expert judges, or in Eretz Yisrael, however, one should go only to a Beis Din of experts, as the mere presence of such a court discourages one from stealing.
According to this explanation, Rashi's intent is clear. Rashi in Gitin is saying that while there is no concern that people will stop lending money in Eretz Yisrael, since there is no difficulty in finding expert judges there, ordinary judges still may judge cases of loans because they serve as the emissaries of the expert judges. Here in Sanhedrin, on the other hand, Rashi is explaining that in Bavel there *is* a concern that people will stop lending money when they see that it is difficult to find expert judges, and it is for that reason that even non-expert judges may judge cases of loans in Bavel. (Y. MONTROSE)