Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 033

Tuesday, April 27 1999

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 14:33:35 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Sephardi Shut

shoshana:>>I hope members of this list will take the time to read shu"t by Rav 
Kapach, Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav David Yosef, Rav Hayim David Ha'Levy ZT"L, Rav 
Uziel ZT"L, Rav Rakah ZT"L(author of the book on the Tu B'ishvat Seder, whose 
shu't are being re-published) and many other shu"t of these and other 
Sephardi G'dolim.  I could go on, but I hope people will make a point of 
learning more.<<

Agreed.  One caveat: Sephardic Minhog may have its own POV re: certain halochos 
that might not correspond to Ashkenazic Minhog; eg bediko for Glatt, kitniyos, 
nusach, as well as niddon diddon, compensating for Torah study.

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 11:42:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: Int'l Date Line and Sefirat ha-Omer

--- "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM> wrote:
.. . . .
> What to do?  He could not skip a day, as he would then lose the
> requirement of temimot.  But he also could not count the same day
> twice,
> could he?  He decided that, mi-safek, he would count twice every
> night,
> once following the count of the East and once the count of the
> West.
I find the above to be somewhat problematic.  I seem to recall that
the reason people in chutz la'aretz did not count today "hayom 25 or
maybe 24" (despite making two sedarim; we count "mi'macharat
hashabbat") is that a "sefirah"--counting--requires certainty.  I
would think that the same reasoning should apply to Rav Goren's

Kol tuv,
Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 11:25:10 -0700
From: "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org>
two questions

1-- I was told that it's a clear halacha that if a landlord decides to sell
his property, his tenant has first priority.  could someone please supply me
the relevant source?

2--If two community 'eruvs'  [shitufei mabuot] are adjacent and overlap in
one corner, for example; can one carry in the remainder of the area of the
other eruv, or is it like a  tchum, limited to your area-even if your tchum
overlaps your friend's?

Looking forward to your response
kol tuv

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 16:16:42 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Kollel Stipends

Zvi Weiss: >>===> I dunno..  The "modern" Kollel is really a recent development.
 I think that we are talking AFTER the time of R. Yisrael Salanter.  <<

2 quick qeustions:
1) What is the earliest source of the Yissochor-Zevulun arragnement
2) Wouldn't that arragnegement be a form of learning for schar or is the Rambam 
v'sayosso mechalek?

Rich wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 16:27:00 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Where were all the Gedolim from?

Eli Clark>>
Bi-mhilat kevod R. Schwab, who was obviously a noge'a ba-davar,
Frankfurt did not produce a substantial number of Gedolim.  Note that in
Frankfurt R. Hirsch founded a school that did not include a yeshivah
gedolah.  His school was clearly oriented toward producing frum
"baalebatim."  Note too that KAJ had to look beyond its membership to
find a successor to R. Schwab!<<

BTW, YRSRH has a working Kollel nowadays, and licho'ora is using the more 
litvisher Yeshiva model as opposed to the "Frankfurt" model.

I do not know what R. S. Schwab said re: the Frankfurt Yeshiva, but he attnede 
the Mir and was thoroughtly immmersed in Yiddish, etc.  IOW, I would say his 
advanced learning took place in Poland not in Fraknfurt.

R. Hirsch's successor - R. Schlomo Breuer - was a native of Hungary.  R. 
Schwab's successor - R. Zecharyo Gelley - is an "oberlander" Hungarian.  

My impression (from lectures I attended) is that Hungary trained several 
prominent Western European Rabbonim, and that Litta trained a number of rabbonim
(in contrast to Rebbes) in many of the predominantly Chassidishe communities of 
Galicia, Ukraine, etc.

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 15:40:41 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Some Riddle answers (some I know but choose not to!)

In a message dated 4/26/99 12:38:15 PM EST, nwitty@ix.netcom.com writes:

<< 4. What is the explanation of the following? "Shmini B'Shmini Shmini
 This expression which I have never heard is probably a very a-grammatical
 way of expressing the following:
 When [Parshas] Shemini falls on Shemini (the 8th day of Pesach in diaspora),
 i.e. when the first and last days of Pesach fall on Shabbos and Parshas
 Shemini would have been read--as it in fact is in Israel-- on the second
 shabbos, the first aliyah of parshas shemini is read 8 times >>

AFAIK the simon is Shmini (B)Shmini Shmini Shmoinoh.

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 17:16:28 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Sefarid Gedolim Further Clairfication

>>I'm shocked.  Is there indeed such ignorance that no one on this list 
realizes that there are at least the same number of Sephardi G'dolim as 
Ashkenazi?  <<

I was referring to the pre-holocaust era exclusively.  In fact, if my thesis is 
correct, Ashklenaz HAD a lead in "gedolim" and that lead was lost as a result of
the holocaust.  That would be indicative of the deficit to Torah learning 
incurred and would re-inforce the need for a horo'as sho'oh.

Another thought: I find this highly parallel to the loss of Torah learning 
incurred when R. Akivo's Talmidim dies during Sefiro.

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 22:10:01 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Chosheish for kol deios

In message , Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> writes
>: Also not so clear.  There are opinions that hold this way (and no doubt
>: you could argue kum li in a beis din based on this), but if you want to
>: be choshesh for kol deos I think you would still need to be careful.
>I'm very worried about the approach of being chosheish for multiple dei'os.

Ah, I seem to have been hoist on my own petard - was this not my own
argument several moons ago.  However, as you can see from the context, I
was not intending to suggest being choshesh for multiple dei'os.  What I
was suggesting was if one wants to follow the majority opinion as
against the minority, one would need to be careful.

That, I believe, is a totally different thing.  

>First, we know the gemara's opinion of people who hold by the chumros of both
>batei Hillel viShammai.
>Second, it's not normal halachic process. Aside from the compromize most
>Ashkenazim use for not hanging a mezuzah "like a nail" we usually pick an
>opinion and stick with it.

I don't think we are really disagreeing here.  I tend to agree that,
historically at any rate, being choshesh for multiple deos appears to be
more of a modern phenomenon, certainly in its scope and breadth.  But
that is invariably dealing with being choshesh for some minority opinion
(often a daas yachid).  What about the reverse case - ie where somebody
has decided that they "liked" a particular minority opinion (and lets
face it, an opinion that one doesn't have to pay taxes is the sort of
opinion one is going to like).  As my reference to kum li indicates, in
some circumstances we do allow people to take a minority opinion against
a majority one, but only in a beis din monetary situation, not vis a vis
a halachic obligation. 

>Gut Voch / Buenas Samane!
>- -mi
>- -- 



Chana/Heather Luntz

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 21:25:25 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Int'l Date Line and Sefirat ha-Omer

In message , Clark, Eli <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM> writes
>However, a more serious problem loomed: when to celebrate Shavu'ot.  By
>that time, he was back in Israel.  But Shavu'ot does not have a fixed
>calendar date; it is celebrated on the 50th night.  According to which
>count was he bound?  Mi-safek, he celebrated two days of Shavu'ot.  But
>these did not coincide with the two days of Shavu'ot celebrated in Galut
>in the West; rather, his "first" day was only erev Shavu'ot everywhere
>else (except in the East).  Moreover, he argued that, had he stayed in
>the US for Shavu'ot, he would have had to keep three days!

And he only crossed the dateline once!  What happens if his job, for
some reason, required him to constantly circumnavigate the globe
travelling always in the same direction.  That is, if on Sunday night
the 3rd day of the Omer he set off from Australia for the point on the
globe just over the international date line heading towards America.  He
counted 3 before he left, and then 3 and 4 when he arrived, also Sunday
night.  He then flew half way around the globe ( approx 15 hours to
South Africa), counted 4 and 5 there (on the Monday night), and then
flew back to Australia (15 hours), counting 5 and 6 on touchdown in  on
the Tuesday night.  On Wednesday night he counted 6 and 7 in Australia,
and then he flew to the same point, arriving, that time, on Wednesday
night. He would then have to count 6 again (for that time) and 7 and 8
(to keep the count going for the others, although maybe he can drop the
middle count, and only go for 6 and 8). Do that as many times as
possible during the Omer, and you could find yourself either celebrating
two days Shavuot weeks apart, or (maybe) continuously for a number of
>Eli Clark 



Chana/Heather Luntz

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 18:58:59 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Post Holocaust Hora's sho'oh

Zvi Weiss>> The Chassidic Shita appears to be AGAINST this sort of "everyone sit
and learn" (at least the Chassidim that I have met here) so I do not see the 
"hora'as Sha'a". <<

I cannot speak for Chassidim.  I think this hashkofof is failry common in the 
Yeshivishe Velt.  I also cannot say for sure that they all agree to it being 
temporary, but just that they feel compelled to compesnate for the loss of 
Torah that resulted from the destruction of the Eastern Euorpean world of 

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 17:04:41 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
calendar (fwd)

Many of our chaverim apprised me of the existence of the site mentioned
below. It is indeed impressive. Our Chaver, R' Ari, has compiled some
wonderful material on the subject as well.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 09:48:53 -0400

Check out this facinating site!


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 17:26:23 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Corrected Mareh Makom Request (fwd)

I do not think R' Yitzchok would mind me forwarding his note to me to the
group - it seems that Pesach getting earlier is the problem, not later.

I should note, however, that if you look at the Ezras Torah Luach for this
year, you will see that Pesach already falls in the Winter according to
the Julian tekufa, which is the only one identified on the Luach.

An additional note: Several of our chaveim noted the MB in the BH 428
proposed that the luach would need tikkun in 1983, but by then the Geula
would certainly have come. I have no idea what the tikkun was, but my
sources tell me it was not made!

Another note: Besides the website I noted separately, other chaverim
recommended R' Kasher's Torah Shleima, the entire vol. 13, that is
completely devoted to Sod Ha'Ibbur, and Edgar Frank's "Talmudic and
Rabinical Chronology" - both of which I took out of the library today.
Besides R' Ari Zivotofsky's writings, R' Eli Clark has some notes on the
RSG/BM issue, which he may be so kind as to share with us.

If anyone has any material they might share that is not susceptible to
e-mail, I did just acquire a fax machine! The number is 773 267 5054. (If
someone has the Rebbe's Sicha available to fax, that would be helpful).


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 15:37:18 EDT
To: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: Re: Corrected Mareh Makom Request

25th to the Omer

Reb YG N"Y

In a message dated 4/26/99 7:18:33 AM EST, sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu

> On the basis of a conversation I had today, it was brought to my
attention > that the problem is the other way, i.e., that Pesach will come
out too > late - in other words, after the end of the first month of
Spring. If that > is correct, it seems that the year 2016 is the first
problematic one, for > then Pesach comes out April 23rd. Would appreciate
verificaation, > rebuttal, any mareh mekomos, for that and the RSG/BM
controversy etc.!  > tHanks! 
AFAIK the problem is the reverse see the Pirush on Hil. Kidush Hachodesh
9:3, see also Margoliyos Hayam on Sanhedrin 13a Ois 10, there is a Sicha
of the Rebbe on the subject with a wealth of Maarei Mkomos it is printed
in Lkutei Sichos vol. 16 page 94 and on. 

as to the other way in 1986 Pessach came out on april 24, likewise
(earlier then 2016) in 2005 Pessach will come out on april 24. 

Bkovod Vyedidus. 

Yitzchok Zirkind 

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 22:51:55 -0500 (CDT)
From: Cheryl Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Re: Kollel Stipends

On Mon, 26 Apr 1999 richard_wolpoe@ibi.com wrote:

> Zvi Weiss: >>===> I dunno..  The "modern" Kollel is really a recent development.
>  I think that we are talking AFTER the time of R. Yisrael Salanter.  <<
> 2 quick qeustions:

> 1) What is the earliest source of the Yissochor-Zevulun arragnement

1 quick answer---Yissochar-and Zevulun (I think its a medrash in berashis
Rabbah or devarim Rabbah)

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 08:44:34 +0300
From: "Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer" <frimea@mail.biu.ac.il>
Some Additional Riddle Answers

> 3. How can you have a mixture which is dairy, and when meat accidentally
> falls in, the mixture becomes parve (neither meat nor dairy)?

If the meat that falls in is Pagum and is Pogem the whole Mixture.

> 8. On what date in the Jewish calendar do we sometimes recite Hallel
> while, in other years, on the same date, we recite Tachanun?

For those who say hallel on Yom Ha'atsmaut, if Hei Iyar falls out on
Erev Shabbat and is pushed back to 4 Iyar - most poskim indicate that
hallel should be said on 4 Iyar and Tachanun on 5 Iyar (Rav Goren
Dissents using Purim meshulash as a model).  A related scenario could be
Yom Yerushalayim.

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 08:45:54 +0300
From: "Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer" <frimea@mail.biu.ac.il>
Re: Avodah V3 #32

Several list members asked me for the name of Prof Nachum Rakovers book
on Yom Ha'Atzmaut. Here it is:
Hilkhot Yom Ha-Atzmaut ve-Yom Yerushalayim
Misrad HaDatot ve-Hamachlakah le-Tarbut Toranit Be-Misrad ha-Hinukh
ve-Hatarbut, Jerusalem 5733 (1973).
Hallel is Chapter 2
If I'm not mistaken, it was reprinted again recently (i.e., sometime in
the last five years ???)

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 10:09:23 +0300 (IDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@netcom.com>
Subject: Riddles

Thanks for the replies. If anyone else has suggestions please send them
to me (turkel@math,tau.ac.il) or to the list and bli neder I will
try and organize the answers.

> 8. On what date in the Jewish calendar do we sometimes recite Hallel
> while, in other years, on the same date, we recite Tachanun?

obviously yom haazmaut when heh iyar is on friday.

Eli Turkel

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 08:04:45 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re:Dina Dmalchuta

Having been inspired  by the discussion on this list, I'm doing IY"H a tikun 
leil shavuot presentation on this topic.  So far I've found 7 or 8 possible 
underlying reasons for this rule.  While there was earlier discussion of the 
possible tie in a sources opinion to the treatment of Jews by the sources 
government, I wonder if anyone has looked at, or has any thoughts on, a 
possible link to prevailing views in political science(eg divine rule of 
kings, separation of power of king from power of courts, etc., power of 
state=sum of individuals rights. I realize these are probably not the correct 
terms but I never took poli. sci. - it was considered too 'soft' a science:-)

Kol tuv
Joel Rich

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 09:42:07 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
RE: riddles

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eli Turkel [mailto:turkel@math.tau.ac.il]
> Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 5:36 AM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: riddles
> 1. When can a person be called to the Torah for 3 successive 
> aliyot on the
> same day?

A cohen is the maftir on shabbos and then is the cohen at a mincha where
there is no levi.

> 2. Someday, if they colonize the moon and there is a Jewish community,
> what blessing will they be unable to recite?

Probably kiddush levana, since they can't see the moon. And probably also
birchas hachama, since the won't see it k'briyasa. And also zocher habris,
since the moon has no atmoshpere to produce rainbows. Oh, wait. All of them,
since only insane people will live on the moon and insane people are exempt
from mitzvos.

> 3. How can you have a mixture which is dairy, and when meat 
> accidentally
> falls in, the mixture becomes parve (neither meat nor dairy)?

If the dairy was 1/60 to 59/60 pareve, the addition of 1 part meat will give
60 parts to be mevatel the dairy, and the dairy plus pareve has 60 times the
meat. (This doesn't sound too kosher.)

> 4. What is the explanation of the following? "Shmini B'Shmini 
> Shmini Shmini."

If shabbos hagadol is on the eighth day of nissan, we read the first aliya
of shmini eight times: shabbos hagadol at mincha, monday, thursday, pesach 1
at mincha, pesach 8 at mincha, monday, thursday, and shabbos. The initial
shmini in the statement refers to the week count of the 4 parshiyos. (I
don't see how this could happen in Israel, so where did Eli Turkel get this

> 5. One morning there were three people attending the same minyan. Each
> finished the silent amidah at the same time, yet, during
> the repetition of the amidah, one responded "amen" 26 times, 
> the second
> only 22 times and the third only three times. Can you
> explain this? (By the way, none of these people fell asleep 
> or failed to
> respond amen as required.)

The 26 timer answered 4 amens to birchas kohanim, and three during yaaleh
v'yavo (19+3+4=26); the 22 timer was the cohen who duchaned, and therefore
did not respond to his own brachos. I'm still working on the 3 timer -
either he was insane for all of chazaras hashatz except for yaaleh v'yavo,
and thus not required to answer amen except for those three times, or
there's some scenario revolving around his inadvertantly omitting yaaleh
v'yavo in his silent devotion.
> 6. What is the shortest word in the Torah?
> 7. The year 2000 is generally thought to have no particular 
> significance to
> Jews, yet, the year 2000 is special in one respect:
> there is a particular commemoration that will not be observed in that
> calendar year. What day is it?

Fast of 10 Teves.

> 8. On what date in the Jewish calendar do we sometimes recite Hallel
> while, in other years, on the same date, we recite Tachanun?

4 Iyar (is that hallel with or without a bracha?)

> 9. Triplets and their cousin are born within two hours of 
> each other. Yet
> their circumcisions are on four consecutive days. How
> can this occur? (No consideration need be given to the 
> international date
> line or any possible health related issues.)
> 10. Twins are born on the same day, Shabbat, yet their 
> circumcisions are
> NOT on the same day. (The health of neither baby is an issue.)

One of the twins was a girl. Her circumcision is never. (Also, if one of the
twins was androgynous, his/her/its bris wouldn't be on shabbos.)

> 11. Generally because Jerusalem is in an earlier time zone, 
> rituals are
> performed earlier there than in New York. What celebration 
> occurs earlier
> in New York than in Jerusalem.

Daylight Savings Time

> 12. What single verse (i.e. the same verse, not different 
> verses with the
> same words) is read publicly from the Torah most often?

V'amarta lahem in the kriah for rosh chodesh

> 13. We read the next regular Shabbat weekly Torah reading at Shabbat
> mincha. What weekly parashah is read at Shabbat mincha in Israel but
> NEVER in the diaspora?

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 09:22:51 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Luach I

WIth R' Ari's kind permission


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 09:55:52 -0400
From: "Ari Z. Zivotofsky" <azz@lsr.nei.nih.gov>

Misconception #5: The fixed Jewish calendar has been undisputed since
being established by the Patriarch Hillel II in the 4th century. 

Fact:  Hillel II set up some form of a fixed calendar in approximately
4119 (358/9 CE),1 but it was not the final version we use today and did
not ensure that there were no future debates about how details of various
aspects of the calendar. 

Background: Each year in the Jewish calendar is identified by a three
letter symbol2 identifying: 1) the day of the week on which Rosh Hashana
falls, 2) if Marcheshvan and Kislev, the only two months of varying length
in the Jewish calendar, are chaser (defective - both 29 days), shalaim
(complete - both 30 days)  or kesidran (regular - Marcheshvan has 29 and
Kislev 30), and 3) the day of the week on which Pesach occurs. For
example, 5759 is bet shin heh, meaning that Rosh Hashana occurred on
Monday, Marcheshvan and Kislev were Malei and Pesach will be on Thursday. 
There are 14 different possible permutations. The Tur (OC 428) 
established and the Mishna Berurah amended a perpetual calendar that
enables any year to be so characterized.  Unfortunately, uncertainty crept
in to some of the manuscripts.  The Chofetz Chaim (Biur Halacha to OC 427)
mentions some problems in years gone by, and then notes that the next
questionable year was not until 5743 (1983), but that the redemption will
surely come well before then and there is no need to worry. The redemption
did not come before that year, but no great schisms arose. That has not
always been the case with calendar issues. In the days of yore there was a
special ceremony that took place in which the head of the Israeli yeshivot
would formally announce on Hoshanna Rabbah from the Mount of Olives what
the calendar for the coming year would be like.  In 4681 (920 CE) the
leader of Eretz Yisrael Jewry, R. Aaron ben Meir, announced from the Mount
of Olives that Marcheshvan and Kislev would both have only 29 days and
Pesach would fall on Sunday, instead of Tuesday as everyone had
anticipated.  This would have also pushed Rosh Hashana two days earlier. 
This led to a great debate regarding the calendar between two giant
scholars of the time, Ben Meir and the leader of Babylonian Jewry, Rav
Saadia ben Yosef Gaon (882-942 CE).  It involved a calendrical rule known
as the molad zakein rule whereby if the molad of Tishrei is noon or later
then Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the next allowable day.3 Ben Meir
proposed relaxing that rule by 642 chalakim ("parts4"  - 35 minutes and 40
seconds). This would have avoided the two-day postponements that would
otherwise have occurred in 4638 and 4684 (922 and 923 CE) to be canceled
and cause all holidays in those two years to occur two days earlier. Rav
Saadya Gaon vigorously opposed this change and records indicate that that
part of the Jewish world that followed ben Meir's ruling, mostly Israel
and Egypt, actually observed the holidays two days earlier than their
co-religionists that year. Rav Saadya Gaon "won" the debate and was
appointed gaon as a result. It seems that Ben Meir really believed his
position and also maintained that Israel held supremacy in matters of the
calendar, something the Babylonians had acknowledged as late as 835 CE.5
After 923 the next relevant year for this debate was 927, in which it
would have made a one day difference and then it would not have been
germane until 1108 and then 1330, 1334, and 1335.6 There are no known
records indicating if a split again occurred in 927 or in the 12th and
14th centuries, although it appears likely that by then things would have
been well settled. 

      1The fixed calendar is not mentioned in the Mishna or Talmud. The
earliest record of this statement is in a responsa of Rav Hai Gaon (d.
1038 CE) cited in the 12th century work Sefer Ha'Ibbur by R. Avraham b.
Chiyya ha-Nasi. The enormity of what he did is pointed out by the
historian Graetz (II:572-3) who notes that one of the impetuses for
Hillel's action was the persecutions of Constantius that made
communication with the diaspora nearly impossible. As such, Hillel
selflessly severed the last significant tie of the dispersed communities
to the patriarchate of the Land of Israel and showed that he was "more
concerned for the certainty of the continuance of Judaism than for the
dignity of his own house." Hillel accomplished his feat by technically
sanctifying all new months in advance (Rambam, Kiddush hachodesh 5:1-3;
Ramban to sefer Hamitzvot no. 153.) 
      There are scholars that postulate that the final rules of the
calendar were finally codified much later, and that Hillel II made only a
preliminary version, such as establishing the seven out of nineteen leap
year rule. However, for several more centuries there even seems to have
been some variability in regard to which seven years should be the leap
years.  One argument in favor of this relates to the four dechiyot - rules
for postponing Rosh Hoshana that exist within the calendrical rules.  Only
two of the four are mentioned in the Talmud (Rosh Hashana 20a-b). 
However, in Arachin (9a) in is clear that at times the year could be 352
or 356 days (with the current system a year must be either 353, 354, 355,
383, 384, or 385 days)  and this "leniency"  made unnecessary the other
two dechiyot.  Since the Talmud never overturns this leniency and
instituted the other two dechiyot in would seem the current calendrical
rules were adopted post-talmudic (i.e. later than 500 CE). Additionally,
in the Iggeret of Rav Sherira Gaon it states that Rav Achai bar Rav Huna
died on Sunday the 4th of Adar 506 CE. According to our calendar rules,
the 4th of Adar cannot be on a Sunday.  Interestingly, there was an
ancient gravestone found near Zoar Southeast of the Dead sea that tells of
two people who died on Tuesday, 11 Elul 4263 (503 CE). For 11 Elul to be
on a tuesday, one of two rules of our calendar must have been violated.
Either Elul had 30 days or Rosh Hashana would have been on Sunday. Here is
another proof that at the beginning of the 6th century the calendar was
not fixed as we have it (See Frank, pages 38-40).  There is talmudic
evidence in Yerushalmi Megillah 1,2 that some form of a fixed calendar
already existed in that period, but the overwhelming evidence points to a
gradual codification of the calendar, with the final form not taking shape
until the 9th or 10 century. 

      2Some charts will use only two letters since the first two really
predetermine the third. The year 5759 is BSh"H. 

      3This is one of the four dechiyot - rules for postponing Rosh
Hoshana that exist within the calendrical rules. 

     4A chelek is 1/1080 of an hour or 3 1/3 seconds. 

      5This is evidenced in a letter written by the Babylonian Exilarch
that has been found in the Cairo genizah in which he instructs his
followers to accept the dates fixed by the authorities in the Land of

      6In the 1400 years between 900 and 2300 CE it would have been
pertinent only 20 times. Most recently, the Rosh Hashana that was observed
on Saturday, Sept 14, 1844 Ben Meir would have observed on thursday,
September 12, and the next occurrence would be the Rosh hashana that will
be observed on Tuesday, September 23, 2025 Ben Meir would advocate being
observed on Monday September 22.  See
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/1584/#01 for these calculations and much
additional information about the calendar.  The web site and all its math
is the work of Remy Landau.  The controversy was recorded by Rav Saadya
Gaon in his work Sefer ha-Mo'adim and was also gleefully chronicled by the
Karaites.  For details see EJ 14:543-545 and 4:539-540.  for details on
this and other aspects of the calendar see: The Corob Lecture:  The
origins of the Jewish Calendar by Sacha Stern in Le'ela, October 1997,
pages 2-5. 

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >