THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
Rosh Hashanah 18
ROSH HASHANAH 17 & 18 (8, 9 Av) - these Dafim have been dedicated by Rabbi
Eli Turkel of Ra'anana, Israel, to the memory of his father, Reb Yisrael
Shimon ben Shlomo ha'Levi Turkel (Yarhzeit: 10 Av).
1) THE MESSENGERS OF THE NEW MONTH
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that Sheluchim, messengers, are sent out to
the Diaspora to announce the declaration of the new month. They are sent on
six different months out of the year (when the exact date of the new month
is necessary to know in order to observe the festivals on the proper days).
One of the months in which the Sheluchim go out is Elul, in order for all of
the people to know when Rosh Hashanah will occur.
RASHI comments that due to the arrival of the Sheluchim, "the people in the
Golah know to make Rosh Hashanah thirty days after the start of Elul,
because Elul is usually not Me'ubar (30 days long). Even though it is
possible that the Beis Din will make Elul a 30-day month, we follow the
majority of years (in which Elul is 29 days long), and therefore they
observe the thirtieth day after Rosh Chodesh Elul as Rosh Hashanah."
There are a number of problems with Rashi's explanation.
(a) Why does Rashi say that in the "Golah" they need Sheluchim in order to
know when Elul began so that they will make Rosh Hashanah the thirtieth day
of Elul? Even in Eretz Yisrael, the people outside of Yerushalayim need to
know when Elul began so that they will know when to observe Rosh Hashanah!
(b) Rashi seems to be saying that in the Golah they kept only one day of
Rosh Hashanah, because they relied on a Rov (that in most years, Elul is
Mechusar). How could Rashi say that they kept only one day? We find in
numerous places (such as Beitzah 6a) that they kept two days of Rosh
Hashanah out of doubt!
(c) According to Rashi, the people in the Golah know when the first of
Tishrei is because they know (due to the Sheluchim) when the first of Elul
was, and they may assume that Elul is 29 days long. If so, they should also
know when the tenth of Tishrei (Yom Kipur) occurs and when the fifteenth of
Tishrei (Sukos) occurs! Why, then, is there a need for Sheluchim to go out
to inform them when Rosh Chodesh Tishrei is?
(a) It could be that in Eretz Yisrael, even though the people do not know
when Rosh Chodesh Tishrei is and will therefore need to know when Rosh
Chodesh Elul was, they do not need Sheluchim to inform them. Word about when
Rosh Chodesh Elul was established gets around the country quickly. Sheluchim
are only needed for those in the Golah.
(Although the RAN and BARTENURA quote the words of Rashi as they appear in
our text with the word "ba'Golah," in the Rashi on the Rif and as quoted by
the SHITAS RIVAV, the word "ba'Golah" is omitted. According to that Girsa,
this question does not begin.)
(b) Regarding the second question, how could Rashi say that they keep one
day of Rosh Hashanah in the Golah, Rashi is probably bothered by the
question of the RITVA. The Ritva asks that if the people in the Golah must
keep two days of Rosh Hashanah out of a doubt how many days were in the
month of Elul (29 or 30), then of what benefit are the Sheluchim of Rosh
Chodesh Elul? (This is also the question of the LECHEM MISHNAH in Hilchos
Kidush ha'Chodesh 3:9.) The benefit of the Sheluchim cannot be that without
them the people would have to keep three days of Rosh Hashanah, because by
no holiday do we find that *three* days were observed out of doubt! What,
then, do we gain with the Sheluchim, since with or without the Sheluchim we
must keep two days of Rosh Hashanah in the Golah out of doubt? This is why
Rashi explains that with Sheluchim we keep only one day of Rosh Hashanah,
and thus we benefit by not having to keep two days.
Regarding the Gemaros that say that we keep two days of Rosh Hashanah, that
is when there are no Sheluchim, and the people did not know when Rosh
Chodesh Elul was declared.
The other Rishonim (for example, TOSFOS DH v'Al) argue with Rashi. They say
that in the Golah, the people keep two days even when Sheluchim are sent
out. Accordingly, the benefit of sending out Sheluchim was so that the
people not need observe *three* days of Rosh Hashanah. They would not really
have had to keep three days of Rosh Hashanah even without the Sheluchim,
since they could assume that Beis Din would not make three 29-day months in
a row. Nevertheless, since it is better to be certain than to be in doubt,
Sheluchim were sent to confirm when indeed Beis Din had declared Elul. By
sending out Sheluchim, the people will know for sure that there is no need
to observe three days, but only two. (RITVA)
(c) Rashi (DH v'Al Tishrei) explains that the Sheluchim of Tishrei were
sent only so that the people know that they did the right thing and not have a guilty conscience on Yom Kipur. But even without Sheluchim, their observance of the tenth day according to their count from the beginning of Elul would be the correct day of Yom Kipur.