(a) GEMARA - Maseches Rosh Hashanah follows Beitzah in the Dafyomi cycle. Although it was printed in the Vilna Shas before Yoma and Sukah, the order followed by the Dafyomi cycle is that followed in the printed editions of the Mishnayos, which is the correct order according to both the Rambam and Rav Sherira Gaon. Rosh Hashanah, they explain, follows Beitzah either as an epilogue to the discussion of the Moadim (Rambam) or as a prologue to the discussion of the growing cycle of produce in Maseches Ta'anis (Rav Sherira - Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the rainy season and the sowing season). This, of course, leaves us wondering why the Maseches dealing with Yom Kipur (Yoma) was placed somewhere else in Seder Moed entirely -- for which they offer various answers (see Introduction of the Tosfos Yom Tov to Yoma). This order of Masechtos does, however, conform precisely to the pattern of larger-Maseches-first which we discussed in our introduction to Maseches Tamid (I:a). Hence, the order in Moed is Shekalim (8 Perakim), followed by Yoma (also 8), Sukah (5), Beitzah (5), Rosh Hashanah (4), Ta'anis (4) and so on.

The first two chapters of Maseches Rosh Hashanah deal with the different days that are Rosh Hashanah for different Halachos, and with those Halachos themselves (including a lengthy discussion about the essence of the Rosh Hashanah that we know as the "Day of Judgment") and the manner of sanctifying the new moon. The last two chapters discuss the Halachos of the Shofar and the prayers of the first of Rosh Hashanah.

It is interesting to note that even though the first day of Tishrei is the Moed we call "Rosh Hashanah," the "start" of the year, the Tana'im argue whether this day was actually the day on which the world (or Adam ha'Rishon) was created or whether the world was created on the first of Nisan. If the world was created -- or Adam ha'Rishon was granted atonement for his sin -- on the first of Tishrei, it is clear why every year the inhabitants of the world are called to task on that day (see Vayikra Rabba 29:1). But if the world was created in Nisan, why was the first of Tishrei designated as the time to "turn over a new leaf" and to be judged for the year's deeds? A number of approaches are suggested to answer this question, which we will discuss in the Insights to Daf 16a, b'Ezras Hashem.

In two places in the Maseches unusual emphasis is put on astronomy/astrology (Daf 11b, Daf 20), subjects with which most people are not familiar. We have provided a list of helpful works on these subjects in our "Study Tools" section at the end of the introduction.

(b) RASHI - The style of Rashi in this Maseches is similar to his style in the rest of Shas.

In two places Rashi cites from "a Roman commentary" (Rashi 14a DH Ika Beinaihu, and 11b, in a Hagahah printed at the end of the Maseches which appears to be an early version of Rashi's commentary on the Sugya of Mazalos). Rashi also makes a reference to this commentary in Kerisus (5a DH Hamakom). From all appearances, Rashi is referring to the commentary of the Aruch, Rav Nosson (who was Rosh Yeshiva in Rome until 1106). The comments he refers to on 11a and in Kerisus indeed appear in the Aruch (Erech "Kimah" and Erech "Bad" #2, respectively), although the comment referred to on 14a does not appear in our editions of the Aruch. (Rashi quotes the Aruch by name once, in Shabbos 13b DH ha'Ochel; see also Rashbam Bava Basra 52a DH Aba. Although Rashi does not often refer the Aruch in this fashion, nevertheless he does refers quite commonly to the elucidations of the Aruch -- and of his mentor, Rabeinu Chananel -- with the allusion "Shamati" -- "I have heard....")

(c) TOSFOS - The Tosfos in Rosh Hashanah has been attributed to Rabeinu Shimshon of Sens, the "Rash mi'Shantz" (Rav Efraim Ohrbach in Ba'alei ha'Tosfos, p. 481). In addition to the Tosfos printed on the margin of the Gemara, a Tosfos Yeshanim on Rosh Hashanah has been printed separately (see below, in the section on Ba'alei ha'Tosfos).


(This section includes a roughly chronological listing of Rishonim who wrote a Daf-by-Daf commentary on the Maseches which is not included in the standard Vilna Shas. We have included some commentaries even though they were written on the Rif, and not on the Maseches itself, since they include many important insights on the Maseches.)


(a) RABEINU CHANANEL - Rabeinu Chananel ben Chushiel, lived in the 11th century. His father, Rabeinu Chushiel, was one of the famous "four captives" (a group of Roshei Yeshivah who were captured by pirates and redeemed separately by communities along the Mediterranean coast). His father was redeemed from bondage in Kirouan, North Africa, and it was there that Rabeinu Chananel was born. Rabeinu Chananel's commentary on Rosh Hashanaah appears in the margins of the Vilna Shas, and was recently reprinted from manuscript with annotations by Rav David Metzger (Wagschal, Yerushalayim, 1994).

(b) PERUSH HA'RAMBAM - this commentary on Maseches Rosh Hashanah is attribited to the Rambam, Rabeinu Moshe ben Maimon (d. 1205, the generation after Rashi). The Rambam himself refers to commentaries he wrote on Moed, Nashim, Nezikin and Chulin in his introduction to the Perush ha'Mishnah, which would make this a sample of his earliest works. (He must have been very young indeed when he authored these Perushim, since by his own account he wrote the Perush ha'Mishnah, in which he refers to these works, between the ages of 23 and 30.) This short commentary, in which he elaborates on selected points from the Maseches, was first printed in 1866 in Paris and reprinted in 1962 (Tel Aviv). It is included in the collection of commentaries on Rosh Hashanah called "Al Maseches Rosh Hashanah" (Yerushalayim, 1986). Short excerpts from the Rambam's other works on Moed are quoted by other Rishonim, and have been collected in "Chidushei ha'Rambam l'Talmud (Rav M. Y. L. Zaks, Yerushalayim 1968).


(a) RAMBAN - Rabeinu Moshe ben Nachman lived in the 1200's (d. 1270) and was a student of the RAMAH (Rabeinu Meir ha'Levi Abulefia). He authored a small number of Chidushim on Rosh Hashanah, as well as the Milchamos Hashem on the Rif. The Ramban's commentary was published with corrections and short annotations by Rav Iser Zalman Meltzer in 5688 (1928). The brief commentary on Rosh Hashanah was printed again from manuscripts, along with corrections and clarifications, by Rav Moshe Hershler.

(b) RASHBA - Rabeinu Shlomo (ben Avraham) ben Aderes, d. 1310. The Rashba's primary mentor was Rabeinu Yonah, a cousin of the Ramban, but he also learned under the Ramban. The Rashba's Chidushim on Rosh Hashanah were reprinted by Mosad Rav Kook with annotations by Rav Chaim Zalman Dimitrovsky.

(c) RABEINU AVRAHAM (BEN HARAV YITZCHAK) MIN HA'HAR - that is, from Montpellier, a contemporary of the Ramban and the Rashba. A major goal of this commentary is to explain each Sugya according to the Rambam. The author of this manuscript appears to be the author of the commentaries "Tosfos Rid" and "Tosfos Ri ha'Zaken" which are printed in the margins of Maseches Gitin and Kidushin, respectively. His commentary on Maseches Rosh Hashanah was published from the author's own manuscript by Rav Moshe Yehudah ha'Kohen Blau (New York, 1975).

(d) RITVA - Rabeinu Yom Tov ben Avraham Al'ashvili, who lived in the 1300's, was a close disciple of the Re'ah and, later, of the Rashba. His commentary on Rosh Hashanah is included in the classic set, and has been reprinted with annotations by Mosad ha'Rav Kook (Yerushalayim 1988).

(e) CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN - Rabeinu Nisim ben Rav Reuven Girondi lived in the 1300's (d. ~1380). His Chidushim are often patterned after those of the Rashba, whose points he further develops. The Ran's Chidushim on Rosh Hashanah appear in the old, single volume set of the Chidushei ha'Ran on Shas, and have been reprinted several times.


(a) SHITAS RIVAV - by Rabeinu Yehudah bar Berachyah, a nephew of the Ba'al ha'Me'or. His short commentary is printed alongside the Rif on many Masechtos, including Rosh Hashanah. He often uses (without quoting by name) the words of Rashi, making his work an excellent source for verifying the proper Girsa in Rashi.

(b) RABEINU YEHONASAN MI'LUNIL - A younger contemporary of the Rambam, he lived in the early 1200's and learned under the Ra'avad. He wrote a commentary on the Rif for most of Shas, the commentary on Rosh Hashanah is included in Rav Hershler's "Ginzei Rishonim" on Rosh Hashanah. A collection of his Chidushim on 21 Masechtos (including ours) have been printed under separate cover (Yerushalayim, 1985).

(c) SEFER HA'HASHLAMAH - Rabeinu Meshulam ben Moshe wrote Sefer ha'Hashlamah on the Rif in order to complement the Rif's commentary by adding the Halachos that were not discussed by the Rif. He died in 1238. His commentary was published in "Ginzei Rishonim" of Rav Moshe Hershler.

(d) SEFER HA'MICHTAM - Rabeinu David ben Levi lived at the turn of the fourteenth century and learned under his father, Rabeinu Levi ben Benveneshti. His works served as the primary source for Rav Aharon of Lunil's Halachic work, "Orchos Chaim," which in turn served as the basis for the Kol Bo, another frequently cited Halachic compendium. His commentary on Rosh Hashanah was published in "Ginzei Rishonim" of Rav Moshe Hershler.

(e) BEIS HA'BECHIRAH - Rabeinu Menachem ben Shlomo (d. 1315) wrote his comprehensive Halachic work, "Beis ha'Bechirah," on 37 Masechtos of Shas. A student of the Rashba, he sometimes even cites from commentaries as late as those of the Ritva. Almost never mentioning another Rishon by name, the Me'iri created "nicknames" for the commentators from whom he often cites, such as "Gedolei ha'Rabanim" for Rashi, etc. A convenient list of these, along with their true identities, can be found at the beginning of the Beis ha'Bechirah on Beitzah.


(a) RA'AVAN - Rabeinu Eliezer ben Nasan of Mainz (d. 1170). A contemporary of the Rashbam and Rabeinu Tam, he was one of the earliest of the Ba'alei ha'Tosfos. The Rosh was among his descendants. His commentary comprises Halachic discussion.

(b) RA'AVYAH - Rabeinu Eliezer ben Yoel ha'Levi (d. 1225), grandson of Ra'avan, authored "Sefer Avi ha'Ezri," which is more commonly known by its author's acronym as "Sefer Ra'avyah." He had a significant influence on the Rosh.

(c) OR ZARU'A - Rabeinu Yitzchak ben Moshe (d. 1260) authored the Or Zaru'a. He studied under many of the great sages of his times, including Rabeinu Yehudah he'Chasid, the Ra'avyah, the Sar mi'Kutzi, and the Ba'al ha'Roke'ach. (His son, Rav Chaim Or Zaru'a, wrote a collection of Teshuvos.) Rabeinu Yitzchak named his work "Or Zaru'a" out of his excitement when he noted that the end letters of the verse "Or Zaru'a la'Tzadik..." spell out "R' Akiva." The Or Zaru'a usually prefaces each Halachah with a citation of the pertinent Gemara and Rashi, making him an excellent source for verifying variant Girsa'os in Rashi. His work details the Halachic opinions as based on the Gemara, setting the pace for the Rosh and others. (According to Rabbi Berel Wein, the Or Zaru'a, printed as it was in a time of increasing persecution against the Jews and decreasing scholarship, opened up new venues of learning for the Jewish people and is considered to have saved Talmudic scholarship in Europe.)

(d) TOSFOS RID and PISKEI RID - Rabeinu Yeshaya (ben Mali, or ha'Rishon) d'Trani was one of the leading sages of Italy/Germany during the early 1200's. His commentary on most of the Masechtos of Shas is known as "Tosfos Rid." He also compiled a Halachic summary of the Maseches called "Piskei Rid," which has recently been printed by Mechon ha'Talmud ha'Yisraeli.

(e) PISKEI RI'AZ - by the grandson of the above, Rabeinu Yeshaya Acharon Z'L, printed together with Piskei Rid, as listed above. It is often cited in the SHILTEI GIBORIM on the Rif.

(f) RIVEVAN - Rabeinu Yehudah ben Binyamin ha'Rofei from the family of the Anavim (d. 1280), who studied in Germany under Rabeinu Avigdor Kohen Tzedek and became one of the leading sages of Italy, wrote a commentary to the Rif for many Masechtos. Among his students was the Shibolei ha'Leket. Included in Harav Moshe Hershler's "Ginzei Rishonim" on Rosh Hashanah.

(g) SEFER HA'AGUDAH - short, Halachic commentary on the Mishnayos by Rabeinu Alexander Zuslin ha'Kohen (d. 1348; he was killed by gentiles in a pogrom during the period of the Black Plague).


(a) TOSFOS YESHANIM - A commentary written by the Ba'alei ha'Tosfos. It is not known exactly who authored the Tosfos Yeshanim on Maseches Rosh Hashanah. It was printed by Rav Moshe Hershler (together with the commentary of Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz on Beitzah, Yerushalayim, 1984).

(b) TOSFOS HA'ROSH - Rabeinu Asher ben Yechiel (d. 1328), originally from Germany, fled to Spain after his mentor, Rav Meir of Rotenberg, was taken captive by the authorities and passed away in jail. One of the great sages of Germany, he wrote commentaries and rulings on most of Shas which had a profound influence on the current Halachic practice. His Tosfos are patterned after those of the classic Ba'alei ha'Tosfos, and often shed light on Tosfos' intent. Tosfos ha'Rosh on Rosh Hashanah, available in the common set of Tosfos ha'Rosh, were recently reprinted from manuscript with annotations.



(a) YOM TERU'AH - beautiful insights on the third and fourth Perakim of Rosh Hashanah, by Rav Moshe ben Chaviv (Maharam Ibn Chaviv). Published together with his two other popular commentaries on the Gemara, "Kapos Temarim" (Sukah, 3rd Perek), and "Tosfos Yom ha'Kipurim" (Yoma, last Perek). Some of the printings include marginal notes and comments by later Geonim such as Rebbi Akiva Eiger. It was first published in Costantinople in 1728.
(b) PNEI YEHOSHUA - by Rav Yehoshua Yusha Falk of Krakow. One of the most basic commentaries on the Gemara, Rashi and Tosfos, it was once the accepted practice for Yeshiva students to learn the Pnei Yehoshua from cover to cover while learning a Maseches.
(c) TUREI EVEN - a classic commentary on Rosh Hashanah, Chagigah, and Megilah, by Hagaon Rav Aryeh Leib of Mitz, author of Sha'agas Aryeh (Teshuvos) and Gevuras Ari (Chidushim on Yoma, Makos, and Ta'anis).
(d) REBBI AKIVA EIGER - A large collection of Chidushim on the Maseches, culled from all of his writings, was published in Zichron Yakov, 5743 (1983).
(e) ARUCH LA'NER - A broad and penetrating commentary on the entire Maseches by the Rav Yakov Ettinger. He deals with all aspects of the Maseches with awesome sharpness, depth, and breadth.
(f) CHASAM SOFER - Rav Moshe Sofer of Frankfurt, son-in-law of Rebbi Akiva Eiger and student of Rav Nasan Adler and Rav Pinchas Horowitz (the Hafla'ah). A prolific writer, his legacy includes at least 7 volumes of responsa, Chidushim on much of Shas, Derashos, Chidushim on the Torah (2 different sets) and on Shulchan Aruch -- all of which are considered to be basic and necessary works in their field. His Chidushim on Shas were published by Machon Chasam Sofer (1993).
(g) SEFAS EMES - short and penetrating insights by Rav Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Gur, the second Gerer Rebbe, grandson of the Chidushei ha'Rim (the first Gerer Rebbe).
(h) MEROMEI SADEH - Chidushim on most of Shas by the Netziv (Rav N'aftali Tz'vi Y'ehudah B'erlin, great grandson of Rav Chaim of Volozhen), the last Rosh Yeshivah of Volozhen. The Netziv's works include Ha'amek Davar on the Torah as well as well-used in-depth commentaries on the Sifri, Mechilta and She'iltos, responsa called "Meshiv Davar," and others.
(i) SIFSEI CHACHAMIM - an excellent volume on Berachos, Rosh Hashanah and Megilah, by Rav Avraham Aba Hertzel of Pressburg (1898), based primarily on the works of the earlier Acharonim, offering Pshat-based explanations of the Gemara, arranged page by page first on the Gemara, then on Rashi and then on Tosfos. It includes full citations of all sources quoted by the Gemara, Rashi or Tosfos.
(j) HAGAHOS MAHARSHAM - by Rav Shalom Mordechai Shwadron, Rav of Brezhan, Galitzia (grandfather of the late "Yerushalayimer Magid," Rav Shalom Shwadron, who published most of his grandfather's works). References to Acharonim that deal with the Maseches, and short insightful notes of his own, on much of Seder Moed. It includes many comments by Rav Moshe Yisrael Feldman, his Talmid, who originally published the work in 1932.
(k) MENACHEM MESHIV NEFESH - short, helpful comments pertaining to the literal meaning of the Gemara and Rashi, meant for those learning the Maseches quickly -- on Berachos and all of Seder Mo'ed. Includes many Girsa corrections as well.


(a) GILYONEI HA'SHAS - by Rav Yosef Engel, author of "Asvan d'Oraisa." Mostly references to, and quotes from, the writings of the Rishonim in their responsa and other early works, with additional insights by the author.
(b) OR HA'YASHAR - important and fascinating references on every Daf of the Shas (and on Tanach and Mishnayos as well) by Rav Shmuel Hilman.
(c) SHITA MEKUBETZES HE'CHADASH - otherwise called "Asifas Zekeinim," a collection of comments by Acharonim on the Maseches compiled by Rav Nasan Tzvi Pessyas. First published in Poland in 1928 and reprinted in "Al Maseches Rosh Hashanah" (Yerushalayim, 1986).


(a) SHVILEI D'RAKI'A - Written by the Tiferes Yisrael, Rav Yisrael Lipshitz, this introduction to the principles of Rabbinical astronomy and determining the Molad appears in the beginning of Seder Mo'ed in the "Tiferes Yisrael" sets of Mishnayos.

(b) KUNTRUS DI SHEMAYA - this short, 40-page booklet is a well done introduction, in easy-to-read Hebrew, to the astronomical topics discussed in the Gemara, specifically discussing the Sugyos in Rosh Hashanah. The author, Rabbi Alexander Schutz, uses excellent diagrams to demonstrate the astronomical principles. The booklet is available directly from the author in Israel (phone: (972)(8) 974-2353).

(c) TZVA HA'SHAMAYIM - a two-volume (630 pp.) introduction to astronomy, in Hebrew, by Dr. Nisim Vidal, a renowned astromer (former chief astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, presently living in Bayit v'Gan, Jerusalem). This book includes many diagrams and photographs. The author writes in his introduction that the book is intended "specifically for the believing Jew" (it was originally printed as weekly articles in the "Machaneh ha'Charedi," a publication of Chasidei Belz) However, it does not relate the astronomical topics to the specific Sugyos in the Gemara.

(d) UNDERSTANDING THE JEWISH CALENDAR - by Rabbi Nathan Bushwick (Moznaim Publishing, 1989), this book discusses the movement of the sun, stars, and moon. It describes the calculations of the new month based on the Molad, and the system of the Jewish calendar and the relationship between the lunar and solar calendars. However, it does not relate specifically to the Sugyos in the Gemara.

(e) KOLLEL IYUN HADAF's invaluable "INSIGHTS TO THE DAF" touch on many of the questions one is likely to ask on Gemara and Rashi, as well as Halachic clarifications and in-depth discussions on issues and Agados of the Maseches. Our helpful "CHARTS" and "BACKGROUND TO THE DAF" make the Maseches much more approachable, with translations, Girsa notes, and introductions to concepts discussed on the Daf. Summarize what you've learnt with our "REVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS," or our "OUTLINES OF THE DAF," or if you prefer Hebrew, review with our "CONCISE HEBREW REVIEW OF THE DAF." ASK THE KOLLEL your questions on the Daf and receive clear, authoritative answers.

We now feature as well Harav Yosef Ben Arza's renowned Hebrew-language "YOSEF DA'AS" pamphlets (although we will not keep them in our archives indefinitely, as our with our other publications). This outstanding publication has long been a staple for those wishing to gain exposure to a broad segment of the commentaries on each Daf. It includes a separate Hebrew review questions section as well.

All of the above material is available free of charge through e-mail request (write to INFO@DAFYOMI.CO.IL for more information about the Dafyomi Advancement Forum) or from our archive site,


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