Thoughts By Susan Suna
Rava’s rules that even after the Takana of Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakai, that he would accept testimony regarding the new moon even after Mincha, an egg that was born on the first day Rosh Hashana is prohibited on the second day as well. The Takana was in place to declare the first of Tishrei and thereby set the dates of the holidays but it did not rescind the first Takana of Beit Din that we saw at the beginning of the daf: If witnesses come late in the day, from the time of Mincha there were two days of Rosh Hashanah and that they were treated like one Kedusha, one long day.
The Rif states that we learn from Rava’s statement that this ruling applies not only in Chu”l but in Israel as well even today when we have Hillel’s set calendar. His reasoning is based on the fact that when Rosh Hashanah was declared by bringing testimony, all areas outside of Beit Din’s immediate area kept two days Rosh Hashanah.
However, the Baal HaMaor states that today in Israel we should keep only one day Rosh Hashanah as:
- there is no doubt as to which day is the first of Tishrei
- all of Israel is considered the area of Beit Din where witnesses came before Mincha and in such a case there would only be one day Rosh Hashanah even according to Rava.
The Baal HaMaor who lived between 1115 – 1186 claims that earlier generations only kept one day of Rosh Hashanah until the Rif gave his pesak that they should keep two days. The Miri is supportive of the Baal HaMaor’s opinion.
However the Ramban in Milhamot HaShem, where he defends the Rif’s opinions from the criticism of the Baal HaMaor, disagrees. The Ramban claims that the Baal HaMaor misunderstood the answer recorded in Teshuvot Ha-Geonim to the question from the Jewish community living in Israel at the time. The question was whether they are correct to keep one day Rosh Hashanah. The cryptic response was מנהג אבותיכם בידיכם. The Baal HaMaor whose opinion is based on this Tshuva, understood that this meant the people in Israel were correct in keeping only one day. The Ramban claims that the Geonim were not saying that the custom was to keep one day but that the custom was to keep two days of Rosh Hashanah in Eretz Yisrael as was done at the time when witnesses came to Jerusalem to declare the new month. Only in the area of Beit Din, Jerusalem would one day be observed and that was only if the witnesses came before Mincha. But if the witnesses came after Mincha or the next day then two days of Rosh Hashanah would be observed in Jerusalem as well. Therefore two days of Rosh Hashana is the prevalent Minhag.
Video Shiur: Yehudit Epstein & Dena Rock Vidoe Shiur