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Rosh Hashanah 3: Jewish Kings, Non-Jewish Kings, and One Who Was Both (not quite)

Counting the years for kings… How does the mishnah know that the kings’ rule is counted from Rosh Chodesh Nisan?The Gemara tracks through biblical verses… Twice. Once, via a beraita. Plus, the fact that non-Jewish kings’ rule is counted via Tishrei, and why that is. But what about Koresh (Cyrus)? He’s a non-Jewish king whose rule seems to have been counted according to Nisan. Ah, but he was good! Or was he? Plus, the Gemara conflates him, Daryavesh (Darius), and Artaxerxes as one – which may solve the contradictions between records of Persian history and the Jewish tradition. Also: the rabbinic approach of “conservation of biblical personality.”

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Anne and Yardaena

Anne Gordon is the deputy editor of Ops & Blogs at The Times of Israel. She is a veteran educator, having taught in high school and post-high school institutions in Israel and America for several decades. Yardaena Osband is a pediatrician and teaches in her community and online. They both hail from Boston, proud alumna of Maimonides School, where they first learned Gemara. Talking Talmud is their conversation (via podcast) on the daf yomi. They say: "Learning the daf? We have something for you to think about. Not learning the daf? We have something for you to think about! (Along with a taste of the daf...) Join the conversation with us!"
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