ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafRosh Hashanah 24
(a) We reconcile the Beraisa which rules that, if the witnesses testify that
they saw the new moon to the north of the sun, their words are accepted, but
if they said to the south, they are not, with the Beraisa which says the
reverse - by establishing the former Beraisa in the winter, when the moon
(which is always seen in the south-west immediately after the Molad) arrives
in the west before the sun (and can therefore be seen to the north of the
sun); and the latter Beraisa in the summer, where the sun travels towards
the north, in which case, the moon cannot possibly be seen to the north of
the sun as the sun begins to set (which is the time that the new moon can be
seen, but not in the middle of the day, as we learned above on Daf 21a.).
(b) If one of the witnesses gives the height of the new moon as *two*
saddle-cloths, and the other one, as *three*, their testimony is accepted -
whereas if the one were to say '*three* saddle-cloths', and the other,
*'five'*, it is disqualified.
(c) When the Tana adds 'Aval Mitztarfin le'Eidus Acheres' - he means that if
one of the witnesses finds a third witness who agrees with him (in this same
case), then he can combine with him (because it is now two against one) but
not to testify in other cases.
(a) We do not accept the testimony of witnesses who claim that they saw the
moon reflected in the water, through the glass of a lantern or behind the
(b) When the Tana (of the Beraisa) adds that if they saw half of the moon in
one of these situations and half in the other, their testimony is invalid -
he is referring to when they saw half the moon in the water, through glass
or through a lantern, and the other half in the sky. And he comes to teach
us that, although they saw half of the real moon, their testimony is
(c) And when the Tana (of another Beraisa) disqualifies the testimony of
witnesses who say that they saw the new moon one moment, and when they
looked again, it was gone - he means, not that they must see the new moon
all night long, but - that they first saw it inadvertently, and then, when
they looked again, with the intention of testifying, it was gone.
(d) Their testimony is invalid in this case - because maybe what they saw
was only a roundish, white cloud that resembled the moon.
(a) We learn from the Pasuk in Emor ...
1. ... "*va'Yedaber Moshe es Mo'adei Hashem* el B'nei Yisrael" - that the
head of Beis-Din is obligated to announce Rosh Chodesh.
(b) According to the Tana Kama of our Mishnah, Beis-Din declare Rosh
Chodesh, whether it is on the thirtieth of the month or on the thirty-first
- Rebbi Eliezer b'Rebbi Tzadok says that if the new moon was not seen on the
thirtieth (in which case it is obvious that Rosh Chodesh will fall on the
thirty-first), then it is not necessary for Beis-Din to declare Rosh
Chodesh, since this has already been done in Heaven.
2. ... "Asher Tikre'u *Osom*" (which is missing a 'Vav', as if it was
written "Atem") - that all those present repeat the declaration.
(c) The declaration consisted of the words - 'Mekudash, Mekudash'!
(a) The Beraisa cites two additional opinions regarding Beis-Din's
declaration. P'limu holds - that if the new moon *is* seen on the thirtieth,
Beis-Din did not need to declare Rosh Chodesh (since that is the ideal time
for Rosh Chodesh to fall, and it does not require a declaration to reinforce
it). It is only when it is *not*, and Rosh Chodesh falls on the thirty-
first, that a declaration is necessary.
(b) Perhaps the most radical opinion of all is that of Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi
Shimon, who learns from the Pasuk "ve'Kidashtem es *Sh'nas* ha'Chamishim ...
" - that it is *years* that need sanctification, but not *months*
(irrespective of when the new moon was seen).
(c) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel rules like Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Tzadok in our
(d) A later Mishnah states that if Beis-Din and all Yisrael saw the new moon
... but they did not manage to declare Rosh Chodesh before night fell, the
month is full (i.e. Rosh Chodesh will only be on the following day). We
cannot infer from the Tana's words 'the month is full', that it does not
require a declaration (a proof for Rav Yehudah's ruling like Rebbi Elazar
b'Rebbi Tzadok) - because the Tana needs to tell us that the month is full,
since we may otherwise have thought that once Beis-Din and the whole of
Yisrael see the moon, we will not postpone Rosh Chodesh (and once the
statement is needed for itself, it cannot be used for the inference).
(a) Raban Gamliel would cross-examine the witnesses as to whether they had
actually seen the moon or not - by pointing to drawings of the moon on a
large board and on the wall in his attic, and asking them whether they saw
it like this or like that.
(b) Abaye explains that when the Torah writes "Lo Sa'asun Iti" (prohibiting
even the *making* of the image of any of Hashem's servants) - it only comes
to forbid making a replica of those physical servants that it is possible to
make a replica of (but not the sun and the moon and the other heavenly
(c) One is prohibited from constructing a replica of the Heichal, the Ulam
or the Azarah - and this prohibition includes the Holy *vessels*.
(d) One may construct a Menorah of metal - provided it does not have seven
(a) The Tana Kama of the Beraisa forbids the construction of a seven-branch
Menorah out of metal, but permits it out of wood. Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi
Yehudah - forbids even one of wood too, because that is what the
Chashmona'im used in the Beis-Hamikdash.
(b) Each one derives his opinion from the Pasuk in Terumah "ve'Asisa Menoras
Zahav Tahor, Mikshah Te'aseh ... ".
1. ... The Tana Kama - learns from a 'K'lal u'Frat u'Ch'lal': "ve'Asisa
Menoras (K'lal); Zahav Tahor (P'rat); Mikshah Te'aseh (K'lal), that whatever
is similar to gold (metal) is Kasher by the Menorah, and Pasul to make a
(c) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah proves his point from the Chashmona'im, who
used a wooden Menorah. The Chachamim repudiate his proof - because, in their
opinion, the Chashmona'im's Menorah was made of iron and overlaid with tin.
2. ... Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah - learns from the same words, but in the
form of a 'Ribuy, Mi'ut, ve'Ribuy', to include everything, with one
exception (- earthenware).
(a) The Tana of another Beraisa learns from the same Pasuk (as we quoted in
5b. - "Lo Sa'asun Iti") 'Lo Sa'asun ki'Demus Shamashai ha'Meshamshin Lefanai
ba'Marom' - refuting Abaye's contention that the Torah only forbids those
servants that it is possible to duplicate).
(b) Abaye then explains 'ki'Demus Shamashai ha'Meshamshin Lefanai ba'Marom'
- to refer exclusively to making a combined image of the four creatures
(comprising a person, a lion, an ox and an eagle) that support Hashem's
(c) The Beraisa nevertheless forbids the image of a human being alone -
because "Lo Sa'asun Iti" also has the connotation of "Lo Sa'asun Osi" (and
Hashem appeared to some prophets in the form of a man - or at least it was a
man representing Hashem).
(d) Abaye changes his mind again when they ask him about another Beraisa
which forbids images Ofanim, Serafim, Chayos ha'Kodesh and Mal'achei
ha'Shareis - to explain "Iti" to incorporate all those servants that serve
Hashem in the seventh Heaven (Hashem's abode -Kevayachol), precluding the
sun, moon and stars, whose abode is in the second heaven.
(a) In view of what we just learned, we establish the Beraisa which includes
in the Isur, the sun, moon, stars and constellations from the Pasuk in Yisro
"Asher ba'Shamayim mi'Ma'al" - by the Isur of worshipping, but does not
incorporate the Isur of making them.
(b) The Beraisa learns from ...
(c) Regarding the Beraisa that we quoted earlier "Lo Sa'asun Iti" 'Lo
Sa'asun ki'Demus Shamashai ha'Meshamshin Lafanai ba'Marom" - Raban Gamliel
did not make his board with the pictures of the various phases of the moon,
himself; it was Nochrim who made it for him.
- ... "Asher ba'Aretz" - that one may not worship mountains, hills, seas, rivers, streams or valleys.
- ... "mi'Tachas" - to include even a worm.
(a) If, as we just learned, one is permitted to retain a picture that
Nochrim made (not with the intention of worshipping) - then why did Shmuel
instruct Rav Yehudah to blind the eye of the image that formed part of his
signet-ring, even though it had been manufactured by Nochrim?
(b) A signet-ring whose seal (in the form of an image) ...
1. ... protrudes, may be used but not worn - because people will suspect him
of worshipping it.
2. ... is sunken, may be worn but not used - because whenever one stamps
with it, he makes an image.
(a) In spite of the Isur of retaining an image (even if it was made by a
Nochri) due to Chashad, Rav and Shmuel and others would Daven in the Shul of
Shev ve'Yashiv in Neherda'a that had an image in it - because the concept of
Chashad (that people will suspect one of sinning - Mar'is ha'Ayin) does not
apply about a community.
(b) King Yechonyah and those who were taken down to Bavel with him built the
Shul of Shev ve'Yashiv - with the heavy stones that they were forced to
carry with them down to Bavel (and about them the Pasuk in Tehilim writes -
"Ki Ratzu Avadecha es Avaneha").
(a) We ask how Raban Gamliel, who was an individual, could possibly retain a
board with pictures of the moon (even if Nochrim did make it for him). The
fact that his pictures were not three-dimensional makes no difference -
because anything that is seen in only two dimensions (such as the heavenly
bodies) are also forbidden in two dimensions.
(b) And we answer that, since Raban Gamliel was the prince, and there were
always guests by him, he had the Din of a community (to whom, we just
learned, Chashad does not apply). Based on the Pasuk "Lo Silmad La'asos", we
give a third answer - that since these pictures were only made in the first
place for learning purposes, and not to be used practically, they were
(c) The Gemara's second answer - is that, since the pictures in Raban
Gamliel's attic were not whole pictures, but made up of parts, Chashad was