ROSH HASHANAH 21-25 - Dedicated in memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben Shlomo ha'Levi) Turkel, by his children Eddie and Lawrence and his wife Jean Turkel/Rafalowicz. Max was a warm and loving husband and father and is missed dearly by his family and friends. His Yahrzeit is 5 Teves.

[22a - 44 lines; 22b - 48 lines]

1)[line 3]שזפר ראשה של גדרSHAZEFER, ROSHAH SHEL GEDER- Shazefer, the ruler of Geder. Geder was (a) a city in the Galilee not far from Teveryah (Megilah 2b), located on the slope of a mountain above the city of Chamesan, noted for its hot springs (Shabbos 109a); (b) Chamas Gader, an ancient city near the Kineret. Noted for its hot springs, it lies below the Jordanian city of Ummqeis, which is reputed to be the Biblical "Gadarah."

2)[line 6]יפסל אחד מהןYIPASEL ECHAD ME'HEM- one of them becomes disqualified [due to his inaccurate testimony concerning the new moon]

3)[line 10]ועבדו משוחררAVDO MESHUCHRAR- his freed [Nochri] slave [who has the status of a convert to Judaism]

4)[line 16]תהא מסורה לכםTEHEI MESURAH LACHEM- shall be given over to you [as the leaders of Beis Din]

5)[line 19]רבי יוסי ומעשהREBBI YOSI U'MA'ASEH- Rebbi Yosi [disagreed with Rebbi Shimon,] and [he furthermore cited] a story [in which the Beis Din ruled according to his opinion]

6)[line 20]זמנין סגיאיןZIMNIN SAGI'IN- many times

7)[line 22]אפכאIPCHA- the opposite way around (i.e., substituting Rebbi Yosi in place of where our Mishnah quotes Rebbi Shimon, and vice versa)

8)[line 26]המשחק בקוביאHA'MESACHEK B'KUVYA- one who gambles with dice [or other forms of gambling, such as cards (RAMBAM Hilchos Edus 10:4)]. He is disqualified as a witness either because (a) he takes the money of those who do not really wish to give it up; or (b) he does not contribute constructively to society (referring to one who does nothing else) (Sanhedrin 24b).

9)[line 26]ומלוי ברביתMALVEI B'RIBIS- those who lend [money] with interest

10)[line 27]ומפריחי יוניםMAFRICHEI YONIM- one who races pigeons [or any other animal (RAMBAM Hilchos Edus 10:4); see above, entry #8, for the reason why he is disqualified as a witness)

11)[line 27]וסוחרי שביעיתSOCHAREI SHEVI'IS

(a)The Torah requires farmers to desist from working the land every seventh year (Vayikra 25:1-7). Produce which grows during the seventh (Shevi'is) year is holy, which in this context means: 1. It is considered ownerless; anyone may enter a field and pick that which he wishes to eat. 2. The fruits may not be bought and sold in a normal fashion (see Insights here and to Sukah 40:1). 3. Shevi'is produce may be consumed only in the manner considered normal for that type of food, or burned to provide illumination in the case of oil. It may not be wasted, used for medicinal purposes, fed to animals, etc.

(b)If one does conduct business with Shemitah produce, the money acquires the Kedushah of Shevi'is. He must use it to purchase produce which then must be treated as Shemitah produce. Those who sold the produce (Socharei Shevi'is) have transgressed the positive of "l'Ochlah" — one must eat Shemitah produce, and not sell or barter it (Avodah Zarah 62a).

12)[line 31]לעדות אשהEDUS ISHAH

(a)The Torah requires two male witnesses to verify any information that is to be utilized by Beis Din (Devarim 17:6). There are certain circumstances under which this requirement is relaxed.

(b)The first of these is a situation in which a woman finds herself unsure if her husband is alive or dead. In this case, the Chachamim allow her to remarry upon the testimony of even a single witness. This witness may even be a woman or a slave (Yevamos 122a).

(c)The second situation is that of a Sotah, a woman suspected of committing adultery due to that which she secluded herself with a certain man after being warned by her husband against just such an action (see Background to Yoma 37:19). If even a single witness — even if that witness is a woman or slave — testifies that the woman has committed adultery, then she must be divorced by her husband and loses her rights stipulated in her Kesuvah (marriage contract) (Sotah 31a).

13)[line 33]מוליכים אותו על החמורMOLICHIN OSO AL HA'CHAMOR- they bring him on a donkey [even on Shabbos, when this would otherwise be prohibited]

14)[line 34]צודה להםTZODEH LAHEM- there are [enemies such as Baitusim (see below, entry #19) or Kusim (see below, entry #43)] lying in ambush for them [so as to disrupt the workings of Beis Din]

15)[line 34]מקלותMAKLOS- sticks [with which to beat them back]


16)[line 40]אם אינן מכירין אותוIM EINAN MAKIRIN OSO- if [Beis Din] do not recognize he [who saw the new moon and wishes to testify]

17)[line 41]אחרACHER- another [who is recognized by Beis Din]

18)[line 41]להעידוL'HE'IDO- to vouch for [the witness' trustworthiness]

19)[line 43]הבייתוסיםBAITUSIM

The Tzedukim were students of Tzadok, and the Beitusim were students of Beitus. Both of these individuals rejected the Oral Torah (Avos d'Rebbi Nasan 5:2).


20)[line 5]"[תקעו בחדש שופר בכסה ליום חגנו. כי חק לישראל הוא] משפט [לאלקי יעקב]""[TIK'U VA'CHODESH SHOFAR, BA'KESEH L'YOM CHAGENU. KI CHOK L'YISRAEL HU,] MISHPAT [LE'LOKEI YAKOV.]"- "[Blow a Shofar on Rosh Chodesh, at the appointed time of our festival. For it is an ordinance for Yisrael,] a judgment [for the G-d of Yakov]." (Tehilim 81:4-5)

21)[line 9]באושאUSHA- a city in the Galil which had the distinction of being one of the ten places to which the Sanhedrin was exiled

22)[line 9]סהדאSAHADA- a witness

23)[line 11]משום כבודו של רבי נהוראיMI'SHUM KEVODO SHEL REBBI NEHORA'I- is due to the honor of Rebbi Nehora'i [who was mentioned in this story to demonstrate that it permitted to desecrate Shabbos for Edus ha'Chodesh]

24)[line 14]מספיקאMI'SEFEIKA- when in doubt [whether or not the required witness who lives in the area to which one is heading is, indeed, there at present]

25)[line 15]כי אתאKI ASA- when he came [from Eretz Yisrael]

26)[line 16]במערבאMA'ARAVA- (lit. the west) Eretz Yisrael

27)[line 19]דעבידא לאגלוייDAVIDA L'AGLUYEI- that will ultimately be revealed

28)[line 24]בקשו בייתוסין להטעות את חכמיםBIKSHU BAISUSIN L'HAT'OS ES CHACHAMIM- the Baitusim wished to trick the Chachamim. Due to their insistence upon translating the Torah literally instead of according to the way in which Moshe Rabeinu received a tradition from HaSh-m, the Baitusim understood from the verse (Vayikra 23:11) that Shavuos must always be on Sunday. That year, the thirtieth day of Adar fell on Shabbos. The new moon was not visible. Since, if that day were to be Rosh Chodesh then Shavuos would be on Sunday, the Baitusim attempted to hire false witnesses in order to establish the day as Rosh Chodesh.

29)[line 29]במעלה אדומיםMA'ALEH ADUMIM- the road ascending from the plains of Yericho to Yerushalayim

30)[line 29]רבוץRAVUTZ- crouching

31)[line 29]סלעיםSELA'IM- rocks

32)[line 30]קרניו דומות לצביKERANAV DOMEH LI'TZVI- its antlers were similar to those of a deer

33)[line 30]ירכותיוYARCHOSAV- its thighs

34)[line 30]והצצתיHITZATZTI- I peered

35)[line 31]ונרתעתיNIRTA'TI- and I [became startled and] fainted

36)[line 32]צרורין לי בסדיניTZERURIN LI B'SEDINI- are tied in my handkerchief

37)[line 32]מי הזקיקך לכך?MI HIZKIKECHA L'CHACH?- why did you agree to do this?

38)[line 34]שאינם מהוגניןSHE'EINAM MEHUGANIM- who do not act properly

39)[line 34]מאתים זוז נתונין לך במתנהMASAYIM ZUZ NESUNIN LACH B'MATANAH (HEFKER BEIS DIN HEFKER)

(a)The Chachamim have the authority, when they deem it necessary, to declare any property Hefker (ownerless). The Rishonim and Acharonim discuss whether Beis Din have the ability to merely remove ownership from any given item, or if they can even place the object in the another's possession.

(b)In our Mishnah, Beis Din used this power to grant the double agent his reward, even though he did not fulfill the conditions set for it by its original owners.

40)[line 35]והשוכרךHA'SOCHRECHA- he who hired you (presumably referring to the other witness presently incarcerated)

41)[line 35]ימתח על העמודYIMATACH AL HA'AMUD- will be stretched out [and tied to] the post [in order to receive Makas Mardus (lashes for acting in defiance of the Chachamim)]

42)[line 36]היו משיאין משואותHAYU MASI'IN MASU'OS- [messengers of Beis Din] would lift lit torches [to signify that Rosh Chodesh had been proclaimed]

43)[line 36]משקלקלו הכותיםMISHE'KILKELU HA'KUSIM

(a)The King of Ashur brought the people of Kusa to Eretz Yisrael and settled them in the Shomron. They converted to Judaism after they found themselves under attack from lions. The Chachamim disagree as to whether their conversion was an honest and valid one, or whether it was prompted only by feelings of self-preservation and the Kusim remained Nochrim.

(b)After the times of the Mishnah, they were found worshipping an image of a dove. At that point, the Chachamim unanimously gave them the status of Nochrim (Chulin 6a).

(c)The Kusim sabotaged the fire signal system by lighting fires atop the mountains even when Rosh Chodesh had not been proclaimed.

44a)[line 38]כלונסאות של ארזKELUNSA'OS SHEL EREZ- poles made of cedar wood (O.F. perches - poles)

b)[line 38]וקניםKANIM- sticks

c)[line 38]ועצי שמןATZEI SHEMEN- (a) balsam tree branches (Gemara here and Bava Basra 80b); (b) pine tree branches (RALBAG to Melachim I 6:23, MEIRI Avodah Zarah 13b, RADAK to Yeshayah 41:19); (c) olive tree branches (TARGUM to Melachim I 6:23)

d)[line 38]ונעורת של פשתןNE'ORES SHEL PISHTAN- beaten flax fibers

45)[line 39]וכורך במשיחהKORECH B'MESHICHAH- tie [the other materials to the top of the cedar poles] with a linen (O.F. linoel) string

46)[line 39]ומצית בהן את האורMATZIS BAHEN ES HA'UR- set fire to them

47)[line 39]ומוליך ומביא ומעלה ומורידMOLICH U'MEVI U'MAILEH U'MORID- wave them forward, back, up, and down

48)[line 41]ומאין?ME'AYIN...?- from where...?

49a)[line 41]מהר המשחהHAR HA'MISHCHAH- the Mount of Olives (to the east of the Old City of Yerushalayim)

b)[line 41]לסרטבאSARTAVA- a mountain in the Jordan valley

c)[line 42]לגרופינאGEROFINA- most probably a tower or rise heightened by Agrippa II near Ceasarea Philippi (modern-day Banias in northern Eretz Yisrael)

d)[line 42]לחוורןCHAVRAN- Auran, a mountain located in the area of Aurantis east of the Jordan River

50)[line 44]כמדורת האשMADURAS HA'EISH- a bonfire

51)[line 44]דיקודYAKUD- kindling

52)[line 45]"ויעזבו שם את עצביהם וישאם דוד ואנשיו""VA'YA'AZVU SHAM ES ATZABEIHEM, VA'YISA'EM DAVID VA'ANASHAV" - "And the Pelishtim left their idols there, and David and his men burned them." (Shmuel II 5:21) (DAVID HA'MELECH DEFEATS THE PELISHTIM)

(a)The Pelishtim bore a grudge against David ha'Melech for slaying their champion, Golyas. When David was crowned king some two years later, they sent an army in an attempt to capture him.

(b)David initially evaded the army. After consulting the Urim v'Tumim (see Background to Bava Basra 106:9:b), however, he attacked them and emerged victorious.

53)[line 46]בזמנוBI'ZMANO- on the night following the twenty-ninth day of the month

54)[line 46]לקדשוL'KADSHO- to [publicize that it has been] proclaimed

55)[line 46]לאור עיבורוL'OR IBURO- on the night following what would have been the thirtieth of the previous month

56a)[line 46]דאחסרCHASER- a month with twenty-nine days

b)[line 47]אמלאMALEI- a month with thirty days

57)[last line]באפוקי שבתאAFUKEI SHABATA- when Shabbos leaves; i.e., Motza'ei Shabbos