ROSH HASHANAH 25 (4 Sivan) - Dedicated by Rabbi Kornfeld's father, Mr. David Kornfeld, in memory of the members of his family who perished at the hands of the Nazi murderers in the Holocaust, Hashem Yikom Damam: His mother (Mirel bas Yakov Mordechai), brothers (Shraga Feivel, Aryeh Leib and Yisachar Dov sons of Mordechai), grandfather (Reb Yakov Mordechai ben Reb David Shpira) and aunt (Charne bas Yakov Mordechai, the wife of Reb Moshe Aryeh Cohen zt'l). Their Yahrzeit is observed on 4 Sivan.

[25a - 45 lines; 25b - 46 lines]

1)[line 1]עדי שקר הם!EIDEI SHEKER HEM!- they are false witnesses [as this is impossible]! See Insights.

2a)[line 3]בזמנוBI'ZMANO- on the night following the twenty-ninth day of the month

b)[line 3]ובליל עיבורוB'LEIL IBURO- on the night between the thirtieth day of the month

3)[line 6]כריסה בין שיניהKEREISAH BEIN SHINEHA- her stomach is between her teeth; i.e., she is obviously still expectant

4)[line 7]שלח לו רבן גמליאלSHALACH LO RABAN GAMLIEL- Raban Gamliel sent [the following message] to [Rebbi Yehoshua]

5)[line 8]במקלךMAKELCHA- your walking stick

6)[line 10]מיצרMEITZAR- upset

7)[line 15]לדוןLA'DUN- to question

8)[line 23]מקובלניMEKUBLANI- I have received as a tradition

9)[line 23]פעמים שבא בארוכה ופעמים שבא בקצרהPE'AMIM SHE'BA BA'ARUCHAH, PE'AMIM SHE'BA BI'KETZARAH- sometimes [the moon] travels the long way, and sometimes it travels the short way (see Insights)

10)[line 24]"עשה ירח למועדים שמש ידע מבואו""ASAH YARE'ACH L'MO'ADIM; SHEMESH YADA MEVO'O"- "The moon is made for [the determination of] the festivals; the sun knows its path." (Tehilim 104:19)

11)[line 25]חזייא לסיהראCHAZYA L'SIHARA- saw the [old] moon

12)[line 26]בצפראTZAFRA- the morning

13a)[line 26]שקל קלאSHAKAL KALA- he took a clod of earth (O.F. mote)

b)[line 26]פתק ביהPASAK BEI- and threw it at [the moon]

14)[line 26]לאורתא בעינן לקדושי בךL'URTA BA'INAN L'KIDUSHEI BACH- tonight we need to [observe Rosh Hashanah, and we need to intimidate witnesses to testify that they saw the new moon on the previous night so as to] proclaim the month [of Tishrei tomorrow]. This was necessary so that Yom ha'Kipurim did not fall on the day before Shabbos (see Daf 20a). Even under these circumstances, the month could not have been proclaimed when the old moon had made an appearance on the previous night (Daf 20b; see Background to 20:27).

15)[line 27]זיל איכסיZIL ICHSI- go and hide

16)[line 27]לעין טבEIN TAV- the name of a place. The reason why Rebbi sent Rebbi Chiya to Ein Tav was (a) so that no one would realize that the month had been proclaimed even though the old moon had been seen on the previous day (RASHI, first explanation); (b) because Nochrim had passed a decree in Yerushalayim forbidding Kidush ha'Chodesh (RASHI in the name of his teacher); (c) that was where a Beis Din sat permanently to proclaim the new month (TOSFOS DH Zil quoting the Pesikta and the Yerushalmi)

17)[line 28]דוד מלך ישראל חי וקיםDAVID MELECH YISRAEL CHAI V'KAYAM- This was a sign that the month had been declared since David ha'Melech is compared to the moon (RASHI; see Insights).

18)[line 28]נתקשרו שמים בעביםNISKASHRU SHAMAYIM B'AVIM- the sky became overcast

19)[line 29]לחדשLA'CHODESH- of the month [of Tishrei]

20)[line 31]חלקיםCHALAKIM- lit. portions; each Chelek is three and one third seconds long

21)[line 33]שלא קידשו בית דין את החדשSHE'LO KIDSHU BEIS DIN ES HA'CHODESH- that Beis Din had not proclaimed the month [since it would then be Rosh Hashanah, during which it is forbidden to deliver eulogies]

22)[line 36]ראוי לו שיפול למטהRA'UY LO SHE'YIPOL L'MITAH- it would be better for him (referring to himself in the third person) to be bedridden

23)[line 37]תרשיניTARSHEINEI- permit me

24)[line 37]שלמדתניSHE'LIMADTANI- that you yourself taught me

25)[line 38]אתם אתם אתם ג' פעמים"OSAM" "OSAM" "OSAM" SHELOSHAH PE'AMIM- [read the phrase:] "[Asher Tikre'u] Osam" ("that you shall proclaim them") [which appears] three times (Vayikra 23:2, 4, 37) [as "Asher Tikre'u Atem" — "that shall be declared by you"]

26)[line 39]מוטעיןMUTA'IN- tricked [by false witnesses]

27)[line 39]בלשון הזהB'LASHON HA'ZEH- [the month begins when] it is declared

28)[line 39]נחמתניNICHAMTANI- you have comforted me

29)[line 41]פלוני כמשה ואהרן?PELONI K'MOSHE V'AHARON?- is that [sage] as [great] as Moshe and Aharon?

30)[line 41]כנדב ואביהואNADAV VA'AVIHU- righteous sons of Aharon (see Background to Sukah 25:20)

31)[line 42]כאלדד ומידדELDAD U'MEIDAD- prophets who were among the seventy elders in the desert (see Rashi to Bamidbar 11:26)

32)[line 42]"ויאמר שמואל אל העם ה' אשר עשה את משה ואת אהרן... וישלח ה' את ירבעל ואת בדן ואת יפתח ואת שמואל...""VA'YOMER SHMUEL EL HA'AM: HASH-M ASHER ASAH ES MOSHE V'ES AHARON... VA'YISHLACH HASH-M ES YERUBA'AL V'ES BEDAN V'ES YIFTACH V'ES SHMUEL..." - "And Shmuel said to the nation: HaSh-m who appointed Moshe and Aharon as leaders, [and who brought up your forefathers from land of Egypt.] And HaSh-m sent Yeruba'al, Bedan, Yiftach, and Shmuel [and saved you from the enemies surrounding you, and you dwelled securely.]" (Shmuel I 12:6, 11) (THE PEOPLE ASK FOR A KING)

(a)Following the period of the Shoftim (judges) and that during which Shmuel ha'Navi led Klal Yisrael, the nation decided that they desired a king. They brought their request to Shmuel.

(b)Shmuel felt strongly that this was the wrong direction to take. He considered it an act of rebellion against HaSh-m, who was Klal Yisrael's true and only King, as well as against himself, as he had led them faithfully for almost fifty years.

(c)Shmuel sharply rebuked Klal Yisrael, He reminded the nation of the faithfulness and loyalty of their earlier leaders, and of the miracles that HaSh-m had wrought through them. Clearly, it was not necessary to have a king for effective leadership.

33)[line 44]גדעוןGID'ON

Gid'on ben Yo'ash of the tribe of Menasheh was the fifth judge of Bnei Yisrael (Shoftim 6:11-8:32). He ruled for forty years (2676-2716), although this reckoning includes seven years during which Klal Yisrael were under the rule of Midyan. HaSh-m helped him to defeat the Midyanim with an army of only 300 men.

34)[line 44]מריבהMERIVAH- an argument

35)[last line]הבעלB A'AL- a certain idol that was commonly worshipped by Klal Yisrael during the time of Gid'on

36)[last line]שמשוןSHIMSHON

(a)Shimshon ben Mano'ach of the tribe of Dan was the thirteenth judge of Bnei Yisrael (Shoftim 13-16). He ruled for twenty years. Prior to his birth, a Mal'ach (angel) instructed his mother that he was to be a lifelong Nazir (Shoftim 13:3; see Background to Beitzah 35:23) and was therefore forbidden to cut his hair or drink wine. Unlike a regular Nazir, however, he was allowed to come into contact with corpses (Nazir 4b).

(b)At the time of Shimshon's rule, Klal Yisrael were being harassed by the Pelishtim. HaSh-m granted Shimshon incredible strength, and the Pelishtim were in constant fear of him. Shimshon was married to a treacherous woman by the name of Delilah, who tricked him into revealing that his supernatural strength was tied to his untrimmed hair. She cut it off while he slept, and, powerless, he was captured and blinded by the Pelishtim.

(c)Shimshon was chained in the Pelishti house of idol worship during their festival, and thousands crowded into the building to taunt him. Shimshon begged HaSh-m to grant him strength one final time so that he might retaliate against his captors. HaSh-m answered his prayer, and Shimshon snapped the pillars supporting the building. Close to 3,000 Pelishtim were killed, including many of their lords. Shimshon himself perished as well, and we are informed that "he slew more Pelishtim in his death than had during his life" (Shoftim 16:30). (See "Samson's Struggle" by Rabbi Gershon Weiss, in collaboration with Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Kol HaYeshiva Publications 1984, for a deeper appreciation of Shimshon and his life.)

37)[last line]יפתחYIFTACH

Yiftach ben Gil'ad of the tribe of Menasheh was the ninth judge of Bnei Yisrael (Shoftim 11:1-12:7); he ruled for six years (2786-2792).He defeated the Amonim, who had ruled Eretz Yisrael for the eighteen years prior to his appointment as Shofet. Before entering the battle, he vowed to offer to HaSh-m the first thing that left his house upon his victorious return. His intention was to offer an animal as a Korban, but to his chagrin, his only daughter was the first to greet him when he returned. Rather than seek out Pinchas the Kohen Gadol who could have annulled his vow, he sequestered his daughter away from all human contact for the rest of her life (ibid. 11:39, and Bereishis Rabah 60:3).


38)[line 1]"משה ואהרן בכהניו ושמואל בקוראי שמו""MOSHE V'AHARON B'CHOHANAV, U'SHMUEL B'KOR'EI SHEMO..."- "Moshe and Aharon among his Kohanim, and Shmuel among those who call His name...." (Tehilim 99:6) - This verse equates Shmuel ha'Navi to Moshe and Aharon.

39)[line 2]שקלSHAKAL- equated

40a)[line 2]קלי עולםKALEI OLAM- those who are relatively lesser in stature

b)[line 3]חמורי עולםCHAMUREI OLAM- those of great stature

41)[line 6]ונתמנה פרנסNISMENAH PARNES- appointed a leader

42)[line 7]כאביר שבאביריםABIR SHEB'ABIRIM- the noblest of the noble

43)[line 11]"אל תאמר מה היה שהימים הראשנים היו טובים מאלה [כי לא מחכמה שאלת על זה]""AL TOMAR, 'MEH HAYAH SHEHA'YAMIM HA'RISHONIM HAYU TOVIM ME'ELEH,' [KI LO ME'CHOCHMAH SHA'ALTA AL ZEH]"- "Do not say, 'How was it that earlier times were better than they are currently?' [for you do not ask thus wisely.]" (Koheles 7:10) - It is not wise to ask such a question since (a) it is clear that earlier generations were on a higher spiritual plane, and we cannot compare (RASHI); (b) there is nothing that can be done about it (TOSFOS).

44)[line 18]שהגדולים נשמעים לקטניםSHEHA'GEDOLIM NISHMA'IM LI'KETANIM- that those of greater stature listen to those of lesser stature. Clearly, this is not an inherently appropriate manner of behavior. Rather, Raban Gamliel spoke this way out of humility. Alternatively, he meant that this conduct was fitting in this particular situation, since Raban Gamliel was acting as the head of Beis Din.


45)[line 23]נחקרוNECHKERU- cross-examined

46)[line 25]בית דיןBEIS DIN- a [twenty-three] member Beis Din

47)[line 31]אי נמי נחקרו העדיםIY NAMI NECHKERU HA'EDIM- [not only in a case in which Beis Din and all of Klal Yisrael saw it, but] also [in] one in which [those] witnesses [who did] were cross-examined [and accepted by Beis Din]

48)[line 33]למה לי למיתנייה חקירת העדים כלל?LAMAH LI L'MISNAYEI CHAKIRAS HA'EDIM KLAL?- why is it necessary to teach [the case in which] the witnesses were cross-examined [and accepted by Beis Din] at all? [If it is not enough for all of Klal Yisrael to see the moon, certainly it is not when there are but a few witnesses!]

49)[line 35]מידי דהוהMIDI D'HAVAH- similar to

50)[line 36]"[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)

51)[line 38]מה משפט ביוםMAH MISHPAT BA'YOM- just as [Beis Din may only pass] judgment during the day (Sanhedrin 34b)

52)[line 43]מומחה לרביםMUMCHEH LA'RABIM- one who is a public expert. To be considered such one must possess the following qualities: 1. he is an expert in Mishnah and Gemara; 2. he does not rush to conclusions; 3. he has years of experience as a judge; 4. he has been tested many times and has never erred (TUR Choshen Mishpat 3:2, citing RAV SHERIRA GAON).

53)[line 45]עד דאיכא אהרן בהדךAD D'IKA AHARON BA'HADACH- not unless Aharon is with you. Although only two are mentioned in this verse, no court ever contains an even number of judges, lest it result in a hung verdict. Therefore, if two judges are necessary to judge Edus ha'Chodesh, then practically speaking no less than three are required (TOSFOS DH Ed).

54)[last line]דעד נעשה דייןED NA'ASEH DAYAN- a witness [to an event] can judge [that case]


(a)The Great Sanhedrin is the highest Halachic authority; as such, the most difficult cases are brought to this body (Devarim 17:8). Seventy-one judges sitting in the Lishkas ha'Gazis make up the Sanhedrin ha'Gedolah.

(b)The name Sanhedrin is a contraction of "Sonei Hadras Panim b'Din" — "those who despise favoritism in judgment" (BARTENURA to Sotah 9:11).