והיינו דתנן פתחיה על הקינין זה מרדכי למה נקרא שמו פתחיה פותח דברים ודורשן ויודע בשבעים לשון And this is as we learned in a mishna (Shekalim 13b): Petaḥya was responsible for the nests of birds, i.e., the doves or pigeons brought by a zav, a zava, a woman after childbirth, and a leper. These individuals would place the appropriate sum of money into the horn designated for this purpose, and each day Petaḥya oversaw the purchase of birds from that money and their sacrifice in the proper manner. This Sage is Mordekhai; and why was he called Petaḥya, which resembles the word for opening [petaḥ]? The reason is that he would open, i.e., elucidate, difficult topics and interpret them to the people, and because he knew all seventy languages known in that region at the time.
כולהו סנהדרין נמי ידעי שבעים לשון דאמר רבי יוחנן אין מושיבים בסנהדרין אלא בעלי חכמה בעלי מראה בעלי קומה בעלי זקנה בעלי כשפים ויודעים שבעים לשון שלא תהא סנהדרין שומעת מפי התורגמן The Gemara asks: What was unique about Petaḥya? All of the members of the Sanhedrin also know all seventy languages. As Rabbi Yoḥanan says: They place on the Great Sanhedrin only men of wisdom, and of pleasant appearance, and of high stature, and of suitable age so that they will be respected. And they must also be masters of sorcery, i.e., they know the nature of sorcery, so that they can judge sorcerers, and they must know all seventy languages in order that the Sanhedrin will not need to hear testimony from the mouth of a translator in a case where a witness speaks a different language.
אלא דהוה בייל לישני ודריש והיינו דכתיב במרדכי (נחמיה ז, ז) בלשן: The Gemara answers: Rather, Petaḥya was unique as he not only knew all seventy languages, but also had the ability to combine various languages and interpret them. This is the meaning of that which is written with regard to Mordekhai: “Bilshan” (Nehemiah 7:7). Bilshan is interpreted as another name for Mordekhai, as he would combine [balil] languages [lashon].
מתני׳ כיצד הן עושין שלוחי בית דין יוצאין מערב יום טוב ועושין אותן כריכות במחובר לקרקע כדי שיהא נוח לקצור כל העיירות הסמוכות לשם מתכנסות לשם כדי שיהא נקצר בעסק גדול MISHNA: How would they perform the rite of the harvest of the omer? Emissaries of the court would emerge on the eve of the festival of Passover and fashion the stalks of barley into sheaves while the stalks were still attached to the ground, so that it would be convenient to reap them. The residents of all the towns adjacent to the site of the harvest would assemble there, so that it would be harvested with great fanfare.
כיון שהחשיכה אומר להן בא השמש אומר הין בא השמש אומר הין מגל זו אומר הין מגל זו אומר הין קופה זו אומר הין קופה זו אומר הין Once it grew dark, the court emissary says to those assembled: Did the sun set? The assembly says in response: Yes. The emissary repeats: Did the sun set? They again say: Yes. The court emissary next says to those assembled: Shall I reap the sheaves with this sickle? The assembly says in response: Yes. The emissary repeats: With this sickle? The assembly says: Yes. The court emissary then says to those assembled: Shall I place the gathered sheaves in this basket? The assembly says in response: Yes. The emissary repeats: In this basket? The assembly says: Yes.
בשבת אומר להן שבת זו אמר הין שבת זו אמר הין אקצור והם אומרים לו קצור אקצור והם אומרים לו קצור If the sixteenth of Nisan occurs on Shabbat, the court emissary says to the assembled: Shall I cut the sheaves on this Shabbat? The assembly says in response: Yes. The emissary repeats: On this Shabbat? The assembly says: Yes. The court emissary says to those assembled: Shall I cut the sheaves? And they say to him in response: Cut. The emissary repeats: Shall I cut the sheaves? And they say to him: Cut.
שלש פעמים על כל דבר ודבר והן אומרים לו הין הין הין כל כך למה (לי) מפני הבייתוסים שהיו אומרים אין קצירת העומר במוצאי יו"ט: The emissary asks three times with regard to each and every matter, and the assembly says to him: Yes, yes, yes. The mishna asks: Why do I need those involved to publicize each stage of the rite to that extent? The mishna answers: It is due to the Boethusians, as they deny the validity of the Oral Law and would say: There is no harvest of the omer at the conclusion of the first Festival day of Passover unless it occurs at the conclusion of Shabbat. The publicity was to underscore that the sixteenth of Nisan was the proper time for the omer harvest.
גמ׳ תנו רבנן אלין יומיא דלא להתענאה בהון ומקצתהון דלא למספד בהון מריש ירחא דניסן עד תמניא ביה איתוקם תמידא דלא למספד ומתמניא ביה ועד סוף מועדא איתותב חגא דשבועיא דלא למספד GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: These are the days on which fasting is prohibited, and on some of them eulogizing is prohibited as well: From the New Moon of Nisan until the eighth of the month, the proper sacrifice of the daily offering was established, and therefore it was decreed not to eulogize on these dates. And furthermore, from the eighth of Nisan until the end of the festival of Passover, the correct date for the festival of Shavuot was restored, and it was similarly decreed not to eulogize during this period.
מריש ירחא דניסן ועד תמניא ביה איתוקם תמידא דלא למספד שהיו צדוקים אומרים יחיד מתנדב ומביא תמיד מאי דרוש (במדבר כח, ד) את הכבש האחד תעשה בבקר ואת הכבש השני תעשה בין הערבים The Gemara discusses the baraita: From the New Moon of Nisan until the eighth of the month the proper sacrifice of the daily offering was established, and therefore it was decreed not to eulogize on these dates. The Gemara explains that the Sadducees would say: An individual may donate and bring the daily offering, in opposition to the accepted tradition that the daily offering must be brought from communal funds. What verse did the Sadducees expound? “The one lamb shall you offer [ta’aseh] in the morning, and the other lamb shall you offer in the afternoon” (Numbers 28:4). Since the verse is in the singular form, the Sadducees maintained that even an individual may donate the daily offering.
מאי אהדרו (במדבר כח, ב) את קרבני לחמי לאשי תשמרו שיהיו כולן באין מתרומת הלשכה The Gemara asks: What did the Sages reply to refute the argument of the Sadducees? They cited the verse: “Command the children of Israel, and say to them: My food that is presented to Me for offerings made by fire, of a pleasing aroma unto Me, you shall observe [tishmeru] to offer to Me in its due season” (Numbers 28:2). The term: “You shall observe” is in the plural form, which indicates that all of the daily offerings should come from collection of the Temple treasury chamber. Since during that period, between the New Moon of Nisan and the eighth of Nisan, the Sages overruled the Sadducees, it was established as a period of rejoicing, and it was prohibited to eulogize on those dates.
מתמניא ביה ועד סוף מועדא איתותב חגא דשבועיא דלא למספד שהיו בייתוסין אומרים עצרת אחר השבת The Gemara discusses the next period listed in the baraita: From the eighth of Nisan until the end of the festival of Passover, the correct date for the festival of Shavuot was restored, and it was similarly decreed not to eulogize during this period. As the Boethusians would say that the festival of Shavuot always occurs after Shabbat, on a Sunday. Their reasoning was that the verse states, with regard to the omer offering and the festival of Shavuot that follows seven weeks later: “And you shall count for you from the morrow after the day of rest [hashabbat], from the day that you brought the sheaf [omer] of the waving; seven weeks shall there be complete” (Leviticus 23:15). Disregarding the oral tradition, the Boethusians interpreted the phrase “from the morrow after the day of rest [hashabbat]” literally, as referring to Shabbat, not the Festival day.
ניטפל להם רבן יוחנן בן זכאי ואמר להם שוטים מנין לכם ולא היה אדם אחד שהיה משיבו חוץ מזקן אחד שהיה מפטפט כנגדו ואמר משה רבינו אוהב ישראל היה ויודע שעצרת יום אחד הוא עמד ותקנה אחר שבת כדי שיהו ישראל מתענגין שני ימים קרא עליו מקרא זה (דברים א, ב) אחד עשר יום מחורב דרך הר שעיר At the time, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai joined the discussion with the Boethusians and said to them: Fools! From where have you derived this? And there was no man who answered him, except for one elderly man who was prattling [mefatpet] at him, and he said: Moses, our teacher, was a lover of the Jewish people and he knew that Shavuot is only one day. Therefore, he arose and established it after Shabbat, in order that the Jewish people would enjoy themselves for two days. Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai recited this verse in response to that old man: “It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the way of Mount Seir” (Deuteronomy 1:2).