מַתְנִי׳ עַל שְׁנֵי חֳדָשִׁים מְחַלְּלִין אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת עַל נִיסָן וְעַל תִּשְׁרִי שֶׁבָּהֶן שְׁלוּחִין יוֹצְאִין לְסוּרְיָא וּבָהֶן מְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת וּכְשֶׁהָיָה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קַיָּים מְחַלְּלִין אַף עַל כּוּלָּן מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַקׇּרְבָּן: MISHNA: Only for the sake of two months may witnesses who saw the new moon desecrate Shabbat, should that be necessary in order for them to offer testimony before the court: For the month of Nisan and for the month of Tishrei, for in these months messengers are sent out to Syria, and by them, i.e., these months, the dates of the major Festivals are set: Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. And when the Temple was standing, the witnesses desecrated Shabbat for the fixing of the New Moon of all the months, due to the imperative of fixing the proper offering of the New Moon at the correct time.
גְּמָ׳ עַל שְׁנֵי חֳדָשִׁים וְתוּ לָא וּרְמִינְהוּ עַל שִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים הַשְּׁלוּחִין יוֹצְאִין GEMARA: The mishna taught that messengers were sent out for two months. The Gemara asks: For only two months and no more? And the Gemara raises a contradiction from the previous mishna, which teaches: For six months of the year messengers go out, not only for two months.
אָמַר אַבָּיֵי הָכִי קָאָמַר עַל כּוּלָּן שְׁלוּחִין יוֹצְאִין מִבָּעֶרֶב עַל נִיסָן וְעַל תִּשְׁרִי עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ מִפִּי בֵּית דִּין מְקוּדָּשׁ Abaye said: This is what the mishna is saying: For all the other months the messengers go out already in the evening, if the new moon was clearly seen and if it is certain that the court will proclaim the day as the New Moon. But for Nisan and for Tishrei the messengers do not go out until they hear from the court that the day is declared as the New Moon, by saying: It is sanctified, so that they can offer proper testimony. The court convenes only during the daytime.
תַּנְיָא נָמֵי הָכִי עַל כּוּלָּן יוֹצְאִין מִבָּעֶרֶב עַל נִיסָן וְעַל תִּשְׁרִי עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ מִפִּי בֵּית דִּין מְקוּדָּשׁ This is also taught in a baraita: For all the other months the messengers go out already in the evening, but for the month of Nisan and for the month of Tishrei they do not go out until they have heard the court formally proclaim the day as the New Moon, by saying: It is sanctified.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן מִנַּיִן שֶׁמְּחַלְּלִין עֲלֵיהֶן אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי ה׳ אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אוֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם The Sages taught in a baraita: From where is it derived that the witnesses who saw the new moon may desecrate Shabbat in order to testify before the court? The verse states: “These are the Festivals of the Lord, sacred gatherings, which you shall declare in their seasons” (Leviticus 23:4), thereby emphasizing that the Festivals must be set at their proper times. To ensure that they occur at the proper times, it is even permitted to desecrate Shabbat.
יָכוֹל כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמְּחַלְּלִין עַד שֶׁיִּתְקַדְּשׁוּ כָּךְ מְחַלְּלִין עַד שֶׁיִּתְקַיְּימוּ תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אוֹתָם עַל קְרִיאָתָם אַתָּה מְחַלֵּל וְאִי אַתָּה מְחַלֵּל עַל קִיּוּמָן: One might have thought that just as Shabbat may be desecrated by the witnesses so that the months may be sanctified at the proper time, so too, Shabbat may be desecrated by the messengers who go to inform the people in Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora which day was sanctified as the New Moon, so that the Festivals may be observed at the proper time. Therefore, the verse states: “Which you shall declare,” from which is derived that for the declaration of the New Moon you may desecrate Shabbat, but you may not desecrate Shabbat for the observance of the Festivals in their proper time.
וּכְשֶׁהָיָה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קַיָּים מְחַלְּלִין אַף עַל כּוּלָּן מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַקׇּרְבָּן תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הָיוּ מְחַלְּלִין אַף עַל כּוּלָּן מִשֶּׁחָרַב בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ אָמַר לָהֶן רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי וְכִי יֵשׁ קׇרְבָּן הִתְקִינוּ שֶׁלֹּא יְהוּ מְחַלְּלִין אֶלָּא עַל נִיסָן וְעַל תִּשְׁרִי בִּלְבַד: § It was taught in the mishna: And when the Temple was standing, the witnesses desecrated Shabbat for the fixing of the New Moon of all the months, due to the imperative of fixing the proper offering of the New Moon at the correct time. The Sages taught in a baraita: At first, they would desecrate Shabbat for all of the months. When the Temple was destroyed, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to the Sages: Is there now some offering due, for which it is necessary to desecrate Shabbat? Consequently, they instituted that the witnesses may desecrate Shabbat only for the months of Nisan and Tishrei.
מַתְנִי׳ בֵּין שֶׁנִּרְאָה בַּעֲלִיל בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא נִרְאָה בַּעֲלִיל מְחַלְּלִין עָלָיו אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר אִם נִרְאָה בַּעֲלִיל אֵין מְחַלְּלִין עָלָיו אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת MISHNA: Whether the new moon was seen clearly [ba’alil] by everyone or whether it was not clearly seen, one may desecrate Shabbat in order to testify before the court. Rabbi Yosei says: If the moon was clearly seen, they may not desecrate Shabbat for it, since other witnesses, located nearer to the court, will certainly testify. If these distant witnesses go to court to testify, they will desecrate Shabbat unnecessarily.
מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁעָבְרוּ יוֹתֵר מֵאַרְבָּעִים זוּג וְעִיכְּבָם רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא בְּלוֹד שָׁלַח לוֹ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אִם מְעַכֵּב אַתָּה אֶת הָרַבִּים נִמְצֵאתָ מַכְשִׁילָן לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא: There was once an incident where more than forty pairs of witnesses were passing through on their way to Jerusalem to testify about the new moon, and Rabbi Akiva detained them in Lod, telling them that there was no need for them to desecrate Shabbat for this purpose. Rabban Gamliel sent a message to him: If you detain the many people who wish to testify about the new moon, you will cause them to stumble in the future. They will say: Why should we go, seeing that our testimony is unnecessary? At some point they will be needed, and no witnesses will come to the court.
גְּמָ׳ מַאי מַשְׁמַע דְּהַאי עֲלִיל לִישָּׁנָא דְּמִיגַּלֵּי הוּא אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ אָמַר קְרָא אִמְרוֹת ה׳ אֲמָרוֹת טְהוֹרוֹת כֶּסֶף צָרוּף בַּעֲלִיל לָאָרֶץ מְזוּקָּק שִׁבְעָתָיִם GEMARA: From where may it be inferred that the term alil denotes that the new moon is clearly revealed? Rabbi Abbahu said: The verse states: “The words of the Lord are pure words; silver refined in the clear sight [ba’alil] of the earth, purified seven times” (Psalms 12:7).
רַב וּשְׁמוּאֵל חַד אָמַר חֲמִשִּׁים שַׁעֲרֵי בִינָה נִבְרְאוּ בָּעוֹלָם וְכוּלָּן נִיתְּנוּ לְמֹשֶׁה חָסֵר אֶחָד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַתְּחַסְּרֵהוּ מְעַט מֵאֱלֹהִים The aforementioned verse states: “The words of the Lord are pure words…purified seven times [shivatayim].” Rav and Shmuel disagreed about a matter relating to this verse: One of them said: Fifty gates of understanding were created in the world, and all of them were given to Moses, except for one gate, for it is stated: “The words of the Lord are purified shivatayim,” which he understands to mean seven times seven, i.e., forty-nine, and it is stated: “And You have made him a little less than God” (Psalms 8:6). God created fifty gates of understanding, but He made man a little lower than God, giving him only forty-nine of them.
בִּקֵּשׁ קֹהֶלֶת לִמְצוֹא דִּבְרֵי חֵפֶץ בִּקֵּשׁ קֹהֶלֶת לִהְיוֹת כְּמֹשֶׁה יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה לוֹ וְכָתוּב יוֹשֶׁר דִּבְרֵי אֱמֶת וְלֹא קָם נָבִיא עוֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶׁה “Kohelet sought to find out words of delight” (Ecclesiastes 12:10), which indicates that he sought to find the fiftieth gate but failed to do so. Kohelet, King Solomon, sought to be like Moses, but a Divine Voice issued forth and said to him: “And that which was written uprightly, even words of truth” (Ecclesiastes 12:10). This is referring to the words of the Torah; and what is written there? “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face-to-face” (Deuteronomy 34:10).
וְחַד אָמַר בַּנְּבִיאִים לֹא קָם בִּמְלָכִים קָם אֶלָּא מָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּים בִּקֵּשׁ קֹהֶלֶת לִמְצוֹא דִּבְרֵי חֵפֶץ בִּקֵּשׁ קֹהֶלֶת לָדוּן דִּינִין שֶׁבַּלֵּב שֶׁלֹּא בְּעֵדִים וְשֶׁלֹּא בְּהַתְרָאָה יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה לוֹ וְכָתוּב יוֹשֶׁר דִּבְרֵי אֱמֶת עַל פִּי שְׁנַיִם עֵדִים וְגוֹ׳: And the other one said: Among the prophets there has not arisen one like Moses, but among the kings, one did arise, Solomon, who was as wise as Moses. How do I uphold the words “Kohelet sought to find words of delight”? Kohelet, King Solomon, sought to issue judgments of the heart, based solely on his intuition, without witnesses and without warning. But a Divine Voice issued forth and said to him: “And that which was written uprightly, even words of truth.” Which words is this referring to? “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death” (Deuteronomy 17:6). Punishment can be administered only based on the testimony of two witnesses.