מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁעָבְרוּ יוֹתֵר מֵאַרְבָּעִים זוּג וְעִיכְּבָן רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא כּוּ׳ תַּנְיָא אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם שֶׁרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא עִיכְּבָן אֶלָּא שַׁזְפַּר רֹאשָׁהּ שֶׁל גֶּדֶר עִיכְּבָן וְשִׁלַּח רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל וְהוֹרִידוּהוּ מִגְּדוּלָּתוֹ: § It was taught in the mishna: 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. It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda said: Heaven forbid that Rabbi Akiva detained them, for he would certainly not have made such an error. Rather, it was that Zefer, the head of the city of Geder, detained them. And Rabban Gamliel sent and they removed him from his high office because he had acted inappropriately.
מַתְנִי׳ אָב וּבְנוֹ שֶׁרָאוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ יֵלְכוּ לֹא שֶׁמִּצְטָרְפִין זֶה עִם זֶה אֶלָּא שֶׁאִם יִפָּסֵל אֶחָד מֵהֶן יִצְטָרֵף הַשֵּׁנִי עִם אַחֵר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר אָב וּבְנוֹ וְכׇל הַקְּרוֹבִין כְּשֵׁרִין לְעֵדוּת הַחֹדֶשׁ MISHNA: If a father and his son saw the new moon, they should both go to the court in Jerusalem. It is not that they can join together to give testimony, for close relatives are disqualified from testifying together, but they both go so that if one of them is disqualified, the second may join together with another witness to testify about the new moon. Rabbi Shimon says: A father and his son and all their relatives are fit to combine together as witnesses for testimony to determine the start of the month.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי מַעֲשֶׂה בְּטוֹבִיָּה הָרוֹפֵא שֶׁרָאָה אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם הוּא וּבְנוֹ וְעַבְדּוֹ מְשׁוּחְרָר וְקִבְּלוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹתוֹ וְאֶת בְּנוֹ וּפָסְלוּ אֶת עַבְדּוֹ וּכְשֶׁבָּאוּ לִפְנֵי בֵּית דִּין קִבְּלוּ אוֹתוֹ וְאֶת עַבְדּוֹ וּפָסְלוּ אֶת בְּנוֹ: Rabbi Yosei said: There was an incident with Toviyya the doctor. When he saw the new moon in Jerusalem, he and his son and his freed slave all went to testify. The priests accepted him and his son as witnesses and disqualified his slave, for they ruled stringently that the month may be sanctified only on the basis of the testimony of those of Jewish lineage. And when they came before the court, they accepted him and his slave as witnesses and disqualified his son, due to the familial relationship.
גְּמָ׳ אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי מַאי טַעְמָא דְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן דִּכְתִיב וַיֹּאמֶר ה׳ אֶל מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם עֵדוּת זוֹ תְּהֵא כְּשֵׁרָה בָּכֶם GEMARA: Rabbi Levi said: What is the reason for Rabbi Shimon’s opinion permitting relatives to jointly testify about the new moon, despite the fact that relatives are generally disqualified from testifying together? It is as it is written: “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: This month shall be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:1–2). The words “to you” come to teach that this testimony concerning the new moon will be valid even when it is given by you two, i.e., Moses and Aaron, who are brothers and could not ordinarily testify together.
וְרַבָּנַן עֵדוּת זוֹ תְּהֵא מְסוּרָה לָכֶם: The Gemara asks: And with regard to the Rabbis, who disagree with Rabbi Shimon and prohibit relatives from testifying together about the new moon, how do they understand this verse? The Gemara answers: They interpret the verse as follows: This testimony is given over to you and others like you. That is to say, the months are to be established by the most outstanding authorities of each generation.
אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי מַעֲשֶׂה בְּטוֹבִיָּה הָרוֹפֵא כּוּ׳ אָמַר רַב חָנָן בַּר רָבָא הִלְכְתָא כְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב הוּנָא לְרַב חָנָן בַּר רָבָא רַבִּי יוֹסֵי וּמַעֲשֶׂה וְאַתְּ אָמְרַתְּ הִלְכְתָא כְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן § The mishna taught: Rabbi Yosei said: There was an incident with Toviyya the doctor. When he saw the new moon in Jerusalem, he and his son and his freed slave all went to testify. Rav Ḥanan bar Rava said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon. Relatives are permitted to testify together about the new moon. Rav Huna said to Rav Ḥanan bar Rava: But Rabbi Yosei, whose position is usually accepted over those of his colleagues, ruled otherwise, and also, there was an incident in which the court actually ruled against Rabbi Shimon, and yet you say that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon?
אָמַר לוֹ וְהָא זִמְנִין סַגִּיאִין אֲמַרִית קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַב הִלְכְתָא כְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן וְלָא אֲמַר לִי וְלָא מִידֵּי אֲמַר לֵיהּ הֵיכִי תָּנֵית אֲמַר לֵיהּ אִפְּכָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ מִשּׁוּם הָכִי לָא אֲמַר לָךְ וְלָא מִידֵּי אָמַר טָבִי בְּרֵיהּ דְּמָרִי טָבִי אָמַר מָר עוּקְבָא אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל הִלְכְתָא כְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן: Rav Ḥanan bar Rava said to him: But many times I said before Rav that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon on this matter, and never did he say anything to me to indicate that he disagreed. Rav Huna said to him: How did you teach the mishna? Rav Ḥanan bar Rava said to him: With the opposite attributions, that is say, the position that is attributed in the mishna to Rabbi Yosei, I would teach in the name of Rabbi Shimon. Rav Huna said to him: Due to that reason, he never said anything to you, for according to your version you ruled correctly. Tavi, son of Mari Tavi, said that Mar Ukva said that Shmuel said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon.
מַתְנִי׳ אֵלּוּ הֵן הַפְּסוּלִין הַמְשַׂחֵק בְּקוּבְיָא וּמַלְוֵי בְּרִבִּית וּמַפְרִיחֵי יוֹנִים וְסוֹחֲרֵי שְׁבִיעִית וַעֲבָדִים זֶה הַכְּלָל כׇּל עֵדוּת שֶׁאֵין הָאִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁירָה לָהּ אַף הֵן אֵינָן כְּשֵׁירִין לָהּ: MISHNA: The following are unfit to give testimony, as they are considered thieves and robbers: One who plays with dice [kubbiyya] or other games of chance for money; and those who lend money with interest; and those who race pigeons and place wagers on the outcome; and merchants who deal in produce of the Sabbatical Year, which may be eaten, but may not be an object of commerce; and slaves. This is the principle: Any testimony for which a woman is unfit, these too are unfit. Although in certain cases a woman’s testimony is accepted, e.g., to testify to the death of someone’s husband, in the majority of cases her testimony is not valid.
גְּמָ׳ הָא אִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁירָה לָהּ אַף הֵן כְּשֵׁירִין לָהּ אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי זֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת גַּזְלָן דְּדִבְרֵיהֶם כְּשֵׁירִין לְעֵדוּת אִשָּׁה: GEMARA: This implies that any testimony for which a woman is fit, these too are fit. Rav Ashi said: That is to say, one who is regarded as a robber by rabbinic law, i.e., one who illegally came into possession of money but did not actually steal it from another, is like those mentioned in the mishna. Although they are generally unfit to give testimony, they are fit to give testimony to enable a woman to remarry.
מַתְנִי׳ מִי שֶׁרָאָה אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַלֵּךְ מוֹלִיכִים אוֹתוֹ עַל הַחֲמוֹר אֲפִילּוּ בְּמִטָּה וְאִם צוֹדֶה לָהֶם לוֹקְחִין בְּיָדָן מַקְלוֹת MISHNA: With regard to one who saw the new moon but is unable to go to Jerusalem by foot because he is sick or has difficulty walking, others may bring him on a donkey or even in a bed, even on Shabbat if necessary. And if the witnesses are concerned that bandits may be lying in wait for them along the road, they may take clubs or other weapons in their hands, even on Shabbat.
וְאִם הָיְתָה דֶּרֶךְ רְחוֹקָה לוֹקְחִין בְּיָדָם מְזוֹנוֹת שֶׁעַל מַהֲלַךְ לַיְלָה וָיוֹם מְחַלְּלִין אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְיוֹצְאִין לְעֵדוּת הַחֹדֶשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי ה׳ אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אוֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם: And if it was a long journey to Jerusalem, they may take sustenance with them, although it is ordinarily prohibited to carry on Shabbat, since for a distance of a walk of a night and a day, the witnesses may desecrate Shabbat and go out to give testimony to determine the start of the month. This is as it is stated: “These are the Festivals of the Lord, sacred gatherings, which you shall declare in their seasons” (Leviticus 23:4). This teaches that, in all cases, the Festivals must be fixed at their proper times, even if it entails the transgression of Torah prohibitions.
הֲדַרַן עֲלָךְ אַרְבָּעָה רָאשֵׁי שָׁנִים
אִם אֵינָן מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ מְשַׁלְּחִין עִמּוֹ אַחֵר לְהַעִידוֹ בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הָיוּ מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּת הַחֹדֶשׁ מִכׇּל אָדָם מִשֶּׁקִּלְקְלוּ הַבַּיְיתּוֹסִים הִתְקִינוּ שֶׁלֹּא יְהוּ מְקַבְּלִין אֶלָּא מִן הַמַּכִּירִין: MISHNA: If the members of the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem are not familiar with that one who saw the new moon, i.e., that he is a valid witness, the members of his local court of twenty-three send another with him to testify about him. The mishna adds: Initially, the court would accept testimony to determine the start of the month from any person, as all are presumed to be qualified witnesses, absent any disqualifying factors. However, when the Boethusians, a sect whose members had their own opinions with regard to the establishment of the Festivals, corrupted the process by sending false witnesses to testify about the new moon, the Sages instituted that they would accept this testimony only from those men familiar to the Sanhedrin as valid witnesses.
גְּמָ׳ מַאי אַחֵר חַד GEMARA: The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the statement in the mishna that another would be sent along to testify with regard to the qualification of the witness to the new moon? If it means that one other individual would be sent,