Rosh Hashanah 3a:1ראש השנה ג׳ א:א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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3aג׳ א

(במדבר כא, א) וישמע הכנעני מלך ערד מה שמועה שמע שמע שמת אהרן ונסתלקו ענני כבוד וכסבור ניתנה רשות להלחם בישראל והיינו דכתיב (במדבר כ, כט) ויראו כל העדה כי גוע אהרן

“And when the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the South, heard tell that Israel came by the way of Atharim; and he fought against Israel” (Numbers 21:1). What report did he hear? He heard that Aaron had died, and that the clouds of glory had withdrawn from the Jewish people, and he thought that he had been granted permission to wage war against the Jewish people. And this is as it is written: “And all the congregation saw that [ki] Aaron was dead, and they wept for Aaron thirty days, all the house of Israel” (Numbers 20:29).

וא"ר אבהו אל תקרי ויראו אלא וייראו כדריש לקיש דאמר ר"ל כי משמש בד' לשונות אי דילמא אלא דהא

About this, Rabbi Abbahu said: Do not read the verse as: “And they saw [vayiru]”; rather, read it as: “And they were seen [vayeira’u]” by others, because the cover of the clouds of glory had been removed from them. And the next word, “that [ki],” should be understood as meaning because, in accordance with the statement of Reish Lakish, as Reish Lakish said: The word ki is used in the Bible in four senses: If, perhaps, but, and because. Therefore, the verse should be understood as follows: And all the congregation was seen, i.e., revealed, because Aaron had died. This shows that at the time of Aaron’s death Sihon was still alive; perforce, Moses’ oration, which was delivered after he had slain Sihon, must have occurred later.

מי דמי התם כנען הכא סיחון תנא הוא סיחון הוא ערד הוא כנען סיחון שדומה לסייח במדבר כנען על שם מלכותו ומה שמו ערד שמו איכא דאמרי ערד שדומה לערוד במדבר כנען על שם מלכותו ומה שמו סיחון שמו

The Gemara raises an objection against this proof: Is it comparable? There, the verse is speaking of Canaan, king of Arad, whereas here, the verse is speaking of Sihon. What proof, then, can be brought from the one with regard to the other? The Gemara explains: A Sage taught in a baraita: All three names are referring to the same person: He is Sihon, and he is Arad, and he is also Canaan. He was called Sihon because he was similar in his wildness to a foal [seyyaḥ] in the desert; and he was called Canaan after his kingdom, as he ruled over the Canaanite people; and what was his real name? Arad was his name. Some say an alternative explanation: He was called Arad because he was similar to a wild ass [arod] in the desert; and he was called Canaan after his kingdom; and what was his real name? Sihon was his name.

ואימא ר"ה אייר

The Gemara raises another question: Granted, when counting the years from the exodus from Egypt, Av and the following Shevat are both part of the same year, but it has not been established that the counting of years from the Exodus is specifically from Nisan. Say that the New Year for this purpose is in the following month, the month of Iyyar.

לא סלקא דעתך דכתיב (שמות מ, יז) ויהי בחדש הראשון בשנה השנית באחד לחדש הוקם המשכן וכתיב (במדבר י, יא) ויהי בשנה השנית בחדש השני נעלה הענן מעל משכן העדות מדקאי בניסן וקרי לה שנה שנית וקאי באייר וקרי לה שנה שני' מכלל דר"ה לאו אייר הוא

The Gemara rejects this proposal: It should not enter your mind to say this, as it is written: “And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the Tabernacle was established” (Exodus 40:17), and it is written: “And it came to pass in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, that the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle of the testimony” (Numbers 10:11). It may be argued as follows: From the fact that when the Bible speaks of Nisan, which is the first month, it calls it “the second year,” and when it speaks of the following Iyyar, which is the second month, it also calls it “the second year,” by inference, Rosh HaShana is not at the beginning of Iyyar. Were it the case that the New Year begins in Iyyar, Nisan and the following Iyyar would not occur in the same year, as the year would have changed in Iyyar.

ואימא ר"ה סיון לא ס"ד דכתיב (שמות יט, א) בחדש השלישי לצאת בני ישראל מארץ מצרים ואם איתא בחדש השלישי בשנה השנית לצאת וגו' מיבעי ליה

The Gemara asks further: And say that the New Year for this purpose is in the third month, the month of Sivan. The Gemara rejects this suggestion: It should not enter your mind to say this, as it is written: “In the third month, after the children of Israel were gone out of the land of Egypt, the same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai” (Exodus 19:1). And if it is so that the New Year is the beginning of Sivan, the verse should have said: In the third month, in the second year after the children of Israel were gone out of the land of Egypt, as a new year had started.

ואימא תמוז ואימא אב ואימא אדר

The Gemara continues: But perhaps one could say that the New Year for counting the Exodus is in the fourth month, the month of Tammuz; or say that it is in the fifth month, the month of Av; or say that it is in the twelfth month, the month of Adar. There is no clear refutation that these months are not the New Year.

אלא אמר ר"א מהכא (ב דברי הימים ג, ב) ויחל לבנות בחדש השני בשני בשנת ארבע למלכותו מאי שני לאו שני לירח שמונין בו למלכותו

Rather, Rabbi Elazar said: It is from here that it is derived that the years of a king’s rule are counted from Nisan, as it is stated: “And he began to build in the second month, in the second, in the fourth year of his reign” (II Chronicles 3:2). What is the meaning of the words “the second”? Doesn’t it mean second to the month from which Solomon’s reign is counted? This is clear proof that the years of a king’s rule are counted from the first month, i.e., the month of Nisan.

מתקיף לה רבינא ואימא שני בחדש א"כ שני בחדש בהדיה הוה כתיב ביה

Ravina strongly objects to this: Why not say that the words “the second” are referring to the second day of the month? The Gemara answers: If so, it should have explicitly stated: “On the second of the month,” as that is the formulation usually used in the Bible to refer to a specific day of the month.

ואימא בשני בשבת חדא דלא אשכחן שני בשבת דכתיב ועוד מקיש שני בתרא לשני קמא מה שני קמא חדש אף שני בתרא חדש

The Gemara raises another objection: Why not say that the words “the second” are referring to the second day of the week? This argument is rejected for two reasons: First, we have not found the second day of the week ever being written; nowhere does the Bible give the day of the week on which a particular event transpired. And further, the verse juxtaposes the second instance of the word “second” to the first instance of the word “second”: Just as the first “second” is referring to a month, so too, the latter “second” is referring to a month.

תניא כוותיה דר' יוחנן מניין שאין מונין להם למלכים אלא מניסן שנא' (מלכים א ו, א) ויהי בשמונים שנה וארבע מאות שנה לצאת בני ישראל מארץ מצרים וגו' וכתיב (במדבר לג, לח) ויעל אהרן הכהן אל הר ההר על פי ה' וגו' [וכתיב (דברים א, ג) ויהי בארבעים שנה בעשתי עשר חדש]

It is taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan: From where is it derived that one counts the years of kings’ reigns only from the month of Nisan? As it is stated: “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord” (I Kings 6:1). And it is written: “And Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month” (Numbers 33:38). And it is later written: “And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 1:3).

וכתיב (דברים א, ד) אחרי הכותו את סיחון וגו' ואומר וישמע הכנעני וגו' ואומר ויראו כל העדה כי גוע אהרן וגו' ואומר ויהי בחדש הראשון בשנה השנית וגו'

And it is written: “After he had slain Sihon, the king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon” (Deuteronomy 1:4). And it says: “And when the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the South, heard” (Numbers 33:40). And it says: “And all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, and they wept for Aaron thirty days” (Numbers 20:29). And it says: “And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the Tabernacle was established” (Exodus 40:17).

ואומר ויהי בשנה השנית בחדש השני וגו' ואומר בחדש השלישי לצאת בני ישראל וגו' ואומר ויחל לבנות וגו'

And it says: “And it came to pass in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, that the cloud was taken up from off the Tabernacle of the testimony” (Numbers 10:11). And it says: “In the third month, after the children of Israel were gone out of the land of Egypt, the same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai” (Exodus 19:1). And it says: “And he began to build in the second month, in the second, in the fourth year of his reign” (II Chronicles 3:2). This list of verses summarizes Rabbi Yoḥanan’s explanation.

א"ר חסדא לא שנו אלא למלכי ישראל אבל למלכי אומות העולם מתשרי מנינן שנא' (נחמיה א, א) דברי נחמיה בן חכליה ויהי בחדש כסליו שנת עשרים וגו' וכתיב (נחמיה ב, א) ויהי בחדש ניסן שנת עשרי' לארתחשסתא וגו'

§ Rav Ḥisda said: They taught that the years of a king’s rule are counted from the first of Nisan only with regard to the Jewish kings of Israel, but the years of the kings of the gentile nations of the world are counted from Tishrei, as it is stated: “The words of Nehemiah, son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Kislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the capital” (Nehemiah 1:1). And it is written: “And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king” (Nehemiah 2:1).

מדקאי בכסליו וקרי ליה שנת עשרים וקאי בניסן וקרי ליה שנת עשרים מכלל דר"ה לאו ניסן הוא

From the fact that when the Bible speaks of the month of Kislev it calls it the twentieth year, and when it speaks of the following Nisan it also calls it the twentieth year, by inference, the New Year for gentile kings does not begin in Nisan. Were it the case that the New Year did begin in Nisan, Kislev and the following Nisan would not occur in the same year.

בשלמא היאך מפרש דלארתחשסתא אלא האי ממאי דלארתחשסתא דילמא

The Gemara raises an objection: Granted, in this second verse it is explicitly stated that the count relates to the years of Artaxerxes. But as for that first verse, from where is it known that the count relates to the years of Artaxerxes? Perhaps