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The verse (Devarim 16:1) states - "Keep the month of spring, and make the Passover offering to the Lord, your God, for in the month of spring, the Lord, your God, brought you out of Egypt at night.").

Rambam in Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh quotes the above verse and says "The years we follow are solar years, as [the verse] states: "Keep the month of spring."

Rashi on Vayikra 23:39 ("But on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you gather in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the festival of the Lord for a seven day period; the first day shall be a rest day, and the eighth day shall be a rest day.") states "From here, [we learn] that they were commanded to proclaim leap years".

Is this a dispute between rishonim?

Related: Why does Rashi quote Vayikra 23:39 as the source for leap years?

marked as duplicate by DonielF, sabbahillel, user15464, Avrohom Yitzchok, Y     e     z Mar 28 at 2:50

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  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Shmuel. Thanks for the interesting question. I hope my answer is sufficient. Keep in mind that my answer is based on the "original" Bet Din / Sanhedrin "calendar" concerns. – DanF May 4 '18 at 17:47
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    This question will be seen for years to come by thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people, or even more. Do you think that this question is worded so as to be of benefit to the general public? I do not. Please edit it to translate "Ibur Shana" and to indicate what Rashi says in each place. – msh210 May 8 '18 at 7:32
  • @msh210 How is this? – Shmuel Gimel May 8 '18 at 15:40
  • Much much better. Many thanks! In my opinion your last sentence duplicates that other question, though, so should be removed. – msh210 May 8 '18 at 17:29
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According to Ramba"m Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh 1:1 and 1:2, Devarim 16:1 is the source. But what Rash"i states is a bit "incomplete". True, the "goal" is that Pesach does have to be in the month of Aviv (the ripening of the barley crop, or colloquially, "Spring".) But, it is actually because of the deficit of 11 days each year between the lunar and solar calendar an extra month is needed every so often.

I'll excerpt relevant parts from Ramba"m:

חדשי השנה הם חדשי הלבנה

והשנים שאנו מחשבין הם שני החמה שנאמר שמור את חדש האביב

וכמה יתרה שנת החמה על שנת הלבנה קרוב מאחד עשר יום. לפיכך כשיתקבץ מן התוספת הזאת כמו שלשים יום או פחות מעט או יותר מעט מוסיפין חדש אחד ועושין אותה השנה שלשה עשר חדש והיא הנקראת שנה מעוברת

A more thorough reading of the next few chapters in Ramba"m reveals that the intercalation was primarily because of Aviv (ripening of the barley.) I.e., it wasn't per se that Pesach directly forced the extra month, but moreso that the barley had to be available for the Omer offering to be brought on the 16th of Nissan, or the 2nd day of Pesach.

However, Pesach did have a role in that it was a Pilgrimage holiday and people had to get to Jerusalem from various parts of Israel. Thus, if heavy rains washed out the roads and bridges, Bet Din could decide to declare a leap year so there would be an extra month to make repairs.


Re Rashi's statement on Vayikra 23:39, I can see why anyone would interpret this as being the "source". But, logically, the one in Devarim makes more sense. If the 1st month of the year is not in its correct season, then how can the 7th month be that way? That would work if Succot were the only seasonal requirement. Then, one could argue that the extra month might need to be placed after the 6th month instead of before the 1st.

  • Thank you for your quick reply. Are you saying this is a dispute between Rashi and Rambam, or are you clarifying Rashi's intent? FTR, based on chumash at chabad.org, Rashi's source for Vayikra is Toras Kohanim 23:192, and for Devarim Sanhedrin 11b. – Shmuel Gimel May 4 '18 at 19:25
  • It is noteworthy that Rashi in Vayikra quotes 23:39 as a source, but in Devarim seems to only mention ibur as a method. If your answer is that it is a dispute between Rashi, and Rambam, should I edit the question or ask a new one to clarify Rashi's opinion on the matter? – Shmuel Gimel May 4 '18 at 19:34
  • I don't think there is any dispute at all. The beginning of my answer says that I think Rashi's statement is "incomplete". I.e., in my opinion, by stating "Pesach" he's stating just part of the issue. Ramba"m is clarifying that the main point is Aviv. Pesach is in that month, and the date of the Omer occurs during Pesach. – DanF May 4 '18 at 20:11
  • The verse itself implies that Pesach must be in Aviv (שָׁמוֹר֙ אֶת־חֹ֣דֶשׁ הָֽאָבִ֔יב וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ פֶּ֔סַח לַֽיהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ כִּ֞י בְּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הָֽאָבִ֗יב הוֹצִ֨יאֲךָ֜ יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ מִמִּצְרַ֖יִם לָֽיְלָה). Rashi in Devarim mentions that Omer is the reason, but doesn't go so far as in Vayikra where he states that "מכאן שנצטוו לעבר את השנים". I don't know if there is a practical difference, but Ibur Chodesh is generally more associated with Nissan/Pesach than Tishrei/Sukkos. Yet Rashi says "מכאן שנצטוו לעבר את השנים" davka by Sukkos. What is the reason for this? – Shmuel Gimel May 4 '18 at 20:24
  • @ShmuelNavi I hadn't compared Rash"i in the Devarim verse. I agree that that is a puzzling question, and it would seem that Rash"i is using the Vayikra verse as the source. As I said, it doesn't sound logical and it's obviously not the location of ibbur hachodesh which is meant to postpone the start of the new year (if you follow Rambam's explanation.) I don't know why Rash"i doesn't point this out in the Devarim verse. You may want to ask a separate Q about that. In short, I don't see a dispute between Rash"i and Ramba"m, though. – DanF May 4 '18 at 21:00

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