Sunday, February 05, 2006

Parsha Chabura Bo: The Jewish Months Of The Year

This week’s shiur was about naming the Jewish months.

Shittas HaRamban

The Ramban in his peirush al hatorah (Parshas Bo perek 12) says that the mitzvah of "hachodesh hazeh lachem" includes referring to the months in numerical order with Nisan being month 1. Just like there is a mitzvah to refer to the days of the week as they relate to Shabbos (i.e. Sunday is day one and Monday is day two etc.) so too there is a mitzvah to order the months based on Yitziyas Mitzrayim. Even though the year starts in Tishrei, we still call Nissan the first month since that is the month we left Mitzrayim and Tishrei would be month 7 since it is 7 months since we left Mitzrayim. According to the Ramban if one would refer to Tishrei as month 1, you would be mevateil a mitzvas aseh. The Ramban then writes that when we came back from Bavel, Ezra changed the names of the month. Until this time they had been referred to as month 1,2 and3 and now as a zecher for the geulah from Bavel they were given Babylonian names, Nisan, Iyar, Sivan….

Other Shittos

Not everyone agrees with the Ramban. Rav Yerucham Fishel Perlow in his peirush to Rav Sa’adiah Gaon’s sefer hamitzvos writes that both the Rashba and Ran in Rosh Hashana (7a) argue on the Ramban. The gemara in Rosh Hashana (7a) says that Nissan is the Rosh HaShana for the months. Both the Ran and Rashba ask, what is the nafka mina? They answer the nafka mina is so that we know in which the Yomim Tovim occur. The Torah tells us that Pesach is in the first month, so once we know that Nisan is the first month we know that Pesach is in Nisan. Rav Yerucham Fishel Perlow asks, why didn’t they answer that the nafka mina is because it is a mitzvas aseh to count the months in the correct order, like the Ramban? It must be they argue on the Ramban.

There are two nafka mina that come out of this Ramban.

Nafka Mina 1:The Sefer Ikkarim

The Sefer Ikkarim (Ma’amar 3 Perek 16) writes that it is not an ikkar to believ the Torah can never change. (This is against the Rambam who lists the nitzchiyus of the Torah as one of the 13 ikkarim). One of his rayos is from the Ramban. The Ramban wrote that originally there was a mitzvah to refer to the months as month 1 ,2, 3 from Yitziyas Mitzrayim. However, when they came back from Bavel they changed the months and called them Nissan, Iyar and Sivan. Clearly you see that the mitzvos can become batel.

There are 3 answers given to be docheh this rayah.

1) The B’nei Yissacher (Nissan Ma’amar 1 ) says that names were already known to them al pi mesorah, they just never used them. During the days of Moshe Rabbeinu the names Nissan, Iyar etc were part of torah sh’b’al peh. And after golus Bavel they were part of Torah She’Bichsav. Rav Schachter in Eretz Tzvi Siman 2 has a similar mehalach. Rav Schachter assumes that they found a hint to the names of the months in the Torah.
2) The Binyan Shlomo (Siman 23) says that all the Ramban means is that there was a mitzvah on Beis Din to use the number of the month when they were m’kadeish the chodesh. They would have to say "Tamuz the fourth month is mekudash". The Binyan Shlomo points out that the chiddush that would come out of this is that when we are mevarech the chodesh every month we should also need to mention what number month it is.
3) The "Koseiv" (a peirush in Ain Ya’akov) in Megillah explains that the Ramban didn’t mean that the numbering of the months became batel. Rather, in addition to mentioning the numerical order, they also included names. The Abarbenel in Bo says the same idea. According to this they would refer to Tamuz as tamuz the fourth month.

Nafka Mina 2: Using A Secular Month
Another nafka mina that comes out of this Ramban is whether one would be allowed to reference the month by the secular calandar. In other words would one be allowed to call February as month 2. (and write l’moshel 2/7/06). The Chasam Sofer in Toras Moshe on Parshas Bo says that according to the Ramban you are not allowed to refer to any month in the wrong order. Therefore, by calling this month "Month 2" (referring to February) you are being mevatel an aseh since this month is really Month 11 (Shevat). It would also seem that the "Koseiv" understands the Ramban this way.

Rav Shternbach in Teshuvas V’Hanhagos (Chelek 1 Siman 830) disagrees. He says that the halacha of the Ramban would only apply to our Jewish months. In other words to refer to Tishrei as Month 1 is a problem. However, to refer to the secular months as month 1, 2 or 3 is not a problem. By daying February is Month 2 you are not saying it is the second moth from Yitziyas Mitzrayim. You are just saying it is the second moth of the secular calandar. Other poskim seem to be more machmir=ayin Titz Eliezer (Chelek 8 Siman 8 and Chelek 9 Siman 14) and Yabeia Omer (Chelek 3 YD Siman 9).

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