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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
It once happened that Rabban Gamaliel2 said: 'Send me up seven [scholars] early in the morning to the upper chamber3 [for this purpose].' When he came in the morning and found eight, he asked: 'Who is he who has come up without permission? Let him go down.' Thereupon, Samuel the Little arose and said: 'It was I who came up without permission; my object was not to join in the intercalation, but because I felt the necessity of learning the practical application of the law.' Rabban Gamaliel then answered: 'Sit down, my son, sit down; you are worthy of intercalating all years [in need of such], but it is a decision of the Rabbis that it should be done only by those who have been specially appointed for the purpose.' — But in reality it was not Samuel the Little [who was the uninvited member] but another;4 he only wished to save the intruder from humiliation.
Similarly it once happened that while Rabbi was delivering a lecture, he noticed a smell of garlic. Thereupon he said: 'Let him who has eaten garlic go out.' R. Hiyya arose and left; then all the other disciples rose in turn and went out. In the morning R. Simeon, Rabbi's son, met and asked him: 'Was it you who caused annoyance to my father yesterday?' 'Heaven forfend5 that such a thing should happen in Israel,' he answered.6
And from whom did R. Hiyya learn such conduct? — From R. Meir, for it is taught: A story is related of a woman who appeared at the Beth Hammidrash7 of R. Meir and said to him, 'Rabbi, one of you has taken me to wife by cohabitation.' Thereupon he rose up and gave her a bill of divorce,8 after which every one of his disciples stood up in turn and did likewise. And from whom did R. Meir learn this? — From Samuel the Little. And Samuel the Little? — From Shecaniah son of Jehiel, for it is written, And Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam answered and said unto Ezra: We9 have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.10 And Shecaniah learnt it from [the story told of] Joshua. As it is written, The Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up, wherefore, now, art thou fallen upon thy face? Israel hath sinned …11 'Master of the Universe,' asked Joshua, 'who are the sinners?' 'Am I an informer?' replied God. 'Go and cast lots [to find out].'12 Or, if you like, I might say that he learnt it from [the incident with] Moses, as we read, And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?13
Our Rabbis taught: Since the death of the last prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachai, the Holy Spirit [of prophetic inspiration] departed from Israel; yet they were still able to avail themselves of the Bath-kol.14 Once when the Rabbis were met in the upper chamber of Gurya's15 house at Jericho, a Bath-kol was heard from Heaven, saying: 'There is one amongst you who is worthy that the Shechinah16 should rest on him as it did on Moses, but his generation does not merit it.' The Sages present set their eyes on Hillel the Elder. And when he died, they lamented and said: 'Alas, the pious man, the humble man, the disciple of Ezra [is no more].'
Once again they were met in the upper chamber at Jabneh, and a Bath-kol was heard to say: 'There is one amongst you who is worthy that the Shechinah should rest on him, but his generation does not merit it.' The Sages present directed their gaze on Samuel the Little. And when he died, they lamented and said: 'Alas! the pious man, alas! the humble man, the disciple of Hillel [is no more].' Samuel the Little also said shortly before he passed away: 'Simeon17 and Ishmael18 will meet their death by the sword, and his friends19 will be executed; the rest of the people will be plundered, and many troubles will come upon the world.' The Rabbis wished to use the same words of lamentation for R. Judah b. Baba;20 the troublous conditions of the time, however, did not permit it, for no funeral orations were delivered over those who were martyred by the [Roman] Government.21
Our Rabbis taught: A year cannot be intercalated unless the Nasi sanctions it. It once happened that Rabban Gamaliel was away obtaining permission from the Governor in Syria,22 and, as his return was delayed, the year was intercalated subject to Rabban Gamaliel's later approval. When Rabban Gamaliel returned he gave his approval with the result that the intercalation held good.
Our Rabbis taught: A year may not be intercalated except where it is necessary either for [the improvement of] roads23 or for [the repair of] bridges, or for the [drying of the] ovens24 [required for the roasting] of the paschal lambs, or for the sake of pilgrims25 from distant lands who have left their homes and could not otherwise reach [Jerusalem] in time.26 But no intercalation may take place because of [heavy] snows or cold weather27 or for the sake of Jewish exiles [from a distance] who have not yet set out.
Our Rabbis taught: The year may not be intercalated on the ground that the kids28 or the lambs or the doves are too young.29 But we consider each of these circumstances as an auxiliary reason for intercalation.30 How so? — R. Jannai [gave the following example of the law in operation], quoting from R. Simeon b. Gamaliel's [letter to the Communities]: 'We beg to inform you that the doves are still tender and the lambs still young, and the grain has not yet ripened. I have considered the matter and thought it advisable to add thirty days to the year.
An objection was raised: How long a period was intercalated in the year? Thirty days. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: A month?31 — R. Papa Said: [The matter is left to the judgment of the intercalary court:] if they wish, they may add a month; or if they wish thirty days.
Come now and see the difference between
Sanhedrin 11bthe proud leaders of former days and their modest successors of later times. For it has been taught: It once happened that Rabban Gamaliel1 was sitting on a step on the Temple-hill and the well known2 Scribe Johanan was standing before him while three cut sheets were lying before him. 'Take one sheet', he said, 'and write an epistle to our brethren in Upper Galilee and to those in Lower Galilee, saying: "May your peace be great! We beg to inform you that the time of 'removal' has arrived for setting aside [the tithe]3 from the olive heaps." Take another sheet, and write to our brethren of the South, "May your peace be great! We beg to inform you that the time of 'removal' has arrived for setting aside the tithe from the corn sheaves."4 And take the third and write to our brethren the Exiles in Babylon and to those in Media, and to all the other exiled [sons] of Israel, saying: "May your peace be great for ever! We beg to inform you that the doves are still tender and the lambs still too young and that the crops are not yet ripe. It seems advisable to me and to my colleagues5 to add thirty days to this year."' [Yet] it is possible [that the modesty shown by Rabban Gamaliel in this case belongs to the period] after he had been deposed [from the office of Nasi].6
Our Rabbis taught: A year may be intercalated on three grounds: on account of the premature state of the corn-crops;7 or that of the fruit-trees;8 or on account of the lateness of the Tekufah9 Any two of these reasons can justify intercalation, but not one alone. All, however, are glad when the state of the spring-crop is one of them.10 Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says: On account of [the lateness of] the Tekufah. The Schoolmen inquired: Did he mean to say that 'on account of the [lateness of the] Tekufah' [being one of the two reasons], they rejoiced,11 or that the lateness of the Tekufah alone was adequate reason for intercalating the year? — The question remains undecided.
Our Rabbis taught: [The grain and fruit of the following] three regions [are taken as the standard] for deciding upon the declaration of a leap-year: Judea,12 Trans-Jordania,13 and Galilee.14 The requirements of two of these regions might determine the intercalation, but not those of a single one. All, however, were glad when one of the two was Judea, because the barley for the Omer15 was obtained [by preference] in Judea.16
Our Rabbis taught: The intercalation of a year can be effected [by the Beth din] only in Judea; but if for some reason [it had been decided upon by the Beth din] in Galilee, the decision holds good. Hanania of Oni, however, testified: 'If the intercalation was decided upon in Galilee, it is not valid.' R. Judah the son of R. Simeon b. Pazi asked: What is the reason for the view of Hanania of Oni? — Scripture states, Unto His habitation shall ye seek and thither thou shalt come:17 whatever search18 you have to make shall be only in the habitation of the Lord.19
Our Rabbis taught: A leap-year is to be declared only by day, and if it has been declared by night, the declaration is invalid. The sanctification of a month is to be performed by day, and if it has been performed by night it is not valid. R. Abba says: What passage [proves this]? — Blow the horn at the new moon, at the covering20 of the moon our feast-day.21 Now on which feast is the moon covered? — We must say on the New Year.22 And it is thereupon written, For this is a statute for Israel, a judgment23 of the God of Jacob: Just as judgment is executed by day,24 so also must the sanctification of the month take place by day.
Our Rabbis taught: A year is not to be intercalated
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