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Pamphlet 6

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BS”D

 

 

In which you will find

 

the wonders of intercalating

the years

and in it many questions

requiring examination—

Shmuel and Rav Ada both

are herein discussed.

There are delights

for those who seek the truth

 

Volume 6

 

Please safeguard the sanctity of this page

 

The month of Sivan, 5759


 

Shmuel said “The paths of heaven are as well-known to me as the streets of {the town} N’harda (Brachot 58b)

Shmuel said “I could determine a calendar for all the exile” Rashi commented: “Because I am expert in the phases of the moon and its orbit and the order of the zodiac.” (Rosh Hashana 20b)

 

At the very start of things we will bring a wonderful and awesome thing, for this is a time of tidings for the Jews. After we wrote and also published the first five pamphlets and merited, at a fortuitous hour, a large audience of readers and students, some halachic arbiters and rabbis arose and tried to answer matters we brought up about refutations and contradictions in the words of Chazal. They did not rest until they published a pamphlet entitled “Zechor Cherpatcha Mini Naval(Remember Your Shame by a Villain) in which there were dozens of pages of casuistry and defenses about our words. (It’s only a shame that they sinned so on lashon hara and filled pages with incitement; there are few words of Torah to counter the many words of abuse.) And the one who publicized the pamphlet took the trouble to let everyone know that Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Steinman, one of the generation’s greats, gave full approbation to all that was written.

 

And even though to any intelligent person who examines them his defenses are not of the highest quality, how happy were our hearts and how joyous we were to see great novelty in the method of their defenses, that they bring proof from the Hebrew Encyclopedia, from the Encyclopedia of Life and Flora, from the zoological research of Dr. Yoram Yom-Tov of the Tel-Aviv University, and other external, completely secular books. Happy are we who merited seeing rabbis and halachic arbiters making claims from secular science books! They did wonders when they opened this gate to us. They will be blessed for the confirmation they found for themselves in the worldly books of science and wisdom. They have done well when they gave us permission and approbation to examine and check and be aided by science books and the research methods which are at their foundations. And how good is our portion that we can all, from now on, bring and cite and prove from scientific literature and not only from halachic literature and tradition. After all, it is not extreme to say that, if permission and approbation were given by Torah greats to make use of this wise literature in their words, it is impossible to withhold this right from all who wish to examine and test the truth of reality.

And you, the wise student who seeks knowledge and truth, be happy and joyous in the approbation given you to drink from the true springs of scientific knowledge with full permission of rabbis and halachic arbiters. Set your steps for the nearest public library which is open to all, free and without charge, go to the overflowing shelves and grab a handful of the knowledge which is in the good books there. May there be fulfilled in you the verse “those who walked in darkness saw a great light.”

 

And now we will return to our issue. After we clarified in pamphlet number 4 the image of the world in Chazal’s eyes and their mistakes about the time of sunrise and the stars’ coming out, and in pamphlet number 5 the matter of the time elapsed between molad and molad of the moon and their mistakes about sanctifying the moon and calculating its times, we will now clarify the length of a solar year and its four tekufot and matters of intercalation of years, which are mainly meant to suit lunar years to solar years; all these matters are of great importance for determining the Jewish calendar. If we do not suit, through intercalation, lunar years to solar years, the holidays would move around the year as the Muslim holidays do; we would not have Pesach in the spring nor Sukkot at harvest time.

Before the Talmud was completed, they sanctified the months through sightings and intercalated years through calculation and conditions during that time, as said in the Gemara in Sanhedrin 11b, “On three things do you intercalate the year, on the spring, on the fruits of the tree, and on the tekufa.”

But today we calculate according to a set calendar founded on a 19 year cycle; the Rambam and the Ramban disagreed with this and asked who gave us authority to create a set calendar—according to halacha the right to determine years was given to an authorized beit din alone. And so says the Rambam in “Laws of Sanctifying the Moon,” chapter 5, halacha B, “And this is halacha given to Moshe at Sinai, when there is no Sanhedrin one determines according to this calculation by which we calculate.” The Ramban, in “Sefer Hamitzvot” positive commandment 153, wrote “That Rabbi Hillel the Nasi determined the calculation of intercalation until Elijah should come” (and he was an authorized beit din), and what Rabbeynu Bechya wrote in Parshat Bo, that the calculation we use today was the calculation of Israel from the Exodus, contradicts clear Gemaras and our rabbis reject his words.

 

And we have seen that Shmuel, who is expert in the paths of heaven, determines the length of the solar year. In Eruvin 56a, “Shmuel said: There is naught between tekufa and tekufa but 91 days and seven and one half hours” and since there are four tekufot in each solar year (Tishrei, Tevet, Nissan, Tammuz), it works out that the solar year, according to Shmuel, is 365 days and six hours. There is nothing new in this, it is exactly the year called the “Julian year” after the Roman Caesar Julius. This Caesar determined the length of the year in a law published in all the Roman Empire more than 200 years before Shmuel was born.

 

And since the 19 year intercalation cycle is built on seven leap years and 12 plain, a 19 year cycle has 235 months. When they are calculated there remains an extra hour and 485 chalakim to the solar year, as the Rambam wrote in “Laws of Sanctifying the Moon,” chapter 6 halacha 10.

This remainder of the solar year over the lunar year accumulates over the generations and has already reached not a few days.

And therefore, according to Shmuel’s method, we will celebrate Pesach in the winter and not in the spring, as commanded by the Torah! And our rabbis the astronomers, who paid attention to this, were forced to change the length of the year and determined its length in scandalous fashion so that there would be no remainder after 19 years. Therefore they determined the calculation 29/12/793 times 235 months, divided by 19 years—its length is 365 days, five hours, 997 chalakim, and 48 regaim; as the Rambam wrote in the tenth chapter, halacha 1. And this year is also longer than the correct astronomical year by approximately 6 minutes.

 

But it is impossible to change the time of the year and the times of the tekufot, from which stem halachot like the Blessing of Dew and the Blessing on the Sun, without precedent. What did they do? They went and found that Rav Ada spoke about this length of year. And Rav Ada is never mentioned on this matter in Gemara since his wisdom was concealed by the wise men as was said (in “Sefer HaIbur” by Rabbi Abraham Bar Hayya HaNasi) “Shmuel’s tekufa was in public and Rav Ada’s in secrecy” (so, too, the Chazon Ish, Orech Chaim 138, section 4) and the matter is very puzzling. Specifically on a matter about which the sages boasted and said (about matters of intercalation and times) “that it is your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the nations,” that is, specifically in public before the eyes of the nations, Rav Ada and his method were silent and disappeared completely. They are not mentioned in the words of the Tanaim and Amoraim.

 

And not only that, but our rabbis the Rishonim not of the astronomers, Rashi, Tosfot, and the Rosh, for some reason never heard at all about the existence of Rav Ada’s tekufa. Even our rabbi the Tur did not mention it at all, but in his opinion it is a question, as we celebrate Pesach in the winter, and these are the words of the Tosfot HaRosh in Sanhedrin 13b—And this: I do not consider which, neither part of the holiday nor all of the holiday, and we do not intercalate even if the tekufa falls after the holiday. Some say it is because we do not intercalate on a tekufa alone etc., Every intercalation of ours is only by comparison between lunar and solar years and the Rishonim determined a cycle of 19 years and established therein seven intercalations. Thus the years will be equal for all the period of our exile and when we return to our original place, G-d willing, we will intercalate as they did in days of old, end of quote. And precisely here he ought to have brought as an answer Rav Ada’s tekufa, but in the days of the Tosfot haRosh Rav Ada was, obviously, still being secretive… And the Tosfot HaRosh was left with the flawed method of Shmuel and against his will voided the mitzvah from the Torah to “keep the month of spring” until the days of the Messiah when we will return to the intercalation method in the Gemara.

And thus wrote Rabeynu Channanel in Rosh Hashana 21a, “but now that there is no spring, we do not hesitate about what Rav Huna said: if you see that tekufat Tevet will long at least until the 16th of Nisan, make this year leap and do not fear.” And see this pretext and fear, since, as Rabbeynu Channanel had no Rav Ada on whom to depend, he went and cancelled the whole tekufa of spring.

 

Our rabbis created and adopted the tekufa  of Rav Ada  to protect Pesach in the spring, but the rest of the halachot they kept as in the tekufa of Shmuel. The most famous of these halachot is the blessing on the sun and is from the Gemara in Brachot 59b. The Rambam in Hilchot Brachot, chapter 10, says: “One who sees the sun on the day of tekufat Nissan of the start of the cycle of 28, in which the tekufa is at the beginning of Tuesday night, when he sees the sun on Wednesday morning—he blesses ‘Blessed is He who made the beginning’.”

And so, too, ruled the Shulchan Aruch 129: “One who sees the sun in its tekufa, and it is from 28 years to 28 years, says ‘Blessed is He who made the act of beginning’,” and this is as the explanation of the Mishnah Brura, “This is because it then returns to the beginning of its orbit, it is the hour when the lights were hung at the time of creation and then began to orbit and shine and the tekufa is the tekufa of Nissan.”

And it is clear that this halacha is only for the tekufa of Shmuel and does not belong to the tekufa of Rav Ada, since by his method the sun does not return to its place as at the time of creation. Look and see what our rabbis say about this: In the Responsa Mishat Binyamin by the Gaon Binyamin Aharon, chapter 101: “and don’t wonder how we reconcile the two, being mutually contradictory. For the matter of the blessing we do as did Shmuel and for the matter of calculating tekufot and intercalation of years we rely on the calculation of Rav Ada. It is not a problem, as for the calculation of years we do as did Rabbi Eliezer, who said that the world was created in Tishrei, and on the matter of the tekufot we do as did Rabbi Yehoshua, who said that the world was created in Nissan,” end of quote. And what did he do? He answered a difficulty by saying there was another difficulty. And the Rashash already wondered, “But I did not understand how we grasp the rope at both ends, the tekufa according to Rabbi Yehoshua’s counting and the moon’s molad as Rabbi Eliezer” (Rosh Hashanah 8a) and there is no answer to the confusion.

 

Go out and see the shame of scholars from the unholy blend of halachic rulings. When I checked the time of the blessing on the sun in 5713 (1953) which was done very publicly, I became fearful for the awful desecration of G-d, how our Torah has become an item of mockery and derision—they blessed on the 23rd of Nissan and thus the whole nation announced that tekufat Nissan begins on the 23rd of Nissan! Therefore, Pesach of that year they celebrated in the winter tekufa, disobeying the positive, explicit Biblical commandment to “keep the spring month.” They also disobeyed the explicit words of Chazal, who said in Rosh Hashanah 21a, “Rav Huna bar Avin sent to Rabba: If you see that the tekufa of Tevet extends to the sixteenth of Nissan, intercalate this year and do not hesitate, as is written: ‘Keep the month of spring’.” Shame and disgrace. And all because of the sages’ lack of understanding and the confusion of methods and calculations.

And more on the issue of calculating intercalation and the count of years. Come, you student who thinks and sees contradictions and additional refutations. After the astronomer-rabbis perform their calculations they are stuck in contradiction with the Scripture. From the reverse calculations of the number of years it appears that the first molad of creation is seven days, nine hours and 642 chalakim later than the path of the sun, though it is said that the two lights were created on the same day, “And G-d made the two large lights, etc. and it was night and it was morning, the fourth day” and similarly in Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer, chapter seven, “All the stars and сonstellations and the two lights were created at the beginning of the fourth night, and none appeared more than two thirds of an hour before another.” In order to explain this contradiction they said that the moon complained before God and He reprimanded her. And for how long was the moon reprimanded? Simple, exactly the time difference…And not only does this arouse a smile and mockery, the Tosfot Yom Tov wrote in Rosh Hashanah 8a about tekufot, “we have not found this reason written anywhere,” and they gave a different reason, also not written anywhere, that Adam sanctified the month nine hours after he was born, so that molad Tishrei is 6/14,” see there. Also, according to the Tosfot, the molad is on the sixth day and not the fourth, as written in the Torah. And you should also know that according to the tekufa of Rav Ada the moon’s molad was late only by nine hours and 642 chalakim; according to this the moon was reprimanded for only nine hours and was saved counting seven clean days…

 

And come and see further the confusion which is created, for we count years for the matter of tekufot from the year of chaos, according to the Tosfot (Rosh Hashanah 8a), and count years for determining the shmita year from the year of creation (see the Rosh, Tractate Avodah Zara, beginning of chapter 1, and Rashi page 9). And see the Biur HaGR”A Choshen Mishpat, end of section 8 about the controversy when the shmita year is, that all calculations are from “the year of creation,” which is the second from the creation of the world.

And the Chazon Ish said in Orech Chaim 140, section 2, “And when we come to relate times in the chronicles of days we must delay a year, etc., and the years of the first Temple and the Babylonian exile and the second Temple are all from the first year of creation. It would have been seemly to maintain this count but for some reason the generations added a year and gave down to us that they added and there is no loss in the matter.”

 

And you see with your own eyes the confusion about the count of years and how our rabbis, when they wish, take off a year, and when they wish add. They move the creation of the world back and forth until they rebuked the moon and stopped its progress and took days away from it. It is all patch upon patch.

And you, who examines and checks, see that, if you investigate these things, you will find many more mistakes and errors in the words of the sages; here before you are only a very few.

The Chazon Ish makes a grave error in chapter 138, section 8 and confuses the sun and the moon. He asked, how we bless, in the beginning of the spring tekufa, the sun whose orbit begins 7 days, 9 hours and 642 chalakim later—and erred, for this is the beginning of the moon’s molad. One can forgive the Chazon Ish for his mistake, but to get out of the contradiction he made himself as one who changes the act of creating the world and fancied, on his own initiative, that the sun was hung on the fourth night but its movement was delayed!

And he made another error in section 4 when he wrote that the sages kept the tekufa of Rav Ada in secret because it ensured the investigation of witnesses during the time when there was sanctification of the month; what has sanctification of month to do with the blessing on the sun?

And in the book “Shekel HaKodesh” in the laws of sanctifying the month, chapter 10, halacha 7, section 20, Rabbi Chaim Kanevsky once again proves to us that he is still in an imaginary world and does not bother to open even a youth encyclopedia for his explanation of why the tekufot of Nissan and Tammuz are longer than those of Tishrei and Tevet. He writes: “But the sun has a cycle whose center is not the earth, it has another center around which the sun revolves.” And perhaps someone will finally arise who will bring the honorable rabbi from the 16th century to our present day?

 

All this and more is to teach you that our rabbis made many errors about the truth of reality and they also erred in fitting the commandments to reality and what they did on matters of astronomy is like broken pottery. And if they failed on matters which are easy to check, how much more so on matters which cannot be checked and which are suspected of contradiction and invention and mistakes.

And we will bring additional proof that our Torah and our commandments are according to human understanding and not from G-d on high, and this is from the Kazot HaChoshen in his introduction. “The Torah was not given to the Heavenly angels, it was given to man who has human intellect, and G-d gave him the Torah in his vast mercies and kindness according to the dictates of human intellect, even if it is not true in the absolute sense of the term, etc. G-d chose us and gave us the Torah according to the dictates of human intellect, even if it is not the truth, etc., For he hung truth from the earth and the truth shall be according to the agreement of sages through human intellect—this is the blessing of the Torah, ‘who gave us a Torah of truth.’ That truth shall be ours, for if all was written from G-d’s hand, what would the human intellect have to understand in G-d’s Torah, but the Oral Law is from us.” That is, truth is what is determined by human intellect. Not only rabbis and halachic arbiters merited intellect and it is within the grasp of every person to investigate the truth. Anyone who reaches his own truth makes it his Torah and this Torah has the exact same force as all other true Torahs, “as long as it is true according to the determination of human intellect.” Each person and his intellect, each person and his truthfulness, each person and his Torah. And all are true.

 

And you, too, the reader who seeks truth and knowledge, if in your heart there are thoughts or questions, contact us and we will answer to the best of our ability.

 

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