Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sanhedrin 11: Where does Rav Pappa's statement end?

At the bottom of Sanhedrin 11a going on to the top of Sanhedrin 11b:

אמר רב פפא זרצו חדש רצו שלשים יום
 תא חזי מאי איכא בין תקיפאי קדמאי לעינוותני בתראי

This is typically understood, within the flow of the gemara, as two separate statements. That is, first Rav Pappa resolves a seeming contradiction within Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel as to whether they wait a month (29 days) or thirty days, and he says that it is up to them. Then, the setama degamara transitions to a new topic, contrasting the behavior of the earlier, purportedly arrogant Rabban Gamliel (who yet said that he and his colleagues saw fit to declare) and the later, purportedly humble Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel (who said he saw fit by himself to declare). And the answer of the setama degemara is that דילמא בתר דעברוהו, perhaps it was after they had removed him (Rabban Gamliel) from office.

I would suggest that we read both of the above quoted statement as a single continuous statement from Rav Pappa. Rather than תקיפאי meaning powerful / arrogant, let it refer to the tekufa, the solar-based season. After all, one of the reasons for declaring an extra month is על התקופה. And קדמאי refers to relative earliness between the solar and lunar calendar. Further, rather than עינוותני meaning humble, let it refer to lunar time (an onah), and have בתראי refer to relative lateness.

That is, Rav Pappa is saying that we already have computed calendars and know how much it would be appropriate to correct to get them in sync, so use that number of days.

This does not seem to work with what follows. What would be the question from that brayta regarding Rabban Gamliel? (The question, we should note, is not made explicit.)  The answer certainly seems to speak to Rabban Gamliel's stature, of lack thereof, where it says

דילמא בתר דעברוהו

However, note the root עבר in the word דעברוהו. Sure, it means that he was removed from office. But isn't it odd that the topic under discussion here is עיבור השנה? Perhaps we can (poorly, as I am grasping here) reframe the question as why he used various seasonal signs rather than the calculation, or why he phrased something some way in his message. And the answer is that perhaps this was after he or they had already intercalated the year.

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