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.


Unknown said...

Dear Josh
I am one of your staunch admirers, but in this instance I have to point out to the error.
Rabban Gamliel is identified as by you as one of Yavne. Hence suggestion that it's after his removal, and translation "arrogant". All of that is wrong
This is rabban Gamliel hazaken sitting on temple mountain before the hurban hence "after its intercalation" and " great or mighty" would be the correct understanding.
He is clearly not arrogant since he is including the opinion of his colleagues

Brunch Yuabov

joshwaxman said...


100%, I agree with your identification. I was actually planning a follow up post to suggest this, and more. The key words are שהיה יושב על גב מעלה בהר הבית.

The "problem" is that this is not how Rashi explains it, as referring to the later Rabban Gamliel. As Rashi writes, first,

תקיפי קמאי - רבן גמליאל שהיה נוהג שררה וזורק מורא בתלמידים כדאשכחן בבכורות

and second, Rashi understands the answer of:

דילמא בתר דעברוהו

as referring to:

דילמא בתר דעברוהו - לרבן גמליאל מנשיאותו נעשה עניו:

which again would be the latter Rabban Gamliel, who was removed. So all of this would be according to Rashi. (See IIRC R' Yaakov Emden as well as R' Reuven Margolios for more). But I agree, change it to Rabban Gamliel the Elder and things fall into place.

However, it turns out that there are other girsaot of the gemara, which remove the final vav, making the gemara's answer as:

דילמא בתר דעברוה

perhaps, it was after they intercalated the *year*. Which is, I think, what you are saying.

Still, the gemara has to be answering a question, and it has to be something internal to the story. That would be whether ab initio you can use only one indication to prompt the intercalation of the year.

I would still put the break of Rav Pappa's statement in the same place, and put תקיפאי and לעינוותני to refer to the amount of days they need to add, between the tekufa and the onah.

joshwaxman said...

See also these two sources, which (first) place Rabban Gamliel the Elder at that place, and (second) place this story as happening to Rabban Gamliel the Elder.

Boruch Yuabov said...

prior page is more confusing
בשמואל הקטן וכשמת אמרו עליו הי חסיד הי עניו תלמידו של הלל אף הוא אמר בשעת מיתתו שמעון וישמעאל לחרבא וחברוהי לקטלא ושאר עמא לביזא ועקן סגיאן עתידן למיתי על עלמא

this statement of Shmuel hakatan would only make since prior to hurban ( hence Shimon and Ishmael), however this story is taking place in Yavne and he is known from here and berachot to be the colleague of Raban Gamliel of Yavne.???

Boruch Yuabov said...

I reviewed Rashi. He gave a marvelous explanation. One is forced to assume that his girsa did not have יושב על גב מעלה בהר הבית.
דילמא בתר דעברוהו can mean ibur hachodesh hence 30 day month

Boruch Yuabov said...

Another vague possibility is that gemara misidentified raban Gamliel

joshwaxman said...

no need to assert Rashi didn't have sitting on Har Habayis as a girsa. there are explanations that the latter rabban gamliel sat on har habayit as part of the procedure. look at the braysa on Sanhedrin 11b:

ת"ר אין מעברין את השנים אלא ביהודה דואם עיברוה בגליל מעוברת העיד חנניה איש אונו אם עיברוה בגליל אינה מעוברת א"ר יהודה בריה דרבי שמעון בן פזי מאי טעמא דחנניה איש אונו אמר קרא (דברים יב, ה) לשכנו תדרשו ובאת שמה כל דרישה שאתה דורש לא יהיו אלא בשכנו של מקום

'We are Me'aber the year only in Yehudah. If it was made Me'aber in Galil, it is Me'ubar; Chananya Ish Ono testified that if it was made Me'aber in Galil, it is not Me'ubar.(R. Yehudah brei d'R. Shimon ben Pazi): Chanayah learns from "l'Shichno Sidreshu u'Vosa Shamah" - all Drishos (investigations) must be in Hash-m's Shechunah (region, i.e. Yerushalayim, which is in Yehudah).'

So he wouldn't have done it in Yavneh, perhaps.

I think Rashi is motivated more by the gemara. Depending on the girsa, it is strongly possible that the setama degemara misidentified Rabban Gamliel as the latter one. (Depends on where Rav Pappa ends, and whether דעברוהו ends with a vav or not.) If it does, then Rashi is indeed just following that line.


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