From the Rav’s Desk: Were Shluchim sent in Chodesh Sivan to inform others as to when the new moon was sanctified?

  1. Question: [Sunday, 12th Sivan, 5781]

I read in the Shulchan Aruch of Admur chapter 600:1 that in times that the new moon was sanctified based on testimony, that messengers were sent in the month of Nissan, Sivan, and Tishreiy to inform the populace as to when the moon was sanctified so they can keep the holidays on the proper dates. My question is that it is explained that the holiday of Shavuos is not dependent at all on the date of the sixth of Sivan but rather on the 50th day count and hence what relevance was there to send messengers during the month of Sivan to inform the public, when regardless of what the messengers say they will keep the holiday on that same day of their count?


Indeed, this is a very strong question on Admur, and the question is strengthened by the fact that in the Mishneh in Rosh Hashanah 18a it explicitly omits the month of Siva from the list of months that messengers were sent for, and Tosafus there explains that the reason for this is precisely due to the reason you explained above being that the holiday is based on the 50th day count and not on the sixth of Sivan. Due to this, the Kuntrus Hashulchan writes that the word Sivan written in the above chapter it is a printing error that was added by the ignorant editor and was never written by the author to begin with. However, the Rebbe does not seem to accept this approach and rather learns that the word Sivan is genuine and was written by the Alter Rebbe. The Rebbe then explains that Shluchim were sent in Sivan in order so people know whether they should recite the words of Zeman Matan Toraseinu in Shemoneh Esrei of Shavuos, as it is only said when Shavuos falls on the 6th of Sivan. Now, the reason why the Mishneh does not mention it is because the Mishneh follows the opinion who holds that Shavuos always falls on the 6th of Sivan however according to the opinion that the date of Shavuos fluctuates based on the calendar, which is how we rule, then indeed messengers must be sent. The Rebbe, however, concludes there, “I don’t know to how much the above is concrete, but nonetheless it could be the beginning of a subject for a Kinus Torah.” To note, that this ruling of Admur that messengers were sent also by the month of Sivan is seemingly also the opinion of the Tur 494 and Rokeiach 294.

Sources: See Admur 494:1; 600:1; Chasam Sofer 145 who emphasizes that by Shavuos there was never a true doubt of Yom Tov Sheiyni, as it is based on the 50th day of the count, and it was only done in order not to differentiate between it and the other Moadim. [See Likkutei Sichos 4:1030; 17 Sicha Beis Tazria]; Mishneh in Rosh Hashanah 18a; Tosafus Rosh Hashanah ibid; Rambam Kiddush Hachodesh 3:9; Tur 494 and Rokeiach 294; Baal Haturim Miluim Vehosafos p. 555 Kuntrus Hashulchan p. 53; Toras Menachem 31 p. 57 [2nd day of Shavuos 5721]; Mishneh Halachos 4:129

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.