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Tosefta Rosh ha-Shanah 1:1-14: More on the Fixing of the Calendar

The Dead Sea Scrolls
Lawrence H. Schiffman, Texts and Traditions, Ktav, Hoboken 1998, p.550-553.

This Tosefta passage, when compared with the Mishnaic parallel presented above (text 10.6.4) shows how the Tosefta constitutes the earliest commentary to the Mishnah, assembling earlier versions of some traditions and later expansions as well in approximately the same order as that of the Mishnah.

1-1 Nisan is the New Year for kings and festivals, for the sequences of the months and
for the heave-offering of the shekels. And some say, also for rent of houses. How so for
kings? [If the king] died in Adar, and another took power in his place in Adar, they count
the year as part of the reign of both this one [who died] and that one [who now reigns]. [If
the king] died in Nisan, and another took power in his place in Nisan, they count the year
as part of the reign of both this one [who died] and that one [who now reigns]. [If the
king] died in Adar, and another took power in his place in Nisan, the former is counted in
the reign of the first, and the latter is counted in the reign of the second.

2 How so for festivals? All the same are one who vows, one who pledges a valuation,
and one who consecrates an object [but have not yet carried out what they have said in
each case]- One violates the law against postponing the keeping of one’s obligations only
once the festivals of an entire year have gone by. Rabbi Simeon says, “[This is so in the
case of] three festivals in their proper order, with the festival of unleavened bread coming
first.” And so did Rabbi Simeon say, “Sometimes they are three, sometimes they are four,
and sometimes they are five. “How so? [If] one vowed before Passover, [he violates the
law] only after Passover, Pentecost (Shavuot), and the Festival (Sukkot) will have passed.
[If] he vowed before Pentecost, [he will have violated his vow] only after Pentecost, the
Festival, Passover, Pentecost, and the Festival will have passed. [If] he vowed before the
Festival, [he will have violated his vow] only after the Festival, Passover, Pentecost, and
the Festival will have passed.”

3 How so for months? Even though it is said concerning the first month, 192 “In the
second month, 193 on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry” 194 (Gen.
8-14), they begin to count only fromNisan, 195 as it is said, “This month shall be for you
the beginning of the months; it shall be the first month of the year for you” (Ex. 12-2).
4 How so for the heave-offering of shekels? All public offerings are offered on the first
of Nisan. If the new shekels come on time, 196 [the public offerings] are offered [frm
beasts purchased from] the new [heave-offering of the shekels]. And if not, they are
offered [from beasts purchased] from the old [heave-offering of the shekels].

5 How so for the rent for houses? He who rents out a house to his fellow for a year
collects rent from him for twelve months, reckoned from day to day. If he said, “[It is
rented] for this year,” even though he rented it from him only on the first of Adar, he has
a right to the house only to the first of Nisan. 197

6 “The first day of Elul is the new year for tithing cattle. Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi
Simeon say, ‘It is on the first day of Tishre.’” 198 Said Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai, “Since
these rule that it is on the first day of Elul, and those rule that it is on the first day of
Tishre, let the ones born in Elul be tithed by themselves. “How so? [If] they were born on
the fifth day of Av and the fifth day of Elul, on the fifth day of Elul and on the fifth day
of Tishre, on the fifth day of Av and on the fifth day of Tishre, they will not join together
[for the purposes of tithing]. [But if they were born] on the fifth day of Tishre and on the
fifth day of Av, lo, these will then join together for the purposes of tithing.”

7 “[The first day of] Tishre is the new year for the reckoning of years, for Sabbatical
years, for Jubilees, for planting [trees], and for vegetables,” 199 for tithes and for vows.
How so for “for the reckoning of years, for Sabbatical years, and for Jubilees”? They
begin counting for years, Sabbatical years, and Jubilees, only from Tishre.

8 How so for “planting trees”? All the same are the ones who plant a tree, plant a shoot,
and graft a branch onto a tree thirty days before the New Year- It [the planting] gets
credit for a whole year, and it is permitted to allow them to continue to grow in the
seventh year. [If it is] less than this, it does not get credit for a whole year, and it is not
permitted to let them continue to grow in the seventh year. [In any year in which a tree is
planted within thirty days of the new year], the produce of such a sapling are forbidden
until the fifteenth of Shevat [of the year in which the tree’s produce becomes permitted
for common use]. [If the tree is] ‘orlah [that is, within the first three years of its growth],
[it is still continued to be considered as] ‘orlah [until the fifteenth of Shevat]. [If the tree
is] in the fourth year [of its growth], [it is still considered to be subject to the prohibition
of a tree] in the fourth year of its growth [until the fifteenth of Shevat].

9 How so for “vegetables?” [If] one gathered vegetables on the eve of the new year
before sunset, and then he went and gathered more after sunset, they do not take heave-
offering or give tithes from this [gathered before sunset] for that [gathered afterward],
because the latter is new and the former is old. [If] it was the second year of the
Sabbatical cycle and the third year then was coming on, then that which is gathered first
is tithed as second-year-tithe, and that which is gathered second is tithed as poor man’s
tithe. [If] one picked a citron (etrog) on the eve of the fifteenth of Shevat before sunset,
and then went and picked another one after sunset, they do not take heave-offering or
give tithes from this one [gathered before sunset] for that one [gathered afterward],
because the latter is new and the former is old. [If] it was the third year [of the cycle] and
the fourth year was coming on, then that which is picked first is tithed as poor man’s
tithe, and that which is picked second is tithed as second tithe.

10 How so for “vows”? He who is prohibited by vow from deriving benefit from his
fellow for a year—[If] he vowed not to derive benefit from him for twelve months, these
are reckoned from day to day. But if he said, “For this year,” even if he vowed not to
derive benefit from him only on the first day of Elul, he is subject to the vow only up to
the first day of Tishre.

11 “At the New Year all who enter the world pass before him like troops, since it is said,
‘He who fashions the hearts of them all, who considers all their works’” (Ps. 33-15). And
it says, “Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. For it is a
statute for Israel, and ordinance of the God of Jacob “ (Ps. 81-3-4). [If] the court has
sanctified the day, [the heavenly] court enters before Him (God). And if not, [the
heavenly] court does not enter before him.

12 And so you find with reference to the omer of manna- If [the New Moon] comes at
its proper time, it is forthwith used up. And if not, it is held back for thirty days. Said
Rabbi Akiva, “Bring anomer of barley at Passover, which is the season of the ripening of
barley, so that the harvest will be blessed for you. Bring fruit as first fruits on Pentecost,
which is the season of the ripening of orchards, so that the produce of the orchards will be
blessed for you. Bring a water-offering at the Festival, so that the rains will be blessed for
you.” 200 Say before him sovereignty-verses, remembrance-verses, and shofar-verses- 201
sovereignty-verses, so that you will make him ruler over them; remembrance-verses, so
that your remembrance will come before him for good; shofar-verses, so that your prayer
will go up with the quavering sound of the shofar before him.

13 “All are judged on the New Year, and the decree is sealed on the Day of
Atonement,” the words of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Judah says, ‘‘All are judged on the New
Year, and the decree of each and every one of them is sealed in its own time- at Passover
for grain, at Pentecost for fruits of the orchard, at the Festival for water. And the decree
of man is sealed on the Day of Atonement.” Rabbi Yose says, “Man is judged every
single day, since it says, ‘What is man, that You make so much of him, and that You set
Your mind upon him, visit him every morning, and test him every moment?’” (Job 7-17-
18).

14 “On the occasion of six New Moons messengers go forth.” 202 Rabbi made the rule
that they should go forth also on the occasion of the New Moon of the Second Adar. 203

191. Trans. J. Neusner, Tosefta (New York- Ktav, 1977-80), pp. 249-52.

192. Counting from Tishre in the fall.

193. Marheshvan, after Tishre.

194. At the end of the flood, from which you might deduce that Tishre is the first month.

195. In the spring.

196. Before Nisan 1.

197. When the year draws to a close.

198. Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah 1-1.

199. Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah 1-1.

200. Tosefta Sukkah 3-18.

201. In the Rosh ha-Shanah liturgy. See text 12.6.3.

202. Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah 1-3.

203.During the leap-year when an extra Adar is intercalated.

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