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A Purple Galaxy

"Do you daven in that shul?"

"Yes, but only once in a blue moon."

Master of the Universe!!!!!!!!! When has there ever been a blue moon?? What about a green sun? Or a pink star? Where does this expression come from?? Where is Neil Armstrong when we need him?!

Which brings us to our [more serious] question!

A famous Minchas Chinuch in mitzva 4: It is the 30th day of the month and potentially [if witnesses testify to that effect] Rosh Chodesh. Yossi is twelve years old and his birthday is on Rosh Chodesh. He comes before the beis din [with another witness] and testifies that last night he saw the new moon. The question is, do we accept Yossi as a witness and sanctify the new moon based on his testimony? On one hand, right now he is twelve years old and not old enough to testify. On the other hand, if we accept his testimony it will emerge that he will have been retroactively bar-mitzvahed from last night [because on Rosh Chodesh he turns 13] and is thus considered a kosher witness. Do we accept his testimony? Ad kan divrei haMinchas Chinuch.

Th very fact that the MC raises such a question is problematic. Why?

It is 13 and 1 day. Also, since when do we accept retroactive testimony?

The change between קטן and גדול is too great to be anticipatable, such that it's hard to view this in a larger framework of למפרע effects. All that should be relevant is that he's not a בר עדות at this point, and if we assume it's a הפקעה then there should be absolutely no צד whatsoever to allow for his testimony.

On the other hand, if once the day commences a ספק has already been cast on the status of the day and consequently on his status, especially in light of the other עד, then maybe there's room for viewing it in a larger context.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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