Friday, February 07, 2014

Yerushalmi on which Adar is the 'real' Adar

The Yerushalmi (Meg 1:5) has a debate as to which Adar is the real Adar (1 or 2) and which is the added month. What’s the nafka minah? It depends on your girsa. The Korban haEidah and Ridbaz learn the nafka minah is with respect to counting whether the korban tamid is more than a year old and pasul or not. Let’s say an animal was born last year on 15 Adar. On 15 Adar 1 this year it turns one year old. On 20 Adar the Beis Din decides to make the year a leap year. If Adar 1 is the “real” Adar, then even if a new month is added, the animal’s birthday has passed. But if Adar 2 is the “real” Adar, then the animal still has another month to go.

Ridba”z asks a question from a famous Yerushalmi that everyone knows from Torah and science debates. Halacha says that a girl’s besulim will grow back as long as she is under three years old. After that, if something happens, she has the status of a beulah. Let’s say a girl’s birthday is 15 Adar, and something happened to her on 20 Adar. She would no longer have the status of a besulah. But if Beis Din on 25 Adar declares the year a leap year, the Yerushalmi says a chiddush that her besulim grow back. Beis Din has the power to determine not just legal reality, but the physical reality of whether her besulim are there or not changes as well.

I’m not interested in Torah and science debates now, only in how this fits with our Yerushalmi in Megillah. If a girl is retroactively considered less than three and therefore still a besulah irrespective of which Adar is the real Adar or not, then why don’t we consider our korban retroactively to be less than a year old irrespective of which Adar is the real Adar or not? What’s the difference between these two cases?

I don’t think I understand the Ridba”z clearly, but from what I gather his answer is that there is a special din by korbanos that once something is nidche, you can’t undo the psul. If Adar 1 is the “real” Adar, and on the 15th of the month the korban was correctly declared pasul, then you can’t say that it is nidche v’chozeir on the 20th even if you add a month. However, if Adar 2 is the real Adar, then it turns out on the 15th you only mistakenly thought a year had passed. Really, it was not the 15thof Adar yet, but rather only the 15th of a tosefes month. That’s called nidche b’ta’us and the korban would be acceptable.

I'm wondering if you can say a different answer, and I admit it’s a bit shaky, but I’ll throw it out there anyway. The determination of besulah vs. beulah is a function of a girl’s development over a span of time. The question is whether the *span* of three years has passed. When it comes to a korban, perhaps the crucial question is whether the animal has had a birthday or not, i.e. whether a particular *point* in time has been reached. Where the concern is a specific point in time, then the question of which Adar is the real one is very relevant to whether that point has passed or not. If we are just measuring a span of time, i.e. have three years passed, then it makes no difference which month is the extra one. Why the focus when it comes to korbanos is a point in time rather than the span of time that has elapsed, I don't know – I’m just suggesting a logical structure in lomdus, not the philosophy behind it (Briskers don’t do philosophy, right?)


  1. Determining the "real Adar" is for marking anniversary. However, sometimes we're asking when it has been a full year. The Magein Avraham's understanding of the Rama is that a boy born in Adar I whose bar mitzvah year has two Adars would still have his bar mitzvah in Adar II! His first year was from Adar I to Adar, and his 13th year would be from Adar to Adar II. This isn't a matter of the 2nd Adar being more real, but a two-Adar year being 13 months.

    So the MA is close to your lomdus point.

    FWIW, I chose R' Dovid Lifshitz's shiur over the track leading to the Rav in (small) part because I don't think ending with the lomdus is constructive. Who needs all this theorizing if it doesn't inspire to be a better Jew? R' Shimon Shkop (R' Dovid's rebbe) took R' Chaim's derekh (R' Chaim being his rebbe) of trying to find the "Vahs?" (What?) and added the "Fahr vahs?") (Why? or more literally: For what? Much like "mah" vs "lamah?" = "le-mah?")

  2. "Who needs all this theorizing if it doesn't inspire to be a better Jew?"

    Brisk would tell you that Talmud Torah is a mitzva, regardless of whether or not it inspires you.

    With regard to Reb Shimon adding in the "Farvus", Brisk holds that Kol Hamosif Gorea.