1

When witnesses see the new [moon], and there is a journey of the night and a day or less between them and the place where the court holds sessions,1 they should undertake the journey and testify. If the distance between them is greater, they should not undertake the journey. For the testimony [that they will deliver] after the thirtieth day will be of no consequence,2 since the month will already have been made full.

א

עֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ אִם הָיָה בֵּינֵיהֶם וּבֵין מָקוֹם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ בֵּית דִּין מַהֲלַךְ לַיְלָה וָיוֹם אוֹ פָּחוֹת הוֹלְכִין וּמְעִידִין. וְאִם הָיָה בֵּינֵיהֶן יֶתֶר עַל כֵּן לֹא יֵלְכוּ שֶׁאֵין עֵדוּתָן אַחַר יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים מוֹעֶלֶת שֶׁכְּבָר נִתְעַבֵּר הַחֹדֶשׁ:

2

The witnesses who see the new [moon] should journey to the court to testify even on the Sabbath, as [implied by Leviticus 23:2]: "[These are the festivals] you should proclaim in their season." Whenever [the Torah] uses the word "season," the Sabbath [prohibitions]3 may be overridden.

Therefore, [the Sabbath prohibitions] may be violated only for the sake of Rosh Chodesh Nisan and Rosh Chodesh Tishrei,4 to commemorate the festivals in their proper season. In the era of the Temple, [the Sabbath prohibitions] were violated for the sake of every Rosh Chodesh, because of the musaf offering sacrificed on Rosh Chodesh,5 since its [sacrifice] supersedes the Sabbath prohibitions.6

ב

עֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ הוֹלְכִין לְבֵית דִּין לְהָעִיד וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה שַׁבָּת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כג ד) "אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם" וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר מוֹעֵד דּוֹחֶה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין מְחַלְּלִין אֶלָּא עַל רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ נִיסָן וְעַל רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ תִּשְׁרֵי בִּלְבַד מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קַיָּם מְחַלְּלִין עַל כֻּלָּן מִפְּנֵי קָרְבַּן מוּסָף שֶׁבְּכָל רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וְחֹדֶשׁ שֶׁהוּא דּוֹחֶה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת:

3

Just as the witnesses who see the new [moon] should violate the Sabbath [to testify], so too, the witnesses who substantiate their credibility7 should violate [the Sabbath to accompany] them, if the court is not familiar with the witnesses.

Even if only a single individual can testify regarding the witnesses, he should accompany them and violate the Sabbath,8 because of the possibility9 that they might encounter another individual who can [testify] together with him.

ג

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמְּחַלְּלִין הָעֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת כָּךְ מְחַלְּלִין עִמָּהֶן הָעֵדִים שֶׁמְּזַכִּין אוֹתָן בְּבֵית דִּין אִם לֹא הָיוּ בֵּית דִּין מַכִּירִין אֶת הָרוֹאִין. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה זֶה שֶׁמּוֹדִיעַ אוֹתָן לְבֵית דִּין עֵד אֶחָד הֲרֵי זֶה הוֹלֵךְ עִמָּהֶן וּמְחַלֵּל מִסָּפֵק שֶׁמָּא יִמָּצֵא אַחֵר וְיִצְטָרֵף עִמּוֹ:

4

When a witness who sighted the moon on Friday night is sick, he may be mounted on a donkey [and transported to the High Court].10 [Indeed,] even [if he is bedridden,] his bed [may be transported].11

If an ambush awaits them on the way,12 the witnesses may carry weapons. If the distance [to the court] is long, they may carry food.

Even if the moon was sighted [with a] large [crescent], and [one is certain that] it was also sighted by many others as well, he should not say, "Just as we saw [the moon], so did others, and there is no necessity for us to violate the Sabbath laws."13 Instead, every person who saw the new moon, who is fit to serve as a witness, and who is within a distance of the night and a day14 or less is commanded to violate the Sabbath laws and go and testify.15

ד

הָיָה הָעֵד שֶׁרָאָה אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ בְּלֵיל הַשַּׁבָּת חוֹלֶה מַרְכִּיבִין אוֹתוֹ עַל הַחֲמוֹר וַאֲפִלּוּ בַּמִּטָּה. וְאִם יֵשׁ לָהֶן אוֹרֵב בַּדֶּרֶךְ לוֹקְחִין הָעֵדִים בְּיָדָן כְּלֵי זַיִן. וְאִם הָיָה דֶּרֶךְ רְחוֹקָה לוֹקְחִים בְּיָדָם מְזוֹנוֹת. וַאֲפִלּוּ רָאוּהוּ גָּדוֹל וְנִרְאֶה לַכּל לֹא יֹאמְרוּ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁרְאִינוּהוּ אֲנַחְנוּ רָאוּהוּ אֲחֵרִים וְאֵין אָנוּ צְרִיכִין לְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת אֶלָּא כָּל מִי שֶׁיִּרְאֶה הַחֹדֶשׁ וְיִהְיֶה רָאוּי לְהָעִיד וְיִהְיֶה בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁקָּבוּעַ בּוֹ בֵּית דִּין לַיְלָה וָיוֹם אוֹ פָּחוֹת מִצְוָה עָלָיו לְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֵילֵךְ וּלְהָעִיד:

5

Originally, [the High Court] would accept testimony regarding the new moon throughout the entire thirtieth day. Once the witnesses were delayed and did not come until the evening. This created confusion in the Temple, and [the priests] did not know what to do:16 If they would offer the afternoon sacrifice, [a difficulty would result] if witnesses [in fact] came, for it is impossible to sacrifice the musaf offering [of Rosh Chodesh] after the daily afternoon sacrifice.17

At that time, [the High] Court instituted the [following] edict: Testimony regarding the new moon would be accepted only until the time of minchah,18 so that there would be enough time in the daylight hours to offer the musaf sacrifices, the daily afternoon offering, and the wine libations [that accompany these sacrifices].

ה

בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הָיוּ מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּת הַחֹדֶשׁ בְּכָל יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים. פַּעַם אַחַת נִשְׁתַּהוּ הָעֵדִים מִלָּבוֹא עַד בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם וְנִתְקַלְקְלוּ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ וְלֹא יָדְעוּ מַה יַּעֲשׂוּ אִם יַעֲשׂוּ עוֹלָה שֶׁל בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹאוּ הָעֵדִים וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיַּקְרִיבוּ מוּסַף הַיּוֹם אַחַר תָּמִיד שֶׁל בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם. עָמְדוּ בֵּית דִּין וְהִתְקִינוּ שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ מְקַבְּלִים עֵדוּת הַחֹדֶשׁ אֶלָּא עַד הַמִּנְחָה כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא שָׁהוּת בַּיּוֹם לְהַקְרִיב מוּסָפִין וְתָמִיד שֶׁל בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם:

6

If the time of minchah arrives without witnesses having come, the daily afternoon offering should be sacrificed. If witnesses come after the time of minchah,19 this day should be observed as a holiday,20 and the following day should be observed as a holiday. The musaf offering, however, should be offered on the following day, because the new moon should not be sanctified after the time of minchah.

After the Temple was destroyed,21 Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai and his court22 instituted a decree [requiring the High Court] to accept testimony regarding the new moon throughout the entire day. Even if witnesses come at the end of the thirtieth day before sunset,23 their testimony should be accepted and the thirtieth day alone should be considered a holiday.

ו

וְאִם הִגִּיעַ מִנְחָה וְלֹא בָּאוּ עֵדִים עוֹשִׂין תָּמִיד שֶׁל בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם. וְאִם בָּאוּ עֵדִים מִן הַמִּנְחָה וּלְמַעְלָה נוֹהֲגִין אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם קֹדֶשׁ וּלְמָחָר קֹדֶשׁ וּמַקְרִיבִין מוּסָף לְמָחָר לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ מְקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתוֹ אַחַר מִנְחָה. מִשֶּׁחָרַב בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הִתְקִין רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֵּן זַכַּאי וּבֵית דִּינוֹ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּת הַחֹדֶשׁ כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ בָּאוּ עֵדִים יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים בְּסוֹף הַיּוֹם סָמוּךְ לִשְׁקִיעַת הַחַמָּה מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּתָן וּמְקַדְּשִׁין יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים בִּלְבַד:

7

When the court would make a month full because the witnesses did not appear on the thirtieth day at all, they would ascend to a previously designated place and hold a feast on the thirty-first day, which would be Rosh Chodesh.24

They would not ascend there during the [thirty-first] night, but rather at daybreak, before the sun rose.25 No fewer than ten men would ascend [to participate] in this meal. They would not hold this meal without bread made from grain and legumes, of which they would partake during the meal. This is the intent of all the sources that refer to the feast associated with the mitzvah of the full month.

ז

כְּשֶׁמְּעַבְּרִין בֵּית דִּין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא בָּאוּ עֵדִים כָּל יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים הָיוּ עוֹלִין לְמָקוֹם מוּכָן וְעוֹשִׂין בּוֹ סְעֻדָּה בְּיוֹם אֶחָד וּשְׁלֹשִׁים שֶׁהוּא רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ. וְאֵין עוֹלִין לְשָׁם בַּלַּיְלָה אֶלָּא בַּנֶּשֶׁף קֹדֶם עֲלוֹת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ. וְאֵין עוֹלִין לִסְעֵדָּה זוֹ פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה. וְאֵין עוֹלִין לָהּ אֶלָּא בְּפַת דָּגָן וְקִטְנִית. וְאוֹכְלִין בְּעֵת הַסְּעֻדָּה. וְזוֹ הִיא סְעֻדַּת מִצְוָה שֶׁל עִבּוּר הַחֹדֶשׁ הָאֲמוּרָה בְּכָל מָקוֹם:

8

Originally, when the court would sanctify the new moon, they would light bonfires26 on the mountaintops to notify the people in distant places.27 When the Samaritans began conducting themselves in a debased manner and would light bonfires [at the wrong times] to confuse the people,28 [the Sages] instituted the practice of having messengers journey to notify the people.29

These messengers may not violate [the sanctity of] the holidays, nor of Yom Kippur [by traveling on these days]. Needless to say, they may not violate [the sanctity of] the Sabbath. For one may not violate the Sabbath to uphold [the sanctification of] the new month, only to [actually] sanctify it.

ח

בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה כְּשֶׁהָיוּ בֵּית דִּין מְקַדְּשִׁין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ הָיוּ מַשִּׂיאִין מַשּׂוּאוֹת בְּרָאשֵׁי הֶהָרִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ הָרְחוֹקִים. מִשֶּׁקִּלְקְלוּ הַכּוּתִים שֶׁהָיוּ מַשִּׂיאִין מַשּׂוּאוֹת כְּדֵי לְהַטְעוֹת אֶת הָעָם הִתְקִינוּ שֶׁיְּהוּ שְׁלוּחִים יוֹצְאִין וּמוֹדִיעִין לָרַבִּים. וּשְׁלוּחִים אֵלּוּ אֵינָן מְחַלְּלִין אֶת יוֹם טוֹב וְלֹא אֶת יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שַׁבָּת שֶׁאֵין מְחַלְּלִין אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַיְּמוֹ אֶלָּא לְקַדְּשׁוֹ בִּלְבַד:

9

Messengers are sent out [to inform the people] for six months: For Nisan, because of Pesach. For Av, because of the fast [of Tish'ah B'Av].30 For Elul, because of Rosh HaShanah - i.e., so they could wait in readiness on the thirtieth day of Elul.31 If it became known to them that the High Court had sanctified the thirtieth day, they would observe only that day as a holiday. If it did not become known to them,32 they would observe both the thirtieth and the thirty-first days [as Rosh HaShanah] until the messengers of Tishrei arrived.

For Tishrei, because of the festivals. For Kislev, because of Chanukah. For Adar, because of Purim.33 While the Beit HaMikdash was standing, [messengers] also would be sent out for the month of Iyar, because of the small Pesach.34

ט

עַל שִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים הָיוּ שְׁלוּחִים יוֹצְאִין. עַל נִיסָן מִפְּנֵי הַפֶּסַח. וְעַל אָב מִפְּנֵי הַתַּעֲנִית. וְעַל אֱלוּל מִפְּנֵי רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה. כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּשְׁבוּ מְצַפִּין בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים לֶאֱלוּל אִם נוֹדַע לָהֶם שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּ בֵּית דִּין יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים נוֹהֲגִים אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם קֹדֶשׁ בִּלְבַד. וְאִם לֹא נוֹדַע לָהֶם נוֹהֲגִים יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים קֹדֶשׁ וְיוֹם אֶחָד וּשְׁלֹשִׁים קֹדֶשׁ עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ לָהֶם שְׁלוּחֵי תִּשְׁרֵי. וְעַל תִּשְׁרֵי מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת. וְעַל כִּסְלֵו מִפְּנֵי חֲנֻכָּה. וְעַל אֲדָר מִפְּנֵי הַפּוּרִים. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קַיָּם יוֹצְאִין אַף עַל אִיָּר מִפְּנֵי פֶּסַח קָטָן:

10

[Even when the moon was clearly sighted on the previous night,] the messengers for the months of Nisan and Tishrei would not depart35 until the sun rose and they heard the court pronounce, "It has been sanctified."36 If, however, the court sanctified the moon at the conclusion of the twenty-ninth day, [which is possible,] as we have explained,37 and the messengers heard the court pronounce it sanctified, they might depart that evening.

The messengers for the other months, by contrast, may depart in the evening after the moon has been sighted. Although the court has not sanctified the new month, since the new moon has been sighted, they may depart, for the court will surely sanctify the new month on the following day.

י

שְׁלוּחֵי נִיסָן וּשְׁלוּחֵי תִּשְׁרֵי אֵין יוֹצְאִין אֶלָּא בְּיוֹם רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ אַחַר שֶׁתַּעֲלֶה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ מִפִּי בֵּית דִּין מְקֻדָּשׁ. וְאִם קִדְּשׁוּ בֵּית דִּין בְּסוֹף יוֹם תִּשְׁעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ וְשָׁמְעוּ מִפִּי בֵּית דִּין מְקֻדָּשׁ יוֹצְאִין מִבָּעֶרֶב. וּשְׁלוּחֵי שְׁאָר הַשִּׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים יֵשׁ לָהֶם לָצֵאת מִבָּעֶרֶב אַחַר שֶׁנִּרְאָה הַיָּרֵחַ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא קִדְּשׁוּ בֵּית דִּין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ הוֹאִיל וְנִרְאֶה הַחֹדֶשׁ יָצְאוּ שֶׁהֲרֵי לְמָחָר בְּוַדַּאי מְקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתוֹ בֵּית דִּין:

11

Wherever these messengers would arrive [before the celebration of the festivals], the holidays would be observed for [only] one day, as prescribed by the Torah. In the distant places, which the messengers would not reach [before the celebration of the festivals],38 the holidays would be observed for two days because of the doubt [involved]. For they would not know the day on which the High Court established the new month.39

יא

כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהָיוּ הַשְּׁלוּחִין מַגִּיעִין הָיוּ עוֹשִׂין אֶת הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת יוֹם טוֹב אֶחָד כַּכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה. וּמְקוֹמוֹת הָרְחוֹקִים שֶׁאֵין הַשְּׁלוּחִים מַגִּיעִין אֲלֵיהֶם הָיוּ עוֹשִׂין שְׁנֵי יָמִים מִפְּנֵי הַסָּפֵק לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָם יוֹדְעִים יוֹם שֶׁקָּבְעוּ בּוֹ בֵּית דִּין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ אֵי זֶה יוֹם הוּא:

12

There are places where the messengers [sent out for] Nisan would arrive [in time for the celebration of Pesach], but the messengers [sent out for] Tishrei would not arrive [in time for the celebration of Sukkot].40 According to [the letter of] the law, it would have been appropriate for them to observe Pesach for one day, since the messengers reached them and informed them when Rosh Chodesh had been established, and for them to observe Sukkot for two days, since the messengers had not reached them. Nevertheless, so that there would be no difference between the festivals, the Sages instituted the ruling that two days were celebrated [for all holidays] in all places that were not reached by the messengers for Tishrei. [This includes] even the festival of Shavuot.41

יב

יֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁהָיוּ מַגִּיעִין אֲלֵיהֶם שְׁלוּחֵי נִיסָן וְלֹא הָיוּ מַגִּיעִין לָהֶן שְׁלוּחֵי תִּשְׁרֵי. וּמִן הַדִּין הָיָה שֶׁיַּעֲשׂוּ פֶּסַח יוֹם אֶחָד שֶׁהֲרֵי הִגִּיעוּ לָהֶן שְׁלוּחִין וְיָדְעוּ בְּאֵי זֶה יוֹם נִקְבַּע רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ. וְיַעֲשׂוּ יוֹם טוֹב שֶׁל חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת שְׁנֵי יָמִים שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הִגִּיעוּ אֲלֵיהֶן הַשְּׁלוּחִין. וּכְדֵי שֶׁלֹּא לַחֲלֹק בַּמּוֹעֲדוֹת הִתְקִינוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁכָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין שְׁלוּחֵי תִּשְׁרֵי מַגִּיעִין שָׁם עוֹשִׂין שְׁנֵי יָמִים אֲפִלּוּ יוֹם טוֹב שֶׁל עֲצֶרֶת:

13

[How many more] days do the messengers for Nisan journey than the messengers for Tishrei? Two. For the messengers for Tishrei do not travel on the first of Tishrei, because it is a holiday, nor on the tenth, because it is Yom Kippur.42

יג

וְכַמָּה בֵּין שְׁלוּחֵי נִיסָן לִשְׁלוּחֵי תִּשְׁרֵי. שְׁנֵי יָמִים. שֶׁשְּׁלוּחֵי תִּשְׁרֵי אֵינָן מְהַלְּכִין בְּאֶחָד בְּתִשְׁרֵי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא יוֹם טוֹב וְלֹא בַּעֲשִׂירִי בּוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא יוֹם כִּפּוּר:

14

There is no need for there to be two messengers. Even a single individual's [statements] are believed. Moreover, this does not apply to messengers alone. Even when a [traveling] merchant of no particular distinction passes through on his journey, and says: "I heard from the court43 that it sanctified the new month on such and such a date," his statements are believed, and the [celebration of] the festivals is arranged accordingly.

[The rationale is that] this is a matter that will [eventually] be revealed.44 Therefore, the testimony of a single acceptable witness is sufficient.45

יד

אֵין הַשְּׁלוּחִין צְרִיכִין לִהְיוֹתָן שְׁנַיִם אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ אֶחָד נֶאֱמָן. וְלֹא שָׁלִיחַ בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ תַּגָּר מִשְּׁאָר הָעָם שֶׁבָּא כְּדַרְכּוֹ וְאָמַר אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי מִפִּי בֵּית דִּין שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי נֶאֱמָן וּמְתַקְּנִין אֶת הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת עַל פִּיו. שֶׁדָּבָר זֶה דָּבָר הֶעָשׂוּי לְהִגָּלוֹת הוּא וְעֵד אֶחָד כָּשֵׁר נֶאֱמָן עָלָיו:

15

[The following rules apply when] the court held session throughout the entire thirtieth day, but witnesses did not arrive, [the judges] arose early in the morning and made the month full, as we stated previously in this chapter,46 and after four or five days witnesses came from distant places and testified that they had sighted the moon at the appropriate time, the thirtieth night. [Indeed, the same principles apply if the witnesses] come at the end of the month.

We unnerve them in a very intimidating matter, and we seek to disorient them with queries. We cross-examine them very thoroughly and are extremely precise regarding their testimony. [For] the court endeavors not to sanctify this month, since it has already been declared full.47

טו

בֵּית דִּין שֶׁיָּשְׁבוּ כָּל יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים וְלֹא בָּאוּ עֵדִים וְהִשְׁכִּימוּ בַּנֶּשֶׁף וְעִבְּרוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּפֶרֶק זֶה. וְאַחַר אַרְבָּעָה אוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה יָמִים בָּאוּ עֵדִים רְחוֹקִים וְהֵעִידוּ שֶׁרָאוּ אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ בִּזְמַנּוֹ שֶׁהוּא לֵיל שְׁלֹשִׁים. וַאֲפִלּוּ בָּאוּ בְּסוֹף הַחֹדֶשׁ. מְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶן אִיּוּם גָּדוֹל וּמַטְרִיפִים אוֹתָם בִּשְׁאֵלוֹת וּמַטְרִיחִין עֲלֵיהֶן בִּבְדִיקוֹת וּמְדַקְדְּקִין בְּעֵדוּת וּמִשְׁתַּדְּלִין בֵּית דִּין שֶׁלֹּא יְקַדְּשׁוּ חֹדֶשׁ זֶה הוֹאִיל וְיָצָא שְׁמוֹ מְעֻבָּר:

16

If the witnesses remain steadfast in their testimony, if it is compatible [according to the calculations of the court], if the witnesses are men whose character is well known, they are men of understanding, and if their testimony was scrutinized in a proper way - the moon is sanctified [retroactively]. We recalculate the dates of the month beginning from the thirtieth day [after the previous Rosh Chodesh], since the moon was sighted [on the appropriate] night.

טז

וְאִם עָמְדוּ הָעֵדִים בְּעֵדוּתָן וְנִמְצֵאת מְכֻוֶּנֶת וַהֲרֵי הָעֵדִים אֲנָשִׁים יְדוּעִים וּנְבוֹנִים וְנֶחְקְרָה הָעֵדוּת כָּרָאוּי. מְקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתוֹ וְחוֹזְרִין וּמוֹנִין לְאוֹתוֹ הַחֹדֶשׁ מִיּוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים הוֹאִיל וְנִרְאֶה הַיָּרֵחַ בְּלֵילוֹ:

17

If it was necessary for the court to leave the month full, as it was before the witnesses came, it is left as it is. This is what is meant by the statement,48 "The month is made full out of necessity49." Some great Sages differ concerning this matter and maintain that the month is never made full out of necessity. Rather, if the witnesses come, the month is sanctified and they are not intimidated at all50.

יז

וְאִם הֻצְרְכוּ בֵּית דִּין לְהַנִּיחַ חֹדֶשׁ זֶה מְעֻבָּר כְּשֶׁהָיָה קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ הָעֵדִים אֵלּוּ מַנִּיחִין. וְזֶה הוּא שֶׁאָמְרוּ מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ לְצֹרֶךְ. וְיֵשׁ מִן הַחֲכָמִים הַגְּדוֹלִים מִי שֶׁחוֹלֵק בְּדָבָר זֶה וְאוֹמֵר לְעוֹלָם אֵין מְעַבְּרִין אֶת הַחֹדֶשׁ לְצֹרֶךְ. הוֹאִיל וּבָאוּ עֵדִים מְקַדְּשִׁין וְאֵין מְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶן:

18

It appears to me51 that there is a difference of opinion among the Sages regarding this matter only in [the following circumstances]:

a) The other months besides Nisan and Tishrei, or

b) When witnesses come in Nisan and Tishrei after the holidays have passed, [all the festive practices] have already been observed, and the time to offer the sacrifices and observe the festivals has passed.

When, however, the witnesses come in Tishrei and in Nisan before the middle of the month,52 their testimony is accepted, and no attempt is made to intimidate them at all. For we do not attempt to intimidate witnesses who testify that they sighted at the appropriate time so that the month will be full.

יח

יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵין מַחֲלֹקֶת הַחֲכָמִים בְּדָבָר זֶה אֶלָּא בִּשְׁאָר הֶחֳדָשִׁים חוּץ מִן נִיסָן וְתִשְׁרֵי. אוֹ בְּעֵדֵי נִיסָן וְתִשְׁרֵי שֶׁבָּאוּ אַחַר שֶׁעָבְרוּ הָרְגָלִים. שֶׁכְּבָר נַעֲשָׂה מַה שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה וְעָבַר זְמַן הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת וּזְמַן הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת. אֲבָל אִם בָּאוּ הָעֵדִים בְּנִיסָן וְתִשְׁרֵי קֹדֶם חֲצִי הַחֹדֶשׁ מְקַבְּלִין עֵדוּתָן וְאֵין מְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶן כְּלָל. שֶׁאֵין מְאַיְּמִין עַל עֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל הַחֹדֶשׁ שֶׁרָאוּהוּ בִּזְמַנּוֹ כְּדֵי לְעַבְּרוֹ:

19

We do, however, intimidate witnesses whose testimony has been disputed, and it appears that their testimony will not be upheld, and the month will be made full. We pressure them so that their testimony will be upheld and the month will be sanctified in its proper time. Similarly, when, before the new month has been sanctified, witnesses come to nullify53 the testimony of the witnesses who saw the moon at its appropriate time, [the court] intimidates the witnesses who want to nullify the original testimony, so that the challenge will not be accepted and the new month will be sanctified at its appropriate time.54

יט

אֲבָל מְאַיְּמִין עַל עֵדִים שֶׁנִּתְקַלְקְלָה עֵדוּתָן וַהֲרֵי הַדָּבָר נוֹטֶה וּגְנַאי שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְקַיֵּם הָעֵדוּת וְיִתְעַבֵּר הַחֹדֶשׁ. מְאַיְּמִין עֲלֵיהֶן כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּתְקַיֵּם הָעֵדוּת וְיִתְקַיֵּם הַחֹדֶשׁ בִּזְמַנּוֹ. וְכֵן אִם בָּאוּ עֵדִים לְהָזִים אֶת הָעֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּהוּ בִּזְמַנּוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְאַיְּמִין עַל הַמְּזִימִין עַד שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְקַיֵּם הַהֲזָמָה וְיִתְקַדֵּשׁ הַחֹדֶשׁ בִּזְמַנּוֹ: