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Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. If the Beth Din and all Israel saw the new moon, 1 or if the examination of the witnesses had already taken place, but it had become dark before the word "Mekoodash," 2 was pronounced, the month will be intercalary. When the Beth Din alone saw it, 3 two of its members must stand up before the others as witnesses, 4 who shall then say, "Mekoodash, Mekoodash." When only three forming a Beth Din have seen it, two of them must stand up as witnesses, and conjoin some of their learned associates with the single one, 5 and then give their evidence before these, who are to say, "Mekoodash, Mekoodash," because a single member of a Beth Din has not this faculty by himself alone.

§ 2. Every kind of horn may be used [as a shophar, or cornet] on the feast of new year, excepting that of a cow, because it is called ‏קרן‎ in Scripture. 6 Rabbi José remarked, "Surely all shophars are called ‏קרן‎ in the text;" for such is the expression in Joshua vi. 5, ‏במשוך בקרן היובל‎.

§ 3. The cornet used in the temple on the feast of the new year, was a straight horn of a chamois, 7 the mouth-piece of which was covered with gold, the two trumpets 8 were stationed on each side, the sound of the cornet was prolonged after that of the trumpets had ceased, because the obligation of the day applies more particularly to the sounding of the cornet.

§ 4. On the fast days, two crooked ram's-horns were used, whose mouth-pieces were covered with silver, and the two trumpets were stationed in the middle between them; the sound of the trumpets was prolonged after that of the horns had ceased, because the obligation of the day applies more particularly to the sounding of the trumpets.

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§ 5. The year of jubilee is like the feast of new year, in respect to the sounding and the blessings. R. Jehudah says, "On the feast of new year a ram's-horn was sounded, and on the year of jubilee the horn of a chamois."

§ 6. It is unlawful to use a shophar which had been rent, and afterwards joined again together; also one composed of several pieces joined together. If a shophar had a hole which had been closed, if it hinders the proper sound, it may not be used; but if it does not affect the proper sound, it may be used.

§ 7. If any one should sound the shophar within a hole, a cistern, or in a large vessel of clay [or earthenware]—if the person who listens to the sounding should plainly hear the sounding of the shophar, he will have acquitted himself of his obligation, 9 but not when he only hears the reverberation, or echo of that sound; and thus, if a person passes by the synagogue, or living close to it, should hear the shophar [on the feast of new year], or the reading of the book of Esther [on Pureem], he will have acquitted himself of his obligation, provided he has paid proper attention, but not otherwise; and although one person should hear it as well as another, yet the difference [on which all depends] is, that this person paid due attention, and the other did not.

§ 8. [In this manner we find it stated in Scripture, that] "When Moses held up his hand, then Israel prevailed," &c. (Exod. xvii. 11.) Could the hands of Moses animate the contest, or cause it to cease? But it was thus: whilst Israel looked to heaven for aid, and subjected their will to their heavenly Father, they prevailed, but when they ceased to do so, they failed. A similar instance we find (Numbers xxi. 8), "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole, and every one that is bitten when he looketh upon it shall live." Could this serpent kill or bring to life? But it was thus: when the Israelites looked to heaven for aid, and subjected their inclination to the will of their heavenly Father, they were cured, but when they did not, they perished. A deaf and dumb, or a foolish person, and a child, cannot relieve others from their obligation by acting for them. This is the rule—all those who are not bound to the performance of a religious duty, cannot release others from their obligation.


162:1 On the night of the 30th day.

162:2 See the preceding chapter, § 7.

162:3 This treats of a Beth Din of twenty-three members (see Treatise Sanhedrin).

162:4 Namely, the remaining members of the Beth Din.

162:5 That is, the third member of the Beth Din.

162:6 And not ‏שופר‎.

162:7 A kind of antelope, or wild goat.

162:8 See Numbers x.

163:9 Of hearing, or sounding the shophar on the feast of new year.

Next: Chapter IV