2. The two days of R”H are considered one long day

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2. The two days of R”H are considered one long day:[1]

Difference between the two days of R”H and the two days of other Holidays: In truth even in the Diaspora the two days of R”H are different than the two days of other Holidays. By the other Holidays even the ancestors only kept two days in the Diaspora due to doubt, as they did not know the date that the month was set in Eretz Yisrael. Hence only one day is truly the holiday and if the 1st day is Yom Tov then the 2nd day is a regular weekday, if the 2nd day is Yom Tov the first day is a regular weekday.[2] However the two days of R”H are not so and they are considered like one long day and they are one period of Holiness even in Eretz Yisrael.[3]

The ramifications: The practical ramification of this matter is regarding Nolad or Muktzah that occurred on the first day of Yom Tov if it may be benefited from on the second day. By other Holidays if Nolad or Muktzah occurred on the first day of Yom Tov it is permitted on the 2nd day. However on R”H if Nolad or Muktzah occurred on the first day it is also forbidden on the second day being that they are considered like one long day.[4] Another ramification is regarding the laws of medical treatment.[5] Another ramification is regarding the laws of a food that was brought from outside the Techum on the first day of Yom Tov.[6] Another ramification is regarding one who forgot to do Eruv Tavshilin on Erev Yom Tov whether he may do so on the first day of Yom Tov through making a Tnaiy.[7] Another ramification is regarding whether one is to say Shehechiyanu on the second day of Yom Tov by candle lighting and Kiddush.[8]

Being stringent at all times:[9] The two days of R”H are only considered like one day regarding being stringent in the ramifications explained above, and not regarding being lenient in those matters that seemingly we should be lenient on if they are considered one day. Thus, one may not prepare on the first day of R”H on behalf of the second day of R”H, just as is the law by any Holiday.


The reason it is considered one long day

Even in Jerusalem they sometimes kept two days:[10] The reason that on R”H the two days are considered like one, despite the fact that we are knowledgeable of the date of the month and we hence know that the first day is the main day, is because even the Beis Din themselves which would sanctify the month based on sighting the new moon would at times keep two days. How did this occur? At first when the 30th of Elul arrived the entire Jewish people and the Beis Din would keep Yom Tov and not do Melacha starting from the night [of the 30th] as perhaps the witnesses would come the next day and testify that they saw the moon that night hence causing the 30th to be Rosh Chodesh Tishrei which is Rosh Hashanah, and hence consequently the night before was Yom Tov. The Beis Din would sit during the day of the 30th and wait for witnesses which saw the moon to come forward. Whatever hour the witnesses would arrive throughout the day, until night, their testimony would be accepted, and the month was sanctified that day. That day would be Rosh Hashanah and from that day and onwards they would count for Yom Kippur and Sukkos. Usually the witnesses would arrive before the time of Mincha which is the hour that the afternoon Tamid was offered.[11] One time the witnesses delayed coming until after Mincha and the Tamid sacrifice was offered and the Levites sang the song of the wrong day, singing the song of the weekday [as opposed to the song of Musaf R”H[12]] as they thought that witnesses would no longer arrive that day, but when they did arrive it caused the day to retroactively be Holy.[13] From that day and onwards the Sages established that the Beis Din would no longer accept testimony past Mincha and when witnesses would arrive after Mincha they would make that day part of the previous month, and it would be the 30th of Elul, and the next day [would be the first of Tishrei-R”H] from which they would count to Yom Kippur and Sukkos.[14]  Nevertheless, despite [that the 30th day is being counted as the last day of Elul and hence] the Holidays are not being counted from then and it is thus a weekday and Yom Tov will only begin that night, nevertheless due to a Rabbinical decree they would not belittle that day and they would guard the remainder of the day, until night, following all the prohibitions of the Holiness of Yom Tov.[15] Thus while the 30th day was the Rabbinical Yom Tov the next day was the Biblical Yom Tov and R”H. These two days are considered one state of holiness and like one long day and are both called the Yom Tov of R”H, the first day being Rabbinical while the second day being Biblical.

[The above explanation however raises the following question: Although it may be true that there were years that even in Jerusalem they kept two days, the first as Rabbinical and the second as Biblical, nevertheless there were many years that in Jerusalem they did not keep two days as the witnesses arrived before Mincha and hence the month was sanctified on the 30th and the next day was already the 2nd of Tishrei. Hence why should the two days of R”H of the entire world now be considered one long day simply because at times even in Jerusalem it was all one long day. It is this question that the next part of Admur addresses]

The affect on the two days kept outside of Jerusalem:[16] The areas that were outside of the Techum of Jerusalem [and hence the messengers could not arrive on R”H] would need to celebrate two days of R”H every year [due to doubt as explained above in A]. Now [this doubt also included that] perhaps the witnesses would arrive after Mincha and hence both days are holy and considered like one long day, as they both contain the same holiness of R”H. It was only after Yom Tov that the messengers would leave and tell all the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael the day that the month was established, and everyone would count from the correct date for Yom Kippur and Sukkos. [Thus, in conclusion all the inhabitants that were outside of the Techum of Jerusalem had to keep two days of R”H as if it were one long day due to the doubt of whether witnesses arrived after Mincha.]

The resultant law of today:[17] The above system was always followed until the nullification of the Sanhedrin and the sanctifying of the moon based on testimony became abolished, thus forcing them to sanctify the months based on calculations. From that point and on everyone in the world counts the first day of R”H as the first of Tishrei and from that day they count the days for Yom Kippur and Sukkos. The reason for this is because based on calculation the month of Elul is always 29 days [and hence the 30th is always the first of Tishrei]. Now since we need to follow the custom of our ancestors that was followed during the times that they sanctified the new month based on testimony and hence they would celebrate two days of R”H even in Eretz Yisrael, and they would consider it one long day with one set of holiness, therefore we also must follow this and consider the second day as part of one long day in order not to belittle the second day and be lenient on it regarding matters that our forefathers were not lenient. Thus just like our forefathers had to prohibit Nolad on the second day of R”H due to the doubt that perhaps the witnesses arrived after Mincha and it is hence one long day, similarly we must prohibit Nolad on the 2nd day even though that the reason is no longer applicable today being that we set the month based on calculation and the first day of R”H is always Biblically the main day of Yom Tov.      



Why even in Eretz Yisrael they keep two days: Although people living in Eretz Yisrael usually only keep a one-day holiday, on Rosh Hashanah all people including those living in Eretz Yisrael keep two days. The reason for this is as follows: The reason why in lands out of Israel two days are kept by all Holidays is because in the times of the Temple, the first day of the Hebrew month would be announced by the Sanhedrin based on the appearance of the moon. Some months lasted 29 days while others lasted 30 days and it was placed in the hands of the court to announce if the 30th day or the 31st day is the 1st of the next month. Now, being that news did not travel around very quickly, in most lands out of Israel they would only hear of this announcement much later on into the next month. Thus, they were in constant doubt in the correct date of the month. Because of this when a Holiday would approach, they would all keep a two day Holiday in order to be certain that they kept the Holiday on the correct date. In Israel however the announcement of the Sanhedrin was able to be spread and thus they had no doubt as to the correct date of the month and thus had no need to keep two days. However, regarding Rosh Hashanah being that it is on the 1st of the month, only those living within the Techum in Jerusalem, by the quarters of the Sanhedrin, would hear of the announcement. Thus, even in Israel all people living outside Jerusalem would keep a two day holiday out of doubt to which day has been announced the 1st of the month.

Why it is one long day: Even in Jerusalem many times two days were kept being that the announcement could take place throughout the entire day of the would be 1st of the month, and out of doubt people would have to keep that first day as a holiday. If no announcement was made and only the next day was declared the 1st of the month then in total they would end up keeping two days. Furthermore, at times the two days were not only kept out of doubt but based on a Rabbinical decree, as if witnesses of the new moon would arrive to the Sanhedrin on the 30th day after Mincha, then their testimony would not be accepted, and the 1st of the month would only be the next day. However, the Sages decreed that since they arrived on the 30th day therefore also the 30th day would be considered a holiday, and thus both days had the status of Rosh Hashanah, the first day Rabinically while the second day Biblically. It is for this reason that the two days of Rosh Hashanah are considered one long Holiday. This has Halachic ramifications regarding the laws of Nolad and Muktzah that occurred on the first day of Yom Tov in which case due to above, the prohibition applies even on the second day.

 Sparks of Kabala:[18]

The reason that today even in Eretz Yisrael we always keep two days of R”H is because after the destruction of the Temple we are unable to affect all the elevations of the Penimiyus and Chitzoniyus of Malchus in one day. However, prior to the Churban we were able to elevate everything in one day in Eretz Yisrael and hence they only kept two days when the witnesses arrived after Mincha.




[1] 600:2-3

[2] 600:2

[3] 600:3; Tur; Levush; Taz 600:1

[4] An egg laid on Yom Tov: By other Holidays an egg that was laid on the first day of Yom Tov is permitted on the 2nd day, as if today is holy then tomorrow is a weekday and it does not contain the prohibition of Muktzah and Nolad. If tomorrow is holy, then today is a weekday and the egg was hence prepared from Erev Yom Tov. Therefore even the descendants of the inhabitants of the Diaspora which know the date of the month and know that the first day is the main day of Yom Tov while the 2nd day is a Rabbinical Holiday [and is no longer a doubt] nevertheless this egg does not have the same status as an egg that was laid by two Holidays that proximate each other, such as Shabbos and Yom Tov, in which case if it was laid one day it is forbidden on the next. [see 513:8-9] The reason is because since the entire reason of them keeping two days is due to their ancestor’s custom therefore, they are not required to be more stringent that their ancestors to which this egg was permitted on the 2nd day as explained. [600:2] However on R”H if an egg is laid on the first day, or a food was detached from the ground on the first day [see 515:9], or an animal was trapped on the first day [see 497:9; 515:6], then just like it is forbidden due to Muktzah and Nolad on the first day so too it is forbidden on the second day being that they are considered like one long day. This however is with exception to burying a corpse on the 2nd day as is explained in 526:6. [600:3; Michaber 600:1; 479:9 [trapped animal]; 513:8,10,14 [egg laid]; 515:9 [food detached from ground]

[5] 496:5


On the first day of a regular Yom Tov these laws follow the same laws as Shabbos [see our Sefer The laws of Shabbos Vol. 2 “Medicine and First Aid” chapter 2] that even if one is bedridden a treatment involving Rabbinical prohibition may only be done with a Shinui. However, on the second day of Yom Tov we are lenient to allow even a Jew to perform Rabbinical prohibitions of medical treatment without a Shinui even if the person is not bedridden but is in a lot of pain. However, on R”H the second day follows the same laws as the first day for all matters. [ibid]

[6] 515:1 that according to all opinions on R”H one may not benefit until after the second day, even in a case of guests. On other Yomim Tovim however it is disputed if one may benefit on the second day and we are lenient in a case of need as explained there.

[7] 527:22; By a regular Yom Tov that falls on Thursday, Friday one may make an Eruv Tavshilin on Thursday using a Tnaiy that “if today is Yom Tov tomorrow is a weekday etc.”. [527:21] However on R”H one cannot make an Eruv Tavshilin being that it is all considered one long day. [527:22]

[8] 601:5; On regular Holiday one says Shehechiyanu on both the first and second day. [ibid; 490:1] However on the second day of R”H since it is considered one long day it is disputed whether Shehechiyanu is to be recited. See Chapter 5 Halacha 24 for the full discussion of this matter.

[9] 503:3

[10] 600:4

[11] Seemingly this refers to Mincha Ketana which was at the 9.5 hours into the day. [See M”A 233:2]

[12] See Rambam Hilchos Temidim Umusafim 6:9; Tamid 33b

[13] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding whether the inhabitants of Jerusalem did Melacha starting from Mincha and onwards if they did not hear that witnesses arrived, and the Beis Din sanctified the month. From the fact Admur states that only the song of the Kohanim was confused implies that everyone refrained from Melacha due to doubt, otherwise there would be a much greater reason to prevent accepting testimony after Mincha, as this would cause people to desecrate Yom Tov retroactively. 

[14] The reason the Beis Din has power to uproot the Mitzvah of sanctifying the day based on testimony: The Beis Din has power to do the above as the verse states “Aleh Moadeiy Hashem Asher Tikreu Osam” The word Osam is written without a “vav” and is hence read “Atem”. This comes to teach us that even if the Beis Din purposely calls it on the wrong day it is valid. [ibid]

[15] The reason: Since from the letter of the law the 30th day was Biblically supposed to be the Holiday [first of Tishrei] and it is only due to that Beis Din has permission to delay the sanctifying of the month that it was delayed  therefore they decreed to keep also the 30th as Yom Tov. [ibid]

[16] 600:4

[17] 600:4

[18] Shaar Hakavanos 91; Kaf Hachaim 601:5; See Admur Basra 1:8

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