The Problem with Mashiach: A Shanah Tova message for this Shabbat, by Daniel Pinner

The Problem with Mashiach: A Shanah Tova message for this Shabbat, by Daniel Pinner

The Mishna (1:1) tells us that there are four New Years every year: the first of Nissan is Rosh Hashana for Kings; the first of Elul is Rosh Hashana for tithing animals (although according to Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Shim'on this is on the first of Tishrei, which is the Halacha in practice according to the Rambam- Hilchot Bekhorot/ laws of firstborn 7:6); the first of Tishrei is Rosh Hashana for years, Shmita and Jubilee years, and vegetables; and, according to Shammai the first of Sh'vat (this Sahbbat) is Rosh Hashana for trees - i.e. for tithing the fruits of trees. According to Hillel, Rosh Hashana for trees is on the fifteenth of Sh'vat.

Now, we decide practical Halacha according to Hillel, which is why every year we celebrate Rosh Hashana for trees on the fifteenth of Sh'vat - Tu B'Sh'vat. But we have a principal that when Mashiach comes, the Halacha will go according to Shammai.

So if Mashiach comes in the two-week period after Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat, and before Tu B'Sh'vat, then we will face an interesting problem: will the fruits that ripen during that two-week period have to be tithed according to Shammai (from first of Sh'vat this year until the twenty ninth of Tevet next year), or according to Hillel (from Tu B'Sh'vat last year until fourteenth of Sh'vat this year)?

And if the tithed and un-tithed fruits get mixed up, maybe they will all be forbidden.

All in all, it would save us a lot of problems before Rosh-Chodesh- i.e. before this Shabbat.

In any event, Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov, and Shana Tova - B'ezrat Hashem for this Shabbat, or if "Chas Ve'Shalom" Mashiach does not come by then, for Tu B'Shvat.

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