[b-hebrew] Exod. 19:1 (update subject line)

Daniel Purisch daniel.purisch at gmail.com
Wed May 30 00:26:13 EDT 2007

Right. The "third new moon translation" is probably an attempt to set  
the arrival date on the first day of the third month of the year so  
that it would be possible for the giving of the Torah later in the  
chapter to by synchronous with Shavuot, which is, of course, the  
Jewish tradition. What is strange to me is that this translation  
doesn't accomplish what they are trying to do: the third new moon  
after the Exodus is the first day of the fourth month of the year -  
not the third month - so I can't see why anyone would prefer to  
translate chodesh as new moon, which is really only a viable  
translation in I Sam 20:5 (tomorrow is the new moon)...

The way that the Gemara (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 86b) and Rashi  
set the date on the first of the third month of the year is by  
reinterpreting "bayom hazeh," and not by reinterpreting "chodesh." We  
have been taking it to mean "on the same day of the month that they  
left Egypt"; the Jewish sources take it to mean "on the very day that  
the third-month-after-the-Exodus began." Since the third month after  
the Exodus is the third month of the year, the date that this month  
began is the first day of the third month of the year; there would  
therefore still be time within the seven week countdown of the Omer  
for a few days of Moses' ascending and descending the mountain and  
the people's 3-day preparation before the giving of the Torah later  
in this chapter.

I have been struggling to figure out which reading of "bayom hazeh"  
is correct - perhaps someone knows of a similar passage that might  
elucidate the idiom?

Daniel Purisch

On 30/05/2007, at 03:52, Tory Thorpe wrote:

> Jason Hare <jaihare at gmail.com> wrote: Gary,
> Yes, exactly. However, the Israelites left on the fifteenth of the
> month of Nisan during the night. This means that they arrived at the
> Sinai wilderness three months later on the fifteenth of the month. (At
> least, this is how I read it.)
> Assuming the "month of the Abib" in the oldest calendrical
> statements is the same as, or synchronous with, the month
> of Nisan in the Babylonian year. Exod. xix, 1 is considered
> non-priestly, and the HD$ here was thought to refer
> to the "new moon" as early as Ehrlich, Randglossen, I
> (Leipzig, 1908), pp. 312-13, if not earlier. The NJPS renders:
> "On the third new moon" which frankly makes no sense to me.
> Tory Thorpe
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