Volume 28 Number 29
                      Produced: Fri Nov 20  7:52:17 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Announcing Time of the Molad (2)
         [<sabbahillel@...>, Alexander Heppenheimer]
Dogs in Shul
         [Warren Burstein]
Finite and Infinite
         [Stan Tenen]
         [Moshe J. Bernstein]
Renewing a Rabbi's Contract
         [Jordan Hirsch]
Sefer Keser Shem Tov
         [Adam M. Charney]
The Proper Time of the Molad
         [Remy Landau]


From: <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 10:52:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Announcing Time of the Molad

>From: <Ira.Walfish@...> (Ira Walfish)
>Subject: Re: Announcing Time of the Molad
>A friend recently suggested that the time of the molad to be announced
>during Shabbat Mevorchim must be 6 hours more than that shown in the
>Ezras Torah calendar. Would he be correct?

I announce the molad in my shul and I am makpid on the time zone
reference (based on an article from the Association of Orthodox Jewish
Scientists some years ago.  However, for new references check out the
TorahTidbits mailing list sent out by Phil Chernofsky of the NCSY in
Jerusalem (I think you can get it via http://www.virtual.co.il and I
think my daughter said that there may be a connection via
http://www.ou.org).  This shabbos he stated that the molad will be at
8:23 AM Yeruashalayim Solar time which would be 8:03 AM Israel Standard
Time (on the clock - which is 1:03 AM Eastern Standard Time).  The
explanation on page 68 of the English Ezras Torah Luach is as follows.

The Molad is given as of the Solar time in Jerusalem, that is, 12:00
noon is really chatzos, when the sun is overhead.  The time zone for
Israel is really centered in Cairo (I think) so that the sun is straight
overhead at 11:40 AM.  Thus, 12:00 noon Solar time is really 11:40
(approximately) Israeli Standard Time.  To get United States Eastern
Standard time, Subtract 7 hours.  (We are 5 hours west of Greenwich Mean
Time and Israel is two hours east).  Note that because of various
uncertainties and for people to understand the time (again based on the
AOJS article), I announce the clock time as an approximation.

This past Shabbos, I announced "The molad for the month of Kislev will
be Thursday morning, 23 minutes and 17 chalkim after eight AM
Yerushalayim Solar Time, which is approximately on AM Eastern Standard

Phil Chernofsky pointed out that the Rambam used 6:00 PM as the zero
hour so he would have announced the molad as 14 hours 431 chalakim (he
did not use minutes as we do).  There are 1080 chalakim in each hour, so
a chelek is 3 and one third seconds.


From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 17:07:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Announcing Time of the Molad

Ira Walfish wrote:
>A friend recently suggested that the time of the molad to be announced
>during Shabbat Mevorchim must be 6 hours more than that shown in the
>Ezras Torah calendar. Would he be correct?

As Avi pointed out, the time of the molad that is announced in shul is
Jerusalem time, which is 7 (not 6) hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
But actually, if we wanted to be exact about it, we would have to
*subtract* 7 hours and 21 minutes, because the announced molad time is
according to Jerusalem solar time (35.25 deg. E), while Israeli standard
time follows the longitude of Cairo (30 deg. E): difference, 21
minutes. So if the molad is on Thursday morning at 8:23 Jerusalem solar
time, then it will be 8:02 AM on an Israeli clock, and 1:02 AM on an
East Coast clock. R' Mordechai Premock, in his calendars, does make that
conversion for each month's molad and kiddush levanah times.

I don't know, then, why we don't announce the local equivalent of the
molad time in shul. It could just be that the Sages who instituted the
custom wanted everyone to use one standard figure. Another possibility
is that, since the announcement of the molad and the blessing of the new
month are meant to reenact the Sanhedrin's sanctification of the new
month, we use Jerusalem time since that was (and will be, when Moshiach
comes) the seat of the Sanhedrin.

On second thought, your friend's suggestion may be based on a confusion
over when the Jewish day begins. The molad of Kislev, which we announced
yesterday, would be expressed in figures as 5 days, 14 hours, 431
chalakim (1080 chalakim = one hour); that time period is counted from 6
PM of the end of Shabbos (regardless of whether Shabbos actually ended
earlier or later than that), so that we reach Thursday, 8:23 AM + 17
chalakim. Your friend may have mistakenly thought that we count from 12
midnight of Sunday (6 hours later), in which case the 5 days, etc.,
would bring us to Thursday, 2:23 PM + 17 chalakim.

Kol tuv y'all,


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:55:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Dogs in Shul

>From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
>I heard a shiur from Rav Soloveitchik on having dogs in shul.  He felt
>that anything you would allow in your living room can be brought to
>shul. Since, most people would allow a seeing-eye dog in the house in
>can be brought to shul but not a dog that is not necessary for getting

While I have no objections to excluding dogs from shul, I feel that most
people would allow a dog that is kept as a pet in their living room (I
don't own one, but if a guest brought one I would certainly allow it).
Perhaps this was not so a generation ago?


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 09:51:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Finite and Infinite

Binyomin Segal wrote:
>Though I agree with the overall tenor of Stan's remarks, I found one issue
>that I thought important enough to qualify. Stan says:
>  * When we compare ourselves to each other, we find differences.  Men
>  * and women are different in some ways.  But when we compare ourselves
>  * separately to Hashem, we're all equal, because Hashem is infinite,
>  * and we are finite.
>We are created " in the image of God" and among other things that means we
>are indeed infinite.
>In fact, I believe this may be a significant difference between classic
>Christian and Jewish thought. When confronted with the gulf between an
>infinite God and a finite man, Christianity suggests that God must lower
>Himself to allow for a relationship - hence the ONLY way to relate to God
>is through the son. However, Judaism suggests that each person can develop
>a unique and personal relationship with God Himself, because we are each
>On the other hand, I do recognize that there may be a difference between
>"netzach" (infinity) and "netzach netzachim" (infinite infinity, or
>perhaps aleph squared) and as such even though we are infinite, we are
>finite in relation to our creator. But...

I'd like to thank Binyomin Segal for his comments.  

While it's true that we're created "in the image of God," the word
tzelem implies a kind of shadow.  So, we're created in the "outline" of
God, but we don't necessarily have the same "hyperdimensional
thickness."  In other words, Binyomin is right.  We have infinite
potential, and Hashem has an infinity of infinite potential.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, most mathematicians subscribe to
the idea that there is a hierarchy of infinities.  For example, there
are infinitely more irrational numbers than rational numbers, even
though there's an infinite number of both.  (If I remember correctly.)

My point was to make a model that showed that there is a difference
between comparing ourselves to each other, where there's always someone
greater or less, and comparing ourselves to the standard set by Hashem,
where Hashem is always greater, and we're always less, no matter how
great we are.

The word tzelem offers a clue.  The Zadi means the greatest, or the most
righteous, example of something.  The Lamed stands for learning
(teaching and light also -- all alluding to Elokim).  And the final Mem
refers to the expanse of the world.  Tzelem implies that we are the
greatest example of God's Light possible in this world.  But the world
is entirely within the vacated space within God -- so we are a shadow
created in the image of God, in the sense that a square is a shadow
created in the image of a cube or a hypercube, etc.  (To use
mathematical metaphor.)



From: Moshe J. Bernstein <mjbrnstn@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 10:31:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Marheshvan

since my father zt"l (and i) appeared in one of the posts on marheshvan,
i'll just make a minor tiqqun to daniel katzman's comment. the meaning of
marheshvan is indeed "eighth month". for those linguistically inclined,
wrh=Heb yrh=month came into hebrew with interchange of labial consonants,
m for w, and the word for "eight" with the opposite change - w for m. thus
wrh-shmn > mrhshvn. the same happened with babylonian kislamu > hebrew
kislev.  (shlomo godick actually preceded me with some of this info)

in conversation regarding this with my assyriologist friend dr. hayim
tawil, he indicated to me that when he was active in the project to bring
yemenite jews out of yemen, an aged yemenite jew told him that the month
(in hebrew) is to be pronounced marah - shevan, not marheshvan as in our
tradition. see how oral traditions keep ancient information alive!

moshe bernstein


From: <TROMBAEDU@...> (Jordan Hirsch)
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 09:41:15 EST
Subject: Re: Renewing a Rabbi's Contract

<< What is the halachic opinion on a vote whether to renew a Rabbi's
contract or not.  Is it against halacha to vote against a Rabbi?  And
what about a commitee to evaluate his performance.  Thanks for your time

This is a very interesting topic.I would expand this question to all
issues regarding a shul board's evaluation of a Rabbi's performance. It
seems that certain issues need to be clarified. For instance, is a Rabbi
to be viewed as an employee of the shul, or is he a Clei Kodesh who
happens to get paid. The whole issue of a professional Rabbinate has
certainly created all sorts of questions regarding the independence and
integrity of Rabbis. Another issue to figure out is whether it is the
specific contract in front of you that has to be clarified, or the
employment of the Rabbi in general.  



From: Adam M. Charney <acharney@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 11:07:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sefer Keser Shem Tov

I own a single volume of a set of sefarim called "Keser Shem Tov".  The
English title page is subtitled "The Rites and Ceremonies and Liturgical
Variants of the Sephardim of the East and West and of the Ashkenazim--
Their Origin and Significance".  It was written by Rabbi Shemtov Gaguine
-- Ab Beth Din of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregations in England.
The one volume I have was published in 1955 in London --

It is a most fascinating sefer, but the volume I have deals with R"H and
Y"K and appears to be volume 6 of the set.  Does anyone know anymore
about this, or know where additional volumes might be available?

Adam M. Charney


From: Remy Landau <rlandau@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 21:13:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: The Proper Time of the Molad

I would like to respond to the following question:

  >> A friend recently suggested that the time of the molad to be announced
  >> during Shabbat Mevorchim must be 6 hours more than that shown in the
  >> Ezras Torah calendar. Would he be correct?

I support the position that it is the time of the molad as actually
resulting from the mandated rabbinic calculation which must be the time
announced on Shabbat MeVorchim. In other words, I agree with the idea
that 6 hours must be added to the times of the moladot as shown in the
Ezras Torah calendar.

The time of the molad of any given month is normally provided in units
of day of the week, hours, minutes, and halakim (parts). There are 18
halakim in one minute. The calculation of the molad uses a 24 hour day
that always begins at at a 0 hour which corresponds to 18:00 (6 pm) of
the secular clock.

The Ezras Torah calendar publishes the time calculated for the molad
*diminished* by 6 hours.

Ostensibly, the diminution of the molad's calculated time may be to
convert the rabbinically mandated calculation results to the more
familiar format of the secular clock whose day begins at midnight. For
example, if the molad calculation results in 6 hours, then it is 0 hours
(midnight) on the secular clock.

Another reason that I have heard, is that the calculated time of the
molad represents a value that is relative to Jerusalem. So if America is
6 hours earlier than Jerusalem, 6 hours are subtracted from the result
of the molad's calculation. And that gives us the local American time of
the molad.  If you were to accept this belief, and lived in the Eastern
Standard Time zone then you would have to subtract *7* hours from the
calculated time of the molad.

There is no particular evidence that the calendar calculations yield a
result that is the molad's time over Jerusalem. The Encyclopedia Judaica
suggests that it is just as hard to prove as to disprove the Jerusalem
hypothesis.  Consequently, I am inclined to believe that the Ezras Torah
calendar shows the time of the molad converted to the secular clock.

Traditional records indicate that a properly rabbinic convened court had
to be invoked to determine the reliability of witnesses who claimed to
have seen the *phasis* of the new moon. Only then would the new month be
allowed to be declared.

In going from a calendar system based on the observation of the *phasis*
to the currently fixed method system of calculation, our scholars were
confronted with a number of perplexing problems. In my opinion, the
single most difficult problem was the derivation of a method which would
prevent the time of the calculated *molad* from ever exceeding the first
day of any month. That method became known as the *Dehiyyah Molad
Zakein*.  (An arithmetical analysis of the impact of the rule can be
found at

Therefore, it appears to me, that in announcing the time of the molad,
*unmodified* from the results of its rabbinically mandated formulas, not
only do we stand as witness to the proper establishment of the new
month, we are also honouring the memory and the genius of our ancient

Regards, Remy Landau, Downsview, Ontario, Canada


End of Volume 28 Issue 29