Volume 36 Number 09
                 Produced: Wed Mar 20  6:08:46 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

1492 and Tisha b'Av (10)
         [Dick Kleiman, Jonathan Baker, Lefkowitz, Sanford, Hillel
(Sabba) Markowitz, Ben Katz, Robert Israel, Caren and Steve
Weisberg, Jonathan & Randy Chipman, Robert Israel, Gershon
English commentary on Sefer Tehillim?
         [Ginsburg, Paul]
Hag kasher vesameah
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
"key" Minhag
         [Alan Friedenberg]
Rashi On 10th Perek Of Pesachim.
         [Immanuel Burton]
Tisha B'Av and Columbus
         [Reuben Rudman]


From: Dick Kleiman <dick@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 13:11:12 +0200
Subject: RE: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

Yisrael Hersh's fine program, Kaluach (available at the aish hatorah
website) shows tisha b'av of 1492 falling on August 2.  This differs
from A. Seinfeld's calculations because Yisrael took the change from the
Julian to Gregorian calendar into account.

Kol tuv,

From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 07:24:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

The Gregrian-Julian shift.  Make sure your calendar software accounts
for this.  Originally, every 4th February had a 29th day, in the
calendar promulgated by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE (709 AUC).  After 1600
years, there was a 10-day error between the dates of the
equinoxes/solstices and the calendar.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII instituted the current calendar system, where
every 4th February had a 29th day, unless the year was divisible by 100
AND NOT by 400.  Thus, 1900 was not a leap year, and 2000 was.  To cor-
rect for the accumulated error, Thu. October 4 that year was followed by
Fri. October 15 (can't mess up the Shabbat cycle).

Not every country accepted the new system right away; Great Britain and
her American colonies didn't accept it until 1752, by which time the
error was 11 days.  This explains why George Washington was born on 11
February 1732, but his birthday is celebrated on 22 February.

So, in 1492, the error was 9 days.  Add 9 days to your date of 25 July,
and you get 3 August New Style, or Tisha B'Av.

Which leads me to wonder if those who claim that the expulsion was on 9
Av=3 Aug took this into account.  Because, if the expulsion was on 3
August *New Style*, then it really was on 25 July *Old Style*.  But if
it was on 3 August *Old Style*, then it really was on 1 Av.  And yet,
contemporary Jewish accounts (via Chazan) say it was on 9 Av (actually,
10 Av, and if it was extended, 12 Av).

Does anyone have the text of the Edict of Expulsion?  What dates does
it give?

   Dershowitz and Reingold, "Calendrical Calculations". pp. 34-35;
   Robert Chazan, "Church State and Jew in the Middle Ages", p. 320)

   - jon baker    <jjbaker@...>     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

From: Lefkowitz, Sanford <slefkowit@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 12:41:16 -0500
Subject: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

The Gregorian calendar replace the Julian calendar in 1582 (except in
Britain and the colonies which switched in 1752) 
Calculations across that boundary must take that into account.
Also, our calendar does not exactly repeat itself every 19 years. The
pattern of leap years is in a 19 year cycle. (Years 3,6,8,11,14,17,19 of
each cycle are always leap years) But leap years can have 383 , 384, or
385 days. Not all 19 year cycles are of the same number of days. 

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 09:40:00 -0500
Subject: RE: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

In 1492, people were still using the Julian calendar.  The change to
Gregorian calendar in 1754 (? - and when England accepted it) caused a
change in the secular/Jewish calendar correspondance.  Additionally, I
checked using the perpetual calendar program in Emacs and it shows 9 Av
that year would have been August 11 had the Gregorian calendar been in
effect (calculating backwards from its actual acceptance).

Additionally, my perpetual calendar (Emacs) shows August 14 as 9 Av in
1986.  (The difference is because of the Julian/Gregorian offset
increase in the 500 years in between.)

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahem@...>

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 10:03:57 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

        I would start by double checking the "facts".  It is not clear
to me that the expulsion from Spain necessarily started on a particular
day, tisha b'av (TB) or otherwise.  I once tried to check whether WWI
started on TB as is commonly stated; it turns out that there is no
single start date for WWI; as it turns out, the mobilization of Russian
troops did begin on TB that year (certainly one of the "beginnings" of
that conflict).  (As an aside, and I am sure I will get at least some
flack from some readers by making this statement, one of the problems
with Orthodoxy today is that it sometimes seeks to defend "facts" which
are anything but.)

        Also, the Julian calendar was adjusted between 1492 and now,
skipping 10 days in the British empire in October of 1752, as I recall,
for example.  This might have somethind to do with the "discrepancy".

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 10:24:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

1.  The relation between the calendars doesn't repeat every 19 years.
Things are more complicated.  9 Av this year will be July 18, but 19
years ago in 5743 (1982) it was July 19, and 5*19 = 95 years ago in 5667
(1907) it was July 20.

2.  Columbus was using the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar
that we use today.  August 3 1492 in the Julian calendar would have been
August 12 in Gregorian.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2

From: Caren and Steve Weisberg <nydecs@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 22:13:04 +0200
Subject: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

My wife is 19 years older than my nephew. They share the same solar
birthday but not the same Jewish one. This is quite common. The
assumption that the dates MUST match every 19 years is incorrect. The
lunar-solar calendars are not perfectly aligned every 19 years. The only
fact of the 19 years is the leap year cycle but the match isn't perfect.

Steve Weisberg

From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 22:06:17 +0200
Subject: Re: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

The discrepancy itself may easily be explained by a simple fact: that in
1492 the Gregorian calendar had not yet been introduced.  The calendar
quoted by all the history books, according to which the expulsion took
place on August 3, was the Julian calendar, in which leap years fall
every four years without exception.  Since the solar year is in fact
about 11 minutes short of 365 days and 6 hours, over time this led to
errors .  When the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory
XIII in 1582, 11 days were simply skipped, so that the day after April 1
would be April 13.  Thereafter, century years (except multiples of 400,
such as 2000) were regular years rather than leap years, to compensate
for the above discrepancy .  Hence August 3 Julian = August 14

       Incidentally, an interesting quirk of Jewish observance based on
the extra 11 days: the recitation of "Tal umatar" beginms outside of
Eretz Yisrael on December 4.  Why?  It's supposed to begin 60 day after
"tekufat Tishrei" -- i.e., the vernal equinox, which falls on September
21.  So it should begin on November 21 or 22.  But the additional 11
days bring one to December 4.

      Second, it should be noted that the 19-year cycle does not realign
itself exactly with the secular calendar.  There may be discrepancies of
a day or two from one cycle to another, due to other variables in the
Hebrew calendar (i.e, the varying number of days in Heshvan and Kislev
from year to year); as well as variants in the number of solar leap
years in any given 19 year period.

    Jonathan Chipman

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 15:03:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

According to the Hebrew Date Converter at http://www.hebcal.com, the 9th
of Av, 5252 would be 11 August, 1492 in the Gregorian calendar.  This
would be 2 August in the Julian calendar.  Note that when the Gregorian
calendar was introduced in 1582 there was a shift of 10 days, so 5
October 1582 in the old calendar was 15 October in the new one.  But
1500 was have been a leap year in the Julian calendar and would not have
been in the Gregorian calendar (1500 being divisible by 100 but not
400), so in 1492 the shift would have been only 9 days.

Columbus sailed from Palos in the morning of 3 August, which would be
the 10th of Av.  As for the date of the expulsion, one source I found
(http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/1492-jews-spain1.html) says:

 The King gave them three months' time in which to leave. It was announced
 in public in every city on the first of May, which happened to be the
 19th day of the Omer, and the term ended on the day before the 9th of Ab.

On the other hand, http://www.zacuto.com/az.htm says:

Christopher Columbus set sail for India on August 3, 1492. Atypically,
he insisted that the crew board his three ships by 11 p.m., the day
prior to sailing. It should be noted that after midnight on August 2nd,
it became illegal for Jews to remain on Spanish soil. The expulsion of
the Jews began an hour after Columbus ordered his crew to be on board.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 23:23:40 -0500
Subject: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

        In 1492 the Julian calendar was still in use.  Your calculations
are for the Gregorian, for which ten days or so were lopped off in, I
think, the 18th century for most of Europe.  This change needs to be
factored in.



From: Ginsburg, Paul <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 11:48:43 -0500
Subject: English commentary on Sefer Tehillim?

Does anyone know of a good commentary on the Sefer Tehillim in English?

Paul W. Ginsburg
Rockville, Maryland


From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 21:28:21 +0200
Subject: Re:  Hag kasher vesameah

     Does anyone know anything about the origin of the holiday greeting
"Hag kasher vesameah" and what exactly it's intended to mean?  Is the
implication that making Pesah is so difficult, and that people are so
anxious that they won't do it right, that they need a special blessing
that Pesah will come out kosher?  Anyway you slice it, I find it
strange.  Hard information, not speculation, please.  

Yehonatan Chipman


From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 06:22:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: "key" Minhag

There is a minhag for a woman to bake the housekey into the challah made
for the first Shabbos after Pesach.  It's a segulah of some kind.  Does
anyone know the basis for this minhag, and what it represents?

-- Alan --


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 11:14:14 +0000
Subject: Rashi On 10th Perek Of Pesachim.

A colleague at work told me that someone in Shul told him that he had
once heard that the Rashi commentary on the 10th chapter of Pesachim was
not written by Rashi at all, but was in fact written by a woman.

Bearing in mind the somewhat protracted chain by which I heard this, I
am nonetheless puzzled as to why anyone would even say this.  Has anyone
else heard this story?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 14:19:48 -0500
Subject: Tisha B'Av and Columbus

The reason for the discrepancy seems to be the change from the Julian to
the Gregorian calendars.  When this change was made in the 18th century,
it became necessary to add 11 (or 12) days to the previous dates in
order to correlate them.  According to two different perpetual Jewish
calendars available on the web, 9 Av 5252 fell on either 11 August 1492
or on 12 August 1492 (on the Gregorian calendar).

Therefore if you add 11 or 12 days to August 3 you get August 14 or 15.

The expulsion order may have been given on Tisha B'Av, but it would have
taken time for the Jews to leave.  Thus, Columbus might have been ready
to sail on August 1 (his calendar) but this corresponds to August 12 or
13 using the current calendar and so it was on or just after Tisha B'Av
and he then had to wait for the Jews to leave.


End of Volume 36 Issue 9