Volume 41 Number 40
                 Produced: Tue Dec 16  5:21:14 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Earliest sunset
         [Perets Mett]
Implied Mechilah
         [Ken Bloom]
Maacabi - sports
         [Eli Turkel]
Prayer when Time is Short (3)
         [Michael Rogovin, Ken Bloom, Gil Student]
Standing at Weddings/Funerals
         [Aliza Berger]
Tal U Mattar (6)
         [Martin Stern, Daniel Werlin, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Michael
Appel, Ben Katz, Ben Katz]


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 19:44:03 +0000
Subject: Earliest sunset

On Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 12:18  pm, Irwin Weiss wrote:

> Another interesting anomaly (sort of) is that while December 21 or 20 is
> the day with the fewest hours of daylight, (sometimes referred to as
> "the shortest day") the sun sets earliest on December 4 or 5 or 6 (and
> this is the day we change the text of the davenning).

Pure fluke.  The date of the earliest sunset (using mean time) depends
on the latitude.  In London, England the earliest sunset is on (or near)
13 December.

Perets Mett


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 09:26:17 -0800
Subject: Re: Implied Mechilah

> His answer and the answer that I have heard several times since is that
> if they feel strongly, and the treatment is primarily to advance their
> health status rather than detract from it, it is no longer chavalah.
> Might this be a case where my parents feelings are a mechilah that may
> redefine an action that would otherwise be seen as forbidden?
> Ira Bauman

Then since your parents have expressed it, it's no longer an *implied*


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 20:28:44 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Maacabi - sports

Does anyone know the origin of calling various sport teams and sport
events Maccabi .

Given that the maccabim fought the Greeks and sports it seems strange.

Eli Turkel


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 15:04:34 GMT
Subject: Prayer when Time is Short

While I do not have the answer to Aliza Berger's question, I was very
surprised about the order of priority in prayer. I would have thought
that shema would have a higher priority than pesukei d'zimra (both the
minimal and the rest) or emet v'yatziv. I would appreciate anyone's
thoughts as to why this is not so.

Michael Rogovin 

From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 10:10:48 -0800
Subject: Re: Prayer when Time is Short

> I found an interesting article by Rabbi David Sperling on the Nishmat
> web site regarding how women should pray shacharit when time is short.
> http://www.nishmat.net/article.php/id/2
> My question: How would this list appear for a man, and why? After all,
> men are also sometimes short of time.

R. Sperling probably listed the order of priorities for women because
they are not commonly listed in siddurim. This is because there are many
opinions about what prayers a woman is requied to say. R.  Sperling's
list may not be consistent with all opinions in this regard.

The order of priorities for men, however, usually is listed in siddurim,
because men are expected to pray with a minyan three times a day and so
siddurim tend to be designed for men. However, this list is usually
framed in terms of opinions about what a man may omit to pray the Amidah
at the same time as the minyan, so it usually doesn't discuss any
prayers after the Amidah (presumably because if you can't possibly meet
this goal, then you should daven the full service at your own rate
because there's nothing after the Amidah that you need to catch up for.)

Here is the list that the ArtScroll (Nusach Sefard, complete
Hebrew-English edition) lists on page 1076:

1) The following items are essential:
Put on Tallis Tefilin
Asher Yatzar, Al Netilat Yadaim, Elokai Neshama, and the Torah Blessings
Baruch SheAmar, Ashrei, (Nishmat on Shabbat), Yishtabach
Shema and its blessings (not actually listed-it seems logical to assume)
[Nothing after the Amidah is discussed]

The following things should be added (in priority order) in their 
appropriate places by a person who has more time.  If they are not 
added, he should add them at the end.
2) Psalm 150
3) Psalm 148
4) Psalm 146, 147, 149
5) Vayivarch David until L'shem Tifartecha (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
6) Hodu until V'hu Rachum (1 Chronicles 16:8-36,  Psalms 99:5, 99:9)
7) Psalm 100
8) The rest of Psukei D'Zimrah

On Shabbat:
9) Psalm 136, Psalm 34, Psalm 90
10) The other psalms added for shabbat.

However, I understand that this only partly answers your question (and
mine), because I'm quite certain that you're curious about limited time,
not late arrival to minyan. (Although I did notice that R. Sperling's
list doesn't address the prayers coming after the Amidah either.) So the
question is more along the lines of "What do I do if sunrise is at 7:15,
and my first Final Exam is at 8:00am?" (as happened to me today :( )

The consideration that my list doesn't address is the question of what
to do if you arrive late on Rosh Chodesh or Chol HaMoed (when we say
Hallel and Musaf). Should one work to daven Musaf at the same time as
the congregation by omitting things after the Shacharit Amidah?

From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 17:50:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Prayer when Time is Short

Very interesting question.  It would definitely be different for men.

Men are biblically obligated to recite Shema so that should be at the
top of the list.  Because of a machlokes rishonim, at least the entire
first paragraph but probably the entire three paragraphs.

Birkos Kerias Shema are a rabbinic obligation but the Shemoneh Esreih is
at least a rabbinic obligation but possibly also a biblical obligation.
So I would tentatively give Shemoneh Esreih preference over the
blessings of Shema.  For women, there is an opinion that a small prayer
including praise, request and thanks is a sufficient substitute for
Shemoneh Esreih but no one is of the opinion that this is sufficient for

The importance and even necessity of Pesukei Dezimra is a machlokes
among the poskim.  Some even say that if one is late to shul it is
better to entirely skip Peskei Dezimra in order to recite the Shemoneh
Esreih along with the tzibur.

Furthermore, I'm not sure why the blessings over the Torah have less
precedence than the morning blessings.  I would think it was the other
way around.  This is even more so if one is reciting the Shemoneh Esreih
which implicitly includes in it some of the morning blessings.

Also, according to Rabbeinu Yonah men have a biblical obligation to
recite some of Korbanos each day.

Additionally, if one is reciting the blessings over Shema then they can
substitute for the blessings over the Torah (with certain caveats).

I would tentatively put the order as follows:

1. The first paragraph of Shema
2. The entire three paragraphs of Shema
3. Shemoneh Esreih
4. The blessings over Shema
5. The morning blessings
6. Parshas ha-Tamid
7. Basic Pesukei de-Zimra (Baruch she-Amar, Ashrei, Yishtabach)
8. The blessings over the Torah
9. Longer Pesukei de-Zimra (with extensive details on what has
10. Longer Korbanos

This is just my thinking out loud.

Gil Student


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 22:49:28 +0200
Subject: Standing at Weddings/Funerals

Similar to Batya's comment on weddings in Israel, I'd like to note that
I have never seen an Israeli funeral hall with seats (except maybe a few
for the elderly). Economics? An attitude that death should not be a
comfortable occasion? I'm not sure.


Aliza Berger, PhD
Director, English Editing: editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: statistics-help.com


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 12:59:57 +0000
Subject: Re: Tal U Mattar

on 4/12/03 12:18 pm, David Maslow <maslowd@...> wrote:

> IMHO, 60 days is 60 days, and if we were in the Julian calendar, the
> equinox would be 10 days later in that calendar.  The earth did not
> move ahead 10 days in relation to the sun just because we changed
> calendars.

But the calendar date changed. The 21 Sep. is the autumn equinox but
this date on the Julian calendar is equivalent to 6 Oct. on the
Gregorian calendar currently used. Our tekufat Shmuel is, in essence,
based on the Julian calendar but is only relevant for determining the
date for starting to say tal umatar and fixing birchat hachammah. Chazal
were aware of its inaccuracy and used a much more accurate year length
for all other calculations but it involved much more complicated
calculations. They left these two on the simpler (inaccurate) length
because it made things easier for ordinary people to work out.

Martin Stern

From: Daniel Werlin <Daniel.Werlin@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 09:02:11 -0500 
Subject: Tal U Mattar

When the new calender was adopted, two things happened.  First, a more
accurate calendar was put into place.  Second, 10 days were added to the
date to correct for the "lost" time.  Thus October 4, 1582 was followed by
October 15, 1582.  [Although by the time the British Empire made the change,
11 days needed to be added.]

Dan Werlin

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <hsabbam@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 11:42:29 -0500
Subject: RE: Tal U Mattar

Actually the reason is that we calculate the tekufa according to the
Julian estimate (365.25 days per year - a leap year every four years
without fail) because the gemora states that even though it is not as
accurate as the actual value, it is good enough for the purpose.  Since
the current calendar leaves out a leap year 3 out of the 4 century
years, the tekufa calculation (using the Julian) moves "ahead" one day
every century that the Gregorian calendar does not have a leap year (as
in 1900).

The reason is that our calculation moves ahead one day in the month
before the leap year and the secular calendar "catches up" when it has
February 29.  When February 29 does not occur (as was the case in 1900),
the disparity remains.  That is why we continue using Dec. 4 and 5 now
(Since 2000 was a leap year) instead of having moved to Dec. 5 and 6.

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

From: Michael Appel <myappel@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 06:32:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tal U Mattar

It is precisely because the date that the Julian calendar identifies as
the equinox is astronomically too late that the switch to the Gregorian
calendar occured.

Everyone agrees that the halacha (outside of Israel) is to start on the
60th day after the tekufah's occurence (Except of course in a year like
this one in which that date falls on Shabbat). The question is, "What
system should we use for calculating when the tekufah is for this
purpose?" We have always used Shmuel's system for this purpose (ie that
the length of a solar year is 365.25 days). This calculation is not
perfect, as we have already discussed, but for various reasons, that is
the halacha.

When the secular calendar was based on the Julian system, (which agrees
that the solar year is 365.25 days) the incorrectly calculated "equinox"
fell on September 23 and the start date for Tal U'matar fell on November
22nd. Except for years upon which this date fell on Shabbos, this never
changed for the period that the Julian calendar was in use.

The Gregorian system, upon which the secular calendar is now based,
changed things. The Gregorian calendar recalibrated its September 23rd
to fall on the true equinox. However, the halacha is still based on
Shmuel's system which is the same as the Julian system. So in effect,
the the day to switch to Tal U'Matar is _still_ November 22nd on the
Julian calendar. For this century, the Julian November 22nd is December
5th in the Gregorian system.

Michael Appel

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 13:20:25 -0600
Subject: Re: Tal U Mattar

>For the purpose of Tal Umatar, halachah considers the year to be exactly
>365.25 days long.

         I have held back in this discussion till now, but can no
longer.  Many respondents have given very erudite answers as to why we
start to say "vetayn tal umatar" on various days in the galut.  However,
there is one fundamental problem, which is that it is not that "For the
purpose of Tal Umatar, halachah considers the year to be exactly 365.25
days long", but that Shmuel thought this was exactly how long a year
was, as did all of his contemporaries.  It is illogical to assume that
if he knew the calculation was in error, as is the Julian calendar,
roughly 1 day in 400 years, that he wouldn't have tied the date to a
more exact calendar such as the Gregorian.  The ultimate proof of course
is that in about 22,000 years we will be saying "vetayn tal umatar"
after pesach! (I know the standard answer is that the messiah will have
arrived first so it won't be a problem, but I still have an issue with
following a system we know is inaccurate.  It is like saying that when
the Rambam rules that we must study astronomy he meant 12th century
astronomy, and not the most accurate astronomy available to the

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 09:22:43 -0600
Subject: Re: Tal U Mattar

>From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
>  IMHO, 60 days is 60 days, and if we were in the Julian calendar, the
>equinox would be 10 days later in that calendar.  The earth did not move
>ahead 10 days in relation to the sun just because we changed calendars.

         There is no reason.  Clearly we should begin vetayn tal umatar
on or about Nov. 21.  When I found out that Russian Jews did so (see my
previous post), I immediately began following that custom


End of Volume 41 Issue 40