Volume 53 Number 67
                    Produced: Tue Jan  9  6:08:41 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Question on daf yomi - mishna in rosh hashana (4)
         [Perets Mett, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Ben Katz, Alex
Rabbeinu Tam and Geonic time for nightfall and Shabbos (3)
         [Michael Frankel, Tom Buchler, Eli Turkel]


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 13:23:15 +0000
Subject: Re: Question on daf yomi - mishna in rosh hashana

maury (moshe) bach wrote:
> Question on daf yomi - mishna in rosh hashana - the Leviim "had a
> problem" with the songs of praise over the sacrifice
> We just learned the well-known mishna in Rosh Hashana 30b: One year,
> the witnesses for the new moon arrived late, and the Leviim "had a
> problem" (Nitkalkalu, having trouble translating - "messed up?") the
> psalms they sang over the sacrifice.  Given what we learned earlier in
> the mesechta - that the new moon is visible for the first time only at
> sunset-twilight, I am puzzled why the mishna says that the problem
> happened "one time."  It would seem that every year should have the
> same problem - the witnesses can only arrive at court - at best -
> close to sunset.  With the time it takes to examine the witnesses, it
> would seem a regular occurrence that the court could not declare the
> new month - and rosh hashana in day time.  Help?

The setting new moon is rarely visible before sunset. The expected order
of events is

a) witnesses see setting new moon a few minutes after sunset of the 29th
day of the month. [Rambam Kidush Hachodesh 1:4]

b) they walk to Jerusalem.

c) normally they arrive in Jerusalem during broad daylight, allowing
plenty of time for the korban musaf and the Levitical recitation of the
Rosh Chodesh psalm

d) Beis Din declares the day to be 1st day of new month (instead of 30th
day of old month)

c1) on one occasion - maybe the witnesses came from further than usual -
they arrived on "30th Elul" after the afternoon tomid korban had been
brought, accompanied by the weekday psalm. By accepting the witnesses at
this stage and declaring Rosh Chodesh the day became 1 Tishrei

The problem arose because the witnesses arrived almsot 24 hours after
sighting the new moon. Normally it did not take them so long and they
arrived much earlier in the day.

Perets Mett

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 05:46:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Question on daf yomi - mishna in rosh hashana

The witnesses see the moon close to sunset on day 29 (the last day of
the month).  Unfortunately, it is a difficult year for seeing and they
are in an isolated section of the Jerusalem hills.  They have trouble
getting to Yerushalayim and getting to Bais Din by the afternoon of the
thirtieth day (which should be Rosh Chodesh).  By the time that they
arrive, are examined, the Bais Dis declares mekudash and sends a
messenger across the Har Habayis to the office of the Kohain who then
notifies the kohanim and leviyim inside the Bais Hamikdash, it is too
late and the Leviyim have "messed up" the shir shel yom.

This would indeed be a rare occurance.  Usually, the witnesses, having
seen the moon near sunset would have gotten to bais din before the
morning so that the declaration would not have been delayed.
Alternatively, no aidim would have arrived or Bais Din would be certain
that aidim could not have seen a new moon so it is definitely a 30 day
month.  The only time of uncertainty is when aidim could have seen the
new moon but may have difficulty in arriving.

Alternatively, we can say like the Tannah Kammah that the blunder was
that the Leviyim did not sing anything at all for fear of singing the
wrong one.  This would cause an error whenever there was an uncertainty
as to whether witnesses would or would not arrive. As I said above, the
usual case would be that the Leviyim would know in advance that
witnesses would or would not arrive.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 13:26:20 -0600
Subject: Question on daf yomi - mishna in rosh hashana

         In most cases i assume the beit din declared the next day to be
Rosh Chodesh.  I also assume the case in the mishna is that the
witnesses came late in the day and said they saw the new moon the
previous night and it was now too late for the levites to offer the rosh
chodesh sacrifice.  RH is a seperate matter .  There is evidence from
Ezra that it may have already been observed as a 2 day yom tov in
Biblical times because it is the only holiday that begins on rosh

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 14:28:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Question on daf yomi - mishna in rosh hashana

Earlier in the mesechta (25b), the Gemara explains that the entire
process of kiddush hachodesh - both the interrogation of the witnesses,
and the declaration of the new month - must take place by day. It could
indeed happen that the members of the Sanhedrin themselves would see the
new moon on the evening following the 29th, and manage to declare Rosh
Chodesh on that same evening before nightfall (Rambam, Hil. Kiddush
HaChodesh 2:9), but that would be a rare case. Normally, as Rashi (to
the Gemara here, s.v. Shelo Amru) points out, witnesses would be
expected to arrive the following day, sometime between the offering of
the morning tamid (which took place shortly after dawn - Yoma 28a-b) and
the afternoon tamid (9-1/2 proportional hours into the day - Pesachim

So the case in our mishnah, where no witnesses had shown up by the time
of the afternoon tamid, was indeed an unusual situation, hence the
confusion about what psalm to sing.

Kol tuv,


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 21:32:19 -0500
Subject: Re:  Rabbeinu Tam and Geonic time for nightfall and Shabbos

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>

> I don't see 4 mil mentioned in the Gemorah in Shabbos (which seems to
> ruin from 34b to 35b)...Could you say what Gemorah this is?

Sorry about that.  Good catch.  Shabbos 35 was a different shiur.  The
correct source is B. P'sochim 94a.

> Notice here the difference between 3 1/4 and 4 is 3/4. It is that 3/4
> that is Bein hashamoshos.

Not exactly.  Or rather only in Rabbeinu Tam as understood by either
Ramban, Minchas Cohen, or R. Moshe ( R. Moshe's RT includes the chidush
that mils are also contracted by latitude).  However, in Rabbeinu Tam as
understood by Rabbeinu Tam, the last  mil was NOT bain hashsh'moshos.

> Now the thing here is, after his wife died, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein used
> to light the candles at home and the take the bus to shul. Did he
> light very early? I don't think so. What is going on is that, in
> principle, we could do Melachah way after Shekiah.

I am not quite sure what you are trying to say here.  We've already
noted, poshut, that according to all five versions of RT I listed in the
original posting - including R. Moshe -it's muttor in principle to work
after sunset, since l'fi RT this is still absolutely day.  However,
R. Moshe specifically urges us not to do so - as a chumroh in America
(not followed by RTamites in Europe). just how early was his own candle
lighting minhog after his wife died I have no idea but I simply don't
believe he did work after sh'qioh, nor why you might not think so. his
published work refers to 20 minutes before sunset, as tos'fos
shabbos. More than that I have neither information nor speculation.

> The chumrahs are actually how long do you wait after Shabbos (In
> actually, most of the time we stop before Shekiah - there is a kind of
> a heter for quite some time afterwards it would appear.

No. The only chumroh in RT time is when one refrains from work Friday
night with sunset. waiting 72 minutes after shabbos was a din, not a
chumroh.  (plus of course Friday tos'fos shabbos. I'm uncertain whether
tos'fos shabbos, which itself is a din, not a chumroh - albeit one with
no fixed shiur - could theoretically be bundled into the chumroh of
refraining from work with sunset.  R. Moshe of course, clearly specifies
a tos'fos shabbos before sunset - on top of the chumroh)

Mechy Frankel

From: Tom Buchler <tbuchler@...>
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 16:46:20 -0500
Subject: Rabbeinu Tam and Geonic time for nightfall and Shabbos


Thanks for a very readable, comprehensive post which explains a lot!

I am left with some issues. The most glaring issue is how did R' Moshe
Feinstein get the 50 minute time and how does Silver Spring become six
or seven minutes earlier? I calculated the time between Sunset (upper
limb at the horizon at sea level) and various amounts of angular
depression of the sun. The angles I used are 8.5deg (commonly used for
end of Shabbes by Chabad, and determined by expert observation in the
Negev), 12.6 deg (corresponding to 72 minutes after shkiah on the
equinox in Ramerupt, France -- home of RT), and 16.1 deg, corresponding
to 72 minutes after shkiah in Jerusalem on the equinox). I've include
Key West as the southern-most point in the continental U.S. as a point
of reference for R' Feinstein's "50 minutes for most places in the U.S."

Here are the numbers from north to south. I have not adjusted for
altitude. Adjusting for altitude in Jerusalem (around 2400') puts sunset
7 minutes later, making the calculation for time between shkiah and
tzais 7 minutes shorter than shown here.

       Amsterdam   Ramerupt    NYC  Silver Spring Jerusalem Key West
 8.5deg    51        46        41        40        36        34
12.6deg    79       _72_       63        61        55        52
16.1deg   103        94        82        80       _72_       67       

If we assume the same angular depression produces 72 minutes in France
as in New York, we get a time of 63 minutes in NY, not 50; and 61
minutes in Silver Spring -- not a 6 or 7 minute difference between NY
and MD.

Am I using the wrong basis for performing this calculation?


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 15:04:22 +0200
Subject: Rabbeinu Tam and Geonic time for nightfall and Shabbos

To add a few comments to Mechy Frankel's nuce summary:

> As for the "problem" that was being solved by this rejected solution -
> there was no problem in the first place according to Rabbeinu Tam.  As
> far as t'filas mairiv was concerned, Ashkenazim have always had the
> minhog to daven during full day. (in the really old days this even
> included before p'lag hamminchoh - see note below, but certainly after
> the p'lag nobody ever had a problem).  The only real issue was with
> q'rias sh'ma.  And it is Rabbeinu Tam's emphatic position (also the
> Ra'avan's) that q'rias sh'ma said during early - daytime - mairiv
> fulfills that obligation quite nicely and there is no need at all
> (indeed one shouldn't attempt) to bundle that obligation into the
> later q'rias sh'ma al hammitoh -a compromise suggested, inter alia, by
> rashi- B. B'rokhos 2)

That might work for Rabbenu Tam. However, the MB states quite clearly
that plag haminchah starts (backward) from shekia according to either
the Geonim or R. Tam respectively. Hence, the "modern" version of R. Tam
would allow candle lights to be lit at the earliest 75 minutes before
R. Tam shekia (72 minutes after physical shekia) or 3 minutes before
physical shekia. Hence, our normal 18-24 minutes early is too early. RMF
based on Minchat Cohen allows a little more room but not much. Certainly
minhag yerushalayim of lighting 40 minutes before physical sunset is way
too early according to any version of R. Tam (except for the one that
starts the first shekia at plag).

When I asked one of our local talmidei chachamim the answer was that no
one accepts R. Tam except as a chumra. Hence when this conflicts with
lighting early we ignore R. Tam (doesnt quite explain Yerushalayim).
Similarly for Chanukah candles the widespread minhag is to light
Chanukah candles early and not wait for the shekia of R. Tam even for
those that wait on motzei shabbat like R. Tam.

There is a famous story of the Satmar Rebbe visiting Yerushalayim (Meah
Shearim) and almost being stoned because he drove to shul friday night
while everyone else was coming home because he held R. Tam also
le-kulah.  I am told that once established in NY the Satmar community
also lights candles early like the Geonim although that was not the
minhag in Hungary.

Finally, from my travels I found it interesting that all the modern
communities I have visited in Northern Europe (Amsterdam, Antwerp,
Berlin, Paris etc) use R. Tam for Motzei shabbat. There is a tradition
that R. Chaim of Brisk would wait a least 2 hours after Yom Kippur
officially ended to eat in order to account for the various versions of
R. Tam. I am not sure if he or his son, R. Velvel, also included a
chumrah of 90 minutes rather 72 minutes.

I have never worked out the times for Brisk, but I would not be
surprised that in places like Vilna in the middle of the summer like
tisha Ba-av that the original R. Tam (not minchat Chaim) requires way
more than 2 hours after dark since it is far north. It is well known
that as one goes further north one reached places within the civilized
world (ie not the artic circle) where one never has the sun setting
sufficiently below the horizon to satisfy the shitah of R. Tam.

kol tuv

Eli Turkel


End of Volume 53 Issue 67