Volume 60 Number 14 
      Produced: Mon, 30 May 2011 01:15:33 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Being driven to shul on Shabbat 
    [Batya Medad]
Modim d'Rabbanan 
    [Aaron Lerner]
Molad and Rosh Chodesh 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Pictures of women 
    [Frank Silbermann]
Rabbis boycotting Jewish proprietors 
    [Carl Singer]
Segulot and Yeshuot 
    [Michael Poppers]
What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa? (2)
    [Dr. William Gewirtz  Michael Frankel]


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Being driven to shul on Shabbat

Richard Fiedler <richardfiedler@...> wrote (MJ 60#13):

> It is nonsense that something should only be prohibited because of Mar'it Ayin.
> "Not Shabbosdic" is a more interesting issue.

Not everyone is on the level where it's "obvious" that there's a 
halachik reason/adjustment.  Most Jews know nothing about halacha and 
would accept what they see as what they see.  "It's permitted for 
religious Jews to travel on Shabbat."


From: Aaron Lerner <lerner603@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Modim d'Rabbanan

Recent posts regarding the wording of Modim d'Rabbanan wall posters in shuls
brings up a question I have have often wondered about.  Why are there wall
posters of Modim d'Rabbanan at all?  The Modim d'Rabbanan, just like all other
daily tefilos, is found in every siddur.  Why is there a need to post a wall
version of it? 

Aaron Lerner


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Molad and Rosh Chodesh

*Rosh Chodesh and the Molad*

I have been asked a number of times why there is a discrepancy between the
Molad and Rosh Chodesh.  The question becomes especially acute this coming
month of Sivan 5771 when the Molad is Wednesday afternoon and Rosh Chodesh
is Friday.  People have asked how can there be a two day discrepancy?  After
all, isnt the Molad the beginning of the new month?

Allow me to offer an explanation.


The Jewish calendar, as such, began in Egypt when HaShem showed Moshe and
Aharon the new moon, saying "HaChodesh Hazeh LaChem Rosh Chodoshim [this month
shall be for you the first of the months].  The word 'Hazeh' indicates that
HaShem pointed to the beginning of the crescent of the new moon, instructing
them that this appearance of the moon would always indicate the arrival of a new
month.  In the future, witnesses who sighted the moon would appear before the
court, they would be questioned by the judges, and on the basis of this
substantiated testimony, the court would proclaim that a new month had begun.

As long as the months were sanctified by the courts (made up of rabbis who
had received semicha in Israel and in an unbroken chain from Moshe
Rabbeinu), an annual calendar could not be produced.  Since each month
depended upon the testimony of witnesses, no one could guarantee that a
given month would be 29 or 30 days.

When the Sanhedrin proclaimed the month, only people in the immediate area
knew that the new month had begun.

In order to alert the rest of the population, bonfires were lit on a series
of mountain tops so that the whole country would receive the message that the
new month had been proclaimed.

When saboteurs disrupted this process, the Sanhedrin was compelled to send
messengers to announce which day had become Rosh Chodesh.

People in Jerusalem observed the 30th day pending the appearance of
witnesses who would testify before the court.  If the witnesses did not
arrive on that day, the 31st day was declared Rosh Chodesh.  So, when
witnesses did not arrive on the 30th day, the people of Jerusalem observed
two days of Rosh Chodesh.  When they did arrive on the 30th day, only one
day Rosh Chodesh was observed by the people of Jerusalem.

People outside of Yerushalayim, would not know for some time which day had
been declared Rosh Chodesh.  Therefore, until the establishment of the
current calendar, Chazal permitted the Rav of a community to treat the
current month as having 30 days and observe Rosh Chodesh for 2 days OR to
treat the current month as having only 29 days and then only the 30th day,
i.e. the first day of the new month was observed as Rosh Chodesh.

This may have resulted in various communities initially observing different
days for Rosh Chodesh, however, once they received word from Jerusalem, the
necessary adjustments to the calendar were made.  Thereby, the Yomim Tovim,
including Chanukah and Purim, were celebrated at the proper time.

While the initial observance of Rosh Chodesh may have differed, this didn't
present a problem since labor is not forbidden on Rosh Chodesh.  Tishrei,
however, did present a challenge since labor is prohibited on Rosh HaShanah.
This problem became magnified when the Sanhedrin was moved from
Yerushalayim to Yavneh and later to Usha, so that even the people of
Jerusalem were not informed until the messengers of the court would arrive.

Therefore, at times, all communities had to observe two days of Rosh

As for Yom Kippur, Chazal did not want people to fast for 2 days, so they
instructed people to assume that the moon had been sighted on the 30th day
of Elul (the usual case).  Thus, Elul had 29 days and Rosh Chodesh Tishrei
(Rosh HaShanah) would be on the 30th day.

By the time Sukkot came around, most people had been informed, but for those
who were not, they kept 9 days of Sukkot instead of 8 days.  (Sound familiar?)

Rambam (Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh 5:2-3) explains that when no Beit Din
exists, the calendar would be determined by mathematical calculation.
During the time of Abaye and Rava, in the year 359 CE, a great grandson of
Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi, Hillel (and his Beit Din), using mathematical
calculations, established the calendar for all time.  (Rambam, Sefer

The Jewish calendar is basically a lunar calendar taking into consideration
that Pesach must always fall out in the Spring.  Each month is 29 days, 12
hours and 793 chalakim (44 minutes and 3 1/3 seconds).  An hour is divided
into 1080 chalakim so that each chelek is 3 1/3 seconds.  Thus 18 chalakim
equals one minute.

While a month is approximately 29 and 1/2 days, in reality, the calendar
must consist of whole days.  Two lunar cycles would be 59 days and so by
alternating the days of the month, 29 days for one and 30 days for the next
month, this could be accomplished.  Thirty day months are called Malei and
29 day months are called Chaser.

A solar year is approximately 365 and 1/4 days, about 11 days longer than a
lunar year.  In order to rectify this discrepancy and to insure that Pesach
falls out in the Spring, a thirteenth month, Adar Aleph is added 7 times
during every 19 year cycle (3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19).  The Hebrew
mnemonic is GUCh ADZaT.

*The Molad*

We calculate the molad by beginning from the very first molad of the Tishrei
of Creation, and according to our tradition, the molad of Tishrei of the
first year of Creation was Monday night, 5 hours and 204 chalakim after 6 PM
(Tur O.Ch. 427).  This is represented by the letters BaHaRaD.  This is the
time it would have been in Yerushalayim, had Yerushalayim existed.  It did
not since the world had not yet been created.  This moment is the starting
point of our calendar, and we calculate every future molad from it.

To this moment we add 4 days, 8 hours and 876 chalakim for every regular
year that has passed and 5 days, 21 hours and 589 chalakim for every leap
year.  If you want to calculate the molad of a month other than Tishrei, add
to the Molad of Tishrei 1 day, 12 hours and 793 chalakim for each month
after Tishrei.

The fixed calendar only takes into account the Molad of Tishrei.  The date
of Rosh HaShanah is determined by the Molad of Tishrei.  For the rest of the
months, even though the Molad is announced on the Shabbat before Rosh
Chodesh (during the prayer of Mevorchim HaChodesh), the day of Rosh Chodesh
is determined by the fixed order of the 29 and 30 day months and not by the

Sometimes, however, Rosh HaShanah does not fall on the day of the Molad.
When the Molad occurs after 12 noon (Molad Zaken), Rosh Hashanah is
postponed until the next day.  This is because when the Molad occurs after
noon, it is not possible for the new moon to become visible anywhere in the
world on that day.  However, when the Molad occurs before noon, it may be
possible to see the moon on that day at some point west of Israel (even
though it may not be visible in Israel).  (Baal HaMaor, R.H. 20b)  Rosh
HaShanah is said to be Nidcheh (pushed off) when there is a Molad Zaken and
Rosh HaShanah is postponed to the next day.

There is another type of dechiyah (postponement).  Yom Kippur cannot fall
out on the day before or the day after Shabbat so that there would not be 2
days in a row on which it is forbidden to prepare food.  (Tur and Sh. A., O.
Ch. 428, Beur Halacha; R.H. 20a).  Since Yom Kippur is 1 week and 2 days
after Rosh HaShanah, Rosh HaShanah cannot fall out on Wednesday or Friday in
order that Yom Kippur not fall out on Friday or Sunday.  This second dechiya
also prevents Rosh HaShanah from falling out on Shabbat, in which case we
would not be able to perform the custom of Arava and the 7 Hakafot.  In
order to prevent this, Rosh HaShanah is not allowed to fall out on a Sunday.

Therefore, there are 3 days Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, on which Rosh
HaShanah can never fall.  If the Molad falls on one of these days, Rosh
HaShanah is Nidcheh (postponed) until the next day.  In the case where the
Molad occurs after noon on Shabbat, Tuesday or Thursday, Rosh HaShanah is
pushed off one day because it is a Molad Zaken.  But since that would put it
on one of the 3 days on which Rosh HaShanah cannot fall, it is pushed off
yet another day (2 days in total).  In such a case, we see that Rosh
HaShanah has been postponed for 2 days from the Molad.

The above rules are formulated by the mnemonic:

Lo ADU Rosh, Molad Zaken Al Tidrosh

Lo ADU Rosh means Rosh HaShanah cannot fall on Sunday, Wednesday and
Molad Zaken Al Tidrosh means that when the Molad is after noon it is
considered as if the Molad were actually the next day.

So Rosh HaShanah may be pushed off from the day of the Molad by one or two
days.  The adjustments in the length of the year necessary to make Rosh
HaShanah fall on the proper day are made by varying the lengths of the
months of Marcheshvan and Kislev.

The length of the months are as follows:

Nisan - 30 days - 1 day Rosh Chodesh
Iyar - 29 days - 2 days Rosh Chodesh
Sivan - 30 days - 1 day Rosh Chodesh
Tammuz - 29 days - 2 days Rosh Chodesh
Av - 30 days - 1 day Rosh Chodesh
Elul - 29 days - 2 days Rosh Chodesh
Tishrei - 30 days - 2 days Rosh HaShanah
Marcheshvan - variable - 2 days Rosh Chodesh
Kislev - variable - variable
Tevet - 29 days - variable
Shevat - 30 days - 1 day Rosh Chodesh
Adar I (Leap Year) - 30 days - 2 days Rosh Chodesh
Adar  -  29 days - 2 days Rosh Chodesh
Adar II (Leap Year) - 29 days - 2 days Rosh Chodesh

You can easily figure out which day of the week the next Rosh Chodesh will
be because it is always the day after the last Rosh Chodesh.  For example,
if Rosh Chodesh of one month was Sunday, then Sunday is the 1st of the
month.  Since Sunday was the first of the month, then the 8th, 15th, 22nd
and 29th are also on Sunday.  The next day, Monday, is Rosh Chodesh of the
next month.  If there are 2 days Rosh Chodesh, then Monday is the first day
of Rosh Chodesh and Tuesday is the second.  Rosh Chodesh of the next month
would be Wednesday.  If there is only one day of Rosh Chodesh, then it is
Monday and Rosh Chodesh is Tuesday.


We have seen that the Molad is used to determine the first day of Tishrei
and not the day of Rosh Chodesh for the months of the year.  As explained
above, there may be a two day discrepancy between the Molad and Rosh Chodesh
based upon the dechuyot.

So why do we bother to announce the Molad in Shul during the prayer of
Mevorchim HaChodesh?  Why not just mention the day(s) on which Rosh Chodesh

The Molad is announced during the blessing so that people may calculate when
they may recite Kiddush LeVanah, since the period of Kiddush LeVanah is
counted from the Molad and not from Rosh Chodesh.  (Aruch HaShulchan, O. Ch.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Pictures of women

Carl Singer (MJ 60#13) wrote:

> Of concern to me was that the picture was distributed by the White House
> with specific instructions that it NOT be modified in any form -- this is an
> issue of law.  Someone choosing to publish the picture had a simple choice:
> take it, or leave it!
> To doctor the photo is a violation of the usage license granted by the
> sender.

I don't know whether there is an international agreement that would
extend this control to foreign law.

I am more concerned with the Chillul Hashem that results
when a pious community, with no religious obligation to do so,
sets up so bizarre a rule for itself as a general prohibition
on having women in photographs.

In my mind, it kind of destroys the credibility of their halachic judgment
and makes them seem like not a serious stream of Yiddishkeit.

Frank Silbermann         Memphis, Tennessee


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Rabbis boycotting Jewish proprietors

Here in Passaic, New Jersey, there are at least four home renovation
companies that are owned by Shomrei Shabbos balabatim. And there are many homes
undergoing renovation, to accommodate growing families, etc.

It seems that (at least) one Rabbi has advised his congregants to choose
from among the local Shomrei Shabbos owned companies if they are competitive.

Meanwhile another Posek has reportedly provided advice (P'sak?) to avoid
Jewish contractors lest one end up having to go to a Beis Din if there is a
dispute. I don't know if this second instance reflects personal experience, or
halacha --- but it certainly caused me to wonder.

For the record, I am not a contractor, and I have at different times engaged
two of the local, Shomrei Shabbos renovation companies each time with
excellent results.

Carl Singer


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Segulot and Yeshuot

In MJ 60#13, Martin Stern <md.stern@...> begins his post by writing:
> I recently received the following  e-mail that quotes a rav [identity
> unknown to me] who offers a list of time tested segulot straight from the
> pages of the Torah, Talmud and Rishonim.... 

I think Martin should have noted that he was quoting from Webpage

Michael Poppers


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 12:01 PM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

In MJ 60#13, Bernard Raab wrote:

> My opinion was yes, based on the following reasoning:
> It is by now well-established that one observes Shabbat on the day that the
> local community does so. As a practical matter this has negated the whole idea
> of a halachic dateline which differs from the international dateline, since
> AFAIK there is no community on Earth which observes Shabbat on any day other
> than the secular Saturday. Thus, having been made aware by an announcement
> from the cockpit that the dateline has been crossed, you are obliged to
> accept the arrival of Shabbat, and its imminent departure.

This reasoning is both logically faulty and according to the two major opinions
that define a halakhic dateline internally inconsistent. 

First, to assert that we follow the local community, something i agree to in
practice, means that by necessity we reject BOTH the 90 degree and 180 degree
opinions. (Consider New Zealand and Hawaii.) The only line base opinion which
conforms with local community practice is that of R. Dovid Shapiro, who based
his opinion on a Midrash that when the sun was created, it was 9am in Jerusalem.
Those mathematically inclined can determine a dateline from this Midrash
(Parenthetically see the Levush on Birkhat Hakhamah for a possibly related
psak.) In any case, if you check the various arguments for following local
custom, few (if any) are based on R. Shapiro's brilliant, innovative but
far-fetched basis for a halakha.

Second, those who accept local custom, more likely REJECT the existence of any
precise line. This opinion was held by R Isser Zalman Meltzer and R.Tzvi Pesach
Frank in the WWII dispute over yeshiva students in Kobe and Shanghai. They, like
R. Shaul Natanson, 2 generations earlier, argue against any such notion of a
dateline; establishing local custom does not depend on, nor base itself on, a
dateline. It seems to me that many rabbis, including both the Chazon Ish and R.
Tukatzinsky, tacitly assumed the logical necessity of a dateline. That logical
necessity is perceived but entirely unsubstantiated. Many of the other notes on
this subject tend to make that assumption. It is a commonly held belief by many
halakhists, but not at all a logical or halakhic necessity.

Another issue, that ought be noted is that there are two related but very
distinct issues with respect to how one is to behave in various places on the
globe. One relates to when a community in a particular place observes days of
the week. The second relates to how a a traveler is to behave both in transit
and when arriving at a destination that behaves differently from his original
locale; a number of submissions conflate these issues. They are related but
distinct issues.

From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2011 at 10:01 PM
Subject: What Day Of The Week Will Shabbos Be In Samoa?

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 60#13):

> I found the following map that shows the various halachic opinions:
> http://www.star-k.org/images/timezones.pdf 
> ..Unlike the civil International Date Line which is a zigzag based on 180
> degrees longitude from Greenwich in the UK, the halachic date line
> (according to all opinions) must be a straight longitude from North to 
> South.. 

This is incorrect.   With all due respect to  the star-K, which
certainly knows better (but then I don't know the context of the star-K graphic
which was provided by the URL) there are many more halachic opinions, and
significant opinions, than those listed. I know of at least seventeen myself,
with lines drawn quite literally all over the map.   And while it is true
that opinions issuing from Rishonim (medieval authorities) do correspond to
straight north-south longitude lines (presumably because their lack of
geographical grasp meant they never had to consider operational consequences of
a date divider that ran through a town, or even someone's house), the opinions
of the Acharonim (late medieval through present day authorities) would seem
about evenly divided between straight longitudinal dividers and those espousing
"crooked" lines bent to avoid running through a land mass.  In that context I
also cannot understand the legend in the provided star-K graphic which
identifies a straight line of longitude at 90 deg east of Jerusalem as the
"Technical Chazon Ish" line.  I have no idea what a "technical" line could
possibly mean, but it is a simple fact that the CI  - as recorded in his
Qunteros Sh'monoh Esreh Sho'os - finds the date line at 90 deg in the sea
between China and Japan, but then deforms it to conform to the Chinese coast
line as it moves on Northward.   

The pure CI halochic directive would indeed be to keep Shabbos in Japan on the
"wrong" day, which caused all sorts of problems for those Jewish prisoners
interned in Japan during WWII who were concerned about CI's opinion.  They ended
up in some sort of compromise where they kind of kept two days.   (When I
recently traveled back from, Beijing, I reflected that shortly after takeoff the
CI opinion had me flying from Sunday back into Shabbos then back into Sunday
and back into Shabbos again, all with the space of about two hours, due to the
local topology of the Chinese coast below me. Luckily I don't hold from the CI. 
Doubtless those who do also have reasons not to get excited in airplanes).

As for Alaska switching Saturday after the American purchase, there is a
considerable halochic literature extant, with most halochic decisors
viewing the switch with approval, on the theory that Alaska should anyway
rightfully have always followed American convention because of the "pull" of
the continuous land mass.  Since Samoa never seemed to have any Jewish
community, I can't imagine what the objection might be if anybody now wanted to
start one under the new paradigm.   For those individual Jews who may have
passed through, doubtless they kept whatever - which is no more of a problem for
the Jewish community as a whole than Shabbos on the north pole.  

Mechy Frankel


End of Volume 60 Issue 14