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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘calendar’

Yom Tov Sheni in Israel

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

This evening we celebrate Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. In Israel there is only one day of Yom Tov for both. Unless you happen to be a foreigner here.  Which I am. By foreigner I mean that I live outside of Israel and am here only on a visit. So I am required to keep 2 days of Yom Tov instead of one.  The second day is called Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galios.

Simchas Torah is a wonderful time of year. In the evening we celebrate the end of the annual Torah reading cycle with singing and dancing known as Hakafos.  In the morning we do it again. After which we read the last Parsha of Sefer Devorim, V’Zos HaBracha. Usually more than once in order to call up to the Torah (give an Aliyah to) all those present. Even children. We then start Bereishis anew.

I get to do this twice. I do not enjoy the second Simchas Torah at all.

I have this problem every year. After a joyous Simchas Torah celebration with my family on the first day of Yom Tov I find the second day to be an afterthought  and even a burden. Not very much fun to say the least.

For people who live here – it is a weekday. They drive. They listen to music. They use telephones and computers.  All while I am in Shul with a bunch of strangers whose only commonality is that we don’t live here.

The reason we celebrate 2 days is because of something called Sefeika D’Yoma. Before our Jewish lunar calendar was fixed, dates were determined by when the new moon began. This had to be witnessed and attested to in Beis Din. They would then spread the correct date of the new moon throughout Israel. That news would reach all of Israel long before Yom Tov. But it took longer to reach the Diaspora.  Which made the date of Yom Tov uncertain. Since we weren’t sure when Yom Tov actually began – we celebrate two days. (For reasons beyond the scope of the post it can only be off by one day.)

We now have a fixed calendar and there is no longer any doubt about which day Yom Tov begins.  Nevertheless we continue to celebrate two days because that is the custom that Chazal established during an era when it was needed. This is called Minhag Avoseinu B’Yodenu. We cannot change the Minhag.

The problem is that this extra day applies to foreigners (like me) even when we happen to be in Israel for Yom Tov.

But not everyone follows this Minhag. Chabad, for example, only observes one day in the spirit of “When in Rome – do as the Romans do.”  But most of the rest of Orthodox Jewish foreigners in Israel observe two days.

Interestingly, the Chacham Tzvi  didn’t think much of Yom Tov Sheni in Israel either. He wrote in a Responsum that if he had it in his power he would ‘do as the Romans do’ in the matter of Yom Tov Sheni in Israel.

I know that there are other people that also just observe one day of Yom Tov in Israel. But I am not one of them. My family Minhag is to observe two days. But the truth is… I think that the Chacham Tzvi and Chabad got this one right. It makes no sense to me for anyone to observe 2 days of Yom Tov in Israel – even if he is not resident there. But… it’s not my call.

Just thought I’d mention it and get it off my chest. Again.

Chag Sameach

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Daylight Savings Time Brings U.S., Israel Closer

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

The sky is getting brighter, the days are getting longer, Passover is two and something weeks away – which is that time of year when we try to figure out on a disoriented morning why everybody else is already up and about.

If you, like many Jews, run a kind of double life, with strong roots both in the U.S. and Israel, the coming few weeks are sure to disorient you even more.

At 2 AM New York time this Sunday, daylight saving time arrives in America, so the months ahead will smile at us with an extra hour daily of evening light.

Not in Israel, though. Israel will be hitting the summer of 2013 on the night between Thursday and Friday, March 28-29, also at 2 AM.

So, from now until Friday, March 29, there will only be a 6 to 9 hour difference between our two continents of interest, instead of 7 to 10 hours.

Last summer, our daughter was celebrating her 21st birthday by tripping across America on her own, and I’ll tell you, for Mom and Dad back in Netanya, the 10 hour difference was significant. When she was running up and down the West Coast, it felt like we were on different planets.

Some places, by the way, don’t observe daylight saving time: much of Arizona, and all of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas. There are also individual counties across the continental U.S. that stick with the same clock year-round.

When you get up this morning, besides changing the clocks around the house, take a look at your microwave oven, your smartphone, your remote controls, your computers, and anything else that’s keeping time for you.

Dr. Susie Kagan, a senior psychological consultant, who owns her own family therapy clinic and lectures at Bar Ilan University, told Channel 2 News that switching to the summer clock has a positive effects on people’s moods, their vitality, their desire to start the day.

“We have fewer cases of mental fatigue that accompanies the lack of sunlight. When there is darkness, people with emotional and mental difficulties don’t deal with their issues as well as in the summer. During the summer people arrive earlier at work, they are more alert and energized, and they come home in better shape in the evening.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/daylight-savings-time-brings-u-s-israel-closer/2013/03/10/

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