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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbeinu Tam’

The Time For Lighting Candles

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Shabbat candles must be lit by (and preferably 18 minutes before) sunset. Once it is twilight, the time between sunset and nightfall known as bein hashmashot, it is too late to light. Bein hashmashot begins when the sun sets below the horizon and is no longer visible.

According to Rabbi Yehuda in Tractate Shabbat, bein hashmashot lasts 13 and a half minutes. In Tractate Pesachim, however, the same Rabbi Yehuda maintains that bein hashmashot lasts 72 minutes.

In explaining the discrepancy between the duration of bein hashmashot according to Rabbi Yehuda in Shabbat and Rabbi Yehuda in Pesachim, Rabbeinu Tam explains that there are two separate sunsets: Sunset I, which begins immediately after the sun has sunk below the horizon and lasts 58 and a half minutes, and Sunset II, which starts thereafter when light begins to fade into darkness and lasts an additional 13 and a half minutes until nightfall.

According to Rabbeinu Tam, the period on Friday between Sunset I and Sunset II (58 and a half minutes) is considered weekday, during which time all weekday work may be performed and one may light candles until Sunset II, i.e. 58 and a half minutes after Sunset I.

Many Rishonim, such as the Rambam and the Gaonim, disagree with Rabbeinu Tam. They maintain that for candle lighting there is only one relevant sunset, i.e. Sunset I, when the sun dips below the horizon, and candles must be lit before such time.

Though the Shulchan Aruch agrees with Rabbeinu Tam and maintains that candles can be lit as late as 58 and a half minutes after Sunset I, the Vilna Gaon, following the opinion of the majority of the Rishonim, disagrees with the Schulchan Aruch and maintains that candles must be lit by Sunset I.

There is a third opinion, that of Rabbi Eliezer of Metz, according to which bein hashmashot begins 13 and a half minutes before Sunset I. In his view, candle lighting time would be 13 and a half minutes before Sunset I.

It should be noted that the 13-and-a-half-minute period is derived from the time it takes a person to walk 3/4 of a mile. According to most opinions, it takes a person 18 minutes to walk the distance of one mile (in which case 3/4 of a mile would take 13 and a half minutes) but according to a stricter opinion, it takes a person 24 minutes to walk one mile (in which case 3/4 of a mile would take 18 minutes).

In view of the fact that we are dealing here with the possible violation of a biblical melachah, all modern poskim agree that one must adopt the strictest of all approaches, namely that of Rabbi Eliezer of Metz and that of those who say it takes 24 minutes to walk a mile. Therefore, we light candles 18 minutes before Sunset I. To know when this is, one should consult a local newspaper or a reputable Jewish calendar.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein writes that during the 18-minute period between candle lighting and Sunset I, members of the household that are not responsible for lighting the Shabbat candles may continue with weekday work until Sunset I, but that this should not be encouraged.

On the first night of Yom Tov – except for Shavuot – candles may be lit either at the same time as on Erev Shabbat or after returning from Maariv, provided one lights from an existing light. On the second night of Yom Tov, however, as well as whenever Shabbat precedes Yom Tov and on both days of Shavuot, candles should be lit from an existing light, after nightfall.

Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore.  He can be contacted at rafegrunfeld@gmail.com.

My Machberes

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Memories Of Rav Elyashiv, ZT”L

On Wednesday, the 28th of Tammuz, July 18, 2012, the Torah world was cast into profound mourning upon receiving the sad news from Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem. Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt”l(1910-2012), preeminent Torah sage of the Lithuanian and yeshivish communities throughout the world, had ascended to the greatest yeshiva in heaven, completing a life of immense and intense Torah scholarship and leadership.

Personal Reminiscence (I)

Wednesday morning, the 22nd of Kislev 5763 (November 27th, 2002) the third Shacharis of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Conference of the National Council of Young Israel: My distinguished conference roommate, Rabbi Yitzchok Feldman, rav of Congregation Emek Beracha in Palo Alto, California, accompanied me to the Meah Shearim Shtiblech, where minyan after minyan can be found.

On the street level, the building contains six shtiblech with a larger beis medrash above them. Access to the upstairs beis medrash is by way of an outdoor narrow metal staircase. The upstairs shtibel had the distinction of having Rav Elyashiv as its presiding personality. Rav Elyashiv participated in the only Shacharis minyan conducted upstairs, the hashkama (sunrise) minyan that begins immediately before daybreak. As can be imagined, Rav Elyashiv was always one of the first to arrive every morning.

The downstairs shtiblech were renovated in the mid 1990s and are absolutely beautiful – picturesque and memorable. During the renovations, a pious mispallel of the shtieblech wished to participate, contributing his ma’aser (tithe) funds, usually used to feed the poor, toward the purchase of the new stunning bench chairs. He sought permission from Rav Elyashiv to contribute. Rav Elyashiv responded that since the old benches, though worn, were still functional, ma’aser money could not be used for the purchase of new benches.

Wishing to speak advice from Rav Elyashiv, my learned roommate and I arose in the early hours that morning and journeyed to the Meah Shearim Shtiblech as earnest and reverential pilgrims.

The shailo (halachic query) that was the focus of my attention pertained to my shul, B’nai Israel of Linden Heights in Boro Park, Brooklyn, organized in 1924. The shul’s chevra kadisha started a Sefer Zikaron, a parchment Scroll of Remembrance dating back to 1924, for members who had passed away. The entire list of names recorded in the Sefer Zikaron is read aloud at every Yizkor service. As the shul was 78 years old at the time, the list of names had grown very long and was growing even longer.

My paternal great-grandfather was Rabbi Shraga Zvi Tannenbaum, zt”l (1826-1897), Chahter (Mezo-Csat) Rav and renowned author of Netah Sorek. In chapter eight of his responsa, the Netah Sorek dealt with a similar question, allowing a chevra kadisha to recite one kel moleh for all names it was obligated to pronounce at Yizkor. That decision is quoted widely and used in application to similar situations.

I sought some method of compressing the time required to recite aloud the long list of names at my shul. One suggestion was having several men read the names aloud simultaneously, thus dividing the time necessary to have all the names read aloud by the number of men pronouncing them. If the reading of the names aloud would take one hour, having them read aloud by six men would reduce the time by a factor of six, to a reasonable ten minutes.

We found Rav Elyashuv surrounded by an entourage. Those wishing to speak with him in the mornings had to wait until he concluded his supplementary prayers and undid his Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, which were handed to an assistant who put them neatly away. Petitioners could then walk up the aisles and wait between the benches to speak with him.

Interestingly, after prayers Rav Elyashuv strode forward, requiring the petitioner to walk backward during the discussion. The several people who surrounded and attended to Rav Elyashuv followed him and studiously took notes of what he said, continuously comparing transcripts with each other to ensure that every word was correctly captured for posterity.

Once Rav Elyashiv reached the door of the beis medrash,the petitioner would have to retreat backward down the outdoor narrow metal staircase, literally hanging on the side rails with both hands, all the while focusing attention on the every word of Rav Elyashiv’s response.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/my-machberes/my-machberes-34/2012/07/26/

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