My nephew, Zev Berman, acquired the web address www.zemanim.net for me years ago. I thank him for that and for letting me use resources from the Berman Group, particularly Simcha Sommer to (finally) establish this site. Beyond just papers related to zemanim, it will also contain my papers on trop, the Jewish calendar, kinnim, and short summaries of my views on miscellaneous topics.
The words yom in Hebrew and day in English refer to both the day of the week, as in yom shelishi, and the daytime period, when some degree of light is visible. The day of the week begins at some point after sunset, thought by most people to be a binary machloket between Rabbeinu Tam and the Gaon. In many contexts, we demonstrate that there more options; those options, however, are more similar to the position of the Gaon. The daytime period, which all postulate as beginning at alot ha-shachar, is commonly assumed to end at a symmetric point after sunset; in various contexts, we propose another alternative. The zemanim category contains papers addressing both areas.
Included are many of my hiddushim in the areas on which I have concentrated for a lifetime. Of special interest are places where I believe I have made a substantial contribution. One, an explanation of Rambam’s famous use of ve-yai’rah’eh li in Pesulei Ha-Mikdashin, attacked by Raavad, and never satisfactorily resolved, is the most significant. Rambam uses ve-yai’rah’eh li approximately 150 times; except for 6 places Raavad agrees. In about half of those cases, Ravvad cannot demonstrate the point from Talmudic sources as well, while about half the time he presents what he believes is support. In 2 of those 6 cases where he disagrees, those referred to above, his language is caustically expressed. I am still seeking knowledgeable readers to critique that entry beyond the one individual who has already agreed to review.
A hiddush on Rambam in hilkhot Shabbat and Kiddush Ha-Hodesh is omitted; it will soon appear in the TuMJ. It is surprising since the background in astronomy was known to (at least) one of the geonim and (much later to) Menachem Ha-Meiri. However, this may be explained based on the fact that their writings were available only in the last 150 years. Given Rambam was among the greatest astronomers of his age, I assume he was obviously aware as well; in fact, his language previously unnoticed but abundantly clear proves the point beyond dispute.
The epilogue in the lengthy manuscript on zemanim overall lists many other hiddushim. Beyond hiddushim, most material simplifies and organizes these areas to make them easier to comprehend.
While the position the Gaon and the Geonim have received widespread support in practice, I find the Gaon’s approach to the bavli in Shabbat beginning on 34a, troubling. That issue appears in various places and most completely on a seforim blog post referenced. How the Geonim read the above sugyah is largely unknown.
In a profoundly unfortunate way, COVID 19 has kept me in my study; I am significantly ahead of the schedule I thought would keep me going until Rosh HaShanah. On to yet more analysis of trop and Onkelos as well as editing papers accepted for publication.