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Natan as opposed to Nosson as R. Adler was known to favor Sephardic pronunciation. In a fantastic episode first reported by Prof. Shneur Leiman in the late 90’s and then addressed by Prof. Marc Shapiro about a decade later, a story of incredible hutzpah is told. The story goes back to the early 50’s and a reprinting of the Chatam Sofer’s hiddushim on shas by a publisher in the Satmar community.

Following the end of Rav Sofer’s commentary on Pesahim, a variety of material, including the practice of his rebbe, Rav Adler is included. As read (incorrectly) by Satmar, R. Adler was suggesting that Shabbat ends between 24 and 35 minutes after sunset. As devotees of the Rabbeinu Tam and even according to the Geonim, given R. Adler’s latitude, this sounds impossible. Well, what is a good hasid to do? According to Prof. Shapiro, with the Rebbe’s approval, out came the whiteout pen and the lines were obscured, never to be seen. When discovered, the rebbe insisted that all copies be destroyed; Prof. Leiman as you might suspect had a copy to display.

The paper from TheLehrhaus linked below demonstrates something embarrassing. The Satmar misunderstood what R. Adler meant, resulting in a quite unnecessary act of hutzpah.

Click here:

Rav Schechter reports that the Rav ztl, who followed Rabbeinu Tam with modern depression angle based humrot, was not concerned about any stringency that counting the hour of the day from alot ha-shahar would imply.

What is now abundantly apparent that this approach was the position of Ramban and the hakhemai sforad who followed.

Beyond the inability to apply the position of Magen Avraham in the afternoon to plag ha-minha for example at locations moderately far from the equator, we show that even in Jerusalem the approach encounters slight problems.

All of this is buttressed by an analysis of both R. Israel Isserlein, the Trumat Ha-Deshen, R. Avraham Pimential, author of Minhat Kohen and recognized by R. Gombiner, a contemporary, as an expert, and later authorities.

The approach suggested appears as well in the article on lighting candles in Jerusalem 40 minutes before sunset.

The manuscript’s first part is largely a tutorial introduction to this area of zemanim.

Critical to the above document is the following excel spreadsheet

Though a number of views arguing for a precise (longitudinal or shoreline conforming) location for a halakhic dateline, those of the Hazon Ish and Rav Tukatzinsky being most often quoted, have been proposed, this paper argues strongly in favor of a view of major poskim including Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank and Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer that argue that such a line is not defined in halakha. In support of that position, I further argue that the existence of a dateline often thought of as logically necessary, in fact, is not. Rather the halakha is established by local (Jewish) practice as it has evolved. A person leaving such a location while over uninhabited ocean/land maintains previous practice (subject to observations of a new day.)

A related matter not covered, but one to which I hope to return, are the assumptions behind the position of the Hazon Ish, whose position was previously argued by Rav Moshe Lapidus at the end of the 19th century. It drew opposition at that time from Rav Shaul Nathanson, author of the Shoel u’Mashiv.

Though all my articles published on benefit from her meticulous editorial judgment, Davida Kolmar’s work on this article, moving paragraphs, simplifying sentences, etc. made the article clearer and more easily read and understood.

This article from the Torah u’Maddah journal from 2011 has been a springboard to a number of articles that have appeared (and are included on this site: the dateline and Satmar censorship) and a manuscript on shaot ha’yom according to the Magen Avraham. It also introduces my strongly held belief that depression angles are to darkness what a clock is to time, providing a useful mechanism for specifying darkness based zemanim.

Any mention of the Torah u’Maddah journal must include a special mention of its general editor, Rabbi Dr. David Shatz, and editor Meira Mintz from whose meticulous work the article (and I) benefitted.

to read click here.

This ancient topic, clearly decided by all codifiers of law, has had those who nonetheless sat outside the sukkah (for at least part of Shemini Atzeret) throughout history. For those of us in the USA, it is abundantly clear that, despite family custom, we are obligated to sit in the Sukkah, despite this position not being practiced in Talmudic times.

the fascinating look back at history.

This article was regrettably very necessary. Errors on the topic of zemanim proliferated in the halakhic literature. Yet worse, trying to integrate errored views led to yet more significant errors. The article below attempts to classify errors into 6 categories with examples per category. I would appreciate comments on the individual errors and the method chosen for categorization.

While many errors did not immediately lead to badly errored pesakim, their use by others may not have been so fortunate. One example suffices to illustrate the issue. As we can now very precisely calculate, the period between sunset and the day’s end varies by both distance from the equator and the time of year. Early in (modern) halakhic history (17th century,) Rav Avraham Pimential errored when he equated that variation to the length of the day, sunrise to sunset. While his formula is imprecise during the summer, it is entirely incorrect in the winter. Intuition or some might argue, siyatta di’shemaya, led him to caution against the use of his formula in the winter. Given his prominence, that error, together with his caution, is still to be found in the rabbinic literature. Now, however, we also have a prominent congregation and its well-respected Rabbi using something that appears remarkably similar just last winter on their website.

For those familiar with the notion of recursion in mathematics/logic, this is a similar notion in the sense of Douglas Hofstetter’s book Godel, Escher, Bach. In a stronger but more primitive sense, trop exhibits a recursive structure 1000 years before Bach.

The actual algorithm that demonstrates recursiveness is found here