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Et ata’ai hayom ani azkir.  It is the day after Yom Kippur, and I already admitted my sin to the person I unwittingly offended. Now for the rest of the story.

Two weeks ago, Rabbi Luban alerted me to a new sefer on zemanim – THE GREAT Z’MANIM DEBATE – by Rabbi Ahron Notis.  The announcement by Mosaica press mentioned endorsements by R. Shlomo Miller and R. Yisroel Reisman.  Readers of my Ḥakirah articles about errors in the halakhic literature might remember that one of the endorsers was referenced in the article.  Also advertised was the sefer’s ability to bring a scientific perspective to halakha. Those endorsements coupled with that specific stated purpose of the sefer seemed contradictory.  Ad khan ha’ḥet.

The sefer fundamental conclusions strongly opposing

  • fixed time intervals like 72 minutes and
  • reliance le’kulah on Rabbeinu Tam

are two important points that I strongly endorse.  Surprisingly, the author told me that the two mentioned endorsers are at least re-evaluating their positions.  Regardless of where they are in that process, that they were more than willing to endorse a well-organized and argued sefer despite their (previous) views stands to their credit.

In addition to explaining modern science, the sefer does an excellent job explaining how earlier generations from the Talmud through the times of Rishonim and early Aḥronim envisioned the universe.  As I noted many times, regardless of assumed scientific theory, careful observation, both ancient and current, deserves respect.

There are several areas where I disagree with the sefer’s conclusions.  Two that should be mentioned relate to the earliest time for tzait ha’kokhavim and the opinion on sha’ot ha’yom of the Magen Avraham. With respect to the former, I disagree both with the approach and the conclusion and am more maḥmir.  On the latter, my sefer in progress on Sha’ot Ha’yom presents a variety of different approaches to the Magen Avraham.  A current version, very soon to be updated is on this website. Nonetheless, the sefer provides valuable background and insights.