Saturday, November 24, 2012

When does the 7th day of Shabbos begin?

It is an interesting question. At creation it says there was evening and there was morning, So the day beings in the evening.

In Rabbinic and to be fair Karaite Judaism as well they have Shabbos begin at around sunset based on this passage.

I was thinking about it since this Friday had some things to do and this day time of year Shabbos does begin very early.

It did get me thinking though just because the day is shorter in the winter and longer in the summer doesn't mean "evening" starts at a different time. The work day is not different in the summer or winter. In addition  by doing this the week is actually slightly more then six days in the spring and slightly less then six days in the fall since sunset become earlier in the fall and later in the spring. Furthermore, according to the bible after the flood God made the decree that there would be cold and heat, summer and winter, seeding and harvest, day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22). Part of this cycle has to do with the sun and having more daylight in different parts of the year that cause the earth to lose and gain heat.

But should the day start at a different time simply because sunset is at a different time because of the season it is. I don't know. As I said it makes a week slightly less or more then 6 days. The other part of this command is to work 6 days. One day of rest and six days of work. And to make the day a start at a different time because there are only 8 hours of daylight is that correct.

Especially today it doesn't make sense since we don't sleep at a different time either in the summer or winter. And Shabbos ends in the late afternoon in the winter just because due to the season the day is short. It would seem it would make more sense to have it about what time sunset on average is which I guess would be about 6 PM since today we don't change our day based on sunset times and even back then the fact that a day was 16 hours vs. 8 hours sunlight to they sleep the other 16 hours in the winter. I didn't live then so I don't know.

There are some crazy ideas like this Lunar Shabbos that it is the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th of the moon cycle but then you need extra days  that are also Shabbos. But here too to a slight degree you have less then six days of work in the fall and slightly more in the spring and this is because a day is not 12 hours but morning and evening should still be around the same time regardless of daylight or night is extended due to the time of year. Just some thoughts which is a minor idea but in general not sure why the day should start earlier simply because in the winter you only have 8 hours of sunlight as this whole issue of seasons came after the flood so before then evening may have been 12 hours and day 12 hours all the time.

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