Thursday, February 07, 2008

...and 'like an olive' used to be 'like an olive,' too...

Ari has an excellent post about how 18th century Jewish women knew what time to light the Shabbat candles.
"In today’s age we are extremely punctilious when it comes to various zemanim (assigned times). Take Shabbat, for example—we begin and end at a precise minute, and one that varies from week to week. I always wondered, however, exactly how in an era before clocks and watches were household items did people know when to light Shabbat candles. I assume most people did not own a sundial and you can’t always rely on the skies. So how did they know it was 4:53 pm and time to light the candles? Or that the eighteen minutes were up and you had to park your horse and walk home?

"A few years ago I discovered the answer of how they told the difference between 4:53 and 5:07.

"Answer: they couldn’t tell the difference.
Read the entire post.

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