Thursday, August 02, 2012

What time does shabbos begin and end in the 19th century? The Sabbath itself was confused

A few years ago I wrote about how in 1842 the time for ushering in the Sabbath was determined by half hour intervals (link). They had pretty good clocks, but no one said "light candles at 7:21." It was, light candles at 7 for a couple of weeks, and as it got later, you'd light at 7:30, and so on.

I found something very, very interesting. Same city - London - fifty years later. In his Jewish Standard humor column Israel Zangwill printed a letter he says he received from Shabbat ("Shobbos") himself. Or herself, since the Sabbath is a queen. Maybe. (Malka vs malkah, who can tell?).  This cynic tends to think that it was Zangwill himself who wrote it, but what do I know.

In any case, the Sabbath wanted to call attention to the fact that three separate sources gave three separate times for the end of the Sabbath. That December 20th of 1890, one said 4:30, one said 4:41, and one said 4:49.

No, the end time is not the same as the beginning. But what I am thinking of is the precision of the numbers.  Interesting.


9 comments:

  1. Per kosherjava.com, shkiya was 3:53, Tzais Geonim 7.083 Degrees was 4:41 and 8.5 degrees was 4:52.
    And United Synagogue (appears to be a MO place. I picked it just because that's what I found first) has shabbat ending in London on Dec 20, 2008 at 4:47.

    (BTW, the 1st time in the article is 4:40, not 4:30)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Coincidently, the Sabbath who wrote to the poet ibn Ezra was a poet, while the Sabbath who wrote to the humorist Zangwill was a humorist.

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=45674&st=&pgnum=110

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  3. Nice! Very perceptive.

    Anon, thanks for the research and the correction (re 4:30).

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  4. Fascinating that he writes "Shobbos", with |o| for the pasach under the shin. That would be expected for an American (outside of Boston or possibly New York), for whom |o| = [ah], but is extremely unexpected for a Brit -- unless he actually is pronouncing the vowel as [o] (as in some dialects of Yiddish, I think Ukrainian).

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  5. In fact, I believe the Brits do pronounce the word something like "Shubbus." A 1999 column from London's Jewish Chronicle relates the following:
    "Last Friday, I went to shul on Shabbes for the first time since I was a child and saw everyone greeted with a “Shabbat shalom‚” whereas I’d grown up with the entirely anglicised “Good Shabbes” which, in any case, was only ever pronounced Shobbus‚ to rhyme with lobbus."
    This column apparently spawned a correspondence as to the origin of "Lobbus," which is British Yiddish for "scoundrel" or "mischief maker." Apparently our friend Paul Shaviv was part of this discussion. Someone wrote, "There is a variation on Mr Shaviv’s doggerel which I have heard sung to the theme tune from the overture to 'The Barber of Seville':

    He was a lobbus,
    He was a lobbus,
    He took a shiksa
    To the pictures
    On Shobbus."

    ReplyDelete
  6. abba's rantings10:22 AM, August 03, 2012

    you're not going to dig up a newspaper reporting on the first siyum hashas?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fed Up In Peoria2:58 PM, August 03, 2012

    How much did a luxury box cost at the first siyum in Lublin? Can you find the menus and the cost per package?

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  8. Time was introduced to Israel in 1906 by the Sultan with the forced imposition of the Jaffa clock tower, followed by five others including (no longer existing) Jaffa Gate Clock Tower in Jerusalem. Until then there was no sense of precision of minutes, which seems to have wreaked havoc on the Sultan's new train. Both Moslems and Jews rioted over the imposition of minutes into their lives and (then) religious dogma of time and prayer.

    I note the Jaffa-Tel Aviv-Jerusalem never succeeded in coming to terms with this concept of precise time even to this very day :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Time was introduced to Israel in 1906 by the Sultan with the forced imposition of the Jaffa clock tower, followed by five others including (no longer existing) Jaffa Gate Clock Tower in Jerusalem. Until then there was no sense of precision of minutes, which seems to have wreaked havoc on the Sultan's new train. Both Moslems and Jews rioted over the imposition of minutes into their lives and (then) religious dogma of time and prayer.

    I note the Jaffa-Tel Aviv-Jerusalem never succeeded in coming to terms with this concept of precise time even to this very day :-)

    ReplyDelete

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