Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What time is shabbos? in 1842.

Some time ago the Lion of Zion had a very interesting post called How Did Jewish Women Know When To Light Shabbat Candles in the 18th C.?
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 did people know when to light Shabbat candles in an era before clocks and watches were household items. 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 knew the difference between 4:53 and 5:07.

Answer: they couldn’t tell the difference.
He showed various examples of old calendars. I don't have much to add, but I did come across some interesting examples in 1842 issues of the British periodical Voice of Jacob:

As you can see, people were told that candle-lighting time was on the half-hour or on the hour, for basically four weeks in a row. Then the time moved forward by a half-hour.

In case anyone is tempted to think that this was an ignorant periodical, unconcerned about zemanim, below is a discussion about זמן קריאת שמע.

Finally, I thought this add was fantastic; someone wants to buy a sukkah, so he asks if anyone has a good size Tabernacle to sell.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails