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Friday, September 28, 2012

Simple Solution to Daylight Saving Time's "Long Yom Kippur"

Last night as my neighbor was driving me home from work I decided to "make conversation" by first telling him how much I had enjoyed the dovening  prayers in our shul and then he mentioned that Yom Kippur would be "longer" next year.

Hmmm... how could it be longer?  Yom Kippur is always twenty-five hours plus a couple of minutes of fasting from the time we finish the meal until we manage to get that first drink of water.

Ever since Israel adopted Daylight Savings for the summer months, there have been bitter fights between the religious and secular populations about the dates it should start and end

I must admit that I'm not a great fan of Daylight Savings Time, ever since I'd been a young mother struggling to get my "primitive" (following the sunlight) children to bed according to the distorted clock.  My married daughter, now the mother young children, says that she'd prefer it in the winter to give more sunlight in the afternoon.

My neighbor admitted that he doesn't care all that much about the "longer Yom Kipper" and thinks that there are more important issues to stand strong against the secular.  It took me a second to finally realize what was meant by the "longer Yom Kippur."  It's davka the same thing I have against going to the faster very early, "neitz" Yom Kippur service which is very popular among some of my friends.

To those who so happily reported how early they finished dovening and how quickly the dovening went I kept asking why they wanted a longer day with nothing to do and nothing to eat.  I'm very happy to spend my Yom Kippur day in the synagogue listening to the prayers and praying along.  The couple of hours we had as a break between Musaf and Mincha were enough for me.  I don't take naps, even Shabbat afternoon.  If I sleep during the day, I can't fall asleep at night.

I barely had to think to find the solution to the "long Yom Kippur."  It's so totally obvious, as I told my neighbor:
"Just start the morning prayers an hour later, the time it would be if there wasn't daylight savings, and you'll have the same shorter Yom Kippur."


The biggest problem will be remembering in time to suggest it to our synagogue committee and make sure they implement it.

5 comments:

Eliyahu S. said...

As you may recall, I'm one of your former neighbor fans of the faster, shorter neitz minyan. But I understand "different strokes for different folks," or as we say in Hebrew, ta'am vreiach ain lhitvakeach, so I respect your preferred style of prayer.

But, (there's always a "but," isn't there?) there is a halachic (religious law) problem with your suggestion. The Halakha is very emphatic about the appropriate times for certain prayers, and the recitation of Shema and the beginning of the Amida MUST occur within a certain period of time from sunrise. As it is, your beloved extended praying includes numerous medieval dirges and other embellishments that delay the performance of these time-critical and MUCH more essential elements of the liturgy. By starting an hour later, as well, you run the strong risk of not performing required, d'orayta mitzvoth (Scripturally ordained commandments) when they need to be done. This would have you asking The One for forgiveness by disobeying His rules on how to ask for that forgiveness - not a great idea, I'm sure you'll agree.

Paradoxically, starting later requires you to pray more quickly, rather than more slowly, at least through the first half of the morning liturgy. There is no intrinsic problem with adjusting the order of the service to make your suggestion a reality - for example Shir Yichud and Shir Hakavod could be moved to after Hazarath HaShatz, before (or after) the Torah reading. I suspect that it would confuse and challenge people, though, especially those who are already looking for a more traditional experience.

Sorry to rain on your parade....

Shy Guy said...

Here's a simpler solution:

Move Israel to an all-year standard time of GMT+2:30, rather than constantly bickering when to flip-flop between +2 and +3.

Batya said...

Eliyahu, by starting an hour later during daylight savings we're dovening the same time as when there's no ds. The dovening in the early part was pretty fast. With a famous math expert and strict yekkes in the congregation, I trust we weren't late for Kri'at Shma.

Shy, that's interesting. So we'll always be a bissel (half hour) off most of the world. How many other countries go by the half hour?

Shy Guy said...

Quite a few places, actually. Search this page for ":30".

Batya said...

Thanks, Shy, I learn something new everyday.