Saturday, December 24, 2005

105. Lichtbenching

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I started this blog wondering what to do about Shobbos this far north. (see entry 1) Since then I have spoken to a number of experts.
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The first part I don’t understand is why Deering does not have any days where the sun does not rise; the shortest day was 2 hours and 58 minutes (see entry 103) but we do have days around the summer solstice where the sun does not set. When I mentioned this on the blog earlier, other people seemed surprised as well (see entry 2 and comments). I always thought it was symmetrical. We are about 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle. (Is there anyone out there who understands why it is not symmetrical? Could you post an explanation?) But when I checked websites that give sunrise and sunset time, that is what I got. Also, I found a few websites that will give you candle-lighting time for any place in the world. (You can choose from a long list of cities, in the US and Canada you can enter a zip code, or for anywhere in the world you can enter longitude, latitude and time zone.) When I entered Deering, they worked fine for most of the year, including December, but for June they all crashed and gave me a bunch of error messages.
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I did find a rabbi (with Chabad of Ventura CA) who found out the times and e-mailed them to me. Here they are for 5765: (I have put them all in Standard time so the pattern is more obvious. For Daylight Savings Time, add an hour. Also, I used Friday’s date, regardless of which side of midnight it fell)
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Oct 7 Fri 6:25 pm / Oct 14 Fri 5:58 pm / Oct 21 Fri 5:30 pm / Oct 28 Fri 5:03 pm / Nov 4 Fri 4:36 pm / Nov 11 Fri 4:09 pm / Nov 18 Fri 3:42 pm / Nov 25 Fri 3:16 pm / Dec 2 Fri 2:52 pm / Dec 9 Fri 2:30 pm / Dec 16 Fri 2:14 pm / Dec 23 Fri 2:13 pm / Dec 30 Fri 2:28 pm / Jan 6 Fri 2:55 pm / Jan 13 Fri 3:24 pm / Jan 20 Fri 3:53 pm / Jan 27 Fri 4:23 pm / Feb 3 Fri 4:52 pm / Feb 10 Fri 5:20 pm / Feb 17 Fri 5:47 pm / Feb 24 Fri 6:13 pm / Mar 3 Fri 7:02 pm / Mar 10 Fri 7:26 pm / Mar 17 Fri 7:26 pm / Mar 24 Fri 7:50 pm / Mar 31 Fri 8:14 pm / Apr 7 Fri 8:38 pm / Apr 14 Fri 9:03 pm / Apr 21 Fri 9:28 pm / Apr 28 Fri 9:55 pm / May 5 Fri 10:23 pm / May 12 Fri 10:53 pm / May 19 Fri 11:25 pm / May 26 Sat 12:02 am / Jun 2 Sat 12:57 am / Jun 9 no sunset / Jun 16 no sunset / Jun 23 no sunset / Jun 30 no sunset / Jul 7 no sunset / Jul 14 Sat 12:31 am / Jul 21 Fri 11:51 pm / Jul 28 Fri 11:18 pm / Aug 4 Fri 10:47 pm / Aug 11 Fri 10:17 pm / Aug 18 Fri 9:47 pm / Aug 25 Fri 9:18 pm / Sep 1 Fri 8:50 pm / Sep 8 Fri 8:21 pm / Sep 15 Fri 7:53 pm / Sep 22 Fri 7:25 pm
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So, what is the halacha regarding days and places where there is no sunrise or sunset? Opinions vary. Some say that if you live in a place like this, year round you just begin and end Shobbos when they do in Jerusalem. Some say that year round you begin and end Shobbos when they do wherever you lived previously that had times (which would be Portland in my case), some say you follow the times of the nearest city with a Jewish community that has useable times (which would be Anchorage in my case). Another opinion says that you follow the times for your city, but any weeks that do not have a sunrise or sunset you use the time from the last week that did. Still others say that Shobbos should start as soon as the sun is lowest on the horizon (at least for days with no sunset).
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Here is a link to an article on the topic
http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-trav-northpole.htm
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Another question that must be tackled is Shobbos in space. There is a joke about a bunch of clergymen who go on a rocket trip around the world to see awe-inspiring whatever. Most of the clergymen return amazed, but the rabbi is exhausted. “We had a sunrise and sunset every hour. Put on the teffilin, take off the tefillin, put on the tefillin, take off the tefillin…” Colonel Ilan Ramon (alav hashalom) asked some Rabbis about this before going into space, and it was decided he should follow Cape Canaveral time (which is where takeoff was, and where landing would have been).
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Another question – What would a Moslem do if he was in Deering when Ramadan fell in June?

Comments:
Whatever time you light candles, best wishes for a Happy Hanukah, Amy.
 
Heyyy, The earth wobbles, so the Arctic circle is a little different each year, thats why there is a date ususally on it ,on a map.The Arctic circle is based on a whole day gone and a whole night gone, we just get a lot more light than darkness....God must just shine a little more on this place..........it Needs it.....
 
When my dad was stationed in Anchorage, he went by the nearest city with a Jewish community, Seattle.
 
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