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Friday, April 30, 2010

Zmanim Part 1

There are several ‘zmanim’ or halachic times that one must be familiar with to fully appreciate how the time restrictions on prayer work.

Amud/Alos Hashachar – Dawn, or first light. This is either 72 or 90 minutes before Neitz Hachamah

Hair Penei Hamizrach – when the whole eastern skyline is lit up.  According to many opinions when the Halacha refers to ‘Amud Hashachar’ it really means this time. (See Biur Halacha beginning of siman 89).

Misheyakir – The Gemara establishes this as the time which one can differentiate between techeles (blue) string and white string on their tzitzis. This is the same time that one can recognize an acquaintance from 4 amos (6-8 feet) away. Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that this is a subjective zman, it depends on the clarity of the day and so on.

The Mishah Berura writes (58:18) that misheyakir is after the ‘hair penei hamizrach’. 

Rav Elyashiv (Hearos on Brachos 9b) says this is 30 minutes before Hanetz Hachamah. 

Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe (OC 4:6) says that this is 35-40 minutes before Hanetz Hachamah, based on his observations on clear days.

Rav Tikushinsky (luach Eretz Yisrael) as well as the Kaf Hachayim (18:18) say that the minhag in Jerusalem is to consider a full hour before hanetz hachamah to be considered misheyakir. Other opinions range from 42 -52 minutes before Neitz in Jerusalem.  Presumably these opinions do not hold that is a subjective zman, rather a fixed time like all the other zmanim.

Hanetz Hachamah – Sunrise. When the top of the orb of the sun is visible on the horizon. Some say the entire orb must be visible.
There is discussion amongst the Achronim if this is measured at real elevation or at sea level. [The practical difference is generally minimal].
This is all working with dawn being at a fixed time before sunrise. There is however a way of calculating by degrees.

To be continued…

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Meet Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch HaberRabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber is sought after by all who know him for his Halachic and practical advice. His keen ability to put complicated matters into a digestible perspective coupled with his ability to get the facts, make him the perfect blogger to help us all “Do It Right”.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber spent his childhood globetrotting with his family. His pioneering spirit first surfaced in Melbourne, Australia, where he was excited to be a member of the opening class of Mesivta Bnei Torah. From Australia the Haber family settled down in Monsey, NY. Ever the maverick, Tzvi promptly left home to study in Yeshiva Ohr Hameir in Peekskill, where he became a mainstay of the Yeshiva, and inspired his younger brothers as well as several friends from the Mesivta in Melbourne to follow him. He then joined his chaburah in Jerusalem, first at the Mir Yeshiva and then at the Bais Medrash of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik, a senior scion of the famed Brisk dynasty. As his globetrotting family returned to Jerusalem, Tzvi returned to the US, to freeze in the famed, yet comparatively chilled Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood.

 In 2004 he met his wife, Suzanne Schor, a native of the warmer Los Angeles climate, and the couple settled in Lakewood, where he focused his pioneering and independent strengths on the study of Halacha, or Jewish law. His innovative spirit and innate ability to help others seeking to clarify the finer points of Judaism and integrate them into their daily lives inspired his decision to commute daily from Lakewood to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in order to bask in the day to day exposure to the world renowned Posek, HaRav David Feinstein. The daily commute was more than compensated for when he received Semicha from Rav Feinstien and the Kollel L’Torah U’lhorah (a division of Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem) in Tamuz 5768, June 2008.

In August 2009, the Habers moved west, heading toward Los Angeles where Rabbi Haber joined the LINK-LA Kollel. After being an active member of the Kollel for several years, he joined the business world, however he is still actively involved in teaching and learning in LA.

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