Monday, December 5, 2011

Elad's Ashkenazi & Sephardi rabbis battle over time Shabbos begins

The inauguration of the Sabbath in Elad has recently become the tensest hour of the week, following a disagreement between the city's Sephardic rabbi and its Ashkenazi rabbi. 

The two cannot agree on the exact time for inaugurating the Sabbath. Even the leaders of the Orthodox public, Gedolei Yisrael, were involved against their will, but a solution has not been found. 

The roots of the disagreement go back a long way: the Ashkenazi rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Grossman, has always maintained that the Sabbath enters 30 minutes before the sun sets, while the Sephardic rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Malka, puts it at 20 minutes. According to Halacha (Jewish law), every city is supposed to set additional time before sundown on the eve of the Sabbath. Most places allow for 20 minutes, but the Ashkenazi rabbis in Elad have refused, since the city was established, saying that a special window of time must be allowed for, as in places like Safed and Bnei Brak (30 minutes), and almost like that which is allowed for in Jerusalem and Petah Tikva (40 minutes). The Safardis acted according to their tradition, and added just 20 minutes, even when the sirens of Elad sounded according to the Ashkenazi system.

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