Monday, 10 October 2011

To Do Two or NOT to Do Two?

Margy Horowitz, a 37-year-old mother of two whom I know, is a private piano teacher in Los Angeles. She is an Orthodox Jew, as are about a third of her students. Paid per lesson, she forgoes up to $300 of income on each day she can't teach. And in the fall, when Rosh Hashanah ushers in a month-long series of multiday holidays, that adds up: seven missed workdays in just over three weeks, if no holidays fall on a weekend. "The income I lose," Horowitz said, "is an entire month's rent."

See -
The second day of some Jewish holidays is mandated by rabbinic tradition, not Torah law. In today's world, they're increasingly hard to observe.




Avraham said...

The second day of Yom Tov is a problem because of two separate reasons. The first most is that it is a custom based on the possibility that way to calculate the proper time would be forgotten and we would have to go back to witnesses who would be sent from Yerushalim. Since today any witnesses sent from Yerushalim could get anywhere in the world in a few hours by an X-15 there is no reason for two days of Yom Tov. And to go a make up another possibility that the witnesses might not be able to get to a certain place we don't find in the Gemara. This is the reason that two days of Yom Tov is no longer valid. (Of course if the Gemara would say that the second day is a rabinic law that would be different. But it does not. This is the reason an egg born on the first day is allowed on the second day.)
There is another reason in that the calendar that we calculate with is not mentioned in the Gemara. This would imply that without a Beit Din with Semicha from Sinai we would go by the molad (the conjunction) which this year is a different day than the calculated day.

Avraham said...

However the Gemara does not actual say that the fear is that the way of fixing the calendar might be forgotten. the only words the Gemara uses are that the government might make a decree (gezera). Even though this is explained in Rashi and and in the context of the gemara can have no other explanation besides that the Gemara would be that the way of fixing the calender would be forgotten still it is possible to widen the explanation of the words to include the inability to send witnesses. And a chavruta David B., once suggested tat a custom is not dependent on reasons. A custom is just a custom.
But this would be contradicted by the Gemara itself that says this custom exists because of a specific reason.