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Daylight Savings Time

By Rabbi Raymond Beyda

Daylight savings Time is a plan in which clocks are set one hour ahead of standard time so that darkness comes an hour later. The chief purpose of this fiction is to save energy by reducing evening use of lighting. Many countries, including the USA and Great Britain, that adopted DST did so during wartime. Since 1967 the entire nation adopted the plan as a semi- annual adjustment. Several states donít change their clocks like Arizona and Hawaii. Indiana's approach can drive a sane person crazy as different counties adopt the system on different dates and some do not change at all!

The universal message broadcast over and over on the Saturday night when the clocks fall back [in the fall, of course] "Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour -- and enjoy that extra hour of sleep." Our sages would cringe at the thought of sleeping an extra hour. Time is too valuable to waste. Imagine a very rich financier who is caught and convicted of a horrible crime and sentenced to death. He is offered one extra hour of life before execution to be free to do whatever he would like -- if he were willing to pay the price. How much would he pay? Would he then upon being set free for the last hour of his life GO TO SLEEP?

Life was given to man to accomplish. Time is a valuable asset not to be wasted. In Pirke Abot it says: "One hour of accomplishment in this world is better than all of Olam Haba --The Next World."

Today when you are looking to "kill" a little time -- stop. Imagine that LAST hour and how you would use it. It only takes a minute to save a precious hour.


When a congregation is praying the Minha service late in the afternoon -- and they reach the portion called tahanun [Annah or Nefillat Apayim] after sunset they may recite the Thirteen Attributes even after sunset. They may do so as long as the time for Ben Heshemashot has not elapsed -- i.e. -- up to 13 1/2 minutes after sunset. After that time it is considered definitely night and the Yag Midot [Thirteen Attributes] should not be said. [Source: Yehaveh Daat, volume 6, responsa 7]


The Gemara says: "One who can prevent his household from transgressions but does not is held accountable for the actions of his household; one who is capable of holding back his fellow citizen is responsible for the misdeeds of his fellow citizen; one who is in a position of authority so that he can hold back the whole world from sinning is accountable for the sins of the whole world. Our sages' intent is to alert a Jew as to his reciprocal responsibility for the observance of the Torah. All of Israel are guarantors one for the other and so one must assert his influence to prevent violation of the Torah's laws or be held accountable for the transgressions of another. [Shabbat 54b]

Raymond J Beyda

Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and



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