September 22, 2023
September 22, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Candle Lighting—Saychel or Software?

My mother, zt”l, would get emotional each Friday night when she lit candles—I don’t know if it was the memories of her pre-war household lighting with her mother, HY”D, and her oldest sister, Y”D, along with her two other sisters. I don’t know if it was thoughts of the years she couldn’t light while fleeing east into Russia during the war. Or perhaps finally getting to light in the DP camp and, of course, after coming to this “Goldeneh Medina.” In any case, licht benching was a thoughtful, emotional undertaking. She’d always light a bit early—just in case the time was wrong.

This Friday afternoon, I took a quick look to verify the candle-lighting time. Per the upper left corner of your front page: 5:39 p.m. But, wait, per my synagogue’s announcements it’s 5:40 p,m,—can’t be. So I checked with our president, who said, check with the gabbai. Both the rabbi and the gabbai insisted that the synagogue software they use says 5:40 and “that’s what we’ll stick with.”

I then checked the two “Jewish” apps on my iPhone—both said 5:39. I went online and checked the websites of several local synagogues: again, 5:39. My gabbai informed me that such-and-such synagogue also says 5:40—perhaps they use the same software. I checked sundown on a secular app—5:57. Subtract 18—and 5:39!

It’s only a one minute difference—but this, 5:40, represents a different, flawed mindset. Do we trust the computer software or our saychel?

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