June 17, 2024
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June 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I enjoy complaining about Daylight-Saving Time as much as the next guy, but this new law that the government is trying to pass is not the way to deal with it. Complaining about it is the way to deal with it.

I refer here to the new act—passed by the Senate and now moving on to the House—that we just stop changing the clock twice a year and leave it at Daylight-Saving Time.

Some people are excited about the new law. The most obvious pro is Friday afternoons in the winter, because instead of going into Shabbos at 4 p.m. in a rush, we can go in nice and calm, like we do when Shabbos is at 8, when we totally do not go in in a rush.

Another thing that will change is that this will basically be the end of Avos Ubanim and also school melave malkas. But it’s not all positive.

For one thing, winter fast days will end later. Asara B’Teves specifically. It also means that the kids won’t come home as early on Chanukah, which can be either good news or bad news, depending on which side of the school calendar you’re on.

But the biggest deal, by far, is Shacharis. If the sun goes down later, it’s coming up later. You know how the earliest davening in the middle of the winter can sometimes be in the sevens? What happens if we move sunrise an hour later? Shacharis starts in the eights. And, in some parts of the country, in the nines. What time are you getting to work, Mr. One-Day-a-Week-I-Don’t-Have-to-Leave-as-Early-Anymore?

And I have no idea what yeshivas will do. Will they start at 8:30? Will they have a learning seder in the dark before Shacharis? Will they just start the day with night seder?

Not that any of these arguments will really help us. We’re a minority of a minority of the population, and half of us are focusing on the Friday afternoon part. I don’t think the non-Jews are going to be like, “The Jews raise a good point! Chanukah is going to be at 5, no more Avos Ubanim, and the easiest Jewish fast will be slightly harder!”

And will it really? Because if you think about it, if Asara B’Teves is ending an hour later, it’s also starting an hour later. Which means that if you want to get up and eat breakfast before the sun comes up, you can do so—in the sevens. That’s basically just called, “eating breakfast.” And then you eat supper at 6! Wow, what a fast. You skipped lunch.

“Why are you skipping lunch today?”

“Because they surrounded Yerushalayim.”

“Why did you skip lunch yesterday?”

“Because I had a big breakfast.”

“Didn’t you have a big breakfast today?”

“Yeah.”

And anyway, there are other pros. For example, everyone gets to wake up and watch the sun rise, and also everyone gets to daven k’vasikin. In the middle of work. The Gemara talks about davening k’vasikin as a huge deal, but if this passes, everyone will be able to daven k’vasikin. K’vasikin: It’s not just for the vasikin anymore!

The general public seems very excited about this.

“We hate the whole Daylight-Saving-Time thing. So let’s make it permanent!”

But that’s because they’re only thinking about the part where it gets dark later, because that’s when they’re awake. They’re not thinking about the morning, because they’re not awake before the sun comes up. Which is exactly the problem.

But there are definitely arguments that can get the non-Jews to see things our way, which we kind of have to hope will occur to them:

#1 is that everyone is going to have to wake up in the dark. I think they’re going to pass the bill, and everyone’s going to wake up in the dark that first day and go, “Oops! Let’s change it back!”

Or not. The problem is that most of the people in Congress are older, and older people love getting up before sunrise. They want us to join them, if anything.

The other thing that applies to everybody is that our devices all still have a feature that changes the time by itself—on the wrong day, because of the last time they played with Daylight-Saving Time. But if this goes through, then all of the technology in our houses will change itself twice a year on two different dates unnecessarily. And we’ll have to, one at a time, turn them back. With no helpful announcements in shul or I’m assuming church or whatever.

So the obvious question is, how did this act get through the Senate? How did no one realize there were all these issues?

The answer is branding. They called it the “Sunshine Protection Act.” Who’s going to vote against something called the Sunshine Protection Act? What senator was going to say, without knowing what it is, “No, I don’t want to protect the sun”? I guarantee you, the sun doesn’t even know this is happening. If they wanted to be honest, they would have called it the Waking-Up-in-the-Dark Act, or the Let’s-Get-Everyone-to-Daven-Vasikin-Half-the-Year-and- Maybe-Learn-Before-Shacharis Act.

I personally am all for some kind of bill to stop all the clock changing, but I think we should stay at Standard Time all year.

And everyone will say, “But it’s going to get dark earlier in the summer!” Yeah, at 7:30 instead of 8:30. So? We already make early Shabbos because we can’t handle how late it is.

But imagine a Pesach Seder that’s over at 12 instead of 1. Imagine a Shavuos night where you’re in bed by 6 AM instead of 7, because you started Shacharis in the threes. You can get an extra hour in before your wife sends the kids to jump on you for the day seudah. Chatzos on the Ninth of Av would be at 12—and on the 10th too. Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av would both be over early. Sure, Yom Kippur Shacharis would have to start an hour earlier too, or the break would be shorter. But I’m going to hide that in the PR.


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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