Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Violin This Time

A few (apparently, a very few) secular types protested yesterday against Israel's moving the clock back last night. Of course, the US and other countries have being steadily extending Summer Time, so that Israel has now done so about a month and a half before then.

Being in sync with other Western nations (kind of an odd thing to assert, considering that Israel is in the same time zone as none of them) seems to be a major point for the protestors, to which I respond, so what? If the rest of the world is going to be ridiculous, must Israel follow along? Mostly unmentioned, of course, is how inconvenient the late change is to those who daven every morning. Call me parochial, but yes, I think Israel should care about such things.

Of course, that's another sore point for the protestors: The fact that Yom Kippur figures into these calculations. Well, again, tough. Israel is a Jewish state. There are lots of compromises on all sides; this (and even allowing for Pesach, as is currently not the case) seems like a trifle compared to others. (And yes, I know it's still 25 hours. But the early end has at least a psychological effect.)

But really, I have one irony to comment on: If I had to bet, I'd say that most if not all of these protestors are the usual suspect leftist "Occupy Rothschild" types, the types that are just fine with government intervention. Well, they've got their government intervention, in the form of regulating time itself. Now they can have it, as the man (Kingsley Amis?) said to the woman on the bus. (Of course, being good leftists, they think that government is the one perfect thing and are thus quite frustrated without really knowing why. You put your very time in the hands of an imperfect institution, you see what happens.)

I, as a mostly-good libertarian, think the whole thing is nonsense and should be abolished. So I can complain as much as I want, except I don't have cause to here specifically. Smiles for me, no violins at all for them. (Little-known fact: Timezones, as opposed to daylight time, were a private initiative. They weren't needed before the telegraph and railroad were invented; the train companies needed them and instituted them.)

One more thing: When the Pope removed ten days from the calendar in 1582, lots of ignorant peasants were upset, as they actually believed he'd taken ten days off their lives. (The accountants were upset for more rational reasons.) Newsflash: He didn't, and he government isn't taking an hour of your sunlight- especially when, as here, they are restoring "normal" time.

Marc Shapiro, mentioned in the early days of this blog, just sent me a book. He's the best!


Anonymous said...

what book did he send you? He didnt send me no book! Is his book on censorship out yet? cant wait for that one.

I hate the later and later extension of daylight saving time, (or the opposite, can never tell which.) Yes, it is a huge, basically insurmountable problem for zman tefillah, esepcially for those in the western parts of their time zones. There are parts of Oct/Nov in which sunrise here is not till after 8, and mi-sheyakir is after 7. By these zmanim, it is simply impossible for many people to daven shachris.

Of course, big parts of me cannot fathom why we still use these zmanim. Why on earth should "3 hours into the day" be considered the latest part of the morning, because that was the latest time ancient kings got up? More fundamenally, why should the morning be determined by nature, such as surrise or sunlight, when we live in a clock-centered universe? By 8 am sunrise, when the vasikin (those righteous men who awaken early) are davening, the whole city is either already working or on their way to work. But if you ask a typical halcahist, he will tell you a guy rolling out of bed to daven at 8 am is "better" than the hard working guy getting up at 5.30 am just so he can daven. He will tell you the latter's tefillah is basicaly worthelss. But I suppose these types of questins are inherently incompataible with orthodoxy.

Seems to me 6 am should be the year-end early time, and 9 am the year end late time.


Nachum said...

Never thought of it that way. Makes sense, of course, but like you said, it will never happen.