The Jewish Chronicle - - JUDAISM - RABBI JU­LIAN SIN­CLAIR

IN Bri­tain, we are used to be­gin­ning Shabbat early in the sum­mer so that din­ner will not be too late; be­gin­ning to eat at 9.30 just doesn’t work for most fam­i­lies. But, how do the rab­bis jus­tify declar­ing the start of Shabbat on Fri­day af­ter­noon be­fore sun­set?

It turns out that not only do the sages per­mit adding to Shabbat, it is a mitz­vah. Rashi (on Gen­e­sis 2:2) ex­plains that while God knows the pre­cise in­stant when one day ends and an­other be­gins, we do not. There­fore, we have to “add from the pro­fane to the holy”, mean­ing we be­gin Shabbat a lit­tle early and end it a lit­tle later (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 261:2). This is called tose­fetShab­bat, adding to Shabbat.

The manda­tory tose­fetShab­bat ranges from 18 to 40 min­utes ac­cord­ing to dif­fer­ent opin­ions. In Jerusalem we bring in Shabbat the full 40 min­utes early. And then there is the op­tion to bring in Shabbat ear­lier still, so the kids will be awake for din­ner.

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