4/08/2007

Yom Tov Sheni Musings

Why is it that the same Israelis who get all bent out of shape when chutznik tourists keep 2 days of yom tov in Israel also wouldn’t even dream of keeping 2 days in chu”l, even if they are there for an extended period? There are Israelis who have 1-day minyanim in chutz la-aretz (for example, having the full hakafot on Shemini Atzeret, and not because they’re chassidish).

I also remember a few years ago (6.5, to be exact), the Rebbetzin and I went down to Eilat for a couple of days after Sukkot. We arrived in Eilat a few hours before sunset on isru chag (the Rebbetzin was then pregnant with our first child, so we managed to visit every single rest stop on the way down). My brother-in-law then decided to play a cruel trick on us. Just before we arrived, he called and mentioned to us that there are acharonim who hold that one needs to keep 2 days of yom tov in Eilat. He really scared me before I had a chance to think it through, because it is forbidden to do any melacha if one is in a Jewish community on 2nd day Yom Tov even if one is a ben Eretz Yisrael.

When I thought about it, though, I realized that since R’ Tukachinsky holds that Eilat is indeed part of Eretz Yisrael, I can do melacha. As long as there is a position, even a minority position, that something is permitted on Yom Tov, there’s no issue of ‘mar’it ayin’ for a ben Eretz Yisrael to do it. Phew. Crisis averted. Good thing I knew the sugya, right?

Then we actually started to walk around Eilat a bit, and I saw all of these people with kippot driving cars, etc. At first, I was thinking ‘Hey, that guy must hold like R’ Tukachinsky; that guy must be kim lei like R’ Tukachinsky, etc’. Then I asked someone if anyone in Eilat keeps 2 days, and he looked at me like I was from Mars. Apparently, the only people who keep 2 days in Eilat live in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, and never actually go to Eilat. The people who really actually live there keep one day (by the way, this is the difference between the Aruch Hashulchan and the Mishna Brurah, ve-hamaven yavin).

Similarly, I imagine that nobody actually keeps Shabbat for two days a week in Japan or Hong Kong. The location of the halakhic International Date Line is a matter of dispute (like before, between R’ Tukachinsky and the Chazon Ish). Some suggest being chosheish for both, meaning that any land mass whose majority lies between the two lines would keep Shabbat 2x a week, 3 days of Rosh Hashana, etc. According to this chumra, it’s conceivable to have a 5-day Yom Tov. The Tishrei chagim would be an absolute nightmare. In reality, though, nobody keeps this. In actual communities, normalcy tends to prevail.

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