Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Very Difficult IDL Psak: Feedback Welcome!

The She'eilah, from a Talmid:

Dear Rabbi Bechhofer,
I hope you are enjoying the summer. I am going to New Zealand soon, and I remember that you said on one of our class Shabbatons that New Zealand might be a problem because of the halachic "international dateline." Can you please refresh my memory and tell me what I should for Shabbos and Tisha Bav?
Thank You,

My response:

This is a weighty question, and I certainly do not want you to feel bound by my psak - feel free to consult another Rav and follow their psak.

My starting point is the psak of the Chazon Ish on the halachic International Dateline. Accordingly, the day of the week known in NZ as Sunday is actually Saturday. The day they call Saturday is actually Friday. The day they will keep as Tisha b'Av is actually the 8th day of Av, and the actual 9th is their tenth. This is a particular problem this year, since 9 Av is on a Thursday - but if you follow the CI, it's on the NZ Friday.

So, what I would pasken is that you keep two days Shabbos every week, on their Shabbos keep Shabbos d'orysa and d'rabbanan and daven tefillos Shabbos (because of Minhag HaMakom).

On Sunday refrain from all d'orysa's. You may ask anyone to do melachah for you on their Sunday, since they have al me lismoch for their manner of observance. On Sundays you should also refrain from d'Rabbanans as much as possible. If you must do one, try to do it with a shinui.

On their 9 Av, keep the day as normal. On their 10 Av, if you can, eat pachos pachos me'k'shiur (we can get into details if you decide to go this route) and all the halachos of the nine days until Chatzos. After Chatzos, you can shower and shave l'kovod Shabbos.

Again, feel free to contact anyone else you want. I will also see if I can come up with more guidelines.

Have fun!



  1. Is the Chazan Ish who puts Yerushalayim at the top of the world and does 90 degrees or pakistan?