Friday, July 29, 2011

Debate: Early Shabbat v. Late Shabbat

This is truly an eternal debate, and everyone has an opinion. Mostly, they focus on the negative opinion: which do they hate? Personally, I hate early Shabbos, but not for the reasons you would think.

First, what are early and late Shabbos?

Early Shabbos is in the winter, when Shabbos begins early on Friday afternoon. In some of the places I've lived, Shabbos can start as early as 4pm. This can wreck havoc with your work schedule, not to mention trying to get ready for Shabbos that early! The Shabbos Shuffle (trademarked by me) is frenzied. Most people hate the getting ready so early part, but it seems that most people prefer early Shabbos overall.

Late Shabbos is in the summer, when candlelighting might be as late as 8pm. While we all appreciate the extra time to prepare for the Shabbos Queen, most people hate late Shabbos because a) You have to wait so late to eat dinner, starting at 9:30 at the earliest sometimes, and b) You end Shabbat so late on Saturday night that you can't go out and do something like see a movie. 

So what is this other factor that sways my love to late Shabbos? Primarily, the Shabbat nap, aka "the Shabbos schleuf." When Shabbat ends at 5 or 6pm, there's hardly even time for a nap! Shabbat is over before you turn around. I might get to read for an hour. With shul, a meal, and then shul again, I just can't get any Shabbosing done! In short, I don't find as much peace on early Shabbats.

If you hate both early and late Shabbat, move to near the equator (::coughIsraelcough::), and you'll have Shabbat at substantially the same time year-round!


  1. My favourite is 7 pm Shabbos! And lucky for us, our shul brings in Shabbos at 7 pm all summer long. OK, the truth is, I like "flexible" 7 pm Shabbos. That's when my husband aims for 7pm at shul, and I aim to finish cooking by the time he gets home. :-)
    (husbands and wives don't have to accept the start of Shabbos at the same time, for anyone reading who's confused)
    (although I doubt my explanation would help clear up anyone's confusion!)
    Good Shabbos!!!

  2. p.s. My kids got back last week from Calgary, where Shabbos ends after 11 in the early summer weeks. :-o
    (but then you get a whole day on Friday to do whatever you want... even see an evening movie!)

  3. I totally thought you were gonna explain how we can make an early Shabbos in the summer after plag hamincha, 10 and 3/4 hours seasonal hours into the afternoon, but ya' didn't go there. I, too, relish long Shabbos afternoons!

  4. Over the years I've grown to love both kinds of Shabbat - the winter for the early ending that gives me an actual Saturday night, and the summer for the long afternoons to eat and study and sleep and take a walk.