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Many of us are familiar with Chazal’s account of how Bnei Ephraim left Mitzrayim prematurely, only to be massacred in the desert. When exactly did they leave? And was there yet a third yetziyas Mitzrayim?
During the spring and summer months, many families choose to make what is known as an “early Shabbos,” especially in chutz l’Aretz, due to the late arrival of Shabbos. The most common practice is to daven Minchah and Maariv at shul on Friday afternoon, then return home to make Kiddush and begin the meal even before night arrives. In the following pages, we touch upon some of the halachic considerations of which one must be aware when following this widespread practice.
The definition of a “month” is not nearly as simple as it seems. After all, April, the month in which Pesach falls out this year, is not the same as Nisan, the month in which Pesach occurs every year. Nisan is a chodesh, a lunar month, while April is an ordinary month and not connected to the phases of the moon. Therein lies the difference between the Torah’s concept of a chodesh and the secular definition of a month: a chodesh is closely (although not exactly) associated with the phases of the moon.