In English the term twilight can be used for either the day or night. In Halacha, I believe, Bein Hashemashot is only for the night. I want to find a word that describes specifically the morning's twilight and thought you might have one.

  • 2
    I've never heard a name for it, and I think there's a simple reason for that: when something happens during that period in the evening (birth, death, wedding, etc.) it raises a real halachic concern about what day the event happened (ramifications include Brit Milah, Shloshim, Sheva Berachot respectively). If something happens during that time in the morning, it's very clear on what day it happened. While the times that bookend the period are themselves important for both day and night, period itself is only important in the evening and not in the morning.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 14:04
  • 2
    Bein Hashemashot is not a name for astronomical twilight (the time from sundown until there is no light left). It is a name for a specific ~20 minute period therein immediately preceding the beginning of halachic night as marked by the appearance of three stars. The rest of the evening twilight is day or night but not Bein Hashemashot. The Hebrew word for twilight itself is "נשף neshef", though probably in various early dialects of hebrew "boker" and "erev" were used directly.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 14:29
  • Rambam (Sanctification of the New Month 3:15) uses the term נֶּשֶׁף neshef, as Double AA commented. In Bereishis 32:25 the term עֲל֥וֹת הַשָּֽׁחַר is used (Alot Hashachar) which is the time when some of the light of the sun begins to be noticeable on the eastern horizon (chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/134527/jewish/…).
    – Shmuel
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 15:25
  • Also, in Job 3:9 the word for twilight is נֶּשֶׁף neshef. See Rashi there.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 15:38
  • daat.ac.il/daat/kitveyet/beyt/16.doc
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


The Talmud in Tractate Berachos page 3b has a discussion about the word "Neshef" as it appears in various verses in Tanach and how it relates to King David's schedule of learning and praying in the middle of the night until morning time.

The Talmud brings proofs that Neshef should mean the time of first morning or it seems to mean the time of first night.

Finally the Talmud concludes as follows:

אֶלָּא אָמַר רָבָא: תְּרֵי נִשְׁפֵי הָווּ — נְשַׁף לֵילְיָא וְאָתֵי יְמָמָא, נְשַׁף יְמָמָא וְאָתֵי לֵילְיָא." Rather, Rava said: There are two times referred to as Neshef, and the word can refer to either evening or morning. Neshef must be understood in accordance with its Aramaic root: The night moves past [neshaf ] and the day arrives, and the day moves past [neshaf ] and the night arrives."

(Translation - Sefaria)

Rashi explains the Gemara to mean that the word "Neshef" means jumping away and leaving. It applies to the time just before the night when the day is passing away, and it also applies to the time right before the morning when the previous night is passing away.

Therefore the word "Neshef" is used for a "twilight" of both the morning and evening; or as a word which is used for describing the two times of day when morning and evening change from one to another.

(Thanks to those in the comments who mentioned "Neshef" and reminded me of this Gemara.)

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