This week, the island of Samoa is switching time zones, causing it to skip from Thursday directly to Saturday. Out of simple curiosity, what implications might this have on any Jews on the island? Since one cannot "jump" into the middle of Shabbat, does that mean all observant Jews would have to leave the island?

  • there are non any see here and here and here Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 5:26
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    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 15:45
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    This question is now the highest-voted to date.
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    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 3:44
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4 Answers 4


The civil date line doesn't affect the Halachic day with regards to Shabbos.

Where is the location date line is subject to Halachic argument

According to the Chazon Ish, the Halachic dateline hugs the coast of Australia, China and Russia. Anything to the east (Japan, etc) is considered to be on the same day as the United States. Therefore, it's Shabbos in Japan on their Sunday.

Samoa used to have Shabbos on Saturday (like Hawaii). Now it will be pushed off a day (to be like) Japan and have it on Sunday.

According to R' Tukachinsky, the halachic date line is between Hawaii and California. Therefore, Hawaii is on the Japanese side and Shabbos is on their Friday.

Samoa used to have Shabbos on Friday (like Hawaii). Now it will be pushed off a day to Saturday.

There are other opinions that it runs straight through the middle of the Pacific, though there are arguments of exactly where does it run.

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    Then there's also the opinion of R. M.M. Kasher (described here), that there is no date line - each place just follows the direction from which its earliest Shabbos-observant settlers came. In that case, then, its Shabbos would presumably continue to be at the same time as that of the U.S. (i.e., its new Sunday).
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 5:31
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    I don't have a citation readily available, but many American poskim allow Jews to visit Hawaii and keep Fri night / Sat night as shabbos. A minority suggest that Jews should not do melacha d'oraisa from Thurs night to Fri night on the islands of Aloha. Ditto Japan, not doing melacha d'oraisa from Sat night to Sun night.
    – user1095
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 17:43
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    BTW, I heard that when Mir was in Japan during WW2, they kept Shabbos and Yom Kippur for two days (one Halachically and one Lechumra). Lubavitch IIRC, kept Shabbbos on Saturday like the latter two opinions. Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 18:21
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    @Alex Samoa's earliest settlers kept Shabbat like Australia. It was switched to USA in 1892. see staff.science.uu.nl/~gent0113/idl/idl_alaska.htm
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 19:09
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    Nice answer and all... but nobody in Japan keeps Shabbat on Sunday, and nobody in HAwaii keeps Shabbat on Friday.
    – avi
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 19:25

The question of where the Halachic International Dateline is is its own independent question. The decision in Samoa would only matter if we left date-line issues to governmental/secular authorities, which is not the case. The day to keep Shabbos in Samoa would be seven days from the last time it was to be kept, according to which ever opinion we should/do go by.

  • But what if Shabbath has never been kept there (or has not been kept there since whatever year the last Jew to ever dwell/visit there left)? Do we go by that person, or do we go by what Samoa decides for itself? What if, perhaps, all this time it was in the wrong time zone and now it's moving into the correct one (from the perspective of Halachah)?
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 17:36
  • My point was that whatever the halachic process used to determine the date of Shabbos for the "week before", whether in theory or in practice, remains unchanged by an arbitrary change by the the govn. There may be different opinions about which day that is, but seven days later would constitute Shabbos according to which ever opinion.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 4:31

It seems The Star K picked up on the question: How to Keep This Shabbos in Samoa? STAR-K Tells Us How (Samoa & Tokelau To Cross International Date Line)

  • This Shabbath matters, of course, but I think the question was also about long-term implications.
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 5:04
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    The short answer (my summary of this article) is that since "According to almost all opinions, the Halachic Dateline is not determined by what the locals call 'Saturday,'" Shabbat the week of the time change (shabbat B) will start exactly 7 days after the start of the previous shabbat (shabbat A), and shabbat the week after the time change (shabbat C) will start exact exactly 7 days after the start of shabbat B. There's longstanding complication caused by the fact that the Chazon Ish and R' Tukachinsky disagree about what day Shabbat is to begin with, but this new change doesn't affect that.
    – Chanoch
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 14:49
  • There should be mention of the questions of Japan and New Zealand, the cases behind the rulings Chanoch mentions. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 16:56

I think that there is no reason to assume that the change in Samoa would affect the Hebrew date. Since, for example, the fifteenth of Ader is Shabbat all over the world, it should be Shabbat in Samoa also, no matter what day of the week the Samoans call it.

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    How do you know it's still the 15th of Ader?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:00
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    – mbloch
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 8:18
  • This does not give sources or reasons. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 10:21

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