Nordkapp - the end of the world

posted 4 Jul 2017, 18:50 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin   [ updated 6 Jul 2017, 07:50 ]

Where in the world is Rabbi Eli


Nordkapp - the end of the world

Ever since my time spent in Siberia over 20 years ago, I've been in love with the North. So much so that more than 2 years in a row without visiting the High Arctic can cause me nearly physical discomfort.

Luckily, those are the areas fairly popular with our clients. This particular group started off (after leaving Tel Aviv, that is) from Ivalo, about 300 km north of the Arctic Circle.

Over the course of two weeks, we take them from the Lappish territory to the very shores of the generous Barents Sea, to the end-of-the-worldish cliffs on the northern edge of Europe, before heading south to the charms of the Lofoten islands.

Our kosher kitchen is not the only thing that's a constant sight for the public through the trip. Another is the sun.
No one in our little party of 40 will see the sun set until their return down south. The sun stays clear of the horizon, it remains in the north for a while before beginning its motion to provide the morning eastern light.

Is there a consensus among Rabbis as to when are the times of prayer corresponding to those whimsical celestial movements? - Hardly ever!

Some opine that the times should be calculated corresponding to the nearest settlements where the sun "does do It"? Other sages hold that the hours should be calculated in accordance with the times of prayer (and Shabbat) in the Holy Land. Others yet ruled that the times should be set by the nearest city, town or settlement where there is no polar day.

Of course, nowadays the overall public taste for travel, including kosher public, trumps the exoticism of the situation. I remember the times when an innocent inquiry re Arctic halacha could lead to a witty short dialogue like:

Yours truly: Dad, what is a good Jewish boy to do in Svalbard?
Dad: Yes indeed. What is a good Jewish boy doing in Svalbard?

This particular group received halacha from their Rabbi before the trip. Our Shabbat schedule looks as follows:
22:30 - Kabbalat Shabbat
23:15 - Shabbos meal begins
00:48 - stepping out to enjoy the midnight sun in its nadir point, hanging bright and low over the northern landscape
01:15 - Shacharit (the morning service)
11:00 - wake-up and the morning meal

The unusual timeline guarantees one more thing our travelers will remember about their journey.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of national pride at the edge of Europe (this globe up here is Nordkapp, the point first defined as the northernmost point of the continent in 1553).


Shabbat Shalom,
Stay warm, and keep an eye on the clock.