The Sabbath day ends, not at sundown when the sun sets, but at nightfall when the stars come out. Nightfall begins when at least three stars are visible in the heavens. Calculations have, however, long replaced the visual method of determining the onset of nightfall. The time between sundown (shkiat hahama) and nightfall (tset hakokhavim) is traditionally neither day nor night. In Hebrew it is called„between the suns” (bayn hashmashot). Since its status is doubtful, it is automatically attached to the Sabbath, so that there shall be no question of Sabbath violation. The bayn hashmashot period of Friday evening is also attached to the Sabbath for the same reason. (Donin 1972: 85)
Sabbath lasts longer than any other day of the week, and it makes the preceding Friday and the following Sunday a little shorter than the other days. This is so because Halakah rules that the bordering „בֵּין הַשְמָשוֹת”, „bayn hashmashot”, the time „between the suns”, with its doubtful status, belongs to this weekly „Island in Time” (Donin 1972: 61). With this ruling Halakah aspires to ensure the sanctification of the whole Sabbath. What, if Jesus' notion, that „Sabbath was made for man, not man for Sabbath”, allows viewing Messianic Jews as „bayn hashmashot”? What if one applied this ruling also to Jews of a perceived or real doubtful status, to include them into the „lonely river in the midst of mankind... the Jewish people” (Donin 1982: 10)? What if Rabbi Nachman was right when he „thought that it was a mistake to insist that everybody follow the same way in serving the king” (Weiner 1961: 143)?
What does it mean when a person wants another to follow only his way[?] ... Not so much that he believes his way to be the only way, but he simply wants to make nothing of the other person (idem).
Zvi Yehudah Kook, son of the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine, once showed Rabbi Herbert Weiner a letter. It was of the hand of the Hasidic rebe, Mendel of Vitebsk, who was a founder of the old Yishuv in the early nineteenth century:
It is obvious and crystal clear to me, ... that the essential reason for our people's lowered condition is the disrespect shown by those who uphold Torah toward those who abandon it. It is the person who mocks the one who leaves the Torah, and not the latter, who withdraws himself from the community of Israel and Divine Grace.”... Have they not, asks Zvi Yehuda, forgotten the essentials of their faith - the simple commandment to love the people of Israel, to love one's fellow man? They have forgotten how to look upon what goes on in the land „from the roots on high”. From this perspective, claims Zvi Yehudah, Ben Gurion and Amram Blau are not as separated from each other as each may think. (Weiner 1961: 157-158)
Wenn die Kirche christlicher wäre, wenn die Christen mehr erfüllten, wenn sie nicht mit sich selbst rechnen müßten... Wenn das Judentum wieder Israel würde, wenn aus der Larve das heilige Antlitz hervorträte, dann gäbe es, erwidere ich, wohl die Scheidung unabgeschwächt, aber keine Schärfere Auseinandersetzung zwischen uns und der Kirche, vielmehr etwas ganz anderes, das heute noch unaussprechbar ist. (M. Buber, Stuttgart 1933, in: Schoeps 1970: 228)
If the church would be more Christian, if the Christians would more fulfill, if they would not have to reckon with themselves ... If Judaism would be Israel again, if from the larva the Holy Face would emerge, then there would be, I reply, still the divorce unattenuated, but no sharper confrontation between us and the Church, rather something completely different, that today is yet unpronounceable. (M. Buber, Stuttgart 1933, in: Schoeps 1970: 228. English ed., May 14, 2014)
The moment „between the suns” is the Hebrew term for twilight. It is the moment which the Hebrew poet and mystic associates with the mysteries of life and the deepest secrets of creation, „the tong that made the tongs.” Could it be that this moment of in-betweenness is so precious because it is so fleeting?” (Weiner 1961: v).