“Vesein Tal Umatar” Begins in Chutz La’aretz Tonight – And Why a Day Late

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At Maariv tonight, December 5th, in chutz la’aretz, we began to say Vesein Tal Umatar during Shemonah Esrei in the bracha of Boreich Aleinu. Residents of Eretz Yisroel already began saying Vesein Tal Umatar on the 7th of Cheshvan.

If one became aware after completing the bracha of Mevareich Hashanim that one omitted Vesein Tal Umatar, one should wait to insert it right before “Ki atah shomeiah” in Shema Koleinu.

If one has already completed the bracha of Shomeiah Tefillah, one may insert Vesein Tal Umatar before saying Retzei. If one has already started Retzei, one must return to the bracha of Boreich Aleinu, which is the proper place for Vesein Tal Umatar. If one already completed the Shemonah Esrei and stepped backward, one must repeat the entire Shemonah Esrei (Shulchan Aruch with Mishna Berurah 117:5. See also Bi’ur Halacha).

(It is advisable to repeat 101 times [and at the very least 90 times] “Ve’es kol minei sevu’asah letovah vesein tal umatar” so as to make the inclusion of Vesein Tal Umatar habitual and fluent, thus eliminating any future doubt as to whether one included Vesein Tal Umatar in Shemonah Esrei or not.

Feel free to print this out and hang it up or distribute it in shuls and yeshivos.

Now some background explanation:

It is well known that in chutz la’aretz, we usually begin vesein tal umatar livracha at Maariv of December 4th. This year, as mentioned, we do not begin saying it until Maariv of December 5th, tonight. Why is this year different?

We share the following from Rabbi Dovid Heber, who offered this background information in his weekly column, Calendar Calculations, in Yated Ne’eman:

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 117:1), based on the Gemara in Maseches Taanis (10a), says that, in chutz la’aretz, we begin reciting vesein tal umatar on the 60th day of tekufas Tishrei. “Tekufos” are seasons. For vesein tal umatar, we use the calculation of the Amora Shmuel, who says that the solar year is 365 days and 6 hours long. Each season is one quarter of that or 91 days and 7.5 hours.

This number is also very close to the astronomical calculation used to set up the secular calendar. (The difference is about 11 minutes. The explanation and ramifications of this difference are beyond the scope of this article.)

Since the secular year repeats itself at the same interval as tekufos, it stands to reason that tekufos will fall out on the same secular date each year (or perhaps one day different).

In this century, tekufas Tishrei always occurs on October 7th. If we count October 7th as Day #1, then December 5th is Day #60. [There are 25 remaining days in October and 30 in November, for a total of 55 days. Thus, the 5th day of December is Day #60.] The halachic day of December 5th begins the night before. Therefore, usually (in this century), vesein tal umatar begins December 4th at Maariv, which is the beginning of Day #60.

Every four years, including this year, the tekufah of Tishrei occurs at 9 p.m. on October 7th, which is halachically the next day. For example, this year it occurred on Friday night, leil Yom Kippur, at 9 p.m., October 7th. Halachically, this was already the next day (Yom Kippur, October 8th). So, the 60th day is Tuesday, 10 Kislev, December 6th. Halachically, this day begins the night before. Therefore, we begin vesein tal umatar on Monday night, December 5th.

The “fourth year” is the secular year preceding a secular leap year. This includes 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023, etc. During these years, vesein tal umatar begins on December 5th at Maariv. In other years, the tekufah occurs at some time before sunset on October 7th – either at 3 a.m., 9 a.m., or 3 p.m. – so, as explained above, the 60th day is December 5th and vesein tal umatar begins at Maariv of December 4th (unless, of course, it is Friday night).

{Shmiel Gellman-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Now, that science has revealed to us that below the Equator the climate is just the opposite, should the southern Yidden change their Minhag?

    Because right now they are asking for rain in Their Summer.

    And, they are not following E”Y either. They are following Babolonia. Nisht A’her and nisht A’hin.

  2. I heard a cute Vrt from an elder Yid today, he said that he remembers as a child hearing from his father who said that when HE ws a child (this is about 150 years ago!) in Lemberg, Gaitziya, Poland, that they knew to say that when in America there is an election year ofr President, the December before that we stat V’sein Tal U’matar on the 6th vs the 5th! That’s because the election year comes out on a leap year EVERY single time!

  3. This is discussed in detail in the Rishonim & Achronim in Mesechta Taanis! They always knew about Africa below the equator. There is also a T’shuva written by Rav Stern from Australlia. But they follow Takanas Chaza’l & says VTU’M just like us!

  4. Rabbi Landau (comment 4):
    Interesting story. The only problem is that if we go back into the 1800’s, the dates were actually one day earlier (ie Maariv Dec. 3rd in regular years and Maariv Dec. 4th in years before a US election). In the Gregorian calendar, century years that are not divisible by 400 are not leap years. So 1900 was not a leap year (though it was an election year) and then the Tal u’Matar dates moved one day later. 2000 was a leap year (div. by 400), so Maariv Dec. 4th/5th are preserved until 2100.
    I appreciated the story, though.

  5. To #5

    The Rishonim (The Rosh and others) only discuss a scenario where a certain city will have a different climate because of it’s height or valley. They knew of Africa, but not that the climate is just the opposite than the north.
    The Pirkeh D’reb Eliezer writes that the changes of seasons happens because the sun rotates in a way, that the half that is covered with ice faces us in the winter.


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