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Shabbat, October 8, 2016

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Tishrei 6 is the yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson (1879-1964), mother of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Link: A biography of Rebbetzin Chana

Laws and Customs

The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah, "Shabbat of Return." The name derives from the Haftarah (reading from the prophets) for this Shabbat, which opens with the words (Hosea 14:2), "Return O Israel unto the L-rd your G-d..." Occurring in the "Ten Days of Repentance" (see "Laws & Customs" for Tishrei 3), it is a most auspicious time to rectify the failings and missed opportunities of the past and positively influence the coming year.

The master Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria ("Ari") taught that the seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (which will always include one Sunday, one Monday, etc.) correspond to the seven days of the week. The Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur includes within itself all Sundays of the year; the Monday embodies all Mondays, and so on. Shabbat Shuvah is thus the archetypal Shabbat -- the juncture in time at which we are empowered to influence every Shabbat of our year.

The 10-day period beginning on Rosh Hashanah and ending on Yom Kippur is known as the "Ten Days of Repentance"; this is the period, say the sages, of which the prophet speaks when he proclaims (Isaiah 55:6) "Seek G-d when He is to be found; call on Him when He is near." Psalm 130, Avinu Malkeinu and other special inserts and additions are included in our daily prayers during these days.

The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms). Click below for today's three Psalms.

Chapter 103 Chapter 104 Chapter 105

Links: About the Ten Days of teshuvah; Voicemail; more on teshuvah

Daily Thought

If I wished to find all that is real and true at its very core, I would not find it in the ecstasy of the prayer of the devoted, nor in the epiphanies of the enlightened.

I would not find it in the deeds of the righteous, nor in the love and kindness of those who live in harmony.

There I would find a blinding light, an infinite light—but I would not find G‑d Himself.

If I wished to find G‑d as He is at His essence, beyond all light and darkness, beyond the infinite and the boundless,
I would come to the place of those who struggle daily to escape their muck and mire,
those who labor to pierce the wall of their prison so that even a glimmer of light could break through,
and even as they fail, try again and again.

For this labor all light was created. To the aid of this struggle G‑d Himself descends.

When those prison walls are pierced, the Creator exclaims, “It was worth it, all this creation, it was worth it for this alone!”

Maamar Ani L’dodi 5726.