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Shabbat, September 2, 2017

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1522, Rabbi Yosef Caro started writing the Beit Yosef, his famous commentary on the Arba Turim, Yaakov Ben Asher’s comprehensive Halachic code. He started writing this commentary in Adrianople, Turkey, and continued for the next twenty years, during which time he relocated to Safed, Israel. He completed the monumental work on the 11th of Elul. It took another ten years for the writings to be published.

Marriage of the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn ("Rashab", 1860-1920), to Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah Schneerson (1860-1942).

Laws and Customs

During the summer months, from the Shabbat after Passover until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashahah, we study a weekly chapter of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") each Shabbat afternoon; this week we study Chapter Two.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 2

As the last month of the Jewish year, Elul is traditionaly a time of introspection and stocktaking -- a time to review one's deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming "Days of Awe" of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness (see "Today in Jewish History" for Elul 1) it is a most opportune time for teshuvah ("return" to G-d), prayer, charity, and increased Ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew) in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to G-d. Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi likens the month of Elul to a time when "the king is in the field" and, in contrast to when he is in the royal palace, "everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all."

Specific Elul customs include the daily sounding of the shofar (ram's horn) as a call to repentance. 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 to view today's Psalms.

Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33

Elul is also the time to have one's tefillin and mezuzot checked by an accredited scribe to ensure that they are in good condition and fit for use.

Links: More on Elul

Daily Thought

Throughout history, countless tactics and strategies are played in the battle over planet Earth. But at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is called winning. And winning comes at the very end.

With every other round of the game, the soul puts out whatever it’s got. When it comes to the last stretch, neck and neck with the enemy, it‘s got to do better than that. Its very core ignited, it bursts into explosion of power never before imagined.

This is the stubborn power we have today, to finally change the world and transform it into a divine place. Not with our own strength, but with the power of all those before us. Because now, from above, every power is released, the very essence-core lashes out. To win.

Maamor Bati Legani 5710, chapter 11; Beshalach 5741:37; Ki Tavo 5741:58. Torat Menachem 5746 vol. 1, pg. 87.