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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

The Yeshivah "Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch", the first to integrate the "revealed" part of Torah (Talmud and Halachah) with the esoteric teachings of Chassidism in a formal study program, was on this date founded by the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn.

Laws and Customs

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 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45

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

See how beautifully mind and heart complement one another:

The heart is an extremist. Unbridled, it will allow a single emotion to fill its entire space. But the mind finds balance and harmony, even between opposites.

The mind is cold and aloof. To the mind, reality is but a curiosity. But the heart lives in that reality, moved by its every nuance.

The mind must fit everything in neat boxes. And so, it can never grasp truth. The heart, when still and quiet, can hear silence, know the unknowable and grasp the infinite.

When the heart listens to the vision of the mind, it too learns to carry a counterpoint of voices, even the voices of other hearts. When the mind listens to the depths of the heart, it can change the world.