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Shabbat, September 23, 2017

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Rebbetzin Devorah Leah, daughter of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi and mother of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (the "Tzemach Tzedek"), passed away on this date just three days after her young son's third birthday. Click here to read more about this.

Laws and Customs

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." It is thus a most auspicious time to rectify the failings and missed opportunities of the past and positively influence the coming year. Psalm 130 and other special inserts and additions are included in our daily prayers during these days.

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..." According to master Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria ("Ari"), 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.

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

Daily Thought

We are limited by the very fact that we have human form. There is no freedom in following our whim, or even our most reasoned decisions. As a prisoner cannot undo his own shackles, so we remain enslaved to our own limited selves.

And so Moses was told, “When you take the people out from Egypt, you shall all serve the Infinite G‑d on this mountain.”

The Infinite G-d is the only one who is not compelled by any bounds. What makes us free? Simple deeds done each day, as agents of the One who is absolutely free.

Tanya, Chapter 47.