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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Fast of Gedaliah
Jewish History

Tishrei 3rd is a fast day mourning the assassination of the Jewish royal Gedaliah ben Achikam, governor of the Land of Israel for a short period following the destruction of the First Temple. Gedaliah's killing spelled the end of the small remnant of a Jewish community that remained in the Holy Land after the destruction. They soon fled to Egypt. (According to many opinions, the assassination of Gedaliah actually occurred on Rosh Hashanah, but the commemoration of the event is postponed to the day after the festival).

Link: About Gedaliah

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

Mourning the killing of Gedaliah (see "Today in Jewish History"), we abstain from food and drink from dawn to nightfall; selichot prayers are included in the morning prayer.

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 94</ br> Chapter 95 </ br> Chapter 96

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

Daily Thought

The soul emerges from her intimate bond with G-d and invests herself within a human form, wrapped up in the transient concerns and pain of the flesh. Yet the imprint of that bond is never erased.

It is that bond that pulls her incessantly to return, like a magnet pulled towards its lost other half. All the searching of the human soul is an outward expression of this dynamic, this thirst to return.

Yet, as innate as this yearning may be, it must nevertheless be awakened. To thirst for closeness, the soul must first realize she is distant.

That is why return in all its strength and passion is found in the soul which has wandered far from her true self—and then awakened to recognize she is lost.

There is great bounty to be found in this journey. For the soul is G‑d’s fishing net. In her desperation to reunite with Him, she finds G‑d in every corner of His world. And so, these too are pulled in.

And the deeper the descent, the greater the treasure.