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Thursday, 4 Tishrei, 5780

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

R. Yoel Baal Shem was a saintly rabbi and miracle worker who led the Society of Hidden Tzaddikim (righteous men) after the passing of its leader, R. Eliyahu Baal Shem. He was succeeded by R. Adam Baal Shem, who was in turn succeeded by R. Israel Baal Shem Tov.

Link: What Does Baal Shem Tov Mean?

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." 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 97 Chapter 98 Chapter 99

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

Daily Thought

Every soul begins its journey as pure, lucid light. But once she enters this world, she may fall.

Even had the soul remained pure, the descent would still have been worthwhile. All the more so now that she has fallen.

True, she was meant to confine herself to the permissible; she would have enlightened that realm of the world, healed it and carried it upward.

But now that she has fallen, let her return to her true, inner self, and in doing so she will transform to light that which a pure soul would never have touched.