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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Hashanah Day 2
Jewish History

Today marks the first Shabbat, when G‑d rested after creating the world for six days:

G‑d completed on the seventh day His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. G‑d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, for then He rested from all His work that G‑d created to do (Genesis 2:2–3).

To commemorate this day, we are instructed to keep the day of Shabbat holy and rest from all work:

Remember the day of Shabbat to sanctify it. For six days you shall work and perform all your labor, but the seventh day is Shabbat to the L‑rd your G‑d; you shall not perform any labor…For [in] six days the L‑rd made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is within them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the L‑rd blessed the day of Shabbat and sanctified it (Exodus 20:8–11).

Link: Shabbat: An Island in Time

Laws and Customs

When lighting candles and making kiddush on the eve of the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah, a "new fruit" (i.e., one that has not yet been eaten this season) is placed on the table; the fruit is then eaten after kiddush. This is to enable us to make the Shehecheyanu blessing praising G-d for "granting us life, sustaining us, and bringing us to this season" (because the two days of Rosh Hashanah are regarded as "one long day", the Shehecheyanu blessing, recited on the festivals by the women when lighting the candles and by the men in kiddush, requires an additional source of rejoicing).

When the 1st day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, the kiddush for the eve of the second day includes these five elements, in order: blessing on the wine, blessing on the sanctity ("kiddush") of the day, blessing on fire (as we do each week after Shabbat ends), Havadalah ("separation" blessing marking the close of the Shabbat), and the Shehecheyanu blessing (see above). ("Yaknahaz" is an acronym for the Hebrew words for "Wine, Day, Candle, Separation, Season").

In the course of the morning and musaf service, the shofar (ram's horn) is sounded one hundred times, in various combinations of tekiah (a long blast), shevarim (a trio of broken sobs) and teruah (a staccato of short notes), in fulfillment of the primary mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah. The shofar serves to trumpet our coronation of G-d as King of the Universe, as a call to repentance, and to evoke the memory of the Binding ofIsaac.

(Because the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat this year, the shofar is sounded on the 2nd day only.)

Link: The Cry of the Shofar: Two Parables

In the afternoon, the Tashlich prayer service, in which we ask G-d to "cast away our sins in the depths of the sea", is recited at a body of water (sea, river, lake, pond, etc.) containing fish. (Tashlich is postponed this year to the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah because of Shabbat.)

The 10-day period beginning on Rosh Hashahnah 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 91
Chapter 92
Chapter 93

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

Daily Thought

Time is not a train of cars hitched one to another.

A year is not dragged along by the year preceding. The present is not hitched tightly to the past. The future is not enslaved to the present.

Rather, every year arrives fresh from its Creator, a year that never was before and could never have been known before its arrival.

That is why we call Rosh Hashanah “the birth of the world” in our prayers. The past has returned to its place, never to return. With the blowing of the shofar, the entirety of Creation is renewed.

From this point on, even the past exists only by virtue of the present.