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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1522, Rabbi Yosef Caro started writing the Beit Yosef, his famous commentary on the Arba Turim, Yaakov Ben Asher’s comprehensive Halachic code. He started writing this commentary in Adrianople, Turkey, and continued for the next twenty years, during which time he relocated to Safed, Israel. He completed the monumental work on the 11th of Elul. It took another ten years for the writings to be published.

Marriage of the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn ("Rashab", 1860-1920), to Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah Schneerson (1860-1942).

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 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33

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

Within every love, there is fear: The fear of separation from that which you love.

A child fears separation from her parents, a lover from his beloved, the body fears separation from the soul, and the soul from its Source Above.

So what do you love? Look at your worries and you will know. If you seethe in worry over your debts and financial future, then it is the material world you love—because you believe in the material world and you see it as the source of all good.

If you sit and fret over the comments of others and the glances they throw at you, then it is social acceptance that you love, that you have made into your god.

Cleave to the Source of Life and your heart will have no room for fear of this world.