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Thursday, September 9, 2021

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.

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

Daily Thought

How to unmask a blessing in disguise:

Stare it in the face and say, “I know you are not just a lousy day or bad luck. I know you are a good friend—even if for the life of me I cannot determine how. I know there is only one Source of All Things, and nothing can convince me that evil descends from Above. Evil descends from the constraints of my perception. You are no more than a blessing in disguise.”

This blessing, if truly a great one, will not surrender its cover easily. You will need a composure that demonstrates you meant every word you said. You will need to hold your ground like a mountain against the sea. You will need to surprise yourself with your own resolve.

And then you can turn over a world. A world that once distorted every blessing that squeezed through its gates will now open those gates wide. And the blessings that have already entered will sigh a breath of relief as one by one they discard their scary costumes.