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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

The Yeshivah "Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch", the first to integrate the "revealed" part of Torah (Talmud and Halachah) with the esoteric teachings of Chassidism in a formal study program, was on this date founded by the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn.

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 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45

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

The mind of a woman and the mind of a man are two distinct minds at their very core. And only with both can there be a world.

It began when G‑d decided to create a world. In doing so, He took two perspectives. He saw the world from beyond, as its Creator. And He saw the world from within, as the energy of life.

From that first perspective originates the mind of man; from the second, the mind of woman.

That is why the man has the power to conquer and subdue, but he does not have the woman’s sense of the other.

That is why the woman feels the other. She does not conquer, she nurtures. But her light is tightly constrained.

As they bond together, the man unleashes the woman’s light, and the woman teaches the man to feel the other. In that union shines the very essence of all that is holy and divine.

Sefer ha-Likkutim (Ari), Shemot; Sefer ha-Maamarim 5652, p. 118.