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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

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).

As we did yesterday on the 1st day of Rosh Hashanah, we again sound the shofar (ram's horn) 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 we already made the "Shehecheyanu" blessing on yesterday's shofar blowing, the one sounding the shofar should wear a new garment (see Shehacheyanu above)

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

“These words that I command you today should be upon your heart.” (Deut. 6:6.)

“Every day, the words of the Torah must be new to you.” (Sifri, Rashi.)

Tradition is not life. Tradition preserves life. But it does not give life.

Goals are not life. Goals inspire life. But they are not life.

Life is here in this moment now. To be alive, every moment must be a moment that never happened before.

Which means that Torah must not be about tradition. It cannot be grounded on a memory of the past. Those are important, truly vital. But a Torah life cannot be built upon them.

Real life, Torah life, is about who you are now, where the core of your soul lies at this very moment.

For if it is not about the moment now, then it is not your life. And if it is not your life, then what is?

Maamar Tziyon BeMishpat 5736.