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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

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.

Chapter 94</ br> Chapter 95 </ br> Chapter 96

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

Daily Thought

Everything has its limits, even darkness.

In our eyes, darkness is the background, the default state, and any light and beauty plays upon it only as a visitor, an intruder upon the emptiness, eventually to fade back into the darkness by fault of entropy.

But the true background of being is pure light. Not the temporal light of the creation itself, but the light of its Creator that cannot be extinguished.

Even within each thing that exists now, its true being is that light. For all of time, and space, and the consciousness that fills it, all began with infinite light. It is the essence of every living being, of every subatomic particle in every dimension, of every thought in every world. And so each thing, at its absolute essence, desires to return to light.

The light of each thing will be uncovered and the darkness will have no chance, no place to hide. We will look back and it will never have been.

As the Midrash says,
“When the world was made, a limit was set
how long it will function in dimness.”

The universe is in exile. Its darkness is approaching its end.

מאמר קץ שם לחושך תשכ“ד