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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.

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

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

Daily Thought

“Today” (appearing 336 times in Moses’ words in Deuteronomy)

And what happens if I keep these mitzvahs because of yesterday? Because they are the traditions of my forefathers, and therefore I cherish them?

Or if I keep these mitzvahs because of tomorrow—so that I will achieve spiritual heights, arrive after this life in a lofty Garden of Eden, revisit this world renewed as the World To Come?

Then I am a blind fool, a willing captive of a passing dream. A sheep that surrenders in silence as they shear its wool.

In a mitzvah right now, I hold the ultimate experience of truth, of life, of G‑d Himself in my hands—and I look to the past or to the future, to what I can get out of this?!

Maamar Tzion Bamishpat 5736.