1

The Ten Days of Repentance, as characterized by their name, are designated for repentance. During this time everyone is obligated to repent wholeheartedly before God, blessed is His Name, before the coming of the great and awesome day, of Yom Kippur, as it is said, "Before God you will be cleansed" (Leviticus 16:30). It is also said, "Seek God when He may be found", (Isaiah 55:6) and our Rabbis of blessed memory said, that this refers to the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Therefore, during these days you must examine your conduct and repent of your bad deeds. Sins about which you are in doubt require greater repentance than transgressions of which you are certain, for a person is more regretful when he knows that he committed a sin, than when he is uncertain of it. Therefore, the guilt offering brought in case of doubtful sin must be of greater value than a regular sin offering. During these days You should study more Torah, perform more mitzvohs, give more charity, and spend less time on your business. It was written by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, of blessed memory, that you should consider these days as if they were Chol Hamoed, by performing only necessary work. Above all, you must set right the wrongs you committed against your fellow man, for which there is no atonement unless you compensate him for any stolen articles or withheld funds1 in your possession, and patch things up and placate him so that he will forgive you.

א

עֲשֶׂרֶת יְמֵי תְשׁוּבָה, שְׁמָם מוֹרֶה עֲלֵיהֶם, שֶׁהֵם מְיֻחָדִים לִתְשׁוּבָה. וְכָל אָדָם מְחֻיָב אָז לָשׁוּב בִּתְשׁוּבָה שְׁלֵמָה לִפְנֵי ה', יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ, קֹדֶם בּוֹא הַיוֹם הַגָּדוֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא יוֹם הַכִּפּוֹרִים, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר לִפְנֵי ה' תִּטְהָרוּ, וְנֶאֱמַר דִּרְשׁוּ ה' בְּהִמָּצְאוֹ. וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ, זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, אֵלוּ עֲשָׂרָה יָמִים שֶׁבֵּין רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים. לָכֵן צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם בַּיָמִּים הָאֵלּוּ לְפַשְׁפֵּשׁ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו וְלָשׁוּב מִמַּעֲשָׂיו הָרָעִים. וּסְפֵק עֲבֵרָה צָרִיךְ יוֹתֵר תְּשׁוּבָה מֵעֲבֵרָה וַדָּאִית, כִּי יוֹתֵר מִתְחָרֵט הָאָדָם כְּשֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁעָשָׂה עֲבֵרָה מֵאִם אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ. וְלָכֵן קָרְבַּן אָשָׁם תָּלוּי צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת יוֹתֵר בְּיֹקֶר מִקָּרְבַּן חַטָּאת. וְיִרְבֶּה בַּתּוֹרָה וּבְמִצְוֹת וּבִצְדָקָה, וִימַעֵט בַּעֲסָקָיו. וְכָתַב הרמ"ק, זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁיִהְיוּ יָמִים אֵלוּ כְּמוֹ חֹל הַמוֹעֵד, שֶלֹּא יַעֲשֶׂה בָהֶם אֶלָּא מְלָאכָה הֶכְרֵחִית. וּבְיוֹתֵר צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְתַקֵּן דְּבָרִים שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵין חֲבֵרוֹ, אֲשֶׁר עַלֵיהֶם אֵין כַּפָּרָה עַד שֶׁיַחֲזִיר אֶת הַגָזֵל וְאֶת הָעשֶׁק, וִיפַיְּסוֹ שֶׁיִמְחוֹל לוֹ.

2

It is proper to observe stringencies during these days that you do not observe the rest of the year, for we also ask of God, blessed is His Name, that He deal with us with exceptional kindness. For example, if during the rest of the year, you eat bread from a non-Jewish bakery, during these days you should eat only bread baked by a Jew; and you should observe similar stringencies.

ב

רָאוּי לְאָדָם שֶׁיִתְנַהֵג בַּיָמִים הָאֵלּוּ גַּם בְּחֻמְרוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹהֵג בָּהֶם כָּל הַשָּׁנָה, כִּי גַם אָנוּ מְבַקְשִׁים מֵאֵת ה', יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ, שֶיִתְנַהֵג עִמָּנוּ בַּחֲסִדוּת. וְהָאוֹכֵל כָּל הַשָּׁנָה פַּת פַּלְטֵר, לֹא יֹאכַל בַּיָמִים הָאֵלּו כִּי אִם פַּת יִשְֹרָאֵל, וְכַדּוֹמֶה לָזֶה (סִימָן תרג ובחיי"א).

3

When reciting Birkas Hamazon, there are some who have the custom of saying Harachaman hu yechadeish [the Compassionate One, may He renew] etc. as we do on Rosh Hashanah.

ג

בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, יֵשׁ נוֹהֲגִין לוֹמַר הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְחַדֵּשׁ וְכוּ', כְּמוֹ בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה.

4

It is customary not to get married during these days.

ד

נוֹהֲגִין שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת נִשׂוּאִין בַּיָמִים הָאֵלּו (מטה אפרים)

5

On Shabbos Shuvah [the Shabbos during the Ten Days of Repentance] an eminent person should be called up for maftir.2

ה

בְּשַׁבָּת שׁוּבָה, יֵשׁ לִקְרוֹת לַמַּפְטִיר, אָדָם חָשׁוּב (תרב).

6

Some people have the custom not to sanctify the moon before the conclusion of Yom Kippur, for then everybody is joyful, whereas before Yom Kippur they are apprehensive about the outcome of their judgment Others maintain that, on the contrary, it is better to sanctify the moon before Yom Kippur in order to add to our merits with this mitzvah. It all depends on the prevailing custom. In a region where esrogim, lulavim and hadassim are for sale, it is the custom of pious men to purchase them ahead of time, so that during these days this precious mitzvah may be added to their merits.

ו

יֵשׁ נוֹהֲגִין שֶׁאֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין אֶת הַלְּבָנָה עַד מוֹצָאֵי יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים, שֶׁאָז שְׂמֵחִים, וּמִקֹּדֶם הָיוּ בִּדְאָגָה. וְיֵש אוֹמְרִים, דְּאַדְרַבָּה, טוֹב לְקַדְּשָׁהּ קֹדֶם, כְּדֵי לְהוֹסִיף בִּזְכֻיוֹת. וְהַכֹּל לְפִי הַזְמָן (תכו תרב). בִּמְקוֹם שֶׁמָּצוּי לִקְנוֹת אֶתְרוֹגִים, לוּלָבִין וַהֲדַסִּים, נוֹהֲגִין אַנְֹשֵי מַעֲשֶֹה לִהְיוֹת זְרִיזִין מַקְדִּימים לִקְנוֹת בַּיָמִים הָאֵלּוּ, כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּצְטָרֵף גַּם הַמִּצְוָה הַיְקָרָה הַזֹּאת לִזְכֻיּוֹתֵינוּ (מטה אפרים).