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15-21 Elul 5775
August 30-5 September '15

Attributes of the month of Elul: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: KEH KEH VAV YOD, contained in the final Hebrew letters of the words of the verse ootzedakaH tihyeH lanOO kI "and it shall be righteousness to us when..." (Deut 6:25). The month's corresponding letter is: YOD; Human attribute: ACTION; Body Part: LEFT HAND ; Tribe: GAD; Constellation: BETULAH (Virgo, the Maiden).

Tuesday night-Wednesday 1-2 September / 18 Elul
Today is the anniversary of the birthday of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), founder of Chassidism, and it was also the date on which he first revealed himself. Likewise it is the anniversary of the birthday of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), founder of the Chabad Lubavitch chassidic movement. Many chassidim customarily hold festive communal meals to encourage and strengthen each other in following the chassidic pathway.
Today is also the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yehuda Loewe, the "Maharal" of Prague (1525-1609), outstanding scholar, mystic and philosopher and legendary creator of the Golem.

As the Day of Judgment draws closer, we should rectify whatever we can -- such as searching our shelves and closets for any borrowed items (e.g. books etc.) that we need to return to their owners.

Thursday night-Friday 3-4 September / 20 Elul
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Avraham ben Naftali Hertz Shternhertz "Kochav Lev" (d. 1955), grandson of Rabbi Nosson of Breslov and leading Breslover elder in Uman and Jerusalem, Israel.
Today is also the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Cahanman (1886-1969), the Ponevitcher Rav and founder of the prestigious Ponevitch Yeshiva, Bnay Brak, Israel, and of Rabbi Mosheh Aryeh Freund (d. 1996), Chief Rabbi of the Eda Charedis of Jerusalem. Both were holocaust survivors who were instrumental in rebuilding Torah institutions after the war. Today is also the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1872-1970), outstanding Tzaddik, Mussar teacher and author of Michtav MiEliyahu.

Friday night-Saturday 4-5 September / 21 Elul
Shabbat Parshat KI TAVO
Torah Reading: KI TAVO, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8.
Haftara: Isaiah 60:1-22.

Saturday night-Sunday 5-6 September / 22 Elul
First day of Selichot (Ashkenazim)

Tonight the Ashkenazi communities begin to rise before the dawn every weekday until the eve of Yom Kippur (22 September) for Selichot (penitential prayers), thereby joining their Sephardi brethren, who began rising for Selichot immediately after Rosh Chodesh Elul. Some communities have the practice of reciting the Selichot on Saturday night starting about an hour before midnight, i.e. near the beginning of the middle "watch" of the night. Those who did not rise for Selichot at night or before dawn may recite them after daybreak prior to the daily Shacharit morning prayer.
"A few supplications with kavanah (proper intention) are better than many without" (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, 1:4). Many people have the custom of fasting on the first day of the Selichot. Those who are unable to fast from food may choose to observe a "fast from speaking", Ta'anit Dibbur.

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Azamra means "I will sing" (Psalms 146:2)

"And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in ourselves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life!"

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov