This week at Azamra

Torah Calendar

26 Elul 5777-4 Tishri 5778
17-24 September '17

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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).

Saturday night-Sunday 16-17 September / 26 Elul
First day of Selichot (Ashkenazim)

Today the Ashkenazi communities begin to rise every weekday before the dawn until the eve of Yom Kippur for Selichot (penitential prayers), thereby joining our Sephardi brethren, who began rising for daily 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 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.

Monday night-Tuesday 18-19 September / 28 Elul

Anniversary of the death of King Saul and his three sons at the battle of Mt Gilboa.

Tuesday night-Wednesday 19-20 September / 29 Elul
Eve of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to rise in the small hours of the night for the lengthy pre-dawn Selichot, known as Brit Yitzhak ("the Covenant of Isaac"), the last service of supplicatory prayers before the Day of Judgment. At the conclusion of the morning service, the Shofar is not blown. It is customary to formally annul any vows one may have made: this is done before a Beit Din of three adult males (not necessarily rabbis) according to the formula printed in the Selichot and Rosh Hashanah Machzor. Many fast today until shortly after midday. It is customary to pray at the graves of the Tzaddikim and to give a sum of money to a righteous person for Pidyon Nefesh, "redemption of the soul". There is an ancient custom of purchasing a knife on the eve of Rosh Hashanah as a propitious segulah for livelihood. Where possible males should immerse in a mikveh in preparation for Rosh Hashanah.

Eiruv Tavshilin: Since the two days of Yom Tov of Rosh HaShanah (Thursday-Friday 25-26 September) are followed immediately by Shabbat, in order to cook on Yom Tov day for the coming Shabbat, it is necessary to prepare Eiruv Tavshilin onWednesday afternoon prior to the commencement of Yom Tov. For further information on the mitzva of Eiruv Tavshilin click here.

"Finished are the old year and its curses!
Let the New Year and its blessings begin!"

Leshanah Tova Tikatevu Vetichatemu -- May you be inscribed and sealed for a Good Year!

The Molad of Tishri is on Wednesday September 20, 2017 at 11:28 and 16 halakim p.m.

Attributes of the month of Tishri: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: VAV KEH YOD KEH, contained in the final Hebrew letters of the words of the verse vayir'U otaH sareY par'oH, "and the ministers of Pharaoh saw her" (Genesis 11:29). The month's corresponding letter is: LAMED; Human attribute: COITION; Body Part: GALL BLADDER; Tribe: JOSEPH; Constellation: MOZNA'IM (Libra, the Scales).

Wednesday night-Thursday 20-21 September / 1 Tishri 5775
First day of Rosh Hashanah, New Year

Information about the customs of Rosh Hashanah is widely available in the festival prayer books and online (e.g. at and and details have therefore not been included in this diary.

Today was the sixth day of the Six Days of Creation. The waters of the flood dried and Noah removed the cover from the ark. Sarah, Rachel and Hannah mother of Samuel were all granted children on this day, and Isaac's prayer for Rebecca to give birth was accepted. Sarah was born and died on this day. Isaac blessed Jacob, and Joseph was released from prison. Today is the anniversary of the death from mutilation of Rabbi Amnon of Mainz (author of the Rosh Hashanah prayer Unetanneh Tokef). In 1554 the Talmud and its commentaries were burned in Rome on orders from the pope.

Thursday night-Friday 21-22 September / 2 Tishri
Second day of Rosh Hashanah

Even though all the other Torah-ordained festivals are celebrated for only one day in Israel while Diaspora communities celebrate them for two days, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated for two days even in Israel.

Friday night-Saturday 22-23 September / 3 Tishri
Shabbat SHUVAH, Parshat HA'AZINU

Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 32: 1-52. Special Haftara for Shabbat Shuvah: Hosea 14, 2-10; Michah 7, 18-20; Joel 2, 11-27.
At the Shabbat meals many have the custom of dipping the Challah in honey as on Rosh Hashanah, and do the same at the festive meals before and after Yom Kippur, on Succot, Hoshana Rabbah and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.
It is customary for the rabbi of the community to deliver a special address this Shabbat on the theme of Teshuvah (Repentance) and other timely subjects.
Today is the anniversary of the start of the seven-day Festival of Inauguration of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. It is appropriate to read King Solomon's prayer (I Kings ch 8).

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Avraham Abele Gombiner, the Magen Avraham (c. 1633-83), author of one of the most important commentaries on Shulchan Aruch, and of Rabbi Yisrael Lipshitz (1782-1860), author of the Tiferet Yisrael commentary on the Mishnah.

Sunday 24 September / 4 Tishri
Fast of Gedaliah (deferred from Shabbat)

Today's fast is in memory of Gedaliah son of Achikam, Babylonian-appointed governor of Judaea after the destruction of the First Temple. His assassination (Jeremiah ch. 41) brought the last vestiges of Jewish self-rule in Israel to an end. The fast commences at dawn on Sunday and is observed until nightfall. Selichot are recited today and every weekday until Yom Kippur.

Everyone who recites Psalm 27, "HaShem is my light", morning and evening from the beginning of Elul until the end of Succot is assured he will live out his years in goodness and pleasantness, and he removes from himself all the accusing forces and nullifies all harsh and evil decrees, and he will win his case in the Judgment.
-- ARI

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