8-21 Elul 5778
19 August-1 September '18
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).
Sunday night-Monday 19-20 August / 9 Elul
Today is the Yahrzeit of Dan, son of the patriarch Jacob (see Yalkut Shimoni, Shemot) whose gravesite can be visited until today "between Tzor'ah and Eshta'ol" by the present-day road to Beit Shemesh.
During the Elul season of repentance, Israel are like the inhabitants of a city who go out to greet the King in the fields prior to His entry into the city (on Rosh Hashanah), and now each individual has the opportunity to approach the King in person in advance of the coming Day of Judgment.
Monday night-Tuesday 20-21 August / 10 Elul
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz (d. 1791), one of the leading disciples of Baal Shem Tov, who said of him that such a soul comes down to this world only once in 500 years. To avoid mundane talk as a young man, R. Pinchas pretended he could not hear.
Wednesday night-Thursday 22-23 August / 12 Elul
Yahrzeit of Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa (1765-1827), teacher of the Kotzker, Gerer and Izhbitzer rebbes.
Thursday night-Friday 23-24 August / 13 Elul
Today is the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Yosef Chayim of Bagdad (1832-1909), outstanding authority on halachah and master kabbalist, known as the Ben Ish Chai after the title of his compendium of halachah.
night-Saturday 24-25 August / 14 Elul
Shabbat Parshat KI SEITZEI
Torah Reading: KI SEITZEI, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19. Haftara: Isaiah 54:1-10. While listening to the reading of the concluding verses of the weekly Parshah, "Remember what Amalek did to you..." it is proper to have in mind the intention of thereby fulfilling the commandment to blot out the memory of Amalek.
Tuesday night-Wednesday 28-29 August / 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
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 30-31 August / 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.
night-Saturday 31 August-1 September / 21 Elul
Shabbat Parshat KI TAVO
night-Sunday 1-2 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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