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Erev Rosh HaShanah, 5762

Elul 29, 5761 * September 17, 2001

Special Features:
Your Rosh HaShanah Guide
2. Year of Hakhel

A Jewish Response To Terrorism
- Letter From The Rebbe

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio) - Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.


We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this week's issue we focus on the laws of the upcoming High Holiday of Rosh HaShanah, which begins on Monday night, Sept. 17.

Therefore, we present here "Your Rosh HaShanah Guide,"* and other related material about Rosh HaShanah.


We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very sweet, happy, healthy and successful new year.


Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.


It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!

Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind

25 Elul, 5761
Brooklyn, New York


*. Published by Prestige Litho.

In Honor Of Our Daughter
on the occasion of her birthday, 25 Elul

- Letter From The Rebbe

(This letter was written by the Rebbe
after the Entebbe hijacking of July, 1976)

By the Grace of G-d
Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5736
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To The Jewish Mothers and Daughters everywhere,
G-d bless you --

Blessing and Greeting:

In view of the recent events -- the hijacking and saving of the hostages held in Uganda; and the subsequent attempt of the terrorists to perpetrate a vicious reprisal, G-d forbid, in Kushta (Istanbul),

It should be understood that these events are an indication that Jews must, at the earliest possible, strengthen all aspects of their security and defenses -- first and foremost in their spiritual life, which is the channel to receive G-d's blessings also in the physical aspect, namely, to know the right ways and means that have to be undertaken in the natural order of things, and to fully succeed in these efforts, in accordance with the Divine promise, "G-d, your G-d, will bless you in all that you do" -- to be protected and secured from enemies, and to be spared any undesirable happenings, G-d forbid.

The above events remind each and all of our Jewish brethren in general, and Jewish mothers and daughters in particular -- since every married Jewish woman is called Akeres Habayis, "Foundation of the Home," and those not yet married are to be Akeres Habayis, for which they must prepare themselves from tender age -- the following:

The present situation calls for the protection of every Jewish home. True protection is that which only G-d provides, as it is written, "G-d guards the city." To ensure this Divine guardianship, the home has to be conducted in all aspects according to G-d's will.

Then the home is also an abode for the Shechinah (G-d's Presence), in accordance with His promise, "I will dwell among them."

In addition to this, G-d has given our people a special gift wherewith to protect the home, namely, the Mitzvah of Mezuzah. Our Sages declare explicitly that "the home is protected by it (the Mezuzah)."

Moreover, this protection embraces the members of the household also when they go out of the house, as it is written, 'G-d will guard your going and your coming from now and forever.' It is further explained in our holy sources that the Divine Name (Shin-Dalet-Yud) written on the back of the sacred Mezuzah parchment spells out the words, "Shomer Dalsos Yisroel -- Guardian of Jewish Doors."

Let it also be remembered that inasmuch as all Jews constitute one body, and are bound up with one another, every Mezuzah is a Divine protection not only for the individual home, with everybody and everything in it, but each additional kosher Mezuzah that is affixed on a doorpost of any Jewish home, anywhere, adds to the protection of all our people everywhere.

And considering -- as mentioned above -- that every Jewish housewife is an Akeres Habayis, and every Jewish girl a future Akeres Habayis, they have a special Zechus (merit) and responsibility in the matter of Mezuzah, to see to it that not only a kosher Mezuzah be affixed on every doorpost in their home that is required to have a Mezuzah, but that the same be done by their Jewish neighbors and friends, and in all Jewish homes.

I hope and pray that you will do this with inspiration and joy, which, in addition to increasing the Hatzlocho [success] in this effort, will also inspire many others to do likewise, and the Zechus Horabim [the merit you brought to the many] will further stand you in good stead.

The present time is particularly auspicious for this endeavor, as for endeavors in all matters of goodness and holiness, since we are in the beginning of the month of Elul -- the month of spiritual stocktaking, to complete the deficiencies of the outgoing year and to prepare for the New Year, that it be a good and blessed year for each and all of us and for our Jewish people as a whole.

With esteem and blessing of Kesivo veChasimo Tovah,

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.

Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.


Dear Friend:

The month of Tishrei is very colorful. Every possible atmosphere of Jewish life finds expression in this month, in which we have Solemn Days, Fast Days, and Days of Rejoicing. It is not a coincidence that the first month of the year has "samples" of every shade and color of Jewish life, for these "samples" are intended to give us an introduction to, and practical guidance for the rest of the year. By observing the special days of Tishrei in their proper spirit, we are initiated into a truly Jewish life, in accordance with the spirit of the Torah, during the whole year following.

What can we learn from the special days of Tishrei?

a. To begin with we have Rosh HaShanah, the beginning of the New Year, the day when the first man just created proclaimed G-d's sovereignty over the whole Universe. When we are about to begin anything, we must always remember that G-d is the Creator of Heaven and Earth and the sole Ruler of the Universe, and that our action or venture must have Divine approval. This is further emphasized by --

b. The Ten Days of Repentance, which remind us that since we are the servants of the King of the Universe we must keep a check on our deeds to ensure that they comply with the wishes of the Master. However, since we are only human beings, we are liable to fail on occasion. This is why G-d gives us --

c. Yom Kippur, to impress upon us the realization that it is never too late to turn back to the right path, provided we do it sincerely, completely repenting of, and casting away, our evil habits of the past, and solemnly undertaking to mend our ways in the future. If we make this firm resolution, G-d will forgive us, and "cleanse" us completely of our sins. Difficult though this path may appear to be --

d. Sukkot helps us not to despair in our days of trial, even if we find ourselves in the minority, for G-d is our protector, as He clearly showed us by the Clouds of Glory with which He surrounded us during the forty years' wandering through the desert after the Departure from Egypt. Finally, in order to know how to lead our lives so as to comply with G-d's wishes, we have --

e. Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, for in the Torah G-d has given us Divine laws of justice and righteousness and a true guide in life; by shaping our lives accordingly we are assured of true happiness, both in this world and in the after-life. For the Torah is a "tree of life to them that take fast hold of it, and its supporters are happy."

These, briefly, are some of the main lessons of Tishrei and there can be no doubt that by following them faithfully, the New Year will be a happy one, both spiritually and materially, and the blessing that we give each other "L'Shana Tova Tikateiv V'Tichatem" [May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year] will surely be fulfilled. That is what I wish every one of you.

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson


This past year, 5761, was a Sabbatical or "Seventh" year. It is also known as the Shemittah year -- the year of "Release."

Concerning the Shemittah year the Torah states (Deut. 15:1-2): "At the end of seven years, you shall make Shemittah. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor; because the L-rd’s release has been proclaimed."

According to the opinion of the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, in his Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), and others, this passage teaches that it is forbidden to claim one’s private debts even during the Seventh year itself, as soon as "the release has been proclaimed."

Years ago, because of the release of loans of the Seventh year, many Jews ceased to lend money as the seventh year approached. To encourage the continuation of loans, the great scholar and leader Hillel instituted a custom which allows one to demand repayment even after the seventh year.

This custom, known as "Pruzbul," consists of the creditor transferring his debt to a rabbinic court before the Sabbatical year (or if not done earlier, during the Sabbatical year), whereupon it ceases to be a private debt and therefore can be collected.

This practice demonstrates how dear we hold a command of our Sages.

How to make a Pruzbul:

The time to make a Pruzbul is on the day before Rosh HaShanah, Monday, Sept. 17, 2001, which is the last day of the Shemittah Year.

The Pruzbul can be accomplished by means of a legal document or even by verbal agreement.

Contact your local Rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center, to make a Pruzbul.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Encourage your friends and relatives to make a Pruzbul as well.

Tishrei 1-2, 5762
Sept. 18-19, 2001


Birthday of the World

Rosh HaShanah is the day on which G-d completed the creation of this world, by creating Adam, the original man. Adam’s very first act was to proclaim the Al-mighty as King of the Universe. He called upon all creatures: "Come, let us worship, bow down, and kneel before G-d, our maker."

Each Rosh HaShanah, we too proclaim the Kingship of G-d, and reaffirm our commitment to serve Him well.

Just as on the original Rosh HaShanah, G-d created the world for the first time, so each Rosh HaShanah He reconsiders and re-evaluates the quality of our relationship with Him, and creates our world anew.

The Book of Life

On the first evening of Rosh HaShanah, after services, we exchange the traditional blessing, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

Our Sages explain that on Rosh HaShanah, we all stand in judgment before G-d "like a flock of sheep before the shepherd." If we are worthy, we are inscribed in the Book of Life. Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, the Book is sealed.

Through repentance, prayer, and charity, we can sweeten the decree, and merit G-d’s blessings for health, well-being, and prosperity for the coming year.


The Shofar

On both days of Rosh HaShanah, Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Wednesday, Sept. 19, we hear during the daytime the sounding of at least the first thirty of the prescribed blasts of the shofar, the ram’s horn.

The shofar, the oldest and most soulful of wind instruments, has many meanings. Among them:

* It proclaims the coronation of G-d as King of the Universe.

* It "awakens" us to repent and return to G-d.

* It reminds us of the shofar heard at Mount Sinai, when we accepted G-d’s commandments for all time.

* It represents the simple, primal outcry from the depth of the soul.

* It presages the call of the Great Shofar which G-d will sound with the coming of Moshiach, who will lead us out of exile and into our Holy Land -- speedily, in our days.

Call your local synagogue, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for the approximate time of the shofar service.


On the first day of Rosh HaShanah, Tuesday, Sept. 18, following the afternoon prayer, we visit a body of water or pond containing live fish and recite the Tashlich prayers, in which we "cast away" our sins.

As fish depend upon water, so do we depend upon G-d’s providence. Also, a fish’s eyes never close, symbolizing G-d’s unceasing watchfulness over us.

Special Rosh HaShanah Foods

It is customary on Rosh HaShanah to eat foods symbolizing sweetness, blessings and abundance.

We dip the challah in honey; and afterwards, on the first night, Monday evening, Sept. 17, we eat a piece of apple dipped in honey.

After the appropriate blessing on the apple, we add: "May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year." Other customs include eating the head of a fish, pomegranates and carrots.


A Return to Essence

The first ten days of Tishrei -- two days of Rosh Hashanah, the seven days following, and Yom Kippur -- are an auspicious time in which to rectify our shortcomings and draw closer to G-d. They are therefore known as the "Ten days of Teshuvah."

Teshuvah(1) -- frequently translated as repentance -- actually means returning. Judaism emphasizes that our essential nature -- the divine spark of the soul -- is good.

True repentance is best achieved not through harsh self-condemnation, but through the realization that our deepest desire is to do good, in accordance with the will of G-d.


1. See Living With Moshiach, Vol. 215


Thursday, Sept. 20, is a fast day. We neither eat nor drink, from approximately 72 minutes before sunrise until 40 minutes after sunset.(2)

It commemorates the tragic assassination of Gedaliah, a great Jewish leader during the Babylonian exile.


2. In New York City, at 7:38 p.m.


Jewish Women and Girls
Light Rosh HaShanah Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/shabbos

For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Monday, Sept. 17, Erev Rosh HaShanah:

  • Make a Pruzbul - see above.
  • Light Rosh HaShanah Candles,(3) by 6:45 p.m.
    Say blessings # 1 & 2.
  • Eat special Rosh HaShanah foods.

Tuesday, Sept. 18, Rosh HaShanah:

  • Sounding of Shofar.
  • Tashlich prayers.
  • Light Rosh HaShanah candles,(4) after nightfall, after 7:44 p.m.
    Say blessings # 1 & 2.

Wednesday, Sept. 19, Rosh HaShanah:

  • Sounding of Shofar.
  • Rosh HaShanah ends at nightfall, at 7:42 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 20, Fast of Gedaliah:

  • Fast ends at 7:38 p.m.


3. If lighting after sunset, light only from a preexisting flame.

A preexisting flame is a flame burning continuously since the onset of Rosh HaShanah, such as a pilot light, gas or candle flame.

4. Do not light before the times indicated. Light only from a preexisting flame.


After lighting the candles, recite:


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Ha-zi-ko-ron.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments,
and commanded us to kindle the light
of the Day of Remembrance.


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
She-heche-yo-nu Ve-ki-ye-mo-nu Ve-higi-o-nu
Liz-man Ha-zeh.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us
to reach this occasion.


The upcoming year, 5762, is a Hakhel year -- the first year in the land of Israel’s seven-year agricultural cycle (the seventh year being the Sabbatical or Shemittah year).

Hakhel means literally "assembly."

During the Hakhel year in Temple times, the entire Jewish nation, from youngest to oldest, assembled in the Holy Temple to hear the king read from the Torah on the holiday of Sukkot.

The occasion was unforgettable. The ceremony itself was announced dramatically by trumpet blasts. The king sat on a specially erected high wooden platform placed in the women’s court, where he would be visible and audible to the vast throng below.

The king read several passages of the Torah, including the Shema and passages containing the blessings of the Jewish people.

The Jewish king was not only meant to be a political and military leader, but his role was also essentially that of G-d’s delegate to promote the spiritual dimension of the national life of the people.

His reading of the Torah following the observance of the Shemittah year strengthened the people’s adherence to G-d through keeping His commandments and studying His Torah.


It is significant that the Torah was read by the King rather than the Sanhedrin, the supreme rabbinical court.

For the Hakhel gathering -- and, in fact, the entire Hakhel experience -- was to engender awe and reverence for G-d. This response is more readily aroused by the Jewish monarch than the Sanhedrin.

The awakening of awe in the nation fosters Jewish unity.

In the area of knowledge and comprehension of the Torah -- that which would be imparted by the Sanhedrin -- there can be many levels among Jews.

But, when we speak of awe, all Jews are on the same level.

During the Hakhel in the Holy Temple, the goal was not to reach deeper understanding; rather, to find awe and reverence, as was the case when the Torah was given.

Thus, in Temple times, Hakhel was an opportunity to re-experience the revelation of the Torah at Sinai. And just as at Sinai, their unity led them to bring together all levels and all types of Jews.

Hakhel Today

Though we do not yet have the actual mitzvah of Hakhel, as we have not yet merited the rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple, the opportunity beckons for everyone to be involved in the spiritual mitzvah of Hakhel at all times, in all places.

We have the opportunity and even the obligation to spread Jewish awareness by gathering Jews in the true spirit of Jewish unity.

As the Rebbe suggested repeatedly during previous Hakhel years and reemphasized during the Hakhel year of 5748 (1987-8), "These gatherings are most appropriate this year of Hakhel when the potential for success in this matter is very great and we are given extraordinary powers from Above. For, ‘when the days of old are remembered in their season, they also come into being’ and we can effect the true Hakhel which will take place with the ingathering of the exiles in the Third Holy Temple."

The Rebbe has always emphasized the teaching of our Sages that "Action is the essential thing."

This means that we must attempt, on a regular basis, to have gatherings with friends, family, colleagues, whose intent is to enhance Jewish unity and Jewish awareness.

Men, women and even little children were charged with this mitzvah.

These gatherings, large or small, enable us to focus on the unity of the Jewish people, and the love of each Jew for every other Jew.

Incorporate into the gathering the "three pillars upon which the world stands" -- Torah study, prayer and charity.

Share a thought from the Rebbe, say a prayer for the Redemption, and give charity, even a few coins, to a worthy cause.

May we merit very soon to fulfill the mitzvah of Hakhel to hear the Torah taught by King Moshiach, G-d’s Messenger, with joy and gladness, truly now.


...May the Festivals of Tishrei Bring
Blessings for You and All Your Loved
Ones, for a Good and Sweet Year,
Spiritually and Materially,
and Bring for All of Us
the Greatest of All Blessings,
the Final Redemption
Through Our Righteous Moshiach.

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