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Erev Rosh HaShanah, 5763

Elul 29, 5762
Sept 6, 2002

Your Rosh HaShanah Guide
Tishrei 1-2, 5763
Sept. 7-8, 2002

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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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 Friday night, Sept. 6.

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 K'Siva Vachasima Tova, a happy, healthy and prosperous 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

18 Elul, 5762
Year of Hakhel
Los Angeles, California


*. Published by Prestige Litho.

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


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


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.

Your Rosh HaShanah Guide
Tishrei 1-2, 5763
Sept. 7-8, 2002


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

This year, on the second day of Rosh HaShanah, Sunday, Sept. 8, 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.


This year, on the second day of Rosh HaShanah, Sunday, Sept. 8, 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, Friday evening, Sept. 6, 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


Monday, Sept. 9, 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 7:56 p.m.


Jewish Women and Girls
Light Rosh HaShanah and Shabbat 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

Friday, Sept. 6, Erev Rosh HaShanah:

  • Light Shabbat & Rosh Hashanah candles,(3) by 7:04 p.m.
    Say blessings #1 & 3.
  • Eat special Rosh Hashanah foods.

Saturday, Sept. 7, Rosh HaShanah:

  • Light Rosh Hashanah candles,(4) after nightfall, after 8:03 p.m.
    Say blessings #2 & 3.

Sunday, Sept. 8, Rosh HaShanah:

  • Sounding of Shofar.
  • Tashlich prayers.
  • Rosh Hashanah ends at 8:01 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 9, Fast of Gedaliah:

  • Fast ends at 7:56 p.m.


3. Do not light after sunset.

The Shabbat and Rosh HaShanah candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.

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

A preexisting flame is a flame burning continuously since the onset of Shabbat, such as a pilot light, gas or candle 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 Sha-bos V-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
Shabbat and the Day of Remembrance.


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.


"Our Father, Our King -- Avinu Malkeinu." The theme of G-d as Parent and Ruler dominates Rosh HaShanah.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that the love G-d has for each one of us is analogous to and surpasses the love a father has for an only child born in his old age.

Rosh HaShanah is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve. Thus, it corresponds to the rebirth of humanity and we reestablish our relationship as children of G-d on these days.

The sounding of the shofar is connected to this central motif of Rosh HaShanah, that of G-d as our Divine Parent. To better understand this we look to another parable of the Baal Shem Tov: An errant prince, an only son, traveled far from the palace. After many years had passed, the prince yearned to be reunited with his father, the king. However, by the time he returned to his native land, he had forgotten his mother tongue. From deep within his soul a cry emerged, a cry that -- no matter how estranged the child -- a father could understand. This fervent, broken-hearted plea of "Father, it is I, your only son, help me!" broke through the barriers separating father and son more eloquently than any words the prince might have uttered. At this moment, the king embraced the errant son.

For thousands of years the Jewish people have wandered in exile. At times, we even seem to have lost our means of communicating with our Father. We are very much like the proverbial prince, who when facing his father the king could only cry. We are in pain not only because our self-created barriers separate us from G-d. But also because even when we wish to return we encounter all sorts of seemingly insurmountable obstacles born of the national and spiritual exile of our people.

The shofar represents the wordless cry of the only child within each of us. Chosen because of its simplicity, it symbolizes the incorruptible nature of the soul connected to the essence of G-d, Himself. Transcending the conventional modes of communication, the shofar's shattering wail arouses in us an awareness of the most powerful bond uniting Father and child. No matter how far we may feel we've strayed throughout the year, no matter how muted or inadequate our ability to communicate with G-d, the shofar of Rosh HaShanah enables us to reconnect in a more fundamental and powerful way than previously envisioned.

The Great Shofar, sounded by G-d signaling the messianic age, will pierce all barriers and penetrate beneath the surface of our very beings. When G-d sounds the Great Shofar we will be able to express, completely and openly, the fundamental child/parent relationship we intrinsically have with G-d. The shofar of Redemption will usher in a time when the love between G-d and the Jewish people -- concealed throughout our trial-ridden exile -- will be fully revealed.

May we all be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year. But even before the New Year may we all find ourselves in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem with the revelation of our righteous Moshiach, and he will redeem us.


Reb Zalman Estulin, an elderly chasid, told this story many years ago at a chasidic gathering -- a farbrengen.

Once, there were two brothers, Avraham and Shlomo, who exhibited unbelievable brotherly love. As children they never fought. They studied Torah together and eventually, after they married fine, Jewish women, they settled down in the same city.

Sad to say, the brothers got into a foolish argument as is bound to happen. Things went from bad to worse until it got to the point where as friendly and loving as the brothers had once been they now hated and abhorred each other.

Years passed in this way until the time came when Reb Avraham was going to marry off his eldest daughter. Despite the fact that they had not spoken for over a decade, Reb Avraham wanted his brother to share in his happiness.

And so, he sent Shlomo a letter of apology for all past wrongs and an invitation to the wedding. When no reply came, Avraham sent a messenger. But the messenger came back with the message that Shlomo would not even consider coming to the wedding.

The evening of the wedding arrived, and though Reb Avraham was happy, his joy was tinged with sadness in knowing that his brother would not attend the wedding.

For his part, Reb Shlomo had scheduled his evening in such a way that feelings of remorse would not get in his way of staying home. He had a huge, seven-course meal, took a long, relaxing bath, got into his pajamas and went to bed early.

The wedding on the other side of town was in full swing when the violinist, an extremely talented musician who could change people's moods through his music, noticed that Avraham's joy was not complete.

The violinist approached Avraham and asked if there was anything he could do: "My reputation will suffer if I can't make the father of the bride happy."

Avraham told the violinist that he was saddened by his brother's absence. "I will go and bring him here," the violinist offered.

And so, the violinist went to Reb Shlomo's house. He stood outside of Shlomo's bedroom window. Half asleep, Shlomo came to the window to see who was playing. He was so intrigued and entranced by the violinist's recital that he opened his door and went outside.

In this manner the violinist and Shlomo walked through the town until they reached the wedding hall.

Slowly, slowly, they approached the wedding until Reb Shlomo found himself in the middle of the dance floor at the wedding hall. He looked around and saw everybody so beautifully dressed. Then, he looked at himself and realized, with quite a bit of embarrassment, that he was hardly dressed as befits the uncle of the bride. Indeed, he was a sorry state in his pajamas!

"Brothers," Rabbi Estulin concluded, "we're all going to be there in the middle of the dance floor when Moshiach comes. Because, as our Sages teach us, the Redemption is like the consummation of the wedding ceremony between G-d and the Jewish people, which took place at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

"The Torah and mitzvot that we do are like the clothing of our souls. It is up to us to come to the wedding dressed as befits the uncle of the bride, and not in our pajamas!"


...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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