18-25 Elul 5770
27 August-4 September 2010
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.
In his old age, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter (1810-83), founder of the Mussar movement, said that he still rememberd how as a small child playing outside in the sand, delaying going home, his sister called him saying: "Yisroel! What are you still playing for? This is the month of Elul! Even the very fish in the sea are trembling in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah!" [We learn that the fish tremble from Psalms 98:6-7: "With trumpets and the sound of the shofar (= Rosh Hashanah), sound the blast before HaShem. Let the sea and all its fullness (= the fish) thunder…"]
Sunday night-Monday 29-30 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.
Thursday night-Friday 2-3 September / 24 Elul
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radzin (1838-1933), known as the Chafetz Chaim, author of works on the prohibition of evil speech and of Mishneh Berurah on the laws of daily prayer and blessings, Shabbat and festivals.
Friday night-Saturday 3-4 September / 25 Elul
Shabbat Parshat NITZAVIM-VAYELECH
Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 and 31:1-30
Haftara: Isaiah 61:10-63:9, seventh and last of the Haftarot of Comfort read between the Fast of Tisha B’Av and Rosh HaShanah.
This is the last Shabbat of the year, and we should make every effort to receive this Shabbat with the greatest joy and devotion.
It is customary NOT to bless the coming month in the Synagogue after the Shabbat Torah reading. This is "in order to outwit the satan" (i.e. not to alert his attention to the coming Day of Judgment in order to avoid his accusations), and in any case, the month of Tishri is so holy that it is "blessed in heaven" instead. However those who have the custom of reciting the entire book of Psalms on Shabbat Mevorchin also do so on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah.
According to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol, today is the Anniversary of the first of the “Six Days of Creation”, which culminate on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, the sixth day of Creation, when Adam was created. On each of these six days the unique light of the associated Sefirah shines in all the worlds.
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Elazar son of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
The Holy Zohar states that at the end of days an awesome event will take place on this date (Balak 212b).
"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).