Tuesday, October 11, 2005

TODAY IN JUDAISM: Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Tishrei 9, 5766 * October 12, 2005


* Laws * Customs * Jewish History * Daily Quote * Daily Study *

Today is: Wednesday, Tishrei 9, 5766

Today's Laws & Customs

• Kaparot

In the early morning hours of the day preceding Yom Kippur, the Kaparot ("Atonement") ceremony is performed. We take a live chicken (a rooster for a male and a hen for a female) and, circling it three times above our heads, we declare: "This is my replacement, this is my exchange, this is my atonement; this fowl shall go to its death, and I shall go to a long, good and peaceful life." The fowl is then slaughtered in accordance with halachic procedure, at which time we contemplate that this is a fate we ourselves would deserve, G-d forbid, for our failings and iniquities. The value of the fowl is given to the poor, and its meat eaten in the Yom Kippur meal; some give the fowl itself to the poor. (A alternate custom is to perform the rite only with money, reciting the prescribed verses and giving the money to charity. Kaparot can also be preformed in the preceding days, during the "Ten Days of Repentance").

Links: The Custom of Kaparot [http://www.chabad.org/4441] (from the Yom Kippur "How to" guide); a Chassidic story [http://www.chabad.org/87880]; What Give us the Right to Kill Animals? [http://www.chabad.org/77318]

• Festive Meals

The day before Yom Kippur is a Yom Tov, a festive day; for although we stand prepared to be judged in the supernal courtroom for our deeds of the passed year, we are confident that G-d is a merciful judge, and will decree a year of life, health and prosperity for us. Two festive meals are eaten -- one at midday and the other before the fast, which begins at sunset. The Talmud states that "Whoever eats and drinks on the 9th [of Tishrei], it is regarded as if he had fasted on both the 9th and the 10th."

Links: Eating Before Yom Kippur [http://www.chabad.org/4440]; Reverse Biology [http://www.chabad.org/88002]; Food: an Anthology [http://www.chabad.org/73825]

• Mikveh

Both men and women immerse in a mikveh [http://www.chabad.org/1541] (ritual pool) to attain an extra measure of sanctity before the holy day.

• Lekach (honey cake)

It is customary to ask for and receive lekach (sweet cake -- signifying a sweet year) from someone (usually one's mentor or parent) on this day. One of the reasons given for this custom is that if it had been decreed, G-d forbid, that during the year we should need to resort to a handout from others, the decree should be satisfied with this asking for food. The Lubavitcher Rebbe adds a deeper insight: "asking for lekach" on the eve of Yom Kippur instills in us the recognition that all the sustenance we receive throughout the year, including that which we supposedly "earn" by our own powers and endeavors, is in truth a gift from Above, granted in response to our daily requests from "He who nourishes the entire world with in His goodness, with grace, with benevolence and with compassion."

Link: Our Daily Bread [http://www.chabad.org/53347]

• Additional customs

Additional eve of Yom Kippur customs include receiving symbolic malkut ("lashings") as atonment for one's transgressions, reciting the "Al Chet" confession of sins after minchah and at sunset, and lighting a 26-hour candle that would burn for the duration of Yom Kippur.

Daily Quote

"Teshuvah out of love" [arises] from the depths of the heart, with great love, desire, and a craving soul to cleave to G-d; the soul thirsts for G-d like a parched and barren soil, because, up until now, it was in a barren wilderness and in the shadow of death... and very distant from the face of G-d... It is regarding repentance out of such great love that it has it been said that premeditated sins become, for him, like virtues, since through them he attained this great love...

- Tanya, chapter 7

Daily Study

Chitas and Rambam for today:

Chumash: Ha'Azinu, 4th Portion Devarim 32:19-32:28 with Rashi
• English Text:

Tehillim: Chapters 49 - 54
• Hebrew text:
• English text:

Tanya: Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 20
• Lesson in Tanya:
• RealAudio:
• Windows Media:

• Sefer Hamitzvos:
• 1 Chapter: Mikvot Chap. 5
• 3 Chapters: Shabbat Chap. 9, 10, 11

Hayom Yom:
• English Text:


Are you prepared for Yom Kippur?

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