web analytics
April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tzemach Tzedek’

About Selichot

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

King David was anguished when he prophetically foresaw the destruction of the Holy Temple and the cessation of the offering of the sacrifices. “How will the Jews atone for their sins?” he wondered.

G‑d replied: “When suffering will befall the Jews because of their sins, they should gather before me in complete unity. Together they shall confess their sins and recite the order of the Selichot, and I will answer their prayers.”

—Midrash

With the imminent approach of the new year and the Days of Awe, our preparations for the High Holidays move into highest gear. Several days before Rosh Hashanah we begin to recite the Selichot, a series of penitential prayers and liturgy.

According to Ashkenazic custom, the first Selichot are recited on Saturday night after halachic midnight,1 and a minimum of four days of Selichot must be observed. Therefore, if the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Thursday or Shabbat, the Selichot start on the Saturday night directly preceding the New Year. If Rosh Hashanah falls on Monday or Tuesday,2 then Selichot commence on the Saturday night approximately a week and a half before Rosh Hashanah. Following the midnight service, Selichot are recited daily (except on Shabbat) before the morning prayers, until Rosh Hashanah (aside for the Sunday morning immediately after the first Selichot, which is covered by the midnight recitation several hours earlier).

Sephardim recite Selichot throughout the entire month of Elul.

It is important to attend synagogue for Selichot, as its text contains several important passages which may be said only in the presence of a minyan (quorum of ten Jewish men).

Most Jewish communities continue reciting Selichot throughout the Ten Days of Repentance (the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). According to Chabad custom, however, Selichot are not recited during these days (with the exception of the third of Tishrei, when Selichot are recited as part of the commemoration of the Fast of Gedaliah).3

The story is told about the fourth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, who once asked his illustrious father, the Tzemach Tzedek, regarding the reason for this custom. “My son,” he responded, “now is no longer the time for words. Now we must translate words into deed . . .”

Click here for the complete Selichot prayers in Hebrew.

In 2013, Selichot (according to Ashkenazic custom) will begin after midnight of Sunday morning, August 31. Contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch center for the exact time and location of local Selichot services.


FOOTNOTES

1. “Halachic time” varies depending on the season, and usually doesn’t concur with our clocks. According to Jewish law, midnight is exactly halfway between sunset and sunrise. In the USA, because Rosh Hashanah is observed during Daylight Saving Time, “midnight” is often closer to 1:00 than to 12:00.

2. Due to technical calendar reasons, the first day of Rosh Hashanah cannot fall out on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday.

3. Selichot are also recited on Jewish public fast days. The fast-day Selichot are incorporated into the morning prayers.

The Love For The Torah

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Many inspiring stories emanate from the Lubavitch chassidic movement. One of the stories published in Di Yiddishe Heim bulle­tin describes the early years of Rav Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, known as the Tzemach Tzedek. This year marks the 146th anni­versary of his passing.

The Tzemach Tzedek was orphaned at an early age, and spent most of his childhood years in the household of his most eminent grandfather, the founder of the Lubavitch dynasty — Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (known as the “Alter Rebbe”). Some of the discourses and talks that the Alter Rebbe fre­quently gave were open to all chassidim who cared to come and listen. However, there were times that the Alter Rebbe would call into his private room a few of his greatest followers, all of them of giant intellectual and emotive capac­ity, and teach them a “Maamar,” a Chassidic discourse of the greatest depth. On those occa­sions the Tzemach Tzedek (then 8-9 years old) was not admitted to the room, which caused him much frustration. He desperately wanted to hear every word of Torah that fell from his holy grandfather’s lips. Even though he knew that much of his grandfather’s words would be far beyond his comprehension, he hoped that he would be able to grasp at least a few words that might have meaning to him.

In Oven

One day he thought of a plan. He would conceal himself in the large empty heating oven whose wall fronted with the wall of the Alter Rebbe’s room and whose opening was in the adjoining room. By pressing his ear to the thin oven wall, he might be able to hear a few words of his grandfather’s maamar. The next time one was scheduled the Tzemach Tzedek crawled through the aperture of the oven in the adjoining room and, pushing himself far into it, pressed his ear to the wall and listened with bated breath.

Meanwhile, the gentile janitor, whose task it was to heat up the ovens on those days that the weather warranted, came to stack up the oven with pieces of wood. The young boy and future Rebbe was so intent on listening to the maamar in the next room that he was completely unaware of the wood being pushed in the oven. The oven being duly stacked with firewood, the janitor set fire to the wood, however, since the Tzemach Tzedek’s body was blocking the chimney, the proper ventilation was not attained and instead of bursting into flames, the pile of firewood emit­ted a cloud of dense smoke. The janitor tried to push the mass of smoldering firewood deeper into the oven only to find that there was something blocking its path. He withdrew the wood piece by piece and spied the small body of the Tzemach Tze­dek lying in the oven — overcome by the fumes and smoke. He hastily pulled him out of the oven and with some difficulty managed to revive him.

Later, the young lad’s grandmother, the Rebbetzin of the great Alter Rebbe, admonished her husband for not letting his own grandson satisfy his thirst for Torah. The Alter Rebbe replied that such was the true path of Jewish education — one must have mesiras nefesh — self sacrifice — for learning Torah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/the-love-for-the-torah/2012/06/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: