Checklist and Summary for laws of Erev Rosh Hashanah

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Checklist

    • Some fast until Chatzos.
    • Tachanun is not recited in Davening but it is said in Selichos.
    • Perform Hataras Nedarim after Davening
    • Perform a Peruzbal in the relevant years
    • Do not blow Shofar today
    • Visit gravesites
    • Recite Tehillim
    • Review the Machzor and Piyutim
    • Bake round Challahs for Yom Tov
    • Don’t cook sour foods. Don’t add vinegar to fish etc.
    • The Simanim: Karti [Leek]; Silka/Tradin [Beets]; Tamri [Dates]; Kara [Squash]; Carrots-“Tzimis”;Fish; Pomegranate; Head of a ram or fish.
    • Eiruv Tavshilin if applicable
    • Call relatives such as parents and grandparents
    • Spend time with wife
    • The Mitzvah of Simcha does not apply on Rosh Hashanah.
    • Haircut
    • Cut the nails
    • Bathe in hot water
    • Immerse in a Mikveh
    • Write a Pa”n
    • Do not begin a meal past the 10th hour
    • Give Tzedakah for both days of Rosh Hashanah
    • Candle lighting is done with the blessings of Yom Hazikaron and Shehechiyanu
    • Prepare a 24 hours candle and Yartzite candle if applicable
    • Recite Tehillim before Mincha
    • Have extra Kavana in the Mincha prayer.

 

Erev Rosh Hashanah

The theme of the day:

  • The night before Erev Rosh Hashanah was considered the Wacht Nacht of the High Holidays. “I do not remember that people went to sleep at a normal hour. Each person began his preparations for Erev R”H which introduces the days of judgment.”
  • One is to spend this day learning Torah, doing Mitzvos, and doing Teshuvah. One is to increase in saying Tehillim throughout the day, and repent in order so his prayers of Rosh Hashanah are clean and pure.
  • It is customary on Erev Rosh Hashanah to accept upon oneself a Mitzvah which one will keep more carefully. One is to accept the new Hiddur with saying “Bli Neder” in order to avoid it becoming a vow.
  • It is proper to begin doing repentance of sins between man and his fellow, which includes asking for forgiveness, prior to Rosh Hashanah. One should not delay doing so until Erev Yom Kippur.
  • Those that are accustomed to give charity every single day of the week are to give charity on Erev Rosh Hashanah also on behalf of the two days of Rosh Hashanah.
  • On Erev Rosh Hashanah, close to the entrance of the Holiday, the Rabbeim would spend some time speaking with their wives.

 

  1. Fasting:

It is accustomed to fast on Erev Rosh Hashanah until midday. Those who are weak and are unable to fast do not need to do so. Many people today are accustomed to be lenient regarding this fast.

 

  1. Tachanun:
  • Tachanun is omitted from Shacharis, however in Selichos Tachanun is recited even if one is reciting Selichos after Alos.
  • By the Mincha prior to Erev Rosh Hashanah [28th of Elul] Tachanun is recited.
  • In Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita of the night of Erev Rosh Hashanah Tachanun is recited.
  • On Erev Rosh Hashanah Lamnatzeiach is omitted from between Ashrei and Uva Letziyon. However it is recited after Davening.
  • Keil Erech Apayim is omitted from Davening on Erev R”H that falls on Monday.
  • The Psalm of Tefila Ledavid is omitted on all days that Tachanun is not recited.

 

  1. Blowing Shofar:
  • One does not blow the Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashanah.
  • This applies beginning from the night of Erev Rosh Hashanah [the night of the 29th of Elul].
  • This applies even when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos.
  • It is forbidden to blow the Shofar, even for practice, in an open area. One is however allowed to practice blowing the Shofar in a closed room. This applies whether one is learning how to blow or is trying to get used to blowing from a new Shofar. However one may not blow the Shofar for no reason even in a closed room.

 

  1. Hataras Nedarim:
  • One says Hataras Nedarim after Shacharis before midday. If one did not do so he may perform Hataras Nedarim up until nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim] of Rosh Hashanah.
  • It is proper to say Hataras Nedarim with a group of ten men. If this is not possible one is to say Hataras Nedarim in front of three men which are listening and annulling his vow.
  • It is proper for every person to review the laws of vows prior to performing Hataras Nedarim as there are many vows that cannot be revoked.
  • The custom today is that the individual requesting the annulment remains standing while the judges remain seated throughout the process.
  • Women do not say Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashanah. One’s wife may appoint her husband to nullify the vows for her, having the husband mention this during the annulment.
  • Children do not perform Hataras Nedarim.
  • One must read the annulment of vows in a language that he understands.
  • In a pressing situation one may allow multiple individuals to read the request simultaneously.
  • If one remembers a vow that he made he must mention the vow that he is requesting to revoke to one of the judges. Not all vows have the ability to be revoked by the tribunal. Such vows hence remain intact even after performing Hataras Nedarim. Thus a case that one remembers a vow that he made [and thus mentions the vow to a member of the tribunal], the people annulling the vow must know the laws involved in whether such a vow may be annulled and how to do a Pesach and Charata for the vow.
  • Not all vows are uprooted through the stipulation made during Hataras Nedarim. This depends on whether one remembered the stipulation at the time of making the vow.

 

  1. Peruzbal:
  • On Erev Rosh Hashanah of the end of the sixth year of Shemitah [and also of the end of the seventh year of Shemitah] one is to perform a Peruzbal in front of a court of three Kosher Jews.
  • It is performed following Hataras Nedarim.
  • One states before the tribunal “I hereby hand to you all the debts that are owed to me that I should be allowed to collect them whenever I desire.” Alternatively a Beis Din is to write the above Nussach in a document and have the lender sign his name on it.
  • If one is not owed money by any person by the time Erev Rosh Hashanah of the end of the 6th year arrives then one is to specifically lend money to another person in order to merit the Mitzvah of performing a Peruzbal.

 

  1. Visiting the gravesite of Tzaddikim on Erev Rosh Hashanah:
  • It is customary of some communities to visit the gravesite of a Tzaddik on Erev Rosh Hashanah after Shacharis and increase in supplication while there.
  • The Chabad custom is to visit the gravesite of the Rabbeim on Erev Rosh Hashanah. Those that live nearby go to the Ohel of the [Rebbe] and Rebbe Rayatz in Queens.
  • One is not to eat any food prior to visiting a grave site. Nevertheless one is to be particular to drink before visiting.
  • One who is impure due to nocturnal emission [Keri], or any release of seed, may not visit a cemetery until he immerses in a Mikveh.
  • One who has not visited a cemetery [in thirty days] is to recite the following blessing upon seeing it:

ברוך אתה יי אלקינו מלך העולם אשר יצר אתכם בדין וזן אתכם בדין וכלכל אתכם בדין והמית אתכם בדין ויודע מספר כלכם והוא עתיד להחיותכם ולקיים אתכם בדין: ברוך אתה יי מחייה המתים: [1]

  • One is to distribute charity at the gravesite [prior to Davening there].
  • At the grave of a Tzaddik one is to pray to Hashem to answer his prayers in the merit of the Tzaddikim. Likewise one may ask the Tzaddik to intervene on one’s behalf and pray to G-d for the matters which he needs. It is customary to recite a compilation of Psalm’s and prayers assembled in the booklet entitled “Maanah Lashon” upon visiting a gravesite of a Tzaddik.[2] It is likewise customary to write a Pa”n and read it by the Ohel, tearing it upon concluding its reading and placing it near the burial site. It is best to read the Pan towards the area of the Tzaddik’s holy feet. If there are two Tzaddikim buried there, then it is to be read in between the graves by the feet of the Tzaddikim.
  • One may not enter a cemetery with Tzitzis that are revealed. Thus one is to stick his Tzitzis into his pants prior to entering into the cemetery.
  • Many have the custom of encircling the grave. The Rebbe would circle the grave one time prior to leaving.
  • As a sign of respect it is accustomed to remove the shoes prior to entering into the Rebbe’s Ohel.
  • Many are accustomed to place a hand on the grave upon praying. One is to specifically place his left hand on the grave.
  • One is to wash one’s hands three times inconsecutively after leaving the cemetery. One is to wash his hands prior to entering into a house.
  • Some are accustomed to throw grass or earth behind their back after leaving a cemetery.

 

  1. Not to eat a meal past the 10th hour:
  • It is a Mitzvah to refrain from beginning a meal past the 10th Zmaniyos hour of Erev Yom Tov, just as is the law regarding Erev Shabbos. This is approximately three hours before sunset. The above is only with regards to a set meal [i.e. 55 grams of bread] however it is permitted to eat a mere snack up until sunset and there is no need to refrain from doing so.
  • If one transgressed or forgot and did not eat prior to the 10th hour, then he may eat a meal past the 10th

 

  1. Baking Challahs:
  • One is to bake Challahs for Yom Tov which will be used for Lechem Mishneh and is not to buy them at the bakery as is done during the week.
  • One is to bake at least the amount that requires one to remove Challah from the dough.

 

  1. Haircut
  • It is a Mitzvah upon a person to get a haircut on Erev Rosh Hashanah in honor of Yom Tov, in order so one does not enter into the holiday looking unbefitting.
  • It is permitted to get a haircut throughout the entire Erev R”H, even past the time of Mincha. However some Poskim rule that [despite the above ruling] one is to beware to take a haircut prior to midday.
  • It is forbidden to get a haircut prior to Davening.
  • One is to intend upon getting a haircut that he is removing the powers of severity and is fulfilling the Mitzvah of having Peiyos and the Mitzvah of paying a worker for his job on the same day and the Mitzvah of honoring Yom Tov. One can fulfill a total of fourteen Mitzvos when he gets a haircut.

 

  1. Cutting the nails:
  • It is a Mitzvah to cut one’s nails on Erev Rosh Hashanah in honor of Yom Tov, just as is the law on Erev Shabbos.
  • One is to cut his nails prior to immersing.

 

  1. Bathing on Erev Rosh Hashanah:

It is a Mitzvah to bathe one’s body in hot water on Erev Rosh Hashanah in honor of Yom Tov.

 

  1. Immersing in a Mikveh on Erev Rosh Hashanah:
  • It is a customary to immerse in a Mikvah on Erev Rosh Hashanah.
  • One is to only go to Mikveh after midday, or at the very least past the 5th hour of the day. If one cannot immerse at that time then he may immerse anytime in the morning.
  • One is to cut his nails prior to immersing.
  • One should immerse three times in the water.
  • Although during the regular year it is not required to remove a Chatzitza from the body prior to immersion nevertheless regarding the immersion of Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Yom Kippur one is to remove all Chatzitzas from the body. Thus one is to clean his body with hot water and comb through his hair prior to immersion in order to remove any intervals.
  • It is permitted to shower after Mikveh, although some are stringent not to do so.
  • Based on the teachings of the Arizal one should not dry the Mikveh water off his body after immersing. It suffices for one to leave his feet wet in order to fulfill this directive.
  • If a Mikveh is not available: See the “Supplement on Men immersing in a Mikveh” provided in the back of the Sefer for the full details of this matter!

 

  1. Yom Tov Clothing:
  • The custom today is to wear ones regular Yom Tov clothing.
  • Some have the custom to wear a Kittle on Rosh Hashanah. This is not the Chabad custom.

 

  1. Eiruv Tavshilin:
  • Whenever the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Erev Shabbos one performs an Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Rosh Hashanah [Wednesday].
  • The owner of the house takes a whole loaf/role of bread/Matzah the size of a Kibeitza [which is to later be used on Shabbos] and a Kezayis of a cooked piece of meat or other food which one eats together with bread.
  • If one has another person to use to acquire the food to him on behalf of the city then the owner is to say:

“אני מזכה לכל־מי שרוצה לזכות ולסמוך על ערוב זה”

  • The person who is acquiring the food for the townspeople then lifts the food up one Tefach.
  • The owner then takes back the food and recites the following blessing:

ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על מצות  עירוב.

  • If one does not have another person to use to acquire the food to the townspeople then he is to simply hold the food and begin with the above blessing.
  • After the blessing one says in a language that he understands “With this Eiruv it will be permitted for us to bake and cook and insulate foods, and light candles and to do all our needs on Yom Tov for Shabbos”.

בדין יהא שרא לנא לאפויי ולבשולי ולאטמוני ולאדלוקי שרגא ולתקנא ולמעבד כל צרכנא מיומא טבא

לשבתא לנא ולכל ישראל הדרים בעיר הזאת

 

  1. Writing a “Pan” Pidyon Nefesh:
  • It is the custom of Chassidim is to write a Pidyon Nefesh on behalf of oneself and one’s family, and then send it to the Rebbe.
  • The Pa”n is to be sent to be read at the Ohel or placed into a Sefer of the Rebbe.
  • The custom is to write a Pa”n on a blank piece of paper without lines.
  • One is to be particular to immerse in a Mikveh prior to writing the Pa”n. Married men are accustomed to write the Pa”n while wearing a Gartel.
  • One is to wash his hands prior to writing the Pa”n.
  • The Rebbe would write the word “Pan” at the head of the Pa”n when writing a Pa”n to the Rebbe Rayatz, and so is the practice of Chassidim.
  • One begins the Pa”n addressing the Rebbe “כ”ק אדמור”.
  • One begins the letter with the words “אנא לעורר רחמים רבים עלי”.

 

  1. The last Mincha:
  • One begins saying Tehillim from one hour before Mincha.
  • One is to Daven the Mincha prayer of Erev Rosh Hashanah with intense concentration, slightly lengthening the prayer. This is the last prayer of the year and is the introductory prayer to the Holy day of Rosh Hashanah. For this reason it is proper to Daven Mincha slightly earlier in the day.
  • When Erev Rosh Hashanah falls on Erev Shabbos one recites the paragraph of Hodu and Patach Eliyahu prior to Mincha as usual.
  • One does not recite Hodu or Patach Eliyahu prior to Mincha of Erev Rosh Hashanah if it does not fall on Erev Shabbos.

 

  1. Candle lighting:
  • The custom is to light the candles prior to sunset at the same time that they are lit on Erev Shabbos.
  • One first lights the candles and then says the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bimitzvosav Vetzivanu Lehadlik Neir Shel Yom Hazikaron”. This blessing is then followed by the blessing of Shehechiyanu.
  • When Erev Rosh Hashanah falls on Erev Shabbos one recites “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bimitzvosav Vetzivanu Lehadlik Neir Shel Shabbos Vishel Yom Hazikaron” and then Shehechiyanu.
  • One who did not light the candles prior to sunset is to light the candles at night, on Yom Tov, from a preexisting flame. It is to be lit at the very least prior to the return of the men from Shul.
  • Those that have a Yartzite on Rosh Hashanah are to light the Yartzite candle before Yom Tov.
  • It is proper to prepare a 24 hour candle on Erev Rosh Hashanah in order to have a preexisting flame available to use on Yom Tov.

[1] The following additional Nussach is added in Maaneh Lashon:

אתה גיבור לעולם אדני, מחיה מתים אתה, רב להושיע מכלכל חיים בחסד מחיה מתים ברחמים רבים, סומך נופלים, ורופא חולים, ומתיר אסורים, ומקים אמונתו לישני עפר. מי כמוך בעל גבורות ומי דומה לך, מלך ממית ומחייה ומצמיח ישועה: ונאמן אתה להחיות מתים.

[2] One can download a PDF of the Chabad Maaneh Lashon [Kehos 2000] at: www.hebrewbooks.org:15693

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