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Yesterday being the 30th of Av (and Rosh Chodesh Elul), prompted a question at shul: exactly when do we start saying Psalm 27—on the first day of Elul or the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul? Most of my siddurim (including ArtScroll) have something ambiguous like "from the start of Elul". The Orthodox Union web site clearly states "beginning with the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul . . ." On the other hand, Siddur Tehillat Hashem (Chabad) clearly states, "From the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul . . .". (Just for the record, we included it.)

So is the tradition to have different traditions? What are the authorities for the two opinions?

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With regards to the Chabad tradition of starting from the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul (which is the 30th of Av), Dayan Raskin (pdf page 217, footnote 469) points toward the Divrei Nechemia's Hashlamot to the Shulchan Aruch Harav 581, Kuntres Acharon 1.

There, the Divrei Nechemia discusses how Moshe's 3rd ascent to Mount Sinai was the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, on the 30th of Av. That starts the opportune time period of G-d's willingness to forgive us and accept our repentance (see Divrei Nechemia's 581:1).

The Divrei Nechemia, in 581:2, says that the custom to start blowing Shofar on the first day of Rosh Chodesh is the main one, but those who start on the second should not change their custom, since they have what to rely on. A place without an existing custom however, should start on the first day.


I also vaguely remember once hearing that we learn something out from the number of times (or days) we say L'David, that only works out if you start from the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul and finish after mincha on Hosha'anah Rabba, but I don't remember the details.

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How do we know if Elul was Malei or Chaseir in the year Moshe got the second Luchot? –  Double AA Aug 20 '12 at 3:06
    
@DoubleAA: 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur. See a long discussion in the Kuntres Acharon linked to above. At the end he says the Seder Hadorot discusses this at great length as well. –  Menachem Aug 20 '12 at 3:25
    
I know it's 40 days. But he concludes that it started on the first day of Rosh Chodesh which is only necessary if Elul is Chaseir. How does he know that? Couldn't Elul have had 30 days and the count started on the second day of Rosh Chodesh? –  Double AA Aug 20 '12 at 3:35
    
@DoubleAA: That is what the Magen Avraham says to answer how people could say that to start on the second day. That they added an extra day to Elul that year which is how the count could start from the second day of Rosh Chodesh: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=40432&pgnum=253 and hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=40432&pgnum=254 –  Menachem Aug 20 '12 at 4:11
    
You say he 'answers' it as if it is a bedieved answer. I don't see any reason to pick one way over the other. –  Double AA Aug 20 '12 at 7:09

The Mishnah Brurah and the be'er heiteiv (581:1) note (with regard to blowing shofar which I am tying logically to l'dovid) that there are 2 traditions -- some start on the first day of rosh chodesh and some on the second. The be'er heiteiv says that one should not change either custom.

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Why do you connect the customs? –  msh210 Aug 20 '12 at 6:08
    
mostly because I assumed that 27 is part of the "slichot vtachanunim" that the S"A says start then (the statement to which the ramo adds the notion of the shofar). The kitzur 128:2 puts the two practices next to each other (both starting on the second day) along with the practice of saying other tehillim. –  Danno Aug 20 '12 at 14:45

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