Chai Elul-The occurrences and Directives

Chai Elul:[1]

The occurrences:

  1. The Maharal of Prague, who was the great ancestor of the Alter Rebbe, passed away on Chai Elul, in the year [2]
  2. The eighteenth of Elul is the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov was born on Monday, the eighteenth of Elul, in the year 5458/1698. This Hebrew year spells out the word נחת [tranquility, fulfillment], as the Baal Shem Tov brought tranquility both to G-d and to the Jewish people.
  3. On Wednesday, Chai Elul, in the year 1714 by his 16th birthday, the Baal Shem Tov met Eliyahu Hanavi for the first time while alone, while performing Hisbodedus in the field. On that occasion, Eliyahu Hanavi taught the Baal Shem Tov what would become one of the central teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, which is the importance of blessing and praising God whenever he has an opportunity. From there was born the concept of reciting Baruch Hashem when asked how one is doing.[3]
  4. On Chai Elul 5484/1724 [תפ׳׳ד] Achiyah HaShiloni revealed himself to the Baal Shem Tov.
  5. On Chai Elul 5494/1734 [תצ׳׳ד] the Baal Shem Tov revealed himself to the public and was no longer a hidden Tzaddik.
  6. The eighteenth of Elul is the birthday of the Alter Rebbe. He was born on Wednesday, the eighteenth of Elul, in the year 5505/1745. This Hebrew year spells out the word קה״ת which is the initials of the phrase קרני הוד תורה.
  7. On Chai Elul, in the year 1813, the center of the Chabad Hasidic movement officially moved to the city of Lubavitch.[4]
  8. On Chai Elul, in the year 1897, the first studies officially began in the Tomchei Temimim Yeshiva.[5]
  9. On Yud Tes Elul, in the year 1940, the Rebbe Rayatz moved to 770.[6]


Its importance:

  • The Rebbe Rashab and Rebbe Rayatz were accustomed to wish others Gut Yom Tov on this day.[7] The Rebbe Rashab would wear Shabbos clothing and privately guard this day as a holiday.[8]
  • Chai Elul is the day that introduced, and introduces, vitality into Elul.
  • Chai Elul enters enthusiasm to one’s spiritual service as defined by the phrase “Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li”.
  • Chai Elul is the day on which one begins one’s Divine service for the coming year.[9]



Day of Farbrengen:[10]

One is to hold a Chassidic gathering in the local Shul on Chaiy Elul. One is to speak of stories of Tzaddikim and strengthen the path of Chassidus.



In the Rebbe’s Minyan, Tachanun was recited on this day as normal.



The last 12 days of Elul:[12]

The last 12 days of Elul corresponds to the 12 months of previous year. Each day one should do Teshuvah for its corresponding month.

Date  Corresponding Teshuvah month
18th Tishrei
19th Cheshvan
20th Kisleiv
21st Teves
22nd Shevat
23rd Adar and/or Adar 11[13]
24th Nissan
25th Iyar
26th Sivan
27th Tammuz
28th Av
29th Elul


[1] Sefer Haminhagim [English] 100-103

[2] Days in Chabad

[3] Recorded in the talks of the previous Rebbe

[4] Days in Chabad

[5] Days in Chabad

[6] Days in Chabad

[7] Sefer Haminhagim ibid; Sefer Hasichos 1943:141

[8] Sefer Hasichos ibid

[9] Likkutei Dibburim Likkut 23 [p.617]: “Chaiy Elul is the beginning of the Avoda of the new year…As is known every year within a person’s life contains a specific form of Avoda”

[10] Igros Kodesh 1:130

[11] See Hiskashrus 840; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 21-22; The Rebbe Rashab told his son the Rebbe Rayatz not to say Tachanun on this day. [Sefer Hasichos 1943 p. 140] When asked in 1989 whether Tachanun is to be recited on Chaiy Elul the Rebbe responded that regarding matters dependent on feeling one is not to ask. [Otzer ibid] Obviously this refers to a true feeling of joy and not a feeling that simply comes as a result of reading this response. [ibid]

[12] Sefer Hasichos Rebbe Rayatz 1943 Chaiy Elul p. 177-179; Sefer Haminhagim ibid; Igros Kodesh 3:432; Likkutei Sichos 2:629

[13] Likkutei Sichos 24:642

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