Chapter 3: The Rosh Hashanah prayers-Summary

Summary of laws of the Prayers of Rosh Hashanah & Aseres Yimei Teshuvah

The form of prayer required on Rosh Hashanah

  • One should pray with profound bitterness, having recognition that one is approaching the King with “torn garments,” and thus begging G-d to have mercy and accept him as his servant. Nevertheless, when one accepts the yoke of heaven it must also be done with joy and desire.
  • What to Daven for: The Rebbe Rashab stated: “On Rosh Hashanah one is to pray with great fervor, accompanied by tears of mercy, that one be successful in amending his character and acting in a Chassidic method.”
  • Crying during prayer: One who is not drawn to cry during these days [of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur] it is a sign that his soul is incomplete, G-d forbid. This cry that is required is one of passionate longing for G-d. One is however not to cry on Rosh Hashanah due to a loss in physical or even spiritual matters. This however only applies to Tzaddikim Gemurim, however those which still contain evil in their hearts, certainly are to cry over the evil that is in them which prevents them from attaching to G-d. One who is suddenly overcome with an outburst of tears on Rosh Hashanah is a sign that at this moment his soul is being judged before Hashem. One who cries out of Teshuvah on Rosh Hashanah has the ability to tear the evil decree and write him into the book of Tzaddikim. The Zohar states that crying during prayer is a great Segula for one’s prayer to be accepted above. It is proper to wipe the tears over one’s face as the sins of a person are written on his forehead [and are hence cleansed by these tears].
  • May one pray for physical matters on Rosh Hashanah? Yes. One may make requests of physical and spiritual matters on Rosh Hashanah even if it coincides with Shabbos.
  • Tehillim: The main Avoda on Rosh Hashanah is accepting Hashem’s Kingship. This is expressed specifically through the simple words of Tehillim. Thus all Jews, including those that are learned and of great spiritual stature are to spend their time reciting Tehillim. The recital of Tehillim overrides even the learning of Chassidus. The recital of Tehillim adds millions of words into the Sefira of Malchus. The words of Tehillim are to be recited aloud. Throughout both days of Rosh Hashanah, from an hour before Mincha on the eve of Rosh Hashanah until Maariv at its conclusion, every person should diligently recite Tehillim both at night and by day. He is to intensify his devotion in prayer and supplication from the depths of his heart, and recite Tehillim at every available moment. Some are accustomed to reciting the entire book of Tehillim twice throughout the two days of Rosh Hashanah. Nevertheless, it is better to recite a smaller amount with concentration than a large amount without focus. One is to diminish his sleep as much as possible during both nights of Rosh Hashanah, hence sleeping less than usual.
  • Mundane speech: During the two days of Rosh Hashanah, one is to completely abstain from any mundane conversation to the utmost. He is to act as a slave who does not have even one moment free to rest from his master’s work, and like a son that is toiling in effort to greet his father.
  • Reviewing the prayers: The Chazan for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur should review the Davening, the meaning of its words, and the Midrashic and Chassidic teachings on the prayers. This especially applies to the Piyutim in Davening. This is to be done every year even if he did so the previous year. He is also to review the laws of prayer in general and especially those that specifically pertain to the Chazan. Every individual is to review the prayers and teach it to his children prior to the Holiday. Whoever has the ability is to take out time to learn the meaning of the Piyutim recited during the prayer.
  • Correct punctuation and Nussach: During the ten days of repentance, which begin from Rosh Hashanah, one must be extra careful in punctuating the words of Davening correctly.


Changes in the prayers applicable to Aseres Yimei Teshuva [Halacha 2-3]:

  • Saying Shir Hamaalos in Shacharis: It is customary to recite the psalm of Shir Hamaalos Mimamakim between Yishtabach and Barchu throughout the ten days of repentance. The purpose of reciting this psalm during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah is to sweeten the Gevuros. Each day one is to intend to sweeten the specific Gevura of that day. It is not the Chabad custom to open the ark when the psalm is recited, and we do not repeat each verse after the Chazan. If the Chazan forgot to say Shir Hamaalos and already began Kaddish then he is to finish the Kaddish and continue straight with Yotzer Or. The psalm of Shir Hamaalos is to be omitted. If one is holding in middle of Pesukei Dezimra he may say Shir Hamaalos together with the congregation. Furthermore, upon reaching Yishtabach he may repeat Shir Hamaalos, prior to Yotzer Or.
  • Oseh Hashalom: At the conclusion of Kaddish one says “Oseh Hashalom” in place of “Oseh Shalom”.
  • Ulieila: It is not the Chabad custom to add the word “Ulieila” in Kaddish of Aseres Yimei Teshuvah [with exception to the Kaddish said during Neila in which we say Lieila Ulieila Mikol Birchasa].

Changes in the Amidah applicable to the ten days of repentance:

  • Hamelech Hakadosh: In Shemoneh Esrei of Aseres Yimei Teshuvah the third blessing concludes with the words “Hamelech Hakadosh” in place of “Hakel Hakadosh”. This begins from the first night of Rosh Hashanah until the end of the ten days of repentance. If one did not say Hamelech Hakadosh, or is in doubt if he said it, then if he already began the next blessing, he must repeat Shemoneh Esrei. If he has not yet begun the next blessing, then if he has not passed the amount of time it takes to say “Shalom Alecha Rebbe” then he may say Hamelech Hakadosh and continue. If however he remembered only after this amount of time already passed, then he must repeat from the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei. If the Chazan forgot to say Hamelech Hakadosh he is required to repeat from the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei, just as is the law for an individual. In such a case Kedusha is to be repeated.
  • Mieiyn Sheva: On Shabbos Teshuvah, as well as when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur fall on Shabbos, the Chazan recites in the blessing of Mieiyn Sheva recited [after Shemoneh Esrei of Maariv] on Friday night, Hamelech Hakadosh in place of Hakeil Hakadosh. Likewise, when the congregation customarily recites the paragraph of Magen Avos they say the words Hamelech Hakadosh in place of Hakeil Hakadosh.
  • Hamelech Hamishpat: In Shemoneh Esrei of Aseres Yimei Teshuvah the tenth blessing of Hashiva Shofteinu concludes with the words “Hamelech Hamishpat” in place of “Melech Ohave Tzedaka Umishpat”. This emphasizes that Hashem is the King that is currently in judgment at this time. If one did not conclude with ‘Hamelech Hamishpat’, or is in doubt as to how he concluded, then if he already began the next blessing, he is to continue Shemoneh Esrei and is not to go back to the blessing of Hashiva. In such a case it is proper to repeat Shemoneh Esrei from the beginning as a Toras Nidava after he concludes his prayers. If he remembered prior to beginning the next blessing, then if the amount of time to say “Shalom Alecha Rebbe” has not passed since he concluded the blessing, he is to correct himself and say “Hamelech Hamishpat”. He is then to continue regularly from there. If however this amount of time has already passed, then he is not to correct himself and is rather to continue Shemoneh Esrei as usual. After he concludes his Shemoneh Esrei it is proper to repeat Shemoneh Esrei as a Toras Nidava as stated above.
  • Hamelech Hakodesh and Hamelech Hamishpat versus Melech Hakadosh and Melech Hamishpat: One must recite Hamelech Hakadosh and Hamelech Hamishpat with the letter Hei. If one did not do so then some Poskim rule one does not fulfill his obligation. However, most Poskim conclude one does fulfill his obligation and so is the final ruling.
  • Zachreinu; Mi Chamocha; Ukesov; Ubisefer: The Geonim instituted that throughout Aseres Yimei Teshuvah one is to add the following prayers: Zachreinu Lechayim in the blessing of Avos [1st blessing], Mi Chamocha in the blessing of Gevuros [2nd blessing], Ukesov in the blessing of Hodaah [2nd to last blessing], and Ubisefer in the blessing of Sim Shalom. If one forgot to say any of the above additions, then if he already said Hashem’s name in that closing blessing, such as he said Baruch Ata Hashem in “Mechayeh Hameisim”, then he is to continue with the prayer. [In such a case some Poskim rule that one is to say the omitted part at the conclusion of the Amidah after saying the second Yehi Ratzon.] If one remembered to say it prior to saying Hashem’s name in the concluding blessing [even if he already said Baruch Ata, but not Hashem], he is to say it in the area that he remembers and then continue from where he left off. When the Chazan repeats Shemoneh Esrei, the Chabad custom is that the congregation recites aloud the verses of Ukesov and Ubisefer but not Zachreinu or Mi Chamocha. This applies equally on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
  • Oseh Hashalom: At the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei, after Elokaiy Netzor, one says “Oseh Hashalom” in place of “Oseh Shalom.” However, in Birchas Hamazon the Nussach is Oseh Shalom and not Hashalom.

Laws relating to Shemoneh Esrei of Rosh Hashanah [applies to night and day]

  • Bowing throughout the Amidah: Some have the custom to pray Shemoneh Esrei of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in a bowing position. Practically today most people are no longer accustomed to pray with a bent posture, and so is the Chabad custom.
  • Skipped Vichein Ten Pachdecha: If one did not recite Vichein Ten Pachdecha and already concluded “Hamelech Hakadosh” he is to continue with the remainder of Shemoneh Esrei. If he remembered after reciting Hashem’s name in the blessing [Baruch Ata Hashem] he is to conclude the blessing with Hamelech Hakadosh and is not to recite Lamdeini Chukecha. He is then to continue with Ata Vechartanu. In such a case he can choose to say the Nussach of Vichein Ten Pachdecha at the end of Shemoneh Esrei, prior to the second Yehi Ratzon.

The night prayer of Rosh Hashanah:

  • “One takes leave of the previous year with Mincha of Erev Rosh Hashanah. One greets the new year with Maariv of the first night of Rosh Hashanah”
  • Tehillim prior to Maariv: Before Maariv on the eve of Rosh Hashanah one is to read Tehillim. [See Introduction of this chapter]  
  • The greatness of Maariv on the night of Rosh Hashanah: In Kabala it is explained that the life force of the world which derives from the attribute of Malchus is in a state of withdrawal and renewal on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.
  • The form of Avoda of Maariv on the 1st night: On the first night of Rosh Hashanah the form of Avoda required from a Jew in his prayer is one of bitterness and broken heartedness over one’s lack of yoke of heaven and lack of faithfulness as a servant of G-d. This is to touch the core of his heart and he is to cry and supplicate before Hashem to accept him as His servant. This is the Avoda of Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim which must move his very essence. This Kabalas Ol is accepted above and causes great satisfaction before Hashem, and arouses His will for the Kingship.
  • From the description of the prayer of the Rabbeim on the night of Rosh Hashanah it is understood that each and every Chassid must also exemplify the above intensity and spiritual investment into his Maariv prayer at least on some level.
  • Avinu Malkeinu: The Chabad custom is to sing the Niggun of Avinu Malkeinu prior to the start of Maariv, as well as prior to all the other prayers on Rosh Hashanah. This custom was initiated by the Rebbe.
  • Maariv: The course of the Maariv prayer until Shemoneh Esrei follows the normal Maariv dialect of a weeknight. One however begins from Shir Hamaalos and not from Vehu Rachum. For Shemoneh Esrei one Davens the special Rosh Hashanah dialect which includes the paragraphs of Vichein Ten Pachdecha. In Shemoneh Esrei one must remember to add the following statements: Zachreinu, Mi Chamocha, Vichein Ten Pachdecha, Hamelech Hakadosh, Ukesov, Ubesefer, Oseh Hashalom.
  • Lidavid Mizmor: After Shemoneh Esrei of the evening services of Rosh Hashanah one says the psalm of Ledavid Mizmor LaHashem (Psalm 24) with intense concentration. It is recited prior to Kaddish Tiskabel and not directly prior to Aleinu. The Rebbe Rashab stated that the concentration applied while reciting the psalm of Ledavid creates the vessel that contains the blessing of one’s physical needs of the entire year.
  • Wishing each other a good year: It is customary after the conclusion of Maariv on the first night of Rosh Hashanah to wish one’s friend “Lishana Tovah Techasev Vesechasem”, in the singular form. This can be said likewise at the conclusion of Maariv of the second night of Rosh Hashanah. From after midday of the second day of Rosh Hashanah and onwards, we no longer bless each other with the word “Techasev” being the writing of the decree has already been finalized. The custom is rather to say Gemar Chasima Tova.
  • A woman is to be told “Leshanah Tovah Tichtiviy Vitichtimi…” in the female tense.
  • When blessing many people at the same time one is to say “Lishana Tovah Techaseivu Vesechaseimu” in the plural.
  • The Tzemach Tzedek once related: Two angels escort each Jew on the night of Rosh Hashanah. When these angels hear Jews blessing each other “May you be written and sealed for a good year” with a wholesome heart, they give a favorable recommendation and insist on a good and sweet year for that person.
  • Rosh Hashanah that falls on Friday evening: When [the first night of] Rosh Hashanah falls on Friday evening one begins the Maariv prayer from Mizmor Ledavid [psalm 29], omitting all the Psalms from Lechu Neranina until Mizmor Ledavid. One recites the entire dialect from Mizmor Ledavid and onwards, including Ana Bekoach; all the stanzas of Lecha Dodi; Mizmor Shir, Kegavna. In Lecha Dodi the normal dialect of Berina is recited. After Shemoneh Esrei one recites Vayechulu, and Meiyn Sheva. Following the recital of Meiyn Sheva one recites Ledavid Mizmor and then Kaddish with Tiskabel. This Kaddish is then followed by “Mizmor Ledavid Hashem Roiy” as is usually recited on Friday night. One then recites half Kaddish, Barchu and Aleinu. In Mieiyn Sheva the Chazan recites Hamelech Hakadosh in place of Hakeil Hakadosh. [Likewise, when the congregation customarily recites the paragraph of Magen Avos they say the words Hamelech Hakadosh in place of Hakeil Hakadosh.] The Chazan however concludes only with the blessing of Shabbos [i.e. Mikadeish Hashabbos] even if Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos.]
  • When saying a Mi Shebeirach for the sick on Shabbos Rosh Hashanah some Poskim write it is not necessary to mention “Shabbos Hi Milizoke”. Others however write that it may be said as usual.
  • Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita: The Maggid of Mezritch recited the Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita on the first night of Rosh Hashanah with great concentration and in great length. The Rebbe Rashab once took four hours to recite Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita on this night.


Shacharis-The Morning Prayers:

  • The laws below apply to both the first and second day of Rosh Hashanah.
  • May one eat prior to Shacharis? It is forbidden to eat a meal prior to hearing Shofar. Even those which generally eat before prayer during the year so they have strength to pray, may not eat a meal prior to hearing Shofar on Rosh Hashanah. This applies equally to both days of Rosh Hashanah. Many Poskim rule that one may not eat even a snack prior to hearing Shofar unless one is weak or sick. Practically many are accustomed to fast and not eat or drink anything until one hears Shofar. There is no prohibition in doing so even if one will only be able to eat after midday. However, some say that even according to the Chabad custom one may drink prior to Davening.
  • It is customary for women not to eat at all until they hear Shofar. However, from the letter of the law women are allowed to eat up to 55 grams of Mezonos, unlimited amount of fruit and vegetables, and unlimited number of beverages. This certainly applies to a woman who is pregnant, nursing or feels weak.
  • Mikveh: It is customary to immerse in a Mikveh prior to Shacharis even if one already immersed on Erev Rosh Hashanah. This especially applies to the Baal Tokeia and Chazan.
  • Bringing children to Shul: It is a custom of Jewry to place great effort that every child be present in Shul for some time on Rosh Hashanah. Based on his age, he is to be present for the prayers, blessings, Tekias Shofar, answering Amen. The children perform this with joy until it affects even the adults.
  • Adon Olam: The following guarantee was made by Rav Yehuda Hachassid; Rav Haiy Gaon and Rav Sherira Gaon: One who concentrates while reciting the opening paragraph of Adon Olam I guarantee that his prayers will be heard and the Satan will not prosecute against his prayers. He will not have any Satan [prosecute] during his prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and his enemies will fall before him.
  • Hamelech: The custom is to have the Chazan of Shacharis switch the Chazan of Pesukei Dezimra starting from the word Hamelech. The word Hamelech is recited by the Chazan in the slow traditional tune, lengthening the verbalization of the word. [Each person is to read all the words quietly to himself.]
  • Shir Hamaalos: Shir Hamaalos Mimamakim is recited between Yishtabach and Kaddish. See Halacha 2 for further details on this subject.
  • Leaving the Tallis over one’s head for the duration of prayer: The Rebbe did not remove his Tallis from over his head for the entire duration of the prayers.
  • Standing when the ark is open: From the letter of the law one is not required to stand when the ark is open, however the custom of the world is to stand out of respect. Nevertheless, if it is difficult for one to stand he may be seated.
  • Standing at the end of each blessing: In certain years the Rebbe was accustomed to slightly lift himself towards the conclusion of each blessing of Chazaras Hashatz and by the recital of Ukesov and Ubisefer. However, in the later years the Rebbe remained sitting throughout the repetition, including the concluding blessings.
  • Niggun by Kaddish Tiskabel: It is customary to sing a hymn when reciting the Kaddish Tiskabel which follows the Chazan’s repetition. This shows that we trust that our prayers have been accepted before Hashem and we will be blessed with a good year.
  • Halel/הלל: The Halel prayer is not recited on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Those that say Tehillim on a daily basis and have reached the psalms of Halel on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as part of their regular cycle are permitted to recite these psalms as usual. However, those that are not saying the Tehillim as part of any cycle may not specifically recite the psalms of Halel in Tehillim.
  • Avinu Malkeinu/אבינו מלכנו: Avinu Malkeinu is recited on Rosh Hashanah after each Shacharis and Mincha Shemoneh Esrei. The custom is to open the ark prior to its recital. The custom is to stand during its recital. We omit on Rosh Hashanah all stanzas that mention sin such as Chet or Avon and the like.] When saying the stanza of א”מ קרע רוע גזר דיננו the words רוע גזר are read in one breath. Avinu Malkeinu is omitted on Shabbos. Thus Avinu Malkeinu is omitted on Shabbos Shuva and on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos. In addition to the above Avinu Malkeinu is also omitted by Mincha of Erev Shabbos.
  • The Torah Reading: When the Ark is opened to remove the Torah scrolls the 13 attributes [i.e. passage of Hashem Hashem] is recited three times prior to Berich Shmei. This applies even when [the first day of] Rosh Hashanah falls on After the recital of Hashem Hashem one recites the prayer of Ribono Shel Olam one time. Likewise, the verse of Veani Sefilasi, which is recited after the Ribono Shel Olam is only recited one time. This is then followed by the prayer of Berich Shmei.
  • Two Torah scrolls are removed from the Ark. The scrolls are to be rolled to their proper places prior to Davening. Doing so is not to be delayed until Kerias Hatorah. If only one scroll is available, then the two portions are to be read from the same scroll.
  • On the first day of Rosh Hashanah one reads from the first Torah scroll the portion starting with “And Hashem remembered Sarah” up until the section of the Akeida. This portion is read because [it discusses the remembrance of G-d’s promise to Sarah that she will have a child and] it was on Rosh Hashanah that she was remembered [by Hashem and conceived].
  • Five men are called up for an Aliyah by the Torah reading of the first Torah scroll. When Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbos seven men are called up to the reading of the first Torah scroll. The Aliyas are to be given to married men of stature out of respect for the day. Some communities have a custom to give one of the five Aliyos to the Baal Tokeia. Other communities are accustomed in addition to the above to also give an Aliya to the Chazan of Musaf. It is proper for every G-d fearing Jew to try to get an Aliyah during the High Holidays. If the Aliyas are sold then he should try to purchase an Aliyah in accordance to the amount that he can afford. Nevertheless, one must beware from this leading towards strife and discord as one should not fight over any Mitzvah and one who compromises to the other person is also meritorious. This applies even if one desires to get an Aliyah on behalf of a deceased relative, as the compromise serves as an even greater merit.
  • It is a known custom amongst all Israel to read the Torah on Rosh Hashanah in a special tune of the Yamim Noraim. This is also the Chabad custom. Nevertheless, in Lubavitch the custom was to read the Maftir from the second scroll in the regular reading tune and not with the tune of the High Holidays. The custom is for the person who receives the Aliyah to recite the blessings of Birchas Hatorah in the hymn of the Rosh Hashanah reading. The same applies to reading the Mi Shebeirach. One should not swerve from this custom. Nevertheless, the blessings of the Maftir and Haftorah are said in the regular tune according to the Chabad custom.
  • Mi Shebeirach: Some Poskim write that one should not recite the words “Lekavod Yom Hadin” being that these are days of mercy. Practically the Chabad custom is to say “Lekavod Yom Hadin”. Upon saying a Mi Shebeirach for the sick it is not necessary to say “Shabbos Hi Melizok” or “Yom Tov Hi Melizok” as today is the day of judgment.
  • After the above reading and recital of half Kaddish the Maftir is read from the second Torah from the portion of Pinchas “Ubechodesh Hashevi”. This portion discusses the sacrifices of Rosh Hashanah that were brought on Rosh Hashanah in the Temple.
  • The Haftorah is read from the beginning of Sefer Shmuel until the words “Vayerem Keren Meshicho”. The reason it is read is because it discusses the events of Chana’s pregnancy as also Chana conceived on Rosh Hashanah.
  • The Torah scroll is left out throughout the Shofar blowing and is thus only returned before Musaf. The prevalent custom amongst Anash is that the Sefer Torah is placed on the Bimah during the Shofar blowing, however in 770 the custom is for it to be held.
  • Reading on the Second day of Rosh Hashanah: Two Torah scrolls are removed from the ark. One reads the portion of the Akeida from the first Torah scroll, starting with “And Elokim tested Avraham” up until the end of the Parsha. This portion is read in order to remind [Hashem] of the Akeida of Yitzchak. The person who reads the Haftorah reads for Maftir [from the second scroll] the same portion of the Torah that was read yesterday [the first day of Rosh Hashanah]. The Haftorah is read from Yerimia, starting from the words “Ko Amar etc” until the words “Haben Yakir etc”. The reason for why we read this Haftorah is because it is an obligation to awaken the memory on Rosh Hashanah, and in this Haftorah it states “Zechor Ezkerenu Od Al Kein Hamu Meiay”.

Shofar Blowing:

  • The Shofar is blown for the first time after the Torah reading. This set of blows is referred to as Tekios Meyushav. One fulfills his Biblical obligation of hearing Shofar with hearing this set of blows. There are various subjects of laws applicable towards Shofar blowing, as elaborated on in the section entitled “Shofar”. In this Halacha only those laws and customs that relate to the blows within the prayer will be brought.
  • The blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah expresses the scream of the essence of the Jewish soul. A deep cry bringing regret for the past and determination for the future. The blowing of the Shofar draws down the Sefira of Malchus for the coming year. This follows the saying of the Sages “One recites Malchiyos in order to crown me as King over you. And with what? With the Shofar”.
  • The spiritual preparation prior to the blowing: One is to spiritually prepare himself prior to blowing Shofar. This is accomplished by each person thinking of matters that spiritually arouse him, each person on his own level and in accordance to his nature. On a deeper level at this time one is to resolve a general acceptance of the Heavenly yoke for the entire year. The Rabbeim prepared themselves for this occasion through the singing of a Niggun. The Rebbe would sing the Niggun of Gimel Tenuos.
  • The verses recited prior to the blowing: After the above preparation is completed one is then to say the psalm of “Lamnatzeiach Livnei Korach” seven times. This psalm has the ability to turn the attribute of judgment into mercy. After the recital of this psalm the Chazan recites a series of verses spelling out the words קר”ע שטן with the congregation repeating verse by verse after the Chazan. The Baal Tokeia and congregation then recites the Yehi Ratzon prayer recited prior to the blessings over Shofar.
  • The Makri: The makri does not utter a word, and instead he merely points one by one to the names of the sounds as listed in the
  • The Blessing: Prior to blowing the Shofar the Baal Tokeia recites the following blessing while standing: “אקב”ו לשמוע קול שופר”. After reciting this blessing, he is to recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu. The blessing of Shehechiyanu is recited on both the first and second day of Rosh Hashanah. By the Shofar blowing of the second day the Baal Tokeia should initially wear a new garment. The congregation is to have in mind to fulfill their obligation with the blessings and sounds. The congregation answers Amen after each of the two blessings that are recited although does not say Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo. The Shofar is to be covered prior to saying the blessings until after the blessings have been completed. Some however write that the mouth of the Shofar remains revealed. One is to hold with his right hand the covered Shofar while the blessings are recited. The Rebbe’s custom was to simply rest his hand on the cover of the Shofros. After reciting these two blessings [of Leshmoa and Shehechiyanu] the blower is to sound “תשר”ת תש”ת תר”ת” three times each set.
  • Standing: The custom is to stand throughout Shofar blowing, starting from the blessings until the end of the blows. This applies for both the Baal Tokeia and the congregants.
  • Concentration and Kavanos during Shofar blowing: One must focus his attention on the sounds during the blows. If one did not do so it is questionable whether he fulfills his obligation of that specific blow in which his mind was drifting. Thus, it is proper for one to look inside the Machzor and follow along by each sound. One is to think by each sound how he is fulfilling the will of G-d and giving Him pleasure above. Doing so will help him concentrate and prevent him from allowing his mind to drift. Accordingly, one is to beware not to think too deeply while hearing the sounds even of matters that pertain to the Shofar, such as its laws and Kabalistic intents. However, a general Kavana of the meaning and effect of Shofar every individual listener must have, as one does not fulfill his obligation of the “Kavanos” with the Kavanos of the Baal Tokeia.
  • Who holds the Sefer Torah during the Shofar blowing? The prevalent custom amongst Anash is that the Sefer Torah is placed on the Bimah during the blowing, however in 770 the custom is for it to be held.
  • Not to talk until after Musaf: One may not speak from the time he hears the beginning of Shofar blowing after Kerias Hatorah until after Musaf. However [after the first set of blows-Tekios Meyushav] one may speak of matters relating to the Shofar and Davening. One may say Asher Yatzar after using the bathroom. It is forbidden for one to learn Torah verbally until after Musaf. This applies even prior to Chazaras Hashatz. However, it is permitted to think Torah in one’s mind. One may however even verbally learn matters of Torah that relate to the Tekios. Some also permit one to say Tehillim during this time.
  • It is proper to refrain from talking unrelated speech until after the final blows are sounded after Davening. Hence one is to refrain from talk until after the 30 blows are sounded after Tehillim. However, from the letter of the law one is permitted to talk of even unrelated matters once the sounds of Musaf have been completed.
  • Silence: During the actual blowing of the Shofar, whether of Meyushav [i.e. before Musaf] or Meumad [i.e. during Musaf], it is forbidden for one to [make any noise even to] spit, as one must hear the entire sound from beginning to end, even if the blow is very long.
  • Confessing [Viduiy] during Shofar blowing: In between the sets of the Shofar blowing [of Meyushav] one is to confess his sins quietly. One is to verbalize the confession and not say it merely in his mind. However, some rule that it is not to be verbalized at all due to an interval. Some however write that this ruling applies only to the Baal Tokea. Others conclude that practically it is not the Chabad custom to confess between the Tekios. According to all one must stop confessing as soon as the Tekios resume. The confession made between Tekios is not for the sake of fulfilling the Mitzvah of Teshuva, as otherwise we would have a set order of confession said even not during the Tekios, as is done on Yom Kippur, rather it is an expression of the longing of one’s soul to attach to Hashem. This is the loftiest of moments within Rosh Hashanah in general and the blowing of Shofar in particular. One is able to change his entire essence at this time.
  • Yehi Ratzon: The Yehi Ratzon is recited after the Tekios.
  • The verses recited after Shofar blowing: After the Shofar blowing the person which read the verses prior to the Shofar blowing [i.e. the Baal Tokeia] also intones the three verses of “Ashrei Haam”. The congregation then begins ashrei yoshvei veisecha in unison.
  • Looking at the Baal Tokeia: Based on Kabala one is to stare at the face of the Baal Tokeia after he concludes the Tekios. The Baal Tokeia is to thus face the congregation after he returns to his place after completing the blows.

The Musaf Prayer:

  • Yizkor: Yizkor is not recited on Rosh Hashanah, neither on the first or the second day. Nevertheless, the Chabad Rabbeim were accustomed to reciting Yizkor in silence on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Each person may decide whether to follow this custom on Rosh Hashanah.
  • The prayer of Hineni Heani: The Chazan of Musaf recites the prayer of Hineni Heani prior to reciting the half Kaddish that is recited prior to the silent prayer of Musaf. Only the Chazan is to recite this prayer and not the congregation. This prayer is said with intense concentration from the depths of the heart, and with great accompany of tears. One is not to lengthen a great amount in this prayer in order to diminish the interval made between the Ashrei and Kaddish that follows. In some years the Rebbe said Tehillim during this point. After the recital of this prayer the Chazan then recites four verses beginning with the word “Yadati”.
  • The nine blessings of Musaf-Malchiyos; Zichronos and Shofros: On Rosh Hashanah the Sages instituted to recite nine blessings within Musaf of both days of Rosh Hashanah. The three middle blessings are called מלכיות/זכרונות/שופרות Kingship/Remembrance/Shofar. The purpose of this blessing is for one to advocate his acceptance of the yoke of Heaven. This is then followed by the blessing of Zichronos/Remembrance, in which one recites verses of remembrance in order to advocate a good remembrance of us before G-d. This [good remembrance] is accomplished through the Shofar. Therefore, afterwards we recite the blessing of Shofros which includes the verses of Shofros.
  • One is to bow when he says Aleinu in Musaf of his silent prayer.
  • One who is praying Musaf without a Congregation: One who is Davening alone is not to Daven Musaf of Rosh Hashanah until three hours have passed into the day. However, regarding Shacharis of Rosh Hashanah one may Daven within the first three hours of the day even if he is Davening alone. Furthermore, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to pray at the same time as the congregation is praying in Shul.
  • Chazaras Hashatz: One is to listen to the parts of the repetition that are obligatory and is not to do anything else in the interim. Regarding the Piyutim and verses of Malchiyos, Zichronos and Shofros, it is forbidden for one to learn Torah verbally during this time. This applies even prior to Chazaras Hashatz. One may however think words of any part of Torah without limit. One may even verbally learn matters of Torah that relate to the Tekios. Some also permit one to say Tehillim during this time.
  • Unesaneh Tokef: It is customary to stand for the recital of Unesaneh Tokef and so was the Rebbe’s custom.
  • Bowing on the floor by the Chazan’s repetition: The custom is to bow on the ground in the paragraph of Aleinu Lishabeiach that is said within the Chazan’s repetition. One bows by the words “Veanachnu Korim”. The congregation and Chazan all bow when the above words are recited. It is forbidden for the Chazan to move his feet during the repetition and walk backwards in order to perform the bowing. One is to protest against those that do so. The custom therefore is for the Chazan to begin Shemoneh Esrei with enough of a distance from the Amud that he will be able to bow on the ground without moving his feet. One bows on the floor by the above words even when Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbos. One bows the same way he bows on Yom Kippur, placing one’s forehead to the ground [i.e. Nefilas Apayim]. [There are two methods of performing the above bowing: a) The widespread custom is to kneel to the ground, resting his body on his knees and down, and bow his head to the floor until his forehead touches the ground. b) One prostrates himself completely on the ground to the point that his entire body lies flat on the floor. Some write that this later custom should not be seen as a directive for the public. Practically the widespread custom is like the first method.] It is forbidden for a person to bow his head onto a stone floor, in a way that his head directly touches the stone. This applies even if he is merely kneeling on the ground and is not prostrating his entire body. Thus if the floor in Shul is made of stone it is forbidden to directly touch one’s face to the ground and one is to place an interval between [his head] and the ground. Any material can serve as a valid interval, whether a towel, tissue, paper, plastic bag, grass and the like. The interval is only required to be placed between the head and the ground and is not required to be placed under the knees or other body parts. If the interval is placed only between the knees and the ground and not between the face and the ground, it is invalid. If the floor is made of wood or other non-stone material, one may bow onto the floor without any interval, having his forehead directly touch the ground, and so is the Chabad custom. However, if one fully prostrates himself on the floor with spreading his hands and feet then he requires an interval between his face and the ground even if the floor is made of wood or other non-stone materials.
  • Women do not bow by Aleinu.
  • By Aleinu we open the Aron until the words “Velo Sam Chelkeinu Bahem”. The Aron is then momentarily closed and reopened by the words Veanachnu Korim.
  • The congregation is to read Aleinu together with the Chazan.
  • Rejoicing at the conclusion of the prayers: At the conclusion of prayers one is to leave the shul in happy spirits, having faith that G-D heard our pleas.
  • May one carry his Shofar back home after having used it for the Mitzvah? It is forbidden to carry the Shofar on R”H for no need in any area that does not have an Eiruv and is hence forbidden to carry on Shabbos. If however one originally carried the Shofar to Shul on Yom Tov then if he suspects the Shofar may get lost or stolen if he leaves it in Shul, he may return it home on Yom Tov, even if he has no more need to blow it that day.


  • Mincha is recited prior to Tashlich.
  • Saying Tzidkascha Tzedek by Mincha of Shabbos R”H: When [the first day of] Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos we are accustomed to omit the recitation of Tzidkascha from the Mincha prayer of Shabbos.
  • Mincha Erev Shabbos: When the 2nd day of R”H coincides with Erev Shabbos, Avinu Malkeinu is omitted by Mincha.
  • Veani Sefilasi: When Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbos the verse of Veani Sefilasi is recited by Mincha of Shabbos as is usually done.



  • It is customary to go on Rosh Hashanah to a river [or well or spring] to recite Tashlich.
  • When is it recited? Tashlich is recited after Mincha, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, prior to sunset. Although the custom is to say Tashlich after Mincha, if one assesses that he will not have time to go after Mincha then he should go beforehand. Likewise, if one is unable to return from the river at night then he may recite Tashlich before Mincha while there remains time in the day to return. The custom is to allow saying Tashlich up until Tzeis Hakochavim if one did not do so beforehand.
  • If one did not say Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah some Poskim rule it is to be said on the second day of Rosh Hashanah after Mincha, prior to sunset. Others rule it is to be said on the second day, after Musaf. If one was unable to go on the second day, then he may go any day throughout Aseres Yimei Teshuvah. Nevertheless, it is best to say it on the day before Erev Yom Kippur which is called “Yom Yud Gimel Middos”.
  • If the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos some Poskim rule that Tashlich is recited on the second day of Rosh Hashanah which is Sunday. Other Poskim rule one is to recite Tashlich on Shabbos. Practically the Chabad custom is to recite Tashlich on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. It is to be performed after Mincha [prior to sunset] on Sunday.
  • Many women are accustomed to reciting Tashlich. Nevertheless, they are not to go to an area where there are men, as this can lead to promiscuity and sin. Some Poskim denounce the custom of women saying Tashlich due to this reason.
  • Where is it recited? Tashlich is to be recited near a river that contains live fish. It is best to be recited near a river that is outside the city. In a case that a river, well, or spring is not available in one’s area, then some are accustomed to walk to an area from which they can see a river, sea or other body of water, even if it is very far. In Yerushalayim some were accustomed to reciting Tashlich near the opening of a water pit, even if it is currently dry of water. If this too is not available then one may go to any body of water, even an open faucet.
  • It is forbidden to feed fish on Yom Tov [unless they are in an aquarium and dependent on humans for their food].
  • Shaking ones Tallis Katan: At the conclusion of Tashlich one shakes the ends of his Tallis Katan. [Some emphasize that one is to shake the Tallis specifically over the body of water.]
  • The meaning of Tashlich: The Midrash states that when Avraham Avinu traveled to perform Akeidas Yitzchak the Satan created a river to prevent him from performing the Mitzvah. When the water reached his neck Avraham cried “Hoshia Hashem Ki Bau Mayim Ad Nafesh”. An alternative reason for saying Tashlich is because it is customary to anoint Kings near a river. Hence since on Rosh Hashanah we desire to crown Hashem as our King we go to a river to arouse this coronation. According to Kabala the saying of Tashlich represents the throwing of all of one’s Kelipos that were created through sin into the supernal seas. It is for this reason that Tashlich is recited near a river. The public however confuses this and says that the sins are thrown into the river. Water represents Chesed while fish represent the level of “Eina Pikcha”. [This means as follows: The level of Eina Pikcha in the supernal worlds represents mercy, as it refers to that Hashem is constantly guiding us with merciful eyes. Fish do not have eyelids and hence keep their eyes open on a constant basis. This represents the arousal of mercy of the level of Eina Pikcha that is found above.]


The Second day of Rosh Hashanah

  • Two days: Although people living in Eretz Yisrael usually only keep a one-day holiday, on Rosh Hashanah everyone keeps two days, even those living in Eretz Yisrael. Furthermore, these two days are considered like one long day and thus carry a number of Halachic stringencies that are not applicable by other Holidays.
  • Shehechiyanu: The blessing of Shehechiyanu is recited on both the first and second day of Rosh Hashanah. It is said by [candle lighting or by] Kiddush and the next day by Shofar. Nevertheless initially when saying the blessing of Shehechiyanu on the second night [by candle lighting or] Kiddush, and by the Shofar blowing the next day, one is to wear a new garment that requires Shehechiyanu to be recited while wearing it. Alternatively, for Kiddush one may take a new fruit and place it in front of him before Kiddush. Whatever one chooses to use, upon reciting Shehechiyanu he is to intend to include within the blessing also the new fruit or garment. [However, one is not to intend only on the new fruit or garment and is to mainly intend that the Shehechiyanu is being said over the Yom Tov.] If one does not have a new fruit or new garment available, one is nevertheless to say the blessing of Shehechiyanu.
  • Candle Lighting: On the second night of Rosh Hashanah the candles are lit after nightfall. If the second night of Rosh Hashanah falls on Motzei Shabbos some write that it is best for women to Daven Maariv with Vetodieinu prior to lighting candles and doing Melacha. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah a woman should wear a new garment [which she has never yet worn] for candle lighting in order to exempt it with the blessing of Shehechiyanu. Alternatively, if she does not have new clothing she is to place a new fruit in front of her before lighting candles [and look at it upon saying the blessing of Shehechiyanu] having it in mind within the blessing. The same new fruit that will be used for Kiddush may be used for this purpose, and certainly another new fruit may be used. [Some Poskim rule that if she will be using a new fruit then she is to delay the lighting of the candles until right before Kiddush and eat the fruit directly after hearing Kiddush. Other Poskim however rule that there is no necessity to do so and she may light candles while seeing the new fruit, with intent to eat the fruit later on, after Kiddush.] If she does not have a new fruit or new garment available, then she is nevertheless to say the blessing of Shehechiyanu by candle lighting.
  • If a man is lighting candles, he is to say the blessing of Shehechiyanu only by Kiddush.
  • Maariv: Before Maariv on the eve of Rosh Hashanah one is to read Tehillim. [See Introduction of this chapter] When the second night of Rosh Hashanah falls on Motzei Shabbos [i.e. Saturday night], then in the evening prayer of Shemoneh Esrei the paragraph of ותודיענו is added prior to the paragraph of ותתן לנו.
  • Kiddush: One who has not said Shehechiyanu by candle lighting [such as all men who had their wives light the candles] is to say Shehechiyanu by Kiddush. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah one is to place before him a new fruit or wear a new garment and intend to exempt it with the blessing of Shehechiyanu. When the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos one says Yaknahaz in the order of Kiddush of the second night of Rosh Hashanah just as is done by any Holiday that falls on Motzei Shabbos.
  • Learning Chassidus towards the end of Rosh Hashanah: One should learn Chassidus towards the end of Rosh Hashanah until after nightfall in order to fuse the revelations of Rosh Hashanah with the rest of the year through Chassidus.

Second day of R”H that falls on Motzei Shabbos:

  • Saying Bein Kodesh Lekodesh: When the second day of R”H falls on Motzei Shabbos one may not begin doing any Melacha which is permitted on Yom Tov until he says Havdala, or recites Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh Lekodesh, after the conclusion of Shabbos. It is of importance to remind women of this requirement, and have them say Baruch Hamavdil prior to doing any Yom Tov preparations or lighting candles. [Some write that it is best for women to Daven Maariv with Vetodieinu prior to lighting candles and doing Melacha.]
  • Vetodieinu: When [the second night of] Rosh Hashanah falls on Motzei Shabbos [i.e. Saturday night], then in the evening prayer of Shemoneh Esrei the paragraph of Vetodieinu/ותודיענו is added prior to the paragraph of ותתן לנו.
  • Yaknahaz: When the second day of R”H falls on Motzei Shabbos one says Yaknahaz in the order of Kiddush. The order of the blessings are: 1) Hagafen 2) Kiddush Hayom 3) Ner 4) Havdala 5) Shehechiyanu. In acronym form, this is called Yaknahaz.
  • Besamim: When Motzei Shabbos coincides with the second day of R”H the blessing of Besamim is omitted from the order of Havdala “Yaknahaz”.
  • Haeish: If one has a candle available one is to recite a blessing over it, after the blessing of “Kiddush” but prior to the blessing of Havdala. [The custom is to say the blessing of Meoreiy Haeish over the Yom Tov candles that were lit. We do not place the candles together, and nor do we place our nails towards them. Rather we simply look at the candles after the blessing and then continue with Yaknahaz.]


Motzei R”H:

  • Shemoneh Esrei: In Shemoneh Esrei one must remember to add the following statements: Zachreinu; Mi Kamocha; Hamelech Hakadosh; Hamelech Hamishpat; Ukesov; Ubesefer, Oseh Hashalom.
  • Veata Chonantanu: On Motzei Rosh Hashanah one needs to recite Havdala [Ata Chonantanu] in the blessing of Chonen Hadaas, just like on Motzei Shabbos.
  • Havdala on Motzei Yom Tov: On Motzei Rosh Hashanah one is required to recite Havdala over a cup of wine just like on Motzei Shabbos. During Havdala of Motzei Yom Tov we do not say a blessing over fire. During Havdala of Motzei Yom Tov we do not say a blessing over Besamim. The Nussach of Havdala on Motzei R”H that falls on a weekday also contains the words “Bein Yom Hashevii Lesheishes Yimei Hamaaseh”, even though it is now in middle of the week [and it thus seems irrelevant to mention this statement]. [Thus it follows the same Nussach as any Motzei Shabbos.]

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