The month of Elul-Summary of laws

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Elul Checklist

  • Hold a Farbrengen [Chassidic gathering] on both nights of Rosh Chodesh
  • Blow the Shofar on the first day of Rosh Chodesh for practice. Every day thereafter blow Tashrat-Tashat-Tarat after Shacharis.
  • Recite the three extra Kapitlach of Tehillim per day, after Davening, starting from the second day of Rosh Chodesh.
  • Recite Ledavid Hashem Ori in Shacharis, after Shir Shel Yom, and in Mincha, before Aleinu, starting from the 1st day of Rosh Chodesh until Hoshanah Raba.
  • Begin to bless other Jews with a Kesiva Vachasima Tova both orally and in letters.
  • Perform a Cheshbon Nefesh
  • Check Mezuzos and Tefillin
  • On the 14th of Elul begin reviewing the laws of Sukkos
  • Recite Selichos in the morning at the allotted amount of days prior to Rosh Hashanah.

Summary-Chapter 1: The month of Elul:


  • The Talmidei Hatemimim [students of the Yeshiva] are to hold a Chassidic gathering throughout the two nights of Rosh Chodesh Elul. They are to speak of the Avodah of Elul/Tishrei, earnest prayer, betterment of one’s character traits and being scrupulous in matter of fear of Heaven.


  • It is the custom of Ashkenazi Jewry to blow Shofar throughout the month of Elul.
  • When: One begins to blow the Shofar for practice on the first day of Rosh Chodesh [if it does not fall on Shabbos]. From the second day and onwards, one blows nine blows [Tashrat, Tashat, Tarat] following Shacharis and the daily recital of Tehillim.
    • Mincha: If the congregation did not blow the Shofar after Shacharis the Shofar is to be blown after Mincha.
    • Nighttime: Some Poskim rule one is not to blow the Shofar at night, even for practice, being the Tekios arouse the supernal attributes which is not to be done during the night. From other Poskim however it is evident that one may do so even at night.
  • Erev Rosh Hashanah: One does not blow Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashanah unless one is blowing for practice in a closed room.
  • No Minyan: There are opinions which write that the institution to blow Shofar in the month of Elul was only established in regards to a Minyan, however a person praying privately is not required to blow.
  • Standing: Practically the custom is to stand while hearing the Shofar blowing.

Saying three chapters of Tehillim a day:

  • When: From the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul it is customary to recite three chapters of Tehillim a day. We start from the first chapter, each day moving forward another three chapters. The final chapters are recited on Yom Kippur.
    • The Rebbe was accustomed to say these additional chapters after the daily Tehillim. It is said together with the congregation.
  • One is not to recite more than the allotted three chapters a day as part of this order.
  • Missed day: If one missed the three chapters of a given day then he should first recite the current day’s three chapters and make up the chapters he missed on a later occasion.

Wishing each other a sweet new year:

  • We begin to wish each other a “Kesiva Vachasima Tovah” starting from Rosh Chodesh Elul. In a letter to a friend one must begin [or end] with a blessing for the person to have a good year. The Rebbe’s custom was to write the blessing at the end of the letter. One is to continue to do so until Rosh Hashanah.
  • After Rosh Hashanah: From after Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur one writes Chasima Vegmar Chasima Tova. From after Yom Kippur it is no longer our custom to write the blessing, although some do so until Hoshana Raba.

Cheshbon Nefesh:

  • During the month of Elul one is to perform a general accounting of the soul [i.e. Cheshbon Hanefesh] and add in Torah, Tefilla and Tzedaka. The Rebbe Rayatz stated that the learning of Chassidus is not the main Avodah of the month of Elul but rather the Avodah of Cheshbon Nefesh. The Avodah of Cheshbon Nefesh is to be performed prior to the bedtime Shema, prior to sleep and prior to the morning prayers.


  • One is to increase in charity throughout the month of Elul. Communities should begin collecting money so all families will have their Yom Tov needs by the time the festival arrives. This includes funding for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkos. The Peri Chadash would distribute Mishlaoch Manos on Erev Rosh Hashanah so the poor are able to eat good foods for the Yom Tov meal.

Checking ones Mezuzos and Tefillin:

  • It is customary to check one’s Tefillin and Mezuzos during the month of Elul if they have not been checked within the 12 months. One is to publicize this matter to others. Doing so helps draw down a Kesiva Vechasima Tova for the coming year.

Ledavid Hashem Ori:

  • When: One begins saying the psalm of Ledavid Hashem Ori from [the first day of] Rosh Chodesh Elul, by Shacharis after Shir Shel Yom and by Mincha before Aleinu. On Rosh Chodesh the custom is to recite Ledavid only after Shir Shel Yom and Barchi Nafshi.
  • Until when: The psalm of Ledavid is recited daily until Hosha’ana Raba, including Hosha’ana Raba. It is not recited starting from Shemini Atzeres.
  • Kaddish: The Chabad custom by Shacharis is to recite the Kaddish only after saying both Shir Shel Yom and Ledavid. This Kaddish counts for both Ledavid and Shir Shel Yom. On Rosh Chodesh one says Shir Shel Yom, Barchi Nafshi, and Ledavid and only then is the Kaddish recited. Likewise by Mincha our custom is to recite Kaddish only after Ledavid and Aleinu and this Kaddish counts for both Aleinu and Ledavid.
  • Different Nussach Minyan: If one is praying in a Shul that says Ledavid after Aleinu he is to follow the congregation. Thus, he is to say Aleinu with the congregation and then say with them Ledavid.

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