Category Archives: Elul


The Special Lights of the 25th of Elul

September 13, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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It is brought down by the Ben Ish Chai ztk’l that during the daylight hours of the 25th of Elul we should light 5 candles. According to the Ben Ish Chai on this day we light 5 lights to ignite the 5 lights of chesed that descend onto the world this day. This year the 25th falls on Wednesday September 5th .

It is a very auspicious day for prayer.

This Tefillah should be said before lighting the 5 candles of the 25th day of Elul during the daytime.


After lighting the candles recite the following:

“ויאמר אלוקים יהי אור ויהי אור”

“אלוקים השיבנו והאר פניך ונושעה”

“אלוקים יחוננו ויברכנו יאר פניו אתנו סלה”

“קל ה’ ויאר לנו אסרו חג בעבותים עד קרנות המזבח”

“כי אתה תאיר נרי ה’ אלוקי יגיה חשכי”

“כי עמך מקור חיים באורך נראה אור”

“בית יעקב לכו ונלכה באור ה'”

 Recite this line 10 times in a row           “ואמרתם כה לחי ואתה שלום וביתך שלום וכל אשר לך שלום”

 Recite this line 17 times in a row                                        “אור זרוע לצדיק ולישרי לב שמחה”


This is a very special time to ask from Hashem to light up the dark world of exile and brings redemption b’rachamim and b’chesed.

The 25th of Elul is a holy day and we should be very careful not to get angry and give tzedakah. Fasting is prohibited on this day.  We should partake in a festive meal of meat and wine and eat sweets (YAY!) and bless birkat hamazon with extra kavannah.

It is also a custom to read a bit from Sefer Bereishis describing creation as it says here (passukim 1-6):

Excerpted from

Elul Recorded Lectures

August 28, 2017
Daily Dose Of Emuna
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DateTopicWatch at
DateTopicWatch at
Aug. 9, 2018Elul Finding Hashem, Finding the Real You
Sept. 4, 2016'The Miriam Project' - Geula Teleconference
Sept. 4, 2016Elul - Refresh Your Spirit
Aug. 25, 2015Parsha Ki Teitzei - Elul, Living a Life of Awareness
Aug. 18, 2015Parshat Shoftim, Insights into Elul
Sept. 9, 2014Elul: Getting Married ... to Hashem
Sept. 2, 2014The Five Missions of Chodesh Elul
Aug, 26, 2014How to get 'High' on the Holidays
Aug, 26, 2013Kotel Live | A spiritual experience at the kotel
Aug, 19, 2013Elul: Building harmony between body and soul
Aug, 12, 2013Elul: Storehouse of Emuna and Teshuvah
Aug, 5, 2013Nishmat Kol Chai: Start the Month of Elul with Gratitude
May 28, 2013Perek 27 Tehilim

Break Down the Barriers

September 28, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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As we remove the negative traits we make room for Hashem’s love to enter and our desire to bond to Him increases.  The reason being self-discipline is the tool which breaks the yetzer hara and breaks down the barriers that block Hashem’s presence.

The call of the teruah is not only the call of Hashem to us but also our call to Hashem.  The tekiah is a long unbroken blast, the shevarim are three blows and the teruah is nine blasts.  The tekiah represents a sigh of love, the shevarim symbolizes a sort of groan that comes before the tears and the teruah is similar to uncontrollable sobbing.

The teruah is seen as a fusion of love and awe which brings Klal Yisrael to sigh over the lack of revealed Kingship in this world.

The shevarim are felt in the form of Hashem great fiery love for us to which we let out groans and tears.

The teruah injects us with Hashem’s great love which causes us to love Hashem even more leading to a greater love between us.

The powerful sounds of the Shofar should fill us with awe mixed with great longing to return to Gan Eden where we felt Hashem’s closeness and love and never doubted His continuous presence.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Rav Yaakov ben Chaya Fradl Esther.  May Hashem bless him with a complete healing b’riut hanefesh v’b’iut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

The Shofar from a Different Angle

September 27, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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There is a special feeling during the month of Elul and subsequent ten days of repentance. This atmosphere makes it easier for us to awaken the inner longing for attachment to Hashem. We should strive to feel “There is only You Hashem in this world.” This love is in concealment at this time, but it still exists.

The sounds of the shofar allude to love. This sound is meant to cause us to call out to Hashem and not chas v’Shalom to bring judgment on us. In fact the teruah expresses joy as it is closely related to the word hari’u, to shout for joy. The mystical books teach that although the sound of the Shofar reminisces a lament it causes Ahm Yisrael to draw Hashem’s love to them. Joy can also be released by shedding tears.

Rosh Hashanah is the only holiday which the moon is hidden. This hints to the idea that Hashem’s love is constricted. In spite of that our love for Hashem burns strong in our heart. In fact due to the experience of Hashem’s awe we become more aware of His presence.

The essence of Rosh Hashanah is not judgment but to awaken our desire to bond to Hashem. This can be learned by seeing the word teruah as related to the word reut, friendship and bonding. Through hearing the Shofar we merit uniting with Hashem in the most profound way.

4 Elements of Judgment

September 26, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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Judgment is perceived in a negative form; however there are great benefits to it.  The Malbim ztk’l brings down that when Klal Yisrael does teshuva in recognition of the possibility of harsh decrees; Hashem annuls the difficulties.

There are countless other benefits to why there is judgement:

  • Judgment was given to Klal Yisrael out of love. Judgment filters falsehood from our midst and enables us to properly do cheshbon hanefesh. As a result we can come closer to our truth; Hashem’s monogram.
  • Judgment enables us to more readily accept Hashem’s decrees. When we fail to properly asses our spiritual standing we are not conscious of our faults.  There we run the risk of feeling we were treated unfairly and unjustly.
  • Self-judgment: when a person judges herself in this world, the higher court does not judge her. Each transgression is judged and ruled upon once. For certain, our ruling will be softer than the heavenly tribune.
  • The Alter of Kelm ztk’l explains that our tefillot of Rosh Hashanah begin with the words “Avinu Malkeinu” – first Avinu Our Father and then Malkeinu Our King. We see Hashem as a warm loving Father yet are also accountable for our wrongdoings.  Judgment takes place by a Father who ‘desires’ the best for His children.

Judgment may be uncomfortable, but it comes from a place of Infinite love.  The message of judgment, “I care enough about you to look deeply into your lives and see where you are holding.”

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Esther Hadassah bat Chana. May Hashem bless her with a complete healing b’riut hanefesh v’b’iut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Teshuva & Elul ~ Part III

September 21, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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We may begin this month of Elul with our backs turned away from Hashem, wondering whether Hashem has ‘turned His back’ on us as well. Yet, if we turn around, we will see that Hashem is still facing us, with endless compassion, patience and grace.

Healthy relationships are built on unconditional giving, treating others’ needs as equivalent to our own. Unfortunately, our yetzer hara often puts the ‘me’ in front of the ‘you’, leading us to become frustrated or disappointed in life and how we are treated. Elul is the month to minimize our egos, this part of us that likes to ‘play G-d.’ Instead, we can strive to place Hashem’s needs before our own.

Hashem created teshuva before He created existence. He knows we are not perfect and that we need a method to ‘return’ to Him. The Zohar teaches that there are 3 powerful tefillot (all in Tehillim): tefilla l’Dovid, tefilla ;l’Moshe and tefilla l’Ani. Yet, even more exalted than the tefillah of Dovid HaMelech or Moshe Rabbeinu are the prayers of the “ish ani”, the downtrodden and broken-hearted man. Hashem considers a person who prays heartfelt words of desire to come back to Him and repair the damage he caused via his transgressions as the most beloved of all!

Teshuva & Elul – Part 2

September 20, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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Despite the daunting nature of facing our sins and the spiritual work we may need to do during the days of Elul, embedded in this month is also a remarkable opportunity for closeness to Hashem. The energy of this month is represented by the words “Ani l’Dodi v’Dodi li” (I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me).

But why don’t we always feel and intense love and closeness to Hashem? Hashem is always yearning to be close to us. It is only our sins that block us from this closeness. During the year our egos blocks our hearts or souls and therefore we struggle to feel Hashem’s love for us and our love for Him. However, in Elul when we manage to confront our sins and admit our mistakes, we are humbling our egos and admitting “We need You Hashem in our lives. We can’t live without You anymore!” This ego-busting, humbling process of repentance serves as the most powerful force to clear the block between our hearts and Hashem.

Rav Kook ztk’l teaches that there is a flow of life force that emanates from the soul’s longing to purify the world. Our souls desire to do teshuva even while we transgress, since our soul knows the truth that constantly cleaving and connecting to Hashem is our greatest true desire. We want to trust in Hashem, yet we are in conflict when we feel we ‘need’ certain things that Hashem does not ‘give to us’. We think to ourselves, “Surely we know ourselves and our needs best?”

Actually, deep inside our neshamot know that Hashem knows best. Though our souls know what we need, we are blinded by our body. Hashem knows our needs better than we do. His restrictions are His way of protecting us. Hashem has infinite wisdom and is the Source of creation. As we increase our emuna, we repair our relationship with Hashem and learn to trust that He sees everything and knows what is in our bests better than we do.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Chaya Raizel bat Dina. May Hashem bless her with a complete healing b’riut hanefesh v’b’iut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

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