Eve of Rosh Hashana 1. Cancellation of Vows: It is the custom to cancel all vows and promises, as when unkept they trigger harsh judgement )ח”ס קלח כלל א”ח .)It is done before 3 adults that sit as judges and the petitioner stands while reciting the text in that effect )ג”ס רכח’ סי ד”יו ע”שו .)It is acceptable even if relatives sit as Judges. 2. The text can be said in any language as long as the petitioner and the judges understand it. It is actually recommended for someone not understanding properly Hebrew to say it in his native language )שם א”ח .) The judges can nevertheless read the annulation of the vows in Hebrew as the effectiveness does not depend on the petitioner understanding. 3. Messenger: A person can be appointed to annul the vows of someone else or his wife, if they clearly stated to him that the regret the vows they have made or might have made. It is not required to have a separate recitation for them, the messenger can include them in his recitation of the prayer but using the scan include it with his annulation if he uses the plural pronouns and verbs )לד’ סי ח”או ד”ח פעלים רב.) 4. Together: Often due to time constraints people are not able to remain in Shul after the morning prayers to annul the vows. It is permissible for many people to recite together the text ב”פ הרחמים ימי א”הגריש) )סז הגה .If the constraint is even more pressing, as if someone must go to work etc., he could request from a congregant to be his messenger. 5. Missed or forgot: If a person forgot to annul the vows before Rosh Hashana it can be done anytime till Yom Kippur. Otherwise Kol Nidrei will annul them as long as he understands or read it in his language .)הגרשז”א אשי ישראל פמ”ה הגה עז, הליכו”ש פ”א סקי”ז( 6. Haircut: It is the custom to have a haircut to show our belief that Hashem will tip the scale in our favor and grant us a wonderful year )ד”ס א” תקפ’ סי ע”שו .)Thus, to mark the day of judgement we dress a tone .)משנ”ב שם סקכ”ה( Festivals other from down 7. Mikve: It is the custom to immerse in a Mikve no earlier than one hour before Midday )שם א”רמ .)If this is not possible because of responsibilities, one may go at anytime.
8. No Mikve: If there is no Mikve available, or for whatever reason one cannot go to the Mikve, he should “purify” himself in the following manner. To step in the shower and wet the plant of his feet, then stand under the waterflow with his head bent and his arms loosely folded on his chest so the water could flow everywhere (Mate Ephraim Siman 606, Letter 10, Mishna Berura 88, 4). It is required to have 9 kavim = 23 litters = 24 quarts of water flowing. In a flow restricted shower 2.5 gallons or 9.5 litters pour down per minute. In a regular shower close to 10 gallons or 38 Litters pour down per minute. So, 3 minutes are enough to satisfy the 9 kavim requirement. Rosh Hashana day 9. Crying: The Arizal used to cry on Rosh Hashana. Thus, the Vilna Gaon argues and stated that one may not cry as it is a Festival )ס”סק ב”תקפ’ סי ח”כה .)There is no argument that it is not proper to cry out of worry or sadness, but crying of joy or because of a feeling of proximity to .)חוט שני ר”ה עמ’ נא, תשובות והנהגות ח”ב סי’ רסח( permissible is Hashem 10. Worrying and Private requests: The Vilna Gaon stipulates that one should refrain from worrying on Rosh Hashana as it is not beneficial. Similarly, one should refrain from personal .)קהלות יעקב ר”ה דרוש כ”א, הליכו”ש פ”א אות טו הגה 58 )prayers the in those besides requests 11. Yaalei Veyavo: if one omitted to mention it during Birkas Hamazon: For Ashkenazim – if it was at night, he must say over the Birkas Hamazon )יט אות א”פ ש”הליכו א”הגרשז .)If it was during the day, he should not repeat it, but rather should try to hear it from someone else. For Sefaradim: they do not repeat it whether at night or day )כה- כד ק”ס ח”כה.) 12. Sleeping: Some refrain from sleeping on Rosh Hashana day as the Talmud mentions “the one who sleeps on Rosh Hashana his Mazal sleeps during the year.” This only applies to the hours before Midday (and also before praying Musaf, after which time the Judgement time is over), but to only applies Halacha This(. רמ”א סי’ תקפ”ג ס”ב, משנ”ב סק”ט( permissible is it midday after someone going to sleep out of boredom, but if it is because of exhaustion or to be able to pray with intent the next prayer, he shall not refrain from resting )כד אות א”פ ש”הליכו א” הגרשז.) 13. Arriving during the Shofar: if one arrives to Shul during the blowing of the Shofar and has .)משנ”ב סי’ תקפ”ה סקי”א, כה”ח ס”ק לד( blessings the whisper must he, blessings the heard no.
By Rabbi Shimon Fridmann – Din Torah Of North Miami Beach
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