The "Keseh" Conundrum

There are three Hebrew expressions for the days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. Two are well-known. The third? No one’s quite sure what it means.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit.

Observation
Sept. 16 2015
About the author

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.


There are three Hebrew expressions for the days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. Two are well-known: aseret y’mey t’shuvah, “the ten days of penitence,” and ha-yamim ha-nora’im, “the awesome days” or “days of awe.” The third, beyn keseh l’asor, “between keseh and the tenth [of the month of Tishrei],” is used less frequently, perhaps because Jewish tradition has always had its doubts about it.

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More about: Religion & Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Talmud, Yom Kippur