The Sabbath between Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur; so called from the first words of the hafṭarah read on that day, "Shubah Yisra'el" = "Return, O Israel." It is often called also "Shabbat Teshubah" (= "Sabbath of Repentance"), from the fact that it occurs within the ten days of penitence. Since, however, all prayers referring to sin are omitted on this day, the title given at the head of this article is the more appropriate one. To the hafṭarah (Hos. xiv. 2-end) are generally added the last three sentences of Micah; and in the Polish ritual Joel ii. 15-27 is inserted between these two passages.
In the Middle Ages the Talmudic rule that the people should be instructed in the laws of the festival thirty days before its occurrence was generally disregarded, as far as sermons were concerned. Twice a year, however, the rabbi—not the maggid or preacher—delivered public addresses; namely, on the Sabbath before Passover, and on Shabbat Shubah. The discourse was naturally intended to be a call to repentance; but it often took the form of a discussion of some Talmudic dictum on the subject, and appealed more to the intellect of the learned than to the emotions of the common people. Both the German and Polish rituals contain piyyuṭim calling upon Israel to return from sin and transgression.