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Parshas Devarim - Sheini with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is reviewing the mitzvos and reminding the Yidden about what happened in the Midbar to prepare them to enter Eretz Yisroel, and make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes again. Today Moshe reminds the Yidden about how he set up the judges to help the Yidden act in the right way and about the nations who did not let them pass through their lands.

Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden that they did something wrong by being excited about having judges.

When Moshe Rabbeinu told the Yidden about the idea of having more judges, they should have said “No! Only Moshe Rabbeinu should lead us!” They should have been upset about losing the zechus to learn directly from Moshe. But they weren’t upset about the idea at all. The Yidden were excited about the judges — for the wrong reasons. They hoped that some of the judges would be ready to take bribes to make them win even if they are wrong!

Still, Moshe set up the judges for the Yidden. He tried to make sure that the judges will have Yiras Shomayim and judge them the way Hashem wants. He taught them how to be fair to everyone.

Then Moshe tells the Yidden how they traveled more — they got so close to Eretz Yisroel, but the nations wouldn’t let them pass through their countries.

Still, Moshe told the Yidden not to be worried. When it would be the right time to go into Eretz Yisroel, Hashem would fight for them and they will able to go right in!



18 - 22

Today’s kapitelach are kapitelach Yud-Ches to Chof-Beis.

In today’s Tehilim, there is a posuk that is explained in the first section of Igeres HaKodesh, which we start learning today!

In Kapitel Yud-Tes, there is a posuk that talks about Torah: “Toras Hashem Temimah, Meshivas Nafesh.” “The Torah of Hashem is complete, it makes the neshama feel good.”

The Alter Rebbe uses this posuk to show why he was so happy to hear that the Chassidim learned the whole Shas (Mishnayos and Gemara) in many places over the year. When the Torah is complete — meaning that the the whole Torah is learned — it makes the Neshama happy!

Chassidim STILL have this minhag to learn the whole Shas over a year — it’s called Chalukas HaShas. Each chossid takes one Gemara to learn over the year, so that together, we finish learning the whole thing! Do you know which Mesechta YOUR Tatty is learning?

This is also the reason we make a siyum on a Mesechta in the Nine Days! Finishing a section of Torah brings us simcha, and we need to find ways to increase in Simcha that are allowed in halacha during the Nine Days. Simcha Poretz Geder — simcha is able to change the way things usually are, and we need to try every way we can to make these days of sadness become days of joy!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Alef

Today we are starting the fourth Chelek of Tanya! It is called Igeres HaKodesh — the heilige letter. There are really a lot of letters here, where the Alter Rebbe helps show the Chassidim how to serve Hashem. But because the last section was called Igeres HaTeshuvah, this chelek is just called Igeres HaKodesh.

The first letter has three parts, which we will learn over the next three days. The first part was written when the Alter Rebbe was going to the Maggid in Mezritch. He already had many people he was learning Torah with, and before he left, he wrote this letter to encourage them in their learning.

The Alter Rebbe starts with a bracha, thanking Hashem for the good news that he heard — that his Talmidim finished learning the WHOLE Mishnayos and Gemara!

The Alter Rebbe explains why learning Mishnayos and Gemara are so special:

Let’s take a mashal of a person. He has a head and hands, and the rest of the upper part of the body, which are all very important parts. But how does he get to where he needs to be to use his kochos? With the lower half of the body, his waist and legs and feet.

We also have an “upper half” and a “lower half” in Ruchnius:

The “upper half” is our koach to think about the greatness of Hashem (hisbonenus), which brings us to feel a love for Hashem (Ahava) and being afraid to do anything that will chas veshalom separate us from Hashem (Yirah).

But we also need the “lower half” that makes this possible. In Ruchnius, that’s our emunah! Only when we have emunah in Hashem are we able to have hisbonenus about Hashem, and start to feel Ahava and Yirah.

Tomorrow we will IY”H learn about how we make the “lower half,” the emunah of our neshama, strong. We do this by learning the whole Shas, which teaches us what Hashem wants! Then we will be able to have hisbonenus in davening, and feel Ahava and Yirah. Learning Torah is like the belt which holds the waist strong, so it can hold up the whole body.



Gimmel Menachem Av

In the Nine Days, we think about how sad it is that the Yidden are in Golus. We ask Hashem for Moshiach now! Today we will learn a certain way to think about Golus, which will give us chayus to make sure we use every chance we have in Golus to do good things.

The Rebbe Rashab said in a sicha that when Moshiach comes very soon, we will miss the days of Golus. It will bother us that we didn’t use all of the chances we had in Golus to serve Hashem properly. Then we will realize that it was a very special time which we had only during Golus.

Now is the time to use out this opportunity the best we can and do whatever is possible to prepare for the Geulah!



Shiur #29 - Mitzvas Asei #17

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #17) is a special mitzvah for a Yiddishe king! He needs to write or buy a Sefer Torah to keep with him ALL THE TIME. This will remind him of his very important job!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: וְהָיָה כְשִׁבְתּוֹ עַל כִּסֵּא מַמְלַכְתּוֹ וְכָתַב לוֹ אֶת מִשְׁנֵה הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Beis.



Hilchos Tefillin U'Mezuzah V'Sefer Torah

In today’s Rambam, we will finish this set of halachos.

Perek Ches: The Rambam teaches us more about writing a Sefer Torah. We learn about how we leave a space after paragraphs in a Sefer Torah: If the space is at the end of a line, it is called a “Pesucha” (“open” — in your Chumash, you will usually see the letter “pey.”) If the space is in the middle of a line, it is called “Stumah” (“closed” — you will see a samech in your Chumash).

If a sofer leaves a space in the wrong place, or mixes up the kinds of spaces, the Torah is posul!

Perek Tes: We learn many more halachos about how the Torah is written, sewn, and attached to the Atzei Chayim (the poles).

Perek Yud: Now that we learned all of these halachos, we understand that there are 20 ways for a Sefer Torah to be posul. Here are two examples: 1) if two letters are touching, or 2) if the ink isn’t black.

We also learn how to treat a Sefer Torah: One halacha is that a Sefer Torah can only be sold if someone doesn’t have anything else to sell and wants to learn Torah or to get married.

The Rambam also tells us how we treat all kinds of kedusha things, and what needs to go into sheimos!



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim - Perek Gimmel

We learn how to do the mitzvah of Pe’ah in more than one field, or a field that is split up in a way that makes it become like two fields.



Hilchos Beis Habechirah

The Rebbe teaches us to learn about the Beis Hamikdash during the Three Weeks. Let’s see what’s behind this takana!

One of the mitzvos Hashem gave us is the mitzvah to build a Mishkan for Hashem, “Ve’asu Li Mikdash Veshachanti Besocham.” This wasn’t only a mitzvah for the Yidden in the Midbar, it is also a mitzvah for all of the later generations, that they should make sure that there is a Beis Hamikdash for Hashem.

Even though we can’t actually build the physical Beis Hamikdash, we do the mitzvah as best as we can, by building the Beis Hamikdash in a different way.

The Gemara teaches that when a person learns the pesukim of the Torah about korbanos, Hashem counts it as if they are actually bringing that korban!

This is also true with learning about the Beis Hamikdash. When we learn the parts of Torah explaining the parts of the Beis Hamikdash and how they were built, it is like we are actually building the Beis Hamikdash! In Chumash (especially Parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh) we learn about the Mishkan, in certain chapters of the Navi Yechezkel it describes (generally) the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi, in Mishnayos Midos we learn about the way the Beis Hamikdash was set up, and in Mishnayos and Gemara Tomid, we learn about the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash. The Rambam sets up all of these halachos in an organized way in Hilchos Beis Habechirah and Sefer Avodah!

Especially during a time when we are sad about the Beis Hamikdash being destroyed, we can weaken the Churban by learning about the Beis Hamikdash, which is one way of building it!

This will also help that Hashem will see how we’re trying to build the Beis Hamikdash, and will actually give us the physical Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi with Moshiach right away!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches, sicha of Parshas Masei — Bein Hameitzarim

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Hareini Mekabel

A story told by the Frierdiker Rebbe:

…At my Bar Mitzvah, my father the Rebbe Rashab called me by my name and said, “Yosef Yitzchok, ask something.”

So I asked my father, “It says in the siddur that we should say before davening, ‘Hareini’ — that I am taking on myself the mitzvah of Ve’ahavta Le’rei’acha Kamocha. Why does it say this specifically before davening Shacharis? If we are supposed to do Ahavas Yisroel first thing in the morning, it should be connected to morning brachos!”

My father answered me: “When a father has many children, his greatest nachas is when he sees that they all have achdus and they love each other. Davening is when we ask Hashem for our needs — both our Gashmius needs and our Ruchnius needs. Before we ask Hashem for our needs, we need to do something that will bring Hashem nachas. For that reason, it was established that we should accept upon ourselves the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel as a preparation for davening…”

See Sefer Hasichos 5700, p. 157



Tzedakah Before Davening

In the Gemara, it talks about a Tanna R’ Elazar, who had the following minhag: In the morning, he would give a perutah (a small coin) to a poor person, and then go daven Shemoneh Esrei.

R’ Elazar did this because the posuk says, “Ani Betzedek Echezeh Panecha,” “With tzedek (tzedakah) I will see Your face.” Rashi explains that he learned from this posuk to first take care of the “tezdek” by giving tzedakah, and then “Echezeh Panecha,” to “see Hashem’s face” in davening!

Based on this Gemara, the Shulchan Aruch tells us that we should give tzedakah before davening. In the time of R’ Elazar, Shemoneh Esrei was the whole davening, but now we give tzedakah before starting Shacharis.

(On the same page as the Gemara tells us this story, it also tells us that “Tzedakah Mekareves Es Hageulah” — Tzedakah brings Moshiach! That is something else we should think about when we give tzedakah!)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tzadik-Beis, se’if yud

לעילוי נשמת הרה״ח ר׳ דניאל יצחק ע״ה בן ר׳ אפרים שי׳ מאסקאוויץ
שליח כ"ק אדמו"ר נשיא דורנו למדינת אילינוי



Learning About the Beis Hamikdash

The third Beis Hamikdash will be the same as the second in many ways, but not exactly. We can learn about the second Beis Hamikdash in Mesechta Midos of Mishnayos, or Hilchos Beis Habechirah of the Rambam, but that’s not going to be enough to build it right. The Navi Yechezkel told us details about how the third Beis Hamikdash will be different, but a lot of the things he says aren’t so clear.

Hashem will need to show many of the details when Moshiach comes. So why is it so important for us to learn about the Beis Hamikdash now?

The answer is that there is a mitzvah in the Torah, “Ve’asu Li Mikdash Veshachanti Besocham.” Hashem tells us to build Him a Mishkan, and He will rest among the Yidden.

This mitzvah wasn’t only a mitzvah in the Midbar or only in Eretz Yisroel — it is a mitzvah for ALWAYS!

Nowadays we can’t build Hashem a Gashmius Mishkan with our hands, but we can do the mitzvah by learning about the Beis Hamikdash that we will need to build.

When we learn as much as we can about the Beis Hamikdash, we are doing the mitzvah the best way we can. Also, when Hashem sees us so interested in learning about the Beis Hamikdash, He will make sure that we can actually build it faster, by sending us Moshiach right away!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches, parshas Masei — Three Weeks

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