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Parshas Devarim - Chamishi with Rashi

Moshe reviewed with the Yidden about more of their time in the Midbar. He reminded them about all of the nations they tried to pass through on their way to Eretz Yisroel.

Edom: The Yidden asked Edom (Eisav’s family) if they could go through their land. Edom didn’t want to let the Yidden pass through. Hashem told the Yidden not to fight with them, since He had promised Eisav that he could stay there until Moshiach comes. So they turned around and went to the land of Moav.

Moav: Hashem also told the Yidden not to fight with Moav, from the family of Lot. They were allowed to show they had weapons and scare them, since Moav wasn’t acting the way Hashem wanted.

It took a long time until the Yidden got to the next nation. The Yidden had to travel for 38 years! This way, all of the Yidden who came out of Mitzrayim would pass away, and only their children would go into Eretz Yisroel.

Ammon: Then the Yidden passed near Ammon, also from Lot’s family. To reward Lot’s daughter, the mother of the nation of Ammon, for her tznius, Hashem didn’t even let the Yidden scare them.

Emori: But the Yidden WOULD be allowed to fight with the Emori — where Sichon and Og were the kings. First the Yidden tried to ask them nicely if they could pass through their land, but Sichon said no. (IY”H tomorrow we will review what happened with Sichon in the end!)



39 - 43

Today we say Tehillim for Yom Zayin, which is kapitelach Lamed-Tes to Mem-Gimmel.

In the end of Kapitel Mem-Alef, it says “Baruch Hashem Elokei Yisroel, Me’Haolam Ve’ad Ha’olom, Amen VeAmen!” “Blessed is Hashem, the Hashem of the Yidden, from one world to the other world — Amen and Amen!”

Chassidus explains what two worlds we are talking about!

There are two kinds of worlds that Hashem created: Hidden worlds, and worlds we can see. For example, there are some things that are easy for us to understand, and there are other things that are very hard for us to understand! (Like some parts of Torah.)

Baruch Hashem — to bentch Hashem! That means in this posuk to bring Hashem from a hidden world to a world we can see. One way we can do this is by helping someone understand a part of Torah or Yiddishkeit that is “hidden” for them, that they don’t know it yet! By teaching other Yidden about Torah and mitzvos, it brings Hashem from the hidden world to the world we CAN see!



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.



Zayin Menachem Av

Today’s Hayom Yom tells us something about the Tanya that we are learning now, the beginning of Igeres Hakodesh:

The first two letters in Igeres Hakodesh were written ten years apart from each other!

There is a sicha from the Frierdiker Rebbe that tells us the history of the letters we are learning now in Igeres Hakodesh. It shows us that the first letter is from when Chassidus Chabad just started, and the second letter is from a later time, when Chassidus Chabad had a big challenge and came out with hatzlacha!

The first letter was written in three sections: The first section was written by the Alter Rebbe when he already had Talmidim, but before he went to Mezritch to learn from the Maggid. There, he wrote about how important it is to learn Shas, in order to strengthen Emunah.

The second section of the letter was written after he came back from Mezritch, when he already knew the purpose of his neshama, which was to start Chassidus Chabad. Here already, the Alter Rebbe speaks about how important it is to work on Avodas HaTefillah.

The third section was written years later, when he already had Talmidim living in different places, and this letter was to make sure that the talmidim were davening properly, according to Chassidus Chabad.

The second letter in Igeres Hakodesh was written after Chassidus Chabad had a big challenge against it, and had hatzlacha! This letter was written after the Alter Rebbe came out of prison on Yud-Tes Kislev, which was when Chassidus Chabad proved that it would last!



Shiur #78 - Mitzvas Asei #222

Today’s Sefer Hamitzvos is (Mitzvas Asei #222) that if chas veshalom a man and woman can’t be married anymore, the husband has to give his wife a get. (A get is a paper that shows that they are not married anymore.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Gitin.



Hilchos Girushin

In today’s Rambam, we learn many halachos about a get. There are many details in writing and giving a get in a kosher way.

One interesting halacha is that there needs to be witnesses for the get. They have to sign their names on the get. But what if they don’t know how to write? We can write their names with water on the paper, and they can trace over it. Usually this isn’t a kosher way for eidim (witnesses) to sign, but it is OK for a get because we want to make sure that the woman can get married again.

Another very important halacha is that a man needs to WANT to give the get. If he doesn’t want to, but he needs to, the Beis Din is allowed to force him until he says “I want to!”

But if you force someone until they say yes, they don’t really want it!

The Rambam tells us that really EVERY Yid wants to do all the mitzvos. Sometimes our Yetzer Haras trick us and try to get us not to do the right thing, but really we DO want to do the right thing. When the Beis Din forces the man, his Yetzer Hara becomes weak, and what the Yid really wants comes out! He realizes that he DOES want to do the mitzvah and give the get like the Torah tells him to.

The Rebbe would repeat this halacha often, to show that every Yid deep down really wants to do all of the mitzvos!



Hilchos Gezeilah VaAveidah - Perek Tes

This perek has the halachos about doing teshuvah for selling a stolen field. We learn what happens if the field gets ruined, sold, or taken away by the king!

icon of clock


Zayin Menachem Av

The Rebbe teaches us that Zayin Av is a day when we need to work even harder to bring the Geulah.

The Gemara tells us that on Zayin Av, the Goyim came into the Beis Hamikdash to make the Churban.

Why does the Gemara tell us this?

It isn’t just to tell us a story, or to help write a history book. It definitely isn’t written to make us feel bad by telling us sad things!

The Gemara is a part of Torah, and the purpose of Torah is to teach us how we should act. So if the Gemara tells us about Zayin Av, it must be because we need to know it in order to do something because of it!

We learned before that especially during the Three Weeks, we need to learn extra Torah and give more tzedakah in order to bring the Geulah. When the Nine Days start, we work even harder, making siyumim and being even more careful with Ahavas Yisroel. On Zayin Av, the Gemara says, the Churban was already starting. This is a message to us that today, we need to put in even MORE effort to bring the Geulah! We should take on new hachlatos and do something MORE to change the Golus into Geulah!

One year, in a sicha from Zayin Menachem Av, the Rebbe said that especially today we need to beg Hashem extra hard to bring Moshiach! We should add in Achdus by learning Torah and giving Tzedakah together with other Yidden.

See sicha Zayin Menachem Av Tof-Shin-Mem-Tes

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In Mah Tovu and Adon Olam, we show how davening is a special time and place for our neshama to approach Hashem.

In davening, we are going to ask Hashem for many things. But what zechus do we deserve it with?

The next part of davening is the Akeidah, where we remind Hashem about the zechus of the Avos, Avraham and Yitzchak. The Mesiras Nefesh they had is a tremendous zechus for all of the Yidden!

The story of the Akeidah also helps us with another part of davening. When we daven, we are making ourselves more aidel, so we can feel kedusha more. We are working on making our neshamos stronger and overcoming the Yetzer Hara. With the koach of Mesiras Nefesh that we have inside of us, from the Avos, we will be able to win over our Yetzer Hara!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman alef



Learning Torah on Tisha B'Av

Learning Torah makes a Yid happy! Like it says in the posuk, “Pekudei Hashem Yesharim, Mesamchei Lev” — “Hashem’s laws are upright, they make a person happy!”

Usually, that’s a wonderful thing, to be happy all of the time!

But on Tisha B’Av, we are mourning for the Beis Hamikdash. Getting involved in happy Torah learning will make us forget our sadness about the Churban.

Still, we have a mitzvah to learn Torah all the time. So what should we do?

We should learn parts of Torah that talk about the Churban, so we won’t forget about it. We learn Eicha, or Iyov, or part of the Gemara Gittin.

Reading books or newspapers just because we enjoy them is not allowed. It will also keep a person from remembering that he is sad about the Churban. We are only allowed to read and study about the Churban or other sad times for Yidden.

See also Piskei Teshuvos vol. 6, p. 106

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



Who Will Build the Third Beis Hamikdash?

There are two opinions about who will build the third Beis Hamikdash. Will it be Moshiach who tells the Yidden to build it, or will it come down from Shomayim?

The Rebbe gives a few explanations to show us that BOTH are true! Here is another explanation:

We learn about how the third Beis Hamikdash will be built from the Navi Yechezkel. Hashem gave Yechezkel a nevuah where a malach showed him around the third Beis Hamikdash, measuring all the different parts so he would know exactly how it should look!

But some parts of this nevuah are hard for us to understand. The Rambam tells us that Yechezkel’s words are “aino mefurash umevuar,” they are not explained fully. That means that we can’t just follow Yechezkel’s instructions and build the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi.

But there are many parts that we DO understand! Some of these parts were already built once before according to Yechezkel, in the second Beis Hamikdash. We know exactly how they should look, and we can follow the Navi’s instructions to build them just right!

The Rebbe says that these are the parts of the Beis Hamikdash that Moshiach will tell us to build. We will build whatever we can understand.

And then what about the rest, the parts that aren’t so clear?

Hashem will send down all the rest of the Beis Hamikdash from Shomayim, and we will have the complete Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi, which will last forever!

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