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Parshas Va'eschanan - Shvi'i with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is preparing the Yidden for going into Eretz Yisroel. He reminds them to stay far away from Avodah Zarah, and to keep the mitzvos, which will bring a lot of brachos!

Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden to make sure to send away the Goyim in Eretz Yisroel who serve Avodah Zarah. They shouldn't marry them, and should break and cut down all of their Avodah Zarah.

Why? Because we are a different nation, and Hashem chose us! We need to stay very far away from Avodah Zarah.

Hashem loves us and took us out of Mitzrayim! He gives us a lot of schar when we do the mitzvos, and punishes people who don’t. So keep the mitzvos in this world (“Hayom Laasosam”), and the reward will be in Olam Haba (“Lemachar Lekabel Secharam”)!



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach are Samach until Samach-Hey.

In today’s Tehillim there is a posuk, “Nosata LeReiacha Neis Lehisnoses Mipnei Koshet Sela” — “You give those who have Yiras Shomayim a sign to hold up for the sake of truth.”

The word Neis can mean a few different things:

Neis — a sign
Neis — a miracle
Nisayon — a test

Do you know what a Nisayon is? Chassidus explains that Hashem sometimes makes a person THINK that there is something in the way, that doesn’t let him do what Hashem wants. But it could be that what is stopping us isn’t even real!

For example, a person could think that if they do a mitzvah, someone will get angry at them — but it’s not even true! Hashem makes them FEEL that way to test them, to see if the mitzvah is so important to them that they will do it even though they are afraid.

Since a person needs to use a very strong part of his Neshama to be able to do this Mitzvah and not to be afraid, he becomes a stronger and better Yid.

In fact that is the very reason why Hashem gives a Yid a nisayon — to bring out the deeper kochos that are hiding inside his neshama and make him a stronger Yid!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Daled

We learned before that there are two kinds of ways a person can feel something: Chitzonius Halev (when we need to think about something and feel like we want it), or Pnimius Halev (when it’s something we want or need so much we don’t even have to think about it at all)!

Of course, it is much easier to do our avodah and to daven to Hashem if our Pnimius Halev is only wanting things that are good for us. But the Pnimius Halev of a Yid can sometimes be stuck in Golus, making us feel like we NEED to have Gashmius things that we like.

So how do we get it out?

The truth is that we need to have the help of Hashem. But there is still something we need to DO in order to GET Hashem’s help! What is that?

We have to use our Pnimius Halev for a mitzvah, instead of for the Gashmius things that we want!

Which mitzvah do we use our Pnimius HaLev in? The mitzvah of Tzedakah!

When we work hard to earn money we are using not only using our Chitzonius Halev, we are using our Pnimius Halev. We are using ALL of our kochos to get that money. When we give some of that money later to Tzedakah, we are taking our Pnimius Halev and using it for a mitzvah!

That is what we are able to do in order to take our Pnimius Halev out of Golus. Then Hashem helps us with the part we cannot do ourselves, and Hashem helps us to completely redeem our Pnimius Halev, our neshama, from Golus. Then we will have a Geulah Protis, a private Geulah in our Avodas Hashem, and then together with other Yidden that will bring the Geulah Klolis, the Geulah for all the Yidden!



Yud-Alef Menachem Av

Today we learn a short story about the Alter Rebbe that is connected to the Shabbos after Tisha B’Av.

In Tof-Kuf-Chof-Daled, when the Alter Rebbe was 19 years old, he went to Mezritch, together with his brother R’ Yehudah Leib, to learn Torah from the Maggid.

But R’ Yehudah Leib didn’t ask for permission from his wife first, so he went back home. The Alter Rebbe had asked permission, so he was able to stay. At first the Alter Rebbe wasn’t sure he should stay, but after two weeks he decided to become a Chossid!

The first maamar he heard from the Maggid was Nachamu, Nachamu. (We’re not sure if that is the first maamar he HEARD, or the first maamar he heard after he decided to become a Chossid.)



Shiur #23 - Mitzvas Asei #5

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #5) is the same mitzvah again: That a Yid has to serve Hashem through davening.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת ה׳ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם



Hilchos Tefillah

Perek Hey: In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about davening. We learn 8 things a person should try to do (lechatchilah) when they daven Shmoneh Esrei, the main part of davening:

1) We should be standing up
2) We should face the Beis Hamikdash (for most of us, that’s Mizrach)
3) Our body should be clean for davening
4) Our clothes should be neat, and we should wear shoes
5) We should prepare a proper place, for example to always daven in the same place
6) We say Shmoneh Esrei quietly
7) We bow in certain places in Shmoneh Esrei
8) We bow after Shmoneh Esrei when we say Tachanun

Perek Vov: The Rambam teaches us to make sure we don’t miss davening at the right time, by not starting other things at the time of davening (like eating a meal or getting a haircut).

Perek Zayin: We learn the brachos we say at other times of the day, like Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita, and morning brachos.

The Rambam tells us that we should say 100 brachos every day! (If you daven Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv, and wear Tallis and Tefillin, you will already have most of the brachos. If you wash for bread and bentch, then you have even more. So it shouldn’t be too hard to say 100 brachos every weekday!)



Hilchos Deios - Perek Alef

Now we start a new set of halachos, called Hilchos Deios! These halachos help us to have good midos.

The Rambam explains that there are three ways to have each midah. For example, a person has a choice to be a very stingy person, saving all of his money and not buying even important things. Another person might spend lots of money all the time, even on silly things. But there is a MIDDLE way: To spend money on things we need, and not to waste it.

The Rambam teaches us that we should try to have the MIDDLE path in most of our midos.



Shabbos Nachamu

This week we start a set of seven Haftaros called the “Shiva DeNechemta.” In each one, Hashem makes us feel better from our suffering in Golus, and tells us that Moshiach will come very soon!

We will say these Haftaros all the way until Rosh Hashana. This shows us that these seven weeks are a preparation for Rosh Hashana. We make a Cheshbon Hanefesh for all of the things that happened this year. As we get closer to Rosh Hashana, this will become stronger and stronger.

We think about how we learned Torah all year — can we make more time to learn?

In Tzedakah — can we give more? Maybe we need to give a Chomeish (1/5 or 20%) instead of just Maaser (10%)? Maybe we need to start giving with a smile?

The same is true with all parts of our Yiddishkeit. We can ask ourselves how we can do each mitzvah better.

We should especially ask ourselves — what have I done to bring Moshiach faster?

From a sicha of the Rebbe


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Le'olam Yehei Adam

We learned that the section “Le’olam Yehei Adam” and the first Shema were made a part of davening close to the end of the time of the Amoraim. At that time, there was a gezeira from the king that the Yidden could not say Shema. Since it was dangerous to say Shema together in shul, the Chachomim told the Yidden to say Shema secretly in their homes before coming to daven.

But even though it only became part of davening then, the words of Le’olam Yehei Adam were written over 100 years earlier.

Where did they come from?

Eliyahu Hanavi used to come often to learn with a certain Amora, called R’ Anan.

R’ Anan wrote down the things he learned from Eliyahu Hanavi. This later became a sefer, which we still have today, called Tana Devei Eliyahu (“We learned from Eliyahu”).

One of the things R’ Anan wrote down was how Eliyahu Hanavi explained a certain nevuah from the Navi Amos. The Navi says that there will come a time when Yidden will be hungry — but not for food or water, they will be hungry for words of Torah!

Eliyahu Hanavi said that this nevuah was also speaking about a time of Shmad, when goyim will try to keep Yidden from doing mitzvos. This will make the Yidden feel hungry for Torah and mitzvos, because they won’t be able to keep them in public!

R’ Anan wrote down what Eliyahu Hanavi said about this, beginning with the words “Le’olam Yehei Adam,” and ending, “Amar Hashem.” This whole section of davening is the words of Tana Devei Eliyahu.

It starts:

Le’olam Yehei Adam Yerei Shomayim Baseser” — A person should always have Yiras Shomayim, even if he has to do it Baseser, in a hidden way.

One of the paragraphs ends, “Baruch Mekadesh Shemo Borabim” — the best way is to be able to make a Kiddush Hashem in public. But even when we can’t, we at least make a Kiddush Hashem in private, by doing the mitzvos secretly.

At the time when this was added to davening, this was very important! The Yidden needed to think about this when they said Shema secretly, remembering how important it is to do mitzvos even in such a time.

But nowadays we are NOT in a time of Shmad, Boruch Hashem! We ARE able to do mitzvos in public, and the goyim are not trying to stop us! So why was this kept as a part of davening for always?

One reason is because we ALWAYS need to remember the way the Yidden act in a time of Shmad!

Our Yiras Shomayim needs to also be in private. It is not enough to do mitzvos only when other people are looking. Deep inside, where only Hashem can see, we ALSO need to have Yiras Shomayim.

This Tefillah reminds us that our Avodas Hashem should be in a way of Pnimius and Emes, even when others can’t see.

See Beis Yosef siman Mem-Vov se’if Ches, Tana Devei Eliyahu perek Chof-Alef



After the Nine Days

Just because now the Nine Days are over, it doesn’t mean that we are done with thinking about the Beis Hamikdash or adding in Kedushah to bring Moshiach! The Rebbe said that we shouldn’t STOP making siyumim now, we should keep making them until Chamisha-Asar B’Av — the big Yom Tov that comes after (and because of) Tisha B’Av!

We are now coming to the end of the summer, where the days are longer than the nights. Starting from Chamisha Asar B’Av, the nights start getting longer, and the Gemara tells us to learn more Torah at night.

The Rebbe tells us that we shouldn’t wait until Chamisha Asar B’Av, we should already start adding in our Torah learning now!

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



Absorbing Kedusha

Did you ever hear an echo?

When sounds bounce off of walls or rocks, we can hear an echo. But if you scream into a pillow, you won’t hear an echo, because the pillow absorbs the sound and it doesn’t bounce away!

In Parshas Vaeschanan, we review the Aseres Hadibros. One of the things the Medrash tells us about the Aseres Hadibros is that when Hashem said these words, there was no echo.

That’s not how things usually work! Very loud sounds bounce off of mountains and rocks and make a loud echo. An echo isn’t a bad thing, it can sometimes make something sound more important and loud. So why did Hashem make a neis that there should be no echo from the Aseres Hadibros?

The Rebbe explains that this wasn’t actually a neis, it was the way the world is supposed to work! If a sound is absorbed into the mountain, it won’t bounce off and echo. At the time of Matan Torah, the world was able to absorb the words of Hashem completely, so they didn’t bounce off and echo!

Matan Torah was like a small taste of Moshiach. Just like by Matan Torah, when Moshiach comes, the world will be able to absorb kedusha completely!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Daled, Parshas Va’eschanan

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