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Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe is farbrenging more with the Yidden, reminding them how special they are so they will keep all the mitzvos!

Yidden, you are children! You are children of Hashem!
You are different than the Goyim, so do not act like them.

Don’t hurt yourself or cut off all your hair like the Goyim may
To show how sad they are when someone passes away.

You have Kedusha from the Avos! Hashem picked ONLY YOU!
You are such a special nation — so you should look special too!

Don’t eat things Hashem tells us are not so nice to eat —
Like animals that don’t chew their cuds or do not have split feet.

(Moshe tells the Yidden now which animals ARE fine
And which ones to be careful of, since they have just ONE sign.)

Fish with fins and scales are kosher from all the ones we caught.
And we can eat each kind of kosher bird (the Torah tells us which ones not).

Bugs are not kosher either, don’t eat them even if they’re small.
And an animal that wasn’t shechted isn’t good for us at all!

We are holy to Hashem, so only kosher things we eat.
Also, don’t forget that we can’t mix milk with meat!



120 - 134

Today’s Tehillim is the 15 “Shir Hamaalos,” kapitelach Kuf-Chof to Kuf-Lamed-Daled. All of these kapitelach start with the words “Shir Hamaalos” or “Shir Lamaalos.”

Kapitel Kuf-Chof-Vav is the Shir Hamaalos we say before bentching on Shabbos and Yom Tov, or a day with no Tachanun. It talks about when Moshiach will come, and it says that Golus is like planting a field — a person puts seeds in the ground and cries that Hashem should make it rain. Then he is so happy when his plants grow!

Golus is like that too, we “plant” lots of mitzvos and cry to Hashem that they should “grow.” When Moshiach comes, we see all that our mitzvos did, and we are so happy!

That’s the posukAz Yemalei Sechok Pinu” — “then our mouths will be full of laughing” — because we will be so happy that Moshiach came!

The Rebbe tells us that we need to have lots of simcha now, to practice since Moshiach is almost here!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Ches

When we are davening, we sometimes suddenly start to think special things about Torah and Yiddishkeit!

Where does that come from? The same Ruchnius that Neshamos feel in Gan Eden, and that Malachim can feel all the time, can sometimes shine into our Neshama when we daven!

But Hashem wants us to DESERVE that, so we give Tzedakah before davening and we earn that special zechus!

Is feeling that Ruchnius, and feeling so close to Hashem only worth a nickel? How can we “buy” it for so cheap?

Of course it is worth more than all the money in the whole world! But Hashem gives it to us anyway just because we gave a little bit of tzedakah. Today the Alter Rebbe gives us a mashal to explain it.

How do we plant a big, beautiful tree?

We take a teeny tiny seed and put it into the ground. In the ground, it gets rotten and mushy and isn’t even a seed anymore! There is a special koach in the ground to make things grow, and we just need to do SOMETHING that will get that koach started! Our putting the seed into the ground makes that koach start to shine. That’s how even our little seed can grow into such a humongous tree.

When we give even a nickel to tzedakah, it is like planting a seed! What will “grow”? That special ruchnius’dik connection to Hashem that’s worth so much — like a huge tree coming from a tiny seed!

Tomorrow we will IY”H see how everything we just said in the mashal happens in Ruchnius when we give Tzedakah!



Chof-Zayin Menachem Av

The month of Elul is called Chodesh HaCheshbon, the month where we make a calculation, like businesses do at the end of the year. We figure out what things we did well in our Avodas Hashem, and where we will do better next year!

On every Shabbos Mevorchim, we say the whole Tehillim in the morning, and make a farbrengen.

Every Yiddishe Neshama that is born in the world was brought here to do a special Shlichus: Our job is like a business, where we buy things and sell them, so we can have money to buy what we need. Our neshama’s job is to “buy” Gashmius, and “sell it” to Hashem by using it for mitzvos! Then Hashem “pays us” by giving us brachos to have what we need, and brings Moshiach closer!

In a business, every day, the owner writes down what he bought and how much he sold. At the end of the year, he looks over his papers to see what he did right and what didn’t work, what he should keep doing and what he needs to do differently to make sure his business runs well.

We also need to do that with our “business” of being a Yid: Every day at the end of the day we may take a few minutes by Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah at night and think about what we did that day (some people will even write down a few lines!). At the end of the whole year, we think about what happened during the whole year — which things were good and we should keep doing (and even make it better), and what wasn’t so good and need to be changed.

Figuring out how to do better is a perfect way to get ready for Rosh Hashana, and for Hashem to give us a Shana Tova Umesuka! This is done in the month of Elul.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #310, Asei #224, Lo Saasei #300

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 3 mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #310) We can’t let a witch live (a witch is someone who uses the koach of tumah to make magic).

2) (Mitzvas Asei #224) The Beis Din needs to follow the halachos of giving malkos (lashes) — one of the punishments a Beis Din gives for certain aveiros.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #300) The Beis Din can’t hit someone during Malkos more than he’s supposed to be hit. Part of this mitzvah is never to hit another Yid, or even just pick up our hand as if we were going to hit him!



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about how the Sanhedrin judges.

In Perek Yud, one of the things we learn is that every judge has to have his OWN opinion. Because of that, we don’t ask the oldest or greatest judge to say his opinion first, because then the other judges might not want to say something different.

Perek Yud-Alef talks about the differences between judging cases about money (Dinei Mamonos), and judging cases where someone would be punished by being killed (Dinei Nefashos). We try NOT to have someone killed by Beis Din. One of the ways we see this is that even someone who is not a judge can give a reason why NOT to punish someone, but only the judges can give a reason to say why he is guilty!

Perek Yud-Beis explains how the Sanhedrin can pasken that someone deserves to be killed. The judges first need to make sure that there were witnesses who saw it happen, and that the person was warned first that he is not allowed to do the aveira.



Hilchos Shevuos - Perek Daled

In this perek we learn when a person is counted as having broken a promise. If it is a promise to do with eating, for example, the person would have to eat a kezayis for it to be counted.



Cheshbon Hanfesh

Imagine that your parents come over to you one day, and their faces are very serious. “Your room is a terrible mess!” they tell you. “We are having guests, and we expect you to clean it up by tonight!”

You get up and walk into your bedroom. Your heart sinks as you look around. Your parents are right — the room is a complete disaster! The garbage can is overflowing, there is dirty laundry all over the place, books and papers and toys are scattered around, and the drawers are so messy they can’t even close!

You are so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start! You start by picking up a sefer that fell on the floor, but you can’t even find room on the desk to put it away! You start to feel hopeless, that there is no way you can ever get this done. You just stand there, not sure what to do.

But then you hear the door open. Your mother walks in, and puts her hand on your shoulder. She gives you a warm smile and says, “Come, let’s do this together!” All of a sudden, you feel much better! You smile too, and start to work together with your mother to make your room into a Kiddush Hashem.

It is important to take some time to see how we are doing in our shlichus in the world, and figure out how to do it better. We can’t do this every day, because we are too busy actually DOING the shlichus! Instead, once a year, we stop and make a cheshbon of how we are doing.

But there can be problem with making a cheshbon. When we take a look at our behavior, we might see that it is very messy! There are so many things that we aren’t doing right, we might get overwhelmed and feel hopeless!

That’s why our Chachomim told us that the right time for this Cheshbon is in Chodesh Elul. In Elul, Hashem is right here with us, Melech Basodeh! When we know that Hashem is right here with us, helping us, we won’t feel hopeless anymore. We will be able to make our Cheshbon Hanefesh with simcha, and figure out how to do our shlichus in the world in the best way!

Then, Hashem will bentch us with a Shana Tova Umesukah!

See farbrengen of Shabbos Mevorchim Elul Tof-Shin-Yud-Alef


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Hodu (Part One)

After the Yidden came into Eretz Yisroel, the Mishkan was set up in Shilo. After many years, the Pelishtim captured Shilo and took the Aron with it! The Mishkan was set up again in Nov, a different city. The Pelishtim were punished for taking the Mishkan, and gave it back. But the Aron was brought to Kiryas Ye’arim, and the Yidden were afraid to move it. When the city of Nov was killed by Shaul Hamelech, the Mishkan was moved to Givon, where it stayed until the Beis Hamikdash was built. Dovid Hamelech very much wanted to build the Beis Hamikdash, but Hashem didn’t let him. Dovid Hamelech brought the Aron to the holy city of Yerushalayim, where it stayed in a tent until the Beis Hamikdash was built.

While the Aron was in a tent in Yerushalayim, Dovid Hamelech asked that the pesukim from Hodu until “Vehalel LaHashem” (the first half of Hodu) that were said at the time of the Korban Tomid in the Mishkan should be said in front of the Aron each day.

The pesukim said at the time of the Korban Tomid of the morning are from the words “Hodu” until “Uvinviai Al Tareiu,” and then the pesukim from there until “Vehalel LaHashem” were said at the Korban Tomid of the afternoon. These pesukim are written down in Divrei HaYamim in Nach.

These words of Hodu are all about praising Hashem! In our siddur, it is said right before the section of Pesukei Dezimra, where we speak about Hashem’s greatness. Since the pesukim in Hodu were said in connection with the Korban Tomid, we also say it right after Korbanos, just before we start Pesukei Dezimra.



Birchos Hanehenin

Since the whole world belongs to Hashem, we say a bracha before we eat or drink, to ask Hashem’s permission before enjoying part of His world.

Chassidus teaches us a deeper meaning of a bracha:

The word “bracha” is connected to the word “mavrich,” which means to bring down. When we say a bracha, we are bringing down the ability to see Hashem in a clearer way!

When we say a bracha, we are saying that we realize that we are not in charge of the world, Hashem is. Now that our connection to Hashem isn’t hiding, we are able to show that everything else is also connected to Hashem! Through the words of the bracha, we bring down the kedusha in the Gashmius thing we are about to enjoy!

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



The Brachos Will Flow!

The last two perakim of Yoel are about the Geulah!

In this posuk, the Navi Yoel tells us about some of the many brachos that the world will have when Moshiach comes. This posuk is also a very famous one in Chassidus — the maamar Kuntres Umaayan is based on it!

וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא יִטְּפוּ הֶהָרִים עָסִיס וְהַגְּבָעוֹת תֵּלַכְנָה חָלָב וְכָל אֲפִיקֵי יְהוּדָה יֵלְכוּ מָיִם וּמַעְיָן מִבֵּית ה׳ יֵצֵא וְהִשְׁקָה אֶת נַחַל הַשִּׁטִּים

Vehaya Vayom Hahu — This is something that will happen in the days of the Geulah:

Yitfu Heharim Asis — The mountains will be so full of ripe grapes, it will be as if they are dripping wine!

Vehag’vaos Teilachna Chalav — And the hills will grow so much rich grass (which helps animals make milk), it will be like the hills themselves are flowing with milk!

Vechol Afikei Yehuda Yeilchu Mayim — All of the springs of Yehudah (a part of Eretz Yisroel) will again flow with water!

Umaayan Mibeis Hashem Yeitzei — And a spring will flow from the Beis Hamikdash (the Navi Yechezkel speaks about it in his nevuah about the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi!)

Vehishkeh Es Nachal Hashitim — And it will make the valley of Shitim into a river!

See Yoel perek Daled posuk Yud-Ches

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