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Parshas Ki Seitzei - Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is talking to the Yidden about the mitzvos they will do in Eretz Yisroel!

- The nations of Amon and Moav caused the Yidden to do an aveira (the story of Bal Pe’or), so a goyishe man from those nations who becomes a Ger, and all of his children, cannot marry a Jewish woman. The nations of Mitzrayim and Edom (from Eisav), tried to hurt the Yidden’s bodies, so if a man or lady from one of these nations becomes a Yid, the third generation is allowed to marry someone who is not a Ger.

- A Jewish army camp has to be very holy! If someone is tomei, he needs to go out until he can become tahor again. We need to make sure that there is a special place for a bathroom. If a soldier is too far away from the bathroom, he has to have a shovel so he can cover up the place he used, so nobody will see and it will be a comfortable place for Hashem to be, together with the soldiers!

- If a Jewish slave runs away from the non-Jew who owns him, we can’t send him back. And if a NON-Jewish slave runs away to Eretz Yisroel, we also can’t send him back. If his owner was Jewish, the slave needs to become a Ger, and will have to pay back his owner however much he cost.

- A Jewish woman is not allowed to be a Zonah — someone who makes other people act like they are married to her. A man can’t do that either! If someone DOES chas veshalom, and they get paid for it, that money is not nice money, and we can’t use it to buy a korban for Hashem. We also can’t use a sheep that was traded for a dog as a korban.

- A Yid can’t pay interest (ribbis or neshech) when he borrows money from another Yid (he can pay a Goy interest). This way Hashem will bentch you in everything you do in the land of Eretz Yisrael, which you are going to inherit.

- If you promise to bring a korban, you have to bring it before 3 Yomim Tovim pass! You aren’t doing an aveira if you don’t make a promise, but if you don’t keep a promise, it is an aveira. So be careful to only make a promise if you are SURE you can keep it.



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Samach through Samach-Hey. We also say another three kapitelach for Chodesh Elul, kapitelach Lamed-Alef, Lamed-Beis, and Lamed-Gimmel.

One of the Kapitelach we say in today’s Yom of Tehillim is Kapitel Samech-Gimmel.

In this kapitel, Dovid Hamelech says how his neshama wants to be close to Hashem. He compares himself to a person who is thirsty for water in a place where there is none: “Tzoma Lecha Nafshi!”

The Rebbe explains that when a person is VERY thirsty and doesn’t have any water, when he finally gets the water it tastes so delicious to him, much better than any other water!

The same thing is when the neshama feels like it’s not close to Hashem, and it’s really “thirsty” to feel close.Then, when it DOES learn Torah and do mitzvos and feel close to Hashem, the Torah that it learns and the mitzvos that it does are much more geshmak!

That’s why Dovid Hamelech says in the next posuk, “Kein Bakodesh Chazisicha” — “If only I would see You like this bakodesh,” even when I feel holy and I don’t feel far away. Even then, I wish I would feel the same geshmak in the Torah and mitzvos!

When Moshiach comes, we will all be able to see Hashem! Halevai that then we should feel the geshmak in Torah and mitzvos like we do when our neshama is “thirsty” during Golus.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Gimmel

This Igeres is a letter the Alter Rebbe sent with a shliach (Shadar) who was collecting tzedakah in the communities of Chassidim, to inspire them to give tzedakah.

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe explains that even people who usually do mitzvos with a cheshbon, doing them exactly the way they need to be done, have the koach to give tzedakah without a cheshbon. The Alter Rebbe is waking up this koach of their neshama to give tzedakah without a cheshbon, much more than they would plan to give! One of the rewards for doing this is that Hashem will also give brachos without a cheshbon, even more than the person deserves!

First let’s learn about two different ways Yidden can serve Hashem:

A Yid can do mitzvos and learn Torah EXACTLY the way the Torah says. He can work hard to everything just right. All of his Avodas Hashem is just between him and Hashem, and nobody else needs to know!

Or there is another way — a person could feel so excited about their Yiddishkeit, that they want other people to enjoy it too! They don’t spend so much time trying to make sure everything is perfect, they just are busy doing LOTS of mitzvos, showing everyone how much they love being a Yid!

A person will have one of these different ways of serving Hashem based on where their neshama comes from — Chesed or Gevurah.

There are two examples for these two types:

1. Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel: Beis Shamai was usually very strict, and Beis Hillel would find a way to be patient with the most annoying people, and not as strict when he paskened Halacha.

2. Yitzchak and Avraham: Yitzchak was very strict with himself. He was always working to become better . He used his midah of gevurah. Avraham was kind (Chesed) and had a lot of Hachnosas Orchim — even to people who didn’t believe in Hashem.

The Alter Rebbe tells us that in kedushah, these two midos are not by themselves! Chesed has Gevurah and Gevurah has Chesed! (We know this from Sefiras Ha’omer, where we see that every midah has all the other midos inside of it too!)

Since they are all connected, we see that sometimes even Beis Hillel was MORE strict than Beis Shamai! And sometimes, Beis Shamai was LESS strict than Beis Hillel!

Avraham Avinu, whose Avodah was Chesed, was also able to show a lot of Gevurah, like when he brought Yitzchak to be a Korban.

The same is with EVERY Yid’s neshama — everyone has both midos of Chesed and Gevurah, and there is a time to use each one.

So if everyone has Chesed AND Gevurah, why do we say that there is a difference, and that there are different ways in Avodas Hashem?

Beis Shamai was USUALLY strict, and the Chesed was hiding. Beis Hillel was USUALLY kind, and the Gevurah was hiding. The same thing is with Avraham and Yitzchak! Each of them had BOTH midos, but one of them was usually hiding.

So each of us have both midos, but our Avodah is usually in one way.

Hashem shows a special Chesed to Yidden when WE act with a special Chesed! When we give tzedakah without making a cheshbon how much we should give, then Hashem will give us Chesed without making a cheshbon if we deserve it or not!

Since ALL Yidden have this koach at least hiding inside, we all need to use it when it comes to Tzedakah. Then we can ask Hashem to protect us, and give us what we need with this Chesed that has no limits!



Yud-Alef Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn a story that happened with the Tzemach Tzedek on Parshas Ki Seitzei, which teaches us about the job we have in Olam Hazeh.

It was at a Shabbos meal, where the Tzemach Tzedek’s sons and many Chassidim were present. The Tzemach Tzedek said that the world is a world of sheker, full of good and bad mixed together, that we need to fix up. But Olam Haba is a place of emes, truth. There, there is nothing bad that needs to be fixed up!

The Tzemach Tzedek started a niggun, and made a sign that the Chassidim should sing too. The sons of the Tzemach Tzedek joined first, and then everyone sang along. The niggun made everyone feel very uplifted!

When the Tzemach Tzedek stopped singing, he gave an example: In the Gemara, it talks about someone who doesn’t learn Torah properly, and only learns Torah “liprakim,” once in while, which is NOT the right way to learn.

In Gan Eden, this is learned differently! The word “liprakim” can mean once in a while, but it also means “to take something apart.” In Gan Eden, “Halomed Torah Liprakim” means that the Torah “takes apart” the neshama who is learning it. This way, the Torah can reach every part of it!

This is only the way Torah is learned in Gan Eden. But in Olam Hazeh, where we have a Yetzer Hara, the Torah has a different meaning, to help us fix the things that aren’t the way they should be.



Shiur #37 - Mitzvas Asei #154

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos we bentch. Really! We say the nusach of the bentching the way the Rambam did. (Pay attention, there are a lot of differences!) We also say the brachos of the haftora, and the list of haftoras for each parsha.

Then we learn one mitzvah, from the new sefer of Rambam we are starting!

It is a mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #154) for us to rest on Shabbos (and to make sure our animals and slaves do too!)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת

The details are explained in Mesechta Shabbos and Mesechta Beitzah (Yom Tov).



Nusach Birchas Hamazon - Hilchos Shabbos

In today’s Rambam, we also say the Rambam’s nusach in bentching. Then we read through a list with the haftora for each parsha in the Torah. With that, we finish Sefer Ahava, the second sefer of the Rambam! Now we will start the third sefer, called Zemanim.

The first set of halachos in Sefer Zmanim is Hilchos Shabbos.

Perek Alef: If a person does a melacha on Shabbos, is he doing an aveira from the Torah, or an aveira from the Chachomim? (Of course both are asur!) To be punished by the Beis Din for doing a melacha, one of the halachos is that he needs to have kavanah, to WANT to do the melacha.

Perek Beis: Even though the halachos of Shabbos are so important, there is a mitzvah that always comes first: Saving a life! In fact, if it might save someone’s life, we are NOT supposed to ask a Rav first, we should try right away to save them, even if it means doing a lot of things that are asur on Shabbos.



Hilchos Mikvaos - Perek Beis

This perek tells us what is counted as a chatzitzah for a person who needs to go to the mikvah. A chatzitzah is something that blocks the water of the Mikvah from touching the whole thing, so it doesn’t become tahor. Something that a person doesn’t mind being stuck to him usually isn’t a chatzitzah, it’s just counted like part of him. A loose necklace isn’t called a chatzitzah, since the water of the Mikvah can still get under it.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is the day of the chasunah of Rebbe Rashab and Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah!

The Rebbe Rashab and Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah were cousins, who both lived in Lubavitch. When they were 5 years old, their Zaidy, the Tzemach Tzedek, said that they should get married! So their parents signed a paper saying that they would get married in ten years, when they were 15.

Before they got married, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah’s family moved to Avrutch — so that is where the Chasuna was. Rebbetzin Rivkah came to the chasuna in Avrutch, but the Rebbe Rashab’s father, the Rebbe Maharash, didn’t come. He explained that there was a Ruchnius reason why.

After the chasuna, the Rebbe Rashab and Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah moved to Lubavitch. When they came, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah saw that all of her cousins were very tall, and she was short! The Rebbe Maharash said, “Don’t worry — short trees grow good fruit!”

And that’s what happened — they had a very special “fruit” — the Friediker Rebbe!


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Pesukei Dezimra

When we learn more about davening, we start to realize that it is a special time where Hashem wants us to tell Him all of the things we need. Since we are in Golus, there are MANY things we don’t have. We might want to hurry through the first parts of davening to be able to ask Hashem already to give us all the things we need!

But the Chachomim tell us that we shouldn’t do that. In Pesukei Dezimra, we are praising Hashem. It’s not nice to praise someone quickly, just to get it over with, and then ask for many favors. We need to say Pesukei Dezimra word for word, to show Hashem that we recognize His greatness. Only then will we ask Hashem to help us.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Alef, se’if Yud-Gimmel



Order of Brachos

We learned that when we have many foods together with the same bracha, we say the bracha on the most important food.

There are a few ways for a food to be important, if it is whole and not cut up, if it is our favorite, or it is part of the Shivas Haminim.

If we have many fruits together, along with some of the Shiva Minim, we can either pick what we like most, or we can pick the most important one of the Shiva Minim.

Usually, it is best to make the bracha on a whole fruit, whether or not it is our favorite. But if we pick the Shiva Minim, they are more important than the other fruits, even if the Shiva Minim fruits are cut up!

(Of course, if we have two of the same Shiva Minim fruit that are the most important, it is best to make the bracha on the one that is whole. So for example, if the most important Shiva Minim fruit we have is a fig, it is best to choose a whole fig to make the bracha on.)

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Yud, Toras Menachem vo. 58 p. 3 ha’arah 1 (about shaleim in Shiva Minim)

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



The Greatest Beis Hamikdash

Chagai was one of the Neviim at the time that the second Beis Hamikdash was being built. He encouraged the Yidden to keep working to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, even though it was hard.

This nevuah speaks about the second Beis Hamikdash, according to some opinions. But according to the Zohar, it is really about the third Beis Hamikdash, in the times of Moshiach!

גָּדוֹל יִהְיֶה כְּבוֹד הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת וּבַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֶתֵּן שָׁלוֹם נְאֻם ה׳ צְבָאוֹת

Gadol Yihiyeh Kavod Habayis Hazeh Ha’acharon — The kavod of this last Beis Hamikdash will be greater

Min Harishon — Than the first Beis Hamikdash!

Amar Hashem Tzeva’os — So says Hashem.

Uvamakom Hazeh Etein Shalom — And in this place (Yerushalayim) I will give peace

Ne’um Hashem Tzeva’os — So says Hashem.

See Chagai perek Beis posuk Tes

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