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Parshas Ki Savo - Chamishi with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is getting the Yidden ready for when they come into Eretz Yisroel. Today we learn what the Yidden will do on Har Grizim and Har Eival when they cross the Yarden. (We learned about this in general in Parshas Re’eh, and now we will see exactly how it works!)

When the Yidden cross over the Yarden, they will have to go straight to Har Grizim and Har Eival, two mountains in Eretz Yisroel.

Half of the Shevatim will stand on Har Grizim, and the other half on Har Eival. The Leviim, with the Aron, will be in the middle. Then the Leviim will say certain things to tell the Yidden to do what Hashem wants.

The Leviim will first look at Har Grizim and tell the Yidden that they will have brachos if they do things the way Hashem wants, and then look at Har Eival and tell the Yidden that not good things will happen if they DON’T listen to what Hashem wants.

Even though they are only looking at some of the Shevatim at a time, really they are talking to every Yid. Every time they say something, all the Yidden should answer “Amen!”

Most of the things that the Leviim will remind the Yidden about are aveiros that other people won’t always see, so nobody will tell the person to stop doing them.

The first thing the Leviim will say is:

Looking at Har Grizim: Brachos will go to the person who doesn’t make an idol and doesn’t secretly set it up!” — and all of the Yidden will answer “Amen!”

Looking at Har Eival: “Curses will go to the person who makes an idol and sets it up secretly.” — and all of the Yidden will answer “Amen.”

Here are all the rest of the things the Leviim will warn the Yidden about:

- Not to treat parents with the opposite of kavod
- Not moving a fence to steal land in a tricky way
- Not hurting someone by giving them bad advice (Lifnei Iver)
- Not to judge a Ger, a Yasom, or an Almanah (convert, orphan, or widow) unfairly
- Not getting married to people in your close family (these were each said separately)
- Not getting married to an animal
- Not to speak Lashon Hara
- A judge not taking a bribe to have someone killed by Beis Din

Then the Leviim will say, “Brachos will go to someone who keeps the Torah!” and “Curses will go to a person who doesn’t keep the Torah.” Again all the Yidden will answer Amen.

Now Moshe Rabbeinu gives the Yidden his own brachos and curses. Today we see some of the brachos:

If you listen to what Hashem wants, you will have lots of brachos! You will have brachos in Gashmius things, and also Ruchnius things — you will pass away without any aveiros, just like you were born without any aveiros.



72 - 76

Today’s kapitelach are Ayin-Beis to Ayin-Vov. We also say kapitelach Mem, Mem-Alef, and Mem-Beis for Elul.

In Kapitel Ayin-Gimmel, there is a posukMi Li Bashamayim Ve’imcha Lo Chofatzti Ba’aretz.”

The Tzemach Tzedek tells us that the Alter Rebbe used to say that this posuk means, “Do I need Shomayim? And I don’t want what’s with You in the world.” The Alter Rebbe was saying that he doesn’t want what’s WITH Hashem, like Gan Eden or Olam Haba. He just wanted Hashem Himself.

What does that mean for us? When we do a mitzvah, we shouldn’t think about how we will get a reward from Hashem — even a special Ruchnius’dike reward! The only thing that should be important to us is that we become connected to Hashem and fulfilling the shlichus He gave us to make Hashem’s kedusha felt in the world.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Gimmel

In this letter, so far, we learned about two kinds of Yidden. One is very strict and makes sure to do everything EXACTLY right, so he always gives just the amount of Tzedakah just like the Halacha tells him to.

There is also another kind of Yid that is not always thinking about being strict — he’s thinking about how to give and do MORE, and that’s how he acts.

Because both of these midos come from Kedusha, everyone needs to have both! It just depends which one is the MAIN one, and which one is usually hiding.

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-Daled Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn to be careful with what we use our energy for: Helping make Yiddishkeit stronger, not wasting time proving we are right!

The Rebbe Rashab told Chassidim something very important:

There are people that laugh at Yiddishkeit sometimes. We might want to fight or argue with them, to prove that they are wrong and we are right!

This is not the right thing to do. Not because we can’t win or because we are scared to fight!

We can’t waste our time with arguing, because we have too much to do! We need to use ALL of our koach for what is important, to make sure that Yiddishkeit is strong, holy, and pure.

For this, we need to REALLY have Mesiras Nefesh! It’s not enough to just be READY to have Mesiras Nefesh. We shouldn’t think about what WE want — we just do whatever we can to help Yiddishkeit! There’s no time for anything else.



Shiur #56 - Mitzvas Asei #157, Nusach HaHagadah, Mitzvas Asei #170

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn one last mitzvah about Pesach, say the Rambam’s nusach of the Haggadah, and then learn one of the mitzvos of Rosh Hashana:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #157) We need to tell over the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim. The Rambam tells us the words we need to say to fulfill this mitzvah, and as part of the mitzvah, we also say the Nusach of the Haggadah, the way the Rambam writes it in the Mishnah Torah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא

The details are explained in the end of Mesechta Pesachim.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #170) We need to hear the Shofar on Rosh Hashana.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Pinchas: יוֹם תְּרוּעָה יִהְיֶה לָכֶם

The details are explained in Mesechta Rosh Hashana.



Hilchos Chomeitz U'Matzah - Nusach HaHagadah - Hilchos Shofar V'Sukah V'Lulav

In today’s Rambam, we learn how to run a Seder properly. We learn about all the steps of the Seder, and the Mah Nishtana, and the whole Haggadah!

We also learn about the mitzvah of blowing the shofar. The Rambam tells us that we don’t blow the Shofar on Shabbos, so that nobody will carry it outside on Shabbos by mistake.

Chassidus tells us that the REAL reason why we don’t blow the Shofar on Shabbos is that when Rosh Hashana is on Shabbos, the koach of Shabbos is so strong that we don’t NEED to hear the Shofar to get the koach we usually get from hearing the Shofar. The day of Shabbos itself does what the shofar usually does!



Hilchos Teshuvah - Perek Ches

Now the Rambam teaches us about Olam Haba, the reward for a person after he passes away. We know what our bodies like — we enjoy yummy treats, fun trips, and special presents. But our neshama loves to feel Hashem! In Olam Haba, as a reward for our avodah, our neshama will be able to enjoy feeling Hashem in a very strong way.



Chodesh Elul

The month of Elul has three names: Chodesh Hacheshbon, Chodesh Hachana, and Chodesh Horachamim.

Chodesh Hacheshbon: Elul is a month of cheshbon, a month of calculation. Elul is the last month of the year, and Hashem gives us time to make a cheshbon of the year, to see what went right and what needs to be fixed, as we learned in Hayom Yom.

Chodesh Hachana: Elul is also a month of hachana, preparation. As we will learn soon in Tanya, a new chayus will come into the world at the start of the new year. During Elul, we prepare for this chayus so we will be a keili for it!

Chodesh Horachamim: Elul is also a month of Rachamim, where the Aibershter is extra close to us and ready to help us when we ask. We see this in the famous mashal of Melech Basodeh, the king in the field — that Hashem is right here in the field with us, and it is easy to go to Hashem and ask for help with everything we need. This special time comes from the Yud-Gimmel Midos Horachamim which shines during Elul. The Yud-Gimmel Midos are higher than the regular way the world works, and make this month a much easier time to do teshuvah and come close to Hashem!

All of these names of Elul are connected! In order to finish off the year, and be prepared for the new year, Hashem makes the Yud-Gimmel Midos Horachamim shine. They help us do teshuvah and fix whatever is missing, so that we will be a keili for the brachos Hashem is waiting to give us! This way we will be able to get the Kesiva Vachasima Tova, and the Shana Tova Umesukah that Hashem brings down to us on Rosh Hashana, the head of the year.


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Avinu Malkeinu

A long time ago, one of the scariest things that could happen was a hunger. If, for a long time, there was no rain, nothing would grow. The fields would all dry up, animals would become sick and weak, and there wouldn’t be enough food for everyone. There were no refrigerators to store food, no big trucks to bring food from other places, and no big pipes to bring water from faraway places to water the fields.

If there was a hunger, the Yidden would all fast and do teshuvah. They would gather in the shuls and daven to Hashem, saying special tefillos and asking Him to have rachmonus and give rain.

In the times of Rabbi Akiva, the Yidden once noticed something incredible: Rabbi Akiva came to the shul during a hunger. He came to the Amud and said a new tefillah. Rabbi Akiva said, “Avinu Malkeinu, Chatanu Lefanecha!” “Our Father, Our King — we admit that we did aveiros!” When he said these words, it started to rain.

The Yidden realized that these words had a special koach to ask Hashem for rachmonus. They added more lines starting with the words Avinu Malkeinu, and made them part of the tefillos on fast days and during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

On Yom Tov, we actually don’t say the first line of Avinu Malkeinu, “Chatanu Lefanecha,” because we don’t say Vidui on Yom Tov. Instead, we start with the next line, saying “Avinu Malkeinu, Ain Lanu Melech Ela Ata!” “Our Father, our King, we don’t have a King aside for You!”

On Rosh Hashana, we ask for Hashem’s rachmonus by saying Avinu Malkeinu. But there is another way that we get Hashem’s rachmonus! In the Zohar, it writes that the neshamos in Shomayim look for ways to ask Hashem to have rachmonus on the Yidden in this world, that Hashem should bentch us all with a good year.

See Shaar Hakolel end of perek Mem-Beis



Avinu Malkeinu

There are certain words in davening that we are very careful to pronounce the right way, so that the meaning isn’t chas veshalom changed to a not-good meaning. In Shema there are some places like this, for example making sure that even if we say the word “Echod” (“one”) slowly in Shema, that it doesn’t sound like Acher (“another one”).

Especially during the Yomim Noraim, when we are being carefully judged, there are some parts of davening where we are very careful to pronounce the words just right.

For example, we add the line “Zochreinu Lechaim,” asking Hashem to remember us for life. We are careful to say the word LE’Chayim, with a sheva, and not to say it as “La’Chaim,” with a komatz or patach. That is because “LaChaim” could sound like two words — La Chayim — which could chas veshalom mean NOT life!

Another place we are very careful is when we say the line in Avinu Malkeinu, “Kra Ro’a Gzar Dineinu,” asking Hashem to rip up the bad parts of our decree. We are careful not to pause between the words “Ro’a” (bad) and “Gzar” (gezeira). If we pause, it might sound like we are asking Hashem, “rip up the bad thing — our gezeira!” We don’t want Hashem to rip up our whole gezeira, chas veshalom, with all of its good parts — we only want Hashem to take out the not good parts of our gezeira for this year and we should be left with only what’s good!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Kuf-Pey-Beis and Shaar Hakolel end of perek Mem-Beis

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



Prazos Teisheiv Yerushalayim

In the nevuos of the Navi Zechariah, we see how Hashem showed things to him, like a mashal.

In one of these nevuos, Zechariah saw a malach with a measuring stick. He asked the malach what he was doing, and the malach said he was measuring Yerushalayim.

Another malach came over to the first malach, and told him to stop measuring! Now, Yerushalayim is a city with a wall around it, so it can be measured. But when Moshiach comes, Yerushalayim will be like the cities without walls. This way it will be able to grow as more and more Yidden come to live there!

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו רֻץ דַּבֵּר אֶל הַנַּעַר הַלָּז לֵאמֹר פְּרָזוֹת תֵּשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם מֵרֹב אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה בְּתוֹכָהּ

Vayomer Eilav — The second malach said to the first malach:

Rutz Dabeir El Hanaar Halaz — “Run and speak to this young man (Zechariah)

Leimor — Saying:

Prazos Teisheiv Yerushalayim — ‘Yerushalayim will be lived in like a city without walls

Meirov Adam Uveheima Besocha — From the many people and animals that live there!’”


In Tof-Shin-Chof-Zayin, during the Six Day War, the Yidden captured Yerushalayim from the Arabs that were living there with great nissim. Finally we could come back and live in our holy city!

At the farbrengen of Yud-Tes Kislev in Tof-Shin-Chof-Tes (about a year and a half later) the Rebbe said a maamar which included an explanation of the words of this posuk, “Prozos Teisheiv Yerushalayim,” that we will be able to live in Yerushalayim as if it was a city without any walls!

After the maamar, the Chassidim sang a happy niggun!

After they had been singing for a while, the Rebbe told one of the Chassidim from Yerushalayim to sing the words “Prozos Teisheiv Yerushalayim” to this tune.

Then the Rebbe said a sicha explaining this posuk and what we can learn from it! The Rebbe also said that Hashem made many nissim to let us have Yerushalayim back, and that now that we have it back, we need to make sure to hold on to it! Then the Rebbe asked that the ones who are good at niggunim should sing the happy niggun again with the words Prozos Teisheiv Yerushalayim.

After the sicha, the Chassidim learned the new words to the niggun, and practiced singing it joyously for about 15 minutes.

The Rebbe liked this niggun a lot and would ask the Chassidim to sing it at many farbrengens.

Now this happy niggun reminds us that we will soon ALL be able to live in Yerushalayim in a way of Prozos Teisheiv Yerushalayim, with the coming of Moshiach!

See Zechariah perek Beis posuk Ches; farbrengen Yud-Tes Kislev 5729

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