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Shvi'i with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden to try to make peace with the Goyim before attacking them, and about the mitzvah of Eglah Arufah.

Hashem promised the Yidden the cities in Eretz Yisroel. So the Yidden need to make sure that the people living there all leave! But if the Yidden are fighting a war with a different city, they have to first ask the people living there if they want to make Shalom (peace) first.

If they do want to make Shalom, then they can pay taxes and work for Yidden, and you should let them live. (But this is only with cities far away from Eretz Yisroel, so that Yidden won’t learn any Avodah Zarah from them.)

If they DON’T want to make Shalom, then you will need to fight with them. You should keep their money and their animals.

Still, when you are fighting, you shouldn’t cut down a fruit tree — “Ki HaAdam Eitz HaSadeh?” “Is a tree a person?” Why should you cut down the tree? You are just fighting with the people!

Now Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden about the Eglah Arufah:

If someone finds a person who passed away, lying in a field, and nobody knows who killed him, the Beis Din needs to come and see where it is. They measure to see which city is closest.

The Zekeinim of the closest city take a young cow (eglah) and kill it in a valley where nothing grows, to be a kaparah for the person who was killed. It’s a cow that is young so it never had any children, in a place that doesn’t grow anything — to make up for someone killing a Yid who now can’t “grow” any mitzvos.

The Zekeinim say, “It wasn’t our fault that the person was killed!” And the kohanim say, “Hashem, please forgive the Yidden.” And Hashem forgives them. (Still, if they find the person who did it later, they need to punish him.)



39 - 43

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Lamed-Tes to Mem-Gimmel. We also say kapitelach Yud-Tes, Chof, and Chof-Alef.

In today’s Tehillim, it says “Haysa Li Dimasi Lechem Yomam Valayla, Be’emor Eilai Kol Hayom Ayei Elokecha.” “My tears were like my food all day and night, when they say to me all day ‘Where is Hashem?’”

The Rebbe explains that this posuk is saying that for a person to really be close to Hashem, we need to be crying for Hashem ALL the time, not just on Shabbos or only when we’re davening, but even when we’re eating or playing on a regular weekday.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Alef

Emunah needs to be SO strong, that a person won’t ever be sad about Gashmius. Since he knows that everything is from Hashem, and Hashem is good, nothing bad could be happening to him!

Hashem sometimes makes things LOOK not good to test us. When we get a test from Hashem, it makes us work hard so that our neshama shines very strong. We have to use ALL of the koach of our neshama to remember that the most important thing is Emunah in Hashem. With that Emunah, we can be happy even when it’s hard.

When we are besimcha even when it’s hard, since we know that Hashem is good, we become very close to Hashem. Then we will be able to see things like Hashem sees them, and we’ll be able to see how it really is good.



Zayin Elul

Every word in the Torah is EXACT. We know all of the words and letters, and a sofer has to be very careful to write every single one perfectly!

There is only one letter in the Torah that we aren’t SURE about: That letter is in next week’s Chumash, Shlishi of Parshas Ki Seitzei, in the word “Daka.” There are two ways to write this word — with an Alef at the end, or a Hey at the end.

It says in today’s Hayom Yom that the Alter Rebbe says the word “Daka” should be with an Alef.

The Frierdiker Rebbe talks about Sifrei Torah he saw where the word “Daka” was written with an Alef! One of those Torahs was in Prague, where there was a Sefer Torah that the Yidden said was checked over by Ezra HaSofer! Another place was in Wurms, where there was a Torah written by R’ Meir M’Rotenburg, also with Daka spelled this way.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #287

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #287) is that a relative can’t be a witness, not to say good things and not to say bad things. The Rambam tells us that this is a Gezeiras Hakasuv, a mitzvah that doesn’t have a reason.



Hilchos Eidus

In Perek Yud-Daled we learn about an adult being a witness about something he saw when he was a child. Usually that’s not counted, because he wasn’t old enough to be an eid when it happened. If, for example, he remembers bringing challah to someone who was a kohen, he can say that in Beis Din to prove that person is really a kohen.

Perek Tes-Vov teaches that a person isn’t allowed to be a witness for something they use and benefit from. Like if a Sefer Torah was stolen from a city, if it belonged to the whole city, no one living there can be a witness about that Sefer Torah.

In the end of Perek Tes-Zayin the Rambam tells us that there are a few kinds of people that are kosher to be an eid, but they can’t be a judge. For example, a friend or enemy — they can be an eid, but they can’t be a judge because their friendship or hatred might make them make a wrong decision.



Hilchos Nedarim - Perek Beis

There are special halachos if someone makes a Neder for another person, and then that person answers amen. A person can also make a neder with a condition — he says he will only do it IF something happens. At the end of the perek, the Rambam explains that making something hefker (saying that it doesn’t belong to anyone right now) is like a Neder, and you can’t change your mind.



Chodesh Elul

We learned a lot of pesukim that start with the letters of Elul! Today, let’s learn another one. The sefer Megaleh Amukos writes that the letters of Elul also stand for the words of the Chachomim, “Oy LeRasha, V’Oy LeShcheino” — “Oy! for a Rasha, and oy! for his neighbor!”

These words explain that things don’t go so good for a Rasha — and someone who lives near him can also end up with problems because he spends so much time with a Rasha.

So why would we want to say that this Maamar Razal is the letters of Elul!? It doesn’t sound like a good thing!

The Rebbe explains that this IS a good thing! When a person does Teshuvah, he says “OY!” When a person says “OY!” and does teshuvah for something he did that was like a Rasha, it makes the people near him (his neighbors) want to do Teshuvah too — “OY!”

So really, this Maamar Razal is a very good one! When we use the month of Elul to do teshuvah, it helps others do teshuvah too!

See Shaarei Hamoadim Chodesh Elul, p. 46


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Mizmorei Shabbos

Really the Chachomim had many other kapitelach of praise to Hashem that they wanted to put in davening. But that would have made the davening much longer! Since working during the week is a very important part of serving Hashem, these kapitelach are not part of davening on a weekday, to give us more time to work.

But on Shabbos, when we have more time to spend on davening and learning, we add 12 kapitelach of Tehillim, along with Ho’aderes Veha’emunah, before Boruch She’amar. This way, we say the many praises of Hashem!

The meforshim explain why these kapitelach specifically were chosen. There are reasons in Niglah and in Kabbalah.



Ha'Eitz and Ha'Adamah

In the order of brachos, we make a bracha on Mezonos foods before making a bracha on Shehakol foods.

Even if we like the Shehakol food best, we first make the other brachos in the right order.

But with Ha’eitz and Ha’adamah, the rule is a little different! It is usually better to make Ha’eitz before Ha’adamah, but if you like one food better (choviv), you make a bracha on it first. For example, if you have an apple and a banana, and you like bananas more, you make the Ha’adamah on the banana before making Ha’eitz on the apple.

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin perek Yud

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



There Will Be No More War!

The Navi Micha lived at the same time as the Navi Yeshaya, before the Churban of the first Beis Hamikdash.

When Hashem sends a message through a Navi, the Navi tells the Yidden what he saw. Sometimes, Hashem showed the same thing to both Yeshaya and Micha! When we look at these pesukim, we see that each Navi used almost exactly the same words to tell the Yidden what Hashem showed them.

Here is a nevuah about the Geulah that we learned from Yeshaya, this time the way Micha saw it:

וְשָׁפַט בֵּין עַמִּים רַבִּים וְהוֹכִיחַ לְגוֹיִם עֲצֻמִים עַד רָחוֹק וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבֹתֵיהֶם לְאִתִּים וַחֲנִיתֹתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֹת לֹא יִשְׂאוּ גּוֹי אֶל גּוֹי חֶרֶב וְלֹא יִלְמְדוּן עוֹד מִלְחָמָה

Veshafat Bein Amim RabimMoshiach will judge any arguments between the many nations of the world

Vehochiach LeGoyim Atzumim Ad Rachok — And will tell the strong and the faraway nations to change the way they are acting.

Now the nations won’t have any reason to fight with each other anymore, since Moshiach will have told them what is right and what is wrong! Now what will they do with their weapons?

Vechitsu Charvoseihem Le’itim — They will bend their swords into plows for their fields

Vechanisoseihem Lemazmeiros — And they will bend their spears into pruning hooks!

(Pruning hooks are poles with a curved knife at the end, to cut off extra branches from trees so they will grow better.)

Lo Yis’u Goy El Goy Cherev — No nation will lift up their swords to fight with each other anymore,

Velo Yilmedun Od Milchama — And they won’t even learn about or practice fighting, since they will all know that there will NEVER be another war!

See Micha perek Daled posuk Gimmel

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