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Parshas Chukas-Balak - Shlishi with Rashi

Today we learn about five important things that happened to the Yidden in the Midbar: Aharon passes away, Amalek attacks the Yidden, the Yidden complain about the mohn and Hashem sends poisonous snakes, and Hashem tells Moshe to put up a snake on a pole to help the Yidden to do teshuvah and be saved. Then we learn about a special neis, and the shira the Yidden sing to thank Hashem!

Aharon passes away: The Yidden continued going through the Midbar. They came to a mountain called Hor HaHar (that means “The Mountain of the Mountain” — because it looked like a small mountain on top of a big mountain).

Now Aharon will pass away.

Hashem told Moshe that he should speak to Aharon to make him feel better, reminding him that he will see his son Elazar take over as Kohen Gadol before he passes away. This is something that even Moshe Rabbeinu himself did not have with his son.

Hashem told Moshe to bring Aharon and Elazar into a cave in the mountain. There will be a bed with a candle inside. Moshe should help Aharon take off the special clothes of the Kohen Gadol and dress Elazar in them. Then Aharon will lay down on the bed, and close his eyes, and Hashem will take back his neshama with a “kiss.” (Misas Neshikin — only certain tzadikim pass away like this.)

Even though it was hard for him, Moshe did what Hashem said, and Aharon passed away. Then Moshe and Elazar came down from the mountain. The Yidden were very sad, and cried for a whole month. They missed Aharon, who used to make shalom between people, especially bringing Shalom Bayis.

Amalek decides to attack: The clouds that were around the Yidden were in Aharon’s zechus, and Hashem took some of them, the Ananei HaKavod, away when Aharon passed away. The clouds that Hashem took away weren’t the ones that protected the Yidden, but they were there for kavod for the Yidden.

When Amalek saw that the clouds went away, they thought that Hashem would let them fight against the Yidden. They decided to pretend they were from Canaan, so the Yidden wouldn’t be able to daven to Hashem against them — they would be davening for the wrong thing.

Amalek attacked the Yidden, and captured one person (who was really only an Amaleki the Yidden had captured last time).

The Yidden davened to Hashem to save them. They didn’t ask Hashem to save them from the Canaanim, so Amalek’s trick didn’t work! Hashem helped, and the Yidden won. They gave all of the money they got to Hashem.

The Yidden complain about the Mohn: The Yidden were so scared from the war with Amalek, and that Aharon passed away, that they tried to run back to Mitzrayim.

The Leviim chased them and fought with them until they agreed to go back to Eretz Yisroel. But they complained about Hashem and about Moshe. They said that they didn’t like the mohn.

The copper snake of teshuvah: Hashem punished the Yidden for their Lashon Hara about the mohn by sending poisonous snakes. (The reason why Hashem sent snakes was because the snake by the Cheit Eitz HaDaas said Lashon Hara.) The Yidden realized they needed to do teshuvah, and asked Moshe to ask Hashem to stop the snakes.

Hashem told Moshe to make a fake snake and put it on a pole. When the Yidden look at it, they won’t die from the snakebites. When they look up they will think about Hashem, and also they will remember why Hashem was punishing them.

Moshe made this snake out of copper, because the word copper (nechoshes) is like the word snake (nachash)! And just like Hashem promised, if a Yid was bitten by a snake, he looked at the copper snake and Hashem forgave him and didn’t let him die.

A special neis: The Yidden continued traveling and came closer to where the Emori people lived.

To go there, they had to go in a valley with high cliffs on both sides. The Arnon River goes through this valley, and the Emorim knew that the Yidden were coming that way. They had a mean idea, to hide in the caves in the cliffs and then throw arrows and rocks down on the Yidden when they came through!

But Hashem saved the Yidden! He moved the cliffs together, and both cliffs fit together like puzzle pieces — wherever there was a cave on one side, there was a rock sticking out on the other. All of the Emorim that wanted to hurt the Yidden were killed.

The Yidden were able to see the blood in the Arnon River, and they realized that Hashem had saved them! Some of the blood went into the Yidden’s well of water to make sure all of the Yidden got to see that Hashem did a great neis for them. The Yidden sang a song to Hashem, called “Ali Be’er,” “come up well,” which showed them the neis Hashem made!



44 - 48

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Mem-Daled to Mem-Ches.

Before Kapitel Mem-Ches (like for most kapitelach) there are a few words that tell us what the kapitel is about. The introduction to this kapitel tells us that the kapitel is about when Moshiach will come! It is about how beautiful Yerushalayim will be, and how we will bring the korbanos and see all of the things the Neviim told us will happen when Moshiach comes.



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Alef

Yesterday, we learned about the three kinds of aveiros a person needs to do teshuvah for. Today, the Alter Rebbe teaches us HOW to do teshuvah:

The mitzvah of teshuvah is not very complicated. A person just needs to make a strong HACHLATA that he won’t act that way again.

This hachlata is not only about the specific aveira he did. Since when a person does an aveira, he becomes separated from Hashem, it’s not enough to just say that he won’t do THIS aveira again, his hachlata needs to be that he will do EVERYTHING that Hashem wants — all of the mitzvos! This way he will become reconnected to Hashem and his teshuva will be complete.

There are also extra things like giving tzedakah or fasting which can help, but they are not part of the MITZVAH of doing teshuvah — as we will IY”H see later.



Ches Tammuz

The main love Hashem had for Avraham Avinu was because he brought Yidden closer to Hashem!

Avraham Avinu, the first of the Avos, was very special to Hashem. Hashem made all of the Yidden come from him!

Hashem gave Avraham ten very hard tests to show how much he is connected to Hashem.

Some of these tests were being thrown into the fiery pit of Nimrod for breaking his father’s Avodah Zarah, traveling far away without even knowing where he was going because Hashem said so, and finally the biggest test — to bring Yitzchak as a korban by the Akeidah. Avraham passed them all!

But guess what? That WASN’T the main reason Hashem loved him so much!

So why DID Hashem love Avraham so much?

Because he taught his children and other people around him to come close to Hashem and do what Hashem wants. Teaching and helping other people is the MOST special thing for Hashem!



Shiur #330 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #318, #319, Asei #210, #211

Today’s mitzvos are all about Kibbud Av Va’em. They are:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #318) We are not ever allowed to curse our parents.

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Zayin.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #319) We are not allowed to hit our parents.

The details of this mitzvah are explained in the end of Mesechta Sanhedrin.

There is no specific posuk that teaches us these two mitzvos, but since the Torah tells us a specific punishment for these things, we know it must be a separate mitzvah.

3) (Mitzvas Asei #210) We need to do Kibbud Av Va’em, to treat our parents with honor. We bring them food, make sure they have clothes, and help them with what they need.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Yisro: כַּבֵּד אֶת אָבִיךָ וְאֶת אִמֶּךָ

The details are explained in many places in Gemara, especially Mesechta Kiddushin.

4) (Mitzvas Asei #211) We need to have yirah for our parents like we would have for a king — that we should be afraid to do something against them. For example, we don’t sit in their place, and we don’t argue with what they say. (We don’t have to BE afraid of them, but we have to treat them the way we would treat someone we are afraid of.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Kiddushin.



Hilchos Mamrim

Perek Daled: The Rambam tells us more about the Zakein Mamrei, a Talmid Chochom who argues with the Beis Din. He is not punished for just anything that he disagrees about, only about a serious aveira or something that could lead to a serious aveira.

Perek Hey: Now we start to learn about the two Mitzvas Lo Saasei about Kibud Av Va’eim. We learn about not cursing and not hurting our parents. One halacha that we learn is that if the son is a doctor, and the father needs something done that will make him bleed, the son should try to find a different doctor to do it, and if there is no one else, he should ask permission first.

In Perek Vov we learn about the halachos of Kibud Av Va’em. One of the things that we learn is that we always have to listen to our mothers and fathers — but not if they tell us to do an aveira Chas Veshalom!



Hilchos Melachim - Perek Gimmel

In Perek Gimmel, we learn the mitzvos for a king. A king also has a special mitzvah to carry a Sefer Torah with him wherever he goes! Even if he can’t hold it (like when he’s sleeping or eating) it needs to be right there near him. He also has to be careful not to do anything that makes him forget about the Sefer Torah or his special job of taking care of the Yidden.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

In this week’s Chumash, Chamishi of Parshas Chukas, we learn about the passing of Aharon Hakohen. After Aharon Hakohen’s histalkus, the Ananei Hakavod were taken away from the Yidden.

There were three special nissim that came along with the Yidden in the Midbar, in the zechus of Moshe, Aharon and Miriam:

1) Mahn fell in the zechus of Moshe

2) The Yidden had water in the zechus of Miriam (Be’eira Shel Miriam)

3) The Ananei Hakavod were in the zechus of Aharon

The Rebbe explains why it was davka the Ananei Hakavod that came in Aharon’s zechus:

We learned in the Chumash that all of the Yidden mourned for Aharon, because he brought Shalom and Achdus to the Yidden.

The Ananei Hakavod were clouds that surrounded the Yidden for kavod. Even though the mahn and the water came to each Yid separately, the clouds were around all of the Yidden together! This also shows the idea of Shalom and Achdus.

That’s why Hashem made the Ananei Hakavod come in Aharon’s zechus, because Aharon’s inyan was bringing Shalom and Achdus to the Yidden. These clouds also brought kavod to all of the Yidden together, uniting all of the Yidden as one.

See Hamaor ShebaTorah Bamidbar p. 330, sichos cited there


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Kabolas Daled Misos

In Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah, in the section of Tachanun, there are a group of four paragraphs, known as “Kabolas Daled Misos.” They start with the words “Yehi Ratzon.”

This tefillah is from the Ramban and the Zohar. It talks about four aveiros that may have been done during the day: Kriyas Shema, Tefillin, Tzitzis, and Tefillah. According to Kabbalah, if someone does one of these aveiros, it takes away some of the chayus that comes through the letters of Hashem’s name into the world.

In halacha a person is not Chayav Misa for not keeping these mitzvos properly. But in Kabbalah, because the person took away some of Hashem’s chayus in the world, it also takes away some of the person’s chayus in Ruchnius.

That’s why in this paragraph, we say that we are ready to accept our punishment if we deserve it, so we can fix the name of Hashem. We say that we are ready to accept the Misas Beis Din to fix up what we did through our aveira.

In Igeres HaTeshuvah, we will see that by saying these words themselves, we are actually fixing the problem with the chayus that comes through the name of Hashem!



Women and Kabolas Daled Misos

The paragraphs of Kabolas Daled Misos talk about specific aveiros that a person might do, which would take away some of the chayus of Hashem in the world. But most of these aveiros are only for a man — women don’t put on Tefillin or Tzitzis, for example! So is there a reason to say these paragraphs?

There are two opinions:

1) Skip these paragraphs! Since a woman does not have these mitzvos, these paragraphs are not important for her to say, and she should skip them.

2) Say part of them! When we say the paragraph Ribon Ha’olamim, we skip the part that speaks about Tikun Chatzos, since we don’t say Tikun Chatzos. But we still say the rest of the paragraph! The same way, women should say the paragraph about tefillah which they do have a chiyuv in, and skip the paragraphs about the mitzvos of Kriyas Shema, Tefillin, and Tzitzis, which they don’t need to do.

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



Hashem Promises to Take Us Out of Golus

The Navi Yirmiyah lived in the times of the first Beis Hamikdash. He saw that the Yidden were not behaving the way they should, and Hashem sent him many nevuos to warn the Yidden to do teshuvah. Most of these nevuos are very sad ones about the Churban.

Still, there are some very famous happy nevuos, about the time of Moshiach! Yesterday, we learned a posuk about how the Goyim will talk about Hashem gathering together the Yidden! Here is the next posuk, which explains why this will happen:

כִּי פָדָה ה׳ אֶת יַעֲקֹב וּגְאָלוֹ מִיַּד חָזָק מִמֶּנּוּ

Ki Fadah Hashem Es Yaakov — Because Hashem has freed the Yidden from Golus

U’Ge’alo Miyad Chazak Mimenu — And saved them from the hands of those who are stronger than them!

This posuk is also part of davening! Do you know where?

See Yirmiyah perek Lamed-Alef posuk Yud-Alef

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