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Parshas Va'eschanan - Rishon with Rashi

Moshe tells the Yidden how he wished he could go into Eretz Yisroel.

My heart’s deepest desire, my soul’s deepest dream
So close at hand, but so distant it seemed.
I begged Hashem sadly, I pleaded to see
My land Eretz Yisroel, personally.

Hashem told me no, my wish could not come true
That job would be Yehoshua’s to do.
HE would take the Yidden, lead them into the land
They would follow his guidance and heed his command.

So many to do Avodah Zarah were driven —
Yet despite all, often they were forgiven.
But my aveira was too great, the decree did foretell
I will not get to enter Eretz Yisroel.

So Yidden! Heed Hashem’s words, don’t stray one bit
Don’t try to detract, or to add to it.
Only those Yidden who followed Hashem’s command
Are poised to enter into Hashem’s land.

Va’atem Hadeveikim BaHashem Elokeichem — Chayim Kulchem Hayom.



29 - 34

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Chof-Tes through Lamed-Daled.

In today’s Hayom Yom, we have an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Sur MeRa Ve’asei Tov!”

Once at a farbrengen, the Rebbe taught another explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on the same posuk:

Sur Me’Ra: When a person has the Yetzer Hara to do something not good because he wants kavod or he has a taavah, he has to turn away from the thing that he shouldn’t be doing.

Ve’Asei Tov: Then he should use that energy to do something good!

For example, let’s say that Shmerel is angry at Berel. He wants to jump up and tell his whole bunk how awful Berel is! First, he should do Sur Me’Ra and stop himself from saying something not nice. Then he should do Asei Tov, and use that koach to tell the bunk a story about the Rebbe instead!

See farbrengen Yud-Beis Tammuz 5743, second sicha



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Alef

We learned yesterday that there is a special time to strengthen our love and fear of Hashem — the time of davening — specifically Shacharis! Today the Alter Rebbe makes a takanah to make sure our Shacharis is used the way it should be!

One of the things that makes it very hard to daven the way we should is when the Chazan in shul is in a rush to go to work. He will daven very quickly and not take the time to have kavana. So the Alter Rebbe made a takanah that the Chazan in shul for Shacharis during the week should only be someone who DOESN’T have to go to work early, like someone learning in Yeshivah or a Melamed who has more time to daven.

On Shabbos, this won’t be a problem, because EVERYONE has time to daven, and also in Shulchan Aruch it says that on Shabbos we HAVE to take more time to daven! So no matter who the chazan is on Shabbos, everyone should have time to have kavanah and daven properly.

The Alter Rebbe was very strict about this takanah. He said that he will send chassidim to secretly go make sure that everyone is davening for as long as they should be — otherwise they won’t be allowed to hear the Alter Rebbe’s maamorim when they come to see him.



Hey Menachem Av

Today we learn an explanation of the Baal Shem Tov on a posuk from today’s Tehillim.

Dovid Hamelech tells us “Sur Me’Ra, Va’asei Tov, Bakeish Shalom Verodfeihu” — “stay away from bad, and do good, and try to make shalom.” (This is in the last kapitel of today’s Tehillim!)

The Baal Shem Tov explains that in every gashmius’dike thing in this world, there’s a part which is good and a part which is bad. The part that’s bad is the selfish feelings (taava) that a person has for the thing. The good part is the chayus of Hashem that we get from the Gashmius.

This is what the Tehillim is saying: Stay away from the selfish part, and look for the GOOD part, the chayus from Hashem!

Then, we have to make shalom between the Gashmius and the Ruchnius (the chayus of Hashem). This way, you’ll feel Hashem’s chayus even when you’re using the Gashmius.



Shiur #17 - Mitzvas Asei #73

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #73) is that if someone does an aveira (Chas Veshalom!) he needs to SAY to Hashem what he did and ask Hashem to forgive him.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vayikra: דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִישׁ אוֹ אִשָּׁה כִּי יַעֲשׂוּ מִכָּל חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם וְגוֹ׳ וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת חַטָּאתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ

The details are explained in the end of Mesechta Yoma.



Hilchos Teshuvah

Perek Alef: If a person does an aveira, he needs to admit he did to Hashem. For some aveiros, Hashem will then forgive the person right away, and sometimes will forgive the person on Yom Kippur.

Perek Beis: The Rambam teaches us that a person knows he did true teshuvah if he is in the same situation as before, and still doesn’t do the aveira again.

We also learn that if someone asks us for forgiveness for something he did to us, we should forgive him!

The Rambam tells us that even though Hashem accepts our teshuvah ALL the time, in the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, ending with Yom Kippur, Hashem accepts our teshuvah right away!

Perek Gimmel: In this perek, the Rambam tells us how people and the world are judged: Hashem measures mitzvos and aveiros on a kind of “scale” to see which side is heavier!

If someone has more mitzvos than aveiros, they are called a “tzadik.” If someone has more aveiros than mitzvos, they are called a “rasha.” If someone has the same amount of both, they are called a “beinoni!”

We are judged for the year based on these scales. Since we don’t know where the scale is up to, during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah we add in extra mitzvos and Maasim Tovim to make sure we are judged for a good year!



Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah - Perek Hey

We learn about the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, that a person has to be ready to even give up his life for Hashem instead of doing certain aveiros. We learn this from Shema — that we need to love Hashem “bechol nafshecha,” with your whole neshama — even if we have to give up our neshama!



Hey Menachem Av

Today is the Yartzeit of a very special Tzadik, the Arizal. There are many things we need to learn from the life of the Arizal.

The Arizal didn’t live for a long time, only for 38 years! But he taught SO MANY secrets of the Torah, that much of the Chassidus we learn today is based on it!

The Arizal said that now we are very close to Moshiach! Now it is time to teach EVERYONE the secrets of Torah. (Until then, only very special people could learn them!)

The Rebbe tells us that there are a few things that all of us should learn from the Arizal and make hachlatos about:

1) Work very hard to learn Torah! (The Arizal used to sweat when he learned because he put in so much koach!)

2) Give a lot of Tzedakah! (The Arizal would give lots of money to tzedakah)

3) Serve Hashem with simcha! (The Arizal said that all he had in Ruchnius was all because of the simcha he had from doing a mitzvah)

4) Keep all of the mitzvos of the Torah (The Arizal said that every Yid’s neshama needs to come back into the world after passing away, until he does all of the mitzvos. The Rebbe also reminds us that when we LEARN ABOUT mitzvos — like when we learn Rambam — it’s like we are doing them!)

The Rebbe explained how today is a wonderful day for Moshiach to come! Let’s daven that it happens NOW!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Tes p. 192 and Toras Menachem 5749, vol. 4, p. 117


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Mah Tovu

At the beginning of davening, the Chachomim gave us tefillos that help put us in the proper mood to daven.

When Hashem created the world, He gave every Gashmius’dike thing three ways to describe it (dimensions): Olam, Shana, and Nefesh.

1) Olam: Space (this means the place it fills up, the size and shape and color and feel.)

2) Shana: Time (Gashmius things don’t stay the same forever, they change based on the time they are in)

3) Nefesh: Chayus (the chayus of Hashem is what makes things the way they are!)

In Mah Tovu, we say pesukim to show how our davening is special in all of these three ways!

1) “Mah Tovu Oholecha Yaakov” — “The tents of the Yidden are so good!” We say that the Olam, the place we are davening in, is special!

2) “Va’ani Berov Chasdecha Avo Veisecha” — “I come to Your house with Your great chesed.” We say that the Nefesh who is davening, meaning ourselves, is special!

3) “Va’ani Sefilasi Lecha Hashem Eis Ratzon” — “My tefillah should come to Hashem at the right time.” We say that the Shana, the time of our davening is special!

When we stand before Hashem, we think about how our davening is special in every way — in Olam, Shana, and Nefesh.

The three pesukim are in the order we find them in Torah: The first posuk, “Mah Tovu,” is from Parshas Balak, the second posuk is from Tehillim, Kapitel Hey, and the third posuk is also from Tehillim, Kapitel Samach-Tes.

See My Prayer vol. 1



Learning a Perek Tanya Before Davening

In Shulchan Aruch it teaches that before davening, a person should think about how great Hashem is, and how small a person is compared to Hashem. This will help us feel humble before Hashem.

In order to keep this halacha, some Chassidim had a minhag to learn a perek of Tanya before davening.

The Rebbe said that this is a very good minhag, and asked that all Chassidim keep it!

By first thinking about the words of Tanya, we will daven with the proper bittul we should have when we stand before Hashem in tefillah.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tzadik Ches; and Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos 5749, vol. 3, p. 68

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



Who Will Build the Third Beis Hamikdash?

Yesterday we learned that the Zohar and Rashi (based on a Medrash) say that the Beis Hamikdash is already built and is just going to come down from Shomayim.

There is another opinion, though, that says that WE will have to build the Beis Hamikdash!

The Gemara in Yerushalmi says that the Yidden who leave Golus will come and build the Beis Hamikdash. There is also a Medrash that says that Moshiach will build it.

The Rambam brings this as a halacha, in Hilchos Melachim:

In the beginning of Perek Yud-Alef, the Rambam says, “Hamelech HaMoshiach Asid Laamod Ulehachzir Malchus Dovid Leyoshna … Uboneh Hamikdash!” Moshiach will get up and bring back Malchus Beis Dovid to the way it used to be … and he will build the Beis Hamikdash!

The Rambam says this again at the end of the perek. One of the signs to know that Moshiach is really Moshiach (Moshiach Vadai) is if he builds the Beis Hamikdash! So we see that it will be Moshiach’s job to get the Beis Hamikdash built.

Now we have two opinions. Which one will it be?

The Rebbe has an answer! Over the next few days we will IY”H see that it is BOTH.

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