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Parshas Shelach - Sheini with Rashi

The Meraglim go through Eretz Yisroel, looking for not nice things to say about it. When they come back, they scare all of the Yidden so they shouldn’t want to go to Eretz Yisroel! Yehoshua and Kalev, though, try to get the Yidden to want to go.

The Meraglim started going the way Moshe Rabbeinu told them to go, all the way around Eretz Yisroel.

Kalev knew that they were looking for excuses to decide that Eretz Yisroel would be too hard to capture from the Goyim. So he made a detour and went to daven at Me’aras Hamachpeila in Chevron, to ask Hashem to help him not act like them!

To understand how good Eretz Yisroel is, the Torah tells us that Chevron was the WORST place to plant things in Eretz Yisroel — and it was 7 times better than Tzo’an, the BEST place in Mitzrayim.

The Meraglim took a cluster of grapes that was so big that eight of them had to carry it hanging from two poles! Another one of the Meraglim took a humongous pomegranate, and another took a huge fig. But Yehoshua and Kalev didn’t take any. Even though Moshe had said to bring back fruit, they knew that the other Meraglim were going to try to show everyone how BAD Eretz Yisroel was from the fruit, and they didn’t want to be a part of that.

Hashem knew that the Yidden would need a year to do Teshuvah for EACH day that the Meraglim spent looking for not nice things to say about Eretz Yisroel. So He made a neis, that they went much faster than it should have taken — it only took 40 days to go around the whole Eretz Yisroel! They came back on Ches Av.

Now the Meraglim told all the Yidden what they saw.

First, they said something nice about Eretz Yisroel, so everyone would listen to them. They said that Eretz Yisroel is an “Eretz Zovas Cholov Udevash” like Hashem said — a land flowing with milk and honey — and showed everyone the fruit.

BUT, they said, the people of Eretz Yisroel are HUGE, like the fruit! Amalek, who fought with us before, is right there and can attack us again! There are also a lot of other nations who can stop us from going into Eretz Yisroel.

Kalev saw that the Meraglim were making the Yidden upset at Moshe for wanting to bring them to Eretz Yisroel! He said, “Hasn’t Hashem helped us many times in Moshe Rabbeinu’s zechus? Whatever Moshe tells us we can do, we for sure can do.”

The Meraglim didn’t give up though, they said MORE not nice things about Eretz Yisroel. They said that the people are so strong, that Hashem won’t be able to bring them there even with nisim! They said that Eretz Yisroel makes people die, since when they came, Hashem made the people of Eretz Yisroel busy burying dead people. (Really, Hashem did this so that the nations wouldn’t notice the Meraglim and try to hurt them, but the Meraglim didn’t look at it in the right way.) They also said that the giants are very strong and they come from Malachim.

The Yidden were afraid that Hashem wouldn’t help them, and they cried all that night — the night of Tisha B’Av. The men complained to Moshe and Aharon, “It would be better to die in Mitzrayim! Let’s get a new leader, and a new Hashem, and go back to Mitzrayim!”

Moshe and Aharon fell on the ground and begged them not to talk that way. Yehoshua bin Nun and Kalev ripped their clothes to show how upset they were. They said to the Yidden, “Eretz Yisroel is SUCH a good place!”



108 - 112

Today’s kapitelach are Kapitel Kuf-Ches to Kuf-Yud-Beis.

In Kapitel Kuf-Tes, Dovid Hamelech says “Ki Oni Ve’evyon Anochi, VeLibi Cholal BeKirbi.” “I am like a poor person, and my heart is empty inside of me.”

What does this mean? The Gemara explains that it means he has no Yetzer Hara in his heart — he destroyed it by fasting!

In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe teaches that that’s what a Tzadik is — someone who doesn’t have a Yetzer Hara. But most people have a Yetzer Tov AND a Yetzer Hara, and have to fight all the time for the Yetzer Tov to win!

Each kind of person gives Hashem a special kind of nachas and brings a different kind of light into the world!



Shaar Hayichud Veha'emunah Perek Zayin

Today the Alter Rebbe explains from the Zohar how we can say that Hashem is EVERYWHERE, even in not kavodike places.

Where is Hashem?

Everyone knows the answer to that question — Hashem is everywhere!

But in the time of the Alter Rebbe, some people (and even some big Talmidei Chachomim) were trying to learn about Hashem from what it says in Kisvei HoArizal, and they made a mistake. They were learning about tzimtzum, how Hashem has to “make Himself smaller” and hide in the world, and they thought it meant that Hashem is too holy to be in dirty, disgusting places.

Since it isn’t kavodik to say that Hashem is in such yucky places, they thought tzimtzum meant that Hashem goes away from there, and watches carefully, but from far away.

Of course, we know that can’t be true! The Alter Rebbe told us yesterday that the emunah we have inside us tells us that it can’t be. We know that Hashem knows everything, and Hashem is one, and we know that no place in the world can be separate from Hashem!

Today and for the next few days, the Alter Rebbe will prove this to us from what it says in Zohar.

Hashem isn’t like a regular person.

We don’t like to be in a disgusting place. Why? Because it makes us feel yucky too. Why don’t we like to be in a dangerous place? Because we are scared we will hurt ourselves. But that’s not how it works for Hashem!

The Zohar explains that Hashem gives chayus to the whole world and isn’t bothered or pained by anything that is inside. Hashem gives us chayus in the winter and summer — but Hashem doesn’t get cold or hot! Hashem makes day and night — but Hashem doesn’t feel that it’s dark!

So it doesn’t matter that we say that Hashem is in a bathroom or in a not nice place! Even though Hashem gives it chayus, it doesn’t affect Him like it does to a person.



Chof-Gimmel Sivan

Today we learn what a Chassidishe Yetzer Hara is and how to watch out for it!

The Rebbe Maharash taught the Rebbe Rashab something very important in Yechidus about the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara is also called the “Nefesh Habehamis” — the “animal” nefesh! There are some animals that are big and strong, but some animals are very tricky, like a fox...

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn that the Yetzer Hara can be VERY tricky! Sometimes it PRETENDS to be Chassidish, convincing us to do the wrong thing.

How? Well, let’s say it’s time for davening. So what does Hashem want you to do right now? Daven, of course!

The Yetzer Hara now tries to come up with a trick so that you won’t. Maybe it will be a “frumYetzer Hara, and remind you that your mother asked you to clean up your room today. So the Yetzer Hara tells you to go right now and do the mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’em and clean up your room!

Of course this is a mitzvah, but is NOW the time to do it? NO! The Yetzer Hara just doesn’t want you to do the mitzvah that IS for right now — davening.

If the Yetzer Hara is so sneaky and tricky, how can we figure out when something is the right thing or a Yetzer Hara trick?

If you are supposed to be doing something for Avodas Hashem, and all the sudden you have another idea of an important thing or mitzvah to do — that’s the Yetzer Hara trying to stop you from doing the Avodas Hashem which should be done now.

The Rebbe Rashab said that he had never heard of a “frum Yetzer Hara” before this Yechidus — and especially not a “Chassidishe Yetzer Hara!”

(This Yechidus happened before the Rebbe Rashab’s chasunah, when he was 14.)



Shiur #315 - Mitzvas Asei #226, #227, #230, #231, Lo Saasei #66

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos we learn 5 more mitzvos. The first two are kinds of Misas Beis Din — the ways Beis Din needs to punish people who are Chayav Misa.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #226) The Beis Din needs to follow the halachos of Hereg

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: נָקֹם יִנָּקֵם

2) (Mitzvas Asei #227) The Beis Din needs to follow the halachos of Chenek

We also learn this mitzvah from Parshas Mishpatim: מוֹת יוּמָת

We learn the details of both of these mitzvos in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Zayin.

3) (Mitzvas Asei #230) After being put to death, people who did certain aveiros need to be hung

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ

4) (Mitzvas Asei #231) A person who is put to death by Beis Din needs to be buried on the same day. Part of this mitzvah is also that a person who passes away should be buried on that day (unless it is more kavod for the meis to wait before burying him).

We also learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: כִּי קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּו בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא ּ

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #66) It is asur to leave a person hanging overnight. We learned in today’s third mitzvah that the Beis Din needs to punish people for certain aveiros by hanging them. These aveiros are connected to Avodah Zarah or Birchas Hashem, the opposite of bentching Hashem. The reason we don’t leave a person hanging overnight is so that Yidden won’t be reminded about these aveiros.

We also learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל הָעֵץ

We learn the details of all of these mitzvos in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Vov.



Hilchos Sanhedrin

Today we learn more of Hilchos Sanhedrin, the halachos of a Beis Din and how the judges need to act.

Perek Zayin: One interesting halacha is called Zabla — if two people who are arguing (like about money) and each want to go to a different judge, they can each choose one judge, and then those judges pick out a third judge to make sure that the halacha will be paskened in a fair way.

Perek Ches and Tes teach us the halachos about following the Rov (majority), what most judges say. We act differently when it is a case of Dinei Nefashos, when someone may be Chayav Misa.



Hilchos Avel - Perek Beis

Today we learn more halachos about how we act if someone passes away. This is called Aveilus, mourning.



Hachana L'Gimmel Tammuz

The Rebbe gave every chossid the responsibility to do everything possible to bring Moshiach.

There’s a very famous sicha that the Rebbe said on Chof-Ches Nissan. The Rebbe told us, “Tut Altz Vos Ir Kent Tzu Brengen Moshiach” — “do everything you can to bring Moshiach!”

One of the things this sicha shows us is how to “live with the times” (“Lebn Mit Der Tzeit”) — to see how every part of every day is special and has horaos for us in our Avodas Hashem. The Rebbe showed us how the year then was Shnas Arenu Niflaos (a year of miracles), how the month of Nisan is especially connected to the Geulah, how the day of the week is special, how the parsha is special, how special is the time of Erev Rosh Chodesh, and how they are all connected to the Geulah!

The sicha explained about the day of Chof-Ches Nissan, but we can learn from here how to see what is special about today too! The Rebbe showed us how “living with the times” needs to inspire us to do our shlichus to bring the Geulah!

The Rebbe used very strong words to tell Chassidim that we really need to WANT the Geulah to come! We need to be ready to work on ourselves, to take the horaos the Rebbe gives us and really make them part of our avodah. This way we will be able to come out of the Golus inside of ourselves, and bring the Geulah to the whole world!

See Sefer Hasichos 5751, chelek Beis, p. 474


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Ahavas Yisroel in Davening

In Derech Mitzvosecha, Mitzvas Ahavas Yisroel, the Tzemach Tzedek explains the reason we say Hareini Mekabel before davening.

One of the inyonim in davening is that it is in place of bringing korbanos. In Ruchnius, it is like we are bringing ourselves as a korban to Hashem!

Like we know, a korban has to be complete. It can’t have a mum, something wrong with it. So how do we make sure that we don’t have a mum?

The neshamos of Yidden are all like one big body! Some are like the head, and some are like the other parts of the body. Since all of the neshamos of the Yidden are connected, when we are bringing our neshama as a korban, we are really bringing with it the rest of the neshamos of Yidden also!

Just like when we bring a korban it needs to have every single part, when we bring the neshama to Hashem, it needs to be complete with all of its parts. When we have Ahavas Yisroel to every Jew, our korban is complete before Hashem — we are coming with a complete neshama.

But if chas veshalom we hate somebody — like a certain group of Jews, a relative, or a neighbor — and we don’t want to have anything to do with them, then there is something missing! It’s like we are cutting off a part of the neshama we are bringing to Hashem, and it has a mum!

So before we start davening, we say Hareini Mekabel! We tell Hashem that we are ready to have Ahavas Yisroel. We think about how every Yid is part of us, and this way our korban is complete and Hashem will accept our tefilos!

See Derech Mitzvosecha, Mitzvas Ahavas Yisroel (translated by Sichos in English)



Hamaaseh Hu Ha'ikar

This week’s parsha teaches us an important lesson about halacha.

In Parshas Shelach, we learn the story of the Meraglim, who did not want to go into Eretz Yisroel.

Chassidus explains the reason for the mistake of the Meraglim:

In the Midbar, life was very different. Nobody had to worry about parnasa, about food, clothes, or laundry. Everything in Gashmius was taken care of for them! They were able to learn Torah all day with Moshe Rabbeinu. It was a very special time for the Yidden!

The mistake they made was that they thought it would be a good idea to have this last forever. They didn’t want to stop learning in order to do the mitzvos in Eretz Yisroel!

So when the Meraglim were sent to go look at Eretz Yisroel, they didn’t want to give it a chance. They didn’t want to leave the Midbar and need to start working in Eretz Yisroel. They were happy to learn about the mitzvos, but didn’t want to have to stop learning and spend time during the day working so they could keep the mitzvos in Gashmius!

Later, of course, they realized their mistake. Hashem doesn’t only want us to enjoy Ruchnius. Hashem made a Gashmius world for us to do mitzvos and make it a home for Hashem!

It is important to spend time learning Torah so we will be ready to deal with the Gashmius according to the Torah. But then, when the right time comes, we need to actually go out into the world and do the mitzvos we are learning about! That’s what Hashem really wants.

This teaches us why halacha is so important, because it teaches us how to actually behave in Gashmius! We also see from the story of the Meraglim to make sure that when we are excited about something Ruchnius, it should make us actually DO the things the Torah tells us to do!

See Likutei Torah beginning of Parshas Shelach, and various maamarim and sichos on the subject

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



Shining Through the Darkness

The Navi Yeshaya says many nevuos about the end of Golus and the times of the Geulah!

כִּי הִנֵּה הַחֹשֶׁךְ יְכַסֶּה אֶרֶץ וַעֲרָפֶל לְאֻמִּים וְעָלַיִךְ יִזְרַח ה׳ וּכְבוֹדוֹ עָלַיִךְ יֵרָאֶה

Ki Hinei Hachoshech Yechaseh Eretz — The end of Golus will be a dark time (with many tzaros in the world)

Ve’arafel Le’umim — And a dark cloud will cover the nations (they will be blocked from seeing the light of Hashem).

Va’alayich Yizrach Hashem — But Hashem will shine His light on the Yidden to save them

U’chevodo Alayich Yeira’eh — And Hashem will show His Shechinah to you!

At farbrengens, when the Rebbe would speak about dark times in the world at the end of Golus, the Rebbe would often quote this posuk! The Rebbe would say that even though darkness covers the world, Yidden are able to overcome the darkness and bring the light of Hashem into the world.

See Yeshaya perek Samach posuk Beis

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