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Parshas Netzavim - Shishi with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden that they have the ability to keep the Torah and mitzvos!

Do you think it’s too hard to do the mitzvos? Do you think that you’ll never be able to keep all of them?

No! Moshe tells the Yidden. It’s not too hard! It’s not like a treasure hiding all the way across the world! It’s not only in Shomayim for Tzadikim! It’s not only for when you live in Eretz Yisroel!

Ki Karov Eilecha Hadavar Me’od, Beficha Uvilvavcha Laasoso! Keeping the mitzvos is something that you CAN do, wherever you are!

Hashem didn’t just give us the Torah and tell us to figure it out, we have the Torah Shebaal Peh too, to teach us how to keep it!



120 - 134

Today’s Tehillim is the 15 “Shir Hamaalos,” kapitelach Kuf-Chof through Kuf-Lamed-Daled. All of these kapitelach start with the words “Shir Hamaalos” or “Shir Lamaalos.” We also say three kapitelach for Chodesh ElulAyin-Tes, Pey, and Pey-Alef.

Kapitel Kuf-Chof-Vov is the Shir Hamaalos we say before bentching on Shabbos and Yom Tov, or a day with no Tachanun. It talks about when Moshiach will come, and it says that Golus is like planting a field — a person puts seeds in the ground and cries that Hashem should make it rain. Then he is so happy when his plants grow!

Golus is like that too, we “plant” lots of mitzvos and cry to Hashem that they should “grow.” When Moshiach comes, we see all that our mitzvos did, and we are so happy!

That’s the posukAz Yemalei Sechok Pinu” — “then our mouths will be full of laughing” — because we will be so happy that Moshiach came!

The Rebbe tells us that we need to have lots of simcha now, to practice since Moshiach is almost here!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Tes

We learned before that Chachomim like Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai and the Arizal taught us about a level of Hashem that was even higher than Moshe Rabbeinu’s nevuah! But there was a very big difference: Moshe Rabbeinu’s nevuah was in a very clear way, like someone who SEES something with their eyes. But Chachomim like the Arizal taught about levels of Elokus which they understood in a less clear way.

The main purpose of the Torah is the 613 mitzvos. That is how the Chochmah of Hashem comes all the way down into Gashmius!

Moshe Rabbeinu saw this Chochmah in his nevuah, very clearly. That is why Moshe Rabbeinu was the one to give us the Torah, because he could see the Chochmah of Hashem so clearly and give it over to us properly!

Tomorrow we will IY”H see what Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai and the Arizal revealed to us in Pnimius HaTorah.



Chof-Zayin Elul

Today we learn about the partnership Yidden have with Hashem, with Gashmius and Ruchnius.

The Alter Rebbe once said something very special about Yidden:

We do something amazing! We live in a Gashmius world, but we are still able to live a Ruchnius life and stay connected to Hashem by doing what He wants!

It’s like we work together — Hashem makes Gashmius out of Ruchnius, and we take the Gashmius and make it into Ruchnius by using it the way Hashem wants us to.

This inyan is very connected with Rosh Hashana, which will be very soon! This is one of the inyonim of Rosh Hashana, that Hashem paskens to give Yidden all of the Gashmius things that we need, and we accept the Malchus of Hashem, to make the Gashmius into Ruchnius.



Shiur #53 - Mitzvas Asei #166, Lo Saasei #327, Asei #167, Lo Saasei #328, Lo Saasei #199

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 5 mitzvos, about not working on Sukkos or Shmini Atzeres, and one mitzvah about Pesach.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #166) We need to rest on the first day of Sukkos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #327) We can’t work on the first day of Sukkos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ

3) (Mitzvas Asei #167) We need to rest on Shmini Atzeres.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם

The details are explained in Mesechta Beitzah (Yom Tov).

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #328) We can’t work on Shmini Atzeres.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Beitzah (Yom Tov).

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #199) We can’t eat chometz in the afternoon before Pesach (the time when we can bring the Korban Pesach).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תֹאכַל עָלָיו חָמֵץ

The details are explained in the beginning of Mesechta Pesachim.



Hilchos Shevisas Yom Tov - Chomeitz U'Matzah

In today’s Rambam we learn two perakim all about the halachos of Chol Hamoed, and then we begin the halachos of chometz and matzah.

Perek Zayin: We learn that you’re not allowed to do a melacha on Chol Hamoed, because when the Torah uses the words “Mikra Kodesh,” it is also talking about how Chol Hamoed is holy. In the Beis Hamikdash, the Yom Tov korbanos were also brought on Chol Hamoed! Since the Torah uses the word “Shabason” (to rest) only on Yom Tov, there are many ways that melacha can be done. For example, if there will be a big loss if the melacha isn’t done, if it’s something that is very easy to do, if it’s necessary for Yom Tov, or for Tzorchei Rabim (that many people rely on it). But we are not allowed to push off melacha to Chol Hamoed if we could have done it earlier.

One halacha is that we can’t do laundry or cut hair on Chol Hamoed, because people might otherwise wait for Chol Hamoed, and then on Yom Tov they won’t have clean clothes and nice hair!

Perek Ches: We learn about specific melachos that are asur or mutar on Chol Hamoed. We also learn about not doing melacha on Erev Yom Tov in the afternoon (just like on Erev Shabbos). This is even more strict on Erev Pesach, which is a time that korbanos were brought in the Beis Hamikdash.

Now we start learning the halachos of Chometz and Matzah. There are eight perakim in this section — four about chometz, then four about matzah and the night of the Seder. This will be followed by the Rambam’s Nusach HaHaggadah.

Perek Alef: We learn about the isur of chometz. Even the tiniest drop is asur! The time when this isur starts is the middle of the day on Erev Pesach.



Hilchos Nizkei Mamon - Perek Zayin

Perek Zayin teaches us how much we need to pay if our animal hurt another one or broke something. The owner of a mu’ad has to pay for the WHOLE thing his animal hurt, but the owner of a tam only has to pay half. How do we figure out how much money that is? We figure out how much the thing was worth before, and how much afterwards, and the owner of the animal has to pay the difference.

So if an animal was worth $75 before, and then the neighbor’s tam ox fought with it and killed it, how much does the neighbor need to pay? The body of the dead animal is worth $15. We figure out: $75 — $15 = $60, and the owner of a tam has to pay half, so the neighbor pays $30.



Yemei Haselichos

The whole Chodesh Elul is special, but there is something extra-special about the days of Selichos!

The days of Elul are so special! The Melech is in the field, Hashem is so close to us, helping us get ready for a Shana Tova.

Now it is also Yemei Haselichos, the days where we say Selichos to prepare for Rosh Hashana. What is special about these days?

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that during the year, Hashem gives us many brachos. Some of them are based on what we deserve, but others Hashem gives us as a loan — for us to “pay back” through our good behavior.

As we get closer to Rosh Hashana, we might look back at all the brachos Hashem gave us this past year and realize that we didn’t deserve them all! Oh no! How can we ever pay back that loan?

That’s what the Yemei Haselichos are for. During these days, Hashem gives us selicha, and is mochel our loan. Hashem tells us that it is okay, we can pay back whatever we can.

This way we will be able to go into Rosh Hashana happily, knowing that our debts to Hashem are taken care of!

See Shaarei Hamoadim, Chodesh Elul, p. 289, from Shabbos Selichos Tof-Shin-Lamed-Daled


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Tekiyas Shofar

In shuls around the world, on Rosh Hashana, the Rav will get up and make a longer speech than usual. He will try to inspire everyone in shul to do better with our connection to Hashem and Kabolas Ol for the year.

In a Michtav Kloli for Rosh Hashana, a letter from the Rebbe addressed to every Jew, the Rebbe gave a lesson to everyone who is giving a speech on Rosh Hashana, and for every Yid to tell themselves:

Don’t get too excited about the big problems in the world, and how the world needs to change. The main thing is to change OURSELVES, and that will change the world!

This is one of the messages of the shofar: The shofar is not a very musical instrument. We blow a very simple sound. We don’t blow many shofros at the same time, we only blow one — one sound at a time.

On Rosh Hashana, we also need to follow this lesson of the shofar. Don’t think you need to do something big — make one simple, practical hachlata at a time to make your connection to Hashem stronger throughout the year.

When we change ourselves and make ourselves better, that will bring the Geulah for the whole world!

See Michtav Kloli for Rosh Hashana, 5723 and 5731



Shehecheyanu on the Second Night

On the second night of every Yom Tov, we make a Shehecheyanu for this new day of Yom Tov. But on Rosh Hashana, there is an opinion that we don’t say Shehecheyanu on the second night!

Most Yomim Tovim are one day long in Eretz Yisroel, and two days long in other parts of the world, because of a sofeik about the day of Yom Tov (“sfeika deyoma”).

Rosh Hashana is different! Even in Eretz Yisroel, we keep two days of Rosh Hashana. There is an opinion that Rosh Hashana is considered one long day (“yoma arichta”), not two separate days. If the whole Rosh Hashana is part of one day, how could we say the bracha Shehecheyanu twice for the same day?

The final halacha is that we do say Shehecheyanu on the second night of Rosh Hashana anyway. But to follow the other opinion also, we try to wear new clothes or eat a new fruit on the second night of Rosh Hashana. We have it out and keep it in mind when we bentch licht on the second night (for women) or when we make kiddush (for men). This way our Shehecheyanu follows ALL of the opinions.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Reish

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




Over the past few months, we have been learning many of the nevuos about Moshiach! We finished learning the last sefer of Navi, Malachi, and the nevuos he said about the Geulah.

Malachi lived in the time of the second Beis Hamikdash. After Malachi, nevuah left the Yidden, and there were no more Neviim.

The Rambam tells us, based on the nevuah of Bilaam, that nevuah will come back to the Yidden! The Rambam explains that Bilaam’s nevuah even tells us the date that nevuah will return!

Bilaam said:

Ka’eis — Like this time,

Ye’amar L’Yaakov Ul’yisrael — It will be said to Yaakov and Yisrael:

Ma Pa’al Keil — “What has Hashem planned?”

The Rambam explains that “Ka’eis,” “like this time,” means that this will happen after the same amount of years as the year Bilaam said this. Bilaam’s nevuah was said in the year 2488, the year that the Yidden entered Eretz Yisroel!

Bilaam was saying in his nevuah that another 2488 years later, nevuah will return to the Yidden! This means the year 4976.

That is actually what happened! Around that year, there were great tzadikim who saw the future and said true nevuah! For example, R’ Shmuel Hanavi, the father of R’ Yehuda Hachassid, R’ Elazar the author of the Rokeach, the Ramban, the Raavad, R’ Ezra Hanavi, and R’ Yehuda Hachassid. They all said nevuah and did many nissim!

This also brought back nevuos about the Geulah in our time, which we will IY”H learn about tomorrow!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Beis, p. 588 and sources there

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