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CHUMASH

Parshas Yisro - Shlishi with Rashi

Yisro came to join the Yidden. When he saw Moshe Rabbeinu busy with the Yidden full time, he suggested that Moshe delegate some of the work to proper judges.

Moshe Rabbeinu asked Hashem whether Yisro’s suggestion was the right thing, and Hashem agreed that Yisro’s plan was good. So Moshe followed Yisro’s advice.

Moshe chose the best judges he could for the Yidden. The Yidden asked these judges their questions, and if it was a very hard question they brought it to Moshe.

Yisro stayed to watch Moshe setting up the judges, and then he decided to go back to Midyan to help the rest of his family become Yidden too.

 
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TEHILLIM

79 - 82

In Kapitel Pey-Alef (81), the posuk says “Tiku BaChodesh Shofar, Bakeseh LeYom Chageinu. Ki Chok LeYisroel Hu, Mishpat Leilokei Yaakov.” These pesukim are talking about blowing the shofar, which is the mitzvah of Rosh Hashana.

The Gemara says that it is also talking about the parnasa that every Yid will have for the coming year. There is an argument in the Gemara whether a person is judged on Rosh Hashana, or every day, or even every hour!

Chassidus explains that it’s really not an argument — they’re just talking about different things! In Ruchnius, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is decided what a person will have. But based on how they act every day and every moment, it is decided whether that Ruchnius koach he deserves will come into Gashmius and give him parnasa, or stay in Ruchnius for Gan Eden.

Some people think that since anyway Hashem decided on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it doesn’t matter if they daven with a minyan or go to a shiur in Torah or do other mitzvos. Either they will get it or they won’t get it!

But that’s not true! Even if in Shomayim it was decided that a person will get a lot, if he doesn’t earn Hashem’s bracha, he won’t get the bracha in Gashmius. And the opposite is also true — even if someone isn’t supposed to get a lot, with Hashem’s bracha that little can help him even more than a lot would!

 
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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Daled

In the beginning of today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe makes sure that we understand that EVERY SINGLE aveira, no matter how “little” it seems, separates a Yid from Hashem.

We find in the Torah that certain aveiros have one kind of punishment, and others have more serious punishments, which shows that there ARE differences between aveiros. We might think that it also means that some aveiros are not such a big deal! But that is only AFTER someone does an aveira. The aveira leaves a pegam, an “injury” on the neshama. The kind of pegam is different for different aveiros, and it is corrected through teshuvah.

If the aveira doesn’t have the punishment of kareis, as soon as he stops doing the aveira, then the guf and the Nefesh Habehamis (which were doing the aveira) and the neshama (which was in Golus because of the aveira) can join together again to serve Hashem.

But at the TIME the aveira is done, EVERY aveira, no matter how “small,” does the same thing: It separates a Yid chas veshalom from Hashem, and he is even further away from kedusha than the kelipah and Avodah Zara in the world!

We shouldn’t think that it’s not so bad to do an aveira because it is just for a short time! Because what happens at the moment a person does an aveira is the most embarrassing, awful moment that could possibly be. When a person does an aveira, the Guf and Nefesh Habehamis take the holy neshama, a part of Hashem, and shlep it down to become the lowest part of creation — even lower than Avodah Zarah!

That’s like going to a big and amazing king, grabbing his head, and sticking it into a pail of smelly, slimy garbage! Does it make sense to say “well, it’s only for one minute?”

 
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HAYOM YOM

Tes-Zayin Shevat

In Chassidus, we use a certain mashal often:

A person who serves Hashem with all of his heart, who is always excited to do what Hashem wants — that’s called “warm.” A person who feels like he always needs to understand everything — that’s called “cold.”

Being “cold” is not an aveira, but the Rebbe Rashab says that it is very close to kefirah — a person who is cold might very easily forget about Hashem Chas Veshalom.

There is a posuk (in Devarim) that says that Hashem is a fire! Learning Torah and davening needs to be in a “warm” way, with a chayus, with all of your heart! This will make sure that we remember Hashem, and we will be “warm” Yidden!

Hashem created the world in a way that Elokus is hidden. Because the Torah and mitzvos were given to us in a Gashmius’dike world, the Elokus in them is also hidden in some way. That’s why it’s important to learn Chassidus in a way that will inspire us to realize how Hashem is in everything.

For example, when we learn Torah, we could look at it in a “cold” way, seeing only stories and complicated discussions about halachos. But we need to learn it in a “warm” way, and remember that the Torah we are learning is the chochma and the ratzon of Hashem!

When we daven, we could just say the words, since that’s what we’re used to doing. But we need to remember “Da Lifnei Mi Ata Omed,” we are standing before Hashem! When we walk in the street, we need to remember that we are all shluchim of the Rebbe to bring Torah and Chassidus everywhere, and to be a Kiddush Hashem! The same is in everything we do. Our whole avodah needs to be with warmth and chayus!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #190 - Mitzvas Asei #72

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #72) is that a person who does certain aveiros needs to bring a Korban Oleh V’Yored — a kind of Korban that is worth more (Oleh) like an animal, or worth less (Yored) like a korban of a bird or flour — depending on how rich the person is:

- Someone who was Tomei and came into the Beis Hamikdash by mistake

- Someone who was Tomei and by mistake ate meat from a Korban

- Someone who made a Shevuah not to do something and by mistake did it

- Someone who was supposed to be a witness in Beis Din and lied that he didn’t have anything to say, whether it was by mistake or on purpose.

This mitzvah is explained in Mesechta Krisus and Mesechta Shevuos.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Shegagos

In today’s Rambam, we learn about when a Sanhedrin makes a mistake in their psak and Yidden do an aveira because of what they said. Sometimes, the Sanhedrin need to bring a Korban, and sometimes each Yid who did the aveira needs to.

Perek Yud-Beis: Depending on what kind of aveira the Sanhedrin made people make, they need to bring a different kind of korban. If it was an aveira of Avodah Zara, they bring a korban called Se’irei Avodah Zarah. For other aveiros, they bring a Par Helem Davar Shel Tzibur.

Perek Yud-Gimmel and Yud-Daled: The Rambam teaches us the conditions that mean that the Sanhedrin brings this korban. If those conditions aren’t there, every single Yid who did the aveira needs to bring a korban.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Sechirus - Perek Zayin

In Perek Zayin, the Rambam explains that renting is like buying for a short time. So just like you can make conditions when you sell something, you can make conditions when you rent. For example, you can rent someone your printer with a condition that you need them to print you 5 papers every week.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Ahavas Yisroel

A teacher wrote a letter to the Rebbe about the students in her class. She told the Rebbe that there are kids that aren’t being nice to each other, and saying not nice things.

This is what the Rebbe told her to do:

The teacher should explain to her class how special every Yid is to Hashem. The Baal Shem Tov says Hashem loves each Yid even more than parents love their only child, who was born when they were old, when they thought they might never even have a child. Those parents love this child so much — but Hashem loves each and every Yid even more!

Also, children need to know that Hashem sees and hears everything that happens. Hashem pays attention to what people are saying about His precious children, and to His precious children.

We would be very careful not to say anything not nice about a prince while the king is standing there. The same way, we should be very careful how we speak about another Yid, because Hashem is right there watching!

The Rebbe added that of course the teacher can explain it in her own way, but there is something important to do as well: It will be even more helpful to have a sign in the classroom that reminds students to think before they speak, since Hashem is watching and listening.

See Igros Kodesh 19 Shevat 5721

 

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TEFILLAH

Going Into Shemoneh Esrei

In order to understand the meaning of the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, we need to know what is happening when we say this bracha! We praised Hashem before, in Pesukei Dezimra, and we praise Hashem again now in the first brachos, but this is different.

Before, we were preparing ourselves. We spoke about Hashem’s praises so we would understand Who we are about to speak to. We were Mekabel Ol Malchus Shomayim upon ourselves in Shema. But now, in Shemoneh Esrei, we aren’t talking ABOUT Hashem anymore, we are speaking TO Hashem!

The Chachomim tell us to take three steps forward, to show that we are going towards something important. In order to take these steps forward, we first need to take three steps back.

We clear our thoughts and focus on standing before Hashem and the meaning of the words we are saying to Hashem.

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

When Fruits & Vegetables are Shehakol

Yesterday, we learned about when fruits are Ho’adamah, in connection with Chamisha-Asar B’Shevat. Today, let’s learn another halacha about fruit — when their bracha is Shehakol!

The general bracha for food is Shehakol. But we say a special bracha on specific kinds of foods. For example, vegetables are special since they grow from the ground. Fruits are different because they grow on trees.

But we only make these special brachos when we eat these foods the way they are usually eaten. If we eat them in a strange way, they can lose their special bracha and become Shehakol.

For example, potatoes are a food that most people cook before eating. Raw potatoes don’t taste as good. So if someone decides to eat potatoes raw, that is not considered a normal way of eating. The potatoes don’t get their special bracha, and we make a Shehakol on them.

Oranges are another example. They are delicious raw, but when they are cooked, their flavor changes. Most people don’t eat them that way. So if we have a cooked orange (like on top of chicken), we don’t make a special bracha on it. We make just the general bracha of Shehakol.

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Vov

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Learning Inyonei Geulah

Here’s one way the Rebbe teaches us we can learn Inyonei Geulah, together with a mitzvah that we do all the time:

When we give tzedakah, we can think about the words of Chazal, “Gedolah Tzedakah Shemekareves Es Hageulah,” that tzedakah has the koach to bring Moshiach closer!

This way, every time we give tzedakah, we are also learning and thinking about the Geulah!

 
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