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CHUMASH

Parshas Netzavim-Vayeilech - Sheini with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is speaking to the Yidden on the day he will pass away, helping them be ready for their new life in Eretz Yisroel. Before, he warned the Yidden that if they will follow the Avodah Zarah of the goyim who are living in Eretz Yisroel, then the Tochacha will come true. Today he tells the Yidden that they can always do Teshuvah, and that in the end Moshiach will come and take the Yidden out of Golus!

The Rambam tells us that the pesukim in today’s Chumash, which is a nevuah from Moshe Rabbeinu about the Geulah, is the main nevuah about Geulah and it includes in it all of the nevuos from the future neviim about the Geulah.

Don’t worry Yidden, it’s never too late
Even if your aveiros are very great.
Even if the scary Tochacha comes true
And even if into Golus Hashem sends you.

You will do Teshuvah, and Hashem will forgive!
Back to Eretz Yisroel you will go to live.
From Golus you will all go out, it’s true —
And Hashem will also — He was in Golus too!

No matter how far away Yidden might become
Hashem will take them all out of Golus, one by one
(Do you know when this will happen and how?
It’s our mitzvos that bring Moshiach NOW!)

Then Hashem will do a “bris” on our heart
To take off the Yetzer Hara part!
We’ll be able to serve Hashem perfectly
And the world will look just like Hashem wants it to be!

In today’s Chumash, which speak about teshuvah, we also have the Roshei Teivos for Elul — “Es Levavcha Ve’es Levav,” which shows us that the idea of Elul is to do teshuvah! The Rebbeim teach us that today, Chai Elul, brings a special chayus into the avodah of Elul! Chai Elul is also the beginning of a special teshuvah for each month of the year.

 
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TEHILLIM

88 - 89

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Pey-Ches and Pey-Tes. We also say three kapitelach for Elul: Nun-Beis, Nun-Gimmel, and Nun-Daled.

In Kapitel Pey-Tes, there’s a posuk, “Ki Amarti Olam Chesed Yibaneh” — Hashem said, “I will build a world of chesed.” This means that Hashem makes the world with Chesed!

Chassidus explains that Hashem created the world with the midah of Chesed.

Avraham Avinu was the midah of Chesed. When there were no guests, it bothered him so much! Without someone to GIVE to, you can’t use Chesed.

The same thing is with Hashem! Hashem wanted to show His Chesed, and in order to do that, He created a world to show His Chesed in!

Hashem also gave each of us the Midah of Chesed! We need to use it, to show Ahavas Yisroel to another Yid.

 
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TANYA

Igeres Hakodesh Siman Tes-Vov

Every Yid’s neshama has the Eser Sefiros of Hashem, because the neshama is part of Hashem!

That’s why the posuk says, “Mibesori Echezeh Elokah” — “I can see Hashem from (looking at) myself.” By looking at the way things are in ourselves and in our neshama, we can understand the Eser Sefiros of Hashem!

Of course we know that the kochos of the neshama are just a MASHAL for the Eser Sefiros, since we are Gashmius’dike people, and have to have a Gashmius shape and size and place and other limits. The Eser Sefiros, though, are Ein Sof, without any limits!

We might think that this is the only difference: The kochos of our neshama are like the Eser Sefiros, except that we have limits and the Eser Sefiros are Ein Sof.

But really, the difference between our kochos and the Eser Sefiros are much more than that!

The Alter Rebbe heard an explanation about this from the Maggid, based on what the Torah tells us Avraham Avinu said: “VaAnochi Afar Va’eifer,” “I am like dust and ashes.” Avraham Avinu was saying that even though his midah was the midah of chesed, which comes from the chesed of Atzilus; still, compared to the chesed in the Eser Sefiros of Atzilus where it comes from, it was like his chesed was dust and ashes!

What is Afar Va’eifer, dust and ashes?

Ashes are what is left after we burn wood. Does that mean that ashes are the same as a tree?

Imagine a big, beautiful fruit tree growing. It has big wide branches, thick green leaves, and juicy, delicious fruit. Can you compare that tree to the black ashes that are left if the wood of the tree is burned?

Of course not!

Even though the ashes are from the wood of the tree, we all understand that we can’t really compare them to the beautiful tree itself!

The same way, Avraham Avinu was saying that his midah of chesed the way it came into his guf was like dust and ashes compared to the midah of chesed of Hashem the way it is in Atzilus!

From that we can understand that even though our neshama can be a mashal in some way for the Eser Sefiros, really they are not the same thing at all!

Once we know this, we are ready to start learning the rest of the Igeres, with a mashal from our neshama to the Sefiros the way they are in Atzilus.

 
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HAYOM YOM

Yud-Ches Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn two “Torahs” for the Baal Shem Tov. First the Rebbe tells us something we need to know for Parshas Ki Savo, and about what happened on Chai Elul.

In Parshas Ki Savo, we have the Tochacha — the very scary things that happen if the Yidden don’t keep the Torah chas veshalom. We don’t give anyone this Aliyah, so the Baal Koreh who reads the Torah says the brachos for this Aliyah on his own, without being called up.

Chai Elul is the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov in the year Tof-Nun-Ches. On his 26th birthday (Chai Elul), his teacher Achiya Hashiloni came to him to teach him. Then, 10 years later, the Baal Shem Tov stopped hiding that he was a Tzadik, and started helping lots of Yidden.

Chai Elul is also the birthday of the Alter Rebbe, who was born in the year Tof-Kuf-Hey.

The Frierdiker Rebbe tells us something very interesting about what we’re learning in today’s Hayom Yom:

The Rebbe Rashab would never say a Maamar until he felt that the Maamar was really a part of him. He would sometimes go to the Ohel of the Rebbe Maharash especially to prepare for the maamar. One of these times was right before Chai Elul in the year 5652. That year, Chai Elul was on Shabbos, and the Rebbe Rashab went to the Ohel on Friday to prepare for the Maamar he would say on Shabbos.

The Rebbe Rashab said later that for every good thing a person does, Hashem rewards him! Because he made sure to get ready for the Maamar, he got a special present: On Shabbos, the Rebbe Maharash came to him, and told him to come hear Torah from the Baal Shem Tov in Gan Eden. There they heard seven “Torahs” from the Baal Shem Tov. (We learn two of these in today’s Hayom Yom!) Many neshamos of Chassidim were there in Gan Eden to hear these Torahs, including Neshamos of women.

The Rebbe explains a lot about these “Torahs,” and it’s printed in Keser Shem Tov (the sefer of the Baal Shem Tov). The way we learn today’s Hayom Yom is based on the Rebbe’s explanation.

The first “Torah” (like a Maamar) of the Baal Shem Tov was after Kabolas Shabbos.

The Baal Shem Tov gave a deeper explanation of the first posuk in Parshas Ki Savo, “Vehaya Ki Savo,” about bringing bikurim.

He explained that a person’s Neshama can get a special feeling of wanting very much to do something for Hashem. This feeling is a present from Hashem, that we get just for being a Yid!

What happens when we get this feeling? It shouldn’t just feel good, it needs to actually make us DO something! Just like we need to put bikurim into a basket, we also need to put this feeling into doing a mitzvah. First of all, it needs to give us chayus in our own learning Torah.

But that’s not enough! It also needs to help us act in a way that will help people around us get more excited about THEIR Yiddishkeit. In fact, that’s why Hashem sends us to different places — to help others with their Yiddishkeit!

Whenever a Yid comes to a place, even if he is coming because HE needs something, like for Parnasa, he needs to know that Hashem brought him there for a Ruchnius reason too! He needs to bring Hashem there, by helping other people with their Yiddishkeit.

After this Maamar, and after the Rebbe Rashab davened Maariv, he heard another Maamar in Gan Eden. It was based on the same Maamar, but there was another part:

The Baal Shem Tov said that it is not enough to just get excited to do what Hashem wants because our neshama feels that way, like a present from Hashem. Yes it is a very strong feeling, but Hashem wants US to do Avodah, to serve Hashem with our OWN kochos, not just from kochos Hashem gives us as a present!

So what do we do? We need to have Mesiras Nefesh to GO places to spread Yiddishkeit (like going on Shlichus!), and not just wait until we are there for a different reason.

How do we spread Yiddishkeit? By saying a bracha and saying Tehillim, by ourselves and with other Yidden who need to be taught — and that is something that makes Hashem very happy!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #60 - Mitzvas Asei #171

In Sefer Hamitzvos, we again learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #171) of giving a half shekel every year to the Beis Hamikdash. We will IY”H get to do this mitzvah again when Moshiach comes!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Sisa: וְנָתְנוּ אִישׁ כֹּפֶר נַפְשׁוֹ לַה׳

The details are explained in Mesechta Shekalim.

We also learn another mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #153): That the Beis Din needs to make a calendar, and decide the right time for each month to start.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Alef, Mesechta Rosh Hashana and Brachos.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Shekalim - Kiddush Hachodesh

In Rambam, Hilchos Shekalim perek Daled, we finish learning the halachos about the Machtzis Hashekel, about what kind of things the money can be used to pay for.

Now we start to learn the halachos of Kiddush Hachodesh, Perek Alef and Beis. We learn how the Beis Din decides when the new month starts. Because a month can be 29 days or 30 days, depending if we see the new moon. If someone sees the moon, they come tell the Beis Din! The Beis Din asks them lots of questions to make sure that they are telling the truth.

How does the Beis Din know they are telling the truth?

There are ways to figure out how the moon should look at different times of the year. The Beis Din knows which part of the sky the moon should be in, and which way it should be pointing. They know how wide the moon should be, and when you should be able to see it.

After we learn about the witnesses in the next few perakim, we will be learning about how the Beis Din figures all of these things out! This way they will be able to be sure that the eidim are telling the truth.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Kriyas Shema - Perek Beis

Now the Rambam tells us HOW to say Shema. We need to make sure we have kavana when we say the first line of Shema, otherwise we need to say it again! If a person is working and realizes that he will soon miss saying Shema on time, he needs to stop working so he can say Shema properly.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Chassidishe Yom Tov

In today’s Hayom Yom, we see that there are two special birthdays today! We have the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov, and the Alter Rebbe.

The Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe are very connected. The Baal Shem Tov taught that EVERYONE could serve Hashem, and the Alter Rebbe continued the Baal Shem Tov’s work, by making it possible for everyone to learn and understand Chassidus.

Still, the way of Chassidus of the Baal Shem Tov is very different than the way of Chassidus of the Alter Rebbe.

The Baal Shem Tov made many nisim, helping Yidden to have a stronger Emunah. By seeing how great Hashem is, the Yidden felt excited to serve Hashem. In Chassidus this is called “Milmaalah Lemata,” that a more Ruchnius’dik koach brings us to do more Avodas Hashem down here.

The Alter Rebbe’s way was different. The Alter Rebbe taught that we need to understand Chassidus in our own minds. We need to work hard on how we think and feel, so that through our avodah, we can connect to Hashem. In Chassidus this is called “Milmata Lemaalah,” that our avodah down here makes us accomplish more in Ruchnius.

The story in today’s Hayom Yom shows us how to use BOTH of these ways together! This is the idea of Chai Elul, that we have the kochos of the Baal Shem Tov AND the Alter Rebbe.

In the story, we see that the Rebbe Rashab heard a Torah from the Baal Shem Tov in Gan Eden. Hearing something in Gan Eden, and being able to tell it to the rest of us, is a mofes, a neis! But the Rebbe Rashab took that Torah that he got through a neis, and taught it in a way that Chassidim would understand it. Using their own kochos, they would take this Torah and use it to make their Avodas Hashem better.

This is both ways in Chassidus together! On Chai Elul, we get the koach to do the avodah of the Baal Shem Tov, together with the avodah of Chassidus Chabad, taught by the Rebbeim.

See Hisvaaduyos 5747, vol. 4, p. 335

 

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TEFILLAH

Shir Hamaalos

There is a minhag from the Arizal about adding Kapitel Kuf-Lamed, Shir Hamaalos, in davening during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, including on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. We add it right after Yishtabach, before the bracha of Yotzer Ohr.

This kapitel has many deep explanations in Chassidus, starting from Likutei Torah, where the Alter Rebbe explains the pesukim of this kapitel with a lot of details.

Kapitel Kuf-Lamed starts with the words “Shir Hamaalos, Mimaakim Kerasicha Hashem” — “A song that brings us higher: From the deep places I called out to You, Hashem!”

The Alter Rebbe explains that during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem is VERY close to Yidden. It’s like the mashal of holding a fire close to sparks. Those sparks will very easily and very quickly burst into flame and become part of the fire! During the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem is THAT close to Yidden (“Kiruv HaMa’or El HaNitzutz”)!

During these special days, we can become inspired to connect and be close to Hashem very easily. So during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, we do the avodah of “Mimaamakim,” “from the deep places.” We reach deep into our neshama, and bring out kochos that help us fill up any “holes” in our avodah of the year. We are able to fix up anything that was missing, like mitzvos we didn’t do properly, or chances we missed to do good things.

To remind us to do this special avodah, we say Kapitel Kuf-Lamed every day of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, right after finishing our praise of Hashem in Pesukei Dezimra!

(It is not our minhag to open up the Aron Kodesh when we say this kapitel as some have the minhag, or to repeat each line after the Chazan. The Chazan just finishes off the last section as usual.)

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Bentching on Rosh Hashana

On Rosh Hashana during bentching, we say the paragraph Yaaleh Veyavo, like on each Yom Tov. We ask Hashem, “Vezachreinu Letovah Beyom Hazikaron Hazeh!” “Remember us for good on this day of remembering (Rosh Hashana)!”

Because we don’t usually say Yaaleh Veyavo, if someone is not paying attention, it is easy to forget.

If you realize right away, before saying Hashem’s name in Uvenei, you should go back and say Yaaleh Veyavo right there. If you realized after saying Hashem’s name in the bracha of Uvenei, you finish the bracha, and then say the short bracha printed in the siddur just for times like this.

But if you already started the next bracha — even if you just said the word “Baruch” — the halacha is different. If it is the NIGHT of Rosh Hashana, you need to go back to the beginning of bentching.

If it is the DAYTIME seudah of Rosh Hashana, you just finish bentching, you don’t have to go back.

Why is the halacha different at night or during the day?

The seudah of the nights of Rosh Hashana is a mitzvah. Part of the mitzvah of eating a meal includes praising Hashem for the Yom Tov in bentching. If we forget to do that part of the mitzvah, we need to go back!

But there is not a chiyuv to eat a seudah during the day on Rosh Hashana the way there is at night. So if we forget to say Yaaleh Veyavo, we don’t miss out on part of the mitzvah.

Later on in bentching, we also say a special Horachaman, asking Hashem to give us a good new year! “Horachaman Hu Yechadesh Aleinu Es Hashana Hazos Letova Velivracha.”

See Shevach Hamoadim, Kitzur Hilchos Yomim Nora’im, siman Tes

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

To Help the Yidden

When Moshiach comes, people from all of the nations of the world will want to come along with the Yidden. They will want to help the Yidden, because they want to be connected to Hashem!

The Navi Zechariah tells us that MANY goyim will want to come along!

כֹּה אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה אֲשֶׁר יַחֲזִיקוּ עֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים מִכֹּל לְשֹׁנוֹת הַגּוֹיִם וְהֶחֱזִיקוּ בִּכְנַף אִישׁ יְהוּדִי לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה עִמָּכֶם כִּי שָׁמַעְנוּ אֱלֹקִים עִמָּכֶם

Ko Amar Hashem Tzva’os — This is what Hashem says:

Bayamim Haheima — In those days of the Geulah

Asher Yachaziku Asara Anashim Mikol Leshonos Hagoyim — There will be ten people from each of the languages of the goyim

Vehecheziku Bichnaf Ish Yehudi — And they will grab onto the corner of a Yid’s clothing.

Leimor — They will say:

Neilcha Imachem — “We want to go along with you

Ki Shamanu Elokim Imachem — Because we heard that Hashem is with you!”

Rashi says that this posuk tells us how many people will be grabbing onto each of the corners of a Yid’s Tallis. There will be 10 people for each of the 70 languages of the world — 700 people for each corner of the Tallis! So there will be 2,800 people following each Yid, asking to go along with him to serve Hashem. That’s a lot of people!

The Rebbe asks, what will we do with 2,800 people wanting to help us so they can be a part of serving Hashem? We don’t have that many things we need help with!

The Rebbe answers that this is another question we will need to ask Moshiach — he will tell us what to do!

See Zechariah perek Ches posuk Chof-Gimmel, MiGolah L’Geulah p. 259

 
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