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Parshas Netzavim-Vayeilech - Shishi with Rashi

Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu that he will pass away today, Zayin Adar. He should bring Yehoshua to the Mishkan, and Hashem will get him ready for his new job.

Hashem tells Moshe that the Yidden are going to serve Avodah Zarah when they go into Eretz Yisroel. Hashem will be very upset, and He will pretend to ignore the Yidden, and lots of not good things will happen. The Yidden will wonder where Hashem is!

Now Hashem tells Moshe to write down the song of Haazinu, which reminds us what the Yidden promised to do.



106 - 107

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Kuf-Vov and Kuf-Zayin. We also say the kapitelach for Chodesh Elul: Samach-Daled, Samach-Hey, and Samach-Vov.

In the second posuk of today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says “Mi Yemalel Gevuros Hashem, Yashmia Kol Tehilaso?” “Who is able to say the greatness of Hashem, to say all the special things about Hashem?”

In a maamar, the Alter Rebbe tells over a vort from the Baal Shem Tov:

The word Yemalel (to say) can also mean “to break,” and Gevuros (the greatness) can also mean “the strictness”. So the posuk is asking, “Who can break the strictness of Hashem” — so Hashem doesn’t have to be strict with us? The answer is, “Yashmia Kol Tehilaso” — the one who makes us hear the special things about Hashem. The word Tehilaso (the special things about Him) can also mean Tehillim, so the answer is “Someone who says the whole Tehillim.”

So besides for all of the other good things about saying Tehillim, it also has a special koach to help that Hashem shouldn’t have to be strict with us, and will treat us with chesed!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Tes-Zayin

As we have seen, many of the letters in Igeres Hakodesh are about Tzedakah — and this one is too! This letter is written to a certain town where the Chassidim were having a harder time with parnasa, and so they weren’t giving as much Tzedakah. The Alter Rebbe is telling them that they are making a mistake!

The Alter Rebbe tells this town that he knows how hard it is for them to get enough money for their families. He gives them a bracha that Hashem should help!

Still, it’s not right that they stopped giving tzedakah to the poor people in Eretz Yisroel (Colel Chabad) because they have nobody else to help them!

But don’t our Chachomim say “Chayecha Kodmin,” that your own life comes first? So if you don’t have enough money for what your OWN family needs, how can you give to a poor person in Eretz Yisroel?

The Alter Rebbe explains that this is only talking about when both people need the same thing, like two people in a desert with only one bottle of water. There, the halacha is that you take care of yourself first.

But if both people DON’T need the same thing, like if the poor person in Eretz Yisroel needs bread for his kids and wood so his house won’t freeze, and the poor person here wants fancy clothes and family parties, then the poor person in Eretz Yisroel comes first! Because he needs these things to save his life, and the poor person here wants those things to be comfortable.

So even if there’s not enough money to be comfortable, the Chassidim should still give the same amount to Tzedakah to the poor Chassidim in Eretz Yisroel who have no one else to rely on.



Chof-Beis Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn that when we do the mitzvah of Hocheiach Tochiach, we need to be careful not to hurt or embarrass the other Yid.

Did you ever poke yourself with your fingernail by mistake? Ouch!

Did you know that saying something mean to another person can hurt like that too? Maybe it is saying something that will make them feel like they aren’t as good as you.

Chassidus teaches us that if you need to show someone they are doing something wrong (it’s a mitzvah to help another Yid do the right thing — Hocheiach Tochiach!), we need to first make sure that we aren’t going to hurt them.



Shiur #64 - Mitzvas Asei #153

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the same mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #153) again: How the Beis Din needs to make a calendar and calculate the months and the years. This is the mitzvah of Kiddush Hachodesh.

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.



Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Yud-Beis, Yud-Gimmel and Yud-Daled, we are learning more about how the Beis Din knows where the moon will be on Rosh Chodesh.

To understand these halachos, you need to know about how the sun and stars and moon move around (orbits).

These calculations help the Beis Din figure out where the moon should be, so they can make sure that what the witnesses are saying makes sense, and that they really DID see the new moon!



Hilchos Tefillah - Perek Beis

We said yesterday that there are 18 brachos in Shmoneh Esrei (that’s what Shmoneh Esrei means — 18!). But if you count them, you will find NINETEEN brachos.

This is because in the time of Raban Gamliel, there were a lot of people who tried to get the Yidden to stop listening to the things the Chachomim said they should do. So Rabban Gamliel added another bracha (Velamalshinim), asking Hashem to stop those people.



Shabbos Mevorchim

Even though this Shabbos is Shabbos Mevorchim, we don’t give the special Bracha for the coming month the way we do for all the other months. (Still, we say the whole Tehillim and keep the minhag of farbrenging on Shabbos Mevorchim!)

We will learn one reason for this in Hayom Yom — because HASHEM bentches this month! There is another reason why we don’t bentch the new month — to mix up the Satan so that he won’t say bad things about the Yidden chas veshalom on Rosh Hashana.

What does it mean to confuse the Satan? Doesn’t he remember from last year? Why does he get mixed up every year with the same thing again?

We will understand it after this story:

In the first years right after the Rebbe Rashab became Rebbe, a chossid came and asked for a Bracha for something very serious that he needed. The Rebbe Rashab said, “I’m sorry but I can’t help you.”

You can imagine how the chossid felt. He was so upset, he went out of yechidus and started to cry and cry. The Rebbe Rashab’s brother the Raza saw him and asked what happened.

The Raza felt bad for him and went to ask the Rebbe Rashab why the chossid can’t get a Bracha. The Rebbe Rashab said to send him back in, put on his gartel, and gave him a bracha.

Why did the Rebbe Rashab do that? Why didn’t he just give the chossid a bracha when he asked first?

The answer is because the first time the chossid wasn’t a keli for the bracha. Only after he cried and did teshuva did he deserve to receive this important bracha which he needed so much.

The same is true about bentching the Chodesh. Hashem says NO! You cant bench the chodesh. That makes us feel bad, and try to think why, so we do teshuva and become better.

When we do that the Satan becomes mixed up, because he was hoping that Yidden would do Birchas Hachodesh and still act the way they always did. But now because we can’t, we try to become better — and then the Satan has nothing bad to say about Yidden!

Then, like in the story, we become a keli to receive the Bracha which we get from Hashem Himself, which gives us bracha for the whole year!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Daled, p. 222


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In the tefillos of the Yomim Noraim, we find many piyutim. Piyutim are poems that speak about the inyan of the day and ask Hashem to bring us the special brachos that come with the Yom Tov.

The beautiful words of the piyutim are written using many expressions and hints, so it’s hard to understand the meaning of them if you just think about the exact translation of each of the words. At least the Chazan who is davening should make sure he understands what the piyutim are saying! (Most translated Machzorim write the meaning of the piyutim in a way that you can understand.)

In some Machzorim, there are many piyutim added to davening, starting in the brachos of Shema. In our Machzor, there are much fewer piyutim, and we only add them in the Chazaras HaShatz of Shacharis and Musaf. Even though they are in the Chazan’s repetition of Shemoneh Esrei, most of them are written in a way that the whole shul says parts of it together before the Chazan, or repeating after the Chazan.

The Maggid of Mezritch explains why our Machzor doesn’t have as many piyutim as in other nus’chaos. The Maggid tells us that when we daven, we only say things that the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah put into the siddur, and the piyutim of R’ Elazar Kaliri. These are not just meaningful tefillos, but they are emes and they fit also according to Kabbalah.

The Maggid teaches that the words of our tefillos on Yom Tov bring down the chayus of Hashem for this Yom Tov. We are careful to say just these words, which each bring down the special kedusha of Rosh Hashana. We don’t say less than we need to bring down the full chayus of the day, and we don’t say anything extra.

See Otzar Minhagei Chabad, p. 97




During the month of Elul, we are looking at our behavior, to make sure that it is the way the Torah teaches us. The Rambam tells us that it’s not enough to do teshuvah for our mitzvos, to make sure we are doing our mitzvos right, but we also have to do teshuvah for our midos, to make sure that our midos are the way they should be!

There is a story that the Frierdiker Rebbe tells us in a letter, which was an introduction to the vort that was used in today’s Hayom Yom:

One of the Chassidim of the Rebbe Rashab used to learn a lot of Chassidus, and even used to sometimes daven b’arichus (with lots of kavana, which takes a long time).

But he wasn’t very careful about other people’s feelings. So at farbrengens, he would tell everyone else what they need to fix, but not in a nice way! Sometimes it would make people feel bad or embarrassed.

When the Rebbe Rashab heard this, he told the Chossid that he was acting “like a head without a body!” Yes, there is a head full of Torah, but there is no “body” — no Yid acting with good midos.

Today’s Hayom Yom is a reminder to work on our midos and be sensitive to other people’s feelings.

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



Hashem Echad

In Golus, the world sometimes looks like it is taking care of itself. It isn’t always easy to remember that Hashem is taking care of everything.

But when Moshiach comes, that will be different! It will be clear to see that Hashem is in charge of the world. Not only the Yidden, but the goyim too will all realize that there is only ONE Hashem!

וְהָיָה ה׳ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה ה׳ אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד

Vehaya Hashem Lemelech — Then, Hashem will be accepted as the King

Al Kol Ha’aretz — Over everyone in the world (even the goyim who used to believe in other things)

Bayom Hahu — On that day of Geulah,

Yihiyeh Hashem Echad — It will be clear to everyone that there is only one Hashem

Ushemo Echad — And Hashem’s name will be the only one they speak about!

See Zechariah perek Yud-Daled posuk Tes

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