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Parshas Haazinu - Rishon with Rashi

Today we start to learn the song Haazinu, that Moshe Rabbeinu taught the Yidden before he passed away.

The sky and the earth should hear what I say
Because they’ll be there forever, like they’re here today!
So no Yid will ever be able to say
“I didn’t hear about the mitzvos, no way!”

The sky and the earth are able to give
Rain to fall and plants to grow, so the Yidden can live.
So they can reward the Yidden if they do
The things Hashem is asking them to!

The Torah is like rain, that everything needs
(People and animals, and even seeds!)
Torah makes everyone happy, and also
Learning Torah makes us grow!

When in the Beis Hamikdash you hear Hashem’s name
Say good things about Hashem — say Baruch Sheim!
Everything Hashem does is fair, you bet!
He will give everyone what they deserve to get.

If not good things keep happening, life feels like no fun
You should know that it’s because of things YOU have done!
Hashem loves you and chose you, but what did you do?
You weren’t smart, and didn’t do what Hashem told you to!



39 - 43

Today’s shiur Tehillim is Lamed-Tes to Mem-Gimmel. We also say kapitelach Kuf-Vov, Kuf-Zayin, and Kuf-Ches as the three kapitelach we add until Yom Kippur.

In one of today’s Kapitelach Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Ach Betzelem Yis’halech Ish.” It means that people don’t understand what to do in the world, it’s like a person walking in the dark, who can’t see where he is going.

The word “tzelem” (darkness) also means image (picture)! So we can translate the posuk as “Only with the picture can a person go.” What picture? A picture of the Rebbe! When we see a picture of the Rebbe, it reminds us how we’re supposed to be, and gives us the koach to do our shlichus with simcha!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof

The Igeres Hakodesh we are learning now, written just a few days before the Alter Rebbe’s histalkus, is a very deep explanation of inyonim in Kabbalah and Chassidus.

The Alter Rebbe is explaining what it says in Kabbalah that “Ihu Vegarmohi Chad” — that the Ohr Ein Sof and the keilim of Atzilus are one.

Hashem had to use the very strong koach of Ein Sof to create the world, because the world has to be created Yeish Me’Ayin, “something from nothing.”

But the koach of Ein Sof by itself is too strong to make a world with so many details!

So Hashem also used the keilim of Atzilus, and the osios of the Asara Maamaros, to create the world. Since they have a more limited koach, they are able to create a Gashmius’dike world like this one!

That is what it means that the Ohr Ein Sof and the Keilim of Atzilus are one, “Ihu Vegarmohi Chad!”



Zayin Tishrei

We are learning about the five steps to do teshuvah, which are hinted to in the five letters of the word Teshuvah!

So far, we learned about:

- Tof: Using our Koach of Tmimus — being serious about living the way Hashem wants us to

- Shin: Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid — thinking about how Hashem is right here with us

- Vov: Ve’ahavta LeReiacha Kamocha — using the goodness inside of us to love another Yid, which makes us closer to Hashem

Today we will learn another tool, that is the Beis in the world teshuvah. There is a posuk, “Bechol Derachecha Do’eihu” — “in everything we do, we should know Hashem.”

All day, when we are doing things — like going to the store with our Mommy, or going to a friend’s house, or working outside — we see how things happen with Hashgacha Protis. On our way to the store, we might meet someone we were looking for, or at our friend’s house, we might be able to help with something that only we could do.

We see how Hashem made everything happen exactly the way He did for a reason. When we see Hashem in everything we do, we think about Hashem and it helps us decide to live the way He wants. Thinking about this is a part of teshuva.



Shiur #62 - Mitzvas Asei #153

In Sefer Hamitzvos, we again learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #153) that the Beis Din needs to 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.



Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh

The Rebbe would often speak about Lebn Mit Di Tzeit, learning horaos from the time we are in. One of the things the Rebbe would learn horaos from is the kevius — the type of year it is. Today’s Rambam teaches us about how our calendar is set up, which is how each year has its kevius!

Perek Vov: In this perek, the Rambam teaches us how we can figure out when the molad will be in any month of any year! The molad is when the new moon can be seen in Yerushalayim, which shows us when Rosh Chodesh should be.

We also learn about the Machzor of years, a cycle of nineteen years when the solar year (a year based on the sun) and the lunar year (a year based on the moon) catch up to each other again. In the Machzor, there is a pattern of which years are Peshutah (regular years) and which years are Me’uberes (leap years, with a second Adar added). Here are the years that are Me’uberes in each Machzor: Years #3, #6, #8, #11, #14, #17, and #19.

Perek Zayin: We learn about deciding when the first day of Rosh Hashana will be, which is different in each kind of year. There are certain days of the week that can NEVER be the first day of Rosh Hashana. We remember these days with an expression: “Lo Ad”u Rosh” — the first day of Rosh Hashana can not be on any of the days with the Roshei TeivosAdu”, meaning Sunday (Yom Alef), Wednesday (Yom Daled), or Friday (Yom Vov).

Perek Ches: In this perek, we learn about the types of months. Some months are malei (full), with 30 days, and other months are chaseir (missing) with 29 days. During the year the months go in a pattern, one month malei, and then one month chaseir.

But there are two months that can change — Cheshvan and Kislev. Sometimes both are malei, sometimes both are chaseir, and sometimes they follow the regular pattern, with Cheshvan being chaseir and Kislev being malei. This kind of year is called “Kesidran,” “in order,” because then all of the months follow the pattern!



Hilchos Geneivah - Perek Beis

Perek Beis explains the halachos of when someone does or doesn’t need to pay the “knas” — double (like if he didn’t tell the truth that he stole) or 5 times as much (like if he stole an animal and killed it).



Aseres Yemei Teshuvah

The Navi Yeshaya told the Yidden in one of his nevuos, “Dirshu Hashem Behimatzo,” you should look for Hashem when He can be found. “Kra’uhu Bihiyoso Karov,” you should call Him when He is close.

The Gemara asks, “When is the time that Hashem is found and is close? These are the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur” — the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

In a sicha, the Rebbe explains that the time of the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah is like finding a treasure. When you find something, you are getting more than what you worked for!

During the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem is “found” (behimatzo), like finding a treasure. Hashem gives us more than what we deserve, by filling up anything that we were missing, and in a way of “karov,” closeness.

Even though the time is special by itself, if we USE the time by demanding from Hashem (dirshu) and calling out to Hashem (kra’uhu), we can get even more!

The Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Groner, once came into the Rebbe’s yechidus room to help with something. The Rebbe told him, “Now is an Eis Ratzon Milmaalah, a special time in Shomayim. Hashem is giving without limits! You just have to put out a bowl so the hashpa’ah doesn’t get wasted.” (Sipurim MeCheder HaRebbe p. 77)

The Aseres Yemei Teshuvah is also one of these times! We need to use the time to call out to Hashem and use this special time in the best possible way.

See Hisvaaduyos Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin vol. 1, p. 59


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Shir Hamaalos Mimaamakim

In the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, we add many pieces in Shemoneh Esrei. We also add a kapitel of Tehillim after Pesukei DeZimra, before starting the Birchos Kriyas Shema. This kapitel starts with the words “Shir Hamaalos, Mimaamakim Kerasicha Hashem.” “A song of going higher, from the deep places I called out to You, Hashem.”

Why do we say this kapitel?

In Likutei Torah, the Alter Rebbe explains that before a neshama comes into a body, it feels very close to Hashem. But when it comes into a body, that feeling gets hidden. For most of the year, we aren’t thinking about that strong love for Hashem.

In the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem comes very close to Yidden. This kapitel gives us the words to tell Hashem how we feel. A Yid calls out from the deepest part of the neshama, “Hashem, listen to my voice! Hear the strong love for You that is hiding inside of me, and bring me close to You.”

With this feeling, a Yid decides to bring Hashem into the world by doing the Ratzon Hashem, the things that Hashem wants Yidden to do.

See Likutei Torah, dibur hamas’chil Shir Hamaalos




We need to work harder to do teshuvah for “maybe” aveiros, things we weren’t sure were wrong.

During the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem is very close to us, and He WANTS to forgive us for everything we did wrong during the year. Hashem WANTS us to do teshuvah so He can seal the judgment for a good year!

So during these days, we think about the things we did wrong during the year. We tell Hashem we are sorry, and we decide that we will act differently from now on.

Some things we KNOW we did wrong. We know that playing video games instead of davening is wrong! We know that getting into a fight with our brother is wrong! When we think about those things, we will really feel bad, and make a hachlata to change.

But then there are things that we aren’t sure were wrong. If we ate the candy without checking for a hechsher first, it MIGHT have been kosher, right? And speaking that way to our parents — was it REALLY chutzpadik, or maybe it wasn’t so bad? And it might not be so terrible that we took her crayons without asking — she wouldn’t mind, right?

For those kind of things, we need to work HARDER to do teshuvah! Since we aren’t sure they were wrong at all, we don’t feel so bad about them. But until we realize that they were wrong, we can’t do a proper teshuvah!

We need to think about how it is wrong to be careless about these mitzvos, since an aveira is such a serious thing. We decide that we will be much more careful in the future!

In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, we brought korbanos as part of doing teshuvah. Because it is harder to do teshuvah for a “maybe” aveira, the korban for this kind of aveira (an Asham Talui) was more expensive than the korban for an aveira that we were sure about (a Korban Chatas)!

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

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



Preparing for Moshiach

The Chabad House in S Paolo, Brazil, would print a monthly newspaper. When they were preparing the 100th issue, after almost 8 years of printing it every month, they wrote to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe was very happy to hear about this, and gave them a bracha to reach 200 issues!

But a person might wonder — another 100 issues will take so many years. Won’t Moshiach be here by then?

The Rebbe explained that even when Moshiach comes, we will need to be teaching Yidden Torah!

The best way to prepare for Moshiach is by doing things like this, that help Yidden understand Torah, and do actual mitzvos!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Gimmel, p. 486-487

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