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Parshas Netzavim - Chamishi with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu continues telling the Yidden what will happen when they do teshuvah.

When the Yidden do Teshuvah and keep all of the mitzvos, Hashem will take away all of the klalos (curses) from the Tochacha, and use them to punish the Goyim who try to hurt the Yidden.

Hashem will give lots of brachos to the Yidden, because Hashem will be so happy with what we are doing!



119 (second half)

Today’s Tehillim is the second half of the longest kapitel in the whole Tehillim! In Aramaic, this kapitel is called Tamnya Anpi — the eight faces, because there are 8 pesukim that start with each letter of the Alef-Beis! Today we are saying the pesukim starting with Mem, all the way until Sof. We also say three kapitelach for Chodesh Elul: Ayin-Vov, Ayin-Zayin, and Ayin-Ches.

There is a minhag to say a posuk starting with the first letter of your name, and ending with the last letter of your name, before the end of Shmoneh Esrei. Many good pesukim for this are in Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes!

One example is the first posuk of today’s Tehillim, “Ma Ahavti Sorasecha, Kol Hayom Hi Sichasi” — “I love Your Torah so much, I talk about it all day!” (This posuk is good for someone whose name is Mordechai.)

Do you know which pesukim are for YOUR name?



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Tes

We learned a very big question in yesterday’s Tanya — how can Chassidus explain things to us, even more than Moshe Rabbeinu was able to see with nevuah? Today we learn the answer.

We can understand with a mashal — the difference between seeing and hearing:

When you see something, you see that it is real. You know EXACTLY what it is.

But if you hear about something, you might understand about it, but you don’t really know what it is.

You can try this right now — think of something you saw, and try to explain to someone else what it is, just with your words. Who knows what it is better?

Only if you SAW something do you really know what it is.

Moshe Rabbeinu was a Navi. The way he understood Hashem was through nevuah, almost like the way a person sees. It is not possible for a person even as holy as Moshe Rabbeinu to see any more than the “back” of Hashem.

But understanding and learning is more like hearing — so there can be Tzadikim that UNDERSTAND even more than the things that Moshe Rabbeinu SAW. In fact, even Moshe Rabbeinu himself certainly understood with chochmah much more than he saw in a way of nevuah!



Chof-Vov Elul

In Chassidus, we very often compare our body (the nefesh habehamis) to an animal. We learn many things in Avodah about how to deal with our body from how we deal with an actual animal.

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something in our Avodas Hashem from a beheima:

Even a Kosher animal has non-kosher blood inside that needs to be taken out before it can be eaten and used for Kedusha. We remove the blood through Melicha, salting.

The same is with our Nefesh Habehamis — even though it is Kosher (it is in a Jewish body), it has non-kosher “blood” — chayus in things it shouldn’t be excited about.

Just like taking out the blood has three steps in halacha, taking out the “blood” (not-kosher chayus) from our Nefesh Habehamis also has three steps — in Avodah:

1) Soaking — “soaking” our Nefesh Habehamis in Chassidus, learning a lot of Chassidus, enough that it makes a person really want to have…

2) SaltingYechidus. Like we learned in a different Hayom Yom, that’s where a Chossid finds out just how he is supposed to connect to Hashem. Then he does…

3) RinsingNiggun — he sings a niggun. This is the last step that makes the Nefesh Habehamis and the guf (the beheimah inside of a person) a place where the neshama can shine!



Shiur #52 - Mitzvas Asei #162, Lo Saasei #325, Asei #163, Lo Saasei #326

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 4 mitzvos, about not working on Shavuos or Rosh Hashana:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #162) We need to rest on Shavuos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וּקְרָאתֶם בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #325) We can’t work on Shavuos.

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

3) (Mitzvas Asei #163) We need to rest on Rosh Hashana.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שַׁבָּתוֹן וְגוֹ׳

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #326) We can’t work on Rosh Hashana.

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



Hilchos Shevisas Yom Tov

Today’s Rambam is perakim Daled, Hey and Vov.

Yesterday in Rambam, we learned that we can light a fire on Yom Tov. But today, the Rambam explains that we can’t light a NEW fire, but we can light a fire from another fire when it’s already burning.

We also learn about being happy on Yom Tov! What makes someone happy? The Rambam says that the way to make sure kids are happy on Yom Tov is to have nuts and candies! For women, they are happy with new clothes and jewelry. Men should eat meat and drink wine to be happy on Yom Tov.

But we need to be careful that our Simcha on Yom Tov is a Simchas Mitzvah, a simcha from doing a mitzvah, and not just Simcha of the stomach! By sharing our delicious Yom Tov food and drink with poor or lonely people, our Simchas Yom Tov will be a Simchas Mitzvah!



Hilchos Nizkei Mamon - Perek Vov

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about when the owner of an animal is responsible to pay for things it breaks.

Perek Vov explains what kind of animal is called mu’ad — that we can expect it to hurt another animal. If an animal hurts other animals on 3 different days, it is called mu’ad. If it only hurts animals on Thursdays, it is only mu’ad for Thursday!

When a mu’ad animal is sold to someone else, it changes back to a tam, an animal we don’t expect to hurt someone else.




In the month of Elul, we look at each of our mitzvos and figure out how we’re doing — to make sure we will do even better in the coming year! Now we’re going to look at a very big and important mitzvah — the mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’eim.

Our parents are very special. They are Hashem’s partners in bringing our neshamos into the world! Someone who is a partner with Hashem in this important job for sure deserves a lot of respect! We also owe so much to our parents for everything they have done for us, and we have a lot of Hakoras Hatov we need to show!

Of course, the mitzvos of Hashem are greater and higher than any reason that can be given for them! The Chachomim gave us reasons so we should also appreciate the mitzvah in our mind.

The Torah gives us some rules in how to show this Derech Eretz and Hakoras Hatov to our parents, and here are some of the halachos:

1) If a Mommy or Tatty have a place that they always sit in, we shouldn’t sit there.

2) We should treat what our parents say with respect, and not say things like “I don’t think so,” or even “that’s right.” We can’t just talk to them like we would talk to our friend.

3) When a Mommy or Tatty are in a room with us, that is special! When they come in, we should stand up to show them kavod — at least one time in the morning and at night.

4) We need to give them food or drink if they want it.

Are you wondering why a lot of people don’t do these things? That’s because a Tatty and Mommy are allowed to decide they don’t need this kavod, and if they do, the kids can show kavod in different ways. Even if our parents don’t mind, though, we should still try to keep some of these halachos!

But here are some things that we always NEED to do:

1) We need to listen to what our Mommy and Tatty tell us.

2) It is a very big aveira to hit a Mommy or Tatty or curse them — even worse than the aveira of hitting or cursing any other Yid!

And the BIGGEST kavod that we should show for our parents is to make them proud of us by going in the ways of Hashem and living like a mentch — to give them Yiddishe, Chassidishe nachas!


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Unesaneh Tokef

In Chazoras HaShatz of Musaf on Rosh Hashana, we say a very special tefillah called Unesaneh Tokef. (There is a famous story behind this tefillah, about R’ Amnon. You can read it at

In this tefillah, we speak about how powerful this day is. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem judges every creation and decides what will happen to them. We end off by saying, “U’Teshuvah, U’Tefillah, U’Tzedakah Maavirin Es Ro’a Hagezeira!” “Teshuva, Tefillah, and Tzedakah take away the not good part of the decree!”

In a famous sicha, the Rebbe explains that the words Teshuvah, Tefillah, and Tzedakah are not what they usually translated as.

Teshuvah: Most people translate this as “repentance.” Repentance means for someone to change from being not good, to being good. But that’s not what teshuvah means! The word Teshuvah comes from the word “shuv,” to return. Every Yid already IS good, because he has a neshama, even if it is sometimes covered up! Teshuvah means to return to the REAL us, to the neshama.

Tefillah: Most people translate this as “prayer.” Prayer means asking for something. But that’s not what Tefillah is all about! Tefillah comes from the word “tofel,” to connect. Through Tefillah, we connect to Hashem. Of course, as part of our connection to Hashem, we ask for our needs, but the main part of our davening is connecting to Hashem and awakening our neshama.

Tzedakah: Most people translate tzedakah as “charity.” Charity means to take something that is yours, and be nice by giving it to someone else. But that’s not what Tzedakah really means! Tzedakah comes from the word “tzedek,” which means righteous and correct. When Hashem gives us money to spend, He also gives us some extra money (maaser or a chomesh) that belongs to poor people. When we give tzedakah, we are just passing on the money to who it really belongs to.

Through returning to our real selves, our neshama; connecting to Hashem through tefillah; and doing the right thing with the money we have, we will take away the not good parts of the gezeira and be given a good and sweet year!



Special Foods of Rosh Hashana

On Rosh Hashana, we eat many special foods!

On the first night of Rosh Hashana, we eat foods that are “lesiman tov,” foods that hint to brachos.

Although the Shulchan Aruch mentions many foods to be eaten for a good siman, here are the main ones we should make sure to have, according to our minhag:

We dip an apple in honey at the seudah, asking Hashem to give us a Shana Tova Umesukah! (Apples are not only a sweet fruit, but they hint to special inyonim in Kabbalah!) This is the only food we say a “Yehi Ratzon” for according to Minhag Chabad.

Then we eat a Rimon, a pomegranate. We want to be packed full of mitzvos like a pomegranate is full of seeds! We don’t say a Shehecheyanu on the pomegranate, even if we are having it for the first time this year. (We rely on the Shehecheyanu of Kiddush.)

We also eat the head of a fish! We want to remember to be like a head, and not like a tail! (In the Shulchan Aruch, it actually tells us to eat the head of a ram, to remind us of Akeidas Yitzchak, but practically nowadays it would be very hard to get a head of a ram.)

On the second night of Rosh Hashana, we should have a new fruit, but this is for a different reason. It is so we will be able to make a Shehecheyanu on the second night, which we will learn about later IY”H!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Kuf-Pey-Gimmel; Halachos U’Minhagei Chabad, p. 14

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



Moshiach for Everyone

A poritz once asked a chossid: “You Jews believe that Moshiach is going to come and take you all out of Golus. But what happens if your Moshiach comes and I don’t believe in him?”

The chossid answered, “Don’t worry Mr. Poritz! If you don’t believe in him, I also won’t believe in him!”

When Moshiach will come, EVERYONE will know that it is Moshiach, and be ready to live a life of Geulah!

Otzar Pisgomei Chabad vol. 1 p. 422

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