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Parshas Matos-Masei - Revi'i with Rashi

When there are two parshios together, we always connect the two parshios in the Chumash of Yom Revi’i. So today we finish Parshas Matos and start Parshas Masei.

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned that the Shevatim of Reuven and Gad asked if they could live in the lands of the Emori, and they said that they would fight at the head of all of the Yidden to capture Eretz Yisroel! Today we see how Moshe answered them. We also review the 42 places the Yidden camped in the Midbar.

Moshe Rabbeinu agrees with the compromise: Moshe told the Yidden from Shevet Reuven and Gad that if they do what they said, and fight in front of the Yidden to capture the rest of Eretz Yisroel, then they can have land on the other side of the Yarden. If they don’t, they will be punished by Hashem! Reuven and Gad promised to do that — they will leave their families and animals in Gilad, and come with the rest of the Yidden to fight. So Moshe gave them the land that used to be Sichon’s.

Menasheh also is given land on the other side of the Yarden: Moshe Rabbeinu gave the land of Og to two of the families of Menasheh, even though they hadn’t asked to live there. By splitting up the Shevet Moshe was showing them that this WAS going to be part of Eretz Yisroel. Shevet Menasheh loved Eretz Yisroel even more than the other Shevatim! Since THEY would live there now, it would be clear to everyone that this would become part of the land.

Shevet Gad and Reuven made the cities in Sichon’s land into cities where their families could live and places for their animals to be. They changed the names of the cities to show that now they belonged to the Yidden! Shevet Menasheh also captured some more cities, which later also became part of Eretz Yisrael!

Now we start learning Parshas Masei!

We review the travels of the Yidden: The Yidden are about to go in to Eretz Yisroel! So we review the places the Yidden went in the Midbar — 42 stops.

The Torah tells us all of the places the Yidden went through in the Midbar, starting from when the Yidden left Mitzrayim, from Raamses and traveled to Sukkos. The last place they traveled to was Arvos Moav, near the Yarden. From there they would soon be able to go into Eretz Yisroel!



120 - 134

Today we say the 15 Shir Hamaalos, kapitelach Kuf-Chof until Kuf-Lamed-Daled, like the 15 steps from the Ezras Noshim into the Azara in the Beis Hamikdash!

Kapitel Kuf-Chof-Beis talks about when the Yidden would go up to Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim is called “Ir Shechubra La Yachdav” — “a city that is connected together.”

What is this talking about? Together with WHAT?

In the Gemara it says that there are TWO Yerushalayims! There is a Yerushalayim Shel Maalah, a ruchnius city in Shomayim, and Yerushalayim Shel Matah — the city of Yerushalayim that we see. They are both connected!

The Gemara says that Hashem doesn’t go into the Gashmius Yerushalayim until He goes into Yerushalayim Shel Maalah, the ruchnius Yerushalayim.

What makes Hashem go into these two Yerushalayims? It’s because of what the Yidden do!

The Tzemach Tzedek explains that there are two things that bring Hashem into the two Yerushalayims — and we are learning about them in TanyaTeshuvah Tata’ah and Teshuvah Ila’ah.

When we do Teshuvah, it brings Geulah, bringing Hashem’s Shechinah back into Yerushalayim! Teshuvah Tata’ah brings Hashem into Yerushalayim Shel Matah, and Teshuvah Ila’ah brings Hashem into Yerushalayim Shel Maalah!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Yud

Teshuvah means that a Yid returns to Hashem with his whole heart. He decides that he is ready to act ONLY the way Hashem wants.

We learned about the two steps in Teshuvah — getting rid of the aveiros by having Rachmonus on our neshama, and thinking about how aveiros make Yidden be in Golus. Then we do Teshuvah Ila’ah — once the aveiros are gone, we daven and learn and do mitzvos with a NEW chayus, more than before!

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us how we can make these kinds of Teshuvah part of our day.

It used to be the Minhag to say Tikun Chatzos late at night, special tefilos about the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash. That is the perfect time to do Teshuvah Tata’ah — thinking about the Churban that our aveiros make, and having rachmonus on our Neshama.

Then the next morning when we daven is the perfect time to act with the chayus of Teshuvah Ila’ah: Daven with special chayus and simcha, and then learn and do mitzvos with chayus, and with the kavana that we want to be connected and close to Hashem.

If someone can’t do Teshuvah Tata’ah every day, then at least once a week he should, before Shabbos. Then he will have the chayus of Teshuvah Ila’ah for Shabbos! The word Shabbos has the main letters of TeshuvahTof, shin, and beis — and it is a time that is very special for Teshuvah Ila’ah!

(Nowadays, we don’t do Tikun Chazos, but we can make a Cheshbon Hanefesh in Krias Shema She’al Hamita, and especially before Shabbos. But like we learned before, the Rebbe tells us that nothing should stop us from jumping straight to living with the chayus of Teshuvah Ila’ah — Lechatchila Ariber!)



Chof-Zayin Tammuz

In the times of the Alter Rebbe, there were no Chabad Chassidim, because the Alter Rebbe just started to teach Chabad Chassidus for the first time. Many people came to the Alter Rebbe, and they became the first Chabad Chassidim.

Once an unusually brilliant Talmid Chochom came to the Alter Rebbe. He had learned a lot of Torah and lived the way a Yid should, with Yiras Shomayim. After coming to the Alter Rebbe in Liozna, he also learned a lot of Chassidus, and accomplished a lot in his learning in a short amount of time.

When he came for his first Yechidus, he asked the Alter Rebbe: “Rebbe, what am I missing?”

The Alter Rebbe answered him, “You aren’t missing anything! You are a Yerei Shomayim and a Lamdan. But you need to get rid of gaavah, which is compared to chometz, and bring in bittul, which is compared to matzah.” The Alter Rebbe then explained to him a halacha in kashering keilim for Pesach, and what it means in Avodas Hashem — how to have bittul.

This is one of the things that Chassidus teaches us, that even someone who is doing everything right still has room to become better, to do teshuvah and become closer to Hashem.



Shiur #24 - Mitzvas Asei #5

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #5) is the same as before — that every Yid needs to daven every single day.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת ה׳ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם



Hilchos Tefillah

Perek Ches: In this perek, we learn all about davening with a minyan! The Rambam tells us how important it is to daven with a minyan if we can, because Hashem always listens to the Tefillah of a minyan.

Perek Tes: The Rambam teaches us HOW to daven with a minyan. We learn which parts the chazan says out loud, and which parts to say quietly by ourselves. We need to answer to Kedusha and Kaddish!

Perek Yud: We learn some of the halachos about if we make mistakes in davening. If someone makes a mistake and davens the weekday Shmoneh Esrei instead of the Shabbos Shmoneh Esrei, he needs to go back and start from the beginning! But if he forgets Ve’al Hanisim, he does NOT have to go back.



Hilchos Kela'im - Perek Ches

Grapevines can grow on the ground, or we can drape them over a wall, a fence, or an arch. Letting them grow on the ground is the regular way we grow grapes. When the vines are hanging over something else, called Aris, there are different halachos.

We also learn that the halachos are a little different outside of Eretz Yisroel.



Mem-Beis Masaos

In today’s Chumash, Moshe reviews with the Yidden the 42 journeys that they took in the Midbar.

Why does he review them here?

One of the reasons that Rashi gives is a mashal of a prince:

There was once a prince who got sick with an unusual disease, and none of the doctors where he lived could help him. His father, the king, took a long and hard journey with him to a faraway country to be treated. When finally the prince was healed, they traveled home. On the way back, the king pointed out to the prince all of the places they passed: “Do you remember how both of us slept here? Do you remember how we cooled off from the hot sun over here? Do you remember how you had a headache here?” He is able to now show the prince that the difficult journey was worth it.

The same way, now that the Yidden are near the end of their long trip to Eretz Yisroel, Moshe Rabbeinu is showing them that their trip was worth it!

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that we ALL go on 42 journeys in our life, and really even every day! Many times the journey is hard for us. We have things that bother us, or are painful or scary. But later, at the end of the journeys, Hashem will show us how all of these things were worth it, because of all the good they brought us!

And when Moshiach comes, we will be able to thank Hashem for the hard things too! Like the Navi says, we will say to Hashem, “Odcha Hashem Ki Anafta Bi” — thank You Hashem for when you were angry with me! We will recognize that everything that happened was for the good.

Based on Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches, Masei Alef

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Birchos Hashachar

The Chachomim gave us many brachos to say, to make it easier for us to say 100 brachos every day. In Birchos Hashachar, we say a list of many brachos, thanking Hashem for the things we benefit from every morning.

These brachos go in order of how people used to get up in the morning in the times of the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah. Today we will learn the first six of these brachos:

1) A person would hear the rooster crow to tell him that it is morning, and would bless Hashem who makes the rooster wake people up — Hanosein Lasechvi Vina (“Who gives understanding to the rooster”)

2) He would open his eyes, and thank Hashem that he can see — Pokeiach Ivrim (“Who opens the eyes of the blind”)

3) Then he would start to get up, and thank Hashem that he isn’t stuck in bed anymore like he was when he was asleep — Matir Asurim (“Who frees those who are tied up”)

4) He would straighten up, and thank Hashem for being able to sit up straight — Zokeif Kefufim (“Who straightens the bent”)

5) He would get dressed (in those days, they got dressed in bed, under their covers for tznius), and thank Hashem for clothing — Malbish Arumim (“Who clothes the naked”)

6) He would start to feel more awake, that his strength is coming back to him (this bracha was added later, when people got weaker), so he would thank Hashem — Hanosein Laya’eif Koach (“Who gives the tired one koach”)

Tomorrow we will IY”H learn the rest of these brachos.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman mem-vov



Birchos Hashachar

In the times of the Gemara, the brachos of Birchos Hashachar were said as soon as they happened! A person would get dressed, and right away say the bracha of “Malbish Arumim.”

But now, there is more tumah in the world, and also not everybody can remember all of the brachos by heart. So we can’t say the brachos right away since we need to wash negel vasser, and also we say them all together because not everyone can remember them.

In the times when Yidden would say these brachos right away as things happened to them, they only said the brachos that they actually experienced. But what about nowadays, when we say all the brachos together? If someone didn’t get dressed, for example, should they still say the bracha of Malbish Arumim?

There are different opinions about this, but we follow the opinion that says that these brachos mainly thank Hashem for making the world run this way for most people. That’s why we make the bracha even if we didn’t actually experience it ourselves.

Still, we try to make sure that as many of the brachos as possible will apply to us (by getting dressed first, for example), but even if they don’t, we still say the bracha.

(On days when Yidden all over the world don’t benefit from one of these things, we don’t say the bracha. So on Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur, when nobody is wearing leather shoes, we don’t say the brachaShe’asa Li Kol Tzorki.”)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman mem-vov

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



Learning About the Third Beis Hamikdash

As we learned in the previous shiur, it is hard to really understand the nevuah of Yechezkel Hanavi about the Third Beis Hamikdash.

Still, it shouldn’t stop us from learning it as much as possible!

R’ Yom Tov Lipman Heller was a talmid of the Maharal of Prague. He later wrote a famous pirush on Mishnayos, called the Tosfos Yom Tov.

When R’ Yom Tov Lipman Heller was younger, he learned the nevuah of Yechezkel very well according to Rashi. He knew that learning about the Beis Hamikdash is like building it, and he wanted to do the best he could! He drew a diagram of the third Beis Hamikdash, based on everything in Sefer Yechezkel that he could understand.

His friends were very excited! They encouraged him to write a sefer explaining Yechezkel’s nevuah. The Tosfos Yom Tov did write the sefer, which teaches Yechezkel’s nevuah according to Rashi, as clearly as possible. This sefer is called “Tzuras Habayis.”

Unfortunately, we don’t have the diagram he drew of the third Beis Hamikdash, but we do have the sefer! Learning it can help us understand the third Beis Hamikdash as much as possible!

(There is also an English sefer describing the Third Beis Hamikdash, by Rabbi Chaim Clorfene, with pictures and models, called The Messianic Temple. It is based on Tzuras Habayis and other sources, teaching us as much as possible about the Third Beis Hamikdash!)

By following the Rebbe’s takana to learn about the Beis Hamikdash during the Three Weeks, may we be zoche to see the building of the Third Beis Hamikdash bekarov mamosh, Amen!

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