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Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn about how Eretz Yisroel is divided. The Leviim are counted, and the daughters of Tzelofchad ask for a part of Eretz Yisroel.

Eretz Yisroel is divided: Hashem tells Moshe how to divide up Eretz Yisroel:

Each of the people that Moshe and Elazar just counted will get a place in Eretz Yisroel.

The land will be divided fairly so each family that goes into Eretz Yisroel will have the same amount of place to grow things. (For example, you can grow a lot more in a flat field than on the side of a mountain!)

Then Eretz Yisroel will be divided into 12 parts, each with the right amount of sections for the number of people that are in the Shevet.

The names of the Shevatim will be written down on pieces of parchment, and the names of these 12 parts of Eretz Yisroel will be written down on different pieces of parchment. All of these pieces of parchment will be mixed together in a box.

Elazar will put on the special clothing of a Kohen Gadol, so he can get Ruach Hakodesh. Each of the Nesiim will come up, one by one. First, Elazar will say with Ruach Hakodesh which part of Eretz Yisroel will go to this Shevet, and then the Nasi will pick out two pieces of parchment. It will be a Neis — they will pick out the parchment with the name of THEIR Shevet, and ALSO the one with the part of Eretz Yisroel that Elazar just said! And even more, the parchment will TALK, and say that this part of Eretz Yisroel goes to this Shevet!

All of these nisim will help the Yidden to know that Hashem is deciding where each person’s piece of Eretz Yisroel is.

The Leviim are counted: Moshe and Elazar count the Leviim. All of the Leviim are counted, starting from babies just one month old! (With the other shevatim, only men older than 20 years old were counted. Only men over age 20 would get a part of Eretz Yisroel, and the main reason for this counting was to divide up Eretz Yisroel fairly. But the Leviim weren’t counted for this reason. Shevet Levi didn’t get a piece of Eretz Yisroel for each person. So Hashem told Moshe and Elazar to count ALL of them!)

If we look at the numbers, we see that the amounts of the other Shevatim were less than the ones who came out of Mitzrayim. But there are more Leviim now than there were before! That’s because almost everyone who came out of Mitzrayim passed away in the Midbar, except the Leviim, Kalev and Yehoshua, and the women.

The daughters of Tzelofchad: After learning how Eretz Yisroel will be divided, Tzelofchad’s five daughters (Machla, Noa, Choglah, Milkah, and Tirtzah) came to Moshe, very upset. They loved Eretz Yisroel and wanted a part too, but since their father didn’t have any boys, no one from their family would be getting a piece of Eretz Yisroel.

Tzelofchad passed away because of a different aveira, not because he didn’t want to go to Eretz Yisroel. So it’s not fair that his family shouldn’t get any part of it! His daughters asked that they should get a piece of Eretz Yisroel to share.

Moshe had forgotten the halacha, and had to ask Hashem.

IY”H tomorrow we will learn what Hashem says should be done!



97 - 103

Today’s kapitelach are Tzadik-Zayin to Kuf-Gimmel.

At the end of today’s first kapitel (which we also say in Kabolas Shabbos, and in the Machzor before Kol Nidrei), the posuk says “Ohr Zarua LaTzadik” — “Light is planted for the tzadik.”

The Medrash teaches that when Hashem made the world, there was a very strong light, but it was too hard for the world to live in it! So Hashem hid it for the Tzadikim when Moshiach comes.

That’s what the posuk is telling us — Hashem “planted” this light of Moshiach for the Tzadikim! When you plant something, it grows — and this light will grow too. The Navi says that when Moshiach comes, even the light of the sun will be 7 times as strong as it was during Sheishes Yemei Bereishis!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Zayin

We explained the mitzvah of teshuvah and how we can connect back to Hashem in the first three perakim of Igeres HaTeshuvah. The next three perakim were about the ruchnius and “neshama” of Teshuvah. Now, the Alter Rebbe will teach us how to make sure our Teshuvah “stays.”

How do we make sure that our Teshuvah stays, and we don’t do the aveira again chas veshalom?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that we need two things!

1) Think about our neshamos. They came from being SO close to Hashem, and now are in a body where they feel so far away from Hashem. It’s like a neshama coming down from a tall building and ending up in a deep, dark hole in the ground!

When a person thinks about not-good things, his neshama, which is a part of Hashem, is stuck in that not-good thought too. It’s very embarrassing for the neshama to be in a place like that!

This should make us feel very bad for our neshama. By remembering this, it will help make sure our Teshuvah stays strong. We don’t ever want our neshama, which is part of Hashem, to be stuck in a place like that!

2) Tell the Yetzer Hara not to be so proud of himself. The Yetzer Hara gets us to do an aveira because it is chutzpadik! How else could it think of doing something Hashem doesn’t want? When we stop it from being so proud, it won’t be able to be so chutzpadik, and our teshuvah will be strong and lasting!



Chof Tammuz

Today the Rebbe shows us how to feel close to Hashem through hisbonenus.

Every Yid has a neshama which is a part of Hashem. Because of that, sometimes a person can feel very close to Hashem without needing to try!

But other times, a Yid needs to do Avodah so he can feel close to Hashem.

What is Avodah?

Davening while thinking about Chassidus. This is called hisbonenus, and it takes three steps so we can feel Hashem inside us:

1) After you learn something in Chassidus, think about it until you are SURE it makes sense in your mind!

2) Before davening, think about this same Chassidus again. This is a special time and it will help you have chayus in what you learned before.

3) While you are davening, think about this Chassidus again. When you daven, you are very close to Hashem, and when you think about the Chassidus, you will feel Hashem inside of you.

Go try it!



Mitzvas Asei #236

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #236) is the same mitzvah again! If someone hurts another person, he has to pay that person money to make up for the 5 kinds of ways he hurt him — that he is worth less, that it hurt him a lot, for his doctor bills, for the time he couldn’t work, and because he was embarrassed.



Hilchos Shecheinim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about being neighbors.

Perek Yud talks about how we need to be careful about bothering other people in a city. We can’t build something very smelly too close to a city, because everyone will be able to smell it!

Perek Yud-Alef teaches us about not bothering people who live close to us with smelly or noisy things, and what happens if we already built something very smelly or noisy: Do we need to stop using it?

Perek Yud-Beis teaches us the halachos of Ben Hametzer: If someone wants to sell a field, they first need to offer it to their next-door neighbor, because it will be the easiest for him to use it.

Did you know that the malochim argued that they are the “Ben Hametzer” when Hashem wanted to give the Torah to the Yidden? They said that the Torah is from Shomayim, and they are from Shomayim. So THEY are the “next-door neighbors” to the Torah, and Hashem has to offer it to them first! We will learn more halachos tomorrow in Rambam that Moshe used to explain to them that the Torah really belongs to the Yidden who live in this world!



Hilchos Isurei Biah - Perek Chof-Alef

Today we learn more halachos about keeping marriages holy.

In Yiddishkeit, getting married and having children is a very holy, very special thing. Chassidus teaches that a married man and woman are a reflection of two special kinds of chayus of Hashem in this Gashmius world!

Since it is so HOLY, the Yetzer Hara tries very hard to stop us from getting married in a way of Kedusha. All of the mitzvos and halachos we are learning aren’t always easy to keep, but they make sure that our marriage is only in the way Hashem wants.

If you’re young, you might not understand why it’s so hard to keep these mitzvos. That’s because Hashem doesn’t give a person this Yetzer Hara until the body is more mature — usually at least 8 or 9, and often only around Bar or Bas Mitzvah.

One of the things the Rambam teaches us is that when a person reaches marriageable age, parents have a responsibility to help their children get married right away. This way, the Yetzer Hara won’t bother them so much.



The Three Weeks

Did you know that the Three Weeks are actually a special time?

The Rebbe gives us a mashal to show us how:

Imagine a person who has many, many precious stones. He has piles of shining sapphires, smooth pearls and glittering diamonds. He gathers them together and puts them in a big strong box to keep them safe. He closes the lid tightly and carefully locks the box.

One day, he decides to give his friend a big gift. He has his servants carry the big box to his friend’s house!

The friend looks at the box and wonders why his friend gave it to him. It is very big and will take up a lot of space in his home. The box is very plain, and doesn’t look so nice. The top is rough and wouldn’t make a comfortable seat or be good for a table. The box is very heavy and hard to move around. What kind of present is this?

But if the friend takes the key and opens the box, he will feel very differently! He will be very excited about the box, because it is holding a priceless treasure!

Every year, Hashem gives us a priceless treasure — the Three Weeks.

We can look at this time and wonder why Hashem gave it to us. These days may look heavy, sad, or even ugly! We don’t like this present very much.

But if we look inside this time, we will see that the Three Weeks are a very special time! Hashem hides many kochos and brachos inside these days.

How do we do this?

We use the key! The key is to work extra-hard on our shlichus of making the world a comfortable place for Hashem. We do this by using every part of our lives — our sleeping, our eating, our money — to serve Hashem.

We sleep like a chossid, saying Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah and putting Negel Vasser by our bed. We eat with a bracha, and with the kavana to have koach to do serve Hashem. We give extra tzedakah to bring the Geulah closer. We learn Hilchos Beis Habechirah, the halachos of the Beis Hamikdash, with Emunah that Hashem will rebuild it very soon.

When we do this, we will get the hidden treasure of brachos hiding inside of the Three Weeks!

See farbrengen Parshas Pinchas Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches


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Modeh Ani

The Rebbe Rashab’s older brother, the Raza, was very careful with dikduk, especially in davening. He was careful to pronounce the nekudos perfectly, and to say each word properly.

Once, when the Rebbe Rashab was about 9 years old, the Raza was teasing him by asking dikduk questions about davening. He asked him, “Why is there a dot after the word ‘bechemlah’ in Modeh Ani?”

The Rashab answered, “That’s the whole reason for davening! When we daven, we take that dot, that pintele that is inside of us, and spread it.”

The Raza asked next, “Why do we daven every day?”

The Rashab answered, “Because we want the pintele to be spread out inside of us every single day.”

Then he added that the word “bechemlah” is in two places in davening, in Modeh Ani and in Ahavas Olam (before Shema). There is no pintele after the “bechemlah” in Ahavas Olam, because the davening spread it out already!

Years later, the Rebbe Rashab explained that the pintele is the “Nekudas Halev,” the Pintele Yid. When we daven, this little spark of the neshama spreads out into our whole body.

See Sicha Yud Shevat 5723



Modeh Ani

When we wake up, before we wash Negel Vasser, we say Modeh Ani.

How soon do we have to say Modeh Ani after we wake up?

In Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to say Modeh Animiyad,” right away! We shouldn’t wait at all. Right away when we wake up, we say Modeh Ani.

In other places in halacha, we use a different word, “teikef.” If we do something “teikef,” we can’t wait very long either! But “teikef” is still an amount of time, even though it is a short amount of time. “Miyad” means right away, without waiting at all!

See Shulchan Menachem vol. 1, p. 2

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



Be a Part of It!

Throughout the year, and especially during the Three Weeks, we learn about the Beis Hamikdash! We know from the Navi Yechezkel how important it is for us to learn about the measurements of the Beis Hamikdash even during the time of Golus.

In this posuk, Hashem tells Yechezkel that if the Yidden learn the details about the Beis Hamikdash, they will be zoche to help build it when Moshiach comes!

וְאִם נִכְלְמוּ מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ צוּרַת הַבַּיִת וּתְכוּנָתוֹ וּמוֹצָאָיו וּמוֹבָאָיו וְכָל צוּרֹתָיו וְאֵת כָּל חֻקֹּתָיו וְכָל צוּרֹתָיו וְכָל תּוֹרֹתָיו הוֹדַע אוֹתָם וּכְתֹב לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְיִשְׁמְרוּ אֶת כָּל צוּרָתוֹ וְאֶת כָּל חֻקֹּתָיו וְעָשׂוּ אוֹתָם

Ve’im Nichlemu Mikol Asher Asu — If the Yidden feel bad about the aveiros they did, then:

Tzuras Habayis — The way the Beis Hamikdash is set up

Usechunaso — and where each part is,

Umotza’av Umova’av — the size of all of the doorways,

Vechol Tzurosav — the way each room looks

Ve’eis Kol Chukosav — and what each room is used for,

Vechol Tzurosav — the decorations over the doors,

Vechol Torasav — and where the kohanim and the rest of the Yidden are supposed to be,

Hoda Osam — you should tell the Yidden about all of these things

U’chesov Le’eineihem — and write them down so they can learn it!

Veyishmeru Es Kol Tzuraso Ve’es Kol Chukosav — This way they will remember how the Beis Hamikdash should look and what each room should be used for,

Ve’asu Osam — and then they will be zoche to get up in the time of Techiyas Hameisim and be part of building it!

See Yechezkel perek Mem-Gimmel posuk Yud-Alef with Metzudas Dovid

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