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Parshas Netzavim-Vayeilech - Shvi'i with Rashi

Hashem tells Moshe and Yehoshua what will happen to the Yidden:

When the Yidden come into Eretz Yisroel, they are going to be very excited about how nice it is to live in Eretz Yisroel — there is lots of food, and things grow so well.

Then, they will start to serve Avodah Zarah, making Hashem angry.

Hashem will have to punish them, but they will wonder why such hard things are happening to them — but this song, Haazinu, will show them that Hashem warned them! And even if things are very hard, the Yidden will NEVER forget the Torah.

So Moshe wrote down the song Haazinu, and taught it to the Yidden.

Hashem told Yehoshua to be strong and brave! He will bring the Yidden into Eretz Yisroel.

And when Moshe finished writing down the WHOLE Torah, he told the Leviim to take the Sefer Torah he wrote, and put it inside the Aron (or, Rashi says, maybe on a shelf attached to the Aron and not really inside).

This Torah will always show the Yidden they know the right thing to do! The Yidden lots of times stopped listening to Hashem, even with Moshe Rabbeinu there. Of course they will make that mistake after Moshe Rabbeinu passes away, and this will remind them that they know better!

Moshe blew two trumpets he made himself, to call all the Zekeinim to come hear Haazinu. In Haazinu, Moshe says that the sky and the ground will remind the Yidden that they know about Hashem’s mitzvos!

Even though the Yidden wouldn’t stop listening to Hashem until after Yehoshua passes away, Moshe said that this would happen after HE passes away — because he loved Yehoshua so much, it felt like he was talking about himself.

Then Moshe told the Yidden the song Haazinu.



108 - 112

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Ches through Kuf-Yud-Beis. We also say three kapitelach for Chodesh Elul: Samach-Zayin, Samach-Ches, and Samach-Tes.

In today’s Tehillim, we have a posuk that says “Reishis Chochma Yiras Hashem” — the beginning of Chochma (the first thing before we get the chochma of Torah) is to have Yiras Hashem.

A person could go to Yeshiva and learn a lot of Torah! Sometimes a person might think he is so smart, he is smarter than his teachers! He thinks he doesn’t need to listen to his parents or give them respect, because he knows so much!

That’s why we need to have Yiras Shomayim first, because this way, we can make sure that our learning Torah will only bring to GOOD things!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Tes-Zayin

The Alter Rebbe is writing a letter to Chassidim in a certain city that used to give a certain amount of money to Colel Chabad every year. Then parnasa got very hard for them, and they started to give less. The Alter Rebbe is explaining reasons why they shouldn’t do that:

Yesterday, we learned the first reason: The poor Yidden in Eretz Yisroel had no way of getting money on their own. Helping them with the things they NEED comes before getting the things the Yidden in this town liked to have for themselves.

Today, the Alter Rebbe gives us more reasons:

2) The Gemara says that someone who ONLY gives exactly the amount of money that halacha says to give, and no more, will Chas Veshalom need to take tzedakah himself in the end. So we should give MORE than what the halacha says to protect ourselves from this.

3) We always need Hashem’s rachmonus, and if we have rachmonus on other people even when it’s hard for us, Hashem will have rachmonus on us too in everything that we need.

4) All of us have done aveiros, and one way for Hashem to forgive us for them is by giving Tzedakah (like we learned in Igeres HaTeshuvah).

5) We believe that giving Tzedakah isn’t giving what WE have, it’s like lending money to Hashem, and Hashem will pay us back double!

6) The Gemara says that if your friends are doing a mitzvah and you don’t do it with them, it could bring not good things chas veshalom. Since all of the Anash communities were giving to this fund they shouldn’t be different.

The Alter Rebbe tells the Chassidim that if they will give the same amount of Tzedakah that they gave before, they will get lots of brachos from Hashem!



Chof-Gimmel Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom, we see that learning Torah needs to come along with having good midos!

When the Alter Rebbe’s son Moshe was a boy, he was learning a Gemara where it was saying special things about the different Chachomim.

R’ Shimon ben Yochai said something special about his teacher R’ Akiva: “Learn from my midos, because they are only a tiny part of the midos of my teacher!”

When R’ Moshe was learning this, he was not sure about something: Rashi explains that “midos” means the Torah he learned from his teacher, but R’ Moshe also knew that “midos” means “midos” — how we act and feel!

The Alter Rebbe came in and said with a niggun, “The whole Torah is all Midos Tovos. Even though there are some things that seem like Hashem is being strict with us, really that’s also good midos, to make us better. So BOTH things are right — the word “Midos” means Torah and also midos! You can’t have good midos without Torah, and you can’t have Torah unless you have good midos.”

The same thing happened with the Tzemach Tzedek too, when he was a boy! He was also learning Gemara and had this question, and the Alter Rebbe said the same thing.



Shiur #65 - Mitzvas Asei #155

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 Tes-Vov, Tes-Zayin, and Yud-Zayin, we learn how the Beis Din knows if it makes sense that someone would be able see the new moon, to know if the witnesses are telling the truth. (We aren’t talking about people seeing the moon ANYWHERE — only in Eretz Yisroel!)

It might be hard to remember all of the numbers the Rambam gives us, or to understand why we use those numbers, but it’s not too hard to actually make the calculations. Just follow the Rambam’s clear instructions step by step, and you can also figure out if a person could see the moon on any night in Yerushalayim!



Hilchos Tefillah - Perek Gimmel

In Perek Gimmel, we learn about the right times for each tefillah. If we miss davening in these times, we are supposed to daven Shemoneh Esrei twice in the next tefillah.



Chassidishe Parsha - Netzavim

Today is the yartzeit of the Rebbe’s grandfather, R’ Meir Shlomo Yanovsky, the father of Rebbetzin Chana, who was a Rav in Nikolayev. The Rebbe would say Kaddish on this day in 770 during all three tefilos.


The achdus of Yidden can be in two ways:

1) We all feel like one, because we are all Yidden.

2) We all feel different, because we are different! Each of us has an important job — one Yid is a Rav, another is a melamed, another is a businessman. Some of us are parents, or children, or grandparents.

Even though that doesn’t sound like achdus, the truth is that it is the complete achdus! Hashem gave each of us a mission, and only when we each do it right, Bnei Yisrael becomes one and complete. That’s what Moshe Rabbeinu was telling the Yidden at the beginning of this week’s parsha: When we all stand together (leaders, wood-choppers, and water-carriers, each of you with your own responsibilities) we have achdus — we are all taking care of our job for the Yiddishe nation!

The meforshim also explain that “today” (“You are all standing here today” — “Atem Netzavim Hayom”) can be talking about Rosh Hashana! On Rosh Hashana, when we stand with Achdus, we are all ready to stand together to get Hashem’s bracha for a good year!

Each of us makes sure to take care of our own important job, while remembering that we’re all part of one big job of Klal Yisroel together: to bring the Geulah!

See Likutei Torah parshas Netzavim and Likutei Sichos chelek Daled


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What We Daven for On Rosh Hashana

In the Rosh Hashana davening, we ask Hashem, “Rule over the whole world!” We crown Hashem as our King, and say that we are ready to be His loyal subjects, ready to do whatever He asks from us with true Kabolas Ol. But also in the Rosh Hashana davening, we ask over and over that Hashem should judge us for a good year, and give us all of the Gashmius things we need.

So are we davening for Hashem to be our King, or for us to have a good year? Is this about Hashem or about us?

The Baal Shem Tov taught an explanation on the posuk from Tehillim, “Re’eivim Gam Tzemei’im, Nafsham Bahem Tis’ataf!” “When a person is hungry and thirsty, it is because their neshama wants something!” When we feel like we need something Gashmius’dik, it can be because we really want the kedusha hiding inside of it.

In order to run Hashem’s world properly, we need to use the kedusha that is hiding in the Gashmius! We won’t be able to show that the world is Hashem’s without using the world to serve Him. So on Rosh Hashana, we ask Hashem for a good year where we can SHOW that Hashem is our King!

That is also the REAL reason why we are asking for a good and sweet year — so we can truly crown Hashem as our King.

See Likutei Sichos chelek 19, sicha for Rosh Hashana - Vov Tishrei



Leshana Tova

It is our minhag that after davening on the first night of Rosh Hashana, we wish each other personally, “Leshana Tova Tikaseiv Veseichaseim!” “You should be written and sealed for a good year!” (For a girl, we say “Leshana Tova Tikaseivi Veseichaseimi.”)

After Chatzos on the second day of Rosh Hashana, Hashem has already written each of us down for a good year. So we start wishing each other, “Chasima Ugmar Chasima Tova!” “You should be signed and sealed for good!”

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Kuf-Pey-Beis, se’if Yud-Zayin

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



Sweet Again

Malachi is the last sefer of the Neviim.

Who was Malachi? The Gemara says that this Navi might have been Mordechai Hatzadik, or Ezra. The Abarbanel says that he was an actual person with this name. He says that Malachi was the last of the Neviim, who lived after the second Beis Hamikdash was built.

The last perek of Sefer Malachi is a beautiful nevuah about Moshiach!

The Navi says that Hashem will give us the Beis Hamikdash and accept our korbanos with all of the nisim we had during the first Beis Hamikdash:

וְעָרְבָה לַה׳ מִנְחַת יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלִָם כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמֹנִיּוֹת

Ve’arva LaHashem Minchas Yehudah VeYerushalayim — The korbanos of the Yidden will be sweet to Hashem

Kimei Olam Ucheshanim Kadmonios — Like they used to be!

This posuk is also part of davening:

In Korbanos in the morning, we say the pesukim that talk about the Korban Tomid and the Ketores, and the halachos about how the Ketores is made. When we do this, Hashem counts it as if we are actually bringing the Korban Tomid and the Ketores!

After finishing, we say this posuk. We are asking Hashem that not only should it be counted as if we are bringing the Tomid and the Ketores, but that we should actually be able to bring them for Hashem to enjoy!

See Malachi perek Gimmel posuk Daled

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