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Parshas Shelach - Rishon with Rashi

Today in Chumash, we start learning the story of the Meraglim, the spies.

We learned last week that the Yidden came to a new place, called Rismah. There, Moshe Rabbeinu told the Yidden to get ready — soon they would be able to go to Eretz Yisroel! Most of the Shevatim (except Shevet Levi) asked Moshe to first send spies to go look at Eretz Yisroel. Moshe asked Hashem if he should send them.

Hashem told Moshe that he could send (“Shelach”) Meraglim, but that they might lose their chance to get Eretz Yisroel since they already don’t trust Hashem and might say not good things.

Moshe sent one important person from each Shevet. Here are their names:

Reuven: Shamua ben Zakur
Shimon: Shafat ben Chori
Yehudah: Kalev ben Yefuneh
Yissachar: Yigal ben Yosef
Efrayim: Hoshea bin Nun
Benyamin: Palti ben Rafu
Zevulun: Gadiel ben Sodi
Menasheh: Gadi ben Susi
Dan: Amiel ben Gemali
Asher: Sesur ben Michael
Naftali: Nachbi ben Vofsi
Gad: Geuel ben Machi

Moshe changed Hoshea’s name to Yehoshua, meaning that Hashem should save him from the plans of the spies.

Moshe Rabbeinu told the Meraglim to go figure out the easiest way to capture Eretz Yisroel. They should also bring back fruits so everyone can SEE that Eretz Yisroel was as special as Hashem had said it was!



90 - 96

Many of the Kapitelach in today’s Tehillim are about when Moshiach comes!

Kapitel Tzadik-Hey and Tzadik-Vov are about how we will tell each other to come sing to Hashem and thank Him for His nissim.

In the third posuk of Kapitel Tzadik-Hey, it says that we will thank Hashem because He is a Melech Gadol, a big King. Hashem will be King over the WHOLE world when Moshiach comes — EVERYONE will follow Hashem’s rules!



Shaar Hayichud Veha'emunah Perek Zayin

Right in the beginning of Shaar HaYichud VeHaEmunah, the Alter Rebbe said we are going to understand about Yichuda Ila’ah and Yichuda Tata’a. The Alter Rebbe will soon explain what this means, but first we need to learn about another name of Hashem. We learned about the names of Havaya and Elokim, and today we will learn about the name of Alef-Daled-Nun-Yud.

Hashem wanted to show His chesed, so He made a world where we can keep Torah and mitzvos and be close to Hashem. That is Hashem’s Midah of chesed, connected with the name Havaya.

But for this world to be a world of chesed, Hashem has to hide Himself with the Midah of Gevurah. If not, the world would feel Hashem the whole time and we wouldn’t feel like people — we’d be like malochim who can’t do mitzvos! That hiding of Hashem in the world is connected to the name Elokim.

But what’s wrong if we ARE like malochim? Why do we need to be regular people?

Because Hashem has a plan for the world. What’s the plan? Hashem wants to be King over the whole world — the midah of Malchus.

The only way Hashem can be a King is if He is hidden. A king can’t rule over his own children, he needs to rule over OTHER people! When Hashem is hidden, we feel like we are separate from Hashem, and Hashem can rule over us.

Hashem’s chesed has a name: Havaya. Hashem’s gevurah (hiding) has a name — Elokim. Hashem’s being King, the Midah of Malchus, ALSO has a special name — the name Ad-nay.

Now that we learned about these three midos and names of Hashem, we will be able to understand what Yichuda Tata’ah and Yichuda Ila’ah are, which we will start to learn in tomorrow’s Tanya.



Yud-Tes Sivan

When the Rebbe Maharash was 18 years old, the Tzemach Tzedek started to learn an extra shiur with him:

They learned for 2 and a half hours every day, starting at 10:00 at night in the winter, and at 4:00 in the morning in the summer.

For two years, they studied Kabbalah with how Chassidus explains it, and then for the next almost 2 years, they learned seforim of Chakirah (philosophy) — like Moreh Nevuchim and Kuzari, according to Chassidus.



Shiur #325 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #286

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #286) is that a judge isn’t allowed to listen to an eid (witness) who is a rasha, like someone who is known to be a robber.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: אַל תָּשֶׁת יָדְךָ עִם רָשָׁע לִהְיֹת עֵד חָמָס

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Gimmel.



Hilchos Eidus

In today’s Rambam we are learning more about people who can’t be eidim:

In Perek Yud-Alef we learn that a person who isn’t a mentsch — like if he doesn’t learn Torah at all, and doesn’t have normal friends, is considered a rasha and we can’t use him as an eid. If he has no aidelkeit and will take off his clothes in front of other people while he is working so he can be more comfortable, he might not be embarrassed to lie in front of Beis Din either!

In Perek Yud-Beis, we answer a very important question: There are many ways a person can be considered a rasha, but how do we know if he did teshuvah and isn’t counted as a rasha anymore?

The Rambam tells us some ways how we can know, depending on the kind of aveira a person did. For example, if someone lent money with ribbis (interest) like we learned about before, we know he did teshuvah if he apologizes, rips up any contract that had ribbis, and stops lending with ribbis even to goyim, when he is allowed to! Or a person who sold non-kosher food to make more money, if he moved to a place where people don’t know him, and lost a lot of money because of kashrus, we know he did teshuvah.

In Perek Yud-Gimmel, we start to learn about tomorrow’s mitzvah — that relatives can’t be witnesses together.



Hilchos Nedarim - Perek Alef

There are two different kinds of Neder. One of them is deciding that something will be asur for you. For example, if someone makes a neder not to eat bananas, bananas become asur for him. The second kind is promising to give something to Hashem, like promising to bring a korban.

There are certain words that need to be used when making a neder.



Tzivos Hashem

Today we are going to learn about what a nisayon is, which is connected with what we are learning about now in Tanya, the names of Havaya and Elokim.

Let’s say your mother asks you, “Did you daven today?”

Right away, you think, “If I say ‘no,’ Mommy will ask me to daven now, and I don’t want to! It will be hard! Plus, she might get upset that I was playing all morning and didn’t daven first like I was supposed to.

“But I remember that I’m in Tzivos Hashem, and I need to win over my Yetzer Hara! I know it’s the right thing to tell the truth.

“But then again, what if Mommy gets angry at me?”

Really, we don’t know if Mommy will really be so upset, and we don’t know if davening will really be so hard. This is a nisayon! It’s a test from Hashem where something seems very hard, but if we decide to do the right thing, we might discover that it wasn’t so hard after all!

Mommy might be very proud that you told the truth, the davening could turn out to be fun, and you might get a prize afterwards too!

In a nisayon, Hashem is hiding Himself. Hashem is using the name of Elokim, where Hashem is hiding. That way we can be free to choose! But when we make the right decision, we can break through the hiding place and be able to see Hashem with the name Havaya, where we can feel the goodness of Hashem — feeling proud and good that we did the right thing!

(There is a very famous maamar of the Rebbe Rashab called “Veyadaata Moskva” — which is based on the posuk we’re learning about now in Tanya! In this maamar, the Rebbe Rashab explains what a nisayon is and how to overcome it.)

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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We are reviewing the meaning of the last four pesukim, the last two of each set that the Rebbe taught us, which come from Chassidus. Chassidus shows us the neshama, the deeper meaning of Torah, and helps us to use our mind and heart and all of our inner kochos in serving Hashem!

Ki Karov Eilecha — Torah and mitzvos are very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart to do it.

This posuk, which is the foundation of Tanya, tells us that we are able to serve Hashem with our mind and heart and all of our kochos.

In the earlier pesukim, we learned about the Avodah of a Yid, about how precious Torah and mitzvos are, and how we should learn it in a way of Yogaati! In the posuk of Ki Karov, we learn not just to learn Torah and do mitzvos, but to do it BILVAVCHA, with a feeling in our heart!

We use our mind to understand the greatness of Hashem and how important Torah and mitzvos are, making us feel that we want to be close to Hashem and do what we are supposed to with a feeling of Ahava and Yirah.

The posuk that matches this, which the Rebbe taught a few weeks later, is the posuk of Vezeh.

Vezeh Kol Ha’adam — The purpose of a person and the entire Creation, the higher Ruchnius worlds and this Gashmius world, is all that we should make it into a Dira Betachtonim, a place for Hashem!

From this posuk we see that serving Hashem with our own neshama and all of our kochos is also the “neshama” and the purpose of the whole Creation!

When we know this, it will make us feel fulfilled and happy with what we are doing! We realize this is IT! We don’t need to look anywhere else, we are fulfilling the Tachlis of Hashem’s Creation!



Birchos HaTorah

In the morning, we say a group of brachos called Birchos Hashachar, the brachos for the morning. We thank Hashem for all of the things we enjoy each day, like being able to get up, to see, and that we have mitzvos.

Then we say three special brachos to thank Hashem for one of the things we appreciate more than anything else — the Torah!

The first bracha we say is like the bracha we say before many mitzvos: “Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Al Divrei Sorah,” that Hashem made us holy by giving us the mitzvah of learning Torah.

Then we say two more brachos, speaking about the sweetness of Torah and about how lucky we are that Hashem chose to give it only to Yidden!

Since we made a bracha on saying words of Torah, it is best not to interrupt with anything else. Just like we do a mitzvah right after we make the bracha on the mitzvah, we should learn Torah right after making the bracha on learning Torah!

First, we say pesukim from the Chumash, Torah Shebichsav (the pesukim of Birchas Kohanim, from Parshas Naso). Then we also say a part of the Torah Shebaal Peh, from Mishnayos Pe’ah, that starts with the words Eilu Devarim. This way, we started doing the mitzvah of learning Torah right away!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Mem-Zayin

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



Dira BeTachtonim

We are going to learn a famous Medrash, that is connected to what we are learning in Tanya.

In today’s Tanya, we learn that Hashem wanted the world to be a place where Hashem can be King. We see this in the Medrash, that Hashem wanted to be able to rest in a place that is “Tachtonim,” a place that feels lower and separate from Hashem, like a king rules over separate people.

The Medrash says:

אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָן בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבָּרָא הַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת הָעוֹלָם נִתְאַוֶה שֶׁיְהֵא לוֹ דִירָה בְּתַּחְתּוֹנִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁיֵשׁ בָּעֶלְיוֹנִים

Amar Rabi Shmuel bar Nachman — Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman says:

Besha’ah Shebara Hakadosh Baruch Hu Es Ha’olam — At the time when Hashem created the world

Nisaveh Sheyehei Lo Dira Betachtonim — Hashem wanted to have a Dira Betachtonim, a resting place below

Kemo Sheyesh Ba’elyonim — Like there is in Shomayim above.

The Medrash explains that as soon as Hashem created a Gashmius world and gave Adam Harishon mitzvos to keep, this happened! But because of aveiros that were done, starting with the Cheit Eitz Hadaas, Hashem wasn’t fully able to rest in the world anymore until the time of Matan Torah and when the Mishkan was built.

When Moshiach comes, Hashem will have a complete Dira Betachtonim! It will still be a Gashmius world, but everyone will be able to see that it’s Hashem’s world.

See Medrash Tanchuma Naso 7:1, Maamar Basi Legani 5711

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