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Parshas Acharei - Rishon with Rashi

After Nadav and Avihu passed away, Hashem told Moshe to teach Aharon how to act in the Mishkan.

Even if he feels that he wants to be close to Hashem, Aharon is not allowed to go into the Kodesh HaKodoshim whenever he wants to, so that he shouldn’t make the same mistake as his sons did. Inside the Kodesh Hakodoshim, Hashem’s Shechinah rests, on the Aron, and it is asur to go inside unless it is the proper time.

Aharon Hakohen (and every other Kohen Gadol) is only allowed to come into the Kodesh Hakodoshim when he brings the Ketores on Yom Kippur.

Even then, he needs to follow all of the steps of the Yom Kippur Avodah:

He will not be wearing the regular clothes of the Kohen Gadol, the Bigdei Zahav — instead he wears Bigdei Lavan, four pieces of white linen clothing. The regular clothes of the Kohen Gadol have gold in them, which is a reminder of the Cheit Ha’egel, when some Yidden served a cow made of gold. On Yom Kippur, when the Kohen Gadol is asking Hashem to forgive the Yidden, it is not right to wear clothes that are a reminder of an aveira.

First, wearing the regular clothes, the Bigdei Zahav, the Kohen Gadol does the regular morning Avodah — bringing the Korban Tomid and ketores, cleaning out the menorah, and bringing his daily Korban Mincha. Then he puts on the Yom Kippur clothing to do the special Yom Kippur Avodah.

The Kohen Gadol first says vidui over a korban that he will bring to Hashem to be forgiven for any aveiros connected to the Mishkan or korbanos.

Then he makes a goral: The Kohen Gadol stands between two goats. He picks two lots from a container, one with his right hand, and one with his left. The side with the lot that says “For Hashem” will be brought as a korban, and the side with the lot that says “For Azazel” will later be sent away to be killed in the desert.

Once the goral is decided, the Kohen Gadol shechts his korban, saving the blood for the next part of the Avodah.

Now that he has asked Hashem to forgive him for his own aveiros, the Kohen Gadol brings the ketores inside of the Kodesh Hakodoshim. Nobody is allowed to be even inside of the Kodesh at this time.

The Kohen Gadol leaves the burning ketores on the floor near the Aron, and goes to get the blood of his korban. He comes back and sprinkles the blood of his korban on the side of the Aron’s cover — one time upwards, and seven times downward.

He then shechts the korban for the Yidden’s aveiros, and brings its blood into the Kodesh Hakodoshim to be sprinkled there too. This will help Hashem forgive the Yidden for aveiros they did by eating korbanos or coming into the Mishkan when they weren’t tahor — by mistake or on purpose.

To forgive the Yidden in case they made the Menorah, Shulchan, or Mizbeiach Haketores tomei, the Kohen Gadol then sprinkles blood on the Paroches.



108 - 112

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! He might think he is so smart, he is smarter than his teachers! He thinks he doesn’t need to listen to his parents either…

That’s why we need to have Yiras Shomayim first, because this way (as the Gemara explains), we can make sure that our Torah will only bring to GOOD things!



Likutei Amarim Perek Mem-Beis

The Alter Rebbe is showing us how to bring out the Yiras Shomayim that is hiding in our Neshama. The Alter Rebbe said that in addition to thoughts of Teshuvah to take away the distractions of the guf, we also need to spend time at the beginning of the day thinking about how Hashem is watching us.

When we think about the posuk of Vehinei, that even though Hashem is everywhere, Hashem is always watching us and making sure we are serving Hashem properly, then we will have Yiras Shomayim!

But what happens the rest of the day, when we can’t sit down and think about it?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that by having the hisbonenus once, it will help us the rest of the day too! All we will need to do is remind ourselves about it, and that will already bring enough Yiras Shomayim to keep us behaving throughout the day the way Hashem wants!



Chof-Gimmel Nisan

Today is the eighth day of the Omer!

Chassidus teaches us about many special things that happen in Ruchnius every year during the Yomim Tovim.

For example, during Yetziyas Mitzrayim, the Etzem of Hashem was revealed to the Yidden and took them out of Mitzrayim. And every year, Hashem’s Etzem shines on the first days of Pesach!

And just as Hashem protected the Yidden during Leil Shimurim, this happens again every year!

Only tzadikim are able to really feel these things the way they are in Ruchnius, but every Yid also is changed by them in a certain way.

On Acharon Shel Pesach, a ray of Moshiach shines in the world.

Even though we don’t feel it the way tzadikim do, it helps all of us!


After Tishrei, we don’t go straight back into our regular Avodah. First, after Shemini Atzeres we have Simchas Torah, then we have Shabbos Bereishis, and then we continue with V’Yaakov Holach Ledarko. That slowly helps us bring the koach of the Yomim Tovim into the rest of the year.

But Pesach doesn’t work that way! We go straight from Acharon Shel Pesach into the week!

How do we jump from Pesach right into a regular weekday?

We can do it with the koach of Moshiach! When Moshiach comes, Hashem will be felt in the whole world, and even a regular day’s Avodah will feel like a Yom Tov! The taste of Moshiach that we get on Acharon Shel Pesach gives us the koach be able to do the shlichus Hashem gives us, and make the Gashmius of the world into a place where Hashem can be felt!



Shiur #240 - Mitzvas Asei #109

Today we will learn the same mitzvah again, (Mitzvas Asei #109), since our Rambam is still about the same thing — becoming Tahor by using a mikvah.

This mitzvah comes from a posuk in Parshas Metzora: וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם אֶת כָּל בְּשָׂרוֹ

The details are explained in Mesechta Mikvaos and Tvul Yom.



Hilchos Mikvaos

In today’s Rambam, we learn about what makes a Mikvah posul.

Perek Hey: Water that comes from a keili and not from rainwater is called Mayim She’uvim. If there is too much Mayim She’uvim in a mikvah, it is posul! This perek tells us about different ways that Mayim She’uvim could come into a Mikvah and make it posul.

Perek Vov: We learn the halachos about what type of keili makes that water shouldn’t be counted as rain water anymore. Some types of pipes are not counted as a keili, since they aren’t made to HOLD water, just that water should go through them.

Perek Zayin: When things fall into a mikvah, they can sometimes help make a mikvah kosher, or sometimes make it posul. If something falls in that changes the color of the water, it makes the mikvah posul. But if snow or salt fall in, they can count as part of the 40 se’ah we need to have a kosher mikvah! Juice doesn’t count for the 40 se’ah, but it doesn’t make the mikvah posul either.



Hilchos Temurah - Perek Gimmel

Once someone made a Temurah, what is done with this animal? In this perek, the Rambam teaches what to do with this animal depending on what it was switched for.



Sefiras Haomer

This week in Sefiras Haomer, we are working on the midah of Gevurah. Gevurah means to be strong: Like when we wake up in the morning, a Yid needs to be “Gibor Ko’Ari” — strong like a lion, to win over his Yetzer Hara who wants him to go back to sleep instead of going to daven!

We also use this midah to make sure we are being nice to other people: When we get upset at someone, we are strong with our gevurah and don’t listen to our Yetzer Hara who wants us to scream at them! Instead we should think about how Hashem is watching what we are doing, and talk to them in a nice way.

In a few weeks, we will learn about this in Pirkei Avos: The first mishna in Perek Daled says, “Eizehu Gibor? Hakovesh Es Yitzro!” “Who is a strong person (someone with Gevurah)? Someone who wins over his Yetzer Hara!”


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Asking for Our Needs

The way the Chachomim set up Shemoneh Esrei, there are brachos at the beginning and end which praise Hashem, and the thirteen middle brachos ask Hashem for the things we need to have.

It makes sense for the Chachomim to give us words to praise and thank Hashem, because they saw that otherwise people will not do it in the right way. But why did they need to decide what we should ask Hashem? Can’t we just ask for whatever is bothering us?

Of course we can still add our own personal tefillos, but we still all say the same 13 brachos that were set up by the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah!

The Rebbe explains that we see that people aren’t always so good at knowing what is important. A person might ask for things that aren’t good for them to have, or might not even think about things that they really need! They might even NOT want things that are really very good for them!

That’s why the Chachomim set up the middle brachos of Shemoneh Esrei, using their Ruach Hakodesh. They made sure that we will ask not only for the things we THINK we should ask for, but also for the things we really NEED!

See Farbrengen Acharon Shel Pesach Tof-Shin-Chai, Toras Menachem vol. 22 p. 262



Isru Chag

The day after Yom Tov is called Isru Chag. The word “isru” means tied, connected. It is a day that connects the regular weekdays with the Yom Tov that just ended.

On Isru Chag, we bring some of the joy of Yom Tov into a regular day. We eat a little bit more than usual to show that it is special, and we don’t fast.

The Gemara says that someone who eats and drinks more on the day after Yom Tov, connecting it to the Yom Tov, it is like he built a Mizbeiach and brought a korban!

(We hint to this in Hallel: “Isru Chag Ba’avosim Ad Karnos Hamizbeiach.” If you eat “avosim” (fatty food) on Isru Chag, it is like you brought a korban to the corners of the Mizbeiach.)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Chof-Tes 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



The Haftora of Acharon Shel Pesach

Chizkiyahu was a king over the Yidden of Yehudah in the times of the first Beis Hamikdash. He was a great tzadik, and ruled over the Yidden well.

Not far from Eretz Yisroel lived a cruel king named Sancheriv. All of the kings around him, including Chizkiyahu, gave him gifts of a lot of money so he would leave them alone. But even though Chizkiyahu gave him all of the money in his royal treasury, Sancheriv was not satisfied. He came to capture Eretz Yisroel.

Sancheriv’s army was very strong, and they were able to capture all of the cities. When they reached Yerushalayim, Sancheriv decided to rest with his army outside the gates, and capture it in the morning. Sancheriv’s general yelled at the Yidden, telling them to ignore Chizkiyahu and give up.

Chizkiyahu tore his clothes and went to daven in the Beis Hamikdash. He told all of the Yidden to fast and to daven, because we only win with Hashem’s help.

The Navi Yeshayahu came to Chizkiyahu and told him a wonderful nevuah! Hashem had promised to save Yerushalayim and make many miracles!

Chizkiyahu had a lot of bitachon in Hashem! Even though the enemy was sleeping right outside of the gates of Yerushalayim, he knew he could trust Hashem’s words. He went to sleep peacefully, not worried at all.

And the miracles started to happen! That night, the first night of Pesach, Hashem made Sancheriv’s soldiers die. When Sancheriv woke up in the morning and saw his army dead, he gave up and went back home, without even shooting one arrow at Yerushalayim, just like the Navi had said!

If you look at the words of the Navi, you will see that the nevuah was much longer than the part about saving Yerushalayim! Hashem also promised that a great leader will come and bring the Yidden back to Yerushalayim. There will be peace throughout the world, and even lions will lie down together with lambs.

These nevuos are about Moshiach! Chizkiyahu was the person in his generation who could have become Moshiach, but in the end it wasn’t the right time. So all of those nevuos are waiting to come true, very soon, when Moshiach comes!

This nevuah of Yeshayahu is the haftora of Acharon Shel Pesach. That is because Acharon Shel Pesach is when the light of Moshiach shines! And when Acharon Shel Pesach is over, it leaves us with koach to prepare the world for Moshiach!

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