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Parshas Devarim - Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu reminds the Yidden that because of what was done, only the children of those who left Mitzrayim will be able to go to Eretz Yisroel.

Having to stay in the Midbar: Hashem told the Yidden, “You complained that the children would get hurt if you tried to go to Eretz Yisroel, and now THEY will be the only ones to go live there!” The Yidden had to take a LONG detour, and stay in the Midbar for 40 years, until this generation of adults all passed away.

Some Yidden decided to go to Eretz Yisroel without permission. Hashem told Moshe to warn them, but they didn’t want to listen. They went, and Hashem didn’t help them — the Emori came and attacked them.

Even though the Yidden begged Hashem to let them go to Eretz Yisroel after all, Hashem didn’t let. The Yidden had to go back and travel into the desert, farther away from Eretz Yisroel, for 38 years.



29 - 34

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Chof-Tes through Lamed-Daled.

In today’s Hayom Yom, we have an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Sur MeRa Ve’asei Tov!”

Once at a farbrengen, the Rebbe taught another explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on the same posuk:

Sur Me’Ra — turn away from bad: When a person wants to do something not good so other people will respect him or because he wants it for selfish reasons, he should stop himself from doing it.

Ve’Asei Tov — and do good: Then he should use that same energy to do something good!

For example, let’s say that Shmerel is angry at Berel for not picking him as team captain. He wants to jump up and tell his whole bunk how awful Berel is! First, he should do Sur Me’Ra and stop himself from saying something not nice about Berel. Then he should do Asei Tov, and use the excitement he had to be a captain to tell the bunk a Torah story that he learned instead!

See farbrengen Yud-Beis Tammuz 5743, second sicha



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Alef

We learned yesterday that there is a special time to strengthen our love and fear of Hashem — the time of davening — especially during Shacharis! Today the Alter Rebbe makes a takanah to make sure the time of davening Shacharis is used the way it should be used!

One of the things that makes it very hard to daven the way we should is when the Chazan in shul is in a rush to go to work. He will daven very quickly and not take the time to have kavana. So the Alter Rebbe makes a takanah in today’s Tanya that the Chazan in shul for Shacharis during the week should only be someone who DOESN’T have to go to work early, like someone learning in Yeshivah or a Melamed who has more time to daven.

On Shabbos, this won’t be a problem, because EVERYONE has time to daven, and also in Shulchan Aruch it says that on Shabbos everyone NEEDS to take more time to daven! So no matter who the chazan is on Shabbos, everyone should have time to have kavanah and daven properly.

The Alter Rebbe is very strict about this takanah. He says that he will send chassidim to secretly go make sure that everyone is davening for as long as they should be — otherwise they won’t be allowed to hear the Alter Rebbe’s maamorim when they come to see him.



Hey Menachem Av

Today we learn an explanation of the Baal Shem Tov on a posuk from today’s Tehillim.

Dovid Hamelech tells us “Sur Me’Ra, Va’asei Tov, Bakeish Shalom Verodfeihu” — “stay away from bad, and do good, and try to make shalom.” (This is in the last kapitel of today’s Tehillim!)

The Baal Shem Tov explains that in every gashmius thing in this world, there’s a part which is good and a part which is bad. The part that’s bad is the selfish feelings (taavah) that a person has for the thing. The good part is the chayus of Hashem that we get from the Gashmius!

This is what the Tehillim is saying: Stay away from the selfish part, and look for the GOOD part, the chayus from Hashem that is in it!

Then, we have to make shalom between the Gashmius thing itself and the Ruchnius (the chayus of Hashem that is in it). When we make shalom, both things stay — the chayus of Hashem which is the good in it, and the Gashmius thing itself. That means that we use the Gashmius thing the way that Hashem wants it to be used, that it should help us serve Hashem!

This approach to Gashmius is a chiddush of the Baal Shem Tov. Until then, people thought that they should go away from Gashmius completely. Here the Baal Shem Tov shows us that we don’t need to go away from the Gashmius entirely, just away from the BAD part of the Gashmius. Then we can use the Gashmius in a way of shalom with the Ruchnius!



Shiur #31 - Mitzvas Asei #19

In Sefer Hamitzvos today, we learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #19) to thank Hashem after we eat. This is the mitzvah of saying Birchas Hamazon (bentching).

We learn this from a very famous posuk in Parshas Eikev: וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Brachos.



Hilchos Brachos

Perek Alef: The Rambam explains what brachos are, and who made the nusach of the brachos we say. Then the Rambam teaches some general rules about brachos. For example, we learn that lechat’chilah, we should make a bracha in a loud enough voice to hear. We also learn that when we hear a bracha we need to answer Amen!

Perek Beis: In this perek, we learn about Birchas Hamazon, which is the only bracha that is from the Torah. (All other brachos are Miderabanan.) We learn how it is said differently on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and by a chasuna.

Perek Gimmel: We learn about the brachos on foods made from grain. There are five kinds of grain that can make food Mezonos or Hamotzi, depending on how they are prepared.



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim - Perek Hey

We learn the halachos about Shichecha: If someone forgets a bundle of grain in the field, he has to leave it for the poor. We also learn that if someone forgets to pick the fruit off one of the trees in his orchard, that is also shichecha.



Hey Menachem Av

Today is the Yartzeit of a very special Tzadik, the Arizal. There are many things we need to learn from the life of the Arizal.

The Arizal didn’t live for a long time, only for 38 years! But he taught SO MANY secrets of the Torah, that much of the Chassidus we learn today is based on it!

Until the time of the Arizal, only very special people could learn Kabbalah, the secrets of the Torah. The Arizal said that now we are very close to Moshiach! Now it is okay, and even a MITZVAH to teach EVERYONE the secrets of Torah.

The Rebbe tells us that there are a few things that all of us should learn from the Arizal and make hachlatos about today:

1) The Arizal used to sweat when he learned because he put in so much energy and effort in his learning. We should learn from the Arizal and put in a lot of effort when we learn Torah!

2) The Arizal would give a lot of money to tzedakah. We should also learn from the Arizal, and make hachlatos on his yartzeit to give a lot of Tzedakah too!

3) The Arizal said that all he had in Ruchnius was because of the simcha he had from doing a mitzvah. We should learn from this to also serve Hashem with simcha!

4) The Arizal said that every Yid’s neshama needs to fulfill all of the mitzvos, and until then it is missing something. We should take on a hachlata to keep all of the mitzvos of the Torah!

The Rebbe also reminds us that when we LEARN all of the mitzvos — like when we learn Rambam — it’s like we are doing them all!

The Arizal also said that every person should learn all the different parts of Torah — Pshat, Remez, Drush, and Sod. If it’s too hard to learn ourselves, we should try to get a teacher to help us.

The day of a yartzeit of a tzadik brings down a bracha from Hashem to help the Yidden in the things they need. This is especially true in the Nine Days when we need extra help! The yartzeit of the Arizal helps us overcome the hardships of the Golus and to bring the Geulah.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Tes p. 251 and Toras Menachem 5749, vol. 4, p. 117

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Mah Tovu

Right after Hareini Mekabel, we say three pesukim that are an introduction to davening. These pesukim show us what is happening in our davening in three ways, called Olam, Shana, and Nefesh.

1) Olam — the place of davening: “Mah Tovu Oholecha Yaakov” — “The tents of the Yidden are so good!” We say that the Olam, the place we are davening in, is special! (Some people have a minhag to say Mah Tovu when they come into shul!)

2) Nefesh — the chayus of Hashem: “Va’ani Berov Chasdecha Avo Veisecha” — “I come to Your house with Your great chesed.” We say that Hashem is giving us the Nefesh, the kochos to daven!

3) Shana — the time of davening: “Va’ani Sefilasi Lecha Hashem Eis Ratzon” — “My tefillah should come to Hashem at the right time.” We say that the Shana, the time of our davening is an Eis Ratzon, a special time to connect our neshama to Hashem and make it stronger!

It is explained in Kabbalah that everything in the world has these three things — Olam, Shana, and Nefesh, a place, a time, and a nefesh (chayus) inside of it. In the beginning of davening, we say and think about how when we daven, we are there completely — in all parts of creation: We are in a special place in shul or in our home, at a special time of Tefillah, and Hashem gives our neshama the kochos it needs to be able to daven!

The three pesukim are in the order we find them in Torah: The first posuk, “Mah Tovu,” is from Parshas Balak, the second posuk is from Tehillim, Kapitel Hey, and the third posuk is also from Tehillim, Kapitel Samach-Tes.



Learning a Perek Tanya Before Davening

In Shulchan Aruch it teaches that before davening, a person should think about how great Hashem is, and how small a person is compared to Hashem. This will help us feel humble before Hashem.

In order to keep this halacha, some Chassidim had a minhag to learn a perek of Tanya before davening.

The Rebbe said that this is a very good minhag, and asked that all Chassidim keep it!

By first thinking about the words of Tanya, we will daven with the proper bittul (humility) we should have when we stand before Hashem in tefillah.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tzadik Ches; and Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos 5749, vol. 3, p. 68

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



Who Will Build the Third Beis Hamikdash?

Yesterday we learned that the Zohar and Rashi (based on a Medrash) say that the Beis Hamikdash is already built and is just going to come down from Shomayim.

There is another opinion, though, that says that WE will have to build the Beis Hamikdash!

The Gemara in Yerushalmi says that the Yidden who leave Golus will come and build the Beis Hamikdash. There is also a Medrash that says that Moshiach will build it.

The Rambam brings this as a halacha, in Hilchos Melachim:

In the beginning of Perek Yud-Alef, the Rambam says, “Hamelech HaMoshiach Asid Laamod Ulehachzir Malchus Dovid Leyoshna … Uboneh Hamikdash!” Moshiach will get up and bring back Malchus Beis Dovid to the way it used to be … and he will build the Beis Hamikdash!

The Rambam says this again at the end of the perek. One of the signs to know that Moshiach is really Moshiach (Moshiach Vadai) is if he builds the Beis Hamikdash! So we see that it will be Moshiach’s job to get the Beis Hamikdash built.

Now we have two opinions. Which one will it be?

Over the next few days we will IY”H see how BOTH of these are true.

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