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Parshas Re'eh - Shishi with Rashi

Moshe teaches the Yidden about more Mitzvos they will keep in Eretz Yisroel:

If you lend someone money, and he didn't pay you back yet when a Shemitah year starts — you need to forgive the loan and he won’t owe you money anymore.

A Yid might think that he will lose money if he does that, but the Torah tells us that if we listen to Hashem, none of the Yidden will be poor!

Be careful, don't decide not to lend someone money before a Shemitah year in case he doesn't pay you back before then! Even if he doesn't pay you back, Hashem will.

Make sure to give Tzedakah! Rashi explains how these pesukim teach us so much about the mitzvah of giving tzedakah, like who we need to take care of first, and about how much to give.

If you have a Jewish slave, you need to let him go free after working for you for 7 years. Make sure to give him presents when he goes!

If he DOESN’T want to leave, and wants to stay your slave for longer, you need to pierce his ear by the door, and then he will be your slave until Yovel.



135 - 139

Today’s kapitelach are Kuf-Lamed-Hey to Kuf-Lamed-Tes.

In the brachos before Kriyas Shema, we say that Hashem is constantly creating the world with His goodness — “Hamechadesh Betuvo Bechol Yom Tamid Maaseh Bereishis.”

We prove this from a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Le’oseh Orim Gedolim, Ki Le’olam Chasdo” — “Hashem makes the big lights — because He has so much chesed.” The posuk says that Hashem MAKES the lights in the sky, not that Hashem MADE them before!

This teaches us an important lesson in Avodas Hashem. We need to make sure that our connection to Yiddishkeit is ALSO always like a new thing, like the way Hashem creates the world new all the time. We shouldn’t feel like that acting the way a Yid should is boring, it should always be exciting like the way we feel when we get a new prize!

The Baal Shem Tov explained that we ask Hashem for this in one of the Selichos: “Al Tashlicheini Le’eis Zikna,” “don’t throw us aside in our old age.” We are also asking Hashem not to throw us into a feeling that our Yiddishkeit is old and boring. We ask Hashem to help us that Torah and mitzvos should always feel fresh and new!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Ches

Did you ever ask Mommy for a candy, and she said “If you help me for 5 minutes”? She wants you to deserve your treat. Hashem also wants US to deserve the very special thoughts that we have during davening.

How do we deserve it? By giving tzedakah!

But by giving a nickel to Tzedakah, we’re really getting MUCH more than a nickel is worth! The Alter Rebbe gave a mashal of planting — the tree that grows is so much more and better than the tiny seed we planted!

Today we learn how the same thing happens when we give Tzedakah — even just the nickel we give is like planting a seed! The “ground” is the place where all of the Neshamos come from. When we give tzedakah, it’s like planting a seed there. The big beautiful “tree” that grows are the special things we think about in davening!

This is ESPECIALLY when we give tzedakah for people in Eretz Yisroel — it’s like planting in rich dirt that grows very quickly, so nothing gets in the way of having these special thoughts in our davening!



Chof-Ches Menachem Av

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something that will help prepare us for Chodesh Elul.

If a person’s body is chas veshalom not feeling well, what should they do?

There are two things they should do to become healthy:

1) Take medicine to make the sick part of the body feel better.

2) Eat healthy foods, rest, drink a lot of water, and sit in the sun, so the whole body gets stronger, which will also make the sick part feel better!

If a neshama is sick chas veshalom, we should also use the same two ways to make it feel better!

1) Do Teshuvah to take away the aveira that is making the neshama not feel good.

2) Do lots of mitzvos to make the whole neshama so strong that it will be easier to correct the aveiros too!

That’s what we do in Elul! We make a Cheshbon Hanefesh to see the good things we did during the year and make them stronger, and do teshuvah for the things we need to fix.



Shiur #54 - Mitzvas Asei #156, #197, #198

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 3 mitzvos about Pesach!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #156) We need to get rid of chometz from our house on Yud-Daled Nissan. The Chachomim called this Biur Chometz.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן תַּשְׁבִּיתוּ שְּׂאֹר מִבָּתֵּיכֶם

The details are explained in the beginning of Mesechta Pesachim.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #197) We aren’t allowed to eat chometz on Pesach.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: וְלֹא יֵאָכֵל חָמֵץ

The details are explained in Mesechta Pesachim.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #198) On Pesach we can’t even eat food that has any chometz mixed into it, like beer.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: כָּל מַחְמֶצֶת לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ



Hilchos Chomeitz U'Matzah

Perek Beis: In today’s first perek we learn halachos about Bedikas Chometz.

One interesting halacha is that if a person sees a mouse go into his house with a piece of chometz, and then he sees crumbs on the floor, he needs to look through the whole house until he finds the chometz. This is because we say that the mouse probably put the piece of chometz down somewhere, and didn’t eat it, since when mice are eating they eat every crumb! So if we see crumbs, the piece of chometz must be somewhere too!

But if you see a baby go into the house with chometz, and you find crumbs, you can say that the baby probably already ate the chometz, and these are the crumbs from it — because babies do leave crumbs when they eat! So then, you wouldn’t need to check the whole house again.

Perek Gimmel: In this perek, we finish learning about Bedikas Chometz. We also learn about Bittul Chometz, making our chometz counted as not worth anything, and about Biur Chometz — getting rid of the chometz.

Perek Daled: In the last perek of today’s Rambam, we learn about the mitzvah of not owning any chometz on Pesach, and how we can sell Chometz to a goy so it doesn’t belong to us on Pesach.



Hilchos Maaser - Perek Gimmel

In this perek, we learn the halachos of when we are allowed to snack from food before taking maaser. The halacha is that once the food is ready to sell, we aren’t allowed to snack from it anymore until we take maaser from it.



Shabbos Mevorchim Elul

In Likutei Diburim, the Frierdiker Rebbe once spoke about how the city of Lubavitch would be different in Chodesh Elul.

In many of the Rebbe’s farbrengens before Chodesh Elul, the Rebbe would speak about this famous sicha.

The Frierdiker Rebbe said that starting after Shabbos Nachamu, they would already start learning extra after davening Maariv. By the time Shabbos Mevorchim Elul came, you could already “smell” Elul, and feel the wind of teshuvah blowing in the air. Everyone was waiting to start saying L’Dovid Hashem Ori and to hear the shofar blown.

The first sound of the shofar was like an announcement that the gates of Rachmonus were open, since Elul is Chodesh HoRachamim!

In Elul everyone felt that they needed to change, to become better. Lying in bed in Lubavitch, early in the morning, you could already hear the shofar being blown at the early minyan. People would feel bad that they were still sleeping, when there was so much to be done! They would think about how special these days are — the days when Moshe Rabbeinu stood on Har Sinai begging Hashem to forgive the Yidden. Nobody wanted to waste these special days of Yemei Ratzon!

They would jump out of bed and run quickly to shul, which was already full of Yidden saying Tehillim, learning, and davening.

Once in a farbrengen of Shabbos Nachamu, the Rebbe spoke about this sicha of the Frierdiker Rebbe. The Rebbe explained that this was not just a story about another city! The city of Lubavitch was like a light for the world, showing and teaching the way things should be. The Frierdiker Rebbe was showing us how we should prepare for Chodesh Elul, in every time and in every place.

See Likkutei Dibburim vol. 1, p. 230 (English), and Farbrengen Parshas Va’eschanan 5745

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Hodu (Part 2)

The second half of Hodu, starting from the word “Romemu,” are 22 pesukim from Tehillim. These pesukim include praise to Hashem, and pesukim that ask Hashem to help the Yidden and bring the Geulah!

In Likutei Torah, the Alter Rebbe explains that these pesukim are connected to the Avos!

The Avos were the ones who began the Tefillos of Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. In davening, we often ask Hashem to answer us in their zechus.

Each of the Avos had a strong koach in a certain midah. Avraham Avinu showed a tremendous level of Chesed, kindness. Yitzchak Avinu had a powerful level of Gevurah, strictness. Yaakov Avinu showed the midah of Tiferes (Rachamim), mercy, in a very great way.

These pesukim in the second half of Hodu connect to these midos. For example, “Va’ani Bechasdecha Batachti,” “I have trusted in Your Chesed,” is the midah of Chesed. “Keil Nekamos Hashem,” “Hashem punishes resha’im,” is the midah of Gevurah. “Ata Hashem Lo Sichla Rachamecha Mimeni,” “Hashem, Your Rachmonus has not left me,” is the midah of Tiferes.



General Brachos on Foods

There are three “general” brachos, that we use for most foods. (Later IY”H we will see that there are exceptions for specific kinds of foods.)

All food fits into three main groups: Food that grows from the ground (like carrots), food that grows on trees (like apples), and food that we get any other way (like chicken or eggs). Depending on where our food comes from, that is the bracha we make!

For juicy peaches, which grow on trees, we make a bracha of Ha’eitz, thanking Hashem for letting us enjoy the food that grows on trees. On crunchy celery, which grows from the ground, we make a bracha of Ha’adama, thanking Hashem for letting us enjoy the food that grows from the ground. For fish, which we don’t get from the ground or from trees, we make a bracha Shehakol, thanking Hashem for letting us enjoy His world, which was all created through Hashem’s words.

See Birchos Hanehenin, perek Alef se’if Beis

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



Hashem Will Punish the Goyim

We have a hora’ah from the Rebbe to learn Inyonei Geulah U’Moshiach, beginning from Torah Shebichsav, and also in all of the other parts of Torah. Here we are learning the pesukim of Torah Shebichsav that tell us about the time of the Geulah. We are up to the sefer Trei Asar, by the Navi Yoel.

The last two perakim of Yoel are about the Geulah, and that Hashem will punish the goyim who hurt the Yidden during the time of Golus.

At the end of the last perek, the Navi Yoel warns Edom and Mitzrayim that they will be punished for killing the Yidden from Yehudah.

The last two pesukim speak about what will happen in the end:

וִיהוּדָה לְעוֹלָם תֵּשֵׁב וִירוּשָׁלִַם לְדוֹר וָדוֹר

וְנִקֵּיתִי דָּמָם לֹא נִקֵּיתִי וַה׳ שֹׁכֵן בְּצִיּוֹן

ViYehuda Le’olam Teisheiv — Yehudah, that they tried to kill, will stay forever

VeYerushalayim Ledor Vador — And Yerushalayim, which they tried to destroy, will last for all generations.

Venikeisi Damam Lo Nikeisi — Hashem says, I may forgive them for other aveiros, but for the blood of the Yidden that they killed, I will not forgive them!

VaHashem Shochein Betzion — This will happen when Hashem rests in Tzion, the time of the Geulah.

See Yoel perek Daled pesukim Chof and Chof-Alef

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