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Parshas Chukas-Balak - Chamishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Bilaam asks Hashem again if he can go to Balak. Hashem tells him he can go — but he will have to do what Hashem wants.

When Bilaam got up in the morning, he told Balak’s messengers that he wouldn’t come, because Hashem won’t let. But he added something not true — he said that Hashem wouldn’t let because the messengers weren’t important enough. He wanted them to think that he is very special to Hashem!

When Balak got the message, he sent more messengers, this time, very important people. He promised to pay Bilaam a lot of money too. Bilaam told the messengers that really Balak should give him ALL his money, because he would have had to use that money to pay his army. By hiring Bilaam he doesn’t have to fight at all so Balak really owes him all that money!

Still, now he had to tell the truth — he couldn’t curse the Yidden unless Hashem let. He told the messengers to stay over, and he would try to ask Hashem again.

Hashem told Bilaam that he could go if he wanted to, but he would have to do whatever Hashem tells him!

Bilaam tries to go curse the Yidden: Bilaam woke up early in the morning. He was so excited to go with the officers from Moav and curse the Yidden! He was also hoping that Hashem would think, “If Bilaam gets up early to do bad things, why don’t the Yidden get up early to do GOOD things?” and then get upset at the Yidden. But this didn’t work, because the Yidden have the zechus of the Avos. Avraham already got up early to do what Hashem wanted, by the Akeida, and that zechus is with the Yidden forever!

Bilaam’s donkey won’t go: Hashem was not happy that Bilaam was going even when he knew that Hashem didn’t want him to. Hashem sent a malach to block the road and try to stop Bilaam. If Bilaam would have stopped trying to go, it would have been good for him too, because then he wouldn’t get punished at the end!

Bilaam wasn’t able to see the malach, but his donkey was! She moved off the road to get out of the malach’s way. Bilaam hit the donkey to make her go back onto the road.

The malach stood in front of them again a little later, and the donkey squeezed up next to a wall so she wouldn’t bump into the malach, which squashed Bilaam’s foot. Bilaam hit her again to make her move back onto the road.

The next time the malach stood in front of them, there was nowhere to go, and the donkey had to bow down. Bilaam was angry and hit her AGAIN!

Hashem makes Bilaam’s donkey talk: Now Hashem made a big neis, and the donkey started to talk! She said, “Why did you hit me three times?” Bilaam said, “Because you embarrassed me!”

The officers from Moav were watching Bilaam argue with the donkey. They asked Bilaam why he didn’t take his horse instead of this donkey. Bilaam lied and said that he left his horse to eat in the field. The donkey spoke up, “Isn’t it true that I am your donkey and you don’t have a horse?” Bilaam said yes, but that he usually only uses the donkey for shlepping things. The donkey said, “You always ride on me!” Bilaam said, “Only this time!” The donkey again said, “Am I not the same donkey you ALWAYS ride on?” Now Bilaam didn’t have anything else to say! The donkey asked Bilaam, “Do I usually not listen to you?” Bilaam had to admit that the donkey usually did listen.

Bilaam talks to the malach: Now Hashem let Bilaam see what the donkey saw: A malach standing with a sword, blocking the way. Bilaam bowed down. The malach told Bilaam that the donkey saved his life! If the donkey hadn’t moved, the malach would have killed Bilam.

Bilaam admitted that he had done the wrong thing to hit the donkey, but he still didn’t feel bad about going to curse the Yidden. “Hashem told me I can go if I want to!” he said.

The malach let him go, but warned him again — he can only say what Hashem tells him to say.

Balak asks Bilaam why he didn’t come before: When Bilaam finally came, Balak came out to meet him. He said, “Why didn’t you come the first time I asked you to? Do you think I can’t give you enough kavod?” Balak didn’t realize, but he was actually saying a nevuah of what would happen at the end — he really wouldn’t give Bilaam any kavod! Bilaam would leave embarrassed at the end instead.

Bilaam said, “I am here now — but I can only say what Hashem tells me to.”



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes.

In the end of today’s first kapitel is the very special niggun Padah Veshalom, which we sing on the Geulah of the Rebbeim.

This Shabbos is Yud-Beis Tammuz, the Chag HaGeulah of the Frierdiker Rebbe.

In times of trouble, the Rebbeim would not only say the Tehillim the way it is divided up for the month (the Tehillim of Chitas), but they would also say the Tehillim the way it is divided up for the days of the week. The way it is divided up for the week, Kapitel Nun-Hey is in the Tehillim for Yom Shlishi, Tuesday.

Because Yud-Beis Tammuz of that year was Tuesday, the Frierdiker Rebbe said this kapitel about Geulah on the day of his Geulah!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Gimmel

Today we learn how many times a person would have to fast if he did an aveira many times, and then did teshuvah.

We learned that if a person does an aveira, he needs to give Hashem a present. Since we don’t have a Beis Hamikdash, a way to give Hashem a present is to fast.

What if a person does an aveira more than one time? Does he need to fast for EACH time he did the aveira, or just one time for all of them together?

There is a machlokes! One opinion is that if a person did an aveira a bunch of times, he should fast for each time he did it like it was in the Beis Hamikdash with a kind of korban called a chatas!

Another opinion is that he only needs to bring it once like it was with the korban called Olah.

The halacha is — a compromise! Even if a person did an aveira a hundred times, he only needs to fast for THREE times he did the aveira.

The Zohar explains why: When a person does an aveira, it makes the neshama a little dirty. The second time the dirty spot gets bigger, and after three times, the whole neshama is dirty.

Imagine a shirt. First someone splashes grape juice on it — now it’s a little bit dirty. Then more grape juice spills all over the sleeve — now the dirty part is bigger. Then the whole becher falls over and the WHOLE shirt gets dirty! Once the whole shirt gets dirty, splashing more juice doesn’t make so much difference.

That’s why the first three times of an aveira are the most important to fix. So a person also should fast for the first three times they do an aveira.

Tomorrow IY”H we will see that nowadays we give tzedakah in place of fasting.



Yud Tammuz

Today we learn about the shlichus each of us have wherever we are!

Not too long after the Alter Rebbe became Rebbe, he said a Torah:

It says in Tehillim, “MeiHashem Mitzadei Gever Konanu,” “Hashem sets up a person’s feet (puts them in the right place).” The Alter Rebbe explains that it means that wherever a Yid goes, he is a shliach of Hashem — Hashem sent him there!

What is this shlichus? To do a mitzvah!

A mitzvah like saying a bracha, or davening (mitzvos we do just for Hashem), or a mitzvah like having Ahavas Yisroel, or teaching another Yid (mitzvos Hashem wants us to do with other people)!

Malachim also have a shlichus, like we learned in Chumash Bereishis (with Avraham and Sedom and Amorah) — but the shlichus of a Yid is MORE special, because our shlichus is according to what the Torah teaches us!



Shiur #332 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #168

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #168): Even though a regular kohen SHOULD become tomei to go to a levayah of someone in his family who passed away, a Kohen Gadol should NOT.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: לְאָבִיו וּלְאִמּוֹ לֹא יִטַּמָּא

We are getting much closer to the Siyum Harambam! Save the date for the Grand Siyum Harambam — especially for kids! KidsChitas.org/grandsiyumharambam



Hilchos Aveil

In today’s Rambam, we learn halachos about how we act if someone passes away R”L.

One of the halachos in Perek Gimmel is that even though kohanim have to be so careful not to become tomei, even a kohen should become tomei if a Nasi (or a Rebbe) passes away to show kavod.

In Perek Daled, we learn about Kavod Hameis, showing kavod for a person who passed away.

Perek Hey teaches halachos about aveilus, how a person acts when a close relative passes away.



Hilchos Melachim - Perek Hey

In Perek Hey, we learn about Milchemes Mitzvah — a war that is a mitzvah! One of the wars is with Amalek, of course! Another war that is a mitzvah is a war to take back parts of Eretz Yisroel.

The Rambam teaches us how special Eretz Yisroel is. There is a lot of kedusha there, and we are not allowed to leave Eretz Yisroel unless we have a very good reason, like learning Torah or getting married. The Rambam tells us that the Chachomim used to kiss the ground of Eretz Yisroel because they loved it so much!



Yud-Beis Tammuz

The special Yom Tov of Yud-Beis Tammuz is coming up. On this day, the Frierdiker Rebbe was freed from jail.

Chassidus teaches us that after a time when Hashem’s kindness is hiding and a person doesn’t see it, Hashem’s kindness will be MUCH more clear afterwards.

When the Frierdiker Rebbe was in jail, it was like Hashem’s kindness was hiding. And when the Frierdiker Rebbe was freed from jail, Hashem’s kindness was MUCH more clear to see!

In fact, every year this becomes stronger! Every year, on Yud-Beis Tammuz, a new light of Hashem shines in the world!

But why do we say that? Hashem doesn’t hide from a Rebbe! And if the Rebbe doesn’t have the hiding of Hashem, why do we say that there will be more bracha afterwards?

A Rebbe is like the Moshe Rabbeinu of his time. The main thing Moshe Rabbeinu cared about was taking care of the Yidden and bringing them close to Hashem. For the Rebbeim also, the main thing is how the Yidden feel.

Even if for the Frierdiker Rebbe himself Hashem wasn’t hiding in jail, for the Chassidim it did feel that way. Since that was the way the Yidden felt, that was what was most important to the Frierdiker Rebbe. And after he came out of jail, it was a much brighter light of Hashem that was shining, for the Frierdiker Rebbe also!

See Kuntres Yud-Beis Yud-Gimmel Tammuz 5751


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Lamenatzeiach Bevo

Dovid Hamelech was the king of Yidden. But he wasn’t only in charge of ruling and guiding the people in his own time; Dovid Hamelech still guides Yidden today through his sefer Tehillim!

The Gemara tells us that at one point in Dovid Hamelech’s life, Hashem made something happen to him so that he would feel a need to do teshuvah. This way, he could show Yidden how to do teshuvah properly.

After this happened, Dovid Hamelech wrote kapitel Nun-Alef of Tehillim. This perek speaks all about teshuvah, and many of the things we know about doing teshuvah come from here!

Since Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah is a time for making a Cheshbon Hanefesh, after saying Vidui we say this kapitel. It helps us to do teshuvah.



Learning Torah Before Sleep

One of the inyonim of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah is that we should go to sleep with words of Torah. Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah has many pesukim from Tehillim and other parts of Torah.

(That’s also why we finish off the last paragraph of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah with the posuk of “Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe!”)

The Rebbe would tell people that what you go to sleep thinking about is very important. In letters to people who had bad dreams or were afraid at night, the Rebbe would write that they should learn a few lines of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s sichos or zichronos (Memoirs) before going to sleep. The words of the Frierdiker Rebbe, speaking about the history of Chassidus and Chabad, will help a person go to sleep with good thoughts, and sleep peacefully!

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



Dancing With Joy!

Even though most of Yirmiyah’s nevuos are very sad ones about the Churban, the Navi also tells us many wonderful things about the Geulah! Here is one nevuah, where Hashem tells Yirmiyah how we will celebrate when Moshiach comes!

אָז תִּשְׂמַח בְּתוּלָה בְּמָחוֹל וּבַחֻרִים וּזְקֵנִים יַחְדָּו וְהָפַכְתִּי אֶבְלָם לְשָׂשׂוֹן וְנִחַמְתִּים וְשִׂמַּחְתִּים מִיגוֹנָם

Az Tismach Besulah Bemachol — Then the young girls will dance happily

Uvachurim Uzekeinim Yachdav — The bochurim will dance, and the older men will come join in with them!

Vehafachti Evlam Lesason — Hashem says, I will change their sadness to joy

Venichamtim Vesimachtim Miyegonim — And I will make their happiness much greater than any suffering they had before!

See Yirmiyah perek Lamed-Alef posuk Yud-Beis

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