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Rishon with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu continues to farbreng with the Yiddden, preparing them to go into Eretz Yisroel. In today’s Chumash, Moshe tells them more about the mitzvos that they will need to keep in Eretz Yisroel.

In Eretz Yisroel, the judges will be different than in the Midbar: Now there are judges based on how many people there are (judges for every 10 people, for every 50 people), but in Eretz Yisroel there will be a Beis Din for each city. You need to make Shoftim and Shotrim — judges and policemen for every city. The judges will pasken what needs to be done, and the policemen will make sure that people follow what the judges say!

Make sure the judges know that it is very important to be fair! They can’t be nice to one person and not the other, and they can’t take any presents from people they are judging, because this will make it too hard for them to be fair. If you have good judges, you will deserve to be able to stay in Eretz Yisroel!

Now Moshe tells the Yidden some more mitzvos to be careful to do:

- Don’t plant any trees near the Beis Hamikdash!

- Don’t make a Mizbeiach outside of the Beis Hamikdash!

- Don’t shecht a Korban if you were planning on not following the dinim of eating it at the right time (pigul)!

- If someone worships Avodah Zarah, and there are witnesses, Beis Din needs to punish him with death.

Then Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden some more dinim about judges:

If the judges aren’t sure what the answer is to a question, they need to go ask the Sanhedrin in the Beis Hamikdash! Everyone needs to listen to the Sanhedrin, even a person who is a judge himself and a Talmid Chochom. If he doesn’t listen, he is called a Zakein Mamrei and is killed by Beis Din.



1 - 9

Today we start the Tehillim again from the beginning! We say kapitelach Alef through Tes.

Many times when Yidden were in trouble, the Rebbe would speak about a posuk from one of today’s kapitelach: “Mipi Olelim Veyonkim Yisadeta Oz” — “from the mouths of children and babies You get koach to destroy the enemies.” The Rebbe explained that the koach of the Torah and mitzvos of children is what gives us koach to destroy all of our enemies!

From this posuk we learn that when even a very small child or a baby says words of Torah or does a mitzvah, it is able to protect Yidden everywhere!

This is why chinuch of small children is so important, because it helps keep all Yidden safe!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud

This letter is also going to explain about Tzedakah, and was sent to encourage Chassidim to give a lot of tzedakah!

Our parents have a special Shlichus from Hashem to take care of us, and they love us!

How do they love us and take care of us? One of the ways is by giving us all of the Gashmius things we need — like food and snack, and beds to sleep in, and taking us to school, and giving us hugs and kisses.

Since they take care of us with all of this Gashmius, it has to be JUST RIGHT to work. (That’s how Gashmius goes!) If they give us a backpack as big as our room, we won’t be able to carry it and we won’t be able to use it! If they give us one tiny jelly bean for snack, we’ll still be hungry! If they squeeze us too hard when they hug us, it could hurt!

Hashem also loves us, takes care of us, and gives us chayus. This is a very big Chesed of Hashem!

The way Hashem gives us this Chesed is through the mitzvos we do. But since the mitzvos are Gashmius, they need to be done in a specific way to get Hashem’s Chesed! This is why Hashem tells us EXACTLY how each mitzvah needs to be done.

Over the next few days, we will see what this has to do with the mitzvah of tzedakah.



Alef Elul

When the Tzemach Tzedek was nine, the Alter Rebbe told him something that he heard from HIS Rebbe (the Maggid) who heard it from HIS Rebbe (the Baal Shem Tov), who heard it from HIS Rebbe (Achiya Hashiloni)!

Starting from the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul (that’s today!) we say 3 extra Kapitelach of Tehillim every day. We say 36 Kapitelach on Yom Kippur (9 before Kol Nidrei, 9 before going to sleep, 9 after Musaf, and 9 after Ne’ilah). That way, we finish the WHOLE Sefer Tehillim!

If someone didn’t start on time, he should first say the Kapitelach for that day, and he can catch up later.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #315, #281, #316

Today we learn three more mitzvos about judges:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #315) We are not allowed to curse a judge.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #281) A judge shouldn’t believe non-true things. We tell a judge that he is not allowed to start hearing about a court case until BOTH sides are there. Otherwise he might believe something that isn’t true!

This mitzvah also includes something for everybody: not to say Lashon Hara, not to listen to Lashon Hara, and not to say not true eidus.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #316) It is asur to curse a Nasi — a leader of the Yidden. This includes both a king and the leader of the Sanhedrin.



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In Perek Chof-Beis, we learn how things are done in Beis Din. We learn that if someone knows a reason why the psak should be a certain way, he should say so, even if he is worried about what others will think — because the Torah says Midvar Sheker Tirchak! We need to stay away from letting something not true be said.

We learn that the best thing for a Beis Din to do is to try to get both sides to agree to compromise! This is the way of shalom.

In Perek Chof-Gimmel, we learn more about yesterday’s mitzvah not to take a bribe. Bribes aren’t just money — if someone is a friend of a judge, or did him a favor, it will be hard for the judge to listen to the other side, since he already likes one person.

Perek Chof-Daled teaches us what a judge should do if he is sure that someone is lying, but he can’t prove it. He is not allowed to pasken if he doesn’t feel that the psak is correct, so he should keep asking the witnesses questions until he feels sure, or else he should ask another judge to pasken.



Hilchos Shevuos - Perek Ches

In this perek we learn when a person is potur from a Shevuas Hapikadon.



Chodesh Elul

Starting from the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, there are three things we do every day: Saying L’Dovid Hashem Ori in Shacharis and Mincha, saying the three kapitelach of Tehillim after davening, and blowing the shofar.

We also work on fixing up ALL of the areas of Avodas Hashem to prepare for Rosh Hashana. We see this hinted to in the many Roshei Teivos of Elul, which we will be learning about! Today we will see that the month of Elul is a “safety zone” for us to fix things up, to prepare to be bentched with a Shana Tova!


Do you remember learning about the Ir Miklat in Chumash?

If someone kills another person by mistake, he runs away to the Ir Miklat, where he will be safe.

When a person does an aveira by mistake, it’s like he is “killing” (R”L) the neshama. Hashem gives us a chance to go to an “Ir Miklat” in the days of Elul. Doing the avodah of the month of Elul keeps us safe, like an Ir Miklat!

That’s why the words the Torah uses to teach us about an Ir Miklat are “Ina Leyado Vesamti Lecha.” If a person killed someone else by mistake, Hashem gives him a place to go. These words are also the Roshei Teivos of the word Elul!

There are many Roshei Teivos for the word Elul, which teach us lessons about what to do during this month. This posuk teaches us to learn Torah, which is also like an Ir Miklat — like the Chachomim say, “Divrei Torah Koltin,” the words of Torah save!

If we stay in the Ir Miklat by using the time to do Teshuvah and learn Torah, it will keep us safe from any not good things, and Hashem will send us a Shana Tova Umesuka!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Beis, p. 623


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Lamnatzeiach Binginos

The last section before Boruch She’amar is Kapitel Samach-Zayin, which is also called the Mizmor of the Menorah.

This kapitel, which starts with the words Lamnatzeiach Binginos, has 7 pesukim and 49 words. These represent the 7 branches of the menorah, and the 49 pieces (22 cups, 9 flowers, 11 buttons, and 7 oil cups) on the menorah. When we say it every day, it is counted like we are lighting the menorah in the Beis Hamikdash!

This is also connected to the section of Korbanos which we just finished.

Dovid Hamelech had this kapitel engraved on a golden plaque in the shape of a menorah. He would carry it with him when he went out to war, to help him have hatzlacha in battle!



General & Specific Brachos

The brachos we say on food can be general or specific. Shehakol is the most general bracha, it doesn’t speak about any specific kind of food. Ho’adamah is a very general bracha for everything that grows. Ha’eitz is more specific, for only something that grows on a tree. Mezonos is also more specific, because it only is for foods from grain. Hamotzi is even more specific, for only bread made from grain. Hagafen is very specific, only for wine or grape juice.

The halacha is that bedieved, if we said a more general bracha, it can include a food that really has a more specific bracha.

For example, if someone said Ho’adamah on an apple, bedieved their bracha is counted and they don’t make another bracha. Or if someone said Shehakol on a cookie, bedieved their bracha is also counted.

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Alef

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



The End of the Nation of Eisav

After the time of Shlomo Hamelech, the Yidden split into two groups. The Yidden living near Yerushalayim followed the son of Shlomo Hamelech, the first of the Malchei Yehudah. The Yidden living in the northern parts of Eretz Yisroel followed a different king, the first of the Malchei Yisrael.

The kings of the Malchei Yisrael wouldn’t even let the Yidden go to the Beis Hamikdash, since they were afraid that the Yidden would start to follow the Malchei Yehudah. Of course, this was not very good for the Ruchnius of the Yidden!

One of the kings of the Malchei Yisrael was Achav. He married a non-Jewish princess, Izevel, and listened to whatever she said. She worshiped Avodah Zarah and worked hard to make the Yidden do it too. She tried to kill all of the true Neviim so that no one would stop the Yidden from worshiping her Avodah Zarah.

Even though Eliyahu Hanavi tried to punish Achav by stopping rain from falling, Achav did not do teshuvah.

The man in charge of running Achav’s palace was a ger from Edom, named Ovadiah. Even though he lived with these wicked people, he did not learn from them. He decided to protect Neviim, and hid 100 of them in caves. He gave them food and water and kept them safe from Achav and Izevel.

Because of this, Hashem gave Ovadiah the zechus of becoming a talmid of Eliyahu Hanavi. Ovadiah even became a Navi himself! Hashem chose Ovadiah, who was from Edom, to give the nevuah about the end of the nation of Edom.

Here is one of his famous nevuos about the end of Edom, the nation of Eisav:

וְהָיָה בֵית יַעֲקֹב אֵשׁ וּבֵית יוֹסֵף לֶהָבָה וּבֵית עֵשָׂו לְקַשׁ וְדָלְקוּ בָהֶם וַאֲכָלוּם וְלֹא יִהְיֶה שָׂרִיד לְבֵית עֵשָׂו כִּי ה׳ דִּבֵּר

Vehaya Veis Yaakov Eish — The family of Yaakov (the Yidden) will be like a fire

Uveis Yosef Lehava — And the family of Yosef will be like a flame.

Uveis Eisav Lekash — The family of Eisav will be like straw (which burns very easily).

Vedalku Vahem Va’achalum — The Yidden will burn the nation of Eisav completely

Velo Yihiyeh Sarid Leveis Eisav — And there will be nothing left of the family of Eisav,

Ki Hashem Diber — Because Hashem said so.

See Ovadyah perek Alef posuk Yud-Ches

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