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Parshas Tetzaveh - Sheini with Rashi

In this week’s parsha, we are learning all about the clothing of the Kohanim. Today we are learning about the Choshen Mishpat.

Yesterday we learned about two stones with the names of the shevatim. These two stones should be put into gold settings, and attached to the two top straps of the Efod. Two golden chains should be attached to the bottom of the gold settings, and the Choshen Mishpat will hang from these chains.

The Choshen Mishpat should be made of the same material as the Efod. It will be a long piece of material that is square when it is folded in half. There should be 12 precious stones attached to it, in gold settings — one specific stone for each Shevet. They will have the names of the Shevatim written on them, and on the first stone it will also say “Avraham Yitzchak Yaakov”, and on the last one it will say “Shivtei Yeshurun.” This way every letter of the Alef-Beis will be on the Choshen.

Inside the fold of the Choshen will be a special piece of parchment with Hashem’s name: This is called the Urim VeTumim. With the Urim VeTumim, Hashem will answer important questions of the Kohen Gadol by making the letters on the stones of the Choshen light up.



35 - 38

One of the pesukim in Kapitel Lamed-Hey (the first of today’s Kapitelach) says “Kol Atzmosai Tomarna, Hashem Mi Kamocha?” “All of my bones say, Hashem, who is like You?” (We also say this posuk in Nishmas, part of Shabbos davening. Did you know there’s a Chassidishe niggun with this posuk?)

We learn from this posuk that a person should shockle when they daven or listen to the Torah being leined, and also when they’re learning.

The Baal Shem Tov gave a mashal for this: When a person is Chas Veshalom drowning, they move as much as they can to save themselves. The same thing, when we daven, we are trying to save ourselves from the Golus that the neshama feels from being inside of the body.



Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Zayin

We learned about the special nachas ruach that Hashem has when we stop ourselves from thinking bad thoughts or about bad taavos. We learned that this avodah is called Iskafya.

Now that we are already talking about iskafya, the Alter Rebbe tells about another kind of iskafya, which is very well known in the avodah of Chassidus: Iskafya from things that are not asur at all!

In the times of the Gemara, people would eat their breakfast three hours after it got light. But the Talmidei Chachomim wouldn’t eat for another two hours, while they learned Torah. Then they would eat and go back to learning.

Why did they do that? To have iskafya!

Iskafya means that when we want to do something that we are allowed to do, we say STOP! I don’t do things just because I want to. I do things because HASHEM wants me to! So we don’t do it right away. We do something for the neshama, to make it think about the ratzon of Hashem, and then we might use what our Nefesh Habehamis was suggesting we use — for Hashem.

For example, let’s say you passed by 7-11 and suddenly realized that you REALLY want a Slurpee! It’s not a fast day, and you’re not late for class, so there’s nothing wrong with getting one. But if you get it right now, you’re letting your Nefesh Habehamis decide what you should do! So instead you practice your Tanya Baal Peh and THEN if you think the Slurpee will make you happy so you can do your Avodas Hashem, you go buy one.

We can have iskafya with all kinds of things — with words we want to say, with things we want to think about, and things we want to do.

When we have iskafya, we are reminding the Yetzer Hara that it’s not in charge. That will “shecht” the Yetzer Hara, bring kavod to Hashem, make our neshama stronger, and help us a lot in our Avodas Hashem!

We know many ways to make our neshama stronger by doing mitzvos, not doing aveiros, or davening with kavana. But we see that even just by not doing what the Yetzer Hara wants right away, we are making our neshama stronger too!



Vov Adar Alef

The Rebbe Rashab said: It is a very special thing when Hashem makes someone able to really FEEL that he wants to do something nice and care for another person — even more than he cares about himself!

Because for ourselves, we realize that we may sometimes not deserve things to be easier or better; but we can never say that about another person — we want them to ALWAYS have the best!



Mitzvas Asei #84, #85, Lo Saasei #90

Today we learn 3 mitzvos about bringing korbanos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #84) We are only allowed to bring Korbanos in the Beis Hamikdash.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: וְשָׁם תַּעֲשֶׂה כֹּל אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּךָּ

2) (Mitzvas Asei #85) If someone who lives outside of Eretz Yisroel promises to bring a korban, it is a mitzvah for him to bring it. He needs to bring his korban to the Beis Hamikdash even though Eretz Yisroel is very far away and very hard for him to get to Yerushalayim!

We learn this mitzvah from another posuk in Parshas Reeh: רַק קָדָשֶׁיךָ אֲשֶׁר יִהְיוּ לְךָ וּנְדָרֶיךָ תִּשָּׂא וּבָאתָ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #90) It is asur to shecht any animal that is supposed to be for a korban, outside of the Beis Hamikdash.

This mitzvah comes from a posuk in Parshas Acharei: אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט שׁוֹר אוֹ כֶשֶׂב אוֹ עֵז בַּמַּחֲנֶה אוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחָט מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְאֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא הֱבִיאוֹ לְהַקְרִיב קָרְבָּן לַה׳ לִפְנֵי מִשְׁכַּן ה׳ דָּם יֵחָשֵׁב לָאִישׁ הַהוּא דָּם שָׁפָךְ וְנִכְרַת

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Perek Yud-Gimmel of Mesechta Zevachim.



Hilchos Maaseh HaKorbanos

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about promises to bring korbanos, and about not bringing korbanos outside of the Beis Hamikdash.

Perek Tes-Zayin: Sometimes a person makes a promise to bring a certain kind of animal for a korban. What if he wants to (or needs) to change? There are times when we are allowed to do it differently than we said, but other times when we can’t! For example, if someone promises to bring a BIG animal, he can’t bring a little one. But if he says he will bring a little one, he CAN bring a big one.

Perek Yud-Zayin: We need to be careful to bring the korban just like we said — so if someone promises to bring flour in ONE container, he can’t bring it in two smaller containers. We also learn about how much wine or oil a person can bring for a korban: It needs to be at least the amount that would be brought as the Mincha or Nesech of a korban!

Perek Yud-Ches: It is a mitzvah not to bring a korban outside of the Beis Hamikdash.



Hilchos Temidin Umusafin - Perek Yud

In this perek we learn about the special korbanos of Yom Kippur and Sukkos. We also learn about the Nisuch Hamayim — the water that was poured on the Mizbeiach when the Korban Tomid was brought on Sukkos, along with the wine that was usually poured!

Mazel Tov! We have now finished this set of halachos.




We learned in Tanya today about having iskafya, not letting the Yetzer Hara to express itself when it wants, because really the neshama needs to be in charge! We learned about not letting our Yetzer Hara tell us when to eat something or say something, but only doing it when our neshama agrees that it’s good for us.

The Rebbe once said that nowadays, iskafya with food for a bochur in Yeshiva means to eat what the Yeshiva serves. (Mafteiach L’Sichos Kodesh, p. 107)

How is it iskafya to eat?

We can understand based on what we learned in Tanya!

If a bochur in Yeshiva doesn’t eat the food he is served, it’s because he doesn’t like it, or because he doesn’t want it… meaning that his Nefesh Habehamis doesn’t want it!

But who is in charge? The neshama! The neshama knows that to have a healthy body and be able to serve Hashem, we have to eat healthy food. So we have iskafya over our Yetzer Hara, and eat the food that we are served, so that we can serve Hashem properly.


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Nefilas Apayim

The first three sections of Tachanun are Vidui, Yud-Gimmel Midos HoRachamim, and Nefilas Apayim (when we say Kapitel Chof-Hey with our forehead leaning on our hand).

We bend over our head and cover our face with our arm. One of the things that this shows is the idea of Mesiras Nefesh, that we are giving our nefesh to Hashem.

The first posuk of Kapitel Chof-Hey has the words “Ledovid, Eilecha Hashem Nafshi Esa,” “A kapitel said by Dovid Hamelech: Hashem, I am raising my nefesh to You.”

The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya that this shows that a Yid wants all of his kochos to be connected to Hashem. His thoughts and words should be connected to Hashem’s thoughts and words, through learning Torah. His actions should be connected to Hashem’s actions, through being kind to others.

Saying this kapitel helps that our learning and doing Gemilus Chasadim after davening will be with the right kavana — to be connected with Hashem and to do His Will.

See Tanya end of Perek Mem-Alef and Igeres HaTeshuvah perek Yud



Nefilas Apayim Right After Shemoneh Esrei

After we finish Shemoneh Esrei, we say Tachanun. According to halacha, it is not a problem of Hefsek B’Tefillah to interrupt after Shemoneh Esrei. Still, we shouldn’t get busy with other things.

It is important to say the section of Nefilas Apayim soon after Shemoneh Esrei. That is the way Hashem best accepts our asking for forgiveness.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, 131:1

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



Choshen Mishpat

Today we learned about the Choshen Mishpat. There were two parts of the Choshen:

1) The Choshen was one of the Bigdei Kehunah, the clothing of the Kohanim. Even though some of the special parts of the Beis Hamikdash were missing during the time of the second Beis Hamikdash, the Choshen was always there, as part of the clothing of the Kohen Gadol.

2) Inside of the Choshen there was a piece of parchment which had Hashem’s holy name written on it. It is what made the letters of the Choshen Mishpat light up with answers from Hashem, so the Yidden would know what to do. This part was missing during the second Beis Hamikdash.

When Moshiach comes, we will again have the full Choshen Mishpat, the way it is supposed to be!

See Rashi in today’s Chumash, and Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Alef, parshas Tetzaveh

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