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Rishon with Rashi

Today we are starting a new Sefer of Chumash — Chumash Bamidbar!

It is now Rosh Chodesh Iyar, the second year after the Yidden came out of Mitzrayim. The Mishkan was put up one month ago, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The Yidden are still in Midbar Sinai, where they got the Torah.

Now Hashem tells Moshe to count the Yidden again.

Hashem loves Yidden so much that He likes to count them again and again, just like we like to count our favorite cars or brachos cards! (Do you know when Hashem counted the Yidden? First when they came out of Mitzrayim, then after the Cheit Ha’egel to see how many were left, and now — a month after the Mishkan was set up and Hashem’s Shechina was living with the Yidden. That’s three times in one year!)

Hashem told Moshe how to count the Yidden. He should count how many men in each Shevet are more than 20 years old. But we don’t count Yidden by pointing at them and counting them! Each person who will be counted should give a half shekel, and they will count the shekalim.

Hashem told Moshe that he should bring the Nasi of each Shevet with him when he counted that Shevet. If someone’s father is from one Shevet and his mother is from a different one, they are counted by their father’s Shevet.

Moshe did just what Hashem told him to!



135 - 139

In today’s Tehillim we have Kapitel Kuf-Lamed-Vov (136), which has 26 pesukim. That’s the same number of generations from Adam Harishon until Matan Torah! The 4-letter name of Hashem (Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay) has a Gematriya of 26, too!

We say this kapitel before Baruch She’amar on Shabbos and Yom Tov. If you look in the Siddur, it has the letters of Hashem’s name in the right place — after the first 10 pesukim there is the letter Yud, after the next 5 pesukim the letter Hey, then 6 pesukim later Vov, and after the last 5 pesukim there is another Hey.

Each of the pesukim end with the words “Ki Le’olam Chasdo” — Hashem does all of the things it says in the pesukim “because Hashem’s kindness is forever.”

The fourth posuk is “Le’oseh Niflaos Gedolos Levado” — Hashem does nissim Himself. What is this posuk telling us? Of course Hashem doesn’t need any help! The Chachomim tell us that these are nissim that we don’t even KNOW about — Hashem does nissim that only HE knows about, and is always watching over and protecting us!

(We also say this posuk before Hakafos on Simchas Torah!)



Likutei Amarim Perek Nun-Beis

Yesterday we learned that the Chayus which Hashem gives to the world comes through the Shechinah.

We learned before many of the names of the Shechinah, and today the Alter Rebbe tells us one more: “Dvar Hashem” or “Ruach Piv” — meaning the words of Hashem.

When someone says something, they show somebody something that they were thinking, that was hidden inside them. When they say it, the other person sees what they were thinking!

The Shechinah is the way Hashem makes the world, which lets us see Hashem!

Like we said yesterday, the Shechinah by itself is too strong for the world, so it has to be covered over by the Chochmah of Hashem, Torah. Since the Torah has a lot to do with Gashmius, things we can hear and see and feel and touch, we can handle it!

Now the Alter Rebbe tells us that there are a lot of steps before the Chochmah of Hashem, the Torah, can connect to Gashmius. Today we learn about the first “stop,” Beriyah. Many malachim and neshamos are created there, and the part of the Torah that is the reasons for the mitzvos, called “Talmud”, also come from there.



Chof-Ches Iyar

Today is forty-three days of the Omer!

After the Mitteler Rebbe passed away, the Tzemach Tzedek didn’t want to become Rebbe. For a year and a half, the Tzemach Tzedek said maamorim and had Yechidus with Chassidim. He said that he was doing it only to help people, and not as a Rebbe.

Because of the story in today’s Hayom Yom, the Tzemach Tzedek agreed to become Rebbe:

During the Shloshim (the first 30 days) after the Alter Rebbe passed away, the Alter Rebbe came to the Tzemach Tzedek, like in a dream. The Alter Rebbe told him a maamar that started with the words “Al Shloshah Devarim” (from the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos).

Then the Alter Rebbe told him what the Chachomim say about the posukIsha Ki Sazria,” that a father has a special connection with his daughter, and a mother has a special connection with her son.

The Alter Rebbe said: A father has a special connection with his daughter — that’s your mother (Rebbetzin Devorah Leah). A mother has a special connection with her son — that’s you (the Tzemach Tzedek).

This dream happened right after the histalkus of the Alter Rebbe, but for many years, the Tzemach Tzedek did not know the reason for the dream. Only after the histalkus of the Mitteler Rebbe did the purpose of this dream become clear.

A year and a half after the histalkus of the Mitteler Rebbe, on Erev Shavuos, a group of chassidim came to the Tzemach Tzedek to ask him to become Rebbe. One of them, a Chossid by the name of Reb Peretz Chernigover, asked if he could share a proof that the Tzemach Tzedek should take the Nesius. After he was given permission to speak, Reb Peretz said that the Tzemach Tzedek has a very strong connection to the Alter Rebbe: His mother was the Alter Rebbe’s daughter, and like the Chachomim say, there is a special connection between a father and his daughter, and a mother to her son.

This reminded the Tzemach Tzedek of his dream.

Then the Tzemach Tzedek again saw the Alter Rebbe, who told him that he should take the Nesius, and he should say over the maamar “Al Shlosha Devarim.” And that’s how the Tzemach Tzedek agreed to take the Nesius and become the Rebbe!



Mitzvas Asei #98

Today’s mitzvah is the same one again (Mitzvas Asei #98) that foods can become tomei. We need to follow all of the halachos about how these foods and drinks become tomei, and how to act when they do.



Hilchos Tumas Ochlin - Keilim

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning about Tumah of food and drinks:

Perek Tes-Zayin tells us which food is Bechezkas Muchsharim, that we say it probably got wet so it can become tomei.

Then the Rambam tells us that most of the time, it’s fine to make food tomei and eat tomei food! It is only a problem with holy foods, like Korbanos, Terumah, and Maaser Sheini, since we can’t eat those when we are tomei. But some Yidden, called Perushim, would be very careful to ONLY be tahor and eat tahor foods all the time.

Now we start learning a new set of halachos, about how keilim can become Tomei.

In Perek Alef we learn what kinds of containers can become tomei — ones made of sackcloth, leather, bone, metal, wood, or clay; and clothes also. For keilim made of clay, it has to be a “Klei Kibul” — to have a space inside to hold something (even just one drop). But if it is made of metal, ANY keili can become tomei!

Perek Beis teaches us the dinim of a Klei Kibul.



Hilchos Ishus - Perek Chof-Gimmel

Today the Rambam teaches the halachos about deals the husband and wife can make about money before they get married.



Sefiras Haomer

This week, we are working on the last Sefira, the sefira of Malchus.

Chassidus tells us that Malchus is DOING. All of the other sefiros are things that we feel or know, and this sefira is actually DOING them. Malchus gets us to say or do things because of the things we know and the feelings that we have.

The Chachomim teach us in Pirkei Avos that Hamaaseh Hu Ha’ikar, the main thing is DOING.

Sometimes when we learn and daven or go to a farbrengen, we get excited about becoming better! It is very good to have that feeling, but the main thing is to DO things because of our excitement. One inyan in the sefira of Malchus is the koach of the neshama that makes sure that what we are thinking and feeling actually changes the things we say or do!


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Asei Lemaan Shemecha

At the end of Shemoneh Esrei, we add the personal tefillah of one of the Amoraim, the paragraph of Elokai Netzor.

At the end of this paragraph, we say: “Asei Lemaan Shemecha, Asei Lemaan Yeminecha, Asei Lemaan Torasecha, Asei Lemaan Kedushasecha!” “Do it for the sake of Your name, do it for the sake of Your right hand, do it for the sake of Your Torah, do it for the sake of Your kedusha!” We ask Hashem not to answer our tefillos for OUR sake, but for Hashem’s sake!

The Gemara tells us that a person who says these words every day will have the zechus of greeting the Shechinah.

This is also an appropriate place to daven for any specific things we didn’t already ask for in other parts of Shemoneh Esrei.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Kuf-Chof-Beis, se’if beis and Kuf-Yud-Tes, se’if alef



The Yesod of Shulchan Aruch

One of the hardest parts of keeping all of the halachos of Torah is being different from other people.

The Medrashim say that starting from the very moment of Matan Torah, the Goyim were already laughing at the Yidden for keeping all of the mitzvos. The same is true today, that people laugh at us or criticize us for following what Hashem asks us to do.

That is why the beginning of the whole Shulchan Aruch is what Yehudah ben Teima says: “Be bold like a leopard!” That means not to be embarrassed by what other people think. By keeping the mitzvos, we WILL look different than others. They might laugh at us, and say that we are doing something wrong. If we let that stop us from doing even just a few mitzvos, it will eventually be hard to do ANY mitzvos.

At the time of Matan Torah, the Yidden stayed strong in their Emunah in Hashem. They realized that since Hashem runs the world, He knows what is best. We need to behave the way Hashem tells us to!

The same is true today. Even if other people think we are strange for following the halachos of Torah, we should be bold like a leopard and not worry about what they think.

That’s why this is the beginning of the Shulchan Aruch, because it is the yesod that makes keeping the whole Shulchan Aruch possible.

See Igros Kodesh vol. 18, p. 49

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



Ve'Atem Teluktu Le'achad Echad

The Navi Yeshaya said many nevuos about the Geulah. He is sometimes called, “HaNavi HaGeulah!”

Here is one nevuah about Kibbutz Galuyos, how the Yidden will all be gathered to Yerushalayim when Moshiach comes.

וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יַחְבֹּט ה׳ מִשִּׁבֹּלֶת הַנָּהָר עַד נַחַל מִצְרָיִם וְאַתֶּם תְּלֻקְּטוּ לְאַחַד אֶחָד בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

Vehaya Bayom Hahu — This will happen on that day:

Yachbot Hashem — Hashem will separate the Yidden from the goyim, the way we beat a stalk of wheat to separate the wheat kernels from the stalk

Mishiboles Hanahar Ad Nachal Mitzrayim — From those lost in Ashur to those lost in Mitzrayim.

Ve’atem Teluktu Le’achad Echad Bnei Yisrael— And you, the Bnei Yisrael, will be gathered one by one!

See Yeshaya perek Chof-Zayin posuk Yud-Beis

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