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לעילוי נשמת ר׳ יוסף בנימין בן ר׳ מנשה קאלטמאנן
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Parshas Vezos Habracha - Sheini with Rashi

Moshe is giving brachos to the Shevatim on the day he will pass away. In today’s Chumash are the brachos for Shevet Levi and Shevet Benyamin:

Levi: Before actually giving the bracha, Moshe Rabbeinu speaks about the Shevet and says why they deserve their bracha! Because Shevet Levi did not take part in the Cheit Ha’eigel or complain in the Midbar, they deserve to teach the Yidden Torah, and bring Ketores and Korbanos in the Beis Hamikdash.

He also gives them a bracha for the future, that if anyone wants to make machlokes against the Kohanim, Hashem should help the Kohanim win.

And when the Kohanim will need to fight for Yiddishkeit, Hashem should help them! (This happened in the story of Chanukah — the family of Matisyahu Kohen Gadol won over the Greeks who wanted to stop the Yidden from doing mitzvos.)

Since the bracha to Shevet Levi spoke about the Beis Hamikdash, now Moshe Rabbeinu gives the brachos to Benyamin who had the Beis Hamikdash in his part of Eretz Yisroel, and in tomorrow’s Chumash to Yosef, who had the Mishkan in his part of Eretz Yisrael.

(Even though Yosef should really be next, because he is older, Moshe Rabbeinu gives the bracha to Benyamin first since the Beis Hamikdash — which is more special than the Mishkan — is in HIS part of Eretz Yisroel.)

Benyamin: The bracha for Benyamin is that the Shechinah will rest in the Beis Hamikdash, which will be in his part of Eretz Yisroel! Once the Beis Hamikdash is built, the Shechinah will never leave there. This will be a special protection for Shevet Benyamin.



104 - 105

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Daled and Kuf-Hey.

Kapitel Kuf-Hey talks about the things that happened until the Yidden went into Eretz Yisroel. It tells how Hashem promised the land to Avraham, how the Yidden had to go down to Mitzrayim because there was no food, how Hashem took out the Yidden from Mitzrayim, and the nissim that happened until they came to Eretz Yisroel. It is very interesting to see how the whole history is recorded in this one kapitel!

The end of the kapitel is “Vayitein Lohem Artzos Goyim,” “Hashem gave the Yidden the land of the nations,” that Hashem took Eretz Yisroel away from the Goyim and gave it to the Yidden — because that’s who Hashem planned for it to belong to, from the beginning!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Gimmel

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe is telling chassidim how important it is not to waste time in Shul, like between davening Mincha and Maariv, by talking about shtus — they should use that time to learn Torah! The Alter Rebbe tells us what happens when ten Yidden come together like for a minyan, and when we understand that, we will never even WANT to waste our time there!

The Gemara says that when one Yid sits and learns Torah, Hashem gives him a REWARD. When TEN Yidden come together, Hashem RESTS there.

What is the difference?

The reward is that Hashem gives the Yid a chance to UNDERSTAND Hashem’s Torah and to FEEL how Hashem is there with him when he is learning. This also is the way a Yid feels sometimes when he davens.

But Hashem RESTING somewhere means something completely different! Hashem is there in a way that is so strong that a Yid can’t feel it in this world. Only in Gan Eden Hashem gives a neshama the koach to feel it as a special PRESENT, but in this world it is impossible to feel it — it is just there, and it helps us in our Avodas Hashem in a hidden way.

Even malachim can’t handle the strong chayus of Hashem that is there when Yidden gather together. The Alter Rebbe says in the names of his teachers, the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid, that if a Malach would come to a place where there is a minyan of Yidden, even if they aren’t davening or learning, he would become completely burned up and wouldn’t be able to exist, because of the amazing chayus of Hashem.

This shows us how special it is when ten Yidden are together!



Chof-Alef Tishrei

Our Minhagim for Hoshaana Rabbah:

On Hoshaana Rabbah, we say the whole Chumash Devarim. We aren’t Maavir Sedra (saying the parsha two times, once with Targum Onkelos) for Parshas Vezos Habracha until Erev Simchas Torah. (The Rebbe Rashab told some people to say Parshas Vezos Habracha with Rashi on Hoshaana Rabbah, but this wasn’t for everyone to do.)

Before Hallel on Hoshaana Rabbah, we take off the top two rings from the Lulav, but we leave the 3 rings on the bottom that attach it to the Hadassim and Aravos. We dip our Challah into honey, but we don’t anymore on Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah.



Shiur #106 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #62

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #62) that it is asur to make a Shvuas Shav (like we learned about in yesterday’s Rambam) — a promise in Hashem’s name for no reason. Here are some examples of a Shevuas Shav:

- To make a promise that EVERYONE knows isn’t true — like promising during the day that it is really night

- To make a promise that something impossible happened (like “I didn’t sleep for a whole week”)

- A promise to do an aveira

- A promise that EVERYONE already knows is true (“the sky is the sky”)

We learn this mitzvah from one of the Aseres Hadibros, in Parshas Yisro: לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת שֵׁם ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ לַשָּׁוְא

The halachos are explained in Mesechta Shevuos.



Hilchos Shevuos

Perek Daled: This perek talks about the kind of expressions a person uses to make a shevuah, and what the halacha is in each case.

Perek Hey: We learn some details about two of the kinds of shevuos we are learning about in Sefer Hamitzvos, Shevuas Bitui and Shevuas Shav.

Perek Vov: The Rambam teaches us what happens if a person changes his mind and wants to take away the shevuah. This is called Heter Shevuos.



Hilchos Beis Habechirah - Perek Hey

The Rambam teaches us about the Har Habayis, the Ezras Noshim, and the Ezras Yisroel.




For Hakafos on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, it is our minhag that everyone comes to Shul — even the little babies, like we do for Aseres Hadibros!

Once at a Farbrengen before Hakafos, the Rebbe spoke about how everyone needs to come to Hakafos, even very little boys and girls. Then the Rebbe looked at a little girl who was there, and said, “Including a little girl, who can show the older men an example of how to sing and dance with a chayus — as long as she isn’t 3 years old yet, when she has to be careful with Tznius, and not to sing in front of men.” 

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Hoshaana Rabbah

One of the things we ask from Hashem in the second half of Hoshaanos for today, is V’Otzarcha Hatov Lanu Tiftach — “Open Your good treasure for us.”

The Rebbeim explained that we should read this a little bit differently: Otzarcha, Hatov LANU, Tiftach. We ask Hashem that His treasure, that WE can see is good, is what He should open. Of course, EVERYTHING that Hashem does is good, but we ask that it should be the kind of good that we all can easily see is good!



Hoshaana Rabbah

There are many things we need to know about Hoshaana Rabbah, Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. Here are links to some Halacha newsletters with all of the details: Halacha Day by Day newsletter by the Badatz of Crown Heights and Halacha Newsletter by Rabbi Lesches of Melbourne, Australia

Some important things to remember for today:

- It is a minhag that everyone, including women and children, klap Hoshaanos, and it is best for everyone to have their own.

- We eat a Seudas Yom Tov, where we dip challah in honey and eat kreplach.

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



Ata Horeisa

Before Hakafos on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, we say 17 pesukim, starting with the posukAta Horeisa.” These pesukim tell us why we should be so happy on Simchas Torah! In farbrengens before hakafos the Rebbe would explain these pesukim.

In Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis, the Rebbe explained the pesukim, and said that the last posuk shows us how ALL of the pesukim are really talking about Moshiach!

The last posuk is “Ki Mitzion Teitzei Sorah.” This is a posuk from the Navi Yeshaya, which says that when Moshiach comes, the goyim will all follow the Yidden to Yerushalayim, since the Torah comes out from there!

The Rebbe tells us that here, the posuk is telling us something else too. The word “Ki” (because) can also mean “when.” This posuk tells us that all of the things we learn in the first 16 pesukim will happen completely WHEN “Mitzion Teitzei Sorah” — when Moshiach comes!

See sicha Leil Simchas Torah 5752, Sefer Hasichos Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis p. 37 ff.

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