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Parshas Matos-Masei - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn about the Arei Miklat, and the end of the story of the Bnos Tzelofchad. This is the last section of the whole Chumash Bamidbar!

Ir Miklat: We said in Friday’s Chumash that Moshe needs to set aside 6 cities for an Ir Miklat. Now we learn the mitzvah about how they are used.

When the Yidden live in Eretz Yisroel, if someone chas veshalom kills another person by mistake, because he wasn’t careful, he needs to run into an Ir Miklat. If he doesn’t run away to the Ir Miklat, someone from the family of the person he killed could kill him. (That person is called the Go’el HaDam.)

There need to be six of these cities — 3 on each side of the Yarden.

The Ir Miklat only helps a person if he killed by mistake, not on purpose! The Torah explains how the Beis Din decides if someone did it by mistake or not.

Once a person runs to the Ir Miklat, he is safe — the Goel HaDam is not allowed to kill him, unless he leaves the Ir Miklat. The person needs to stay in the Ir Miklat until the Kohen Gadol passes away.

Nobody is allowed to pay money instead of going to the Ir Miklat. Following this mitzvah will make sure that Hashem will be able to be with the Yidden!

Marrying among Shevatim: One of the families of Menasheh (Tzelofchad’s shevet) came to Moshe and asked, “If Tzelofchad’s daughters marry someone from a different shevet, then that part of Eretz Yisroel won’t be part of Shevet Menashe’s chelek anymore — it will belong to their sons from a different shevet! Is that fair?”

Moshe told them that Tzelofchad’s daughters, and anyone else from this first generation in Eretz Yisroel, are only allowed to marry someone in their own Shevet.

So Machlah, Tirtzah, Choglah, Milkah, and No’a all got married to men from Shevet Menasheh!

These are the mitzvos that Moshe taught the Yidden when they were near the Yarden, opposite from Yericho.

Chazak Chazak Venis’chazek!

Mazel Tov! We have now finished Sefer Bamidbar, the fourth book of the Torah!



10 - 17

Today’s kapitelach are Yud until Yud-Zayin.

In one of today's Kapitelach, there is a very interesting posuk: “Hashem Tzadik Yivchan.” Hashem tests a tzadik.

This means that Hashem only tests a person if he's like a tzadik — if he has the kochos to do the right thing and pass the test!

So why does Hashem test us if He already KNOWS we can pass?

Hashem knows we have kochos hiding inside of us, but it’s not enough to just HAVE kochos, we have to USE them for Hashem! By testing us, we need to use those kochos to pass the test, and then we’re using all of our kochos for Hashem!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Yud

Teshuvah means that a Yid returns to Hashem with his whole heart. He decides that he is ready to act ONLY the way Hashem wants.

We learned about the two steps in Teshuvah — getting rid of the aveiros by having Rachmonus on our neshama, and thinking about how aveiros make Yidden be in Golus. Then we do Teshuvah Ila’ah — once the aveiros are gone, we daven and learn and do mitzvos with a NEW chayus, more than before! We live with a whole new chayus!

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us how we can make these kinds of Teshuvah part of our day.

It used to be the Minhag to say Tikun Chatzos late at night, special tefilos about the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash. (Nowadays we don’t do it.) That is the perfect time to do Teshuvah Tata’ah — thinking about the Churban that our aveiros make, and having rachmonus on our Neshama.

Then the next morning when we daven is the perfect time to act with the chayus of Teshuvah Ila’ah: Daven with special chayus and simcha, and then learn and do mitzvos with chayus, and with the kavana that we want to be connected and close to Hashem.

If someone can’t do Teshuvah Tata’ah every day, then at least once a week he should, before Shabbos. Then he will have the chayus of Teshuvah Ila’ah for Shabbos! The word Shabbos has the main letters of TeshuvahTof, shin, and beis — and it is a time that is very special for Teshuvah Ila’ah!

(Nowadays we can make a Cheshbon Hanefesh in Krias Shema She’al Hamita, and especially before Shabbos. But like we said before, the Rebbe told us that nothing should stop us from jumping straight to living with the chayus of Teshuvah Ila’ah — Lechatchila Ariber!)



Beis Menachem Av

Today we learn about our minhag of putting on tefillin to get ready for the Bar Mitzvah.

Our minhag is that a Bar Mitzvah boy practices putting on Tefillin for two months BEFORE his Bar Mitzvah. At first he just gets used to putting them on right, then in a few weeks when he is comfortable putting them on, he starts to say a bracha.



Shiur #337 - Mitzvas Asei #187, Lo Saasei #49, Asei #188, #189, Lo Saasei #59

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 5 mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #187) We have to kill the 7 nations that lived in Eretz Yisroel, because they are the main source of Avodah Zarah. We don’t have to kill them if they agree to leave or keep Sheva Mitzvos.

Hashem gave us this mitzvah so we don’t learn from them to serve Avodah Zarah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: כִּי הַחֲרֵם תַּחֲרִימֵם

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #49) We can’t leave any of those 7 nations alive. (This is the Lo Saasei of the mitzvah before.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא תְחַיֶּה כָּל נְשָׁמָה

3) (Mitzvas Asei #188) We need to wipe out Amalek.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: תִּמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר (זֶכֶר) עֲמָלֵק

The halachos are explained in Mesechta Sotah perek Ches.

4) (Mitzvas Asei #189) We need to remember what Amalek did to the Yidden. This way we won’t stop hating Amalek very much over time. By speaking about the terrible things that Amalek did to the Yidden, we will always hate them very much. (We do this mitzvah every day by saying what Amalek did to us, in the Sheish Zechiros at the end of davening.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: זָכוֹר אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #59) We can’t forget Amalek. (This is the Lo Saasei of the mitzvah before. The Asei is to speak about Amalek, and the Lo Saasei is not to forget in our hearts.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תִּשְׁכָּח



Hilchos Melachim

In Perek Daled, we learn about what rights a Jewish king has. He is allowed to make taxes, hire whoever he wants to work for him, and choose officers. In halacha Yud, the Rambam reminds us that the king has to make these decisions Lesheim Shomayim, to do the job Hashem wants him to do!

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!

Perek Vov teaches us about how to fight wars for the Jewish people. Before we fight, we always have to first ask the people if they want to make shalom and keep the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach. If we surround their cities, we should leave a way out so they can escape, and that way we can take over the city without fighting them.

Even in a time of war, we shouldn’t ruin things for no reason (Bal Tashchis). A war for the Yidden is a holy thing — we fight even on Shabbos!



Hilchos Tumas Ochalin - Perek Zayin

The Rambam teaches us that when foods are joined together by a liquid, then all of it can become tomei at once. We also learn about a Tvul Yom — someone who went to the Mikvah during the day but needs to wait until night to become tahor.



Weakening the Golus

In Musaf of the Yom Tov davening, we say “Mipnei Chato’einu Golinu Me’artzeinu” — we went into Golus because of our aveiros. This shows us that there is something that makes the Golus happen. This is called a siba, a cause. Our aveiros are the siba that brings the Golus.

Hashem made the world in a way that one thing can make another thing happen, called Siba Umesuvav (cause and effect). If we take away the siba, the mesuvav goes away too!

How does that work?

Well, imagine that you are standing near the wall, when someone accidentally steps on your toe. Ouch! That hurts! Their standing on you is the siba, and your toe hurting is the mesuvav. If they take away the siba, by moving their foot off of your toe, the mesuvav will also go away — your toe will stop hurting.

And even if they just take their foot off a little bit, your toe won’t hurt as much!

The Torah teaches us that the Golus is just a mesuvav, it only is there because something is making it happen. If we take away the siba that is making the Golus happen, the Golus will go away!

So especially now, during the Nine Days, when we think about the Golus and the Churban, we should work very hard on taking away the siba for the Golus!

What is the siba for the Golus? Our aveiros, especially Sinas Chinam, hating other people for no reason.

When we take away this siba as much as we can, by doing extra mitzvos and having Ahavas Yisroel, that takes away at least part of the Golus! We might not see it clearly right away, but the Golus starts to get weaker, until we finally have the Geulah Sheleimah!

See Igros Kodesh chelek Chof-Gimmel, Three Weeks


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Birchas Kohanim and Eilu Devarim

After we say the Birchos HaTorah, thanking Hashem for this special gift, we actually SAY words of Torah!

First we say a part of Torah Shebichsav, and then a piece of Torah Shebaal Peh. From Torah Shebichsav we say Birchas Kohanim, which comes from Parshas Naso, and for Torah Shebaal Peh we say the Mishnah of Eilu Devarim which comes from Mesechta Pe’ah.

One of the reasons why Birchas Kohanim was chosen is because it is a good preparation for davening. In Shemoneh Esrei, the main part of tefillah, we are going to ask Hashem for many brachos. Birchas Kohanim is a general bracha which includes all of these brachos that we are about to ask for.

The Mishnah of Eilu Devarim seems to have been chosen because it mentions many mitzvos that we do on a regular basis. It includes mitzvos that are Bein Adam Lamakom (mitzvos we do directly with Hashem) and mitzvos Bein Adam Lachaveiro (mitzvos that help other people), and we see the brachos from these mitzvos even in Olam Hazeh!

This is the end of Birchos Hashachar. We have thanked Hashem for the wonderful things He gives us every day, and prepared for the connection our neshama will make with Hashem during davening.

See also Likutei Sichos 39, p. 376



Shabbos During the Three Weeks

During the Three Weeks between Shiva Asar B’Tamuz and Tisha B’av, we do certain things to show that we are mourning for the Beis Hamikdash.

On Shabbos, though, it’s a mitzvah to be happy and enjoy Shabbos. The halacha is that on Shabbos, we are not allowed to show any signs of mourning at all!

A Yid once came to the Rebbe’s father, who was the Rav of Yekatrinoslav. He told the Rav that he was an avel, mourning for someone who passed away. Usually he would wear slippers on Shabbos, because they are more comfortable. But slippers are also a sign of mourning, and he wanted to know if he was allowed to wear them this Shabbos. R’ Levi Yitzchak told him not to, so that nobody should even be able to think that signs of mourning are allowed on Shabbos!

So during the Shabbosim of the Three Weeks, we are very careful to enjoy Shabbos, and not to do anything less than usual to show that we are sad about the Churban.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Daled p. 1091

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



Why Moshiach is Called Dovid Hamelech

Yechezkel Hanavi said a nevuah that all of Bnei Yisrael will become reunited under one king again! For many generations, since after Shlomo Hamelech was king, the Yidden were split up into two separate kingdoms. But when Moshiach comes, we will all again be ruled by just one Jewish king.

The posuk (as we learned yesterday) says, “Ve’avdi Dovid Melech Aleihem,” that Dovid Hamelech will rule over them. This is talking about Moshiach, who will be king over ALL of the Yidden.

Why is Moshiach called Dovid?

The Frierdiker Rebbe explains in a maamar that the name Dovid is a name of bittul. We see this in Tehillim, where Dovid Hamelech, even though he was the king, calls himself a poor man (oni v’evyon)!

Moshiach will also have this inyan of Dovid, of being humble. Moshiach will teach the greatest leaders of the Yidden, like the Avos and Moshe Rabbeinu! At the same time, he will teach the simplest Yidden Torah too.

The Rebbe explains in a maamar that in order to have the special inyan of Moshiach’s bittul, we need to do something differently now!

We can do this by spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus in a humble way. Even though when we teach other people, Hashem makes us smarter, that shouldn’t be the reason why we teach. We shouldn’t be thinking about what WE will get from spreading Yiddishkeit, we should think about how it will help the person we are teaching! Being humble in that way will make us deserve to have Moshiach, with his tremendous bittul.

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