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Rishon with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu now tells the Yidden that they have a choice — do they want brachos from Hashem, or chas veshalom the opposite?

He tells them that they should say brachos for those who keep the Torah facing Har Grizim, and the opposite facing Har Eival when they come into Eretz Yisroel (we’ll IY”H learn more about this in Parshas Ki Savo).

He tells the Yidden to make sure to break ALL of the idols in Eretz Yisroel. Even though there are mizbechos which are made for Avodah Zara are all over, Hashem will make just ONE special place to bring korbanos — the Beis Hamikdash!



113 - 118

The kapitelach in today’s Tehillim (kapitelach Kuf-Yud-Gimmel to Kuf-Yud-Ches) are the ones we say in Hallel!

In Shema, we learn that we should love Hashem “Bechol Me’odecha,” with all of our strength. Rashi explains that this also means, “with every midah of Hashem” — whether Hashem acts with us in a midah of chesed, kindness, or a midah of gevurah, being strict.

Rashi also gives us an example: In kapitel Kuf-Tes-Zayin, Dovid Hamelech shows us how to do this!

First, Dovid Hamelech says, “Tzara Veyagon Emtza, Uvesheim Hashem Ekra.” “I found many troubles, and I call out in the name of Hashem.” Then, at the end of the kapitel, Dovid Hamelech says, “Kos Yeshuos Esa, Uvesheim Hashem Ekra.” “I praise Hashem for being saved, and I call out in the name of Hashem.”

Both pesukim end with the same words — “Uvesheim Hashem Ekra.” Whether Dovid Hamelech was in a time of trouble or was saved by Hashem, he loved Hashem the same way and called out in the name of Hashem!

This is one way we can serve Hashem “Bechol Me’odecha,” by loving Hashem the same way all the time!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Zayin

“Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu, Umah No’im Goraleinu!” We are so happy with our Chelek, and how sweet is our Goral! This is part of the nusach of davening, and the Alter Rebbe explains what it means:

The Alter Rebbe explained that our “Chelek” (part) means our neshama which is a Chelek of Hashem, and the mitzvos which are a “chelek” of the entire Torah and mitzvos, which has 613 main parts. We said that during the time of Davening, we can feel the Elokus in the chelek of our neshama and the chelek of Torah and mitzvos that connects us to Hashem!

Now we will learn about the meaning of U’mah Na’im Goraleinu, that our lot is sweet.

For each neshama, and in each different time, there can be a mitzvah that is EXTRA important! We need to have more chayus in it, be more careful with it, and make sure to do it right away — not letting anything stop us! Our neshama shines with this mitzvah!

Why that mitzvah and not a different one? We don’t know! It’s like a Goral, a lottery from Hashem — He chooses a mitzvah and we don’t have a reason why.

We don’t know why Hashem chose, for example, that in the times of the Gemara the main mitzvah was learning Gemara, and why now, in the times close to Moshiach, the main mitzvah is tzedakah and helping other Yidden. We don’t know why one person’s special mitzvah is Tefillin, and another person has a different mitzvah that his neshama shines through.

This is the meaning of “Umah No’im Goraleinu” — how sweet is our lot, to have these specific mitzvos that make our neshama shine in everything we do!



Chof-Daled Menachem Av

Today’s Hayom Yom is one of the many Hayom Yoms which teach us about Ahavas Yisroel!

When the Yiddishe world first heard about Chassidus, a lot of frum Yidden had many questions about it. Some of them were sure that Chassidus was not a good thing for Yiddishkeit, and fought against it!

Many people didn’t understand the reasons why to be worried about Chassidus, but they fought too, just to make trouble. Of course, that hurt the Chassidim most of all — people were doing mean things for no reason at all!

The Chassidim complained to the Alter Rebbe about these people who didn’t understand what was going on, but were STILL just being mean!

The Alter Rebbe said that “Zaide” (the Baal Shem Tov) LOVED proste Yidden, the rough, uncivilized people who never learned how to behave as proper Jews.

The Alter Rebbe said that in the first days of coming to Mezritch, the Maggid said that the Baal Shem Tov would always say that loving a Yid is loving Hashem.

All Yidden are like Hashem’s children, and when we love the father (Hashem), we love all of His children too (the Yidden)!

Sometimes little kids make trouble just because other people are making trouble. But for sure the father loves ALL of the children. And just like Hashem still loves every Yid, we should too!



Mitzvas Asei #176, Lo Saasei #284, Asei #175

We have started to learn the last Sefer in Rambam! There are 3 mitzvos today, related to the halachos of courts:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #176) This mitzvah is that we need to set up a system that makes sure that Yidden follow the Torah. We need to have Shoftim (judges) and Shotrim (officers to make sure people listen).

In a big city, there should be a “small Sanhedrin,” with 23 judges by the gates of the city. In Yerushalayim, there should be the full Sanhedrin of 70 judges, with a Nasi over them. In a city that is too small for a small Sanhedrin, there should at least be a Beis Din of 3 judges to pasken on smaller questions, and send people to a bigger court if needed.

There should also be Shotrim to go around to the marketplace and make sure people are doing business according to Torah.

A judge can only get semicha in Eretz Yisroel, but he can pasken outside of Eretz Yisroel too. Still, a question about if someone is chayav misa can only be paskened when the Beis Hamikdash is standing.

We learn all of this from the posuk in Parshas Shoftim, שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן לְךָ בְּכָל שְׁעָרֶיךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #284) This is an aveira for the person in charge of making someone a judge:

A person is fit to be a judge if he is an expert in Torah and its halachos, and acts according to them. It is asur to choose a person to be a judge for any other reasons.

For example, we can’t choose someone as a judge because he is good looking, or because he is strong. We can’t choose someone as a judge because he knows many languages, because he is related to us, or because he did us a favor. Only a judge who is an expert in the chochmah of Torah and follows the mitzvos properly will be able to judge right!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Devarim: לֹא תַכִּירוּ פָנִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט

3) (Mitzvas Asei #175) This is a mitzvah about judges, but also a mitzvah about deciding halacha in general.

When Chachomim don’t agree about a halacha, we decide what to do based on what most of the Chachomim say.

When judges disagree, we pasken based on what MOST of the judges think.

This is clear from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים לְהַטֹּת

We can find the details of this mitzvah in many places in Mesechta Sanhedrin.



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In today's Rambam, we learn the first three perakim of Hilchos Sanhedrin.

In Perek Alef, the Rambam teaches about the BIG Sanhedrin with 71 judges, the SMALL Sanhedrin (which should be in most cities) with 23 judges, and in a small city there should be 3 judges. There are halachos about how the Sanhedrin should sit, and about who writes down what happens. When Moshiach comes, we will have a big Sanhedrin again, in the Beis Hamikdash!

In Perek Beis, we learn about who is allowed to be a judge. For a regular judge, there are seven qualifications which are written in the Torah. They are: Chochmah to know the halachos of the Torah well, Yiras Shomayim, to be humble, to hate money, love truth, people should like him, and he should have a good name. The Rambam explains what all of these are, and how we see them in the pesukim when Moshe Rabbeinu chose judges for the Yidden.

The judges in the big Sanhedrin need to have all of these things and many more!

Perek Gimmel talks about when the Sanhedrin should get together to judge. A small Sanhedrin or a Beis Din should start after Shacharis, and stop at chatzos. A big Sanhedrin starts in the morning and ends at Mincha time. A Sanhedrin is not supposed to start judging a case at night.

One halacha is that the big Sanhedrin with 71 judges didn’t always need all of the judges there at the same time, but there have to be at least 23 there always. So if a judge from the big Sanhedrin has to leave, he needs to make sure there will be at least 23 left — otherwise he has to stay!



Hilchos Shevuos - Perek Alef

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the four different kinds of promises (Shevuos) that a person might make and get punished for. Here are two of them:

1) Shvuas Bitui — A Shvuas Bitui is a false promise. One way a person makes a Shvuas Bitui is by promising not to do something he already did. Another way is if he promises not to do something, and then does it; or if he promises that he WILL do something and then he doesn’t.

2) Shvuas Shav — A Shvuas Shav is a meaningless promise. One type of Shvuas Shav is if someone makes a promise about something that everyone knows is not true (like if he promises that a tree is made of gold). Another kind of Shvuas Shav is a promise that everyone knows is true (like a promise that the sky is the sky).

It is also a Shvuas Shav to make a promise we can’t keep. For example, a promise not to do a mitzvah (we can’t make a promise like that!); or a promise that it’s impossible to keep (like saying we won’t sleep for 3 days).




We learned in Tanya that each time (and each neshama) has a certain mitzvah that is extra-special and extra important! So what mitzvah is it nowadays?

After the Rebbe became Rebbe, someone asked the Rebbe what the Avodah is for our generation.

The Rebbe said that now that we have the Torah from all of the generations before us, and the Rebbeim taught us so much Chassidus, it is our mission to teach it to other people, so that EVERYONE should know it! It is our shlichus to spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidus to ourselves and to everyone around us — Hafotzas Hayahadus Vehamaayanos Chutza!

At the Kinus Hashluchim in 5752, the last Shluchim convention where we were zoche to hear a sicha from the Rebbe, the Rebbe told us something more: Now is the time to make the last preparations for the Geulah which is coming very soon. We need to learn and teach about the Geulah and Moshiach, so we’ll all be ready!


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Ribon Haolamim

Once we have finished the Seder HaKorbanos, the order of the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash, we say a special tefillah to Hashem.

We say, “Hashem, You told us to bring the Korban Tomid and the Ketores! But now, because of our aveiros, we have no Beis Hamikdash, and we can’t bring them. So please, count the words we say as if we had brought the real korbanos, like the posuk says, ‘Uneshalma Parim Sefaseinu.’”

Because this paragraph is Tachanun, asking Hashem to forgive our aveiros, we only say it on days when we say Tachanun.

(For those that wear a Tallis or Tefillin, here is the place where they put them on.)



Birchos Hanehenin

We learned in last week’s parsha (Parshas Eikev) that it’s a mitzvah to bentch after we eat and are satisfied, as the posuk says, “Ve’achalta Vesavata Uveirachta Es Hashem.”

The Chachomim added that not only should we make a bracha AFTER we eat, we should make a bracha before, too! They said that before enjoying even a tiny drop of Hashem’s food or drink, we need to make a bracha. (For example, even if we’re eating just one chocolate chip, or just a small piece of a cookie.)

The Gemara says that anyone who enjoys something without making a bracha first is like taking from the parts of korbanos that belong to Hashem and are supposed to be burned on the Mizbeiach! The whole world belongs to Hashem, and we need to get permission before we enjoy it. By saying a bracha, we are getting permission from Hashem to enjoy the food or drink!

Seder Birchas Hanehenin, Perek Alef, Halacha Alef

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



Wake Up Yidden!

We will learn one more nevuah from Hoshea about the Geulah.

The Navi Hoshea says that when Moshiach comes, Hashem will “roar like a lion” and wake up the Yidden to come back to Eretz Yisroel!

אַחֲרֵי ה׳ יֵלְכוּ כְּאַרְיֵה יִשְׁאָג כִּי הוּא יִשְׁאַג וְיֶחֶרְדוּ בָנִים מִיָּם

Acharei Hashem Yeilchu — In the times of the Geulah, the Yidden will all follow Hashem

Ke’aryeh Yish’ag — The way all of the animals of the forest come when the lion (king of the animals) roars

Ki Hu Yish’ag — Because Hashem will “roar” and wake up the hearts of Yidden

Veyecherdu Vanim Miyam — And the Yidden — Hashem’s children — will hurry from the places of their Golus, to the Geulah!

See Hoshea perek Yud-Alef posuk Yud, with Metzudos

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