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Parshas Balak - Revi'i with Rashi

Bilaam brings korbanos, and asks Hashem for a nevuah. Hashem gives him a nevuah, and instead of cursing the Yidden, he gives them many brachos! Balak is very angry!

Yesterday we learned how Bilaam finally agreed to go with the officers of Moav to the king, Balak. Balak wanted Bilaam to curse the Yidden, since he was afraid that the Yidden were strong and might want to attack Moav, like they did to Sichon and Og.

Bilaam went with Balak to a big city with busy marketplaces that were full of people. Balak wanted him to see the people of Moav, so that he should feel bad for them and want them to be safe.

That evening, Balak prepared a cow and a sheep for Bilaam and the officers that were with him. Balak had promised to give Bilaam a lot of kavod and treat him well, but now he hardly even gave him enough food!

In the morning, Balak took Bilaam up to the high place where they did Avodah Zarah, because he could see part of the Yidden’s camp from there. That would be a good place, he thought, to curse the Yidden from!

Before he could try to convince Hashem to let him curse the Yidden, Bilaam decided it would be a good idea to give Hashem a korban. He told Balak to build 7 Mizbechos, and to bring two korbanos for each Mizbeiach — a Par (bull) and Ayil (ram). Balak and Bilaam brought these korbanos.

Then Bilaam told Balak to stay by the Mizbeiach, because he was going to try to get Hashem to talk to him, even though it was during the day, and Hashem usually only talked to him at night.

Hashem decided to talk to him for the sake of the Yidden, but Hashem appeared to Bilaam in an insulting way. Bilaam said to Hashem, “Look! I made as many Mizbechos as the Avos did! And I brought even MORE korbanos than they did!” (If you look at all of the places where the Avos made a Mizbeiach for Hashem, you will see that there were seven, and that Avraham only brought one Ayil.)

Hashem gave him a nevuah, showing Bilaam that Hashem loves the Yidden and he won’t be able to curse them. Hashem told him to go back and tell Balak.

Bilaam went back to Balak, who was standing with his officers, and said his nevuah: “Balak the king of Moav brought me here, asking me to curse the Yidden! But how can I curse people that Hashem didn’t curse? And how can I get angry at them if Hashem isn’t angry?

“I see the Yidden from the beginning, from the Avos. I see that they are as strong as mountains! In the zechus of the Avos and Imahos, they will live alone and not be destroyed like the other nations will.

“Who can count the Yidden, who were promised to be as many as the dust of the earth? I wish I was like them!”

Balak was FURIOUS! “What did you do? I asked you to curse my enemies, and you are giving them brachos!”

Bilaam answered, “What can I do? I have to say whatever Hashem tells me to say!”



72 - 76

Today’s kapitelach are Ayin-Beis to Ayin-Vov.

Kapitel Ayin-Beis begins with the word “L’Shlomo.” This was the last kapitel of Tehillim that Dovid Hamelech said. (The kapitelach of Tehillim are not in the order that they were made.) Dovid Hamelech saw with Ruach Hakodesh that his son Shlomo Hamelech would ask Hashem for a special bracha, and Dovid Hamelech asked Hashem to give it!

What was this bracha?

In Sefer Melachim, we learn the story of what happened: When Shlomo Hamelech became king, there was not yet a Beis Hamikdash. People would bring korbanos wherever they wanted, on a bamah, a type of Mizbeiach.

Shlomo Hamelech went to Givon, where the Mizbeiach Hanechoshes was in those days. There he brought a thousand korbanos to Hashem!

In Givon, Hashem came to Shlomo Hamelech in a dream. Hashem asked, “What should I give you?”

Shlomo Hamelech could have asked for a long life, or for riches, or for his enemies to leave him alone. But Shlomo Hamelech answered, “Hashem made me the king, but I am still young. Please, Hashem, give me the understanding to properly take care of the Yidden!”

Hashem was very happy with the bracha that Shlomo Hamelech had asked for! Not only did Hashem give Shlomo Hamelech wisdom to understand, Hashem also gave him riches and honor, and promised that if he would keep the Torah, he would live a long life.

This is what Dovid Hamelech asked for in this kapitel. The first posuk says, “L’Shlomo, Elokim Mishpatecha Lemelech Tein, Vetzidkascha Leven Melech.” “About Shlomo: Hashem, give the chochmah of Your Torah to a king (Shlomo), and Your tzedek to judge properly to a king’s son (Shlomo was also the son of a king).”

The meforshim say that this kapitel is also speaking about the wisdom of Moshiach!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Gimmel

Today we learn how many times a person would have to fast if he did an aveira many times, and then did teshuvah.

We learned that if a person does an aveira, he needs to give Hashem a present. Since we don’t have a Beis Hamikdash, a way to give Hashem a present is to fast.

What if a person does an aveira more than one time? Does he need to fast for EACH time he did the aveira, or just one time for all of them together?

There is a machlokes! One opinion is that if a person did an aveira a bunch of times, he should fast for each time he did it like it was in the Beis Hamikdash with a kind of korban called a chatas!

Another opinion is that he only needs to bring it once like it was with the korban called Olah.

The halacha is — a compromise! Even if a person did an aveira a hundred times, he only needs to fast for THREE times he did the aveira.

The Zohar explains why: When a person does an aveira, it makes the neshama a little dirty. The second time the dirty spot gets bigger, and after three times, the whole neshama is dirty.

Imagine a shirt. First someone splashes grape juice on it — now it’s a little bit dirty. Then more grape juice spills all over the sleeve — now the dirty part is bigger. Then the whole becher falls over and the WHOLE shirt gets dirty! Once the whole shirt gets dirty, splashing more juice doesn’t make so much difference.

That’s why the first three times of an aveira are the most important to fix. So a person also should fast for the first three times they do an aveira.

Tomorrow IY”H we will see that nowadays we give tzedakah in place of fasting.



Yud-Daled Tammuz

Today we learn something that the Alter Rebbe told his sons during the week of Parshas Balak, and was later written in one of the maamarim of the Tzemach Tzedek.

Did you ever wonder why the people on the other side of the world don’t fall off the world, if the world is like a big ball and they are on the bottom?

When the Alter Rebbe spoke about this to his children, he told them that scientists have an answer, but it is not the true answer. The true answer is in Eitz Chayim, where it explains that the world is from the Ruchniyus’dike chayus of Hashem called Igulim.

Igulim is a chayus that is like a circle — a circle doesn’t have a top and a bottom! The world gets its chayus from Hashem this way, so no part of the world is really “on top”! Everything is part of the world-circle, which is inside of the sky-circle. The people on the other side don’t fall because they aren’t underneath us. Their sky is over them like our sky is over us!



Shiur #320 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #315, #281, #316

Today we learn three more mitzvos about judges:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #315) We are not allowed to curse a judge.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: אֱלֹקִים לֹא תְקַלֵּל

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #281) A judge shouldn’t believe non-true things. We tell a judge that he is not allowed to start hearing about a court case until BOTH sides are there. Otherwise he might believe something that isn’t true!

This mitzvah also includes something for everybody: not to say Lashon Hara, not to listen to Lashon Hara, and not to say not true eidus.

We also learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא תִשָּׂא שֵׁמַע שָׁוְא

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #316) It is asur to curse a Nasi — a leader of the Yidden. This includes both a king and the leader of the Sanhedrin.

We also learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וְנָשִׂיא בְעַמְּךָ לֹא תָאֹר



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In Perek Chof-Beis, we learn how things are done in Beis Din. We learn that if someone knows a reason why the psak should be a certain way, he should say so, even if he is worried about what others will think — because the Torah says Midvar Sheker Tirchak! We need to stay away from letting something not true be said.

We learn that the best thing for a Beis Din to do is to try to get both sides to agree to compromise! This is the way of shalom.

In Perek Chof-Gimmel, we learn more about yesterday’s mitzvah not to take a bribe. Bribes aren’t just money — if someone is a friend of a judge, or did him a favor, it will be hard for the judge to listen to the other side, since he already likes one person.

Perek Chof-Daled teaches us what a judge should do if he is sure that someone is lying, but he can’t prove it. He is not allowed to pasken if he doesn’t feel that the psak is correct, so he should keep asking the witnesses questions until he feels sure, or else he should ask another judge to pasken.



Hilchos Shaar Avos Hatumah - Perek Yud

The Rambam explains the tumah of a “Tvul Yom”(someone who went to the mikvah, but won’t be Tahor until night), and about different levels of Tumah.



Yud-Beis Tammuz

Even though it’s already after Yud-Beis Tammuz, the inyan of the Yom Tov continues for another few days!

After the Friediker Rebbe went free, he wasn’t able to say the bracha Hagomel (that a person usually says when coming out of jail) until Tes-Vov Tammuz, when he actually came home! (According to the Alter Rebbe, a person who was in jail isn’t allowed to make the bracha until he gets home.)

One year, the Rebbe told Chassidim to keep on making farbrengens every day until Tes-Vov Tammuz! At each farbrengen we should make three hachlatos — one in Torah, one in Avodah, and one in Gemilus Chassadim.


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Before we go to sleep
There is a bracha we recite
We bless Hashem Who helps us
To fall asleep every night.

We ask to sleep peacefully
And that when morning comes again
Our neshama be peacefully returned
Full of chayus, from Hashem

We ask that while we’re sleeping
Our dreams should be just right
With no bad thoughts to bother us
Or disturb our rest tonight

We finish with the bracha
Praising Hashem’s light
His glory fills the world
And makes it shining bright.

When the light shines through our windows
We will wake up again
For another joyful day
In the service of Hashem!



Interruption After Hamapil

The halachos about Hamapil depend on what kind of bracha it is.

Some poskim say that Hamapil is like any other bracha we make on things which bring us pleasure, Birchos Hanehenin. We make a bracha before eating or drinking, and a bracha before enjoying a night’s sleep!

According to this opinion, after we say Shema, we can’t do or say anything else. We don’t make any interruptions after saying a bracha on food, until we’ve eaten some. In the same way, we shouldn’t make any interruptions after saying Hamapil, before we’ve slept.

Other poskim say that Hamapil is a bracha of praise to Hashem, like the brachos we say in Birchos Hashachar. When we say a bracha praising Hashem for giving us shoes (“She’asa Li Kol Tzorki”) we don’t have to run and put on shoes right away! The same way, we don’t have to go to sleep right after praising Hashem for making people sleep.

Most poskim say that it’s a bracha of praise. Therefore, if we realize that we forgot something important after saying Hamapil, we are allowed to do it. That’s especially true if it’s a mitzvah, like if we forgot to count sefirah or bring negel vasser.

Still, we should try our best to make sure that everything is taken care of before we say Hamapil. This way, we can say Hamapil and go to sleep right away.

If we did have to make an interruption, before we go to sleep we say the first paragraph of Shema again, and the posuk of Beyadcha Afkid Ruchi.

According to Piskei Teshuvos p. 987

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



Moshiach Will Be Our Shepherd

In Perek Lamed-Daled of Yechezkel, the Navi warns the leaders of the Yidden to change the way they are acting!

The Navi uses a mashal when he speaks to them. He tells them that the Yidden are like a flock of sheep, goats, and rams. The leaders of the Yidden are like the shepherds.

Yechezkel tells them, “You are supposed to be taking care of the Yidden, but you are only taking care of yourselves! You use your power to rule over the Yidden, but you do not care about them. Now the Yidden are like sheep without a shepherd. Some are lost, and some are running wild because nobody is teaching them how to act.

“Hashem says that He will not let you stay the leaders! Hashem will gather all of the lost Yidden and bring them back. Hashem will judge the leaders for the way they were treating the Yidden they were supposed to be taking care of.

“Hashem will instead give the Yidden a true shepherd, a leader who cares about each one and will show them how to behave — Moshiach, who comes from the shepherd of the Yidden, from Dovid Hamelech!”

וַהֲקִמֹתִי עֲלֵיהֶם רֹעֶה אֶחָד וְרָעָה אֶתְהֶן אֵת עַבְדִּי דָוִיד הוּא יִרְעֶה אוֹתָם וְהוּא יִהְיֶה לָהֶן לְרֹעֶה

Hashem says:

Vehakimosi Aleihem Ro’eh Echad — I will give the Yidden one leader

VeRa’ah Es’hen — And he will take care of them like a shepherd takes care of his sheep.

Es Avdi Dovid — This is Moshiach, who comes from My servant, Dovid Hamelech!

Hu Yir’eh Osam — He will be the one to take care of the Yidden

Vehu Yihiyeh Lahen LeRo’eh — And he will be the only one to be their leader.

See Yechezkel perek Lamed-Daled posuk Chof-Gimmel

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