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Parshas Pinchas - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we finish the story of the daughters of Tzelofchad. Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu that he will pass away, and Moshe makes sure that there will be a good leader for the Yidden in the next generation.

As we learned yesterday, Tzelofchad’s daughters wanted a piece of Eretz Yisroel very much! Moshe Rabbeinu asked Hashem what to do.

Today’s Chumash continues that Hashem told Moshe that Tzelofchad’s daughters are right!

Every family gets a piece of Eretz Yisroel. Usually, if the father passed away, it goes to his sons. But if there are no sons, it should go to his daughters! And if chas veshalom there are no daughters either, it should go to his brothers, or to his closest relative.

So Tzelofchad’s daughters WILL get his piece of Eretz Yisroel, and it will stay with his family forever.

The Torah also tells us now the mitzvah of Nachalos, how to pass on a yerusha in a family after someone passes away.


Moshe Rabbeinu was hoping that since Hashem was telling him about dividing Eretz Yisroel, maybe Hashem’s decree that he wouldn’t be able to enter Eretz Yisroel is gone, and he WILL be able to go in! But Hashem told Moshe no. Soon he will go up on Har Nevo, where he will be able to SEE Eretz Yisroel, but he won’t get to go there. He will pass away on Har Nevo, like Aharon did. (When Moshe Rabbeinu saw the way Aharon passed away, he hoped that he would pass away the same way. Hashem told him now that he would.)

When Moshe heard he would pass away soon, he was worried about one thing: Who would take care of the Yidden? Will this leader take care of each person, and go out with them when they fight, and have enough zechus to keep the Yidden safe?

Hashem told Moshe that his son will not become the next leader, but his Talmid, Yehoshua bin Nun, will.

Hashem told Moshe to put his hand on Yehoshua, and give Yehoshua some of his special kochos. Moshe should show the Yidden that he respects Yehoshua, so they will listen to him when he becomes their Nasi.

Still, someone from Moshe’s family will be very important — Yehoshua will need to ask Elazar the Kohen Gadol, Moshe’s nephew, before going to fight any wars.

Moshe did even more than what Hashem asked — he put BOTH hands on Yehoshua, giving him many more kochos and making his face shine!



79 - 82

Today’s kapitelach are Ayin-Tes to Pey-Beis.

In Kapitel Pey-Alef (81), the posuk says “Tiku BaChodesh Shofar, Bakeseh LeYom Chageinu. Ki Chok LeYisroel Hu, Mishpat Leilokei Yaakov.” These pesukim are talking about blowing the shofar, which is the mitzvah of Rosh Hashana.

The Gemara says that it is also talking about the parnasa that every Yid will have for the coming year. There is an argument in the Gemara whether a person is judged on Rosh Hashana, or every day, or even every hour!

There is a maamar from the Alter Rebbe in Parshas Korach, and a kuntres from the Rebbe Rashab, called Kuntres Umaayan, that discuss this according to Chassidus. The Rebbe Rashab explains in this kuntres how to be a mentch and not allow ourselves to be fooled by the tricks of the Yetzer Hara.

It is explained there that this is really not an argument. The different opinions in the Gemara about when we are judged are talking about different things! The opinion that says we are judged on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is speaking about Ruchnius. In Ruchnius, it is decided then what a person will have.

The opinion that says we are judged every day or even every hour is speaking about Gashmius. Based on how we act every day and every moment, it is decided whether that Ruchnius koach we deserve will come into Gashmius and give us Gashmius parnasa, or stay in Ruchnius for Gan Eden.

The Yetzer Hara tries to trick us to think that since anyway Hashem decided on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur what will happen, it doesn’t matter if we daven with a minyan or go to a shiur in Torah or do other mitzvos. The Yetzer Hara wants us to think that what we do every day doesn’t make a difference.

But based on what we learned, we understand that this is not true! Even if in Shomayim it was decided that a person will get a lot on Rosh Hashana, that is only in Ruchnius! If we don’t earn Hashem’s bracha today, we won’t get the bracha in Gashmius. And the opposite is also true — even if someone isn’t supposed to get a lot from the Ruchnius that was decided on Rosh Hashana, with Hashem’s bracha today, that little bit of Ruchnius can help us in Gashmius with all we need!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Daled

We are learning about how special a Yid’s neshama is, so that we will understand what happens when a Yid does an aveira (Chas Veshalom) and how to do teshuvah. Yesterday we learned about the four letters of Hashem’s name. The Alter Rebbe explained that these letters are the 10 Sefiros, split into two parts — the first two letters are the first Sefiros that are used to make the “hidden” worlds, and the second letters are the last Sefiros, through which Hashem makes the worlds we can see.

Now we will learn more about how we see these letters in the neshama of every Yid:

The first two letters of Hashem’s name (the sefiros of the hidden worlds) is the koach a Yid has to learn Torah and to think about the greatness of Hashem. We think about how Hashem gives us chayus, and how lucky we are that Hashem chose us as the Yidden to be His precious nation! That is HIDDEN — what we are thinking and feeling.

The second letters shine when we ACT the way a Yid should act — like learning Torah and doing mitzvos. Those are things we can see! That’s from the second part of Hashem’s name, that makes things we can see.



Tes-Zayin Tammuz

We can learn about Ahavas Yisroel from the Baal Shem Tov. His Ahavas Yisroel was even more than we can imagine!

The Maggid said, “If only we could kiss a Sefer Torah with as much love as the Baal Shem Tov had when he kissed the children he brought to Cheder, when he was the bahelfer!” (Before the Baal Shem Tov became known as a big tzadik, he spent some time as a helper — a bahelfer — for a melamed. He brought the kinderlach to and from school, and helped them say brachos and Amen in shul.)



Shiur #338 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #46, Asei #190, Lo Saasei #56, #57, Asei #192, #193

We are so close to the end of the whole Rambam! In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 6 mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #46) Yidden should not go back to Mitzrayim to live there, so we don’t learn from the Mitzriyim. We are allowed to go there for business or to pass through.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא תֹסִפוּן לָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה עוֹד

2) (Mitzvas Asei #190) This is the mitzvah of what to do when fighting with a country in a war that is not a mitzvah (Milchemes Hareshus). We should first try to make shalom with them (that they should agree that the Yiddishe kings will rule over them, and that they will pay taxes). We should then follow the rules the Torah gives us of what to do if they do make shalom, and what to do if they do not.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: יִהְיוּ לְךָ לָמַס וַעֲבָדוּךָ

The halachos are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Beis, and Mesechta Sotah perek Ches.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #56) With the nations of Amon and Moav, we don’t ask them first if they want to make shalom.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תִדְרשׁ שְׁלֹמָם וְטֹבָתָם

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #57) We can’t cut down fruit trees for no good reason when we’re having a war. This aveira includes any kind of Bal Tashchis, like destroying clothes or keilim for no reason.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ ... וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת

The halachos are explained in Mesechta Bava Basra perek Beis.

5) (Mitzvas Asei #192) There should be a place outside of the army camp for soldiers to use as the bathroom, so the place where they are camping stays tahor. This is not like the goyim, who just use the first place they see as a bathroom.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְיָד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְגוֹ׳

6) (Mitzvas Asei #193) Every soldier should have a shovel together with his weapons, in case he needs to go to the bathroom when there isn’t a bathroom around. This way he can dig a hole to use, and then cover it up.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְיָתֵד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ עַל אֲזֵנֶךָ



Hilchos Melachim

Perek Zayin: Before the Yidden go out to war, a kohen is given the job as “Meshuach Milchama.” He needs to speak to the Yidden before they go out to fight. One of the things he tells them is that anyone who should not be fighting (like if he just got married), or anyone who is afraid and doesn’t trust in Hashem, should go home.

In Perek Ches, we learn about what to do when we capture a city from the goyim. One of the things is to make sure that the goyim keep the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach — the seven mitzvos that goyim need to keep.

Perek Tes teaches us many details about the Sheva Mitzvos, and the punishment for a goy who does not keep them.



Hilchos Melachim - Perek Yud-Alef

In Perek Yud-Alef, we learn about Moshiach! The Rambam shows us that Moshiach isn’t just something nice that the Chachomim told us, it is a part of Torah! If someone doesn’t believe in Moshiach and doesn’t hope that he is coming, it means they don’t believe the Torah is true, chas veshalom.



Learning Rambam is for Everyone!

Tomorrow is the end of the 39th cycle of learning Rambam three perakim a day and Sefer Hamitzvos, and the 13th cycle of learning Rambam one perek a day!

When the Rebbe explained for the first time how to keep the takana of learning Rambam, the Rebbe said that it will unite Yidden together in learning all of the halachos of the Torah!

The Rebbe wanted that everyone should be able to unite together — men, women and children.

But, the Rebbe asked, how will people be able to participate if they can’t learn the Rambam yet, like children or people who are just starting to learn?

The Rebbe answered that those that are not able to learn the 14 books of Rambam should learn from the Sefer Hamitzvos of the Rambam. They should learn the mitzvos that are being explained in the perakim of Rambam that are being learned at that time!

They don’t have to learn the actual words of the Sefer Hamitzvos, they should learn it in a way that they can understand it! Their teachers can explain the mitzvos to them, and since they are already learning Chumash, they can see the pesukim in the Chumash where we learn the mitzvos from!

This way, everyone — even children — will be able to be united together in learning all 613 mitzvos of the Torah from the Rambam!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Zayin, p. 234


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Mesiras Nefesh

We just celebrated the Yom Tov of Yud-Beis Tammuz, the Yom Tov that celebrates the Frierdiker Rebbe’s Mesiras Nefesh for Torah and mitzvos. We will now learn about the Mesiras Nefesh we start our day with, when we daven!

The Alter Rebbe says in Tanya that when we daven and learn Torah, it’s really a kind of Mesiras Nefesh.

Why? It doesn’t put us in danger!

The words “Mesiras Nefesh” mean “to give up the neshama.” When a person does Mesiras Nefesh, he gives up the life of his guf and returns his neshama to Hashem. We do something similar, when we daven!

When we don’t pay attention to our guf like we usually do, we are having Mesiras Nefesh, giving up part of its life! We can eat before davening if we need to, so that it won’t bother us in the middle of davening. But when we actually daven, we focus completely on the words of our tefillos and on our connection to Hashem. Our neshama is returned to the way it felt when it was in Gan Eden, when nothing Gashmius’dik distracted it!

That’s a kind of Mesiras Nefesh.

So when it comes time to stand before Hashem and daven, we need to do it in a way of Mesiras Nefesh. At least during Shema and Shemoneh Esrei (the most important parts of tefillah), we should forget about all of our Gashmius distractions. Instead, we should think only about how the neshama is speaking directly to Hashem, asking to have hatzlacha in fulfilling the shlichus it has in the world. We should also think about the nachas Hashem has from a Yid in this world connecting to Hashem through davening and keeping Torah and mitzvos.

See Tanya end Perek Mem-Alef



Changing the Truth for Shalom

It is very important to tell the truth. We don’t make up things that didn’t happen, and we don’t promise things that we aren’t going to keep, like the Torah tells us.

But sometimes we ARE allowed to change the truth if it will bring shalom.

Here is an example:

Ari is at a birthday party, and the boys are playing different games in the room. He hears a boy say that Yitzy is not fun to play with, because he gets so upset when he loses!

Yitzy notices that someone was talking about him, and asks Ari what the boy said.

Does Ari have to tell the truth, even though it will make Yitzy feel bad?

No. For shalom, he can change what happened, and say that the boy just said that he won the game with Yitzy.

But this is only about something that already happened. We are NOT allowed to make a promise that we don’t plan on keeping, or say something not true about something in the future, even if we think it will bring shalom!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Kuf-Nun-Vov, se’if Beis

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



Shiva-Asar B'Tammuz When Moshiach Comes

In many places in Navi, we see the sad details of the story of the Churban, and the things that happened before it. We learn about the siege around Yerushalayim, the breaking into the city, and finally the destruction of both the first and second Beis Hamikdash on Tisha B’Av.

In one of the nevuos that Hashem said through the Navi Zechariah, we see what all these sad things are supposed to turn into. The Navi tells us that the fast days where we are sad about the Churban will change into Yomim Tovim!

כֹּה אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה וּלְמֹעֲדִים טוֹבִים וְהָאֱמֶת וְהַשָּׁלוֹם אֱהָבוּ

Ko Amar Hashem Tzevakos — This is what Hashem says:

Tzom Harevii — the fast of the fourth month (Shiva-Asar B’Tammuz — the months are counted from Nisan)

Vetzom Hachamishi — and the fast of the fifth month (Tisha B’Av)

Vetzom Hashvi’i — and the fast of the seventh month (Tzom Gedaliah)

Vetzom Ha’asiri — and the fast of the tenth month (Asara B’Teves)

Yihiyeh Leveis Yehudah — will become for the Yidden

Lesason Ulesimcha U’lemoadim Tovim — days of joy and happiness, and Yomim Tovim!

Veha’emes VehaShalom Ehavu — As long as you love Emes and Shalom (meaning that this will happen in the zechus of your love for Emes and Shalom).

We hope will be zoche to see this nevuah come true very soon, and the fast of Shiva-Asar B’Tammuz will be celebrated instead as a great Yom Tov!

See Zechariah perek Ches posuk Yud-Tes

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