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Shlishi with Rashi

The Shevatim of Gad and Reuven make a deal with Moshe that they can live in the land of the Emori, across the Yarden.

Some Shevatim want to live on the other side of the Yarden: The Shevatim of Reuven and Gad loved the mahn! They were happy to eat a food that was so ruchnius’dik. Even though the other Shevatim sometimes shechted their animals to eat meat, these Shevatim never did. So they had a LOT of animals left, more than the other Shevatim.

They saw that the land of the Emori, that they had captured, had lots of fields where animals could eat. They knew that this land would be part of Eretz Yisroel later, and they thought it made sense to live there right away — then maybe it will be part of Eretz Yisroel faster!

So they asked Moshe if they could stay on the other side of the Yarden, instead of going into Eretz Yisroel.

A compromise: Moshe was worried: Is it right for all of the Yidden to fight, and Reuven and Gad will just stay in their houses? Maybe the other Yidden will think that Reuven and Gad are afraid to fight, and they will get scared too. When the Meraglim scared the Yidden, the Yidden had to stay in the Midbar for 40 years! Will Hashem make the Yidden stay in the Midbar now for even LONGER?

Reuven and Gad told Moshe not to worry. They will build pens for their sheep and cities for their families, and then they will go fight FIRST, in front of all of the Yidden! The soldiers of Reuven and Gad won’t go home until ALL of the Yidden have their places to live. (That’s what they later did! It took 7 years to fight, and then 7 years to divide up Eretz Yisroel, so Reuven and Gad came home 14 years later.)



120 - 134

Today we say the 15 Shir Hamaalos, kapitelach Kuf-Chof until Kuf-Lamed-Daled, like the 15 steps from the Ezras Noshim into the Azara in the Beis Hamikdash!

Kapitel Kuf-Chof-Beis talks about when Yidden go up to Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim is called “Ir Shechubra La Yachdav” — “a city that is connected together.”

What is this talking about? Together with WHAT?

In the Gemara it says that there are TWO Yerushalayims! There is a Yerushalayim Shel Maalah, a ruchnius’dike city in Shomayim, and Yerushalayim Shel Matah — the city of Yerushalayim that we see. They are both connected!

The Gemara says that Hashem doesn’t go into the Gashmius Yerushalayim until He goes into Yerushalayim Shel Maalah, the ruchnius’dike Yerushalayim.

What makes Hashem go into these two Yerushalayims? It’s because of what the Yidden do!

The Tzemach Tzedek explains that there are two things that bring Hashem into the two Yerushalayims — and we are learning about them in TanyaTeshuvah Tata’ah and Teshuvah Ila’ah.

When we do Teshuvah, it brings Geulah, bringing Hashem’s Shechinah back into Yerushalayim! Teshuvah Tata’ah brings Hashem into Yerushalayim Shel Matah, and Teshuvah Ila’ah brings Hashem into Yerushalayim Shel Maalah!



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!)



Chof-Zayin Tammuz

In the times of the Alter Rebbe, there were no Chabad Chassidim, because the Alter Rebbe just started to teach Chabad Chassidus for the first time. Some big Talmidei Chachomim used to come to the Alter Rebbe, and they became Chabad Chassidim.

Once a Talmid Chochom came to the Alter Rebbe. He had learned a lot of Torah and lived the way a Yid should, with Yiras Shomayim. After coming to the Alter Rebbe in Liozna (where the Alter Rebbe used to live), he learned a lot of Chassidus.

When he came for his first Yechidus, he asked the Alter Rebbe if he is missing anything. “What else should I be doing?” he asked.

The Alter Rebbe answered, “You aren’t missing anything! In fact, you have TOO MUCH! You are learning and living like you should — but you think too much about yourself. You need to work on having bittul, and not being a baal gaava. For that, it isn’t enough to learn a lot of Chassidus, you need to do AVODAH and live like a Chossid!”



Mitzvas Asei #235, Lo Saasei #254, #255

There are 3 mitzvos in today’s Sefer Hamitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #235) A non-Jewish slave works for a Yid forever, unless the Yid hurts him in certain ways.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Behar: לְעֹלָם בָּהֶם תַּעֲבֹדוּ

The halachos of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Kiddushin and Mesechta Gittin.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #254) If a non-Jewish slave runs away to Eretz Yisroel, he becomes free and becomes a ger. It is asur to give him back to whoever bought him. Instead, the amount of money he is worth needs to be paid to the person who owned him before, and he doesn’t go back to being a slave.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תַסְגִּיר עֶבֶד אֶל אֲדֹנָיו

The dinim of this mitzvah are also explained in Mesechta Kiddushin and Mesechta Gittin.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #255) It is asur to say anything mean to a non-Jewish slave who ran away to Eretz Yisroel and became a Yid.

We learn this mitzvah from the next posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: עִמְּךָ יֵשֵׁב בְּקִרְבְּךָ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ... בַּטּוֹב לוֹ לֹא תּוֹנֶנּוּ



Hilchos Avodim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more of the halachos of the shtar (document) that the master gives to his servant to make him free.

In Perek Zayin, we learn that if many servants are going free, each servant needs his own shtar to say that he is free. We also learn that the master has to say that he owns NOTHING that belongs to the servant! If he writes that the servant is free, but he still has to polish the master’s shoes, the shtar isn’t good.

Perek Ches teaches us that if a Jew sells a slave to a non-Jew, he gets a knas (fine) that he has to pay up to 10 times as much as the slave is worth to set him free!

There are also other things that the master can do that will set his slave free. For example if he puts tefillin on his slave, that shows that he doesn’t consider him a servant anymore, and he goes free! But if he taught him Torah that’s not a proof that he doesn’t consider him a servant.

We also learn the last two mitzvos of a slave that escapes to Eretz Yisroel, not to send him back, and to treat him well.

Finally, in Perek Tes, the Rambam teaches us a very important lesson in our lives. Although we are allowed to be strict and make our non Jewish slave work hard, a Yid should have rachmanus. The chachomim would give from all of their food and drink to their slaves and feed them first. Hashem has rachmanus on those who have rachmanus on others.

With that we finish the halachos of avadim (slaves), and the whole sefer, Sefer Kinyan!



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros - Perek Vov

In this perek, we learn about the isur of eating blood. The Rambam teaches how we get meat ready to eat, by taking out the blood. One of the ways to do this is to soak the meat in water, and then pour salt on it to help the blood come out. Afterwards, we wash the meat in water until the water doesn’t turn red anymore. This is called Melichah.

(Nowadays, we usually don’t need to do this at home. When we buy meat or chicken from a kosher store, it has already been soaked and salted.)



Beis Hamikdash

The Rebbe told us to learn about the Beis Hamikdash during the Three Weeks, to weaken a little bit the inyan of the Churban, and to speed up the building of the Third Beis Hamikdash!

The Kohanim would work all day in the Beis Hamikdash, starting from very early in the morning. Where did they sleep to be in the Beis Hamikdash on time?

There was a room in the Beis Hamikdash called the Beis Hamoked where the Kohanim could sleep. This room was next to the Heichal (the building with the Kodesh and Kodesh HaKodoshim). Part of it was in the Azara, and part was outside.

There was a big heavy tile in the floor that could be picked up, with the keys to the Azara underneath it. When the Kohanim woke up, they would take out the keys to open the doors and start the Avodah of the day!


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Birchos Hashachar

The Chachomim gave us many brachos to say, to make it easier for us to say 100 brachos every day. In Birchos Hashachar, we say a list of many brachos, thanking Hashem for the things we benefit from every morning.

These brachos go in order of how people used to get up in the morning in the times of the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah:

1) A person would hear the rooster crow to tell him that it is morning, and would bless Hashem who makes the rooster wake people up — Hanosein Lasechvi Vina (“Who gives understanding to the rooster”)

2) He would open his eyes, and give recognition to Hashem that he can see — Pokeiach Ivrim (“Who opens the eyes of the blind”)

3) Then he would start to get up, and thank Hashem that he isn’t stuck in bed anymore like he was when he was asleep — Matir Asurim (“Who frees those who are captive”)

4) He would straighten up, and show recognition to Hashem for being able to sit up straight — Zokeif Kefufim (“Who straightens the bent”)

5) He would get dressed (in those days, they got dressed in bed, under their covers for tznius), and thank Hashem for clothing — Malbish Arumim (“Who clothes the naked”)

6) He would start to feel more awake, that his strength is coming back to him (this bracha was added later, when people got weaker), so he would thank Hashem — Hanosein Laya’eif Koach (“Who gives the tired one koach”)

7) Then he would put his feet on the floor, and thank Hashem for making solid ground to stand on — Roka Ha’aretz Al Hamayim (“Who spread the ground over the water”)

8) He would then put on his shoes, and thank Hashem for having good shoes to protect his feet — She’asa Li Kol Tzorki (“Who gives me all of my needs”)

9) Then he would start to walk around, and bless Hashem that he can — Hameichin Mitz’adei Gaver (“Who prepares the footsteps of man”)

10) He would put on a gartel for kedusha and tznius, to separate the upper part of the body from the lower half of the body. He would bless Hashem for this — Ozer Yisrael Bigevruah (“Who girds Yidden with strength”)

11) He would cover his head, also for kedusha and tzniusOter Yisrael Besifara (“Who crowns Yidden with beauty”)

12) We then bless Hashem for giving us mitzvos. We thank Hashem that although goyim have 7 mitzvos, we have 613 — Shelo Asani Goy (“for not making me non-Jewish”)

13) We thank Hashem for not making us a slave, who does not have the same chiyuv to do mitzvos as a free person does — Shelo Asani Aved (“for not making me a slave”)

14) Boys thank Hashem for giving them more mitzvos than a woman, who does not have a chiyuv to keep certain mitzvos that have a specific time — Shelo Asani Isha (“for not making me a woman”)

15) Finally, he would wash his face, wiping away the sleepiness — Hamaavir Sheina Me’einai (“Who removes sleep from my eyes”).

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman mem-vov



Birchos Hashachar

In the times of the Gemara, the brachos of Birchos Hashachar were said as soon as they happened! A person would get dressed, and right away say the bracha of “Malbish Arumim.”

But now, there is more tumah in the world, and also not everybody knows as much Torah. So we can’t say the brachos right away since we need to wash negel vasser, and we say them all together so that people won’t forget them.

In the times when Yidden would say these brachos right away as things happened to them, they only said the brachos that had to do with them. But what about nowadays, when we say all the brachos together? If someone didn’t get dressed, for example, should they still say the bracha of Malbish Arumim?

There are different opinions about this, but we follow the opinion that says that these brachos mainly thank Hashem for making the world run this way for most people. Still, we try to make sure that as many of the brachos as possible will apply to us (by getting dressed first, for example), but even if they don’t, we still say the bracha.

(On days when Yidden all over the world don’t benefit from one of these things, we don’t say the bracha. So on Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur, when nobody is wearing leather shoes, we don’t say the brachaShe’asa Li Kol Tzorki.”)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman mem-vov

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



Learning About the Third Beis Hamikdash

Even though it is hard to really understand the nevuah of Yechezkel Hanavi, it shouldn’t stop us from learning it as much as possible!

R’ Yom Tov Lipman Heller, the Tosfos Yom Tov, was a talmid of the Maharal. He later wrote a famous pirush on Mishnayos, called the Tosfos Yom Tov.

When R’ Yom Tov Lipman Heller was younger, he learned the nevuah of Yechezkel very well according to Rashi. He knew that learning about the Beis Hamikdash is like building it, and he wanted to do the best he could! He drew a diagram of the third Beis Hamikdash, based on everything in Sefer Yechezkel that he could understand.

His friends were very excited! They encouraged him to write a sefer explaining Yechezkel’s nevuah. The Tosfos Yom Tov did write the sefer, which teaches Yechezkel’s nevuah according to Rashi, as clearly as possible. This sefer is called “Tzuras Habayis.”

Unfortunately, we don’t have the diagram he drew of the third Beis Hamikdash, but we do have the sefer! Learning it can help us understand the third Beis Hamikdash as much as possible!

(There is also an English sefer describing the Third Beis Hamikdash, by Rabbi Chaim Clorfene, with pictures and models, called The Messianic Temple. It is based on Tzuras Habayis and other sources, teaching us as much as possible about the Third Beis Hamikdash!)

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