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Parshas Matos-Masei - Chamishi with Rashi

Today in Chumash we are learning instructions Hashem gave Moshe Rabbeinu about when the Yidden come into Eretz Yisroel, and about the borders of the land.

Get rid of Avodah Zarah: Hashem tells Moshe to make sure the Yidden know to get rid of all Avodah Zarah in Eretz Yisroel! Any idols need to be knocked down, and any Goyim who want to serve Avodah Zarah have to be sent out of Eretz Yisroel. If not, Hashem will treat the Yidden the way they should have treated the Goyim, chas veshalom...

The borders of Eretz Yisroel: Now Hashem tells Moshe which parts of the land are considered Eretz Yisroel. It is very important to know these things, because there are mitzvos that are only kept in Eretz Yisroel!



140 - 150

Today is Erev Rosh Chodesh! Since this month has only 29 days, we also say the Tehillim for Yom Lamed, and we finish the whole Sefer Tehillim!

The Rebbe once spoke at a farbrengen about the small paragraph before almost every kapitel in Tehillim which tells us what the kapitel is about. The Rebbe said that even though we don’t know who wrote these paragraphs and if he is reliable, still almost all of them seem to properly show the inyan of that kapitel.

In the paragraph before Kapitel Kuf-Mem-Alef, it says that this Kapitel teaches us that a Yid should daven to Hashem to help him not say things that he doesn’t really feel.

One of the pesukim says “Shisa Hashem Shamra Lefi” — “Hashem should put a guard in front of my mouth” — to only say what I really mean.

When we talk to other people, it is easy to say things that will make us look better, even if they aren’t what we really feel. This kapitel asks Hashem to help us to be able to be true friends with other people.

If we are nice to someone else, we need to act like their friend, even when they are not looking.



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Tes

After the Alter Rebbe told us the mitzvah of Teshuvah and how it works according to Chassidus, we learn how to make our Teshuvah a lasting Teshuvah. The Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to think about two things — Rachmanus on the Neshama, and what happens when someone does an aveira. After a person does that, his aveiros get “blown away” like a wind blows away clouds, and he’s ready for the next level of Teshuva, called Teshuvah Ila’ah.

Teshuvah Ila’ah means that the Yid loves Hashem so much! He wants to be close to Hashem, and he has a lot of chayus to do what Hashem wants.

We said before that every mitzvah is like a string of a rope, connecting us to Hashem. If chas veshalom a string is cut (from an aveira), then it needs to be knotted back together. When you tie a knot in a rope, it makes that part extra-strong! The knot is double and triple layers of string.

When we do Teshuvah Ila’ah, we need to make sure that our connection to Hashem is now EXTRA-strong! For example, if someone makes a mistake in eating kosher, he should now be MORE careful than before!

There are three ways a Yid serves Hashem — Torah, Avodah (davening), and Gemilus Chassadim. Today the Alter Rebbe talks about Torah and Gemilus Chassadim, because this is the way Hashem connects to US. Tomorrow, IY”H, we will learn more about Tefillah, which is how WE come closer to Hashem.



Chof-Tes Tammuz

A note written by the Tzemach Tzedek was found. On the paper, it said about a hachlata that he made — to learn for 6 hours at night, standing up! Then it said that Boruch Hashem he was able to keep his hachlata, and he finished learning ALL of the Gemaras, and Shulchan Aruch, with the meforshim that explain them!



Shiur #335 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #166

Today’s Mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #166) is the same as yesterday — that a kohen is not allowed to become tomei for people who pass away, except for certain people in his family.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹא יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּיו



Hilchos Aveil

In today’s Rambam (perakim Yud-Beis, Yud-Gimmel and Yud-Daled), we learn that if a person cries when he hears that another Yid passed away, Hashem keeps all of those tears in His treasure box.

In Perek Yud-Daled, we learn many mitzvos that are part of Ahavas Yisroel — like Bikur Cholim, Hachnosas Kallah, and Hachnosas Orchim.

We learn that we should do Bikur Cholim even for a goy, so that there will be shalom.

The Rambam did this too! The Rambam used to work at the palace of the Sultan all day. When he came home, he would be very hungry and tired. But he would see many Yidden and goyim gathered around, waiting for someone to help them. The Rambam would take care of them, giving them medicine and helping them feel better until very late. When he would finally come home, he was all wiped out!

We can learn from the Rambam to help other people even if it is very hard.



Hilchos Tumas Ochalin - Perek Hey

This perek teaches us the halachos about the Yad (like the stem) and the Shomer (like the peels) of a food. If a Yad is attached to a food, it can become Tomei. A Shomer can always become Tomei, unless it gets thrown away. Sometimes they are counted as part of the food, and sometimes not!



Hilchos Beis Habechirah

We are now in the middle of Bein Hameitzarim, the Three Weeks where we think about the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash and the many sad things that happened to Yidden through the years. Starting tonight, on Rosh Chodesh, we will also be in the time of the Nine Days, when the Chachomim taught us to follow some of the minhagim of aveilus (mourning) for the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash.

It is important to review these halachos today, because to keep them, we need to prepare before Rosh Chodesh. For example, we aren’t allowed to do laundry or wear fresh clothes during the Nine Days, and we need to make sure to have enough clothing ready.

The Three Weeks and the Nine Days are not times of simcha for Yidden. But still, that doesn’t mean that we should be very sad and feel like we should give up! Even though the Gashmius’dike Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, we still have the Ruchnius’dike Beis Hamikdash, that Hashem rests among the Yidden.

During the Three Weeks and the Nine Days, we work hard to make our Ruchnius’dike Beis Hamikdash strong, and to help build the Gashmius’dike Beis Hamikdash faster!

When we learn Torah and do mitzvos, we are making sure that Hashem will rest with us, “Veshachanti Besocham,” in our Ruchnius’dike Beis Hamikdash.

And when we share Torah and Chassidus with others, we are speeding up the Geulah, when we will have the Gashmius’dike Beis Hamikdash again, and these days will change from sad days into days of simcha!

One of the horaos the Rebbe gave us for these days is to learn the halachos of the Beis Hamikdash. Until Moshiach comes, this is the best way we are able to do the mitzvah of building the Beis Hamikdash!

Here is something we learn about the Beis Hamikdash:

The kohanim slept in the Beis Hamikdash, in a room called the Beis Hamokeid. Before they started their Avodah, they washed their hands and feet from the Kiyor!

The Kiyor was set up between the Mizbeiach and the Heichal. It was very big, so that all of the kohanim could use it in the morning. In the time of the second Beis Hamikdash, they added many extra spouts! This way all 12 kohanim who helped with the Korban Tomid could wash their hands and feet at the same time.

Usually, water that sits in a holy keili in the Beis Hamikdash overnight becomes posul. So the leftover water in the Kiyor would become posul every night!

A kohen named Ben Katin came up with a way to keep the water from becoming posul, and to refill the Kiyor at the same time! He set up a pulley system to lower the Kiyor every night into a Mikvah that was under the Beis Hamikdash. Since the water of the Kiyor was touching the Mikvah water, it didn’t become posul at all. (Adding the extra spouts was also Ben Katin’s idea.)

See Igros Kodesh chelek Tes-Vov p. 300, Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches – Masei/Bein Hameitzarim, Hilchos Beis Habechirah


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Birchos HaTorah

The first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is to say Birchos Hashachar. We thank Hashem for the things we might take for granted, but are really a daily gift from Hashem!

Hashem gives us back our neshama, gives us new chayus, and gives us a healthy body. We are able to wake up and get out of bed, walk around, get dressed and put on shoes, and do so many special mitzvos! We ask Hashem to bring us hatzlacha so our day goes the way Hashem wants it to, and with only good things.

Then we say some very important brachos, the Birchos HaTorah. In these brachos, we show how happy and thankful we are that Hashem gave us the Torah!

The Chachomim say that Eretz Yisroel was destroyed because even though the Yidden learned a lot of Torah, they didn’t make a bracha on it first, to show that they knew Who gives us the Torah. They learned Torah because it is very interesting, but didn’t appreciate that it is Hashem’s Chochma, a very special gift from Hashem.

Because they weren’t careful with the kedusha of the Torah, the Torah didn’t protect them, and Eretz Yisroel was destroyed. But when we say a bracha first, reminding ourselves Who gave us the Torah, we are promised that the Torah will protect us, and will stay with us, our children, and all of the Yidden forever!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 47



No Words of Torah Until Birchos HaTorah

The Nine Days start tomorrow, on Rosh Chodesh. There are many halachos that it is important to know. Here is a link to a halacha newsletter with many of these halachos.


We are not allowed to say any words of Torah before we say the Birchos HaTorah that are in Birchos Hashachar. We don’t say pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, and we are also not allowed to learn from Torah Shebaal Peh, or speak about ideas from Torah. (Before saying Birchos HaTorah, we are only allowed to THINK words of Torah.)

Even though some parts of Birchos Hashachar come from the Gemara, we are allowed to say them before the Birchos HaTorah. That is because we are saying them as a tefillah, and not as words of Torah.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 47

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



The New Division of Eretz Yisrael

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the borders of Eretz Yisroel. Soon we will learn about the Nesiim who will help make sure that every family gets a part of Eretz Yisroel that is just right for them.

Eretz Yisroel isn’t actually split up until much later, in Sefer Yehoshua. First the Yidden spent 7 years capturing Eretz Yisroel, and then it took another 7 years to split up the land properly.

Near the end of Sefer Yechezkel, there is a famous nevuah where Hashem showed the Navi the measurements of the third Beis Hamikdash! There are also nevuos about other things that will happen when Moshiach comes.

One of these nevuos is about the new borders of Eretz Yisroel and how it will be split up in the times of the Geulah.

When Moshiach comes, Eretz Yisroel will be much bigger! Many of the lands around Eretz Yisroel will become part of Eretz Yisroel itself.

It will also be split up very differently. The first time it was split up, each shevet got a part of Eretz Yisroel that was the perfect size for the families in that shevet. If you look at the map, you will see that each Shevet’s section was a different shape and size.

When Moshiach comes, Eretz Yisroel will be split up into equal rows, like stripes across the entire land. Each shevet will get their own “stripe,” and there will be a stripe for the Beis Hamikdash, which will also include a section for the Kohanim and Leviim, and a section for Moshiach!

See Yechezkel perek Mem-Zayin

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