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Parshas Va'eschanan - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden the parsha of Shema, that the Yidden should keep their emunah strong, remember Hashem, remember Yetziyas Mitzrayim, and remember their achrayus to keep the mitzvos!

Today’s Chumash starts off with Shema! We learn the whole Shema, until Uvisharecha! Rashi explains that “Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echod” is talking about Moshiach — when Moshiach comes, Hashem’s name will be one!

We need to love Hashem “bechol levavcha” — with our Yetzer Tov, AND our Yetzer Hara.

In the first parsha of Shema, we have the first five of the Ten Mivtzoyim! Ahavas Yisroel (as the Alter Rebbe explained that one of the ways we love Hashem is through loving a Yid), Chinuch, Torah, Tefillin, and Mezuzah. Can you find them all in the first parsha of Shema?

Then Moshe tells the Yidden to be careful when they come into Eretz Yisroel, not to forget about Hashem. Since Hashem had the Goyim build cities for the Yidden, and dig them wells and plant them trees, it might be easy to forget that HASHEM is Who gave them all of these things!

The Yidden shouldn’t worship Avodah Zarah — it will make Hashem upset and He will punish them. Instead, they should be careful to keep all the mitzvos, and Hashem will be happy for the Yidden to live in Eretz Yisroel!

Then Moshe tells us something we know from the Haggadah:

If your son asks you “What are these mitzvos Hashem gave to you?” You should explain — Avadim Hayinu — we were slaves to Paraoh in Mitzrayim, and Hashem took us out so we could go to Eretz Yisroel! Hashem gave us all of these mitzvos so we will stay alive, and it is our zechus to keep them.



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey through Nun-Tes.

In today’s Tehillim, we have a very famous niggun!

Padah BeShalom Nafshi” — Dovid Hamelech said these words thanking Hashem for saving him from his enemies! It says in the posuk, “Ki Berabim Hayu Imadi.” “Because of the many that were with me.”

Why did Dovid Hamelech say this? Because EVERYONE was davening for Dovid to be saved — even his enemies! They knew he was right, and they wanted the machlokes to end. So they davened for Dovid to win — and he did!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Daled

There are two kinds of feelings: Things we feel because we think about them, and things that we don’t need to think about because they are just who we are!

When we think about something and then feel it, we have Chitzonius Halev. But something that is SO much a part of us — we don’t even need to think — it is just who we ARE!! Like if someone is FREEZING cold, they don’t need to think about how cold they are! They feel right away that they need a coat.

Our neshama is like that — it is so close to Hashem, it doesn’t need to think about Him to feel so close! That’s Pnimius Halev.

But because we ALSO love things like games and toys and cars and puzzles and nosh... our neshama is in Golus. It gets blocked from loving Hashem.

So how do we get our neshamos out of Golus?

1) We can do this ourselves: Stop thinking how much we LOVE the Gashmius, think about how we can use the Gashmius to serve Hashem better — like sharing!

2) This we CAN’T do ourselves : But when we daven, Hashem can give us a special present — He can take away that last piece of us that still loves the Gashmius.

That’s “Umol Hashem Es Levovcha” — Hashem gives our heart a “bris milah” to take off the part of us that is keeping the neshama in Golus.

For now, Hashem only does that as a present when we daven, but when Moshiach comes, He will take it away FOREVER!

We will see that the reason Hashem gives us this present during davening is because we give tzedakah. When we give tzedakah and help someone else, Hashem helps us to get out of our Golus, which we can’t get out of ourselves!



Yud Menachem Av

Today’s Hayom Yom teaches us more about the Ahavas Yisroel we are learning about now in Tanya!

In Igeres HakodeshKatonti,” the Alter Rebbe wrote a letter to the Chassidim after he came out of jail on Yud-Tes-Kislev. He said “Don’t be mean to the Misnagdim!”

There are two parts of this letter that are EXTRA-special!

1) The Alter Rebbe said a maamar THREE times called “Kamayim Hapanim.” Then he added a part to the letter!

The maamar talks about how water acts like a mirror, and our hearts act like a mirror too! When we act a certain way to other people, they act that way too to us! When the Chassidim will work on loving the misnagdim, the Misnagdim will love them back, and there will be no more machlokes!

By the way, this did happen! During the time of the Tzemach Tzedek, Chassidim and Misnagdim already lived together peacefully without machlokes. We can learn from this that today, with the power of Kamayim Hapanim, we can overcome differences among Yidden and take away Machlokes!

2) The Alter Rebbe added three words to the end of his letter: “Bemidas Emes LeYaakov” — that the Chassidim have to have this Ahavas Yisroel — but REALLY feel it, be’emes!

The Rebbe Maharash said that if the Alter Rebbe had left out these words, he would have had 50,000 MORE chassidim! But the Alter Rebbe knew it’s easy to just SHOW behavior to others — the Alter Rebbe wanted his Chassidim to REALLY feel that way.



Shiur #22 - Mitzvas Asei #5

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #5) is the same as yesterday’s — that we need to serve Hashem through davening.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת ה׳ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם



Hilchos Tefillah

Perek Beis: We said yesterday that there are 18 brachos in Shmoneh Esrei (that’s what Shmoneh Esrei means — 18!). But if you count them, you will find NINETEEN brachos.

This is because in the time of Raban Gamliel, there were a lot of people who tried to get the Yidden to stop listening to the things the Chachomim said they should do. So Rabban Gamliel added another bracha (Velamalshinim), asking Hashem to stop those people.

In Perek Gimmel, we learn about the right times for each tefillah. If we miss davening in these times, we are supposed to daven Shemoneh Esrei twice in the next tefillah.

Perek Daled: There are five things that we need to take care of before davening, or else we are not allowed to daven:
1) Washing our hands
2) Making sure we are tznius’dik
3) The place has to be appropriate for davening (not in a bathroom or garbage dump)
4) Making sure there is nothing distracting us (like making sure we don’t need to go to the bathroom)
5) Making sure we can have kavana (like not to daven when we are angry)



Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah - Perek Yud

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning the first set of halachos, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah! We learn how to keep the mitzvah of not testing a Navi.



Learning Torah

Erev Pesach (5719), a Lubavitcher boy was standing near the Rebbe’s room. Suddenly the Rebbe came out! When he saw the boy, he asked “Why aren’t you learning?”

The boy answered that it was vacation, and he had no school.

“But why aren’t you learning?” the Rebbe asked again.

The boy was confused, and again said that he had no cheder.

The Rebbe took out a sefer, opened up to the last page, and said: “Do you see how many pages there are in this sefer? Do you see how many seforim there are in the bookshelves? I’m sure you know that there are even MORE seforim that aren’t in the bookshelves! When are you going to get to know all of these seforim if you don’t learn?”

We need to be always learning — not just when it’s school!

From “Haketzarim” — short stories about the Rebbe. With permission


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Kriyas Shema Ketana

The Shema that we say in the beginning of davening is also known as Kriyas Shema Ketana, the “little” Kriyas Shema.

We say this Shema because of a gezeira that was once made against the Yidden.

After the second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, the Yidden were sent into Golus. For hundreds of years, the Persian kings who ruled Bavel left the Yidden alone. But at the end of the time of the Amoraim, the kings started to make cruel decrees against Yiddishkeit.

One of these decrees was that the Yidden could not say Shema in shul, so that they wouldn’t strengthen their emunah in Hashem.

When this decree was made, the Chachomim added Shema to Korbanos. This way, the Yidden would say Shema in the morning before coming to shul.

Even though there is Baruch Hashem no such decree nowadays, we still say this Shema. For many people, especially those who daven with a later minyan or daven ba’arichus, saying this Shema in Korbanos helps them make sure to say Kriyas Shema in its proper time.

In Yechidus, the Rebbe told someone that the paragraphs before this Shema (Le’olam Yehei Adam) and after (Ata Hu) are a preparation and a conclusion to this Shema, similar to the brachos before and after Shema which we say later in davening.

See Masechta Shel Tefillah and Mafteiach L’Sichos Kodesh



Motzei Tisha B'Av

When the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, the Romans started to burn it on Tisha B’Av, and it didn’t stop burning until Yud Av. After the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash, some of the chachomim fasted not just on Tisha B’Av, but also on the next day. But since nowadays we only have enough koach to fast for one day, we just fast on Tisha B’Av.

That’s why usually, even though Tisha B’Av is over, we still keep the minhagim of the Nine Days, like not doing laundry, drinking wine, or swimming, until after Chatzos.

Still, because this year Yud Av is on Friday, we are allowed to get haircuts, do laundry, or take showers even in the morning in honor of Shabbos.

For more halachos of Tisha B’Av, see the Halachos of Tisha B’Av on Shabbos by Badatz of Crown Heights, or the Halacha Newsletter by Rabbi Shmuel Lesches from Melbourne, Australia

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



Seeing Elokus

This week’s Chassidishe Parsha in Likutei Torah, Parsha Vaeschanan, has the most maamorim of all the parshios in Chumash Devarim!

In the first maamar, the Alter Rebbe explains to us why Moshe Rabbeinu wanted so much to go into Eretz Yisroel:

If Moshe Rabbeinu had led the Yidden into Eretz Yisroel, the Yidden would have been able to see Hashem! It would make the Geulah of coming out of Mitzrayim and into Eretz Yisroel a permanent Geulah -- with no other Golus afterwards. It would have been the times of Moshiach, right away!

The Alter Rebbe tells us a story to explain what it means to understand Elokus in a way of Re’iyah, seeing:

One time R’ Avraham Halevi, a talmid of the Arizal, came to his Rebbe the Arizal. When he came, he saw that the Arizal was resting. After about two hours, the Arizal woke up. He told R’ Avraham Halevi what he had seen when he was asleep: He had gone to the Yeshiva Shel Maalah, and seen secrets about the parshios of Balak and Bilaam that he wouldn’t be able to explain, even if he spent 80 years straight speaking!

How is it possible that in two hours of resting the Arizal was able to see something in the Yeshiva Shel Maalah that it would take more than eighty years to say?

It’s because what he learned in the Yeshiva Shel Maalah was in a way of SEEING the secrets of Torah, not hearing them. And seeing something teaches us in a much greater way than ANY amount of explaining!

That’s the way the Yidden would have recognized Elokus if Moshe Rabbeinu would have brought them into Eretz Yisroel, and that’s the way we’ll see Elokus when Moshiach comes!

In order for the Geulah to be something that Yidden earned, Hashem wanted Yehoshua to lead the Yidden into Eretz Yisroel. But it wasn’t a complete Geulah — we were sent into Golus many times after that. And in the end, the complete Geulah will come through OUR work!

Even though the Yidden didn’t get the complete Geulah then, we are now at the very end of Golus. Soon we will be able to experience this kind of SEEING Elokus with the final Geulah, which will never have another Golus afterwards!

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