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Parshas Haazinu - Shishi with Rashi

Today we are going to finish the song/poem of Haazinu:

Hashem let the Goyim hurt the Yidden when they weren’t acting good
But the Goyim didn’t have to be so mean — they did more than they should!

Now Hashem is going to need to punish THEM instead
“I was only angry with the Yidden for a while,” is what Hashem said.

Harninu Goyim AmoGoyim, listen to how great the Yidden are!
Even though they suffered in Golus near and far

They STILL knew that it was good, they trusted in Hashem
And He will take revenge now on anyone who was hurting them!



39 - 43

Today’s shiur Tehillim is Lamed-Tes to Mem-Gimmel. We also say kapitelach Kuf-Vov, Kuf-Zayin, and Kuf-Ches as the three kapitelach we add until Yom Kippur.

In one of today’s Kapitelach Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Ach Betzelem Yis’halech Ish.” It means that people don’t understand what to do in the world, it’s like a person walking in the dark, who can’t see where he is going.

The word “tzelem” (darkness) also means image (picture)! So we can translate the posuk as “Only with the picture can a person go.” What picture? A picture of the Rebbe! When we see a picture of the Rebbe, it reminds us how we’re supposed to be, and gives us the koach to do our shlichus with simcha!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof

If you learn the maamarim of the Alter Rebbe, you will see one question over and over: “Why did Hashem take a neshama that is so close to Hashem, and send it into a world where Hashem is so hidden?”

In every maamar, there is another answer, but you see the same question again in the next maamar! Why? Because this is something that should always bother us, and we always need to think about the reason why our neshamos are in the world.

In this Igeres Hakodesh, which was written just a few days before the Alter Rebbe finished his shlichus in this world and his neshama went back to Hashem, the Alter Rebbe answers this question. This time, it is explained in a NEW way!

The Alter Rebbe teaches us how Hashem created the world — about all the Ruchniyus’dike “worlds” with malachim. Still, there is nothing greater than how Hashem made Gashmius, and for a Yid to do a mitzvah with it!

When we learn this, we will feel how special it is for us to have a chance to do a mitzvah and help other Yidden do mitzvos. Knowing this will help us to do mitzvos besimcha, even when it is hard! By doing this, we will all be able SEE Hashem in the world very soon, with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu!



Zayin Tishrei

We are learning about the five steps to do teshuvah, which are hinted to in the five letters of the word Teshuvah!

So far, we learned about:

- Tof: Using our Koach of Tmimus — being serious about living the way Hashem wants us to

- Shin: Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid — thinking about how Hashem is right here with us

- Vov: Ve’ahavta LeReiacha Kamocha — using the goodness inside of us to love another Yid, which makes us closer to Hashem

Today we will learn another tool, that is the Beis in the world teshuvah. There is a posuk, “Bechol Derachecha Do’eihu” — “in everything we do, we should know Hashem.”

All day, when we are doing things — like going to the store with our Mommy, or going to a friend’s house, or working outside — we see how things happen with Hashgacha Protis. On our way to the store, we might meet someone we were looking for, or at our friend’s house, we might be able to help with something that only we could do.

We see how Hashem made everything happen exactly the way He did for a reason. Business people, who spend a lot of their time dealing with the world, are especially able to see this! When we see Hashem in everything we do, we think about Hashem and it helps us decide to live the way He wants. Thinking about this is a part of teshuva.



Shiur #78 - Mitzvas Asei #222

Today’s Sefer Hamitzvos is (Mitzvas Asei #222) that if chas veshalom a man and woman can’t be married anymore, the husband has to give his wife a get. (A get is a paper that shows that they are not married anymore.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Gitin.



Hilchos Girushin

In today’s Rambam, we learn many halachos about a get. There are many details in writing and giving a get in a kosher way.

One interesting halacha is that there needs to be witnesses for the get. They have to sign their names on the get. But what if they don’t know how to write? We can write their names with water on the paper, and they can trace over it. Usually this isn’t a kosher way for eidim (witnesses) to sign, but it is OK for a get because we want to make sure that the woman can get married again.

Another very important halacha is that a man needs to WANT to give the get. If he doesn’t want to, but he needs to, the Beis Din is allowed to force him until he says “I want to!”

But if you force someone until they say yes, they don’t really want it!

The Rambam tells us that really EVERY Yid wants to do all the mitzvos. Sometimes our Yetzer Haras trick us and try to get us not to do the right thing, but really we DO want to do the right thing. When the Beis Din forces the man, his Yetzer Hara becomes weak, and what the Yid really wants comes out! He realizes that he DOES want to do the mitzvah and give the get like the Torah tells him to.

The Rebbe would repeat this halacha often, to show that every Yid deep down really wants to do all of the mitzvos!



Hilchos Tefillah, Tefillin U'Mezuzah V'Sefer Torah - Perek Alef

There are 10 things that Tefillin need to have in order to be kosher. (Many of these halachos are also for mezuzos and Sifrei Torah, which is why these halachos are all in the same set of halachos.) The first two are about how they are made:

1) They need to be written with ink: We make ink by mixing soot from burning candles with sap and honey, crushing it into powder, and drying it. We mix it with a liquid (like gallnut juice) and write with that. The ink has to be BLACK — if even one letter is written in another color, even gold, they are posul!

2) They have to be written on parchment: Parchment is made from the skin of an animal, which we soak to make it get smaller and harder. Once it is ready, it is called g’vil. G’vil can be separated into two parts — klaf (the outside part touching the hair of the animal) and duchsustos (the inside part touching the meat). It is best to write a Sefer Torah on g’vil, a mezuzah on duchsustos, and Tefillin on klaf. (Nowadays, we only use g’vil, with some of the top and most of the bottom rubbed off. This makes it a lighter color.)

The Rambam also teaches us about the kavana the sofer needs to have when he is writing. If he writes Hashem’s name without thinking about the kedusha of Hashem, the whole thing is posul!



Aseres Yemei Teshuvah

The Navi Yeshaya told the Yidden in one of his nevuos, “Dirshu Hashem Behimatzo,” you should look for Hashem when He can be found. “Kra’uhu Bihiyoso Karov,” you should call Him when He is close.

The Gemara asks, “When is the time that Hashem is found and is close? These are the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur” — the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

In a sicha, the Rebbe explains that the time of the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah is like finding a treasure. When you find something, you are getting more than what you worked for!

During the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem is “found” (behimatzo), like finding a treasure. Hashem gives us more than what we deserve, by filling up anything that we were missing, and in a way of “karov,” closeness.

Even though the time is special by itself, if we USE the time by searching out Hashem (dirshu) and calling out to Hashem (kra’uhu), we can get even more!

The Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Groner A”H, once came into the Rebbe’s yechidus room to help with something. The Rebbe told him, “Now is an Eis Ratzon Milmaalah, a special time in Shomayim. Hashem is giving without limits! You just have to put out a container so the hashpa’ah doesn’t get wasted.” (Sipurim MeCheder HaRebbe p. 77)

The Aseres Yemei Teshuvah is also one of these times! We need to use the time to call out to Hashem and use this special time in the best possible way.

See Hisvaaduyos Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin vol. 1, p. 59


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Shir Hamaalos Mimaamakim

In the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, we add many pieces in Shemoneh Esrei. We also add a kapitel of Tehillim after Pesukei DeZimra, before starting the Birchos Kriyas Shema. This kapitel starts with the words “Shir Hamaalos, Mimaamakim Kerasicha Hashem.” “A song of going higher, from the deep places I called out to You, Hashem.”

Why do we say this kapitel?

In Likutei Torah, the Alter Rebbe explains that before a neshama comes into a body, it feels very close to Hashem. But when it comes into a body, that feeling gets hidden. For most of the year, we aren’t thinking about that strong love for Hashem.

In the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem comes very close to Yidden. This kapitel gives us the words to tell Hashem how we feel. A Yid calls out from the deepest part of the neshama, “Hashem, listen to my voice! Hear the strong love for You that is hiding inside of me, and bring me close to You.”

With this deep and strong feeling, we can decide that we are going to behave the way Hashem wants from us the whole year!

Not only that, but because this feeling comes from such a deep place in our neshama, it brings us a chayus from Hashem that is ALSO very deep! This chayus is so strong that it can fill in and fix up the mistakes and the wrong things we did during the year, so that the chayus and brachos of Hashem that need to come into the year are complete.

See Likutei Torah, dibur hamas’chil Shir Hamaalos




It was a minhag by the Rebbeim to light a “Teshuvah Licht” for Shabbos Shuva.

We need to work harder to do teshuvah for “maybe” aveiros, things we weren’t sure were wrong.

During the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, Hashem is very close to us, and He WANTS to forgive us for everything we did wrong during the year. Hashem WANTS us to do teshuvah so He can seal the judgment for a good year!

So during these days, we think about the things we did wrong during the year. We tell Hashem we are sorry, and we decide that we will act differently from now on.

Some things we KNOW we did wrong. We know that playing video games instead of davening is wrong! We know that getting into a fight with our brother is wrong! When we think about those things, we will really feel bad, and make a hachlata to change.

But then there are things that we aren’t sure were wrong. If we ate the candy without checking for a hechsher first, it MIGHT have been kosher, right? And speaking that way to our parents — was it REALLY chutzpadik, or maybe it wasn’t so bad? And it might not be so terrible that we took her crayons without asking — she wouldn’t mind, right?

For those kind of things, we need to work HARDER to do teshuvah! Since we aren’t sure they were wrong at all, we don’t feel so bad about them. But until we realize that they were wrong, we can’t do a proper teshuvah!

We need to think about how it is wrong to be careless about these mitzvos, since an aveira is such a serious thing. We decide that we will be much more careful in the future!

In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, we brought korbanos as part of doing teshuvah. Because it is harder to do teshuvah for a “maybe” aveira, the korban for this kind of aveira (an Asham Talui) was more expensive than the korban for an aveira that we were sure about (a Korban Chatas)!

From here we see that the teshuvah for a “maybe” aveira needs to be STRONGER than the teshuvah for an aveira we are sure we did wrong.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Reish-Gimmel

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



Preparing for Moshiach

The Chabad House in S Paolo, Brazil, would print a monthly newspaper. When they were preparing the 100th issue, after almost 8 years of printing it every month, they wrote to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe was very happy to hear about this, and gave them a bracha to reach 200 issues!

But a person might wonder — another 100 issues will take so many years. Won’t Moshiach be here by then?

The Rebbe explained that even when Moshiach comes, we will need to be teaching Yidden Torah!

The best way to prepare for Moshiach is by doing things like this, that help Yidden understand Torah and do actual mitzvos!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Gimmel, p. 486-487

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