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Parshas Devarim - Shlishi with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is reminding the Yidden about more of the things they did wrong in the Midbar, so they won’t make the same mistakes again and are ready to go into Eretz Yisroel. Today Moshe reminds them about the story with the Meraglim.

The Meraglim: When the Yidden first had the idea to send Meraglim to go look at Eretz Yisroel, to see if it was as special as Moshe Rabbeinu kept telling them, Moshe was happy to say yes. He hoped that by saying yes, the Yidden would see how he was so excited to let them see Eretz Yisroel, and they would understand that it is VERY good!

But this didn’t help — they didn’t believe that Moshe was telling the truth about how wonderful Eretz Yisroel is. They wanted the spies to go make sure before they went. So the Meraglim went — but they were just looking for things to complain about. They tried to convince the Yidden that it would be too hard to go into Eretz Yisroel!

Only Yehoshua and Kalev told the Yidden not to worry, that Eretz Yisroel is good, but the Yidden decided to believe the Meraglim. They cried that Hashem hated them and was trying to take them to a bad place where their children would be killed fighting!

Moshe told the Yidden to trust in Hashem — but they still didn’t want to go. Hashem was upset at what happened, and NONE of those Yidden, only their children, would be allowed to go into Eretz Yisroel!



29 - 34

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Chof-Tes through Lamed-Daled.

In today’s Hayom Yom, we have an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Sur MeRa Ve’asei Tov!”

Once at a farbrengen, the Rebbe taught another explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on the same posuk:

Sur Me’Ra: When a person has the Yetzer Hara to do something not good because he wants kavod or he has a taavah, he has to turn away from the thing that he shouldn’t be doing.

Ve’Asei Tov: Then he should use that energy to do something good!

For example, let’s say that Shmerel is angry at Berel. He wants to jump up and tell his whole bunk how awful Berel is! First, he should do Sur Me’Ra and stop himself from saying something not nice. Then he should do Asei Tov, and use that koach to tell the bunk a story about the Rebbe instead!

See farbrengen Yud-Beis Tammuz 5743, second sicha



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Yud-Alef

A Yid always needs to be besimcha! Even if he did an aveira, he STILL needs to always be besimcha!

If he’s thinking about the aveira he did (Teshuva Tata’ah), he should be happy since he knows that Hashem for sure forgives him!

And of course, when he is learning Torah and doing mitzvos with an extra chayus (Teshuvah Ila’ah), then he is FOR SURE besimcha!

Now the Alter Rebbe tells us one more thing where a Yid might think that he should be sad — but even then, he needs to be besimcha! What is that?

Dovid Hamelech says in Tehillim that we should always remember our aveiros (Vechatasi Negdi Somid). If a person is always remembering his aveiros, won’t he get sad?

The Alter Rebbe says no! Really, it’s just the opposite! That’s a GREAT reason to be besimcha!


Dovid Hamelech isn’t saying that you need to THINK about your aveiros all the time, just that you should remember that they exist.

Instead, any time when someone does something you don’t like, or something happens from Hashem that you don’t like, you can remember your aveiros and say “Zol Zain A Kaparah!” Any time something happens that doesn’t seem so good, you can think about that aveira for a second and say, “OK Hashem, now You gave me a kapara for the aveira!”

So when Dovid Hamelech says to remember our aveiros, it doesn’t mean to be always thinking about them to make us sad, just that we should always remember that they exist. This will help us accept uncomfortable things in life happily!

We’ll see more about this IY”H tomorrow!



Hey Menachem Av

Today we learn an explanation of the Baal Shem Tov on a posuk from today’s Tehillim.

Dovid Hamelech tells us “Sur Me’Ra, Va’asei Tov, Bakeish Shalom Verodfeihu” — “stay away from bad, and do good, and try to make shalom.” (This is in the last kapitel of today’s Tehillim!)

The Baal Shem Tov explains that in every gashmius thing in this world, there’s a part which is good and a part which is bad. The part that’s bad is the selfish feelings (taavah) that a person has for the thing. The good part is the chayus of Hashem that we get from the Gashmius!

This is what the Tehillim is saying: Stay away from the selfish part, and look for the GOOD part, the chayus from Hashem that is in it!

Then, we have to make shalom between the Gashmius thing itself and the Ruchnius (the chayus of Hashem that is in it). When we make shalom, both things stay — the chayus of Hashem which is the good in it, and the Gashmius thing itself. That means that we use the Gashmius thing the way that Hashem wants it to be used, that it should help us serve Hashem!

This approach to Gashmius is a chiddush of the Baal Shem Tov. Until then, people thought that they should go away from Gashmius completely. Here the Baal Shem Tov shows us that we don’t need to go away from the Gashmius entirely, just away from the BAD part of the Gashmius. Then we can use the Gashmius in a way of shalom with the Ruchnius!



Shiur #76 - Mitzvas Asei #212

Today we learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #212) to have children.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bereishis: פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Yevamos perek Vov.



Hilchos Ishus

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the things a wife has to do for her husband. One of them is that she’s not allowed to do NOTHING all day, even if she is very rich! That’s because when people do nothing, it usually makes them end up doing things that aren’t good…



Hilchos Gezeilah VaAveidah - Perek Zayin

Now the Rambam teaches us the halachos about how a person does teshuvah for making a not true promise in a Beis Din that he doesn’t owe someone money. When he admits the truth, he has to pay back the amount he lied about, plus an extra fifth.

icon of clock


Hey Menachem Av

Today is the Yartzeit of a very special Tzadik, the Arizal. There are many things we need to learn from the life of the Arizal.

The Arizal didn’t live for a long time, only for 38 years! But he taught SO MANY secrets of the Torah, that much of the Chassidus we learn today is based on it!

Until the time of the Arizal, only very special people could learn Kabbalah, the secrets of the Torah. The Arizal said that now we are very close to Moshiach! Now it is okay, and even a MITZVAH to teach EVERYONE the secrets of Torah.

The Rebbe tells us that there are a few things that all of us should learn from the Arizal and make hachlatos about today:

1) The Arizal used to sweat when he learned because he put in so much energy and effort in his learning. We should learn from the Arizal and put in a lot of effort when we learn Torah!

2) The Arizal would give a lot of money to tzedakah. We should also learn from the Arizal, and make hachlatos on his yartzeit to give a lot of Tzedakah too!

3) The Arizal said that all he had in Ruchnius was because of the simcha he had from doing a mitzvah. We should learn from this to also serve Hashem with simcha!

4) The Arizal said that every Yid’s neshama needs to fulfill all of the mitzvos, and until then it is missing something. We should take on a hachlata to keep all of the mitzvos of the Torah!

The Rebbe also reminds us that when we LEARN all of the mitzvos — like when we learn Rambam — it’s like we are doing them all!

The Arizal also said that every person should learn all the different parts of Torah — Pshat, Remez, Drush, and Sod. If it’s too hard to learn ourselves, we should try to get a teacher to help us.

The day of a yartzeit of a tzadik brings down a bracha from Hashem to help the Yidden in the things they need. This is especially true in the Nine Days when we need extra help! The yartzeit of the Arizal helps us overcome the hardships of the Golus and to bring the Geulah.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Tes p. 251 and Toras Menachem 5749, vol. 4, p. 117

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Mah Tovu

Right after Hareini Mekabel, we say three pesukim that are an introduction to davening. These pesukim show us what is happening in our davening in three ways, called Olam, Shana, and Nefesh.

1) Olam — the place of davening: “Mah Tovu Oholecha Yaakov” — “The tents of the Yidden are so good!” We say that the Olam, the place we are davening in, is special! (Some people have a minhag to say Mah Tovu when they come into shul!)

2) Nefesh — the chayus of Hashem: “Va’ani Berov Chasdecha Avo Veisecha” — “I come to Your house with Your great chesed.” We say that Hashem is giving us the Nefesh, the kochos to daven!

3) Shana — the time of davening: “Va’ani Sefilasi Lecha Hashem Eis Ratzon” — “My tefillah should come to Hashem at the right time.” We say that the Shana, the time of our davening is an Eis Ratzon, a special time to connect our neshama to Hashem and make it stronger!

It is explained in Kabbalah that everything in the world has these three things — Olam, Shana, and Nefesh, a place, a time, and a nefesh (chayus) inside of it. In the beginning of davening, we say and think about how when we daven, we are there completely — in all parts of creation: We are in a special place in shul or in our home, at a special time of Tefillah, and Hashem gives our neshama the kochos it needs to be able to daven!

The three pesukim are in the order we find them in Torah: The first posuk, “Mah Tovu,” is from Parshas Balak, the second posuk is from Tehillim, Kapitel Hey, and the third posuk is also from Tehillim, Kapitel Samach-Tes.



Learning a Perek Tanya Before Davening

In Shulchan Aruch it teaches that before davening, a person should think about how great Hashem is, and how small a person is compared to Hashem. This will help us feel humble before Hashem.

In order to keep this halacha, some Chassidim had a minhag to learn a perek of Tanya before davening.

The Rebbe said that this is a very good minhag, and asked that all Chassidim keep it!

By first thinking about the words of Tanya, we will daven with the proper bittul (humility) we should have when we stand before Hashem in tefillah.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tzadik Ches; and Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos 5749, vol. 3, p. 68

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



Who Will Build the Third Beis Hamikdash?

Yesterday we learned that the Zohar and Rashi (based on a Medrash) say that the Beis Hamikdash is already built and is just going to come down from Shomayim.

There is another opinion, though, that says that WE will have to build the Beis Hamikdash!

The Gemara in Yerushalmi says that the Yidden who leave Golus will come and build the Beis Hamikdash. There is also a Medrash that says that Moshiach will build it.

The Rambam brings this as a halacha, in Hilchos Melachim:

In the beginning of Perek Yud-Alef, the Rambam says, “Hamelech HaMoshiach Asid Laamod Ulehachzir Malchus Dovid Leyoshna … Uboneh Hamikdash!” Moshiach will get up and bring back Malchus Beis Dovid to the way it used to be … and he will build the Beis Hamikdash!

The Rambam says this again at the end of the perek. One of the signs to know that Moshiach is really Moshiach (Moshiach Vadai) is if he builds the Beis Hamikdash! So we see that it will be Moshiach’s job to get the Beis Hamikdash built.

Now we have two opinions. Which one will it be?

The Rebbe has an answer! Over the next few days we will IY”H see that it is BOTH.

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