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Parshas Devarim - Chamishi with Rashi

Moshe reviewed with the Yidden about more of their time in the Midbar. He reminded them about all of the nations they tried to pass through on their way to Eretz Yisroel.

Edom: The Yidden asked Edom (Eisav’s family) if they could go through their land. Edom didn’t want to let the Yidden pass through. Hashem told the Yidden not to fight with them, since He had promised Eisav that he could stay there until Moshiach comes. So they turned around and went to the land of Moav.

Moav: Hashem also told the Yidden not to fight with Moav, from the family of Lot. They were allowed to show they had weapons and scare them, since Moav wasn’t acting the way Hashem wanted.

It took a long time until the Yidden got to the next nation. The Yidden had to travel for 38 years! This way, all of the Yidden who came out of Mitzrayim would pass away, and only their children would go into Eretz Yisroel.

Ammon: Then the Yidden passed near Ammon, also from Lot’s family. To reward Lot’s daughter, the mother of the nation of Ammon, for her tznius, Hashem didn’t even let the Yidden scare them.

Emori: But the Yidden WOULD be allowed to fight with the Emori — where Sichon and Og were the kings. First the Yidden tried to ask them nicely if they could pass through their land, but Sichon said no. (IY”H tomorrow we will review what happened with Sichon in the end!)



35 - 38

Today’s kapitelach are Lamed-Hey, Lamed-Vov, Lamed-Zayin, and Lamed-Ches.

In Kapitel Lamed-Zayin, Dovid Hamelech says, “MeiHashem Mitzadei Gever Konanu” — “Hashem decides where each person goes,” “Vedarko Yechpatz” — “and He wants His way.”

Chassidus teaches that these two things are connected: Because Hashem wants His way, THAT’S why He decides where each person goes. Hashem puts us into each place to do His special shlichus there.

So when we end up somewhere with Hashgacha Protis, we need to remember that we’re there because Hashem has a job for us to do there, and make sure to look out for it and do it right!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Beis

The Alter Rebbe had a very special Shlichus from Hashem: To bring Chassidus Chabad to the world!

There were some Yidden who were against this, and tried to make it very hard for the Alter Rebbe to do this mission. They made lots of problems for the Chassidim as well. Because of this, the Alter Rebbe was put in prison, and it was a big sakana for Chassidim and Chassidus.

After he came out of prison, the Alter Rebbe wrote this letter. He told the Chassidim that what happened was a tremendous chesed from Hashem! When Hashem does a chesed for a person, it makes him closer to Hashem! And the closer a person is to Hashem, the more humble he should feel.

Because of that, it isn’t right to say not nice things to the people who were against Chassidus, even though their plan didn’t work and the Alter Rebbe was freed from prison.

Now that Hashem did this big neis, Chassidim should be humble and not talk in that kind of way. They should have truly good midos and show Ahavas Yisroel to those who were against the Alter Rebbe — and then maybe they will be nice back, and there will be shalom and Achdus!

One of the things we can learn from today’s Tanya, is that it is important to have Ahavas Yisroel no matter what anybody does to us!



Vov Menachem Av

After the Alter Rebbe came out of prison on Yud-Tes Kislev, he said a very short maamar for the Mitteler Rebbe — but even though it is so short, there is a lot we can learn from it!

The posuk says “Se’u Yedeichem Kodesh, Uvorachu Es Hashem. Yevorechecha Hashem MiTzion Osei Shomayim Va’aretz.” “Pick up your hands in Kedusha, and bentch Hashem. Hashem should bentch you from Tzion — Hashem, Who made the heaven and the earth!”

The Alter Rebbe explained this posuk according to Chassidus:

Yedeichem (your hands) can also mean midos, since our arms are close to our heart, the place of our midos.

Uvorachu (and you should bentch) and Yevarechcha (He should bentch you) also mean to bring down into the world.

Tzion (which usually is talking about Yerushalayim) can mean the deepest part of a Yid’s neshama, which is also called Tzion.

Here’s how the Alter Rebbe explained the posuk:

Se’u Yedeichem Kodesh” — Lift up your midos in holiness! Make sure that the midos are behaving according to what the sechel knows is right, and that what the sechel knows shines into the midos. “Uvorachu Es Hashem” — this will bring down the name of Hashem into the world!

When that happens, “Yevorechecha Hashem MiTzion” — the deepest part of the neshama will also be able to shine in the world, “Osei Shomayim Va’aretz” — and will make it the world able to exist.

When we learn Chassidus and act like a Chossid, it brings chayus not just to ourselves, but to the entire world!



Shiur #32 - Mitzvas Asei #19

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the same mitzvah again (Mitzvas Asei #19) — to thank Hashem after we eat — that’s bentching!

We learn this from a very famous posuk in Parshas Eikev, which we also say in bentching: וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ

It means, “And you will eat, and you will be full, and you will bentch Hashem.”

The halachos about this mitzvah were first written down in Gemara Brachos. The Rambam put it in order in the halachos of brachos in Sefer Ahava, which we are learning now. The practical halacha which we follow is in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim (the first section), from siman Kuf-Pey-Beis and on, and the Alter Rebbe’s final version is in Seder Birchos Hanehenin.



Hilchos Brachos

Perek Daled: We learn when a person might need to make a bracha again. For example, if you decided to bentch, and then changed your mind and wanted to eat again, you would need to make another bracha — even if you hadn’t bentched yet.

Another halacha we learn is that if you made a bracha and the food got ruined before you could eat it, you should say “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso Le’olam Va’ed” right away. By speaking about the kavod of Hashem right after saying the bracha, the bracha is not counted as being said for no reason.

Perek Hey: In this perek, we learn who is chayav in bentching. Children need to bentch because of Chinuch.

We also learn about making a mezuman.

Perek Vov: In this perek, we learn about washing our hands for a seudah, and Mayim Acharonim. The Rambam says that Netilas Yodayim for a seudah is a mitzvah from the Chachomim, but Mayim Acharonim is for a sakana, so you need to be even MORE careful with Mayim Acharonim!



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim - Perek Vov

Now we will learn the halachos about Maaser. First we review the halachos about the order of giving Terumah and maaser:

1) First we pick whatever grew and prepare it to be used. (For example, we separate the wheat kernels, or we squeeze the juice from the grapes.)

2) Then we take 1/50th for Terumah Gedolah, which goes to the Kohen.

3) Next we take 1/10th of what’s left for Maaser Rishon, which goes to the Levi. (He needs to take Terumas Hamaaser, 1/10th of what he got, for the Kohen.)

4) Finally, we take another 1/10th of what is left for Maaser Sheini. On the first, second, fourth, and fifth years after Shemitah, this is for the owner to eat in Yerushalayim. On the 3rd and 6th years, it is Maaser Oni — for the poor.

When a person has Maaser Oni, he needs to give any poor person that comes to his field at least enough to make him full. If he has a poor relative or friend, he can set aside up to half of the Maaser for him. If he has Maaser Ani at home, he can go give it to a certain person if he wants, or else he needs to give at least a kezayis to anyone who comes and asks.



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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Adon Olam

As a general introduction to davening, we remind ourselves WHO we are about to daven to!

Adon Olam is a beautiful song written by the Chachomim who lived after the times of the Gemara, Rabbeinu Yehuda Hachassid, Rabbeinu Hai Gaon, and Rabbeinu Sherira Gaon.

It is brought in the Shaloh and other sefarim that saying this tefillah before davening is a segulah that a person’s tefillah should be answered.

Adon Olam speaks about the greatness of Hashem. When we pay attention to what these words mean, we will feel how special it is to daven!

See Shaar Hakolel, perek Gimmel, se’if Daled



B"H on Letters

When you ask a Yid how he is feeling, what does he answer? Boruch Hashem!

Yidden are always thinking about Hashem, and are used to mentioning Hashem’s name often.

It is a minhag by Yidden that when we write something, we first mention Hashem. We write Boruch Hashem (B”H), Besiyata Dishmaya (BS”D), or something else like this.

We even do this on papers that have nothing to do with Torah. That’s because, really, the WHOLE world is full of the kavod of Hashem! There is nothing that doesn’t have to do with Hashem and His Torah. By writing B”H or BS”D on a letter, we are reminding ourselves how EVERYTHING is connected to Hashem!

See Likutei Sichos vol. 6, p. 190, Shulchan Menachem vol. 5, p. 218

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?

There are two opinions in Torah about the third Beis Hamikdash. Rashi and Tosfos bring from the Zohar and the Medrash, saying that the Beis Hamikdash will come down from Shomayim! The Rambam paskens the halacha based on the Gemara Yerushalmi and a different Medrash, saying that Moshiach will build the third Beis Hamikdash.

Which is it?

The Rebbe tells us that both are true!

Here is one explanation the Rebbe gives:

The Rambam is a sefer of halacha. That means that the Rambam only talks about the things that Yidden need to do. The Rambam tells us that it is our job to work to build the Beis Hamikdash!

But we won’t be building the WHOLE Beis Hamikdash. There is also a Beis Hamikdash of Hashem in Shomayim, that will come down and become part of our Gashmius’dike Beis Hamikdash! That will make it HASHEM’s building, and because of it, this Beis Hamikdash will be different than the other two. It will last forever!

We see an example for this in the Beis Hamikdash itself! Hashem sends down a fire from Shomayim to burn up the korbanos, but it is still a mitzvah for a kohen to light a fire on the Mizbeiach. Once we light a fire down here, Hashem sends down His fire onto the Mizbeiach.

(The Rambam doesn’t tell us that part, because it isn’t halacha, it isn’t something WE need to do! We learn about it from other places in Torah! The Zohar and the Medrash tell us about the part of the Beis Hamikdash which will be GIVEN to us from Hashem, and will make it a Beis Hamikdash that will last forever!)

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