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Parshas Matos-Masei - Revi'i with Rashi

When there are two parshios together, we always connect the two parshios in the Chumash of Yom Revi’i. So today we finish Parshas Matos and start Parshas Masei.

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned that the Shevatim of Reuven and Gad asked if they could live in the lands of the Emori, but they would fight at the head of all of the Yidden to capture Eretz Yisroel! Today we see how Moshe answered them. We also review the 42 places the Yidden camped in the Midbar.

Moshe Rabbeinu agrees with the compromise: Moshe told the Yidden from Shevet Reuven and Gad that if they do what they said, and fight in front of the Yidden to capture the rest of Eretz Yisroel, then they can have land on the other side of the Yarden. If they don’t, they will be punished by Hashem! Reuven and Gad promised to do that — they will leave their families and animals in Gilad, and come with the rest of the Yidden to fight. So Moshe gave them the land that used to be Sichon’s.

Menasheh also is given land on the other side of the Yarden: Moshe Rabbeinu gave the land of Og to two of the families of Menasheh, even though they hadn’t asked to live there. By splitting up the Shevet everyone could see that this WAS going to be part of Eretz Yisroel, since Shevet Menasheh loved Eretz Yisroel even more than the other Shevatim!

Shevet Gad and Reuven made the cities in Sichon’s land into cities and places for their animals. They changed the names of the cities to show that now they belonged to the Yidden! Shevet Menasheh also captured some more cities, which later also became part of Eretz Yisrael!

Now we start learning Parshas Masei!

We review the travels of the Yidden: The Yidden are about to go in to Eretz Yisroel! So we review the places the Yidden went in the Midbar — 42 stops.

The Torah tells us all of the places the Yidden went through in the Midbar, starting from when the Yidden left Mitzrayim, from Raamses and traveled to Sukkos. The last place they traveled to was Arvos Moav, near the Yarden!



135 - 139

Today’s kapitelach are Kuf-Lamed-Hey until Kuf-Lamed-Tes.

Kapitel Kuf-Lamed-Tes (139) is a very special kapitel. It teaches a person how to serve Hashem — there is no other kapitel that does this in such a special way!

One of the things that Dovid Hamelech says is about how Hashem created Adam HaRishon — “Achor VaKedem Tzartani” — “You created me last and first.”

What does that mean? How can Adam be created last AND first at the same time?!

We will soon learn in Tanya that you can have two opposite things together if they are for different reasons!

The Alter Rebbe explains in Likutei Torah that “Achor” (last) means that he is created on the LAST day of Creation, and he is the lowest madreiga, because he can do an aveira — going AGAINST what Hashem wants. Only a person can do an aveira!

But he is FIRST because he has a neshama, which no other creation has! And even his Guf is also very close and precious to Hashem.

See Likutei Torah Parshas Matos



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Ches

To make sure our teshuvah lasts, we need to feel rachmanus for our neshama, that has to come all the way into the Gashmius world, and we need to remember what happens to the neshama when it does an aveira.

We also learned that aveiros are like clouds that block our neshamos from the light of Hashem.

When we have rachmonus on our neshama by thinking those things, Hashem has rachmanus on us, and fixes up whatever not good things happened from the aveira. And when we think about what happens when we do aveiros (so we’ll never want to do them again), Hashem wipes away our aveiros. It is like a big wind coming and blowing away the clouds, so that we can see the sun again — our connection with Hashem isn’t blocked anymore!

That is called Teshuvah Tata’ah.

We said that the neshama of a Yid has the name of Hashem inside of it, and when a Yid does an aveira, the last hey of Hashem’s name in the neshama goes into Golus. When the Yid does teshuvah, that last Hey goes back and becomes connected with the other letters of Hashem’s name. It is called Teshuvah Tata’ah because tata’ah means the “lower” one — this teshuvah returns the last Hey of Hashem’s name to its proper place.

Now once Hashem “blew away the clouds” of our aveiros with Teshuvah Tata’ah, we are ready for the higher level of Teshuvah, Teshuvah Ila’ah.

What is that?

The neshama becomes connected to Hashem in a much higher way from this Teshuvah.

We said before that our neshama comes from a very strong chayus of Hashem. This chayus is like when a person blows — it takes a lot of chayus, and it comes from very deep inside! Our neshama has a chayus that is very strong, from very close to Hashem.

But there is something even closer than that! When someone blows, they blow the air outside of themselves, so it can go further away. But imagine the air that a person is ABOUT to blow: That is coming from very deep inside, with the same strong chayus, but it doesn’t go further away from the person at all! That is a mashal for how close a person is to Hashem when he does Teshuvah Ila’ah.

Because the Yid was separated from Hashem before, now he feels an EXTRA chayus inside of himself to learn Torah and do mitzvos.

Did you ever lose a toy that you really liked? It probably made you very sad! But what happens when you find it again? You are SO excited, and you like it even MORE now, you take better care of it and you play with it more than you ever did before!

This extra chayus which is in the Teshuvah Ila’ah is what makes a Baal Teshuvah so special — in a way even more special than Tzadikim!

The Rebbe would eat the Seudos of Yom Tov in the Frierdiker Rebbe’s home while Rebbetzin Nechama Dina, the Friediker Rebbe’s Rebbetzin, was still alive. The Rebbe’s brother-in-law the Rashag would be there, and other chassidim too.

Around the time of one Yom Tov, the Rebbe had been speaking at farbrengens about how a Yid doesn’t have to do TWO steps, first Teshuvah Tata’ah and then Teshuvah Ila’ah, but we can go RIGHT to Teshuvah Ila’ah.

The Rashag asked the Rebbe about this, and the Rebbe said that this is a special hora’ah for our time. We have the koach now to go STRAIGHT to the second level of Teshuvah! We don’t even have to think about how sad we are about what happened from the aveira, we can right away feel that we want to become closer to Hashem by learning Torah and doing mitzvos with an extra special chayus!

In the next two perakim we will learn more about how to do Teshuvah Ila’ah in the three areas of Avodas Hashem: Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chasadim.



Chof-Ches Tammuz

A while back in Hayom Yom, we learned how important it is to live in a place with healthy air. If someone is R”L sick, many times they will try to go to a place with better air, so they will become healthier.

In Ruchnius, we also need to have clean air. The air becomes cleaner by us saying words of Torah wherever we go. This way we can feel that we live in a Ruchniusdike atmosphere.

Today the Rebbe tells us that each of the Rebbeim had certain maamorim that they would say over every two or three years just for this reason — to make the Ruchnius air better!

Here are those maamorim:

Alter Rebbe: Heichaltzu (from one of this week’s parshios, Parshas Matos! It is printed in Likutei Torah, with footnotes from the Tzemach Tzedek)

Mitteler Rebbe: Yafa Sha’ah Achas (it’s in the Mitteler Rebbe’s sefer Derech Chayim, explained in the first 10 perakim)

Tzemach Tzedek: Mah Tovu (in Likutei Torah, which we learned in Parshas Balak — it’s about Teshuvah)

Rebbe Maharash: Mi Chamocha BaEilim

Rebbe Rashab: Veyadaata Hayom (it was said in “Moskove Nun-Zayin” — in Moscow. It talks about the koach a Yid has to overcome nisyonos!)



Shiur #334 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #166

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #166) is that a kohen is not allowed to become tomei, 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 Tes, Yud, and Yud-Alef, we learn that there are certain things we do after a person passes away, like saying Mishnayos or lighting a yartzeit licht.

Usually, only someone in the family does these things, but for a Nosi or a Rebbe, EVERYONE should do these things, because the Rebbe is like the Tatty for all Yidden.



Hilchos Tumas Ochalin - Perek Daled

This perek explains the smallest amount of food that is Mekabel Tumah (any amount — even a drop!) and the smallest amount of food that can make other things tomei (at least a Kebeitzah).



Chassidishe Parsha

Just like the Yidden needed Moshe AND Aharon to come out of Mitzrayim, we need Torah and mitzvos (the inyan of Moshe), and ALSO Tefillah (the inyan of Aharon) to get the Geulah!

In the Chassidishe Parsha (the maamarim of the parsha in Likutei Torah) of this week, Parshas Masei, there are a few maamarim explaining the 42 travels (masa’os) of the Yidden.

The Yidden had to travel 42 times to get from Mitzrayim to Eretz Yisroel. Chassidus teaches us that we also have 42 travels — from Golus to Geulah!

We can learn a lot about how to do our avodah to get to Geulah from seeing how the Yidden traveled in the Midbar.

One of the things it says in the Torah is that these travels were done “Beyad Moshe Ve’Aharon” — they were led by Moshe and Aharon. Why does the Torah need to say this? We already know that Moshe and Aharon were leading the Yidden during their time in the Midbar! Why do we have to specifically say their names here?

The Torah is teaching us that when we go on our own “masa’os” to bring the Geulah, we need to make sure that we are going along with Moshe and Aharon!

Moshe Rabbeinu is the one who gave us the Torah. So going with Moshe means bringing Torah and mitzvos with us — following the way Hashem taught us to act.

So that sounds perfect! Do we really need anything else to get to Geulah?

Yes. The Torah teaches us that we need to go along with Aharon too.

Who is Aharon Hakohen? Aharon is the one who spoke to the Yidden and got them excited to keep the Torah. He helped them love each other and helped them love Hashem. When we go with Aharon, that means getting ourselves excited to do what Hashem wants!

And how do we do that? By davening.

When we wake up in the morning, our neshama is asleep. So only our body is awake, and it’s only thinking about what it wants and needs and likes. But we wake it up by davening! We remind ourselves that really, the whole world is made for HASHEM, and we’re ready to do whatever Hashem wants! We ask Hashem for the things we need to do what Hashem asks us to do.

And then, with Moshe and Aharon leading us, we are ready to travel straight to the Geulah!


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Hamaavir Sheina - Vihi Ratzon

We just said the bracha of Hamaavir Sheinah, that Hashem removed the sleep from our eyes so that we are refreshed and ready for another day.

But a day can be ANY kind of day. Some people spend their day kvetching, or looking only for fun and games, or looking for trouble. Hashem didn’t take away our sleepiness for us to do that!

In the next paragraph, that starts with the words Vihi Ratzon, we ask Hashem that today be the RIGHT kind of day! We ask Hashem that our day should be the kind that brings nachas to Hashem and makes other people happy. It should be full of Torah and mitzvos, and we shouldn’t get distracted today by the tricks of the Yetzer Hara. Then we finish the bracha the way we started, by thanking Hashem for His kindness in taking away our sleepiness and giving us kochos for a GREAT day! We say, “Hagomel Chasadim Tovim Le’amo Yisrael,” that Hashem does goodness and kindness to His nation, the Yidden.

In the next paragraph, Yehi Ratzon, we also ask Hashem that our day should be protected from troubles and hardships which can keep us from acting the way a Yid should.

The words of these paragraphs come from private tefillos that Chachomim of the Gemara used to say at the end of Shemoneh Esrei.



Hamaavir Sheina - Vihi Ratzon

The paragraph of Vihi Ratzon, which ends off with a bracha, is really connected to the bracha before, “Hamaavir Sheinah.” This is called a “Bracha Arucha,” a long bracha.

Since both brachos are connected, we don’t say amen until after finishing the whole thing. So we don’t say Amen when we hear someone say Hamaavir Sheina; we only answer Amen at the end of “Hagomel Chasadim Tovim Le’amo Yisrael.”

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



Milchemes Gog U'Magog

Perakim Lamed-Ches and Lamed-Tes of Yechezkel speak about the war of Gog and Magog, a war that will happen when Moshiach comes.

The Rambam says that this war will happen in the beginning of the times of Moshiach, and that Eliyahu Hanavi will come before that.

Who is Gog? Who is Magog? What kind of war is this?

Some Chachomim say it is a Ruchnius’dike war, others say it is a Gashmius’dike war. Some say that Gog and Magog are the names of nations, and others say that it is between two people.

The Rambam writes that this is one of the things that we don’t know.

In many parts of Torah, the Chachomim have a kabbalah — they heard an explanation from their teachers, who heard it from their teachers, who heard it from Moshe Rabbeinu. But with Milchemes Gog Umagog, along with other things that will happen when Moshiach comes, there is no kabbalah. The Chachomim know only what it says in the Neviim.

Even though Yechezkel has many pesukim about this war, they are not written in a clear way. That’s why there are so many different opinions about this war. When Moshiach comes, we will understand what everything meant!

See Yechezkel 38 and 39; Rambam Hilchos Melachim perek Yud-Beis halacha beis

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