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Parshas Ki Savo - Rishon with Rashi

Today we learn about the mitzvah of Bikurim.

Let’s review: On Rosh Chodesh Shevat, only a few months before Zayin Adar (the end of Moshe Rabbeinu’s shlichus as a neshama in a guf), Moshe Rabbeinu gathered the Yidden together and made a long farbrengen with them. In it, he rebuked them for the not such good things they did in the Midbar, so they won’t do them again, reviewed the mitzvos they had already learned, and taught them new mitzvos they would get to keep in Eretz Yisroel. Moshe Rabbeinu was making sure the Yidden were ready for their shlichus in the next generation and in the future generations to come.

This week, we will learn many more mitzvos, and also be inspired to do all of the mitzvos, by hearing about all of the brachos we will have for doing them.

Bikurim: When you will come into Eretz Yisroel, you will send out all of the nations who live there now, and give out the different parts of land to each of the Shevatim. Then, once all of you have a part of Eretz Yisroel, you will be able to do a very special mitzvahBikurim!

You will do this mitzvah by bringing the first fruit from the Shiva Minim — the seven kinds of fruit that Eretz Yisroel was given a special bracha for: Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.

When you will see that one of these kinds of fruits is starting to get ripe, you should tie a string around it to remember which one it is. When it is ready to pick, you should put it into a special basket, and bring it to the Beis Hamikdash!

In the Beis Hamikdash, you will go to one of the Kohanim, and thank Hashem for giving you Eretz Yisroel. Then together with the Kohen, you should wave the basket of fruit (like a Lulav!) in front of the Mizbeiach.

If you are bringing the Bikurim during the time of the harvest, after Shavuos but before Sukkos is over, you should say a special paragraph (that we also say in the Haggadah!) to thank Hashem that you are in Eretz Yisroel, where you are safe — not like Yaakov in Lavan’s house, or like the Yidden in Mitzrayim! Then wave the basket of Bikurim again, this time by yourself, and bow to Hashem. Then the Kohanim will be able to take the fruits home to eat.

The inyan of this mitzvah is Hakoras Hatov, appreciating good things that are done for us. Hashem tells us not only to feel it, but to say thank you!



77 - 78

Today’s kapitelach are Ayin-Zayin and Ayin-Ches. For Elul, we also say kapitelach Mem-Gimmel, Mem-Daled, and Mem-Hey.

Kapitel Ayin-Ches talks about all of the Nissim that Hashem did for the Yidden, from the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim until Dovid Hamelech became the king.

In the first posuk that talks about Dovid Hamelech, it says “Vayivchar BeDovid Avdo, Vayikacheihu Mimichle’os Tzon.” “Hashem chose Dovid, and He took him from the sheep pens.”

Rashi explains how Dovid Hamelech took such special care of the sheep:

When Dovid Hamelech was taking care of the sheep, he noticed that not all of the sheep were getting food to eat! The big strong sheep would run very fast into the field and eat as much as they wanted. Then the older sheep and the baby sheep would come into the field, but there was no more soft grass left! The hard grass was hard for them to eat, so they were hungry.

So Dovid Hamelech built fences to keep the sheep in. He put the strong sheep behind one fence, the baby sheep behind another fence, and the older sheep behind the last fence.

When they went to a new field, Dovid Hamelech first let out the baby sheep. They ran into the field and ate the very soft grass that was easy for their baby teeth to chew. Then Dovid Hamelech let the older sheep come in. There was plenty of softer grass left for them, and they ate until they were full. Finally, Dovid Hamelech let the strong sheep come into the field. Even though most of the grass that was left was very hard and chewy, they were happy to eat it all up.

Hashem saw that Dovid Hamelech is careful to take care of every single sheep in the way they need, and knew that someone who takes good care of even a little sheep will also take care of every single Yid! That’s why Hashem chose Dovid to be the king of the Yidden.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Tes-Vov

Every Yid’s neshama has the Eser Sefiros of Hashem, because the neshama is part of Hashem!

That’s why the posuk says, “Mibesori Echezeh Elokah” — “I can see Hashem from (looking at) myself.” By looking at the way things are in ourselves and in our neshama, we can understand the Eser Sefiros of Hashem!

Of course we know that the kochos of the neshama are just a MASHAL for the Eser Sefiros, since we are Gashmius’dike people, and have to have a Gashmius shape and size and place and other limits. The Eser Sefiros, though, are Ein Sof, without any limits!

We might think that this is the only difference: The kochos of our neshama are like the Eser Sefiros, except that we have limits and the Eser Sefiros are Ein Sof.

But really, the difference between our kochos and the Eser Sefiros are much more than that!

The Alter Rebbe heard an explanation about this from the Maggid, based on what the Torah tells us Avraham Avinu said: “VaAnochi Afar Va’eifer,” “I am like dust and ashes.” Avraham Avinu was saying that even though his midah was the midah of chesed, which comes from the chesed of Atzilus; still, compared to the chesed in the Eser Sefiros of Atzilus where it comes from, it was like his chesed was dust and ashes!

What is Afar Va’eifer, dust and ashes?

Ashes are what is left after we burn wood. Does that mean that ashes are the same as a tree?

Imagine a big, beautiful fruit tree growing. It has big wide branches, thick green leaves, and juicy, delicious fruit. Can you compare that tree to the black ashes that are left if the wood of the tree is burned?

Of course not!

Even though the ashes are from the wood of the tree, we all understand that we can’t really compare them to the beautiful tree itself!

The same way, Avraham Avinu was saying that his midah of chesed the way it came into his guf was like dust and ashes compared to the midah of chesed of Hashem the way it is in Atzilus!

From that we can understand that even though our neshama can be a mashal in some way for the Eser Sefiros, really they are not the same thing at all!

Once we know this, we are ready to start learning the rest of the Igeres, with a mashal from our neshama to the Sefiros the way they are in Atzilus.



Tes-Vov Elul

Today is a very special day!

The Lubavitcher Yeshiva, Tomchei Tmimim was started by the Rebbe Rashab, just two days after the Frierdiker Rebbe’s chasuna! It was Sunday, Tes-Vov Elul in the year Tof-Reish-Nun-Zayin.

The bochurim started learning Niglah and Chassidus on Wednesday, Chai Elul, only a few days later.

At first, the Yeshiva didn’t have any name. A year later, on Simchas Torah after hakafos, in the year Tof-Reish-Nun-Tes, the Rebbe Rashab announced:

The Yeshiva which was made is called Tomchei Temimim, and the Talmidim who learn in the Yeshiva and act the way they are supposed to are called temimim!



Shiur #41 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #322

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #322) is that a Beis Din is not allowed to make court cases on Shabbos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vayakhel: לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ
This posuk means, “Do not make a fire on Shabbos.”

The Chachomim ask a very important question: “The Torah already told us not to do any melachos. We know that lighting a fire is one of them. Why is the Torah telling us separately about this melacha, and not about the others?” It must be teaching us something.

The Chachomim explain that the posuk is telling us not to punish a person on Shabbos, even if he deserves Sereifah, a kind of punishment that has to do with making a fire.

We learn from this posuk that a Beis Din is not allowed to have ANY court cases to punish a person on Shabbos.



Hilchos Shabbos

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Yud-Beis, Yud-Gimmel, and Yud-Daled, we learn about three of the melachos: Not to light a fire, not to put out a fire, and not to carry on Shabbos.

If a fire starts on Shabbos, we are not allowed to put it out ourselves unless it will be dangerous. For a small fire that isn’t dangerous, we are allowed to do something so the fire will burn out by itself, like by pouring water or juice AROUND the fire or putting plastic cups of water right next to the fire so it will put itself out.

Of course, for even a medium sized fire, or one that we think MIGHT be dangerous, we need to call the fire department RIGHT AWAY, even on Shabbos, because Hashem says that saving a person’s life is even more important than not doing a melacha!

The melacha of hotza’ah is what we usually call “carrying.” It means to take something from one type of place (called a Reshus) to another. For example, taking something from a private house to a public street is this melacha. Hotza’ah has many details! We learn about the four different reshuyos: Reshus Hayochid, Reshus Horabim, Karmelis, and Mekom Petur.



Hilchos Mikvaos - Perek Vov

Today we learn the halachos about what type of keili makes that water shouldn’t be counted as rain water anymore for a mikvah. Some types of pipes are not counted as a keili, since they aren’t made to HOLD water, just that water should go through them.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

During the Sheva Brachos of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s chasuna, the Rebbe Rashab accepted the suggestion of his son, the Frierdiker Rebbe, to make a new yeshiva! There, the bochurim would have a Seder to learn Chassidus, like the Seder of learning Gemara, and they would put time and effort into davening, which would add chayus in their learning and Avodas Hashem.

Later, the Rebbe Rashab named this YeshivahTomchei Temimim” (Tomim means “complete” — that he has everything), and gave the bochurim the name “Temimim”!

This Yeshiva, which was run by the Frierdiker Rebbe, was very hard.

Why? Because until then, you went to Yeshiva, learned Gemara, and put all of your kochos into it. Here, though, there was SO MUCH for the bochurim to do! They had to learn Nigleh AND Chassidus AND daven with Avodah AND be mekarev other Yidden. Each bochur had to follow the Seder and do exactly what the hanhala of the Yeshiva told him. How could a bochur do all of that?

It's because he became a Tamim!

What is a Tamim?

The Rebbe Rashab explained that a Tomim is Hanachas Atzmuso. This means that he is someone who doesn’t have his own plans and goals. He doesn’t want to be famous, or become a Rosh Yeshiva. He doesn’t even want to become a Boki BeShas — to learn the whole Gemara.

So what DOES a Tamim want? Just to act the way the Rebbeim, who set up the Yeshiva, want him to! That makes it possible for him to have chayus in EVERY part of the Yeshiva, and then everything he does will have great hatzlacha!

By being very strict about keeping the seder (schedule) that the Rebbeim set up, a Tomim has the TIME to do everything. Because he doesn’t have his own idea of what he wants to become, and is ready to do whatever the Rebbe wants, he can have the CHAYUS to do every kind of avodah that the Yeshiva expects him to!

Each of us are a chossid and shliach of the Rebbe. The Rebbe expects us to be successful at so many things — even things that sometimes seem to be opposites! We need to be good Yidden, to learn plenty of Torah and have Yiras Shomayim. We need to take good care of our families, making sure they have everything they need. We need to work hard to help other Yidden come closer to Yiddishkeit. We need to make a Kiddush Hashem for all people. Can we really do it all?

When we realize that the most important thing is to fulfill the Rebbe’s mission of getting ready for the Geulah, we really can do it all! By following the Rebbe’s instructions and keeping seder, we will have time and chayus for everything, and have hatzlacha in our mission!

See Likutei Sichos vol. 14, hosafos Tes Vov – Chai Elul


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On Shacharis of Rosh Hashana, we start with the regular Shabbos and Yom Tov davening. Then, in Pesukei Dezimra, we say something different.

Right before Yishtabach, there is a line that says, “Hamelech Hayosheiv Al Kisei Ram Venisa.” We are praising “the King Who sits on the high and uplifted throne” on the holy day of Shabbos and Yom Tov.

But on Rosh Hashana, we aren’t just talking about something that Hashem sometimes does. We say, “Hamelech YOSHEIV,” “the King IS sitting” on His throne!

During the year, we talk about how Hashem is the kind of King Who sits on a high throne in Shomayim. That is very special. But on Rosh Hashana, Hashem’s Malchus (the koach of Hashem as King) is very strong and easy to see. So on Rosh Hashana we say that Hashem IS sitting on His throne! It is happening RIGHT NOW, just look!

In our Machzor, there is a story about one of the Maggid’s great talmidim, R’ Aharon of Karlin. One Rosh Hashana, when he started to say the word “Hamelech,” he fainted.

After they woke him up, the Chassidim around him asked what happened. R’ Aharon answered that he had been thinking about a story in the Gemara:

Before the time of the Churban, R’ Yochanan ben Zakai managed to sneak out of Yerushalayim to ask the enemy to let the Yidden survive. R’ Yochanan knew that Hashem would only let the emperor himself destroy Yerushalayim, not a regular general. He realized that the general now leading the siege against Yerushalayim would need to become the emperor. So when he spoke to the general, he called him, “the Emperor.”

The general was very angry at R’ Yochanan! He said, “You just called me the emperor, when I am not the real emperor! You deserve to die for not respecting the emperor!

“And if I really am the emperor, you also deserve to be killed! Why didn’t you come earlier to speak with me?” (A few minutes later, the emperor got a message that indeed, the king had died, and he was the new emperor.)

R’ Aharon of Karlin explained that he was thinking about what the general had told R’ Yochanan ben Zakai. “If I am the emperor, why didn’t you come earlier?” If Hashem is the King, why didn’t I come to Him earlier?

R’ Aharon of Karlin was asking — we are preparing ourselves and coming before Hashem on Rosh Hashana, but where were we the rest of the year? Are we ALWAYS acting in a way that shows that we know Hashem is our King?

In our Machzor, this finishes off by saying: If R’ Aharon of Karlin, such a great tzadik, felt this way, how should the rest of us feel?

We need to make sure that coming close to Hashem on Rosh Hashana should make a difference for our whole year!



Maos Chitim

It is brought in halacha that 30 days before a Yom Tov, we start to learn about the Yom Tov so there is enough time to prepare.

On Yud-Daled Elul, 30 days before Sukkos, we should start thinking about Sukkos!

There is a minhag that before Pesach, money is given out in each city to help people buy matzah and wine and food for Pesach. That’s because on Pesach we can’t work, but the things we need are very expensive! This is called Maos Chitim (“flour money”).

The truth is that other Yomim Tovim are also days off of work where we need to pay for extra things. The Yomim Tovim of Tishrei have things we need to buy, and it is extra days off work.

The Rebbe asked that we should keep this minhag of helping other people buy the things they need for Yom Tov for these Yomim Tovim too. We should do it now, 30 days before Yom Tov, so there will be plenty of time for everyone to buy what they need, and be able to have the right kind of simcha for Yom Tov!

We also need to make sure that people have enough for Rosh Hashana, which we are about two weeks before — especially since the Navi Nechemya says about Rosh Hashana, “Veshilchu Manos Le’ein Nachon Lo,” that we should send food to those who don’t have their own.

If your city has its own Maos Chitim fund, that is a very important place to give to.

Here are some other places you can give online:

- Colel Chabad (Eretz Yisroel) - http://colelchabad.org
- Chevra Simchas Shabbos V’Yom Tov (Crown Heights) - http://www.cssy.org
- The Shluchim Fund (Shluchim worldwide) - http://theshluchimfund.com
- Adopt a Family (Anash and Shluchim in Eretz Yisroel) - http://charityforisrael.com

See Halachos Uminhagei Chabad, Yud-Daled Elul

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



Yerushalayim Will Always Be Special!

In the posuk before, the Navi Zechariah is told that when Moshiach comes, Yerushalayim will become a city without walls! It will grow and spread out as more Yidden come to live there!

But the Yidden might think that the wall around Yerushalayim is what keeps it safe, or that it shows that Yerushalayim is a special city.

The Yidden don’t need to worry that Yerushalayim won’t be safe, or that it won’t be a special place to live anymore:

אֲנִי אֶהְיֶה לָּהּ נְאֻם ה׳ חוֹמַת אֵשׁ סָבִיב וּלְכָבוֹד אֶהְיֶה בְתוֹכָהּ

Ani Eheyeh Lah — I will be for Yerushalayim

Ne’um Hashem — says Hashem

Chomas Eish Saviv — like a wall of fire around it! (This will keep it safe.)

Ulechavod Eheyeh Vesocha — And My Shechinah will rest inside of it! (This will be a kavod for Yerushalayim and show that it is always special.)

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