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לעילוי נשמת הרה״ח הרה״ת הר׳ משה פינחס בן הר׳ אברהם מרדכי הכהן כ״ץ
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L’ilui Nishmas
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Parshas Behaalosecha - Chamishi with Rashi

Today we see the first time that the Yidden traveled in the Midbar!

On the twentieth day of the month of Iyar, the year after the Yidden left Mitzrayim, the cloud went up from on top of the Mishkan, and the Yidden traveled for the first time after Matan Torah, from Har Sinai to Midbar Paran. Here’s how they traveled:

First, Yehudah, Yissachar, and Zevulun GOT READY to go. While they were doing that, the kohanim covered up the keilim of the Mishkan so they would be ready for the Leviim to carry. Then the Yidden actually started to travel!

1) First Yehudah, Yissachar, and Zevulun went

2) Then Gershon and Merari (who carried the Kerashim (boards) and Yerios (curtains) of the Mishkan) went

3) Reuven, Shimon, and Gad went

4) Kehos (who carried the keilim of the Mishkan, like the Aron, the Menorah and the Shulchan) went. (They didn’t go together with Gershon and Merari, they left later. That way by the time they come with the keilim to the place where the Yidden would settle, Gershon and Merari will have had enough time to set up the Mishkan itself.)

5) Then Efrayim, Menasheh, and Benyamin went

6) Finally, Dan, Asher, and Naftali went.


Now the Torah tells us about something that happened right before the Yidden began to travel.

Before they left Har Sinai, Moshe told Yisro that the Yidden were going to Eretz Yisrael. He asked Yisro to come, even though he was a Ger and wouldn’t get his own part of Eretz Yisroel.

Yisro said he had to go home. How would he be able to take care of his family if he comes to Eretz Yisroel and doesn’t have a place there?

Moshe convinced Yisro that he SHOULD come to Eretz Yisroel. If he leaves, Moshe told him, it will look like he only became a Ger because he thought he would get part of Eretz Yisroel! Also, Yisro can help the Yidden with good advice. Moshe promised Yisro that he would get a part of Eretz Yisroel for a while if he comes. (When the land in Eretz Yisroel was divided up many years later, part of the city of Yericho was set aside for the Shevet that would give up part of their land to build the Beis Hamikdash. Until the Beis Hamikdash was built, Yisro’s children were allowed to live there.)


Now we continue learning about the Yidden’s first journey from Har Sinai.

Hashem made a special neis: In one day, they went very far — what usually takes THREE days to go, they went all in one day! That was because Hashem really wanted the Yidden to able to go into Eretz Yisroel right away! (As we will see in the next parsha, because of the story of the Meraglim, in the end the Yidden needed to stay in the Midbar for 40 years.)

An Aron went ahead of the Yidden, to prepare the place where the Yidden were going to camp next.

This was not the same Aron as the one that was in the Mishkan. Before Moshe Rabbeinu went up to Har Sinai to get the second Luchos, Hashem told him that he would need to keep the luchos in an Aron. There was no Mishkan yet, and Moshe himself prepared an Aron to hold the broken Luchos and the second Luchos. When the Mishkan was built, the second Luchos were kept in the Aron in the Mishkan, and the broken Luchos stayed in Moshe’s Aron and traveled in front of the Yidden, and together with them when they went to fight.

When the Yidden traveled, there were seven clouds with the Yidden: One on top, one on bottom, and four around on each side. The seventh cloud went in front of them, flattened out the mountains so the Yidden would have a smooth path, and killed the snakes and scorpions so the Yidden would feel safe.



79 - 82

In Kapitel Pey-Alef (81), the posuk says “Tiku BaChodesh Shofar, Bakeseh LeYom Chageinu. Ki Chok LeYisroel Hu, Mishpat Leilokei Yaakov.” These pesukim are talking about blowing the shofar, which is the mitzvah of Rosh Hashana.

The Gemara says that it is also talking about the parnasa that every Yid will have for the coming year. There is an argument in the Gemara whether a person is judged on Rosh Hashana, or every day, or even every hour!

Chassidus explains that it’s really not an argument — they’re just talking about different things! In Ruchnius, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is decided what a person will have. But based on how they act every day and every moment, it is decided whether that Ruchnius koach he deserves will come into Gashmius and give him parnasa, or stay in Ruchnius for Gan Eden.

Some people think that since anyway Hashem decided on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur what they will get for the whole year, it doesn’t matter if they daven with a minyan or go to a shiur in Torah or do other mitzvos. Either they will get it or they won’t get it!

But that’s not true! Even if in Shomayim it was decided that a person will get a lot, if he doesn’t earn Hashem’s bracha, he won’t get the bracha in Gashmius. And the opposite is also true — even if someone isn’t supposed to get a lot, with Hashem’s bracha that little can help him even more than a lot would!



Shaar Hayichud Veha'emunah Perek Vov

Before, the Alter Rebbe told us that there are two names of Hashem: Havaya and Elokim.

Havaya is the name of Hashem that gives Chayus to the world, and Elokim is the name of Hashem that HIDES the chayus.

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us that the name Elokim is the same gematria as the word “HaTeva” — nature. We see the world in a way of Elokim. It looks like the world takes care of itself, through the “laws” of nature, instead of needing Hashem’s chayus to always make it stay.

Before, we also learned that these two names of Hashem are only two different NAMES, but Hashem is ONE!

Today the Alter Rebbe explains how we can see that they are one:

Havaya is Chesed, giving.

Elokim is Gevurah — taking away.

If Havaya and Elokim were two separate things, then the name Havaya would give chayus to everything, and the name Elokim would take away the chayus from everything!

But since they are the same Hashem, they work together! They work together and they need each other! The name Havaya is Hashem’s chesed that gives us the chayus, and the name Elokim is the Gevurah that HIDES it so that the chayus doesn’t shine too strong for us to be able to live and serve Hashem.

This shows us that they are really one!



Tes-Zayin Sivan

Today’s Hayom Yom teaches us that our Ruchnius health is similar to our Gashmius health.

A person whose tooth hurts a lot knows that he needs to go to the dentist. He understands that the dentist has the tools that with Hashem’s help will make him healthy.

A Yid’s neshama could also be hurting Chas Veshalom. Like if someone says not true things a lot, that hurts his neshama.

When our tooth is hurting we feel it and want to get better. The same is with our neshama! If the things we do don’t make our neshama healthy, we need to feel it and want to become better.

When it’s our tooth that hurts, we know that going to the dentist will, with Hashem’s help, make us feel better. The same is when our neshama hurts! We need to know that we CAN feel better and with Hashem’s help we will learn how to act the way a Yid should.

The Rebbe also tells us different reasons why a person’s neshama can feel sick. Until the “doctor” (like a mashpia) figures out exactly what is making him sick and helps him feel better, he needs to live in a healthy way. How does a Yid act in a healthy way? By learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and having good midos, and by staying away from aveiros and ideas that are against Torah!



Shiur #322 - Mitzvas Asei #179

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #179) is for a Beis Din. When witnesses come and tell the judges about something they saw or heard, they are not allowed to believe them right away and make a decision. They need to ask many questions to make sure they understand what the witnesses are saying before they pasken the din. If they would just pasken right away, they might end up punishing someone who wasn’t guilty!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: וְדָרַשְׁתָּ וְחָקַרְתָּ וְשָׁאַלְתָּ הֵיטֵב וְהִנֵּה אֱמֶת נָכוֹן הַדָּבָר

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin.



Hilchos Eidus

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the questions we ask witnesses.

In Perek Beis, we learn what happens if the eidim contradict each other in any of the questions. If one person says “he was wearing black clothes!” and the other person says “he was wearing white clothes!”, we don’t listen to what those witnesses say.

In Perek Gimmel, the Rambam tells us that the Chachomim were not as strict with court cases about money. That’s because if we ask too many questions, there is a very good chance that the witnesses will get confused, and very few cases will be won by people who lend money! If people see how hard it is to get their money back in Beis Din, they will stop lending money. That’s why the Beis Din was not as strict, so more people will help each other by lending money.

Perek Daled teaches us more halachos about not being strict with the witnesses in a money case. For example, if the witnesses saw what happened from different places (like different sides of the street) and didn’t see each other, we still count them as good witnesses. Why? So the special mitzvah of Gemilus Chasadim (which includes lending money to others) will be easier to keep, and Yidden will have the money they need.



Hilchos Shevuos - Perek Yud

We learn more details about Shvuas Ha’Eidus, when someone is asked to be a witness and he makes a Shevuah that he doesn’t know. If he really did, he will only get punished if the person lost money because he didn’t say his Eidus.



Pirkei Avos Perek Beis

Some people only learn Pirkei Avos between the weeks of Pesach and Shavuos, but it is our minhag to learn Pirkei Avos the whole summer — until Rosh Hashana!

The first Mishnah of this week’s Pirkei Avos, Perek Beis, is from R’ Yehudah Hanasi, who is often called “Rebbi:” “Rebbi Omer, Eizohi Derech Yeshara Sheyavor Lo Ha’adam? Kol Shehi Tiferes Le’oseha, Vesiferes Lo Min Ha’adam.” “What is the straight path that a person should choose? A path that is beautiful for the person himself, and beautiful for others to see.”

The Rebbe explains that R’ Yehuda Hanasi can’t be talking about the path of Torah and mitzvos. That is not even a question that a person needs to choose!

Instead, R’ Yehuda Hanasi is talking about two paths in Torah. One path is for a person to work on himself. He can try to learn, daven, and make his avodah better and better. Another path is for someone to be a Baal Tzedakah, to help others and do lots of chesed. Both of these are good paths in Yiddishkeit. So which should a person choose?

R’ Yehuda Hanasi (Rebbi) was the Nasi, the Rebbe, of his generation. He had a Neshama Klolis, a neshama that included inside of it the neshamos of all of the Yidden of his time. So inside of himself, he needed to have BOTH paths, to include all kinds of Yidden.

Rebbi felt that the best way to serve Hashem was with BOTH ways! He wanted every Yid to include both paths too.

We need to work on the path of Chinuch Atzmo, teaching ourselves and learning to be a better Yid. But we also need to work on Chinuch Hazulas, teaching others and helping them grow, too! This is the best path, because it is beautiful for ourselves and beautiful for others, too. We become better ourselves, and also help others with Ahavas Yisroel.

This path isn’t just for a Rebbe. Each of us can take this beautiful path and follow it in our Avodas Hashem.

See Farbrengen Sicha Parshas Devarim, see Sichos Kodesh parshas Devarim 5735

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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We just finished learning the second group of pesukim, the pesukim from Torah Shebaal Peh. They teach us how we deal with other people. The posuk Kol Yisroel shows us how precious each Yid is, that every Yid is special and made by Hashem. We should treat each one in a way of Ve’ahavta, the way we would want for ourselves.

The pesukim from Torah Shebaal Peh explain to us how to fulfill what we learn in Torah Shebichsav. These two pesukim are also teaching us how to do what we learned in the second pesukim of Torah Shebichsav, Shema and Veshinantam.

In the first pesukim, we learned about the precious gift of the Torah that belongs to each of us, for us to learn and know! Afterwards, we learn about the world around us. We learn how the world is botul to Hashem, through the posuk of Shema. We also learn about our responsibility to teach Torah and mitzvos to other Yidden, in the posuk of Veshinantam.

In these two pesukim from Torah Shebaal Peh now, we learn HOW to do that!

In order for other people to be ready to learn from us, we need to treat them properly. We need to first realize how special and precious they are to Hashem, and then we need to make sure to treat them nicely, the way we would want to be treated ourselves.




Did you ever wonder why we shokel (sway) when we daven and learn?

It’s actually a halacha! When the Torah was given, it made the Yidden tremble, their bodies actually shook. (“Vayar Ha’am Vayanu’u.”)Those who are careful with mitzvos are careful to shokel when they learn Torah too.

There are also reasons to shokel specifically during davening: The posuk says, “Kol Atzmosai Tomarna Hashem Mi Chamocha!” “All of my bones take part in saying, ‘Who is like You, Hashem!’”

We make sure our bones can take part in the praise of Hashem, by shokeling when we daven.

There is an opinion that we should only shokel during Pesukei Dezimra, which is an actual praise to Hashem. According to this opinion, a person should stand still during Shemoneh Esrei, and only move a bit at the end of each bracha, trembling a bit from saying Hashem’s name. The Alter Rebbe says that it is not so important whether you follow this opinion or not — the main thing is to have kavana!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman mem-ches se’if gimmel

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



All Yidden Will Be Talmidei Chachomim!

Nowadays, learning Torah isn’t easy for everyone. Some of us would like to learn more Torah, but we don’t have enough time.

But when Moshiach comes, it won’t be that way anymore! The Navi Yeshaya promises us that ALL of the Yidden will be Talmidei Chachomim!

וְכָל בָּנַיִךְ לִמּוּדֵי ה׳ וְרַב שְׁלוֹם בָּנָיִךְ

Vechol Banayich Limudei Hashem — And all of your children will be Talmidei Chachomim, studying Hashem’s Torah

VeRav Shelom Banoyich — And your children will have lots of shalom!

This posuk is explained in a maamar that the Frierdiker Rebbe said in connection with the Rebbe’s chasuna. The maamar explains the connection between the first half of the posuk and the second half of the posuk. When Yidden are Talmidei Chachomim, they can bring shalom into the world, and make it a world where Hashem wants to be!

But for this to work, we need to be a real Talmid of Hashem. We need to make sure to daven properly so that we always remember that it’s HASHEM’s Torah. This way our Torah learning will bring shalom to the world!

See Yeshaya perek Nun-Daled posuk Yud-Gimmel, Maamar Vechol Banayich Tof-Reish-Pey-Tes

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