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Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Moshe Rabbeinu is speaking to the Yidden about many the mitzvos they will get to keep in Eretz Yisroel!

Lo Solin: In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned about the Ben Sorer Umoreh, who needs to be killed since the way he is acting now proves he will be a rasha when he gets older. Rashi tells us that he will end up deserving to be punished by Sekilah (stoning). That is why the Torah tells us something about Sekilah:

If someone gets Sekilah, afterwards his body is hung up on a pole. Still, there is a mitzvah that it should not stay hanging overnight, because it is not kavodik. Why are we careful about his kavod, if he is a rasha? Because Hashem made a person in the image of Hashem, and it is not kavod for Hashem for a Yid — even a Rasha! — to be hanging all night.

Hashovas Aveidah: If you find an animal wandering around outside, you can’t just pretend you didn’t see it! You need to do Hashovas Aveida — to give it back to the owner.

There are some times when a person CAN ignore the animal — like if he is a Kohen, and the animal is somewhere that a Kohen is not allowed to go, like a cemetery.

This mitzvah isn’t JUST for animals, it’s for ANYTHING that we find that belongs to someone else! We need to take care of it until we find the owner and he tells us about what he lost so we know it really belongs to him.

Now we learn three more mitzvos:

1) Hokeim Tokim: If you see someone’s animal with its packages falling off of it, it is a mitzvah to help the owner reload the animal properly.

2) Lo Silbash: A man is not allowed to wear women’s clothes, because it can make a person act in a not tznius way.

3) Shiluach Hakan: If you find a bird’s nest with eggs or baby birds, you should send away the mother bird before you take the babies or eggs. Even though this seems like a very easy mitzvah, Hashem gives us a lot of sechar for it — it makes a person live for a long time!

If we get a reward like that for an EASY mitzvah, imagine what kind of sechar we must get for a HARD mitzvah!



49 - 54

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Mem-Tes to Nun-Daled. For Chodesh Elul we also say kapitelach Chof-Hey, Chof-Vov, and Chof-Zayin.

Kapitel Nun-Alef is the kapitel which Yidden have used throughout the years to learn how to do teshuvah. This kapitel is what Dovid Hamelech said to Hashem when he heard from the Navi that he had done an aveira. It is part of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah (and in Tikun Chatzos), which is the time when we do teshuvah for everything we’ve done during the day.

One of the things that Dovid Hamelech says in this kapitel is “Vechatosi Negdi Somid.

The Alter Rebbe explains that this means that “I always know about my aveira.” Even if a person did teshuvah properly, and is sure that Hashem forgave him 100% (as the Alter Rebbe teaches us in Igeres Hateshuvah), you still have to know that you once did an aveira.

Why is that a good thing? Wouldn’t that just make you feel sad?

No! We don’t think about this ALL the time. But at times when we notice something someone else did wrong, and we might think that we’re much better than them, we remind ourselves that we did aveiros too! This will help us not to feel gaava, that we are not more special than another person. It can also help us be happy even when hard things happen, or to stay calm even when things happen that might make us angry, because we realize that they could have been a kapara for our aveira!

See Tanya, Igeres HaTeshuvah, end of perek Yud-Alef



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Beis

In this Igeres Hakodesh, the Alter Rebbe is encouraging Yidden to give tzedakah, even when it is hard!

We said that in Shomayim, there are Malochim that are different than each other — and even opposites, like Michoel and Gavriel! One is strict, and one is kind.

When Hashem shows them a greater light than before, they are able to see that really they are BOTH doing what Hashem wants! Then they are able to make shalom.

When a Yid does something in this world, Hashem does something in a matching way.

When we give tzedakah, we are giving another person something he didn’t have before. So when we do that, Hashem also gives “tzedakah” to the malochim, and shows them this great light so they will make shalom!

And not only does Hashem make shalom in Shomayim, Hashem also makes shalom between the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara! Hashem takes away the part of the Yetzer Hara that isn’t good so it will only help do what Hashem wants!

This shalom will be complete when Moshiach comes. Then, the world will be full of the knowledge of Hashem, and every person and creation will unite to serve Hashem, and not need to fight anymore!

We can also get a taste of Geulah now, during davening. By giving tzedakah before we daven, and davening with kavanah, it will bring shalom between our Yetzer Tov and our Yetzer Hara! This will be a taste of the shalom the whole world will have when Moshiach comes!



Tes Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom we see that if learning Chassidus is important to us, even if it is hard, we will be able to understand it!

Sometimes Mommies and Tatties wonder how kids come up with such smart ideas of how to get things they want! Even grownups, who use their minds so much more and already learned so much, can’t think of these things by themselves!

If something is very important to you, even if you didn’t exercise your mind so much — you’ll still be able to understand it!

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something from the Rebbe Maharash. He explains that Hisbonenus, thinking very deeply about inyonim in Chassidus, might seem like it’s TOO hard for us to do! But really, if it’s important to us, we WILL be able to understand it very well.

We can learn this from the halachos about a maidservant. The Gemara tells us all kinds of things she might say so that she can go free, and what we should answer her. But those reasons she might give are very complicated! How can she come up with such smart ideas, if she never learned Torah?

Because she wants to go free so much, she will be able to come up with ideas that are hard even for the Tannaim and Amoraim to understand!



Mitzvas Asei #180

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #180) is that if the Beis Din can prove (with two witnesses) that the first witnesses were lying, they are called Eidim Zomemim. The Beis Din gives them the same punishment that they were trying to make the person get!

Reuven and Shimon came to Beis Din and said that they saw Moshe doing an aveira on Tuesday, and so he needs to get malkos. But before the Beis Din gave the malkos to Moshe, two new witnesses came and said that Reuven and Shimon were lying! They didn’t see Moshe do an aveira on Tuesday, because they were together with them out of town on Tuesday! Now the Beis Din gives malkos to Reuven and Shimon, since that was what they were trying to make Moshe get.



Hilchos Eidus

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning the halachos about witnesses, eidim!

In Perek Chof, we learn more details about today’s mitzvah. The Beis Din only punishes lying witnesses if BOTH of the witnesses are proven to be lying, and only after the Beis Din already issued their psak. But even if they aren’t punished, since we know they are liars, we don’t trust them as witnesses in Beis Din anymore!

Perek Chof-Alef teaches us specific examples about when Eidim Zomemim, witnesses that we proved to be lying, have to pay money to the person they were lying about:

If Eidim Zomemim lied and said that Reuven had to pay back $500 last week, and Reuven says he only has to pay it back next year, the Eidim Zomemim owe Reuven money! They pay him however much it is worth to be able to use $500 for a year.

In Perek Chof-Beis, we learn about what to do when there are two groups of witnesses, and they each say something different. We know one group is lying, but we don’t know which one!

Let’s say that two groups of people come to Beis Din to be witnesses: One group from Yerushalayim, and a group from Chevron. If they say different things, that means that one of the groups is lying! So if one of those people from Yerushalayim comes with one of the people from Chevron, and they try to be witnesses about something else, we don’t believe them — even if we can’t prove that they are lying! That’s because one of them is for SURE a liar, so we really don’t have two witnesses.



Hilchos Nedarim - Perek Daled

This perek explains the four kinds of Nedarim a person DOESN’T need to keep, how to be mevatel (cancel) a neder you DO need to keep, how to be mevatel complicated nedarim, and one case where the Chachomim are extra strict to make sure the person keeps his Neder!



Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s parsha we learn mitzvos that we keep when Yidden have to fight in a war. The posuk starts with the words “Ki Seitzei Lamilchama Al Oivecha” — “When you go out to war ON your enemy.” It doesn’t say to fight WITH the enemy, but to go ON TOP OF the enemy! When a Yid goes to war the way Hashem wants, he is already on top — he is for sure going to win!

How can we be so sure we will win?

The Alter Rebbe tells us the answer by explaining something in the Megillah!

Esther Hamalka told Mordechai that it was very dangerous for her to go into the King’s inside room, because he hadn’t called her for 30 days. She asked Mordechai that everyone should daven and fast, and said that she would go ask the King to save the Yidden — even though it was Mesiras Nefesh for her.

But why didn’t she do what Haman did, when he made the decree? He went to the outside room, and asked the servants to tell Achashveirosh that he was there!

Esther Hamalka knew that this was something important in Ruchnius too. The palace of the king is like where Hashem, the King of the whole world, is hiding. The outside room is like the chayus that Hashem gives to the WHOLE world — Goyim AND Yidden. That’s why a Goy could make a decree on the Yidden there!

The INSIDE room is like the Chayus of Hashem that is special for Torah and mitzvos. There, nobody can have any way to hurt a Yid! Esther knew that to take away the decree, she would have to go to the inside room — even if it meant Mesiras Nefesh!

The same is true when Yidden go to war. We need to go ON TOP of the enemy. We need to be connected to Hashem’s inside room — the chayus Hashem gives in Torah and mitzvos. Then, when we go to war with Mesiras Nefesh to fight for what Hashem wants, to fight our Yetzer Hara and the Goyishkeit in the world, and to bring Moshiach now, we are sure to win!

See Likutei Torah Parshas Ki Seitzei, p. 37a — Biur Ki Seitzei


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Pesukei Dezimra

Before we daven and ask Hashem for our needs, we prepare words of praise to Hashem, and speak about His greatness. When the Chachomim set up the davening, they chose the last six kapitelach of Tehillim to be the main part of Pesukei Dezimra, where we praise Hashem. These kapitelach speak about Hashem’s kavod in a very organized way.

Where do we learn that we need to praise Hashem properly before asking Him for what we need?

We learn this from Moshe Rabbeinu, when he begged Hashem to be able to go into Eretz Yisroel. In Parshas Va’eschanan, Moshe Rabbeinu told the Yidden how he davened. First he praised Hashem and the miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim, “Ata Hachilosa…”, and only afterwards did he ask “E’ebra Na,” that he should be allowed to go into Eretz Yisroel.



The Order of Brachos

Before we eat or drink any foods, we need to say a bracha to Hashem. When we have many foods in front of us, ready for us to eat, which brachos do we say first?

We first check to see if we have foods with more than one bracha. Following the order of brachos, we start with Mezonos, then Hagafen, then Ha’eitz and Ha’adamah, then Shehakol. For each of these brachos, we choose the most important food to make the bracha on. A food that is whole, not cut up or broken, is the most important. If that isn’t enough to know which food to make the bracha on, we then decide which food is most important to US — the food we like more usually or want to eat more now.

There is only one food that can change the whole ORDER of brachos: Olives.

If we don’t want one food more than the other, olives can sometimes jump up in the order of brachos! We can say Ha’eitz on an olive even before saying Mezonos, if our Mezonos is not made of wheat.

One example of when we would use this halacha is if we have a plate of olives and a bowl of oatmeal or some spelt cookies in front of us. If we don’t really care which one we eat first, then we can make the bracha of Ha’eitz on the olives before making Mezonos on our oatmeal!

We learn this halacha from the posuk which speaks about the Shiva Minim: “Eretz Chita, Se’orah, Gefen, Te’eina Verimon; Eretz Zayis Shemen Udevash.” The foods that are the closest to the word “Eretz” in the posuk are considered more important. Since “Zayis” (olive) is right next to the second “Eretz” in the posuk, it is more important than the word “Se’orah” (barley, or any grain except for wheat) since it is not right next to the word “Eretz.” So if we only have Mezonos from Se’orah, we can still say the bracha on the Zayis first.

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Yud, Halacha Yud-Beis

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



Everyone Will Serve Hashem

The Navi Tzefaniah lived in the times of the first Beis Hamikdash. He warned the Yidden of his time about the Churban, but also said some very famous nevuos about the Geulah! Here is one:

כִּי אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל עַמִּים שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם ה׳ לְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד

Ki Az Ehepoch El Amim — Because then I will change all the nations

Safa Verura — To all speak a pure language, Lashon Kodesh.

Once they all speak the same language, it will make it easier to unite in being dedicated to the same belief.

Likro Chulam Besheim Hashem — That all of them should call in the name of Hashem,

Le’avdo Shechem Echad — They will all agree to serve Hashem!

In Hilchos Melachim, the Rambam speaks about the signs of Moshiach. The Rambam uses this posuk to show that one of the things Moshiach will do is to bring the whole world to serve Hashem!

The Rambam teaches that Hashem made different religions for the goyim. Each of them have things that are similar to Yiddishkeit. This will make it easier for the goyim to understand what Moshiach teaches them, and they will be ready to do what Hashem wants!

See Tzefaniah perek Gimmel posuk Tes

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