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CHUMASH

Parshas Haazinu - Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we are continuing to learn Shiras Haazinu. Moshe Rabbeinu is teaching the Yidden this song to encourage them to keep the Torah and mitzvos properly in Eretz Yisroel. He tells the Yidden what will happen when they come there:

To Eretz Yisroel, Hashem let you go
The best place in the world, where the best fruits grow.

The land is good for the fields, and the animals too
The best food and drink are right there for you.

They could have done so many more mitzvos when their bodies were properly fed —
But they ate so much that their neshamos were covered up instead.

What they did made Hashem so angry at them —
Because they served Avodah Zarah and forgot about Hashem.

 
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TEHILLIM

119 (second half)

Today’s Tehillim is the second half of the longest kapitel in the whole Tehillim! In Aramaic, this kapitel is called Tamnya Anpi — the eight faces, because there are 8 pesukim that start with each letter of the Alef-Beis! Today we are saying the pesukim starting with Mem, all the way until Sof. We also say three kapitelach for Chodesh Elul: Ayin-Vov, Ayin-Zayin, and Ayin-Ches.

There is a minhag to say a posuk starting with the first letter of your name, and ending with the last letter of your name, before the end of Shmoneh Esrei. Many good pesukim for this are in Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes!

One example is the first posuk of today’s Tehillim, “Ma Ahavti Sorasecha, Kol Hayom Hi Sichasi” — “I love Your Torah so much, I talk about it all day!” (This posuk is good for someone whose name is Mordechai.)

Do you know which pesukim are for YOUR name?

 
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TANYA

Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Zayin

Today the Alter Rebbe finishes this letter that tells us what amazing things Tzedakah does.

The letter started off with a posuk from Tehillim, and today we finish learning what it means according to Chassidus:

Lechol Tichla Ra’isi Keitz, Rechava Mitzvascha Me’od” — “for everything we do there is an end, but Your mitzvah is very big (and doesn’t have an end)!”

Chassidus explains that the word “Tichla” (goal) can also mean “Klos,” wanting — that the Neshama wants to be together with Hashem, like it feels in Gan Eden. Still, all of these feelings have an end!

But, “Rechava Mitzvascha Me’od,” the mitzvah of Tzedakah is so great that it will make us able to feel even the chayus of Hashem that is so strong (Sovev Kol Almin) after Techiyas Hameisim — even the neshamos in the highest parts of Gan Eden can’t feel that!

Pretty amazing! Make sure to give lots of tzedaka, especially now before Yom Tov. The Rebbe tells us that we need to make sure that everyone has enough money to buy all the things that they need for Yom Tov!

 
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HAYOM YOM

Chof-Vov Elul

In Chassidus, we very often compare our body (the nefesh habehamis) to an animal. We learn many things in Avodah about how to deal with our body from how we deal with an actual animal.

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something in our Avodas Hashem from a beheima:

Even a Kosher animal has non-kosher blood inside that needs to be taken out before it can be eaten and used for Kedusha. We remove the blood through Melicha, salting.

The same is with our Nefesh Habehamis — even though it is Kosher (it is in a Jewish body), it has non-kosher “blood” — chayus in things it shouldn’t be excited about.

Just like taking out the blood has three steps in halacha, taking out the “blood” (not-kosher chayus) from our Nefesh Habehamis also has three steps — in Avodah:

1) Soaking — “soaking” our Nefesh Habehamis in Chassidus, learning a lot of Chassidus, enough that it makes a person really want to have…

2) SaltingYechidus. Like we learned in a different Hayom Yom, that’s where a Chossid finds out just how he is supposed to connect to Hashem. Then he does…

3) RinsingNiggun — he sings a niggun. This is the last step that makes the Nefesh Habehamis and the guf (the beheimah inside of a person) a place where the neshama can shine!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #68 - Mitzvas Asei #59, Hilchos Megillah V'Chanukah Perek Alef - Beis

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the same mitzvah again (Mitzvas Asei #59): That we blow trumpets at certain times. We blow them when we bring the special korbanos of Yom Tov, a happy time. We also blow them in a sad time — when we are davening to Hashem because hard things are happening. They can remind us that it’s from Hashem, and we have to do teshuvah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behaalosecha: וּבְיוֹם שִׂמְחַתְכֶם וּבְמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם וּבְרָאשֵׁי חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּחֲצֹצְרֹת

The details are explained in Sifri, Mesechta Rosh Hashana, and Mesechta Taanis.

Since there is no mitzvah for the next set of halachos (Megillah V’Chanukah), we learn these perakim of Rambam inside.

Today we learn the first two perakim of Hilchos Megillah V’Chanukah inside, as part of Sefer Hamitzvos, along with those who learn three perakim of Rambam every day.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Taaniyos - Megillah V'Chanukah

In today’s Rambam, we are finishing the halachos about fasts.

There are five fasts each year because of sad things that happened to the Yidden:

1) Tzom Gedaliah (Gimmel Tishrei) — when Gedaliah was killed. He was the governor of the Yidden, and they hoped he would help them live in Eretz Yisroel. When he was killed, the Yidden realized they were REALLY in Golus.

2) Asara B’Teves — When Nevuchadnetzar blocked anyone from going out or coming into Yerushalayim.

3) Shiva-Asar B’Tammuz — 5 sad things happened: The luchos were broken, the Yidden couldn’t bring korbanos anymore (in the first Beis Hamikdash), the walls of Yerushalayim were broken (in the time of the Second Beis Hamikdash), Apostomos the rasha burned a Torah, and he also put an idol in the (second) Beis Hamikdash.

4) Tisha B’Av — 5 sad things happened: The Yidden in the Midbar were told they wouldn’t get to go into Eretz Yisroel, the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed (both), a city called Beitar was captured and everyone was killed (including Bar Kochva, who many Chachomim said could be Moshiach), and the rasha Turnus Rufus plowed the ground of the Beis Hamikdash (this is something the Navi said would happen).

The Yidden also took the minhag of fasting one more fast:

5) Taanis Esther (Yud-Gimmel Adar) — we fast Erev Purim to remember how all of the Yidden fasted in the time of the gezeira of Haman.

We don’t blow the trumpets on any of these fasts.

What happens if these fast days are on Shabbos? We fast after Shabbos instead — except for Taanis Esther, because if we fasted after Shabbos, we would be fasting on Purim! Instead, we fast on the Thursday before (because it’s not kavodik for Shabbos for us to fast on Friday). If the other fasts are on Friday, though, we fast on Friday. (This hardly ever happens because of how our calendar is set up.)

The Rambam tells us the halachos of Av and Tisha B’Av, which is the only one of these fasts that we fast also at night. We also learn about “Zecher LeChurban,” things we do to remember that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed.

But don’t worry, at the end of Rambam we learn something very happy! The same Navi that hints to all of these fasts also reminds us that they will all be very happy days when Moshiach comes!

~

We also start learning the halachos about Purim today, in a new set of halachos!

Even though there are mitzvos for Purim and Chanukah, they are mitzvos from the Chachomim, and not mitzvos that are said in the Torah.

The mitzvah of Purim is to hear the Megillah. The Rambam tells us how to make sure to do the mitzvah right. One thing the Rambam says is that we should make sure kids get used to hearing the Megillah too!

We also learn the other mitzvos of Purim: the Seudah, Shalach Manos, and Matanos L’Evyonim.

The Rambam says that when Moshiach comes we won’t need to learn the Neviim and Kesuvim anymore. (In another place, it explains that this is because we’ll be able to see it all from the Chumash.) Still, we will always need to learn Megillas Esther!

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Tefillah - Perek Vov

The Rambam teaches us to make sure we don’t miss davening at the right time, by not starting other things at the time of davening (like eating a meal or getting a haircut).

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Gimmel D'Selichos

Today is the third day of Selichos.

On the third day of Selichos, the Rebbeim would say a maamar to the one who would become the next Rebbe.

This is something people didn’t know about. But in Tof-Shin-Hey, the Frierdiker Rebbe told us about it, teaching us that Gimmel D’Selichos is a special day.

Years later, in Tof-Shin-Nun-Alef, the Rebbe explained a few reasons why this is connected davka to the third day of Selichos.

For us, the main thing is to use this special day for good things! Everyone should add in their learning Torah or good behavior. It is especially appropriate to learn a part of one of the many maamarim which were said on Gimmel D’Selichos.

See Halachos Uminhagei Chabad p. 303 and footnotes there, maamar of Tof-Shin-Hey

 

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TEFILLAH

Unesaneh Tokef

In Chazoras HaShatz of Musaf on Rosh Hashana, we say a very special tefillah called Unesaneh Tokef. (There is a famous story behind this tefillah, about R’ Amnon. You can read it at Chabad.org/418982)

In this tefillah, we speak about how powerful this day is. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem judges every creation and decides what will happen to them. We end off by saying, “U’Teshuvah, U’Tefillah, U’Tzedakah Maavirin Es Ro’a Hagezeira!” “Teshuva, Tefillah, and Tzedakah take away the not good part of the decree!”

In a famous sicha, the Rebbe explains that the words Teshuvah, Tefillah, and Tzedakah are not what they usually translated as.

Teshuvah: Most people translate this as “repentance.” Repentance means for someone to change from being not good, to being good. But that’s not what teshuvah means! The word Teshuvah comes from the word “shuv,” to return. Every Yid already IS good, because he has a neshama, even if it is sometimes covered up! Teshuvah means to return to the REAL us, to the neshama.

Tefillah: Most people translate this as “prayer.” Prayer means asking for something. But that’s not what Tefillah is all about! Tefillah comes from the word “tofel,” to connect. Through Tefillah, we connect to Hashem. Of course, as part of our connection to Hashem, we ask for our needs, but the main part of our davening is connecting to Hashem and awakening our neshama.

Tzedakah: Most people translate tzedakah as “charity.” Charity means to take something that is yours, and be nice by giving it to someone else. But that’s not what Tzedakah really means! Tzedakah comes from the word “tzedek,” which means righteous and correct. When Hashem gives us money to spend, He also gives us some extra money (maaser or a chomesh) that belongs to poor people. When we give tzedakah, we are just passing on the money to who it really belongs to.

Through returning to our real selves, our neshama; connecting to Hashem through tefillah; and doing the right thing with the money we have, we will take away the not good parts of the gezeira and be given a good and sweet year!

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Special Foods of Rosh Hashana

On Rosh Hashana, we eat many special foods!

On the first night of Rosh Hashana, we eat foods that are “lesiman tov,” foods that hint to brachos.

Although the Shulchan Aruch mentions many foods to be eaten for a good siman, here are the main ones we should make sure to have, according to our minhag:

We dip an apple in honey at the seudah, asking Hashem to give us a Shana Tova Umesukah! (Apples are not only a sweet fruit, but they hint to special inyonim in Kabbalah!) This is the only food we say a “Yehi Ratzon” for according to Minhag Chabad.

Then we eat a Rimon, a pomegranate. We want to be packed full of mitzvos like a pomegranate is full of seeds! We don’t say a Shehecheyanu on the pomegranate, even if we are having it for the first time this year. (We rely on the Shehecheyanu of Kiddush.)

We also eat the head of a fish! We want to remember to be like a head, and not like a tail! (In the Shulchan Aruch, it actually tells us to eat the head of a ram, to remind us of Akeidas Yitzchak, but practically nowadays it would be very hard to get a head of a ram.)

On the second night of Rosh Hashana, we should have a new fruit, but this is for a different reason. It is so we will be able to make a Shehecheyanu on the second night, which we will learn about later IY”H!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Kuf-Pey-Gimmel; Halachos U’Minhagei Chabad, p. 14

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Moshiach for Everyone

A poritz once asked a chossid: “You Jews believe that Moshiach is going to come and take you all out of Golus. But what happens if your Moshiach comes and I don’t believe in him?”

The chossid answered, “Don’t worry Mr. Poritz! If you don’t believe in him, I also won’t believe in him!”

When Moshiach will come, EVERYONE will know that it is Moshiach, and be ready to live a life of Geulah!

Otzar Pisgomei Chabad vol. 1 p. 422

 
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