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Shlishi with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is teaching the Yidden more mitzvos they will do in Eretz Yisroel!

Moshe Rabbeinu teaches the Yidden the mitzvos of Maakeh, Kilayim, Shatnez, and Tzitzis. Rashi says that we learn about these mitzvos here to teach us that if you do the mitzvah of Shiluach Haken, sending away the mother bird (which we learned about yesterday), then you will get to do a bunch of other mitzvos too, as a reward for the mitzvah!

- Hashem will bentch you with a new house — and you will have to build a Maakeh, a fence around the roof so nobody will fall off chas veshalom and hurt themselves.

- You will be bentched with fields — and you will be careful not to mix kinds of plants together — Kilayim. You will be careful with Kilayim by not growing other plants together with grapes, and not making two different kinds of animals shlep a plow together.

- You will be bentched with nice clothes, and you will be careful not to wear Shatnez — wool and linen mixed together.

- But when you wear Tzitzis, you CAN wear Shatnez — because the threads are supposed to be wool, and you can attach them even to a linen cloth.

Now Moshe warns the Yidden, that if they chas veshalom do something wrong, Aveira Goreres Aveira — one aveira can make it easier to do more.

If someone hates his wife (which is not keeping the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel), and tells not true things about her (another aveira) to the Beis Din, her family comes to the Beis Din and proves that she didn’t do those things. That man gets punished, and has to pay his wife’s family 100 shekel, and has to stay married to her unless SHE doesn’t want to. If she DID do those serious aveiros, though, she gets punished with Sekilah.

Yidden being married is a very special thing! We need to be careful to keep it holy.

Nobody else can get married to a woman who is already married! If somebody does, they both are punished by the Beis Din.

If someone tries to get married to a girl without her permission, he has to pay her money.

A man can’t marry his father’s wife, even if it isn’t his mother. He also can’t marry his father’s sister-in-law who is waiting for someone to do Yibum.

There are some people who can’t marry other Yidden: Someone who is called a Petzua Daka and can’t have children, can only marry a Ger or a slave who was let free. A Mamzer, a person whose parents did certain aveiros, can only marry another Mamzer or a Ger Tzedek. Men from Amon and Moav, nations that did such mean things to the Yidden, are not allowed to marry Yidden, even if they become Jewish.



55- 59

Today’s Shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes. For Chodesh Elul, we also say kapitelach Chof-Ches, Chof-Tes, and Lamed.

In today’s Tehillim, we say Kapitel Nun-Hey, which Dovid Hamelech said to thank Hashem for saving him from people who wanted to hurt him. Dovid Hamelech talks about how we need to have bitachon in Hashem!

He says, “Hashlech Al Hashem Yehovcha, Vehu Yechalkelecha” — “Give Hashem your problems, and He will take care of you.”

Chassidus explains that sometimes, we know where to go for help. We know which doctor is the best expert, which teacher has good advice, or how to earn the money we need. We have bitachon that Hashem will help that what we do will be successful, and things will be good.

But sometimes, we have NO IDEA what to do. We don’t know who to ask or where to turn to for help. Even then, we also need to have bitachon that Hashem will help us to come up with the right idea of what keli to make!

All of the things we do — like asking a doctor — are like taking out a cup (a keli) to catch the bracha of Hashem. But even if we don’t know what keili to use, because we have no idea what to do, “Hu Yechalkelecha” — HASHEM will make a keili for us! We should of course try our best, but we need to have bitachon that Hashem will help us even when it looks like there is nothing we can do.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Beis

We are continuing to learn a letter, where the Alter Rebbe encourages Chassidim to give tzedakah, especially when it’s hard!

When someone comes to us and asks us for a favor, we get excited! We know that we are helping another person, and it’s good for us too, and it brings Moshiach closer! Usually we LIKE to do nice things for other people.

But what if it’s someone who is annoying, or you’re busy or tired now, and you don’t want to do the favor? Of course we should still try to do the favor — we’ll still be helping another person and bringing Moshiach closer!

The Alter Rebbe tells us that when you DON’T want to help, that is one of the most special opportunities that there could be!

In the posuk the Alter Rebbe used at the beginning of this letter, there are two ways the posuk describes the mitzvah of Tzedakah:

1) Maaseh HaTzedakah (DOING the tzedakah)

2) Avodas HaTzedakah (tzedakah with AVODAH)

Maaseh Hatzedakah means you give because Yidden like to give! Avodas Hatzedakah is that even when you DON’T want to give, you will — because that’s what Hashem wants. That takes Avodah, doing things that aren’t comfortable or easy for us.

We will see in tomorrow’s Tanya, IY”H about the special opportunity we have with Avodas Hatzedakah!



Yud Elul

Today we’ll learn what happens when a Chossid goes into Yechidus!

The older Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe showed us that the word Yechidus has three meanings in Torah — and all of those meanings are things that happen to a chossid when he goes into Yechidus by the Rebbe!

1) The word Yechidus can mean CLEAR: We see the word Yechidus used this way in the Mishnah. It says that people knew something “Beyichud” — it was so clear, they knew it for SURE!

2) The word Yechidus can mean CHOSEN: The word Yechidus is used this way in Gemara! The Gemara says that Moshe was “Meyuchad” — chosen especially to do this job — he had a special shlichus that only HE could do!

3) The word Yechidus can mean CONNECTED: We see Yechidus used this way in the Medrash! The Medrash says that the Yidden are “Meyachadim” — that we show that Hashem is CONNECTED and one with the world.

Each of these meanings of Yechidus — clear, chosen, and connected — happen to a chossid when he goes into Yechidus!

1) When a Chossid goes into Yechidus, something becomes CLEAR to him! He is able to see clearly what he is doing right and where he needs to do better.

2) When a Chossid goes into Yechidus, he realizes that he is CHOSEN to do a special job in the world. The Rebbe shows him what special avodah he needs to do!

3) When a Chossid goes into Yechidus, he becomes CONNECTED to Hashem! He will be ready to even have Mesiras Nefesh, giving up the things HE wants to do, so he can do his special job in the world.

Even now, there is a way for these things to happen to us! When we learn the Rebbe’s Torah, go into the Rebbe’s Yechidus room, and go to the Ohel, we can also CLEARLY see how we are doing in our Avodah, realize that we are CHOSEN for a special shlichus, and be CONNECTED to Hashem so we are ready to do that shlichus no matter what!



Mitzvas Asei #174, Lo Saasei #312, #313, #314

Today we start a new section in Rambam, about people who don’t listen to what the Torah teaches.

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn four mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #174) We need to listen to whatever the Sanhedrin paskens.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #312) We are not allowed to NOT listen to what the Chachomim teach us.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #313) We can’t add anything to the Torah.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #314) We can’t take anything away from the Torah.



Hilchos Mamrim

We learn in today’s Rambam that even someone who is very smart, and knows so much Torah, still needs to follow what the Beis Din says, because Hashem wants only one place to be in charge and lead the Yidden.

In Perek Alef, we learn that we rely on the Sanhedrin to understand the Torah Shebaal Peh. We need to listen to what they tell us, because it is just as important as keeping the rest of the Torah!

In Perek Beis, we learn about making rules so that Yidden will keep the Torah better. A Beis Din should only make these kinds of rules if they are sure that most of the Yidden can keep them.

Perek Gimmel talks about people who don’t follow what the Sanhedrin says:

- If a person decides he doesn’t believe in the Torah Shebaal Peh, he isn’t just rebelling against the Chachomim, he is going against the whole Torah! He should be killed, even outside of Beis Din.

And now the Rambam talks about shlichus!

- If a person doesn’t believe in the Torah Shebaal Peh because that’s what his parents taught him, he shouldn’t be punished — it’s not his fault that he doesn’t know better! He’s like a little baby who was captured and grew up in a non-Jewish home, and didn’t learn the Torah. Instead of punishing him, we should try to teach him Torah in a loving way, so that he will learn the right way to act.

- A Zaken Mamrei — a Talmid Chochom who paskens differently than the Sanhedrin — has to be killed, because he is making the Yidden not have achdus, he is making them act differently than everyone else!



Hilchos Nedarim - Perek Hey

We learn about a kind of neder a person makes, that someone else isn’t allowed to benefit from him.

We learn the halacha of a person who made a neder that a certain food is asur for him, and then it got mixed up with other foods. We also learn what happens if something he decided is asur for him got traded for something else, or it got planted and grew into something new.



Chodesh Elul

The month of Elul is a time for teshuvah and fixing up the past year, and also getting ready for the coming year.

The Rebbe teaches us that each day of the month of Elul can fix up that day of EVERY month of the past year, and prepares us for that day of each month in the coming year! (Since there are only 29 days in Elul, Chof-Tes Elul also includes Lamed of every month, the same way that in a month of 29 days, we say the shiur of Tehillim for Yom Lamed also on yom Chof-Tes.)

So on Yud Elul, we should think about all of the “Yuds” of the year.

Some of the “Yuds” that might be easier to remember are:

- Yud TishreiYom Kippur

- Yud Kislev — the Chag Hageulah of the Mitteler Rebbe

- Yud Shevat — the day the Rebbe became Rebbe, and yartzeit of the Frierdiker Rebbe

- Yud Nissan — the day before Yud-Alef Nissan

- Yud Av — the day after Tisha B’Av

Those are some of the “Yuds” in the year that should be easier to remember!

Can you think of anything you did very well that you should do next year too, or a hachlata you made that now you’re ready to start keeping? Or, is there anything you remember was a mistake so you won’t do it again?

See Hisvaaduyos, Tof-Shin-Mem-Tes, chelek Daled, p. 236; Shaarei Hamoadim Chodesh Elul p. 66


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Pesukei Dezimra

We learn from Moshe Rabbeinu that we need to say Pesukei Dezimra before asking for our needs. Before Moshe Rabbeinu davened to be able to go into Eretz Yisroel, he first praised Hashem for the miracles of Yetziyas Mitzrayim. We learn from this to also praise Hashem’s greatness before davening for the things we need in Shemoneh Esrei.

But there is another reason also:

Not only does Pesukei Dezimra help our davening be proper, by praising Hashem first, but Pesukei Dezimra helps US to daven in the right mood! In the Mishna, the Chachomim teach us that a person shouldn’t stand before Hashem in tefillah when he is depressed, lazy, silly, or busy. Instead, a person should daven with Simcha Shel Mitzvah, with the joy of davening to Hashem!

Saying the words of Torah in Pesukei Dezimra helps put us in a mood of simcha, when we think about Hashem’s greatness and how Hashem takes care of us. This way, we will be able to daven in the right way — with Simcha Shel Mitzvah!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Alef se’if Alef, Likutei Sichos volume 34, p. 70



The Order of Brachos

There are many halachos about how to say brachos properly, and which ones to say. There is also a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar, a way to do the mitzvah in the BEST way, by also saying the brachos in the right order.

When we ONLY have fruits of the Shiva Minim in front of us, then we only have one bracha to say, Ha’eitz. But which of the fruits should we pick to make the bracha on?

If we usually like one of the fruits best, or we are in the mood to eat a certain one now, that fruit is the most important to us. We can choose to make the bracha on that fruit first.

Another way to decide which fruit to make the bracha on is to look at the posuk in the Torah about the Shiva Minim to see which fruit is the most important. In the posuk, “Eretz Chita Se’orah Gefen Te’einah Verimon, Eretz Zayis Shemen Udevash,” we speak about the seven special crops of Eretz Yisroel. The order that they are said in the posuk shows us which ones are most important! The most important fruits come right after saying the word “Eretz,” the land of Eretz Yisroel, either the first “Eretz” or the second “Eretz.”

If we choose to follow this order, we make a bracha on the first of the fruits that we have in this list: Olives (Zayis), then dates (Devash Temarim), grapes or raisins (Gefen), figs (Te’einah), and then pomegranates (Rimon).

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Yud

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



Hashem Will Bring Us Back

At the end of his sefer, the Navi Tzefaniah says a very famous promise from Hashem that will happen in the time of the Geulah! You might know these words from davening.

בָּעֵת הַהִיא אָבִיא אֶתְכֶם וּבָעֵת קַבְּצִי אֶתְכֶם כִּי אֶתֵּן אֶתְכֶם לְשֵׁם וְלִתְהִלָּה בְּכֹל עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ בְּשׁוּבִי אֶת שְׁבוּתֵיכֶם לְעֵינֵיכֶם אָמַר ה׳

Ba’eis Hahi Avi Es’chem — At the time of the Geulah I will bring you back

Uva’eis Kabtzi Es’chem — And at that time I will gather all of you.

Ki Etein Es’chem Lesheim VeliSehilah — Because I will make the Yidden known and praised

Bechol Amei Ha’aretz — By all of the nations of the world.

Beshuvi Es Shevuseichem — When I bring back the Yidden that were captured

Le’eineichem — In front of your eyes (this is a hint to Techiyas Hameisim, because the Navi is telling the Yidden of his time that Kibbutz Galuyos will happen in front of their eyes!)

Amar Hashem — So says Hashem.

See Tzefaniah perek Gimmel posuk Chof

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