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Shishi with Rashi

Moshe teaches the Yidden about more Mitzvos they will keep in Eretz Yisroel:

If you lend someone money, and he didn't pay you back yet when a Shemitah year starts — you need to forgive the loan and he won’t owe you money anymore.

A Yid might think that he will lose money if he does that, but the Torah tells us that if we listen to Hashem, none of the Yidden will be poor!

Be careful, don't decide not to lend someone money before a Shemitah year in case he doesn't pay you back before then! Even if he doesn't pay you back, Hashem will.

Make sure to give Tzedakah! Rashi explains how these pesukim teach us so much about the mitzvah of giving tzedakah, like who we need to take care of first, and about how much to give.

If you have a Jewish slave, you need to let him or her go free in Shemitah. Make sure to give him presents when he goes!

If he DOESN’T want to leave, and wants to stay your slave forever, you need to pierce his ear by the door, and then he will be your slave until Yovel.



140 - 144

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Mem to Kuf-Mem-Daled.

In today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk, “Tikon Tefilasi Ketores Lefanecha” — “I bring my davening before Hashem like Ketores!”

What is the connection between Ketores and davening?

When the kohen brings the Ketores, nobody else is allowed to be there — it’s just the kohen bringing the Ketores to Hashem. The same thing is when we daven — it’s private, between us and Hashem!

Also, the word Ketores is like the word “Kesher” (in Aramaic — Ketar) — a connection. Davening is one of the ways we make a special connection with Hashem.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Tes

This letter is another letter where the Alter Rebbe encourages Chassidim to give tzedakah!

When suppertime comes, we say, “Mommy, can I have food?”

When everyone is playing ball, we ask “Can I have a turn?”

Why do we ask for things for ourselves? We want to make sure we are taken care of and we have what we need.

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us that it’s the right thing... but for the wrong reason!

A Goy does these things to take care of himself. But for a Yid, he needs to do it because he wants to do something for HASHEM! Since he has a neshama inside of himself, he needs to take care of his body so he will be able to daven, learn Torah and do mitzvos!

But if we’re doing it for Hashem — the part of Hashem inside of our neshama — why should we worry about our OWN neshama? Doesn’t EVERY Yid have a Neshama?

The answer is that the Torah says that first we take care of our own neshama, and only then should we take care of someone else. But since we remember that the main thing is the neshama, we will make sure to take care of as many neshamos as we can, and not JUST ourselves!

That will help us look at the mitzvah of Tzedakah in the right way and make sure to give as much as we can.

In tzedakah also, the Torah teaches us who to give to first. Even though we should really give to EVERYONE, first we need to give to our own family, and then we take care of other poor people. The Alter Rebbe says that taking care of Tzadikim comes even BEFORE taking care of ourselves! That’s why this letter was sent, explaining to Chassidim why it is a priority to give tzedakah to the tzadikim, R’ Menachem Mendel of Horodok and his talmidim, who lived in Eretz Yisroel.



Chof-Tes Menachem Av

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe teaches us how precious it is to Hashem when we put in our own effort.

Did you ever start writing a letter to your Bubby or Zaidy and think, “This is taking too long! I’m not sure what to write! Mommy, YOU write it!”

Of course it will be much faster, and maybe look nicer too, if Mommy writes it. But what will make Bubby and Zaidy happier? They will love it so much more if WE write it — even if it isn’t as nice.

Our Avodas Hashem is like that too! Sometimes we think that we just want someone else to do it for us, or at least show us EXACTLY what to do! But Hashem loves it so much more when WE tried our best, even if it isn’t as perfect. That’s called “Avodah BeKoach Atzmo” — when we do the Avodah OURSELVES.

Today is Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul, and this is what Chodesh Elul is all about — putting in our own effort to become close to Hashem (Ani Ledodi)! Then, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are like Hashem taking us by the hand and bringing us closer to Him (Vedodi Li).



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #279, #277, #275, #278, #273

Today we learn 5 mitzvos for a judge to keep, five things they shouldn’t do when they are judging someone:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #279) Not to have rachmanos on someone who hurt or killed someone else and needs to pay a knas — judge him according to the halacha, and don’t say “he can’t afford it,” or “he made a mistake.”

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #277) Don’t judge in a way that a poor person wins if he doesn’t really deserve it. Don’t use this as a way to give tzedakah to the poor person! Tzedakah is a separate thing, but the judgment has to be correct and fair.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #275) Don’t be nicer to any of the people in Beis Din, even if they’re more important — treat them all the same. Don’t say “he’s a rich or respected person, how can I make him lose?”

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #278) Don’t judge against someone just because you know he’s a rasha — judge each case by itself, and see if the halacha says he should be punished.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #273) Don’t do anything different than the Torah says when you pasken. The Torah tells us how make someone innocent or guilty, and the judge has to follow each of those halachos exactly.



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In today’s Rambam, we learn about malkos — where the Beis Din whips someone to punish him for certain aveiros.

In Perek Tes-Zayin, we learn about how malkos are given. We learn that the person who gives malkos should be very smart, but not very strong — because the halacha is that he has to hit as hard as he can, and we don’t want to hurt the person more than we need to.

Perek Yud-Zayin teaches us how many malkos to give. We try to figure out how many a person can handle, and only give that many. Because of the way malkos are given (1 on the front, then one on the back on each shoulder), we only give a number that we can divide by 3, like 9 or 12 or 18. If a person can only handle 11, we round down to 9, not up to 12!

Perek Yud-Ches tells us about the kinds of aveiros that make a person deserve malkos. These aveiros are all from the Torah, but a Beis Din can give Makas Mardus, another kind of malkos, for doing an aveira Miderabanan.



Hilchos Shevuos - Perek Vov

Today we learn about Hataras Nedarim — if a person promises to do something, or not to do something, and they realize it wasn’t a good promise. If a Rav sees that a person feels bad about the promise he made, he can take away the promise.



Stories the Rebbe Told Us

The chossid R’ Binyomin Kletzker was a businessman who worked with lumber.

Once he sat down to make a cheshbon of how much money he had earned. He calculated the price of each of the forests, the workers who chopped down the trees, the cost of bringing the logs to the marketplace, and how much he earned from each log.

At the end, he added up all of the numbers and wrote down the total: Ain Od Milvado — there is nothing except for Hashem!

What is special about this is that R’ Binyomin wasn’t doing this to teach a lesson to anyone, or to make a cute comment. He was really thinking so much about Hashem all the time that he really felt that at the end, the main thing was not the amount of money, but the fact that the whole world is just a part of Hashem.

See sicha of Parshas Re’eh, 5735


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Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habayis

In the second half of Hodu, we said many pesukim about the greatness of Hashem and asking Hashem to bring the Geulah.

We continue speaking about the Geulah in the next paragraph. We say a kapitel of Tehillim, “Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habayis,” a kapitel which is a song for the Chanukas Habayis for the Beis Hamikdash. The Sforno explains that this is a song that the Yidden will sing to Hashem at the Chanukas Habayis of the third Beis Hamikdash!

This is also connected to the section of korbanos which we just finished. We ask Hashem to rebuild the place where we can bring the REAL korbanos, and do the Avodah like Hashem asked us to.



Birchos Hanehenin - Specific Brachos

There are three main types of foods, with three general brachos: Ha’eitz, Ho’adamah, and Shehakol.

But there are some foods that the Chachomim taught us are IMPORTANT foods. These foods get their own specific bracha! Even though wine is a kind of drink, which should be Shehakol, it is a very important drink. For wine or grape juice, we say the bracha Hagafen.

Cooked grain, like wheat and barley, is also an important kind of food. Really, it grows from the ground, so it should be Ha’adama. But when grain is cooked, it gets a bracha of Mezonos, thanking Hashem for making satisfying food. If we make the grain into bread, it becomes Hamotzi, thanking Hashem for making bread!

Knowing that these are important foods will help us when we learn more halachos about saying brachos!

See Birchos Hanehenin, perek Alef se’if Beis

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



A Nevuah by Amos

Amos was a Navi who lived in the times of the king Uziah (from Malchei Yehudah) and Yeravam the second (from Malchei Yisrael). At that time, things were very good for the Yidden in Gashmius. Their enemies were not fighting them, and they were very rich.

But the Yidden did not treat each other well. They cheated each other, and bribed the judges to say that they were right.

Amos warned the Yidden to do teshuvah, or else Hashem would punish them. At the end of his sefer, he said a few nevuos about the Geulah. The Navi told the Yidden that Hashem promises that a king from Dovid Hamelech will again rule over ALL of the Yidden!

בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אָקִים אֶת סֻכַּת דָּוִיד הַנֹּפֶלֶת וְגָדַרְתִּי אֶת פִּרְצֵיהֶן וַהֲרִסֹתָיו אָקִים וּבְנִיתִיהָ כִּימֵי עוֹלָם

Bayom Hahu — On that day of Geulah,

Akim Es Sukas Dovid Hanofeles — I will pick up the Sukkah of Dovid which fell (meaning the melucha of the family of Dovid Hamelech)

Vegadarti Es Pirtzeihen — And I will close up any holes in the walls (meaning that there won’t be any other kings)

Vaharisosav Akim — And I will pick up its broken pieces

Uvnisiha Kimei Olam — And build it again as it used to be.

Even though the Yidden split into groups for a period of time, when Moshiach comes we will all be united with one king over all the Yidden!

See Amos perek Tes posuk Yud-Alef

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