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Parshas Ki Savo - Sheini with Rashi

We are continuing to learn the words of Moshe Rabbeinu about the mitzvos the Yidden will be doing when they come into Eretz Yisroel.

On Erev Pesach in the fourth year of Shemitah, a person needs to check and make sure that he gave all of the Terumah and Maaser he owes.

He has to make sure that none of it is left in his house! Then he says the Vidui Maaser, telling Hashem that he did his job! He gave all of the presents he was supposed to, in the right order, the way Hashem wants. He didn’t make it tomei, or use it for the wrong things. He used the Terumah and Maaser to make people happy, like Hashem wants!

At the end, he says: Hashem! I did what you asked me to do! Now You should do what You promised — to give the Yidden brachos!



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Samach through Samach-Hey. We also say another three kapitelach for Chodesh Elul, kapitelach Lamed-Alef, Lamed-Beis, and Lamed-Gimmel.

One of the Kapitelach we say in today’s Yom of Tehillim is Kapitel Samech-Gimmel.

In this kapitel, Dovid Hamelech says how his neshama wants to be close to Hashem. He compares himself to a person who is thirsty for water in a place where there is none: “Tzoma Lecha Nafshi!”

The Rebbe explains that when a person is VERY thirsty and doesn’t have any water, when he finally gets the water it tastes so delicious to him, much better than any other water!

The same thing is when the neshama feels like it’s not close to Hashem, and it’s really “thirsty” to feel close.Then, when it DOES learn Torah and do mitzvos and feel close to Hashem, the Torah that it learns and the mitzvos that it does are much more geshmak!

That’s why Dovid Hamelech says in the next posuk, “Kein Bakodesh Chazisicha” — “If only I would see You like this bakodesh,” even when I feel holy and I don’t feel far away. Even then, I wish I would feel the same geshmak in the Torah and mitzvos!

When Moshiach comes, we will all be able to see Hashem! Halevai that then we should feel the geshmak in Torah and mitzvos like we do when our neshama is “thirsty” during Golus.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Beis

If we give tzedakah even when it’s hard, Hashem makes the Yetzer Hara stop bothering us for a long time!

In today’s Tanya, we are finishing Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Beis. Before we finish learning today’s Igeres Hakodesh, we will review a little bit.

The posuk tells us about two ways we can give Tzedakah:

1) Maaseh Hatzedakah — We like to give tzedakah, since Hashem made the neshama of a Yid want to give tzedakah!

2) Avodas Hatzedakah — This is when it is hard for us, and we don’t really want to. Maybe we aren’t in the mood, it is someone who makes it hard for us to help, or it’s more than we expected to give. It takes Avodah to do it!

Anytime we do a mitzvah, something special happens in the world — in Gashmius and Ruchnius! This is any time we do the mitzvah of tzedakah, and it is even MORE with Tzedakah that is hard!

Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us that when we do Maaseh Hatzedakah, we bring shalom between the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara. During davening, Hashem will help us make the Yetzer Tov stronger so we can tell what we need to stay away from. Then the Yetzer Hara will have a harder time ruining our Avodas Hashem!

But MAASEH Hatzedakah only stops the Yetzer Hara from confusing us for a little while, during the time of davening. Afterwards it will start trying to trick us again, and we don’t have complete shalom in ourselves until Moshiach comes.

AVODAS Hatzedakah, giving even when it’s hard, is so precious to Hashem that this lasts longer! Even after davening it will be harder for the Yetzer Hara to confuse us!



Yud-Alef Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn a story that happened with the Tzemach Tzedek on Parshas Ki Seitzei, which teaches us about the job we have in Olam Hazeh.

It was at a Shabbos meal, where the Tzemach Tzedek’s sons and many Chassidim were present. The Tzemach Tzedek said that the world is a world of sheker, full of good and bad mixed together, that we need to fix up. But Olam Haba is a place of emes, truth. There, there is nothing bad that needs to be fixed up!

The Tzemach Tzedek started a niggun, and made a sign that the Chassidim should sing too. The sons of the Tzemach Tzedek joined first, and then everyone sang along. The niggun made everyone feel very uplifted!

When the Tzemach Tzedek stopped singing, he gave an example: In the Gemara, it talks about someone who doesn’t learn Torah properly, and only learns Torah “liprakim,” once in while, which is NOT the right way to learn.

In Gan Eden, this is learned differently! The word “liprakim” can mean once in a while, but it also means “to take something apart.” In Gan Eden, “Halomed Torah Liprakim” means that the Torah “takes apart” the neshama who is learning it. This way, the Torah can reach every part of it!

This is only the way Torah is learned in Gan Eden. But in Olam Hazeh, where we have a Yetzer Hara, the Torah has a different meaning, to help us fix the things that aren’t the way they should be.



Shiur #53 - Mitzvas Asei #166, Lo Saasei #327, Asei #167, Lo Saasei #328, Lo Saasei #199

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 5 mitzvos, about not working on Sukkos or Shmini Atzeres, and one mitzvah about Pesach.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #166) We need to rest on the first day of Sukkos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #327) We can’t work on the first day of Sukkos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ

3) (Mitzvas Asei #167) We need to rest on Shmini Atzeres.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם

The details are explained in Mesechta Beitzah (Yom Tov).

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #328) We can’t work on Shmini Atzeres.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Beitzah (Yom Tov).

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #199) We can’t eat chometz in the afternoon before Pesach (the time when we can bring the Korban Pesach).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תֹאכַל עָלָיו חָמֵץ

The details are explained in the beginning of Mesechta Pesachim.



Hilchos Shevisas Yom Tov - Chomeitz U'Matzah

In today’s Rambam we learn two perakim all about the halachos of Chol Hamoed, and then we begin the halachos of chometz and matzah.

Perek Zayin: We learn that you’re not allowed to do a melacha on Chol Hamoed, because when the Torah uses the words “Mikra Kodesh,” it is also talking about how Chol Hamoed is holy. In the Beis Hamikdash, the Yom Tov korbanos were also brought on Chol Hamoed! Since the Torah uses the word “Shabason” (to rest) only on Yom Tov, there are many ways that melacha can be done. For example, if there will be a big loss if the melacha isn’t done, if it’s something that is very easy to do, if it’s necessary for Yom Tov, or for Tzorchei Rabim (that many people rely on it). But we are not allowed to push off melacha to Chol Hamoed if we could have done it earlier.

One halacha is that we can’t do laundry or cut hair on Chol Hamoed, because people might otherwise wait for Chol Hamoed, and then on Yom Tov they won’t have clean clothes and nice hair!

Perek Ches: We learn about specific melachos that are asur or mutar on Chol Hamoed. We also learn about not doing melacha on Erev Yom Tov in the afternoon (just like on Erev Shabbos). This is even more strict on Erev Pesach, which is a time that korbanos were brought in the Beis Hamikdash.

Now we start learning the halachos of Chometz and Matzah. There are eight perakim in this section — four about chometz, then four about matzah and the night of the Seder. This will be followed by the Rambam’s Nusach HaHaggadah.

Perek Alef: We learn about the isur of chometz. Even the tiniest drop is asur! The time when this isur starts is the middle of the day on Erev Pesach.



Hilchos Teshuvah - Perek Hey

The Rambam reminds us that we always have a choice to do the right thing, what Hashem wants — or chas veshalom NOT the right thing.

It’s also our choice that if we see we didn’t do what Hashem wants, we can right away do teshuvah and start doing the RIGHT thing again.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is the day of the chasunah of Rebbe Rashab and Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah!

The Rebbe Rashab and Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah were cousins, who both lived in Lubavitch. When they were 5 years old, their Zaidy, the Tzemach Tzedek, said that they should get married! So their parents signed a paper saying that they would get married in ten years, when they were 15.

Before they got married, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah’s family moved to Avrutch — so that is where the Chasuna was. Rebbetzin Rivkah came to the chasuna in Avrutch, but the Rebbe Rashab’s father, the Rebbe Maharash, didn’t come. He explained that there was a Ruchnius reason why.

After the chasuna, the Rebbe Rashab and Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah moved to Lubavitch. When they came, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah saw that all of her cousins were very tall, and she was short! The Rebbe Maharash said, “Don’t worry — short trees grow good fruit!”

And that’s what happened — they had a very special “fruit” — the Friediker Rebbe!


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Pesukei Dezimra

When we learn more about davening, we start to realize that it is a special time where Hashem wants us to tell Him all of the things we need. Since we are in Golus, there are MANY things we don’t have. We might want to hurry through the first parts of davening to be able to ask Hashem already to give us all the things we need!

But the Chachomim tell us that we shouldn’t do that. In Pesukei Dezimra, we are praising Hashem. It’s not nice to praise someone quickly, just to get it over with, and then ask for many favors. We need to say Pesukei Dezimra word for word, to show Hashem that we recognize His greatness. Only then will we ask Hashem to help us.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Alef, se’if Yud-Gimmel



Order of Brachos

We learned that when we have many foods together with the same bracha, we say the bracha on the most important food.

There are a few ways for a food to be important, if it is whole and not cut up, if it is our favorite, or it is part of the Shivas Haminim.

If we have many fruits together, along with some of the Shiva Minim, we can either pick what we like most, or we can pick the most important one of the Shiva Minim.

Usually, it is best to make the bracha on a whole fruit, whether or not it is our favorite. But if we pick the Shiva Minim, they are more important than the other fruits, even if the Shiva Minim fruits are cut up!

(Of course, if we have two of the same Shiva Minim fruit that are the most important, it is best to make the bracha on the one that is whole. So for example, if the most important Shiva Minim fruit we have is a fig, it is best to choose a whole fig to make the bracha on.)

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Yud, Toras Menachem vo. 58 p. 3 ha’arah 1 (about shaleim in Shiva Minim)

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



The Greatest Beis Hamikdash

Chagai was one of the Neviim at the time that the second Beis Hamikdash was being built. He encouraged the Yidden to keep working to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, even though it was hard.

This nevuah speaks about the second Beis Hamikdash, according to some opinions. But according to the Zohar, it is really about the third Beis Hamikdash, in the times of Moshiach!

גָּדוֹל יִהְיֶה כְּבוֹד הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת וּבַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֶתֵּן שָׁלוֹם נְאֻם ה׳ צְבָאוֹת

Gadol Yihiyeh Kavod Habayis Hazeh Ha’acharon — The kavod of this last Beis Hamikdash will be greater

Min Harishon — Than the first Beis Hamikdash!

Amar Hashem Tzeva’os — So says Hashem.

Uvamakom Hazeh Etein Shalom — And in this place (Yerushalayim) I will give peace

Ne’um Hashem Tzeva’os — So says Hashem.

See Chagai perek Beis posuk Tes

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