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Parshas Devarim - Sheini with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is reviewing the mitzvos and reminding the Yidden about what happened in the Midbar to prepare them to enter Eretz Yisroel. Today Moshe reminds the Yidden about how he set up the judges to help the Yidden act in the right way and about the nations who did not let them pass through their lands.

Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden that they did something wrong by being excited about having judges.

When Moshe Rabbeinu told the Yidden about the idea of having more judges, they should have said “No! Only Moshe Rabbeinu should lead us!” They should have been upset about losing the zechus to learn directly from Moshe. But they weren’t upset about the idea at all. The Yidden were excited about the judges — for the wrong reasons. They hoped that some of the judges would be ready to take bribes to make them win even if they are wrong!

Still, Moshe set up the judges for the Yidden. He tried to make sure that the judges will have Yiras Shomayim and judge them the way Hashem wants. He taught them how to be fair to everyone.

Then Moshe tells the Yidden how they traveled more — they got so close to Eretz Yisroel, but the nations wouldn’t let them pass through their countries.

Still, Moshe told the Yidden not to be worried. When it would be the right time to go into Eretz Yisroel, Hashem would fight for them and they will able to go right in!



135 - 139

Today’s kapitelach are Kuf-Lamed-Hey until Kuf-Lamed-Tes.

Kapitel Kuf-Lamed-Tes (139) is a very special kapitel. It teaches a person how to serve Hashem — there is no other kapitel that does this in such a special way!

One of the things that Dovid Hamelech says is about how Hashem created Adam HaRishon — “Achor VaKedem Tzartani” — “You created me last and first.”

What does that mean? How can Adam be created last AND first at the same time?!

We learn today in Tanya that you can have two opposite things together if they are for different reasons!

The Alter Rebbe explains in Likutei Torah that “Achor” (last) means that he is created on the LAST day of Creation, and he is the lowest madreiga, because he can do an aveira — going AGAINST what Hashem wants. Only a person can do an aveira!

But he is FIRST because he has a neshama, which no other creation has! And even his Guf is also very close and precious to Hashem.

See Likutei Torah Parshas Matos



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Yud-Alef

We said that a person should do Teshuvah Tata’ah and Teshuvah Ila’ah at different times, because they make us have different feelings. Teshuvah Tata’ah makes a person feel serious, and Teshuvah Ila’ah makes us feel besimcha! So we usually do Teshuvah Tata’ah at night, and Teshuvah Ila’ah in davening in the morning.

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us that really we can feel both kinds of Teshuvah AT THE SAME TIME in davening, even though they are different feelings! Since they come for two different reasons, we won’t be confused.

Teshuvah Tata’ah comes because we have rachmanus for what our aveiros did, and Teshuvah Ila’ah is because we are so happy that we can still become so close to Hashem!

Here is a story that shows us how we can feel both ways at the same time:

One time Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was learning with his son R’ Elazar. They were learning secrets of the Torah about the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash. When R’ Elazar heard these secrets, he felt happy and sad! He was sad because the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, but he was happy to hear these secrets from Hashem’s holy Torah.

The same way, we can also feel Teshuvah Tata’ah and Teshuvah Ila’ah at the same time!

Another thing that makes it possible to feel BOTH is that when we are sure that Hashem forgives us for what we did wrong, we aren’t so sad, even with Teshuvah Tata’ah! We are happy that even though aveiros can bring Golus, Hashem forgives us anyway, and promises us that by doing teshuvah we will bring the Geulah. This way BOTH kinds of teshuvah make us happy, and we can feel them both in davening at the same time!



Chof-Ches Tammuz

A while back in Hayom Yom, we learned how important it is to live in a place with healthy air. If someone is R”L sick, many times they will try to go to a place with better air, so they will become healthier.

In Ruchnius, we also need to have clean air. The air becomes cleaner by us saying words of Torah wherever we go. This way we can feel that we live in a Ruchniusdike atmosphere.

Today the Rebbe tells us that each of the Rebbeim had certain maamorim that they would say over every two or three years just for this reason — to make the Ruchnius air better!

Here are those maamorim:

Alter Rebbe: Heichaltzu (from last week’s parsha, Parshas Matos! It is printed in Likutei Torah, with footnotes from the Tzemach Tzedek)

Mitteler Rebbe: Yafa Sha’ah Achas (it’s in the Mitteler Rebbe’s sefer Derech Chayim, explained in the first 10 perakim)

Tzemach Tzedek: Mah Tovu (in Likutei Torah, which we learned in Parshas Balak — it’s about Teshuvah)

Rebbe Maharash: Mi Chamocha BaEilim

Rebbe Rashab: Veyadaata Hayom (it was said in “Moskove Nun-Zayin” — in Moscow. It talks about the koach a Yid has to overcome nisyonos!)



Shiur #11 - Mitzvas Asei #11

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn one very important mitzvah: We need to teach Torah to our kinderlach or our talmidim, and also learn ourselves! We need to make sure we know it well enough so that even if they ask questions, we can answer them right away.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vaeschanan: וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ

The details are explained in many places in Gemara.



Hilchos Talmud Torah

Perek Beis: The very first halacha in today’s Rambam is that if a city doesn’t have teachers for small children to learn Torah, the city deserves to be destroyed! That’s because the Torah of small children is what makes the world exist!

We also learn rules for teachers: They can’t do other work while they’re teaching, because it distracts them from teaching. A teacher also need to make sure that his class isn’t too big. A teacher isn’t allowed to get upset at his students if they didn’t understand something.

Perek Gimmel: The Rambam tells us how important and special learning Torah is. Every single Yid is able to have the crown of Torah!

In Perek Daled, we learn a very important halacha for talmidim — if we don’t understand something, we need to keep asking until we do understand!

We also learn when someone can take a break from learning Torah: One time is when there is a mitzvah that needs to be done, and nobody else can do it. BUT, kinderlach don’t stop learning Torah, even to help build the Beis Hamikdash — that’s how important their Torah learning is!



Minyan Hamitzvos

In today’s Rambam, the Rambam is telling us the list of mitzvos again, and where we’ll learn them in the 14 books of the Rambam. These 14 seforim include 83 sections that teach us different sets of halachos.

Here are the next five seforim:

5) Kedusha — “holy.” Hashem gave us certain mitzvos that show us how a Yid is different than other nations. In this sefer, we learn about who we can’t get married to, and what we can’t eat. For a Yid, getting married is holy, and we can only marry who the Torah says we can. A goy can eat any food that he wants, but a Yid can only eat kosher.

6) Hafla’ah — “separation.” This sefer has the mitzvos about when a person separates HIMSELF from something, by making a promise that he won’t use it.

7) Zeraim — “plants.” In this sefer we learn the mitzvos that have to do with planting, like Shemitah and Yovel, and the terumah and maaser we have to give from things that grow.

8) Avodah — “work.” In this sefer of the Rambam, we learn about the work we do for Hashem in the Beis Hamikdash. We learn the mitzvos of building the Beis Hamikdash, and the korbanos that ALL of the Yidden bring to Hashem, like the Korban Tomid that we bring every day!

9) Korbanos — “sacrifices.” This sefer has the mitzvos about the korbanos Yidden have to bring by themselves, like the Korban Pesach that every Yid has to be part of, and the korbanos a person brings if he does an aveira.



Doing Yourself a Favor

During the Three Weeks, we add in learning Torah (especially halacha) and in tzedakah and Gemilus Chassadim, to speed up the Geulah. We see this in the posuk “Tzion Bemishpat Tipadeh Veshaveha BeTzedaka” — that Yerushalayim will be redeemed through learning Torah (mishpat) and giving tzedakah! To do these right, we need to also work on our Tefillah, where we make our connection to Hashem stronger, which helps us to learn Torah and give tzedakah properly.

Here is a story about how we should think about giving tzedakah and helping others:

One time the Rebbe Rashab told his son, the Frierdiker Rebbe, to travel to a place and help a certain businessman there.

When the Frierdiker Rebbe came back, he told his father what had happened. “I did everything you told me to do. I did the favor for the businessman in the best possible way.”

The Rebbe Rashab answered, “You are making a mistake. You did the favor to yourself, not to that person! For that person, Hashem did him a favor, by sending a shliach to help him. But what you did helped yourself much more.

“Like the Medrash says, ‘Yoser MiMah SheBaal HaBayis Oseh Im Ha’Oni, Ha’Oni Oseh Im Baal HaBayis.’ ‘More than the rich person does for the poor person (by giving him tzedakah), the poor person is doing for the rich person (by giving him the chance to do a mitzvah)’.”

See Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, vol. 4 p. 46


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Birchos Hashachar

The Chachomim gave us many brachos to say, to make it easier for us to say 100 brachos every day. In Birchos Hashachar, we say a list of many brachos, thanking Hashem for the things we benefit from every morning.

These brachos go in order of how people used to get up in the morning in the times of the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah. Today we will learn the rest of these brachos:

7) Then he would put his feet on the floor, and thank Hashem for making solid ground to stand on — Roka Ha’aretz Al Hamayim (“Who spread the ground over the water”)

8) He would then put on his shoes, and thank Hashem for having good shoes to protect his feet — She’asa Li Kol Tzorki (“Who gives me all of my needs”)

9) Then he would start to walk around, and bless Hashem that he can — Hameichin Mitz’adei Gaver (“Who prepares the footsteps of man”)

10) He would put on a gartel for kedusha and tznius, to separate the upper part of the body from the lower half of the body. He would bless Hashem for this — Ozer Yisrael Bigevruah (“Who girds Yidden with strength”)

11) He would cover his head, also for kedusha and tzniusOter Yisrael Besifara (“Who crowns Yidden with beauty”)

12) We then bless Hashem for giving us mitzvos. We thank Hashem that although goyim have 7 mitzvos, we have 613 — Shelo Asani Goy (“for not making me non-Jewish”)

13) We thank Hashem for not making us a slave, who does not have the same chiyuv to do mitzvos as a free person does — Shelo Asani Aved (“for not making me a slave”)

14) Boys thank Hashem for giving them more mitzvos than a woman, who does not have a chiyuv to keep certain mitzvos that have a specific time — Shelo Asani Isha (“for not making me a woman”)

15) Finally, he would wash his face, wiping away the sleepiness — Hamaavir Sheina Me’einai (“Who removes sleep from my eyes”).

After starting this last bracha, we continue with the paragraph of Vihi Ratzon, and we finish the bracha with Hagomel Chasadim Tovim Le’amo Yisrael. We will IY”H learn about the rest of this bracha tomorrow.



Hamaavir Sheina - Vihi Ratzon

The paragraph of Vihi Ratzon, which ends off with a bracha, is really connected to the bracha before, “Hamaavir Sheinah.” This is called a “Bracha Arucha,” a long bracha.

Since both brachos are connected, we don’t say amen until after finishing the whole thing. So we don’t say Amen when we hear someone say Hamaavir Sheina; we only answer Amen at the end of “Hagomel Chasadim Tovim Le’amo Yisrael.”

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



Moshiach Will Be Our Shepherd

In Perek Lamed-Daled of Yechezkel, the Navi warns the leaders of the Yidden to change the way they are acting!

The Navi uses a mashal when he speaks to them. He tells them that the Yidden are like a flock of sheep, goats, and rams. The leaders of the Yidden are like the shepherds.

Yechezkel tells them, “You are supposed to be taking care of the Yidden, but you are only taking care of yourselves! You use your power to rule over the Yidden, but you do not care about them. Now the Yidden are like sheep without a shepherd. Some are lost, and some are running wild because nobody is teaching them how to act.

“Hashem says that He will not let you stay the leaders! Hashem will gather all of the lost Yidden and bring them back. Hashem will judge the leaders for the way they were treating the Yidden they were supposed to be taking care of.

“Hashem will instead give the Yidden a true shepherd, a leader who cares about each one and will show them how to behave — Moshiach, who comes from the shepherd of the Yidden, from Dovid Hamelech!”

וַהֲקִמֹתִי עֲלֵיהֶם רֹעֶה אֶחָד וְרָעָה אֶתְהֶן אֵת עַבְדִּי דָוִיד הוּא יִרְעֶה אוֹתָם וְהוּא יִהְיֶה לָהֶן לְרֹעֶה

Hashem says:

Vehakimosi Aleihem Ro’eh Echad — I will give the Yidden one leader

VeRa’ah Es’hen — And he will take care of them like a shepherd takes care of his sheep.

Es Avdi Dovid — This is Moshiach, who comes from My servant, Dovid Hamelech!

Hu Yir’eh Osam — He will be the one to take care of the Yidden

Vehu Yihiyeh Lahen LeRo’eh — And he will be the only one to be their leader.

See Yechezkel perek Lamed-Daled posuk Chof-Gimmel

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