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Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe is giving the last brachos to the Yidden before he passes away:

Yissachar and Zevulun work together — Zevulun earns money so that Yissachar can learn Torah. Because Yissachar wouldn’t be able to learn without Zevulun, Moshe gives Zevulun the bracha first!

Shevet Zevulun should be happy when they go out to work, and Shevet Yissachar should be happy when they sit and learn Torah. Talmidei Chachomim from Shevet Yissachar will learn all about the moon, and they will be the ones to decide when it’s Rosh Chodesh, so all of the korbanos will be at the right times!

Zevulun will earn money by sailing big ships on the ocean and doing business with people from other lands. They will be the ones to get the Chilazon from the sea to dye the Techeiles (blue) strings of the Tzitzis! They will also make a Kiddush Hashem with the people they do business with, and many of them will come to the Beis Hamikdash and become Yidden.

Shevet Gad lives on the other side of the Yarden, with non-Jews living right near them. Hashem should help them to be able to have even more land, and to be able to guard the border of Eretz Yisroel so that nobody can come in to fight with the Yidden. Moshe Rabbeinu will be buried in Shevet Gad (nobody knows EXACTLY where), so it will be a zechus for them.

Of course, Gad will do what they promised and fight in front of the other Yidden to get Eretz Yisroel!



83 - 87

In Kapitel Pey-Daled of today’s Tehillim, we have a very familiar posuk! “Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha, Od Yehalelucha Sela!” “Happy are those who live in Your house, they will praise You forever!” (The posuk afterwards is NOT “Ashrei Ha’am Shekacha Lo,” though!) This posuk was added as an introduction to Ashrei, which we say in davening every day.

The main part of Ashrei actually starts with the words “Tehillah L’Dovid,” a song of Dovid. In this song, Dovid Hamelech praises Hashem with all of the letters of the Alef-Beis!

Why did we add this posuk of “Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha” before Tehillah L’Dovid?

Ashrei is in the section of davening called Pesukei Dezimra. In this part of davening, we praise Hashem before we ask for our needs in Shemoneh Esrei. The Chachomim tell us that Tehillah L’Dovid is actually the main praise of Pesukei Dezimra!

We add the posuk of “Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha” at the beginning to remind ourselves how special it is to praise Hashem, in Tehillah L’Dovid and in the rest of Pesukei Dezimra. We say, happy are those who live in Hashem’s house and spend time to praise Him before Shemoneh Esrei!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Beis

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe is telling Chassidim that they should come to Yechidus only for RUCHNIUS things, like learning how to daven with kavana, how to learn Torah, and how to serve Hashem with chayus. For Gashmius things, a person shouldn’t run to get a bracha.

If something happens to him that hurts or is uncomfortable, he should remember that everything is from Hashem! Hashem loves him, and He is making this happen. He shouldn’t complain to the Rebbe and tell him to make it stop.

But if it is bothering him, is there something he SHOULD he do? He can’t just leave it alone!

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us that Hashem also told us what to do:

(We know that the Chachomim who taught us Torah had Ruach Hakodesh. They only said things that Hashem put in their minds to say. So Hashem, who made these things happen, also is giving us an eitza through the Chachomim of what to do.)

In the Gemara, the Chachomim tell us “If a person sees that there are things he doesn’t like that are happening to him, he should think about his behavior, and see if there is something he needs to do better the way Hashem wants.”

That’s the answer! We need to think about WHY this is happening to us. Hashem cares that we act the right way, and when we start acting the way He wants, Hashem (who ALWAYS loves us!) will SHOW us how much He loves us, and we won’t feel uncomfortable anymore!

Still, we know that the Rebbeim DID give Chassidim brachos for Gashmius things too. In Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches, the Rebbe asked Chassidim (like the Alter Rebbe writes here) not to bring this kind of question to the Rebbe, and told us some other ways to get help.

Later, some Chassidim STILL sent questions and asked for brachos! The Rebbe asked the secretary, “Didn’t I ask them to stop sending these kinds of letters? Why are they still sending?”

The secretary answered that maybe it is like with the Alter Rebbe, where even though he said not to, Chassidim still kept asking…

The Rebbe heard this answer, and accepted it. The Rebbe kept answering the letters asking for brachos even for Gashmius things.



Yud-Zayin Tishrei

The Rebbe tells us some Minhagim for Shabbos Chol Hamoed:

- In Lecha Dodi, we say “Gam BeSIMCHA Uvetzahala” instead of “Gam BeRINA.”

- We say the before-Kiddush parts of Shabbos quietly (like Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil) and just start Kiddush out loud.

- In Musaf of Sukkos, we say the pesukim from the Torah about the korbanos of that day. Since the amount of korbanos was different on every day of Sukkos, there are different pesukim for each day. On each day of Chol Hamoed, we read the pesukim for two days of Sukkos. (This is because outside of Eretz Yisrael, we are not sure which day we should be saying.) There is a paragraph that speaks about the nesachim, the flour and wine brought WITH the korban. We have the minhag to say this twice, after each day’s pesukim. (It is already printed this way in our siddur.)

- On Shabbos we don’t say Hoshaanos.

Today the Rebbe will explain a part of Hoshaanos, with its “Chassidishe teitch” from a Maamar. Here’s what it’s talking about:

When a Neshama comes into the world, it has a special job. It needs to use all of the Gashmius it finds each day according to the way the Torah teaches us to use it.

Ever since the Cheit Eitz HaDaas, Hashem made everything in the world mixed — everything has some good and some bad mixed together. So the things we find each day all have some good, and some bad. For example, food that we are allowed to eat has good and bad together:

- The good is that it can be used to get chayus to serve Hashem.

- The not good is that it could be used for selfish reasons. A person can eat just because he likes the taste, and then not use the chayus by just going to sleep or wasting time.

The job of a Yid is to use all of the Gashmius things and bring out the GOOD that is in it! This avodah is called the Avodah of Birurim. To do this avodah, the neshama uses its kochos, but it doesn’t need to use the strongest part of the Neshama.

Then there is a different kind of job a Yid needs to do:

It can happen that a person feels that someone or something is trying to stop him from doing what Hashem wants! For example, if it’s raining on Sukkos, and he feels like he shouldn’t eat in the Sukkah or do mivtzoyim. Or maybe he wants to do a mitzvah, but he is afraid that someone will laugh at him or say something not nice.

When that happens, a person needs to use the STRONGEST koach of the Neshama! He should think about how there is NOTHING in the world that can stop him from doing what Hashem wants! Many times, these things we are afraid of aren’t even real! Hashem just makes us feel that way so we will have to use the strongest part of our Neshama, the Yechidah. He should just go on Mivtzoyim and do the mitzvos and whatever he knows is the right thing to do. This avodah is called the Avodah of Nisyonos.

Today the Rebbe tells us that when a Yid does the Avodah of Nisyonos, his neshama really shines! It makes him feel so good to do what Hashem wants, and nothing else feels important. He will now be able to feel very excited about the mitzvos he just had Mesiras Nefesh for, the way he usually gets excited about Gashmius like delicious food and fun trips!



Mitzvas Asei #26, #12

Today we learn two NEW mitzvos!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #26) A kohen has a mitzvah to bentch the Yidden every day! (Outside of Eretz Yisroel, the kohanim bentch the Yidden only on Yom Tov.)

2) (Mitzvas Asei #12) Men need to wear Tefillin Shel Rosh, tefillin on their head. This mitzvah is said four times in the Torah!



Hilchos Tefillah - Tefillin U'Mezuzah V'Sefer Torah

Perek Yud-Daled: In this perek, the Rambam teaches us about Birchas Kohanim, the special words that kohanim say to bring Hashem’s brachos to the Yidden! In the Beis Hamikdash, the kohanim would bentch the Yidden using the special Sheim Hameforash, the name of Hashem that is written Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay, and pronouncing it properly. After Shimon Hatzadik passed away, they stopped using this name of Hashem, even in the Beis Hamikdash, in case someone who didn’t act properly would learn it.

Perek Tes-Vov: We learn about times when a kohen shouldn’t do Birchas Kohanim, like a kohen who is drunk. But being a rasha shouldn’t stop a kohen from bentching the Yidden — because it’s a mitzvah, and we don’t make a rasha into a bigger rasha by stopping him from doing more mitzvos!

In the last halacha, the Rambam says that any kohen that bentches the Yidden is bentched himself, like the posuk says, that Hashem says to Avraham, “Va’avarecha Mevarachecha, “I will bentch those who bentch you.” From here we see, “Kol Hamevarech Misbarech” — when someone gives a bracha to another person, he is bentched from Hashem!

Then we start a new set of halachos: Halachos about Tefillin, mezuzah, and Sefer Torah!

Perek Alef: The Rambam starts by telling us about Tefillin. (Many of these halachos are also for mezuzos and Sifrei Torah, which is why these halachos are all in the same set of halachos.) There are 10 things that Tefillin need to have in order to be kosher! The first two are about how they are made:

1) They need to be written with ink: We make ink by mixing soot from burning candles with sap and honey, crushing it into powder, and drying it. We mix it with a liquid (like gallnut juice) and write with that. One halacha is that the ink has to be BLACK — if even one letter is written in another color, even gold, they are posul!

2) They have to be written on parchment: There are actually three kinds of parchment! Parchment is made from the skin of an animal, which we soak in things that make it get smaller and harder. Once it is ready, it is called g’vil. But the g’vil can be separated into two parts — the klaf (the part facing outside of the animal, where hair grows) and the duchsustos (the part facing inside, where the meat of the animal is). It is best to write a Sefer Torah on g’vil, a mezuzah on duchsustos, and Tefillin on klaf. (Nowadays, we use only one kind of parchment, which has some of the top and most of the bottom rubbed off. This makes the parchment a lighter color.)

The Rambam also teaches us about the kavana the sofer needs to have when he is writing. If he writes Hashem’s name without thinking about the kedusha of Hashem, the tefillin (or mezuzah, or Sefer Torah) is posul!



Hilchos Kilayim - Perek Yud

In this perek, we learn the halachos of Kilayim in clothing — shatnez. Shatnez means mixing wool and linen together. Any way we mix them — by sewing them together, making a kind of material with wool and linen, or even just sewing one thread of wool into linen — are all asur! But it IS okay to wear a linen belt over wool clothes, because they are not connected.

Shatnez isn’t just for clothes — if it can touch your skin and make you warm, it is also asur! So sheets, towels, and soft squishy couches also can’t have shatnez.




Every day of Sukkos, there are guests that come to visit us. These guests are very special — only big tzadikim can see them! Still, we know that they come! We call these guests the “Ushpizin” — which is a word in Aramaic that means “guests!”

The Zohar tells us that each day there is one main guest, and all of the others also come along with him!

Today’s guest of honor is Yaakov Avinu.

The Friediker Rebbe tells us that the Rebbeim, starting from the Baal Shem Tov, ALSO come every day to be our guests. This is called the “Chassidishe Ushpizin!” One of them is also a main guest. Today’s Ushpiz (guest) is the Alter Rebbe!

Yaakov Avinu and the Alter Rebbe were both very special in their Torah learning:

Yaakov Avinu, like the other Avos, learned the Torah even before Matan Torah. We know that he learned in Yeshiva for many years before he went to Lavan’s house, and then when he was at Lavan’s house he also learned Torah all the time — more than the other Avos!

The Alter Rebbe was also very special in his Torah! He wrote the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch, two very important Torah seforim.

We need to take a lesson from our Ushpizin today and add more chayus in our Torah learning!


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Our Shemoneh Esrei every day corresponds to the Korban Tomid brought every day in the Beis Hamikdash. On Yom Tov, we say another Shemoneh Esrei as well, called “Musaf.” “Musaf” means “additional,” and this Shemoneh Esrei corresponds to the additional korbanos that were brought on Yom Tov.

(Since Chol Hamoed is also part of the Yom Tov of Sukkos, it also had these korbanos. So we say Musaf every day of Chol Hamoed too.)

The Shemoneh Esrei of Musaf is similar to the Shemoneh Esrei of Shabbos and Yomim Tovim: First we say 3 brachos praising Hashem, one bracha about the special day, and 3 brachos thanking Hashem.

Here is what the middle of Musaf, with its one bracha, means:

1) Ata Vechartanu! We thank Hashem for choosing us as His special nation!

2) Vatitein Lanu — As Hashem’s special nation, He gave us this special Yom Tov to keep!

3) Umipnei Chata’einu — Really, we are supposed to bring special korbanos on Yom Tov, but because of our aveiros, the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. We ask Hashem to please build the Beis Hamikdash again, so we can bring the special korbanos of the day!

4) We say the pesukim from the Torah that tell us which korbanos to bring on this Yom Tov. (We learned about this today in Hayom Yom!)

5) Elokeinu Veilokei Avoseinu — Please, Hashem, in the zechus of the Avos, bring us back the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash! We want to again come for Aliyah L’Regel, three times a year to serve You properly in the Beis Hamikdash!

6) Vehasi’einu — We ask Hashem to give us the special brachos and kochos of the day, so that we will have more chayus in learning Torah and doing mitzvos. We end off with a bracha that Hashem makes the Yidden and the Yomim Tovim holy.



Leisheiv BaSukkah

Here are some halachos we need to know about the Bracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah:

- Even though “Leisheiv” means “to sit” (dwell), we only make this bracha when we are actually eating in the Sukkah.

- Whenever we spend time in a Sukkah, we SHOULD eat, so we can make a Leisheiv Basukkah!

- We only make the bracha Leisheiv Basukkah on Hamotzi or Mezonos, or on wine when we are making Kiddush or Havdalah.

- We need to eat at least a Kebeitza (like one or two pieces of cake) to make a Leisheiv Basukkah

- We make a new bracha only if we leave the Sukkah for at least an hour, OR we PLANNED on leaving for more than an hour (even if we changed our mind and went back in right away)

- If you go into a different Sukkah, you need to make another bracha — even if you’re in the middle of a meal! (So you wouldn’t have to make a bracha on the food, but you would have to make a new Leisheiv Basukkah!)

See Shevach Hamoadim

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



Yasher Kochacha Sheshibarta

In the end of this week’s parsha, Rashi tells us that Hashem thanked Moshe Rabbeinu for breaking the Luchos — “Yasher Kochacha Sheshibarta.”

But Moshe Rabbeinu broke the Luchos much earlier in Chumash, in Parshas Ki Sisa. Why does the thank you only come now, at the end of the Chumash?

Right before the histalkus of Moshe Rabbeinu, when Moshe Rabbeinu went up to Har Nevo, Hashem showed him everything that would happen until Moshiach comes. Moshe Rabbeinu was then also able to see how the aveira of the Eigel Hazahav and the teshuvah that the Yidden did was all part of Hashem’s plan and will be perfected when Moshiach comes. Now that he understood, Hashem was able to thank him for even that hard part of the Golus.

See Sefer Hasichos 5752, p. 430 ha’ara 81

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