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Parshas Netzavim - Rishon with Rashi

This week is one of the shortest parshios of the year — just the parsha of Netzavim! When the first day of Rosh Hashana falls out on Monday or Tuesday, Parshas Netzavim and Vayeilech are read separately instead of together.

Now, it is Zayin Adar, the day Moshe will pass away.

Moshe Rabbeinu is talking to the Yidden about making a promise with Hashem, to keep the mitzvos.

He tells the Yidden that EVERYONE is ready to make the promise, from the Nesiim to every Yid — men, women and children, and even the slaves (the woodchoppers and the water carriers) of the Yidden. They are all ready to make the promise with Hashem to keep all the mitzvos.



106 - 107

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Kuf-Vov and Kuf-Zayin. We also say the kapitelach for Chodesh Elul: Samach-Daled, Samach-Hey, and Samach-Vov.

In the second posuk of today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says “Mi Yemalel Gevuros Hashem, Yashmia Kol Tehilaso?” “Who is able to say the greatness of Hashem, to say all the special things about Hashem?”

In a maamar, the Alter Rebbe tells over a vort from the Baal Shem Tov:

The word Yemalel (to say) can also mean “to break,” and Gevuros (the greatness) can also mean “the strictness”. So the posuk is asking, “Who can break the strictness of Hashem” — so Hashem doesn’t have to be strict with us? The answer is, “Yashmia Kol Tehilaso” — the one who makes us hear the special things about Hashem. The word Tehilaso (the special things about Him) can also mean Tehillim, so the answer is “Someone who says the whole Tehillim.”

So besides for all of the other good things about saying Tehillim, it also has a special koach to help that Hashem shouldn’t have to be strict with us, and will treat us with chesed!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Zayin

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe is teaching us that even though there are great Ruchnius’dike rewards for the neshama in Gan Eden, the greatest reward will be at the time of Techiyas Hameisim. Tzedakah is a special mitzvah which gives us the koach to get that reward then!

We learned yesterday that we will get to see the higher kind of chayus from Hashem, called Sovev Kol Almin, as a reward for doing mitzvos, especially Tzedakah!

When will we get to see it? After Techiyas Hameisim!

There are some rewards a person gets in Gan Eden, but this reward will be only when Moshiach comes — when every Neshama will be in a body. Why only then?

Because “Sof Maaseh BeMachshava Techila” — the last thing was thought of first.

Did you ever build a Lego set? First you look at the box, and see an amazing picture of a really neat building, or car, or boat. Then you open the instruction book and start to build, one piece at a time. Your model starts looking more and more like the picture! Finally, you finish — you built it just like the box shows!

What did you think of FIRST? The finished building. And when did you get it? Last! That’s “Sof Maaseh BeMachshava Techila.” You thought of it first, so that’s what you got in the end.

The same thing is what happened when Hashem made the world — first He thought of something that He wanted, and then He made the world. What did Hashem want? A neshama inside of a guf in this world! That’s why people were made last!

That’s also why we’ll be able to see the special chayus of Sovev Kol Almin only at the time of Techiyas Hameisim. Even though neshamos will first have been in Gan Eden, this highest chayus of Hashem will not shine until the neshama comes back into a Guf, at the time of Techiyas Hameisim. Only then is the time of the Sof Maaseh, the way Hashem wanted things to be from the beginning!

The letter started off with a posuk from Tehillim, and now we finish learning what it means according to Chassidus:

Lechol Tichla Ra’isi Keitz, Rechava Mitzvascha Me’od” — “for everything we do there is an end, but Your mitzvah is very big (and doesn’t have an end)!”

Chassidus explains that the word “Tichla” (goal) can also mean “Klos,” wanting — that the Neshama wants to be together with Hashem, like it feels in Gan Eden. Still, all of these feelings have an end!

But, “Rechava Mitzvascha Me’od,” the mitzvah of Tzedakah is so great that it will make us able to feel even the chayus of Hashem that is so strong (Sovev Kol Almin) after Techiyas Hameisim — even the neshamos in the highest parts of Gan Eden can’t feel that!

Pretty amazing! Make sure to give lots of tzedakah, especially now before Yom Tov. The Rebbe tells us that we need to make sure that everyone has enough money to buy all the things that they need for Yom Tov!



Chof-Beis Elul

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn that when we do the mitzvah of Hocheiach Tochiach, we need to be careful not to hurt or embarrass the other Yid.

Did you ever poke yourself with your fingernail by mistake? Ouch!

Did you know that saying something mean to another person can hurt like that too? Maybe it is saying something that will make them feel like they aren’t as good as you.

Chassidus teaches us that if you need to show someone they are doing something wrong (it’s a mitzvah to help another Yid do the right thing — Hocheiach Tochiach!), we need to first make sure that we aren’t going to hurt them.



Shiur #48 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #320

In Sefer Hamitzvos today, we learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #320) of not working on Shabbos. The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Shabbos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Yisro: לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה כָל מְלָאכָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Shabbos.



Hilchos Eiruvin

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Gimmel, Daled, and Hey, we are learning about an Eruv, but not the kind of eruv we usually think about — it’s not an Eruv around your backyard!

The kind of Eruv we’re learning about right now is called an Eruv Chatzeiros. It shows that a place belongs to many families together, so they can all carry there. If a few families live in an apartment building, they might need this kind of eruv to carry in the hallways.

How do we make an Eruv Chatzeiros?

Everyone gives some food, and then one person makes a brachaAl Mitzvas Eruv” and then says that everyone can carry things from one person’s house to another.

In today’s third perek we also learn about something called “Shitufei Mevuos.” This means a “partnership for a street.” Cities used to have many streets called a “Mavui.” Each Mavui had a few courtyards, Chatzeiros, and each Chatzer had a few houses inside. The Rambam teaches us how all of the families living on the same Mavui could make themselves partners so they could carry within their own street.



Hilchos Nizkei Mamon - Perek Beis

This perek explains more about the halacha that things that break while the animal is walking in public aren’t the owner’s responsibility, and he doesn’t have to pay. We also learn about times when it’s partly the owner’s fault, and he has to pay half.




During the month of Elul, we are looking at our behavior, to make sure that it is the way the Torah teaches us. The Rambam tells us that it’s not enough to do teshuvah for our mitzvos, to make sure we are doing our mitzvos right, but we also have to do teshuvah for our midos, to make sure that our midos are the way they should be!

There is a story that the Friediker Rebbe tells us in a letter, which was an introduction to the vort that was used in today’s Hayom Yom:

One of the Chassidim of the Rebbe Rashab used to learn a lot of Chassidus, and even used to sometimes daven b’arichus (with lots of kavana, which takes a long time).

But he wasn’t very careful about other people’s feelings. So at farbrengens, he would tell everyone else what they need to fix, but not in a nice way! Sometimes it would make people feel bad or embarrassed.

When the Rebbe Rashab heard this, he told the Chossid that he was acting “like a head without a body!” Yes, there is a head full of Torah, but there is no “body” — no Yid acting with good midos.

Today’s Hayom Yom is a reminder to work on our midos and be sensitive to other people’s feelings.


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In the tefillos of the Yomim Noraim, we find many piyutim. Piyutim are poems that speak about the inyan of the day and ask Hashem to bring us the special brachos that come with the Yom Tov.

The beautiful words of the piyutim are written using many expressions and hints, so it’s hard to understand the meaning of them if you just think about the exact translation of each of the words. At least the Chazan who is davening should make sure he understands what the piyutim are saying! (Most translated Machzorim write the meaning of the piyutim in a way that you can understand.)

In some Machzorim, there are many piyutim added to davening, starting in the brachos of Shema. In our Machzor, there are much fewer piyutim, and we only add them in the Chazaras HaShatz of Shacharis and Musaf. Even though they are in the Chazan’s repetition of Shemoneh Esrei, most of them are written in a way that the whole shul says parts of it together before the Chazan, or repeating after the Chazan.

The Maggid of Mezritch explains why our Machzor doesn’t have as many piyutim as in other nus’chaos. The Maggid tells us that when we daven, we only say things that the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah put into the siddur, and the piyutim of R’ Elazar Kaliri. These are not just meaningful tefillos, but they are emes and they fit also according to Kabbalah.

The Maggid teaches that the words of our tefillos on Yom Tov bring down the chayus of Hashem for this Yom Tov. We are careful to say just these words, which each bring down the special kedusha of Rosh Hashana. We don’t say less than we need to bring down the full chayus of the day, and we don’t say anything extra.

See Otzar Minhagei Chabad, p. 97



Hachlatos for Rosh Hashana

On special days, like our birthday and on Chassidishe Yomim Tovim, we make a hachlata of how we will try to be better.

It is also our minhag to take a new hachlata before every Rosh Hashana, how we will be better Yidden this coming year.

In the Sefer Kaf Hachayim, we see a very special way of doing this minhag: During Elul, some people make a hachlata to be extra careful in a certain mitzvah. They write down what they decided, bli neder. Then the next year, before Rosh Hashana, they review what they wrote to see how well they kept their hachlata.

(If you need an email reminder, can help!

See Shevach Hamoadim, Kitzur Hilchos Elul, siman Gimmel

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



Hashem Echad

In Golus, the world sometimes looks like it is taking care of itself. It isn’t always easy to remember that Hashem is taking care of everything.

But when Moshiach comes, that will be different! It will be clear to see that Hashem is in charge of the world. Not only the Yidden, but the goyim too will all realize that there is only ONE Hashem!

וְהָיָה ה׳ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה ה׳ אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד

Vehaya Hashem Lemelech — Then, Hashem will be accepted as the King

Al Kol Ha’aretz — Over everyone in the world (even the goyim who used to believe in other things)

Bayom Hahu — On that day of Geulah,

Yihiyeh Hashem Echad — It will be clear to everyone that there is only one Hashem

Ushemo Echad — And Hashem’s name will be the only one they speak about!

See Zechariah perek Yud-Daled posuk Tes

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