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Parshas Matos-Masei - Rishon with Rashi

Because this week we are learning TWO parshas together, the Chumash is longer than usual!

We learn about making promises. Hashem tells Moshe to fight Midyan before he passes away, and Moshe does it right away!

Promises: Hashem tells Moshe to teach the Yidden the mitzvos about Nedarim and Shevuos, two kinds of promises a person can make.

Here are some of the things the Torah teaches:

- If a person over Bar or Bas Mitzvah makes a Neder or a Shevuah he has to keep it
- Sometimes a father can take away his daughter’s promise
- Sometimes a husband can take away his wife’s promise

War against Midyan: Hashem told Moshe, “Take revenge for the Yidden on Midyan, and then you will pass away.”

Even though Moshe knew that he would pass away not long after this war, he didn’t wait! He did what Hashem wanted right away. He told the Yidden to get ready for war, and fight against the Midyanim because of what they did to the Yidden!

(When Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden to get ready for war, he uses the word “Heichaltzu.” There is a very famous maamar of the Rebbe Rashab on this posuk, that is called “Heichaltzu.” It teaches us about the Ruchnius Midyan, which is Sinas Chinam, and how we can win over it!

Moshe asked that there should be 1,000 men from each Shevet, even Shevet Levi, ready to fight. Even though the Yidden didn’t want Moshe to pass away, they agreed to do the war right away.

After the last war (with Sichon and Og), the Yidden had taken a lot of gold and silver. This made their Yetzer Tovs a little weaker, and made them able to fall for Bilaam’s trick and do the aveira of marrying the daughters of Midyan. So this time, Moshe told the Yidden not to keep anything from the war, so the same thing won’t happen again chas veshalom. He sent Pinchas with the clothes of the Kohen Gadol to give them extra zechus which will help them win the war.

The Yidden attacked Midyan and killed all the men. Bilaam (who had come to get paid for his idea of Midyan tricking the Yidden into doing aveiros) did a magic trick and made the 5 kings of Midyan fly up in the air! Pinchas used the Tzitz of the Kohen Gadol, and the kings fell down and were killed. Bilaam tried to convince the Yidden that they should stop fighting since they will probably lose, but the Yidden killed him also.

The Yidden took all of the women and children, and the animals and money of Midyan, back with them to Moshe. They didn’t keep anything for themselves.



97 - 103

Today’s kapitelach are Tzadik-Zayin to Kuf-Gimmel.

At the end of today’s first kapitel (which we also say in Kabolas Shabbos, and in the Machzor before Kol Nidrei), the posuk says “Ohr Zarua LaTzadik” — “Light is planted for the tzadik.”

The Medrash teaches that when Hashem made the world, there was a very strong light, but it was too hard for the world to live in it! So Hashem hid it for the Tzadikim when Moshiach comes.

That’s what the posuk is telling us — Hashem “planted” this light of Moshiach for the Tzadikim! When you plant something, it grows — and this light will grow too. The Navi says that when Moshiach comes, even the light of the sun will be 7 times as strong as it was during Sheishes Yemei Bereishis!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Zayin

We explained the mitzvah of teshuvah and how we can connect back to Hashem in the first three perakim of Igeres HaTeshuvah. The next three perakim were about the ruchnius and “neshama” of Teshuvah. Now, the Alter Rebbe will teach us how to make sure our Teshuvah “stays.”

How do we make sure that our Teshuvah stays, and we don’t do the aveira again chas veshalom?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that we need two things!

1) Think about our neshamos. They came from being SO close to Hashem, and now are in a body where they feel so far away from Hashem. It’s like a neshama coming down from a tall building and ending up in a deep, dark hole in the ground!

When a person thinks about not-good things, his neshama, which is a part of Hashem, is stuck in that not-good thought too. It’s very embarrassing for the neshama to be in a place like that!

This should make us feel very bad for our neshama. By remembering this, it will help make sure our Teshuvah stays strong. We don’t ever want our neshama, which is part of Hashem, to be stuck in a place like that!

2) Tell the Yetzer Hara not to be so proud of himself. The Yetzer Hara gets us to do an aveira because it is chutzpadik! How else could it think of doing something Hashem doesn’t want? When we stop it from being so proud, it won’t be able to be so chutzpadik, and our teshuvah will be strong and lasting!



Chof Tammuz

Today the Rebbe shows us how to feel close to Hashem through hisbonenus.

Every Yid has a neshama which is a part of Hashem. Because of that, sometimes a person can feel very close to Hashem without needing to try!

But other times, a Yid needs to do Avodah so he can feel close to Hashem.

What is Avodah?

Davening while thinking about Chassidus. This is called hisbonenus, and it takes three steps so we can feel Hashem inside us:

1) After you learn something in Chassidus, think about it until you are SURE it makes sense in your mind!

2) Before davening, think about this same Chassidus again. This is a special time and it will help you have chayus in what you learned before.

3) While you are davening, think about this Chassidus again. When you daven, you are very close to Hashem, and when you think about the Chassidus, you will feel Hashem inside of you.

Go try it!



Shiur #3 - Hakdama

We just started Rambam again from the very beginning! Today’s Sefer Hamitzvos gives us the rules the Rambam used to decide which mitzvos are counted in the 613 mitzvos. The way the Sefer Hamitzvos is set up is that we finish the hakdama over a few days.

Today we will learn the next five rules of how to decide if something is counted as a mitzvah:

5) Sometimes there is a reason the Torah tells us to do a mitzvah — even if it sounds like it might be its own mitzvah, we don’t count the reason.

6) If a mitzvah says BOTH that we should and we shouldn’t do a certain thing (like “rest on Shabbos” and “don’t work on Shabbos”) those are counted as two mitzvos.

7) The different ways we sometimes have to do a mitzvah aren’t counted as separate mitzvos (like the different ways to bring a Korban Chatas).

8) Not every time that the Torah says “Lo” (no) does it mean it’s a mitzvah not to do a certain thing! Sometimes the Torah is just giving a warning.

9) Even if a mitzvah is said a bunch of times in the Torah, it’s still just one mitzvah.



Mitzvos Lo Saasei

In today’s Rambam, we are counting the mitzvos! Today we say a list of all 365 Mitzvos Lo Saasei (the mitzvos that are about the things Hashem asks us NOT to do).




The Rambam saw that the Golus was so strong, there was another problem: The reason for the Mishnah and Gemara is so we know the halachos, how Hashem wants us to live. And even though it’s all written down, the Gemara has all of the discussion about these halachos, and they aren’t in order. So unless someone knows the whole Shas, they might not be able to find the halachos they will need to know!

So the Rambam says that he took the courage to do something important. He put together all of the halachos in order, written clearly, in an organized way without any questions and answers — so that EVERYONE (big Talmidei Chachomim and simple people too) can see and understand exactly what Hashem wants us to know and to do!



The Three Weeks

Did you know that the Three Weeks are actually a special time?

The Rebbe gives us a mashal to show us how:

Imagine a person who has many, many precious stones. He has piles of shining sapphires, smooth pearls and glittering diamonds. He gathers them together and puts them in a big strong box to keep them safe. He closes the lid tightly and carefully locks the box.

One day, he decides to give his friend a big gift. He has his servants carry the big box to his friend’s house!

The friend looks at the box and wonders why his friend gave it to him. It is very big and will take up a lot of space in his home. The box is very plain, and doesn’t look so nice. The top is rough and wouldn’t make a comfortable seat or be good for a table. The box is very heavy and hard to move around. What kind of present is this?

But if the friend takes the key and opens the box, he will feel very differently! He will be very excited about the box, because it is holding a priceless treasure!

Every year, Hashem gives us a priceless treasure — the Three Weeks.

We can look at this time and wonder why Hashem gave it to us. These days may look heavy, sad, or even ugly! We don’t like this present very much.

But if we look inside this time, we will see that the Three Weeks are a very special time! Hashem hides many kochos and brachos inside these days.

How do we do this?

We use the key! The key is to work extra-hard on our shlichus of making the world a comfortable place for Hashem. We do this by using every part of our lives — our sleeping, our eating, our money — to serve Hashem.

We sleep like a chossid, saying Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah and putting Negel Vasser by our bed. We eat with a bracha, and with the kavana to have koach to do serve Hashem. We give extra tzedakah to bring the Geulah closer. We learn Hilchos Beis Habechirah, the halachos of the Beis Hamikdash, with Emunah that Hashem will rebuild it very soon.

When we do this, we will get the hidden treasure of brachos hiding inside of the Three Weeks!

See farbrengen Parshas Pinchas Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches


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Modeh Ani

The Rebbe Rashab’s older brother, the Raza, was very careful with dikduk, especially in davening. He was careful to pronounce the nekudos perfectly, and to say each word properly.

Once, when the Rebbe Rashab was about 9 years old, the Raza was teasing him by asking dikduk questions about davening. He asked him, “Why is there a dot after the word ‘bechemlah’ in Modeh Ani?”

The Rashab answered, “That’s the whole reason for davening! When we daven, we take that dot, that pintele that is inside of us, and spread it.”

The Raza asked next, “Why do we daven every day?”

The Rashab answered, “Because we want the pintele to be spread out inside of us every single day.”

Then he added that the word “bechemlah” is in two places in davening, in Modeh Ani and in Ahavas Olam (before Shema). There is no pintele after the “bechemlah” in Ahavas Olam, because the davening spread it out already!

Years later, the Rebbe Rashab explained that the pintele is the “Nekudas Halev,” the Pintele Yid. When we daven, this little spark of the neshama spreads out into our whole body.

See Sicha Yud Shevat 5723



New Clothing During the Three Weeks

During the Three Weeks, we don’t do certain things that show we are happy, like having chasunahs.

One halacha is that we don’t wear new clothes during this time.

So are we allowed to BUY new clothes during the Three Weeks? The halacha is that we are not — unless it is something that we can only buy during the Three Weeks, or if it will be more expensive later (like if it is on sale only now).

But these halachos are only about regular clothing — things like socks or undershirts are not a problem, and we can buy them or wear them even when they are new.

Here is a detailed guide with the halachos of the Three Weeks, by Rabbi Lesches from Melbourne, Australia

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



Be a Part of It!

Throughout the year, and especially during the Three Weeks, we learn about the Beis Hamikdash! We know from the Navi Yechezkel how important it is for us to learn about the measurements of the Beis Hamikdash even during the time of Golus.

In this posuk, Hashem tells Yechezkel that if the Yidden learn the details about the Beis Hamikdash, they will be zoche to help build it when Moshiach comes!

וְאִם נִכְלְמוּ מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ צוּרַת הַבַּיִת וּתְכוּנָתוֹ וּמוֹצָאָיו וּמוֹבָאָיו וְכָל צוּרֹתָיו וְאֵת כָּל חֻקֹּתָיו וְכָל צוּרֹתָיו וְכָל תּוֹרֹתָיו הוֹדַע אוֹתָם וּכְתֹב לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְיִשְׁמְרוּ אֶת כָּל צוּרָתוֹ וְאֶת כָּל חֻקֹּתָיו וְעָשׂוּ אוֹתָם

Ve’im Nichlemu Mikol Asher Asu — If the Yidden feel bad about the aveiros they did, then:

Tzuras Habayis — The way the Beis Hamikdash is set up

Usechunaso — and where each part is,

Umotza’av Umova’av — the size of all of the doorways,

Vechol Tzurosav — the way each room looks

Ve’eis Kol Chukosav — and what each room is used for,

Vechol Tzurosav — the decorations over the doors,

Vechol Torasav — and where the kohanim and the rest of the Yidden are supposed to be,

Hoda Osam — you should tell the Yidden about all of these things

U’chesov Le’eineihem — and write them down so they can learn it!

Veyishmeru Es Kol Tzuraso Ve’es Kol Chukosav — This way they will remember how the Beis Hamikdash should look and what each room should be used for,

Ve’asu Osam — and then they will be zoche to get up in the time of Techiyas Hameisim and be part of building it!

See Yechezkel perek Mem-Gimmel posuk Yud-Alef with Metzudas Dovid

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