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Parshas Balak - Shlishi with Rashi

Bilaam traveled to Balak, hoping he could curse the Yidden and get a lot of kavod, too! In today’s Chumash, we learn what happened on the way.

Bilaam tries to go curse the Yidden: Bilaam woke up early in the morning. He was so excited to go with the officers from Moav and curse the Yidden! He was also hoping that Hashem would think, “If Bilaam gets up early to do bad things, why don’t the Yidden get up early to do GOOD things?” and then get upset at the Yidden. But this didn’t work, because the Yidden have the zechus of the Avos. Avraham already got up early to do what Hashem wanted, by the Akeida, and that zechus is with the Yidden forever!

Bilaam’s donkey won’t go: Hashem was not happy that Bilaam was going even when he knew that Hashem didn’t want him to. He sent a malach to block the road and stop Bilaam. If Bilaam would have stopped trying to go, it would have been good for him too, because he wouldn’t get punished!

Bilaam wasn’t able to see the malach, but his donkey was! She moved off the road to get out of the malach’s way. Bilaam hit the donkey to make her go back onto the road.

The malach stood in front of them again a little later, and the donkey squeezed up next to a wall so she wouldn’t bump into the malach, which squashed Bilaam’s foot. Bilaam hit her again to make her move back onto the road.

The next time the malach stood in front of them, there was nowhere to go, and the donkey bowed down. Bilaam was angry and hit her AGAIN!

Hashem makes Bilaam’s donkey talk: Now Hashem made a big neis, and the donkey started to talk! She said, “Why did you hit me three times?” Bilaam said, “Because you embarrassed me!”

The officers from Moav were watching. They asked Bilaam why he didn’t take a horse instead of a donkey. Bilaam lied and said that he left his horse to eat in the field. The donkey said, “Isn’t it true that I am your donkey and you don’t have a horse?” Bilaam said yes, but that he only uses the donkey for shlepping things. The donkey said, “You always ride on me!” Bilaam said, “Only this time!” The donkey again said, “Am I not the same donkey you have ALWAYS used to ride on?” Bilaam didn’t have anything else to say! The donkey asked Bilaam, “Do I usually not listen to you?” Bilaam had to admit that the donkey usually did listen.

Bilaam talks to the malach: Now Hashem let Bilaam see what the donkey saw: A malach standing with a sword, blocking the way. Bilaam bowed down. The malach told Bilaam that the donkey saved his life! If the donkey hadn’t moved, the malach would have killed Bilam.

Bilaam admitted that he had done the wrong thing to hit the donkey, but he still didn’t feel bad about going to curse the Yidden. “Hashem told me I can go if I want to!” he said.

The malach let him go, but warned him again — he can only say what Hashem tells him to say.

Balak asks Bilaam why he didn’t come before: Balak came out to meet Bilam. He said, “Why didn’t you come the first time I asked you to? Do you think I can’t give you enough kavod?” Balak didn’t realize, but he was saying a nevuah that at the end, he really wouldn’t give Bilaam any kavod! He would be embarrassed at the end instead.

Bilaam said, “I am here now — but I can only say what Hashem tells me to.”



69 - 71

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Samach-Tes to Ayin-Alef.

In today’s Tehillim, we say a posukYemalei Fi Tehilasecha.” “My mouth should be full of Your praises.”

The Gemara says that we learn from here that when we say a bracha, our mouth needs to be FULL of the bracha. That’s why the halacha is that we shouldn’t say a bracha with food in our mouth — our mouth should be full of Hashem’s bracha, not full of food!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Beis

When a person does teshuvah, he is forgiven for his aveira. But to be as close to Hashem as he was before the aveira, he needs to give Hashem a present.

We said that the mitzvah of teshuvah is to make a hachlata to ONLY act the way Hashem wants, and of course not to do the same aveira again!

This is real teshuvah — it works! Hashem will forgive him! Hashem won’t see any aveiros in a time when the person is judged. BUT, he still isn’t as close to Hashem as he was before.

Let’s say there are two friends, Zelig and Laibel. One day, Laibel hears Zelig saying something not nice about him. When Zelig realizes what he did, he says sorry and asks for forgiveness right away! But are they best friends again? Not yet. When Zelig gives Laibel a present to show how much he wants to be friends, they are best friends again.

In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, after someone did teshuvah, he brought Hashem a present — a korban! This way Hashem would love him like He loved him before he did the aveira.

But what kind of present can we give now, when we don’t have the Beis Hamikdash? A person can fast. Fasting is like a korban, because we lose some of what would be in our stomach, like a korban, where part of the animal is burned on the Mizbeiach.

The Arizal taught his Talmidim all about fasting instead of bringing a korban. He had a list of how many times a person should fast for different kinds of aveiros.

We don’t give Hashem this present nowadays either, later we’ll see why and what we do instead!



Yud-Gimmel Tammuz

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn about today’s Chag Hageulah!

Today is the day that the Frierdiker Rebbe was given the papers from the Russian government letting him go free, and was actually able to leave! (He heard about the Geulah on Yud-Beis Tammuz, but it wasn’t a regular day of work for the goyim. He had to wait until the next day to actually go free.)

The Frierdiker Rebbe was in jail from Tes-Vov Sivan at 2:15 in the morning, and he was let free from Kostroma on Yud-Gimmel Tammuz, at 12:30 in the afternoon.

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe brings a letter that the Frierdiker Rebbe sent out in the year Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Beis, the 5th year after the Frierdiker Rebbe was released from prison. The Frierdiker Rebbe sent out this letter to the Chassidim, together with a maamar, to be part of their farbrengens! He asked that at the farbrengen they should farbreng about doing what Chassidus teaches us, and making times to learn.

He gave the Chassidim many brachos in Gashmius and Ruchnius!



Shiur #319 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #280, Asei #177, Lo Saasei #276, #274

In Sefer Hamitzvos, we are learning more mitzvos for a Beis Din to follow, to make sure they are judging fairly. Today we have four mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #280) A judge can’t judge unfairly against a widow or orphan. (Of course, it is asur to judge ANYONE unfairly, but it is an extra aveira if it is against a widow or orphan.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תַטֶּה מִשְׁפַּט גֵּר יָתוֹם

2) (Mitzvas Asei #177) A judge needs to treat both people in a case fairly. He needs to be ready to listen to whatever they have to say, even if they want to talk for a long time.

This mitzvah, which we learn from the posukBetzedek Tishpot Amisecha” includes other things also. One of them is that if two people who are arguing agree to come to a Talmid Chochom and not a Beis Din, he has a mitzvah to judge them fairly. Another one is that if someone does something, we should try to understand it as something good — Dan Lekaf Zechus.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: בְּצֶדֶק תִּשְׁפֹּט עֲמִיתֶךָ

The details of this mitzvah are explained in places throughout the Talmud.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #276) A judge isn’t allowed to be afraid of anyone! He isn’t allowed to be scared and think, “If I pasken against him, he will take revenge and ruin my field!”

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Devarim: לֹא תָגוּרוּ מִפְּנֵי אִישׁ

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #274) A judge isn’t allowed to take a bribe or even a present from anyone who comes to Beis Din, EVEN if he thinks he will pasken the same way anyhow.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וְשֹׁחַד לֹא תִקָּח

The details of this mitzvah are explained in many places in Mesechta Sanhedrin



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In Perek Yud-Tes, we learn a long list of aveiros that a Beis Din gives Malkos (lashes) for. There are 207 aveiros where a Beis Din would need to give Malkos!

In Perek Chof, we learn about judging fairly. If no witnesses SAW the person doing the aveira, even if it’s obvious that he did it, we can’t punish him. And if someone was forced to do an aveira, he can’t get punished by the Beis Din either. But we shouldn’t have rachmonus on someone and not punish him if he deserves it!

Perek Chof-Alef has more halachos about being fair when we judge. One halacha is about what to do if two people come to Beis Din because they are arguing about something, and one of them is dressed in fancy clothes, and one is dressed in not nice ones. The Beis Din tells the people they need to either both wear not nice clothes, or both wear fancy clothes, because it’s hard to treat both people equally otherwise!

If someone comes to Beis Din who only speaks Portuguese, the judge isn’t allowed to get someone to come and translate what the person is saying. He needs to understand Portuguese himself! (But if he understands it, and doesn’t speak so well, he is allowed to get a person to translate the psak.)



Hilchos Shaar Avos Hatumah - Perek Tes

This perek tells us about two gezeiros the Chachomim made. One of them is called Mayim She’uvim, that washing our body with non-Mikvah water makes a person tomei. The Chachomim made this gezeira because people used to go to the mikvah in caves, where the water was dirty. They would wash off the dirt using clean water afterwards. Some people started to think that the clean water WAS the mikvah, and didn’t go to the mikvah properly. So the Chachomim made a gezeira that non-mikvah water makes a person tomei.

Another gezeira that the Chachomim made was that the Torah scrolls that people learned from should make terumah tomei, and even someone who touches the scrolls should become tomei. This sounds like a funny kind of gezeira to make, but it was to keep the scrolls safe! People used to keep their terumah next to Torah scrolls, because they are both holy! But mice would come to nibble on the terumah, and they would rip the Sifrei Torah! The Chachomim made this gezeira so people would stop keeping their Terumah near the Torah scrolls, and the scrolls would stay safe and not get torn.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

The year after the Frierdiker Rebbe came out of jail, Yud-Beis Tammuz was made into a Chassidishe Yom Tov for always!

That year, the Frierdiker Rebbe sent out a maamar for the Chassidim to learn, called “Asara SheYoshvim.”

The Rebbe told us that since the Friediker Rebbe sent the maamar for chassidim to learn, it must be important for us to learn it EVERY year! If we can, we should try to get together in a group — because that’s what the title of the maamar means: “Ten people that sit and learn Torah!”

The Rebbe said that this is not just for adults, but also for kids!

Ask your Tatty to tell you something from this maamar! (Here is a link to a shiur in this maamar from Rabbi Paltiel — kidschitas.org/asarasheyoshvim)


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Ribon Ha'olamim

At the end of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah, we say a paragraph that starts with the words “Ribon Ha’olamim.”

In this paragraph, we ask Hashem to take good care of our neshama when it goes up to Shomayim during our sleep. We ask Hashem to clean it and give it chayus so that tomorrow we can serve Hashem even better!

Part of this paragraph speaks about waking up in the middle of the night to say Tikun Chatzos. Since it is not our minhag to say this tefillah nowadays, we skip that part.

At the end of Ribon Ha’olamim, we say the posukTorah Tziva Lanu Moshe!” The reason for this is so that we will go to sleep with words of Torah.



Too Tired for Kriyas Shema

Once while in Yechidus, a shliach asked the Rebbe a question that was bothering him. He had a lot of work to do at night, and by the time he was done, he was so exhausted he would sometimes fall asleep without saying Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita at all! What should he do?

The Rebbe answered that before starting the things he thinks he needs to finish at night, he should first say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah, but not Hamapil. This way he can say Kriyas Shema properly.

Then, right before he goes to sleep, he should say the first paragraph of Shema again (from Shema until Uvisharecha) and then Hamapil.

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



No More Yetzer Hara!

The Navi Yechezkel was one of the Yidden brought into Golus in Bavel. He warned the Yidden to do teshuvah, or else Hashem would destroy the Beis Hamikdash. Unfortunately, the Yidden didn’t listen. When the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, they realized that the Navi Yechezkel was telling the truth, and they felt very sad.

Now Yechezkel tried to make the Yidden feel better. He told them many nevuos about the building of the second Beis Hamikdash, the Geulah, and the third Beis Hamikdash. He wanted them to know that they wouldn’t stay in Golus forever! When Hashem was happy with the way they were acting, they would be brought back to Yerushalayim.

The main reason why we do aveiros isn’t because aveiros are so much fun. It is because our Yetzer Hara tricks us into doing them!

The Navi Yechezkel tells us that when Moshiach comes, Hashem will take away our Yetzer Hara! We will be able to serve Hashem properly all the time:

וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם לֵב אֶחָד וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה אֶתֵּן בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וַהֲסִרֹתִי לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשָׂרָם וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם לֵב בָּשָׂר

Venasati Lahem Leiv Echad — Hashem says, I will give them one heart, that believes in Hashem completely

V’Ruach Chadasha Etein Bekirbechem — And I will put inside of them a new ratzon to do only what Hashem says

Vehasirosi Leiv Ha’even Mibesaram — And I will take out their heart of stone (that doesn’t want to do the ratzon of Hashem)

Venasati Lahem Leiv Basar — And I will give them a soft heart (that wants to do what’s right!)

See Yechezkel perek Yud-Alef posuk Yud-Tes

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