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Parshas Va'eschanan - Sheini with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is continuing to talk to the Yidden and prepare them to go into Eretz Yisroel.

Moshe Rabbeinu is begging the Yidden to serve Hashem, and not Avodah Zarah. He reminds the Yidden about Matan Torah, and how close they felt to Hashem. He reminds them about Yetzias Mitzrayim — about how there is NOTHING aside for Hashem!

There are some very well-known pesukim in today’s Chumash:

- Rak Hishomer Lecha... we say this in the Sheish Zechiros, the six things we need to remember every day! This posuk reminds us about Matan Torah.

- Ata Hareisa LaDaas... the posuk we say before Kriyas HaTorah on Shabbos, and by Hakafos on Simchas Torah!

- VeYadaata HaYom... We say this posuk in Aleinu, and Shaar HaYichud VeHaEmunah is based on this posuk!



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach are Samach until Samach-Hey.

In today’s Tehillim there is a posuk, “Nosata LeReiacha Neis Lehisnoses Mipnei Koshet Sela” — “You give those who have Yiras Shomayim a sign to hold up for the sake of truth.”

The word Neis can mean a few different things:

Neis — a sign
Neis — a miracle
Nisayon — a test

Do you know what a Nisayon is? Chassidus explains that Hashem sometimes makes a person THINK that there is something in the way, that doesn’t let him do what Hashem wants. But it could be that what is stopping us isn’t even real!

For example, a person could think that if they do a mitzvah, someone will get angry at them — but it’s not even true! Hashem makes them FEEL that way to test them, to see if the mitzvah is so important to them that they will do it even though they are afraid.

Since a person needs to use a very strong part of his Neshama to be able to do this Mitzvah and not to be afraid, he becomes a stronger and better Yid.

In fact that is the very reason why Hashem gives a Yid a nisayon — to bring out the deeper kochos that are hiding inside his neshama and make him a stronger Yid!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Gimmel

In Igeres Hakodesh, there are many letters where the Alter Rebbe encourages Chassidim to give a lot of tzedakah! In this letter, the Alter Rebbe explains how special tzedakah is and what happens when we give it!

The most important thing that happens we can’t see at all. Hashem “hides it away in a box” close to Him, and keeps that box closed until Moshiach comes.

There is something else that happens when we do this mitzvah, which is that after the neshama finishes its shlichus in this world, it gives the neshama the tools it needs to feel close to Hashem in Gan Eden.

Finally, there is a teeny bit of light that shines from the mitzvah in this world. That shine of Hashem’s chayus helps keep a Yid safe in the world, that nothing bad should happen in Gashmius OR Ruchnius.

When we understand this, we will never want to miss a chance to give Tzedakah!



Yud-Alef Menachem Av

Today we learn a short story about the Alter Rebbe that is connected to the Shabbos after Tisha B’Av.

In Tof-Kuf-Chof-Daled, when the Alter Rebbe was 19 years old, he went to Mezritch, together with his brother R’ Yehudah Leib, to learn Torah from the Maggid.

But R’ Yehudah Leib didn’t ask for permission from his wife first, so he went back home. The Alter Rebbe had asked permission, so he was able to stay. At first the Alter Rebbe wasn’t sure he should stay, but after two weeks he decided to become a Chossid!

The first maamar he heard from the Maggid was Nachamu, Nachamu. (We’re not sure if that is the first maamar he HEARD, or the first maamar he heard after he decided to become a Chossid.)



Shiur #7 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #63, #65, Asei #172

Today we learn 3 mitzvos in Sefer Hamitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #63) We are not allowed to make a Chillul Hashem. The Rambam tells us 3 kinds of times when a person needs to keep this mitzvah:

- A person must give up his life Al Kiddush Hashem for ANY mitzvah or minhag if someone is trying to wipe out Torah and Yiddishkeit, called a Shaas HaShmad. If he doesn’t, that is a Chillul Hashem.

- If a person does an aveira for no reason, just to show Hashem he doesn’t care, that is called a Chillul Hashem.

- A Talmid Chochom or respected Jew can’t do anything that doesn’t look right, even if it isn’t an aveira.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֹא תְחַלְּלוּ אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי

The details are explained in Mesechta Pesachim perek Yud-Alef, and the end of Mesechta Yoma.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #65) We are not allowed to destroy any part of the Mishkan or Beis Hamikdash. This mitzvah also teaches us not to erase Hashem’s name.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן כֵּן לַה׳ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם

The details are explained in Mesechta Shevuos perek Daled.

3) (Mitzvas Asei #172) We need to listen to a Navi, even if he tells us to not keep a mitzvah for a certain amount of time. (If he tells us to never keep a certain mitzvah again, we don’t listen to him.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: אֵלָיו תִּשְׁמָעוּן

The details are explained in End of Mesechta Sanhedrin (Perek Yud).



Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah

Perek Zayin: In today’s Rambam, we learn about nevuah. A Yid has to believe that there ARE neviim who hear things right from Hashem! A Navi can tell us these things so we know what Hashem wants from us at a certain time.

Perek Ches: We learn the signs of how we know someone is a Navi. One of the ways we know is if he predicts the future. But that is not why we listen to what he says — we listen to him because Moshe Rabbeinu gave us this sign in the Torah! That’s why, even if he does predict the future, there are times we wouldn’t listen to him anyway, like we see in the next perek.

Perek Tes: If a Navi tells us that a mitzvah isn’t important anymore, we know he is not a real Navi! All of the mitzvos of the Torah are FOREVER, and even if sometimes we might need to stop keeping a mitzvah for a short time if a Navi tells us to, no mitzvah ever goes away forever!



Hilchos Tumas Ochalin - Perek Tes-Zayin

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning about Tumah of food and drinks:

The Rambam us which food is Bechezkas Muchsharim, that we say it probably got wet so it can become tomei.

Then the Rambam tells us that most of the time, it’s fine to make food tomei and eat tomei food! It is only a problem with holy foods, like Korbanos, Terumah, and Maaser Sheini, since we can’t eat those when we are tomei. But some Yidden, called Perushim, would be very careful to ONLY be tahor and eat tahor foods all the time.




In today’s Chumash, Sheini of Parshas Vaeschanan, we have the posuk, “Veyadaata Hayom Vehasheivosa El Levecha Ki Hashem Hu Ha’Elokim Bashomayim Mimaal Ve’al Ha’aretz Mitachas Ein Od!” “You should know today and keep in your heart that Hashem is our Hashem, in the heavens above and on the earth below there is nothing else!”

Chassidus explains that in this posuk, Moshe Rabbeinu is telling the Yidden that they should always know that Havaya is Elokim!

During different times, Hashem expresses Himself in different ways:

Sometimes there are moments where we see Hashem in a way of Havaya, the name of Hashem where His goodness and koach are clear to see. Yidden have had many powerful Havaya moments, like the time of Matan Torah, the time of the first Beis Hamikdash, and the neis of Chanukah. We also have Havaya moments in our own lives, when small (or big) nisim show us that Hashem is taking care of us. It could be when you passed a test that was very hard for you, or when you got something you had wanted very much.

There are also moments where Hashem expresses Himself in a way of Elokim. This is where Hashem’s goodness is hidden, and these moments can be very hard. We had many of these moments during the Churban and during all of these years of Golus. When everything seems to be going wrong, or something scary or painful happens to us, we are having a moment where Hashem’s chayus is coming in a way of Elokim.

But Moshe Rabbeinu is reminding us that either way, it’s still the same Aibishter! Hashem is our Hashem whether He is reaching to us in a way of Havaya, or in a way of Elokim. Hashem and His love for the Yidden is always there, even when it is hidden.

When Hashem gives a person an “Elokim moment,” He is testing him, to see if he will reach deeper inside of his neshama to KNOW (Veyadaata) that Hashem is right there with him. When he passes the test and still acts the way Hashem wants him to, then there is no reason for Hashem to be hidden anymore, and Hashem will show him His kindness!


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Le'olam Yehei Adam

We learned that the section “Le’olam Yehei Adam” and the first Shema were made a part of davening close to the end of the time of the Amoraim. At that time, there was a gezeira from the king that the Yidden could not say Shema. Since it was dangerous to say Shema together in shul, the Chachomim told the Yidden to say Shema secretly in their homes before coming to daven.

But even though it only became part of davening then, the words of Le’olam Yehei Adam were written over 100 years earlier.

Where did they come from?

Eliyahu Hanavi used to come often to learn with a certain Amora, called R’ Anan.

R’ Anan wrote down the things he learned from Eliyahu Hanavi. This later became a sefer, which we still have today, called Tana Devei Eliyahu (“We learned from Eliyahu”).

One of the things R’ Anan wrote down was how Eliyahu Hanavi explained a certain nevuah from the Navi Amos. The Navi says that there will come a time when Yidden will be hungry — but not for food or water, they will be hungry for words of Torah!

Eliyahu Hanavi said that this nevuah was also speaking about a time of Shmad, when goyim will try to keep Yidden from doing mitzvos. This will make the Yidden feel hungry for Torah and mitzvos, because they won’t be able to keep them in public!

R’ Anan wrote down what Eliyahu Hanavi said about this, beginning with the words “Le’olam Yehei Adam,” and ending, “Amar Hashem.” This whole section of davening is the words of Tana Devei Eliyahu.

It starts:

Le’olam Yehei Adam Yerei Shomayim Baseser” — A person should always have Yiras Shomayim, even if he has to do it Baseser, in a hidden way.

One of the paragraphs ends, “Baruch Mekadesh Shemo Borabim” — the best way is to be able to make a Kiddush Hashem in public. But even when we can’t, we at least make a Kiddush Hashem in private, by doing the mitzvos secretly.

At the time when this was added to davening, this was very important! The Yidden needed to think about this when they said Shema secretly, remembering how important it is to do mitzvos even in such a time.

But nowadays we are NOT in a time of Shmad, Boruch Hashem! We ARE able to do mitzvos in public, and the goyim are not trying to stop us! So why was this kept as a part of davening for always?

One reason is because we ALWAYS need to remember the way the Yidden act in a time of Shmad!

Our Yiras Shomayim needs to also be in private. It is not enough to do mitzvos only when other people are looking. Deep inside, where only Hashem can see, we ALSO need to have Yiras Shomayim.

This Tefillah reminds us that our Avodas Hashem should be in a way of Pnimius and Emes, even when others can’t see.

See Beis Yosef siman Mem-Vov se’if Ches, Tana Devei Eliyahu perek Chof-Alef



After the Nine Days

Just because now the Nine Days are over, it doesn’t mean that we are done with thinking about the Beis Hamikdash or adding in Kedushah to bring Moshiach! The Rebbe said that we shouldn’t STOP making siyumim now, we should keep making them until Chamisha-Asar B’Av — the big Yom Tov that comes after (and because of) Tisha B’Av!

We are now coming to the end of the summer, where the days are longer than the nights. Starting from Chamisha Asar B’Av, the nights start getting longer, and the Gemara tells us to learn more Torah at night.

The Rebbe tells us that we shouldn’t wait until Chamisha Asar B’Av, we should already start adding in our Torah learning now!

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



Absorbing Kedusha

Did you ever hear an echo?

When sounds bounce off of walls or rocks, we can hear an echo. But if you scream into a pillow, you won’t hear an echo, because the pillow absorbs the sound and it doesn’t bounce away!

In Parshas Vaeschanan, we review the Aseres Hadibros. One of the things the Medrash tells us about the Aseres Hadibros is that when Hashem said these words, there was no echo.

That’s not how things usually work! Very loud sounds bounce off of mountains and rocks and make a loud echo. An echo isn’t a bad thing, it can sometimes make something sound more important and loud. So why did Hashem make a neis that there should be no echo from the Aseres Hadibros?

The Rebbe explains that this wasn’t actually a neis, it was the way the world is supposed to work! If a sound is absorbed into the mountain, it won’t bounce off and echo. At the time of Matan Torah, the world was able to absorb the words of Hashem completely, so they didn’t bounce off and echo!

Matan Torah was like a small taste of Moshiach. Just like by Matan Torah, when Moshiach comes, the world will be able to absorb kedusha completely!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Daled, Parshas Va’eschanan

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