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CHUMASH

Parshas Balak - Chamishi with Rashi

Bilaam continues to give brachos to the Yidden.

Bilaam and Balak try again: Balak thought that maybe it would be easier to curse a few of the Yidden, since he won’t see them all together with all of their mitzvos. So they went up onto Har Nevo. Bilaam and Balak knew that something sad for the Yidden would happen there, and thought this would be from their curse! (Really, this is the mountain where Moshe Rabbeinu would later pass away.)

Hashem tells Bilaam to give the Yidden brachos: Again Balak made 7 Mizbeiachs and brought 2 korbanos on each. Bilaam tried to talk to Hashem again, and Hashem gave him another nevuah. Hashem told him that he can’t curse the Yidden, but he should BLESS them! Bilaam didn’t want to go back to do it, but Hashem told him he has to.

Balak made fun of Bilaam, asking him what Hashem told him. First Bilaam told Balak that Hashem is not a person — He never changes His mind. Then he told him what Hashem said — Hashem wants the Yidden blessed — so that is what he will have to do:

Bilaam gives the Yidden brachos: “Hashem doesn’t look at the aveiros of the Yidden — He loves them so much! They DESERVE brachos. The Yidden say Shema every day in the morning and at night, and Hashem protects them.”

Balak said, “Don’t curse them and don’t bless them! If you can’t curse them, don’t say anything!”

But Bilaam reminded Balak that he has to say whatever Hashem tells him to…

 
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TEHILLIM

77 - 78

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Zayin to Ayin-Ches.

Kapitel Ayin-Ches talks about all of the Nissim that Hashem did for the Yidden, from the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim until Dovid Hamelech became the king.

In the first posuk that talks about Dovid Hamelech, it says “Vayivchar BeDovid Avdo, Vayikacheihu Mimichle’os Tzon.” “Hashem chose Dovid, and He took him from the sheep pens.” (This is also a Chassidishe Niggun!)

Rashi explains how Dovid Hamelech took such special care of the sheep:

While Dovid Hamelech was taking care of the sheep, he noticed that not all of the sheep were getting food to eat! The big strong sheep would run very fast into the field and eat as much as they wanted. Then the older sheep and the baby sheep would come into the field, but there was no more soft grass left! The hard grass was hard for them to eat, so they were hungry.

So Dovid Hamelech built fences for the sheep. He put the strong sheep behind one fence, the baby sheep behind another fence, and the older sheep behind the last fence.

When it was time for them to go out to the field to eat, Dovid Hamelech first let out the baby sheep. They ran into the field and ate the very soft grass that was easy for their baby teeth to chew. Then Dovid Hamelech let the older sheep come in. There was plenty of softer grass left for them, and they ate until they were full. Finally, Dovid Hamelech let the strong sheep come out into the field. Even though most of the grass that was left was very hard and chewy, their teeth were strong and they were happy to eat it all up.

Hashem saw how Dovid Hamelech was careful to take care of every single sheep with exactly what it needs! Hashem knew that someone who takes good care of even a little sheep will also take good care of every single Yid! That’s why Hashem chose Dovid to be the king of the Yidden.

Moshe Rabbeinu was also a shepherd who took care of every single sheep, and he took care of every single Yid very carefully throughout all of his years of leading the Yidden.

Hashem makes sure that every Nasi who leads the Yidden will take care of each of them! Our Rebbe, our Nasi, also takes care of every single Yid, making sure that each of us have exactly what we need.

(Here’s a video clip that shows this: http://chabad.org/929769 )

 
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TANYA

Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Gimmel

Today we learn how the matanah that we bring to Hashem is not through fasting, but through tzedakah.

We learned how a person does the mitzvah of Teshuvah: He makes a hachlata to do whatever Hashem wants, and never to do this aveira again. If he does this, he won’t be punished chas veshalom, but he still won’t have the same connection to Hashem as before the aveira was done! To get close to Hashem again, he needs to give Hashem a present. In the time of the Beis Hamikdash, that present was a Korban. After the Churban, when the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, that present was fasting. But now that also changed!

Nowadays, we can’t use fasting as a “korban” to come close to Hashem. Our bodies aren’t as strong as they used to be, so fasting will hurt us.

A Yid’s body doesn’t belong to him — it belongs to Hashem. Hashem only lets us USE it, and we need to take good care of it. If fasting will hurt us, that’s not a way to come closer to Hashem! It will chas veshalom accomplish the opposite.

Even in the times of the Mishna and Gemara, only people who were healthy and could fast without it hurting them were allowed to fast. They were able to still daven and do mitzvos, even when they were fasting.

So what CAN we do, if we can’t fast so much?

We can give tzedakah! Since it takes hard work to get money, it’s like we’re giving a piece of OURSELVES to tzedakah, just like fasting is giving a part of ourselves to Hashem. Even if you didn’t work hard for the money (like if you got it for a present), since you COULD have gotten something for yourself with the money, and instead you gave it to tzedakah, it’s like you gave that part of you to Hashem! So it’s like fasting — giving a part of ourselves to Hashem.

This is the eitzah we use nowadays: We give of ourselves through tzedakah, which brings us back to be close to Hashem, the way bringing a korban did in the times of the Beis Hamikdash.

 
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HAYOM YOM

Tes-Vov Tammuz

The Rebbe Rashab writes in a maamar that Ruchnius can sometimes make our Gashmius body feel full! We can enjoy Ruchnius so much that it’s even better than food!

R’ Nachum of Chernobyl loved answering Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah (in Kaddish) so much, that it made him fat!

Someone once came to the Rebbetzin in her home after a farbrengen with the Rebbe that ended very late. When the Rebbetzin asked him if he wants to eat something, he answered that he is not hungry. The Rebbetzin replied, “That’s not surprising — a farbrengen zetikt ohn, a farbrengen makes you feel full.”

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #321 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #317, Asei #178

In today’s Rambam, we are finishing the set of halachos called Sanhedrin, and starting to learn Hilchos Eidus, which is all about witnesses. So today, we will have one mitzvah from Hilchos Sanhedrin, and one mitzvah about Eidus.

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #317) We aren’t allowed to curse another Yid.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: לֹא תְקַלֵּל חֵרֵשׁ

This posuk means, “You should not curse a person who is deaf.” The Rambam explains how we learn today’s mitzvah from this posuk:

When someone gets angry, he wants to take revenge — to hurt the other person the way he feels that he was hurt, to make things “fair.” Depending on how angry he is, he might think it is fair to destroy the other person’s things, or even to hurt him very badly! Then he will calm down and not be angry anymore.

If the other person did something small, he might only be a little angry. He will feel better after he screams at the other person, or even only curses him quietly, so the other person can’t hear.

We might think that there is nothing wrong with this! Why should it matter if we curse someone when he can’t hear, and it won’t hurt his feelings?

That’s why the Torah says “don’t curse a person who is deaf.” We might think, why should it matter if we curse someone who is deaf and can’t hear?

The Torah teaches us that the reason why not to curse another person is not only that the other person will hear and feel bad, but because WE shouldn’t be cursing other people! We are not allowed to let ourselves get angry and take revenge on another person.

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Shevuos perek Daled.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #178) If a person knows about something that Beis Din is judging, he needs to come be a witness, an Eid.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vayikra: וְהוּא עֵד אוֹ רָאָה אוֹ יָדָע

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin and Mesechta Shevuos.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Sandhedrin - Eidus

Perek Chof-Hey: In this perek, we learn halachos about how a judge needs to treat his community. (This is probably important for ANY person who works with the community!) The Rambam reminds a judge not to act in a mean way to the people, because even if they are simple and not so ruchnius’dik, they are the children of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov!

Mr. George Rohr, a big Baal Tzedakah who supports many of the Rebbe’s mosdos, once came to the Rebbe. He wanted to share good news with the Rebbe, so he told the Rebbe about a minyan he organized for Yidden who didn’t have any Jewish background.

“What?!” the Rebbe asked. Mr. Rohr told the Rebbe again. “Go back to them and tell them that they DO have a Jewish background!” the Rebbe said. “They are all children of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov!”

Judges also need to be careful not to do things that would make people lose kavod for them, like getting drunk at parties.

We also learn that people need to have kavod for the Beis Din, and come if a Beis Din tells them to. The Beis Din is careful when they call someone, to make sure it is possible for him to come. For example, they don’t call people to come to a case on a Friday, because everyone is busy getting ready for Shabbos.

Perek Chof-Vov: Now the Rambam teaches halachos about the punishment for cursing. Even though there is already a mitzvah not to curse ANYONE, there is a special mitzvah not to curse a judge. Someone who does, gets malkos twice.

The last halacha reminds us how it is asur to go to a non-Jewish court (Arka’us). Yidden take care of their own disagreements in a Beis Din. Only if someone refuses to come to Beis Din are we allowed to take him to court.

Now we start a new set of halachos about witnesses.

Perek Alef: If someone is able to be a witness, he has a mitzvah to say what he knows in Beis Din.

We learn the way the judges ask the witnesses questions, in order that we can make sure they are really telling the truth, and that all of the witnesses agree. They first ask seven basic questions, about when and where the thing happened. Then they ask more details, like “Which melacha did he do?”

But the judges should also ask questions that don’t have to do with the specific thing, just to make sure that the person is telling the truth. For example, they will ask what color clothes the person was wearing.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Shaar Avos Hatumah - Perek Yud-Alef

We learn about three levels of kedusha in foods. There is chulin, which is regular food without any kedusha, Terumah, and Kodesh, like korbanos. We learn about the different levels of tumah in these different kinds of food.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Ahavas Yisroel

Here’s a story with a lesson about Ahavas Yisroel, that the Rebbe told over at a farbrengen.

One time, when the Rebbe Rashab was still a little boy, he was playing a game with his older brother, the Raz”a (R’ Zalman Aharon). They were playing a game of Rebbe and chossid, something they were used to seeing at home!

The Rebbe Rashab pretended that he was a chossid coming into Yechidus. “Rebbe,” he said. “I need a tikun! What should I do?”

“What did you do wrong?” asked the Raz”a, who was pretending to be the Rebbe.

“I cracked nuts on Shabbos,” answered the Rebbe Rashab, “and I only found out afterwards that the Alter Rebbe says we aren’t allowed to do that on Shabbos.”

The Raz”a told him, “your tikun is to be careful to daven and say brachos only from a siddur, and not by heart!”

The Rebbe Rashab didn’t agree to do this as a tikun!

When his mother (Rebbetzin Rivka) asked why, the Rebbe Rashab answered that it wouldn’t help — because his brother is not a Rebbe. When a Rebbe helps a Yid, he sighs before he answers, because it bothers him too! Since the Raz”a didn’t sigh, his advice won’t help either.

 

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TEFILLAH

Tikun Chatzos

The Gemara and the Zohar teach us that there are certain times of night when Hashem cries over the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash. The Zohar says that a person should cry together with Hashem over the Beis Hamikdash. Then, he will also deserve to celebrate together with Hashem when the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt!

The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya that our aveiros send the last Hey of Hashem’s name into Golus. This is called Golus HaShechinah.

During Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah and Tikun Chatzos, we make a Cheshbon Hanefesh. We do teshuvah for our aveiros, so that the letters of Hashem’s name can come out of Golus and make Hashem’s name in our neshama whole again.

The Alter Rebbe says that even if someone can’t do Tikun Chatzos every night, he should try to do it at least once a week.

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Tikun Chatzos

Shortly after the Rebbe became Nosi, someone asked the Rebbe a question: “If it says in Tanya that we should say Tikun Chatzos at least once a week, why aren’t people doing it?”

The Rebbe answered that Tikun Chatzos is only for special people. The rest of us fulfill the inyan of Tikun Chatzos by learning Chassidus, especially on Thursday night!

In a maamar (Margela Bepumei 5746), the Rebbe tells us that since we are so close to the Geulah, now our main learning of Chassidus should be not so much to think about the Golus our aveiros caused. Instead, we should make a Cheshbon Hanefesh to help us come to do teshuvah in a way of simcha, to have more chayus in learning Torah and davening and living the way a Yid should!

This will help us bring a Geulah for ourselves, and for all the Yidden!

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Moshiach Will Be Our Leader!

The Navi Yechezkel warned the leaders of the Yidden that Hashem did not like the way they were acting! Instead of taking care of the Yidden, they were just using their power to have kavod and money.

Hashem will not let “leaders” like that stay in charge! In the time of the Geulah, Hashem will send the “sheep” (the Yidden) a true shepherd (Moshiach) to take proper care of them.

The Navi continues telling the Yidden what Hashem promises:

וַאֲנִי ה׳ אֶהְיֶה לָהֶם לֵאלֹקִים וְעַבְדִּי דָוִד נָשִׂיא בְתוֹכָם אֲנִי ה׳ דִּבַּרְתִּי

Va’ani Hashem Eheyeh Lahem Leilokim — I, Hashem, will be their Aibershter to save them

Ve’avdi Dovid Nasi Besocham — And Moshiach, who comes from Dovid Hamelech, will be their prince.

Ani Hashem Dibarti — I, Hashem, have said this, so it will definitely happen!

See Yechezkel perek Lamed-Daled posuk Chof-Daled

 
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