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Parshas Devarim - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Moshe Rabbeinu reviews with the Yidden how they captured the lands of Sichon and Og.

Sichon and Og: Moshe Rabbeinu reminds the Yidden how they won over Sichon and Og, the kings of the Emori, even though these kings were SO strong! Hashem told them to fight with these nations, and they did, completely capturing their land.

Part of their land went to Shevet Reuven and Gad, and part to some of the families of Shevet Menasheh.



18 - 22

Today’s kapitelach are kapitelach Yud-Ches to Chof-Beis.

In today’s Tehilim, there is a posuk that is explained in the first section of Igeres HaKodesh, which we start learning today!

In Kapitel Yud-Tes, there is a posuk that talks about Torah: “Toras Hashem Temimah, Meshivas Nafesh.” “The Torah of Hashem is complete, it makes the neshama feel good.”

The Alter Rebbe uses this posuk to show why he was so happy to hear that the Chassidim learned the whole Shas (Mishnayos and Gemara) in many places over the year. When the Torah is complete — the whole Torah is learned — it makes the Neshama happy!

Chassidim STILL have this minhag to learn the whole Shas over a year — it’s called Chalukas HaShas. Each chossid takes one Gemara to learn over the year, so that together, we finish learning the whole thing! Do you know which Mesechta YOUR Tatty is learning?

This is also the reason we make a siyum on a Mesechta in the Nine Days! Finishing a section of Torah brings us simcha, and we need to find ways to increase in Simcha that are allowed in halacha during the Nine Days. Simcha Poretz Geder — simcha is able to change the way things usually are, and we need to try every way we can to make these days of sadness become days of joy!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Alef

Today we are starting the fourth Chelek of Tanya! It is called Igeres HaKodesh — the heilige letter. There are really a lot of letters here, where the Alter Rebbe helps show the Chassidim how to serve Hashem. But because the last section was called Igeres HaTeshuvah, this chelek is just called Igeres HaKodesh.

The first letter has three parts, which we will learn over the next three days. The first part was written when the Alter Rebbe was going to the Maggid in Mezritch. He already had many people he was learning Torah with, and before he left, he wrote this letter to encourage them in their learning.

The Alter Rebbe starts with a bracha, thanking Hashem for the good news that he heard — that his Talmidim finished learning the WHOLE Mishnayos and Gemara!

The Alter Rebbe explains why learning Mishnayos and Gemara are so special:

Let’s take a mashal of a person. He has a head and hands, and the rest of the upper part of the body, which are all very important parts. But how does he get to where he needs to be to use his kochos? With the lower half of the body, his waist and legs and feet.

We also have an “upper half” and a “lower half” in Ruchnius:

The “upper half” is our koach to think about the greatness of Hashem (hisbonenus), which brings us to feel a love for Hashem (Ahava) and being afraid to do anything that will chas veshalom separate us from Hashem (Yirah).

But we also need the “lower half” that makes this possible. In Ruchnius, that’s our emunah! Only when we have emunah in Hashem are we able to have hisbonenus about Hashem, and start to feel Ahava and Yirah.

Tomorrow we will IY”H learn about how we make the “lower half,” the emunah of our neshama, strong. We do this by learning the whole Shas, which teaches us what Hashem wants! Then we will be able to have hisbonenus in davening, and feel Ahava and Yirah. Learning Torah is like the belt which holds the waist strong, so it can hold up the whole body.



Gimmel Menachem Av

In the Nine Days, we think about how sad it is that the Yidden are in Golus. We ask Hashem for Moshiach now! Today we will learn a certain way to think about Golus, which will give us chayus to make sure we use every chance we have in Golus to do good things.

The Rebbe Rashab said in a sicha that when Moshiach comes very soon, we will miss the days of Golus. It will bother us that we didn’t use all of the chances we had in Golus to serve Hashem properly. Then we will realize that it was a very special time which we had only during Golus.

Now is the time to use out this opportunity the best we can and do whatever is possible to prepare for the Geulah!



Shiur #15 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #11, #12, #14, Asei #185, Lo Saasei #25, #22, #48, #50, #51, #30, #33, #31, #32

Today we learn even MORE mitzvos about not serving Avodah Zarah, and only serving Hashem!

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #11) We are not allowed to build a monument for people to come and daven around — even to daven to Hashem — because this kind of thing is usually used for Avodah Zarah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: וְלֹא תָקִים לְךָ מַצֵּבָה אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #12) People used to choose certain stones to lean on when they bowed to Avodah Zarah. We are not allowed to choose a stone to bow on, even to use to bow to Hashem!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְאֶבֶן מַשְׂכִּית לֹא תִתְּנוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶם לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת עָלֶיהָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Megillah.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #13) We are not allowed to plant a tree near the Mizbeiach, or anywhere near the Beis Hamikdash, because that was what was done in places of Avodah Zarah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא תִטַּע לְךָ אֲשֵׁרָה כָּל עֵץ אֵצֶל מִזְבַּח ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Tamid.

4) (Mitzvas Asei #185) We need to completely destroy everything in Eretz Yisroel that has to do with Avodah Zarah! That means all of the idols and all of the temples.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: אַבֵּד תְּאַבְּדוּן אֶת כָּל הַמְּקֹמוֹת

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #25) We are not allowed to use any part of an idol for something that helps us, like burning a tree used for Avodah Zarah so that our house will be warm.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Eikev: וְלֹא תָבִיא תוֹעֵבָה אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Avodah Zarah perek Gimmel.

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #22) We are not allowed to use or benefit from the gold or silver that was put on an idol to make it look nice.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Eikev: לֹא תַחְמֹד כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב עֲלֵיהֶם

The details are explained in Mesechta Avodah Zarah perek Gimmel.

7) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #48) We are not allowed to let goyim live in Eretz Yisroel unless they stop worshiping Avodah Zarah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vaeschanan: לֹא תִכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית

8) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #50) We are not allowed to be nice to someone who worships idols.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vaeschanan: וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם

9) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #51) We are not allowed to let anyone who serves Avodah Zarah to live or stay in Eretz Yisroel, because people might learn from them.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא יֵשְׁבוּ בְּאַרְצְךָ פֶּן יַחֲטִיאוּ אֹתְךָ לִי

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin and Avodah Zarah.

10) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #30) We are not allowed to copy things that people who worship Avodah Zarah do, even if those things have nothing to with Avodah Zarah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וְלֹא תֵלְכוּ בְּחֻקֹּת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מְשַׁלֵּחַ מִפְּנֵיכֶם

The details are explained in Mesechta Shabbos perek Vov and Tosefta Shabbos.

11) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #33) We aren’t allowed to decide things based on “good signs” or “bad signs” — like to decide that something that happened was a “bad sign” and now you shouldn’t go on the trip.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ וְגוֹ׳ מְעוֹנֵן וּמְנַחֵשׁ

The details are explained in Mesechta Shabbos perek Zayin and Tosefta Shabbos

12) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #31) We are not allowed to do things to predict the future.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ וְגוֹ׳ קֹסֵם קְסָמִים

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin, Tosefta Shabbos, and Sifri.

13) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #32) We are not allowed to decide which days are good for things based on astrology (deciding things based on the stars). We also are not allowed to make magic tricks in a way that people think we’re using real magic.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְךָ וְגוֹ׳ מְעוֹנֵן



Hilchos Avodas Kochavim

Perek Zayin: We need to destroy Avodah Zarah things. The Rambam teaches us what kinds of things are counted as Avodah Zarah. For example, if a cow was used for a korban to Avodah Zarah, we can’t even use its skin for anything else.

In Perek Ches, we learn about when things change to become Avodah Zarah. If someone davened to a mountain, the mountain isn’t counted as Avodah Zarah, but if he took a rock from that mountain it could be.

In Perek Tes, we learn about doing business and about our dealings with goyim when they are celebrating their Avodah Zarah days.



Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah - Perek Gimmel

This perek teaches us about outer space! The Rambam explains how there are different levels in the sky, with the moon, stars, and all of the planets. Did you know that the stars all know Hashem and say praises to Hashem?



Hilchos Beis Habechirah

The Rebbe taught us to learn about the Beis Hamikdash during the Three Weeks. Let’s see what’s behind this takana!

One of the mitzvos Hashem gave us is the mitzvah to build a Mishkan for Hashem, “Ve’asu Li Mikdash Veshachanti Besocham.” This wasn’t only a mitzvah for the Yidden in the Midbar, it is also a mitzvah for all of the later generations, that they should make sure that there is a Beis Hamikdash for Hashem.

Even though we can’t actually build the physical Beis Hamikdash, we do the mitzvah as best as we can, by building the Beis Hamikdash in a different way.

The Gemara teaches that when a person learns the pesukim of the Torah about korbanos, Hashem counts it as if he is actually bringing that korban!

This is also true with learning about the Beis Hamikdash. When we learn the parts of Torah explaining the parts of the Beis Hamikdash and how they were built, it is like we are actually building the Beis Hamikdash! In Chumash (especially Parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh) we learn about the Mishkan, in certain chapters of the Navi Yechezkel it describes (generally) the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi, in Mishnayos Midos we learn about the way the Beis Hamikdash was set up, and in Mishnayos and Gemara Tomid, we learn about the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash. The Rambam sets up all of these halachos in an organized way in Hilchos Beis Habechirah and Sefer Avodah!

Especially during a time when we are sad about the Beis Hamikdash being destroyed, we can weaken the Churban by learning about the Beis Hamikdash, which is one way of building it!

This will also help that Hashem will see how we’re trying to build the Beis Hamikdash, and will actually give us the physical Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi with Moshiach right away!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches, sicha of Parshas Masei — Bein Hameitzarim


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Hareini Mekabel

A story told by the Frierdiker Rebbe:

…At my Bar Mitzvah, my father the Rebbe Rashab called me by my name and said, “Yosef Yitzchok, ask something.”

So I asked my father, “It says in the siddur that we should say before davening, ‘Hareini’ — that I am taking on myself the mitzvah of Ve’ahavta Le’rei’acha Kamocha. Why does it say this specifically before davening Shacharis? If we are supposed to do Ahavas Yisroel first thing in the morning, it should be connected to morning brachos!”

My father answered me: “When a father has many children, his greatest nachas is when he sees that they all have achdus and they love each other. Davening is when we ask Hashem for our needs — both our Gashmius’dike needs and our Ruchnius’dike needs. Before we ask Hashem for our needs, we need to do something that will bring Hashem nachas. For that reason, it was established that we should accept upon ourselves the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel as a preparation for davening…”

See Sefer Hasichos 5700, p. 157



Tzedakah Before Davening

In the Gemara, it talks about a Tanna R’ Elazar, who had the following minhag: In the morning, he would give a perutah (a small coin) to a poor person, and then go daven Shemoneh Esrei.

R’ Elazar did this because the posuk says, “Ani Betzedek Echezeh Panecha,” “With tzedek (tzedakah) I will see Your face.” Rashi explains that he learned from this posuk to first take care of the “tezdek” by giving tzedakah, and then “Echezeh Panecha,” to “see Hashem’s face” in davening!

Based on this Gemara, the Shulchan Aruch tells us that we should give tzedakah before davening. In the time of R’ Elazar, Shemoneh Esrei was the whole davening, but now we give tzedakah before starting Shacharis.

(On the same page as the Gemara tells us this story, it also tells us that “Tzedakah Mekareves Es Hageulah” — Tzedakah brings Moshiach! That is something else we should think about when we give tzedakah!)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tzadik-Beis, se’if yud

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



Learning About the Beis Hamikdash

The third Beis Hamikdash will be the same as the second in many ways, but not exactly. We can learn about the second Beis Hamikdash in Mesechta Midos of Mishnayos, or Hilchos Beis Habechirah of the Rambam, but that’s not going to be enough to build it right. The Navi Yechezkel told us details about how the third Beis Hamikdash will be different, but a lot of the things he says aren’t so clear.

Hashem will need to show many of the details when Moshiach comes. So why is it so important for us to learn about the Beis Hamikdash now?

The answer is that there is a mitzvah in the Torah, “Ve’asu Li Mikdash Veshachanti Besocham.” Hashem tells us to build Him a Mishkan, and He will rest among the Yidden.

This mitzvah wasn’t only a mitzvah in the Midbar or only in Eretz Yisroel — it is a mitzvah for ALWAYS!

Nowadays we can’t build Hashem a Gashmius’dike Mishkan with our hands, but we can do the mitzvah by learning about the Beis Hamikdash that we will need to build.

When we learn as much as we can about the Beis Hamikdash, we are doing the mitzvah the best way we can. Also, when Hashem sees us so interested in learning about the Beis Hamikdash, He will make sure that we can actually build it faster, by sending us Moshiach right away!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches, parshas Masei — Three Weeks

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