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Parshas Acharei - Sheini with Rashi

We are learning more about the Avodah of Yom Kippur:

On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol does the Avodah in the Mishkan and the Kodesh Hakodoshim for Hashem to forgive the Yidden. We learned that in order to forgive the Yidden for not being careful enough with the tahara of the Mishkan and its keilim, he mixes the blood of his Korban Chatas with the blood of the Yidden’s Korban Chatas, and sprinkles it on the Paroches.

Today we learn how the Kohen Gadol is mechaper for any mistakes with the kedusha of the Mizbeiach Hapnimi, where the ketores was brought. The Kohen Gadol sprinkles the Mizbeiach Hapnimi with the same mixture of blood. This causes Hashem to forgive the Yidden in case the Mizbeiach became tomei by touching something tomei, or if the ketores had become tomei.

Then the Kohen Gadol goes out of the Kodesh and the person chosen the day before brings the goat for Azazel. The Kohen Gadol says vidui, asking forgiveness for all of the aveiros of the Yidden, leaning his hands on the goat’s head. Then he sends the goat to the desert with a kohen, to push the animal off the Azazel cliff. This takes away the aveiros of the Yidden.

The Kohen Gadol takes the fat of the korbanos to be burned on the Mizbeiach. Then he goes to the Mikvah to change back into the clothes of the Kohen Gadol that he wears all year (the Bigdei Zahav). He brings a Korban Olah for himself and for the Yidden. Then he brings seven sheep for the Korban Musaf of Yom Kippur.



83 - 87

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Pey-Daled, it says, “Ki Shemesh UMagen Hashem Elokim!” “Because the name of Hashem and Elokim is like the sun and its cover.”

A mashal for the chayus of Hashem is the sun, which shines very strong. If the sun shines on us with all of its might, it would make the word too hot! The world can only be a place where we can live because there is a cover on the sun, so we can enjoy its light.

The same is with the chayus from Hashem: The chayus from the name Havaya is so strong that we wouldn’t be able to feel like people — we would all just become a part of the chayus of Hashem. But the chayus from Hashem’s name Elokim covers up the chayus that comes from the name Havaya so the world can keep on being the way it is.

The Gemara says that Le’asid Lavo, Hashem will take the sun out of its cover and it will bring a Refuah to Yidden! That’s because Le’asid Lavo, every Yid will have the koach to be able to live and still see the chayus of Hashem in the world.



Likutei Amarim Perek Mem-Alef

We have been learning in Tanya that it is not enough to have kavana just in our thoughts, we need to actually speak or do the mitzvos! That’s because Hashem sent us into this world not for our neshama, but for the guf and for the world, to make it a Dira Betachtonim!

But, even though using the Gashmius is the main thing, it isn’t the ONLY thing! We need to make sure that the Gashmius will be able to become full of kedusha, and we do this by thinking the right things — doing our mitzvos with Kavana Lishma.

The right kind of kavana for our mitzvos needs to have Yirah and Ahava. In the beginning of the perek, we learn about Yiras Hashem, that it comes first, and when and what we should think about it.

Now we are learning about the kavana of Ahavas Hashem:

Ahavas Hashem means that a Yid loves Hashem and wants to be connected to Him, even if it means to have Mesiras Nefesh, to actually give up its life to stay connected to Him.

In a way, every time we do a mitzvah or learn Torah, we are having Mesiras Nefesh. That is because just like when a person has Mesiras Nefesh he gives up his guf for Hashem, we are also not thinking about what our guf wants or needs. We are only thinking about the davening and learning or mitzvah that Hashem wants, and that we should be connected to Hashem!

In Birchos Hashachar every morning, we remind ourselves of this kavana. When we say Elokai Neshama, we think about our neshama and how it will one day go back to Gan Eden. That reminds us of how we should feel now also: Just like a neshama in Gan Eden doesn’t think about Gashmius things that it needs, when we do a mitzvah we shouldn’t care about anything else in Gashmius!

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to remind ourselves of this kavana many times during the day. Even in davening we remind ourselves again, before the end of davening when we go to learn Torah. In Tachanun, after Shemoneh Esrei, we say “Eilecha Hashem Nafshi Esa” — Hashem, I am ready to have Mesiras Nefesh to be connected to You!

We should remind ourselves again before we learn Torah throughout the day. Just like a sofer needs to have kavana and think about the reason he is writing before he starts to work, we need to have our kavana before we start to learn!

If we are learning for many hours in a row, that isn’t enough either! Every hour, there is a new chayus of Hashem in the world. We need to stop our learning every hour to remind ourselves about the kavana we need to have, that through our learning we are connecting our neshama to Hashem!



Yud-Zayin Nisan

Today is the second day of the Omer!

It says in the Haggadah that anyone who speaks a lot about Yetziyas Mitzrayim at the seder deserves to be praised! “Vechol Hamarbeh Lesaper BeYetzias Mitzrayim — Harei Zeh Meshubach!”

The Rebbe tells us today that the word Zeh also means a level in kedusha. So the words “Harei ZEH Meshubach” can also be talking about the kedusha inside of us. When we talk about Yetzias Mitzrayim, our “zeh” becomes “meshubach” — the kedusha inside of us becomes even better!

The Rebbe brings this vort from what the Frierdiker Rebbe said at the seder in the year Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Zayin. The F”R reviewed this vort again the next year, and added that talking about Yetizyas Mitzrayim can also be about simple things, like what kinds of clothes or pants the men were wearing when they were leaving Mitzrayim!

The Rebbe also chazered this vort at the seder in the year Tof-Shin-Yud-Alef.



Shiur #234 - Mitzvas Asei #100

Since we are learning a set of halachos that doesn’t have its own mitzvah, we are reviewing other mitzvos from Sefer Tahara.

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #100) is about the kind of Tumah that a woman gets when she has a baby. There are halachos about how she can become Tahor again.



Hilchos Keilim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about Keilim and when they can become Tomei. Today we learn about ovens and stoves!

In Perek Tes-Vov we learn about when an oven or stove is counted as finished and can become Tomei.

Perek Tes-Zayin teaches us about when an oven or stove is broken — can it still get Tumah?

Perek Yud-Zayin has the halachos about parts of an oven, or things that are attached — like a towel rack or a shelf for spices. If the oven is Tomei, do they become Tomei too?



Hilchos Mechusrei Kaparah - Perek Beis

Now we learn about the kind of sickness that can make a man a Zav. If it happens once, he is Tomei. If it happens twice, he is a Zav. If it happens three times, he for sure needs to bring a korban.



Sefiras Haomer - Fixing Our Midos

The Yidden suffered in Mitzrayim for many years. When it came time for them to be freed, Hashem did not send malochim to save the Yidden. Hashem HIMSELF took the Yidden out! This was important because the Golus of Mitzrayim was very strong. The Yidden needed the direct koach of Hashem to be able to leave.

In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe teaches that even this koach of Hashem only pulled the NESHAMOS of the Yidden out of Golus. But their Nefesh Habehamis, which was used to the tumah’dik way of living in Mitzrayim, didn’t change so quickly. It still was living the way it did in Golus.

To be ready for Matan Torah, the Yidden needed to prepare for 49 days. They slowly helped their Nefesh Habehamis to be more aidel so it could start to live in a way of Geulah!

Every year on Pesach, our neshama has a kind of Geulah. However, we also need our Nefesh Habehamis to feel the Geulah too! This is the reason we have Sefiras Ha’omer, to work on ourselves, step by step, so our Nefesh Habehamis can live with the new level of Geulah that our neshama got on Pesach. This way, we’ll be a keili for receiving the Torah on Shavuos!

See Maamar Usefartem 5711


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Fixing Our Midos

The way we think and act when things happen comes from our midos. Sometimes we have good midos that help us do the right thing, but we can also have midos that are not so good. We can get angry or jealous or act chutzpadik. Those kinds of midos need to be changed!

There are two ways to change our midos: We can work on how we behave, or we can spend time working with our sechel to make ourselves feel differently.

Of course, we need to do both!

We work on how we behave by giving ourselves new habits. When someone says something that gets us upset, we can come up with an idea to help us react differently. We might decide to wait some time before we do anything, and do something to keep us from thinking about it until then. Every time we do this, it will make our not-good midos weaker!

That is a very good way of working on our midos when something happens.

When we learn Chassidus and daven properly, we are ALSO able to work on our midos. When we learn and daven, we are using our sechel, our Chochma, Bina, and Daas, to think about Hashem and what we are in the world to do.

When we think about this, we will realize that Hashem and His mitzvos are the most important things.

When our minds get used to thinking this way, our midos will start to change. When we know what really counts, we won’t waste our time and energy getting angry about what other people do, or feel like giving up if a mitzvah gets too hard. Our midos will start to match up with what we understand, and become beautiful.

See Sefer “Lodaas Es Hamidos” by Rabbi Zalman Gopin



Sefiras Ha'omer

Many of the halachos of Sefiras Ha’omer are connected to mourning. We don’t start these halachos, like not listening to music, until AFTER Pesach.

The best time to count Sefiras Ha’omer is right after Maariv, at the beginning of the night. But we are allowed to count all night.

Starting at Shkiah, we are careful not to say what day of the Omer today is, because that might be like counting, and then we wouldn’t be able to count with a bracha that day. Instead, we try to answer how many days we counted yesterday.

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



Sefiras Ha'omer

After counting the Omer, we say “Horachaman Hu Yachazir Lanu Avodas Beis Hamikdash,” asking Hashem to let us do the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash again. What does this have to do with Sefiras Ha’omer?

The real mitzvah of Sefiras Ha’omer is to count the days after the Korban Omer was brought. Nowadays we don’t have an Omer to count afterwards, but the Chachomim taught us to count, “Zecher Lemikdash,” to remember the way it was done in the Beis Hamikdash.

So after we count the best way we can, we ask Hashem to bring back the Beis Hamikdash so we can do the mitzvah in its proper way!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Pey-Tes se’if Yud-Alef

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