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Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the Yom Tov of Sukkos!

Sukkos is 7 days long (in Eretz Yisroel), and there is a special Sukkos korban every day!

On the 8th day, there is an extra day of Yom Tov, Shmini Atzeres. This is because Hashem loves when we have such a happy Yom Tov with Him, and He wants it to last for an extra day!

The first day of Sukkos, and the last day (Shmini Atzeres) are both days when we can’t do any melacha. The other days are Chol Hamoed.

On Sukkos, we take 4 different kinds of plants together. They are an Esrog, a Lulav, Hadassim and Aravos.

On Sukkos, we live in a Sukkah. This reminds us of the Ananei Hakavod, the clouds Hashem put around the Yidden to keep them safe in the Midbar.



90 - 96

The first kapitel in today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitel Tzadik (90). Dovid Hamelech wrote many kapitelach himself, but this one is different. Dovid Hamelech found this whole kapitel already written, and he was told that it was written by Moshe Rabbeinu! So he decided to include it in the Sefer Tehillim.

This kapitel speaks about how a person should be humble, not a big-shot. It also helps a person to want to do Teshuvah.

One of the pesukim says “Tosheiv Enosh Ad Daka VaTomer Shuvu Bnei Adam” — “Hashem, You make a person feel very small so that he will do Teshuva.” The word “Tasheiv” (“do Teshuvah”) is the same letters as the word Shabbos — because Shabbos is a special chance for every Yid to do teshuva — to become closer to Hashem.



Likutei Amarim Perek Mem-Tes

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe is teaching us something we can think about, especially during the brachos of Shema and Shema itself, that will help us love Hashem in order to do His mitzvos.

We learned about two kinds of chayus from Hashem, Sovev Kol Almin (which makes everything in the world exist, but is too strong to feel) and Memalei Kol Almin (which Hashem needs to hide through Tzimtzum so each thing can get its proper chayus).

When we think about how HASHEM made these Tzimtzumim, to hide His light more and more instead of shining it, because of His love for a YID — that should make us want to love Hashem and also hide the things that WE want to do more and more, so we can do the shlichus that Hashem gives us the chance to be a part of!

The brachos before Shema help us feel this!

The Alter Rebbe told us before that a very good time to think about this is during the brachos of Shema and Shema. The words of the Chachomim in these brachos can help us think about these things!

If you look at the two brachos before Shema, they don’t seem to have anything to do with Shema! The brachos before all other mitzvos have to do with that mitzvah! So why don’t these brachos talk about Shema too?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that really these brachos ARE connected — they help us get ready to say Shema. How?

Shema is the time when we work on doing the mitzvah of loving Hashem, like we say in Shema, “Ve’ahavta Es Hashem Elokecha, Bechol Levavcha Uvechol Nafshecha Uvechol Me’odecha” — nothing in our life should stop us from loving Hashem.

The first bracha, Yotzer Ohr, talks about how great and special Hashem is, how all of the malachim are like nothing next to Hashem, and how afraid they are. They say “Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh!” Hashem’s koach is hidden from them (Kedusha also means separate). And where CAN we find Hashem? In Yidden, when they do what Hashem wants!

In the second bracha, we talk about how much Hashem loves us, even more than all of these malachim. Hashem made the world for US, the Yidden!

Hashem loves us with an “Ahavas Olam” — a love that lasts forever. Olam also means the world, a place that Hashem needs Tzimtzum to be in. Hashem is ready even to hide Himself with Tzimtzum, not to let His light shine all the way, because He wants us to learn Torah and do mitzvos!

And from everyone in the world, Hashem chose us, the Yidden!

If Hashem loves us so much, then for sure when we say Shema we will love Him too!

In tomorrow’s Tanya, we’ll see more about how these brachos make us love Hashem — the mitzvah of Shema!



Yud-Tes Iyar

Today is thirty-four days of the Omer!

When we learn Chassidus, we are learning about Hashem. When we learn about Hashem it makes us feel very small, because we understand how small one person is compared to everything Hashem made, and especially to Hashem Himself!

But it also teaches us how great we could become, because it teaches us about how Hashem gave us the Torah and wanted each of us to become close to Him.

It’s like we just saw in today’s Tanya: The malachim see how big Hashem is and that nobody can even understand Him. Then it says how Hashem made himself so small (tzimtzum) to show a Yid how much He loves him and how great he can become when he keeps Hashem’s mitzvos.



Mitzvas Asei #97

Today’s mitzvah is the same as yesterday’s — (Mitzvas Asei #97) which is the mitzvah of Tumas Sheretz. There are eight kinds of Sheratzim which are written in the Torah, and they make other things tomei. This mitzvah is to follow all of the halachos about becoming tomei from a sheretz.



Hilchos Shaar Avos HaTumos

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.

Perek Yud: The Rambam explains the tumah of a “Tvul Yom”(someone who went to the mikvah, but won’t be Tahor until night), and about different levels of Tumah.

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.



Hilchos Ishus - Perek Yud-Daled

Today we learn more about the achrayus that a husband has to his wife.



Pirkei Avos

This week’s Pirkei Avos is Perek Daled. In the first Mishnah, it says, “Ben Zoma Omer: Eizehu Chacham? HaLomeid Mikol Adam.” “Ben Zoma says: Who is a chochom? Someone who learns from every person...”

The Mishnah also says, “Who is a strong person? Someone who wins over his Yetzer Hara... Who is a rich person? Someone who is happy with what he has... Who is a respected person (kavodik)? Someone who has kavod for everyone...”

The Rebbe once explained that this Mishnah teaches us four things that we might think are the opposite!

1) Chochom (a smart person): We would think that a smart person is someone who understands the way things really are — he’ll know who is good, and who is bad.

But no! A chochom is someone who can find something good in everyone and everything!

2) Gibor (a strong person): We would think that a strong person is someone who can pick up heavy things, or can fight with strong people.

But no! Someone who is really strong is someone who holds himself back from using his koach for not good things, and wins over his Yetzer Hara!

3) Ashir (a rich person): We would think that a rich person is someone who is always trying to get more and more money.

But no! Someone who is really rich is someone who is happy with what Hashem gives him!

4) Mechubad (an honored person): We would think that a person is kavodik if he stays separate from other people because he is special, and doesn’t waste his time thinking about other people.

But no! Someone who is really kavodik is someone who is nice to everyone and shows kavod to everyone!


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Es Tzemach

This bracha, Es Tzemach, is all about the special shlichus of our time — to bring Moshiach. As we tell Hashem all the time, We Want Moshiach Now!

Really, bringing Moshiach isn’t something new. In the times of the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah, they made this part of davening! In Shemoneh Esrei, we say the brachaEs Tzemach Dovid Avdecha Meheira Satzmiach,” asking Hashem that Moshiach, who is also called Tzemach, should come very quickly — Meheira!

Later in this same bracha, we say “Ki Lishuas’cha Kivinu Kol Hayom,” we hope for Hashem’s saving us all day! We want Moshiach right away, Meheira, but if Moshiach hasn’t come by the afternoon, we will ask Hashem again in Mincha. And if Moshiach isn’t there by night, we will ask Hashem again in Maariv! Not only that, but we hope for Moshiach to come KOL Hayom, ALL day — even not during davening!

We see from this bracha that wanting Moshiach now has always been part of Yiddishkeit! And now that bringing Moshiach is the special shlichus of our time, it is even more important to be asking Hashem all the time that We Want Moshiach Now!

See Children’s Rally, Chanukah 5741 (recently released by JEM)



Making Up for Lag B'Omer

Every year, the Arizal used to travel to Meron for Lag B’omer, the hilula of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. He used to stay there for three days — the day of Lag B’omer, and the two days afterwards.

In a number of sichos and letters, the Rebbe said that this shows us that the inyan of Lag B’omer lasts for three days! So if we missed anything on Lag B’omer, we can make up for it afterwards.

This also fits with the lesson we just learned from Pesach Sheini, that “S’iz Nishto Kein Farfallen,” it is never too late to make up for something good.

Here is one minhag that you might not have gotten a chance to do on Lag B’omer:

There is a minhag to eat bukser (carob) on Lag B’omer. This reminds us of the bukser that Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai and his son Rabbi Elazar ate for 13 years in the cave!

The Rebbe once said at a farbrengen that he remembers eating bukser at his house as a child. It was a very rare fruit, but they had it every year on Lag B’omer.

See also Hisvaaduyos 5742, chelek gimmel, p. 1395

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



Hinei Keil Yeshuasi!

The Navi Yeshaya tells us one of the things the Yidden will say when Moshiach comes:

הִנֵּה אֵ-ל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד כִּי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָ-הּ ה׳ וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה

Hinei Keil Yeshuasi — Here is Hashem who saves me from Golus!

Evtach Velo Efchad — Now I feel safe and I am not afraid of anyone.

Ki Azi Vezimras Kah Hashem — The strength and the praise that comes from Hashem’s name becoming whole, in the times of the Geulah

Vayehi Li Liyeshua — that is what saved me.

Rashi explains that until Hashem destroys Amalek in the times of Moshiach, Hashem’s name is not complete. But after Amalek is destroyed and the Yidden are saved, we can see Hashem’s true strength and praise Him with His whole name!

We say this posuk at the beginning of Havdalah, because it is a comforting posuk. We want pesukim that bring us comfort because we are sad that Shabbos is leaving us. When we remind ourselves about the things we will say at the times of the Geulah, we feel much better!

See Yeshaya perek Yud-Beis, posuk Beis

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