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Parshas Balak - Rishon with Rashi

Balak scares Moav that the Yidden might attack them. Moav makes Balak their king, and he asks Bilaam to come curse the Yidden. Hashem tells Bilaam not to do it.

Balak scares Moav: Even though Moav told the Yidden they aren’t allowed to come through, they weren’t afraid that the Yidden would fight them. They knew that Hashem didn’t promise the Yidden to get the land of Moav, so the Yidden would have no reason to attack them.

But Balak ben Tzipor, from Midyan, scared them! He told them that the Yidden could fight them just like they fought with the Emori kings, Sichon and Og. Now Moav was very scared that the Yidden would come in and take whatever they wanted from them! They were so scared that they made shalom with Midyan, who were their enemies, and made Balak their king to help them!

Since the koach of the Yidden was from Hashem, Balak knew that it wouldn’t help to get a big army. They needed to find someone with ruchnius kochos! So he sent a messenger to Bilaam ben Beor, who was famous for cursing people and also was a Navi. He asked Bilaam to curse the Yidden so that they won’t come into the land of Moav.

Even though Bilaam was a Navi of the goyim, and knew that the Yidden wouldn’t do anything to Moav, he hated the Yidden so much that he WANTED to curse them! He told the messengers to wait because he only got nevuah at night. (When Hashem lets a non-Jew be a Navi, He doesn’t do it in a kavodike way, and also only at night.)

At night, Hashem asked Bilaam, “Who is with you?” Of course Hashem really knew who was with him! He was asking only to “start the conversation,” like He did with Adam Harishon.

Bilaam thought that Hashem didn’t always know what was happening! He decided to curse the Yidden when Hashem “wasn’t looking.”

Bilaam told Hashem that Balak wanted him to curse the Yidden. Hashem told him not to go. Bilaam asked if he could curse them from Midyan, but Hashem said no! Bilaam then asked if at least he could bless the Yidden, but Hashem said no — the Yidden don’t need his brachos!



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Samach through Samach-Hey.

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says how his neshama wants to be close to Hashem. He compares himself to a person who is thirsty for water in a place where there is none: “Tzoma Lecha Nafshi!”

The Rebbe explains that when a person is VERY thirsty and doesn’t have any water, when he finally gets the water it tastes so delicious to him, much better than any other water!

The same thing is when the neshama feels like it’s not close to Hashem, and it’s really “thirsty” to feel close.Then, when it DOES learn Torah and do mitzvos and feel close to Hashem, the Torah that it learns and the mitzvos that it does are much more geshmak!

That’s why Dovid Hamelech says in the next posuk, “Kein Bakodesh Chazisicha” — “If only I would see You like this bakodesh,” even when I feel holy and I don’t feel far away. Even then, I wish I would feel the same geshmak in the Torah and mitzvos!

When Moshiach comes, we will all be able to see Hashem! Halevai that then we should feel the geshmak in Torah and mitzvos like we do when our neshama is “thirsty” during Golus.



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Alef

We are now starting a new chelek of Tanya, the third one! It is called “Igeres HaTeshuvah” — the letter about Teshuvah.” Today the Alter Rebbe tells us a Gemara in Yoma which speaks about teshuvah, and explains it according to Chassidus.

For a Yid to be a beinoni (which we learned in the first chelek of Tanya), he can’t do any aveiros! If he did some before, he needs to do Teshuvah (which we will learn in this chelek).

A person can do teshuvah in two ways: Like a regular Yid, or like a Chossid — with chayus and neshama! The Alter Rebbe will show us here the “neshama” and pnimiyus of what happens when a Yid does Teshuvah.

The Gemara says that there are three kinds of Teshuvah, for three kinds of aveiros:

1) For a Mitzvas Asei: If a Yid was supposed to do a mitzvah, and didn’t do it — like if someone had a chance to learn Torah or do mivtzoyim and didn’t use it — how does he do Teshuvah? He needs ask Hashem to forgive him, and promise that he will do his best not to let it happen again. That’s it — Hashem forgives him.

But even though he doesn’t need to do anything else, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a big aveira! It is!

The reason why there is such an easy teshuvah for a Mitzvas Asei is because there isn’t anything else he CAN do about it. Every mitzvah we do brings Hashem into the world and into a person’s neshama. If he missed that chance, he missed it — and even though he will get MORE chances to do other mitzvos, he will never get THAT chance again. (This shows how serious it is to miss a chance to do a mitzvah.)

2) For a Mitzvas Lo Sa’asei: If a person did an aveira, like touching muktza on Shabbos or saying something not nice to his friend, then his neshama becomes dirty. Even when he asks Hashem to forgive him (and asks his friend for forgiveness for what he said) and promises to try his best not to let it happen again, that’s not enough! He needs to wait until Yom Kippur when Hashem will clean off the shmutz from his neshama.

3) For a more serious Aveira: If a person did a very serious aveira, like chas veshalom eating on Yom Kippur or getting married in a non-kosher way, then even Yom Kippur isn’t enough to finish the Teshuvah. For that, a person needs to have yisurim. When the person suffers, that finishes cleaning off his neshama.



Yud-Alef Tammuz

Today the Rebbe tells us a little bit about the history of this chelek of Tanya.

Igeres HaTeshuvah was printed for the first time in a city called Zalkvi, in the year 5559 (Tof-Kuf-Nun-Tes). This year has the same Gematria as the words “Mevaser Tov” — sharing good news (because it is the year that the Alter Rebbe came out of prison on Yud-Tes Kislev)!

We know from the Hayom Yom of Chof Kislev that the first Tanya was printed in Tof-Kuf-Nun-Zayin, but that was only the first two chalakim. Only two years later, in Tof-Kuf-Nun-Tes was this third chelek printed.

The first time Igeres HaTeshuvah was printed, it was a little bit different — it wasn’t split up into perakim. There were also a few differences in the way the Alter Rebbe wrote things.

Igeres HaTeshuvah was printed for the first time the way we have it today only 7 years later, in Tof-Kuf-Samach-Vov, in the city of Shklov.

On Shavuos in Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches, the Rebbe asked that the first version of the Tanya and also the maamarim and kesovim of the Alter Rebbe which have other versions, should all be printed. The Mahadura Kama (first version) of the Tanya was printed by Kehos in the year Tof-Shin-Mem-Beis. If you look in the sefer Likutei Amarim Mahadura Kama, you can actually see the version that is mentioned in today’s Hayom Yom!



Shiur #317 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #294, #290

Today we learn two mitzvos in Sefer Hamitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #294) If someone was forced to do an aveira (onus), we don’t punish him because it wasn’t his fault.

The Gemara in Sanhedrin says, “Oness Rachmana Patrei” — if someone was forced, the Torah makes him patur (exempt).

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְלַנַּעֲרָה לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה דָבָר

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #290) The Beis Din is not allowed to punish someone based on what we think happened. Even if we are VERY sure that a person must have done an aveira, the Beis Din is only allowed to punish him if there were at least two people who actually saw him do the aveira.

Once a Beis Din starts punishing someone who is PROBABLY guilty, then they will end up punishing someone who MIGHT be guilty! The Torah doesn’t want us to start guessing when a person should be punished. It is better that a thousand people should not be punished for their aveiros by Beis Din, than for one person to be punished when he doesn’t deserve it.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וְנָקִי וְצַדִּיק אַל תַּהֲרֹג

This means, “a person who is innocent and a tzadik should not be put to death.” From here we see how careful we need to be to make sure that an innocent person is not punished.

(We don’t have to worry about a person not being punished. Even if the Beis Din doesn’t give the punishment, Hashem has many other ways to make sure that there is justice in the world!)



Hilchos Sanhedrin

In today’s Rambam we learn how the Beis Din carries out Misas Beis Din.

In Perek Yud-Gimmel, the Rambam tells us how careful we are not to punish someone with death unless we are absolutely sure he deserves it! On his way to be killed, if he comes up with a good reason why he is innocent, we take him back to the Beis Din again and again, to see if his reason changes the psak.

Perek Yud-Daled has more halachos about a person who is chayav misa, deserves to be killed. One halacha tells us that we need to be very patient, and not try to pasken quickly if someone deserves to be killed! If a Beis Din kills one person every seven years, we say that they are a bloodthirsty court.

In Perek Tes-Vov, the Rambam lists all of the aveiros that can make a person deserve to be put to death by the Beis Din. There are 36 of these aveiros.



Hilchos Shaar Avos Hatumah - Perek Zayin

Now we learn about how tomei food and drinks make things that they touch tomei too.




In today’s Hayom Yom, we learned about the Tanya that we are learning now, the beginning of Igeres Hateshuvah. We will also learn two minhagim about Tanya that kinderlach need to know:

1) We need to have a Tanya in our room! (Along with a Chumash, Siddur, Haggadah, other sefarim, and Tzedakah) This way it becomes a Cheder Tzivos Hashem, like our own little Beis Hamikdash, where we can get ready for the big Beis Hamikdash! We should also make sure that we are USING the Chitas from our Cheder Tzivos Hashem.

Can you make sure yours are still in your room?

2) When we learn Alef-Beis with little kids, it is our minhag to start with looking in the Tanya. This helps have a Chassidishe Chayus in the Alef-Beis!


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Shir Lamaalos

There are many reasons why we say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah, and different parts of Kriyas Shema are said because of these different reasons.

One reason for Kriyas Shema before bed is to finish off the day with a Cheshbon Hanefesh, seeing where we could do better, so that tomorrow will be better than today. We say Kapitel Nun-Alef of Tehillim, which talks all about teshuvah, to help us with that.

After Kapitel Nun-Alef, we say another kapitel of Tehillim, Kapitel Kuf-Chof-Alef. We say this kapitel for a different reason; because Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah protects us from the koach of kelipah which is stronger at night.

This kapitel, which starts with the words “Shir Lamaalos, Esa Einai El Heharim,” speaks about how Hashem is the Protector of the Yidden. We say, “Hinei Lo Yanum Velo Yishan Shomer Yisroel!” Hashem doesn’t rest or sleep — He is constantly watching over the Yidden!

Saying this kapitel reminds us that Hashem is always watching over us, and we have nothing to be afraid of.



Learning at Night

We need to learn Torah all the time, but there are some times that make learning Torah EXTRA important and extra special! One of those times are at night. In many places in Gemara, we learn how important it is to learn Torah at night.

For example, the Gemara says that the “Rina” (song) of Torah is only at night! It also says that if Hashem sees a person learn Torah at night, he puts a “Chut Shel Chesed,” a string of kindness, on him during the day.

Nighttime is an especially good time to learn Chassidus!

One of the reasons why we make a Cheshbon Hanefesh during Kriyas Shema at night is because the nighttime makes a person feel more humble. Feeling humble is also very important to learn Chassidus properly! To feel the kedusha of the Torah and of Hashem as explained in Chassidus, a person can’t feel too proud of himself. That’s why the night is a very good time to learn Chassidus.

See Shulchan Menachem p. 368, Likutei Sichos vol. 34 p. 42

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



Understanding Hashem

Even though most of Sefer Yirmiyah is very sad nevuos about the Churban, there are some wonderful nevuos about Moshiach! Here is one of them, where the Navi tells us how we will all understand the greatness of Hashem!

וְלֹא יְלַמְּדוּ עוֹד אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ וְאִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו לֵאמֹר דְּעוּ אֶת ה׳ כִּי כוּלָּם יֵדְעוּ אוֹתִי לְמִקְּטַנָּם וְעַד גְּדוֹלָם נְאֻם ה׳ כִּי אֶסְלַח לַעֲו‍ֹנָם וּלְחַטָּאתָם לֹא אֶזְכָּר עוֹד

Velo Yelamdu Od Ish Es Rei’eihu — When Moshiach comes, a person won’t have to teach his friend anymore

Ve’ish Es Achiv — And a person won’t need to teach his brother anymore

Leimor De’u Es Hashem — Telling him, “Know Hashem!”

Why won’t we have to teach anyone about knowing Hashem when Moshiach comes?

Ki Kulam Yeidu Osi — Because EVERYONE will know Hashem!

Lemiktanam Ve’ad Gedolam — From young children to old people, they will ALL know Hashem!

Ne’um Hashem — So says Hashem.

Usually, our aveiros keep us from understanding Elokus properly, but when Moshiach comes that won’t be a problem, Hashem tells us!

Ki Eslach La’avonam — Because I will forgive their aveiros

Ule’chatasam Lo Ezkar Od — And I won’t remember the things they did wrong anymore.

See Yirmiyahu perek Lamed-Alef posuk Lamed-Gimmel

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