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Parshas Chukas-Balak - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Bilaam gives brachos to the Yidden a third time! Bilaam tells Balak that instead of trying to curse the Yidden, he should get them to do aveiros. Then Hashem will want to punish them. Balak does this, and many Jews are punished until Pinchas stops the plague.

Bilaam tries to curse the Yidden again: It didn’t work the last time Bilaam tried to curse the Yidden, so Balak had another idea. Maybe going to ANOTHER place would help? They went to the mountain of Pe’or, where Bilaam knew with his nevuah that something not good would happen to the Yidden. He thought that maybe it would be because of his curse! (Really, the Yidden were later punished there for Avodah Zarah.)

Again Balak built 7 Mizbeiachs and brought a bull and a ram as a korban on each.

Bilaam knew that Hashem only wanted to give the Yidden brachos. So he decided not to ask Hashem this time, but instead to talk about the aveiros the Yidden did, so Hashem would be upset at the Yidden and let them be cursed!

Bilaam looked out at the place where the Yidden did the Cheit Ha’egel. Then he looked at where the Yidden were camping, so he could feel jealous of how rich they are. He wanted to give them an Ayin Hara. But instead, he was impressed! He saw how the Yidden’s tents were all facing the same way, so people couldn’t look into each other’s tents. He saw how the Yidden lived in a very tznius’dike way.

Bilaam started to talk again. He said, “I am Bilaam, who is a Navi. Hashem only talks to me at night, but I can still see what He says.

“I wanted to curse the Yidden, but I can’t! Mah Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov! Yidden, your tents are so good! The way you camp is a tznius’dike way! This is a big zechus for you. And even if it’s not enough of a zechus, Mishkenosecha Yisroel — you bring korbanos in the Mishkan and that makes Hashem forgive any of your aveiros.

“I bentch you that you should last forever, and grow like the garden of Hashem, with Yiddishe kings who rule you.

“Hashem should help you come into Eretz Yisroel, where you will live like a lion, that people are scared of. Those who give you brachos should get brachos, and those who curse you should be cursed.”

Balak now was SO ANGRY! “I told you to come CURSE the Yidden, and instead you gave them brachos THREE TIMES! Now go away! You won’t get any kavod from me!”

Bilaam said, “What can I do? I told you I can only say what Hashem tells me!”

Bilaam’s Nevuah: Bilaam told Balak that even a bigger Navi wouldn’t be able to help him hurt the Yidden. Instead, he told him to try to get the Yidden to do aveiros, and Hashem would punish them. Then he told Balak a nevuah about what would happen to Moav: (This is a very famous nevuah about Moshiach!)

“I see that the Yidden will capture Moav, but not now, not soon. Dovid Hamelech will capture it in many years.

“And for the rest of the nations — the Yidden will also capture Edom, when Moshiach comes. He will destroy the rest of Esav’s family.”

Then Bilaam started to say a Nevuah about Amalek: “Amalek was the first nation to attack the Yidden, and the Yidden will destroy them because Hashem gave them a mitzvah to do it.”

Bilaam also said nevuah about the family of Yisro, the Keini: “Even if your land will be destroyed, and you will be sent into Galus with the 10 Shevatim, you will survive and come back when Moshiach comes.

“Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, will send everyone into Golus, but they will also not last forever.”

Then Bilaam went home.

Bilaam makes the Yidden do aveiros: Balak decided to try to do Bilaam’s plan and make the Yidden do aveiros. He got a bunch of girls from Moav and Midyan to set up stores for the Yidden to come buy things, and try to convince the Yidden to marry them, even though it is asur.

The Yidden were feeling very good after winning the wars with the Emori kings, and they weren’t as careful as they should have been. Some of the Yidden did get married to these girls from Moav.

The girls invited the Yidden to come do Avodah Zarah, telling them they won’t get married if the Yidden don’t bow down to the idols of Baal Pe’or.

Hashem made many Yidden get very sick as a punishment!

Hashem told Moshe how to stop the plague: Punish the people who did the aveira, and everyone else will be okay. Moshe brought the Yidden who did the aveiros to Beis Din, and after making sure they really deserve to be killed, he told the judges to kill them.

Zimri’s aveira: Some of these people, from Shevet Shimon, were very upset that people were being taken to the Beis Din! They went to Zimri, one of their Nesiim, and asked him to help them.

Zimri took a big group of Yidden, and went to get married to Kozbi, the daughter of one of the kings of Midyan. He wanted to show everyone that he could get married to whoever he wants!

Kozbi at first said no, she wanted to get married only to Moshe! (She thought she would try to convince Moshe Rabbeinu to do an aveira, and that would be the worst thing for the Yidden!) But Zimri convinced her that he was more important, because he came from the second Shevet (Shimon) and Moshe was from the third (Levi).

Zimri brought Kozbi to show the Yidden, and said “Why is it asur to marry her? Tziporah, Moshe’s wife, is also from Midyan!” (This was a very silly thing to say — Before Matan Torah, it wasn’t asur, and anyone who wanted to be Jewish could become Jewish.)

Moshe couldn’t remember what he should do! But Pinchas, the son of Elazar HaKohen, remembered! “If we see someone acting like they are married to a goy in public, aren’t we allowed to kill him without bringing him to Beis Din first?”

Moshe said, “You are right!”

Pinchas went, warned Zimri, and since Zimri wouldn’t stop, he killed Zimri and Kozbi together.

Now the judges were able to punish the Yidden who did the aveira, and the plague stopped.



66 - 68

Today’s kapitelach are Samach-Vov to Samach-Ches, and all of these kapitelach talk about Moshiach!

The first kapitel of today’s Tehillim, Kapitel Samach-Vov, is the way we will thank Hashem when He brings all the Yidden to Eretz Yisroel.

The first posuk starts with the words, “Lamenatzeiach, Shir Mizmor ” — meaning that this kapitel is a song, “Horiu L’Elokim Kol Ha’aretz” — the whole world will blow (trumpets) for Hashem! When Moshiach will come, all of the nations of the world will believe in Hashem!

To make this happen very soon, we need to prepare! We need to make sure that the Goyim know about the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach, so they will also believe in Hashem and do their mitzvos.



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Gimmel

We learned yesterday that nowadays we don’t fast, because we are not strong enough to fast without it hurting our body and our Avodas Hashem.

Still, the Alter Rebbe says, if we really care about our neshamos, we should try to fast at least once in our lifetime for any big aveiros we did, after we do teshuvah.

How can we do it without hurting ourselves?

The Alter Rebbe gives some ideas: A person can spread out the fasts, not doing them all in a row. He can fast during the winter, when the days are shorter and it’s not as hard — a person can still eat supper on time! If someone fasts ten times during the winter, over about nine years he will finish the number of fasts.

Also, for some fasts a person can fast 2 half-day fasts instead of one full day.

But fasting is only for the BIG aveiros. For all other aveiros, we should only give Tzedakah!

People used to fast for doing even “small” things wrong, like getting angry! So we should be giving A LOT of tzedakah.

But don’t worry about giving “too much” tzedakah! If a person was R”L sick, they are ready to pay ANYTHING to be healthy! We also should be ready to pay ANYTHING to have a healthy neshama.



Yud-Beis Tammuz

We don’t say Tachanun today, because it is the Chag Hageulah of the Frierdiker Rebbe.

Two special things happened on Yud-Beis Tammuz:

Today is the birthday of the Frierdiker Rebbe. It is also the day the Frierdiker Rebbe was told that he is free from jail! He was sent to jail, and then to a faraway place called Kostrama, for spreading Yiddishkeit. But on Yud-Beis Tammuz, he was told that he could go free!

The Frierdiker Rebbe sent a letter telling Chassidim to farbreng in honor of this special day. At this farbrengen, they should come together and make sure that they are learning the shiurim in Torah they should be learning. The Frierdiker Rebbe gives all of the Chassidim a bracha that Hashem should bentch them in Gashmius and Ruchnius!



Shiur #334 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #166

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #166) is that a kohen is not allowed to become tomei, except for certain people in his family.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹא יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּיו



Hilchos Aveil

In today’s Rambam, perakim Tes, Yud, and Yud-Alef, we learn that there are certain things we do after a person passes away, like saying Mishnayos or lighting a yartzeit licht.

Usually, only someone in the family does these things, but for a Nosi or a Rebbe, EVERYONE should do these things, because the Rebbe is like the Tatty for all Yidden.



Hilchos Melachim - Perek Zayin

Before the Yidden go out to war, a kohen is given the job as “Meshuach Milchama.” He needs to speak to the Yidden before they go out to fight. One of the things he tells them is that anyone who should not be fighting (like if he just got married), or anyone who is afraid and doesn’t trust in Hashem, should go home.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

As we learned in Hayom Yom, today is the day that the Frierdiker Rebbe was freed from jail, where he was put for his work in spreading Yiddishkeit. Every year, the Rebbe would have a farbrengen in honor of this special Chassidishe Yom Tov. He would encourage Chassidim to take on hachlatos to strengthen Yiddishkeit too, in a way of Mesiras Nefesh like the Frierdiker Rebbe showed us!

In the year Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches, the Rebbe said in a sicha that Yud-Beis Tammuz is a special Yom Tov for children! Why? The main gezeira from the Russian government was against learning Torah and teaching Yiddishkeit to small children. The Frierdiker Rebbe put everything in danger to make sure that Yiddishkeit for children was the way it should be!

Since the Frierdiker Rebbe had Mesiras Nefesh for children, it gives a special koach to kids to make sure their Yiddishkeit is strong! This is especially true with the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel, which can sometimes be harder for children.

On Yud-Beis Tammuz 5748 (Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches), the Rebbe said that he has a new idea! Everyone, even kids, should write down three special things in Yiddishkeit or Chassidus that they did over the past year!

It’s good for everyone to do this, because even if someone can’t find three things, they’ll make sure to have them for next year!

Can YOU think of three things you did over the past year that would make the Rebbe proud?

1) _______________________

2) _______________________

3) _______________________


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Gad Gedud

At the end of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah, we say many pesukim that are connected to the reasons for saying Shema at night. Some pesukim are about asking Hashem for protection; that we should sleep well and get up well. Other pesukim speak about how we give our neshama to Hashem at night, and ask Hashem to take care of it and return it to us in the morning. We repeat some of these pesukim three times, like other important pesukim in davening.

Towards the end of these pesukim, we ask Hashem to bring us the Geulah, and then all of the kelipos will be taken away from the world.



Kriyas Shema She'al Hamitah

Every night, we say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah before we go to sleep.

According to halacha, we are allowed to say it once we are already in bed, lying down with pajamas.

Still, it is better to be sitting up or standing when we say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah.

It is our minhag to say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah when we are still wearing our clothes! Men should wear a hat and jacket, and a married man should even wear his gartel.

By being dressed and sitting or standing, we show that the avodah of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah is very important.

See Piskei Teshuvos vol. 2, p. 991 and Shemiras Mitzvas Hayom p 304

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



Bilaam's Nevuos

In this week’s parsha, Parshas Balak, we have the famous nevuos of Bilaam about Moshiach!

The Rambam uses pesukim from these nevuos to show that the Torah speaks about Melech Hamoshiach. The Rambam explains that Bilaam would first say something about the first king of the Yidden, Dovid Hamelech, and then speak about our final king, Moshiach!

Here is the part of Bilaam’s nevuah that the Rambam explains:

אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת: וְהָיָה אֱדוֹם יְרֵשָׁה וְהָיָה יְרֵשָׁה שֵׂעִיר אֹיְבָיו

Arenu Velo Ata — (I see it, but not now) — this is talking about Dovid Hamelech

Ashurenu Velo Karov — (I see it, but not very soon) — this is talking about Melech Hamoshiach.

Darach Kochav MiYaakov — (A star will go out from Yaakov) — this is talking about Dovid Hamelech

Vekam Shevet MiYisrael — (And a stick will get up in Yisrael) — this is talking about Melech Hamoshiach.

Umachatz Paasei Moav — (He will crush all of the princes of Moav) — this is talking about Dovid Hamelech, who fought against Moav and won

Vekarkar Kol Benei Sheis — (He will get rid of the family of Sheis) — this is talking about Melech Hamoshiach, who will rule the entire world.

Vehaya Edom Yereisha — (Edom will be destroyed) — this is talking about Dovid Hamelech, who made Edom into his servants

Vehaya Yereisha Se’ir Oivav — (and Seir will be destroyed) — this is talking about Melech Hamoshiach, who will judge Eisav (who is also called Seir).

May we see the fulfillment of this nevuah, and all of the other nevuos of the Geulah, bekarov mamosh, Amen!

See Parshas Balak, perek Chof-Daled, pesukim Yud-Zayin and Yud-Ches, and Rambam Hilchos Melachim perek Yud-Alef

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