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Sheini with Rashi

Moshe Rabbeinu is having his last farbrengen with the Yidden before he passes away. He is telling them what will happen as they enter Eretz Yisroel.

“Do you remember what happened to Sichon and Og, the Emori kings? Hashem helped you win against them very easily, even though they were so strong! Hashem will do the same thing to the Goyim in Eretz Yisroel.

“Don’t be afraid! Hashem is going with You!”



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Today we start the Tehillim again from the beginning! We say kapitelach Alef to Tes. The three kapitelach we say are Pey-Ches, Pey-Tes, and Tzadik.

Many times when Yidden were in trouble, the Rebbe would speak about a posuk from one of today’s kapitelach: “Mipi Olelim Veyonkim Yisadeta Oz” — “from the mouths of children and babies You get koach to destroy the enemies.” The Rebbe explained that the koach of the Torah and mitzvos of children is what gives us koach to destroy all of our enemies!

From this posuk we learn that when even a very small child or a baby says words of Torah or does a mitzvah, it is able to protect Yidden everywhere!

This is why chinuch of small children is so important, because it helps keep all Yidden safe!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Tes

We learned a very big question in yesterday’s Tanya — how can Chassidus explain things to us, even more than Moshe Rabbeinu was able to see with nevuah? Today we learn the answer.

We can understand with a mashal — the difference between seeing and hearing:

When you see something, you see that it is real. You know EXACTLY what it is.

But if you hear about something, you might understand about it, but you don’t really know what it is.

You can try this right now — think of something you saw, and try to explain to someone else what it is, just with your words. Who knows what it is better?

Only if you SAW something do you really know what it is.

Moshe Rabbeinu was a Navi. The way he understood Hashem was through nevuah, almost like the way a person sees. It is not possible for a person even as holy as Moshe Rabbeinu to see any more than the “back” of Hashem.

But understanding and learning is more like hearing — so there can be Tzadikim that UNDERSTAND even more than the things that Moshe Rabbeinu SAW.



Alef Tishrei

Our Minhagim for Rosh Hashana:

- When we bentch licht, we say “Lehadlik Ner Shel Yom Hazikaron,” and Shehecheyanu.

There are some minhagim that the Rebbe writes in today’s Hayom Yom that we already have in our Siddur.

- At Tashlich, boys should shake out the corners of their Tzitzis.

- When we eat the apple dipped in honey, we do it in this order:
1) Make a bracha on the apple
2) Say the Yehi Ratzon
3) Eat the apple!

- Even though it’s our Minhag to eat the head of a lamb (or a fish!) as a siman for a Shana Tova, we don’t say a special Yehi Ratzon for it — just for the apple.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #256, #301, #304, #305

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn 4 more mitzvos about Ahavas Yisroel:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #256) We can’t make an almanah (widow) or a yasom (orphan) feel bad.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #301) We are not allowed to go around talking about other people — even if the things are true, and even if we aren’t saying not nice things! This is called rechilus. When people share information with other people, they probably don’t want everyone to know about it.

This mitzvah also includes Motzi Shem Ra, saying something not nice that ISN’T true about another person. (In today’s Rambam, we see that this mitzvah also includes Lashon Hara, saying something true that isn’t nice.)

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #304) We aren’t allowed to do nekamah — to look for a way to pay someone back for something not nice they did to us. (For example, if you went to a kid and asked to borrow his ball, but he said no, nekamah would mean that the next time he asks you to borrow something, you say no, to pay him back for not lending you his ball.)

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #305) We aren’t allowed to do netirah — to stay angry at someone who did something not nice to us, even if we don’t take nekamah! (So if the kid didn’t share his ball, we can’t say to him, “I’m nicer than you because I’m going to let you play with my toy even though YOU wouldn’t let me play with YOURS!”)



Hilchos Deios - Hilchos Talmud Torah

Perek Vov: In today’s Rambam, we learn that the people you are friends with, and the people you spend time with, are very important! Make sure your friends are the kind of people you want to be like!

Perek Zayin: The Rambam also teaches us many things about Ahavas Yisroel. We need to care about another person’s respect like we do about our own, and be careful with another person’s money the way we care about our own.

Now we start Hilchos Talmud Torah:

Perek Alef: We also start learning the halachos of learning Torah today! One of the halachos we learn is that a father has a mitzvah to make sure his kids learn Torah! (The Alter Rebbe says in the Shulchan Aruch that this is not just for boys, but a Tatty also needs to make sure his girls learn too. And even though the mitzvah is given to the Tatty, both parents work together to make sure that the children get the best chinuch there could be!)



Hilchos Erkin VaCharamin - Perek Beis

We learn about someone who says they want to give as much as PART of a person is worth (like his arms), or how much a person weighs. At the end of the perek, we learn halachos of different rooms in the Beis Hamikdash that were used for different kinds of donations.



Rosh Hashana

R’ Shlomo Chaim Kesselman was a mashpia in Tomchei Tmimim. He once said something (that we think he heard from the Friediker Rebbe):

When we blow the Shofar, the Baal Tokeia stops between each set of Tekiyos. In the Machzor, it says that he should be “Misvadeh Belachash” (say Vidui quietly). R’ Shlomo Chaim Kesselman said that this means that we should picture the Rebbe’s face (Tziyur Pnei HoRav).

There is also a letter that the Baal Shem Tov sent to his talmid, the Maggid, that says something like this! In the letter, it says that before Tekiyas Shofar, the Maggid should think about the Baal Shem Tov, and his teacher, Achiyah Hashiloni, and then he will have hatzlacha and the Shofar blowing will bring lots of brachos for the Yidden!


Since Rosh Hashana is the head of the year, every minute is extra special! That’s why it’s our minhag to spend every minute we can in saying Tehillim!


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Tekiyas Shofar

When Rosh Hashana begins, something amazing happens. All of the good things that Yidden did all year go up together to Hashem!

Then, through our Tefillos, especially during the blowing of the Shofar, a new chayus comes into the world for the new year. This new chayus comes from the Atzmus (the deepest part) of Hashem — and it is a chayus that never was in the world before!

Bringing down a NEW chayus like this is not something a Yid can ever do on his own. But Hashem gave us the avodah of Rosh Hashana, especially of Tekiyas Shofar, as a keili for Him to bring down this special koach.

How does the shofar blowing do this?

A shofar is the horn of an animal. An animal has much more bittul to Hashem than a person. We try to use davka the horn of a sheep, a very obedient animal. We blow a simple sound, no fancy music or notes. We show that we are crying out to Hashem, turning to Hashem and returning to Hashem, from our pintele Yid. We call to Hashem from the part of our neshama that doesn’t have its own ideas, that just wants to serve Hashem. And what are we calling? We call to Hashem, asking Him to please rule over us as King!

Through this simple call of the shofar, we are crowning Hashem as King and bringing down this new chayus into the world. This chayus brings along with it all of the brachos for all of the Gashmius and Ruchnius things we need in order to serve Hashem on a new level during this coming year.

See Likutei Torah, maamarim for Rosh Hashana



Tekiyas Shofar

Before we blow the shofar, we prepare ourselves for the powerful moment of Tekiyas Shofar. This is really preparing not only for the Shofar, but for the Avodas Hashem of the whole year!

Then we say the kapitelLamenatzeiach” seven times, and pesukim that start with the letters “Kra Satan.” Then we say one more posuk about the koach of the shofar, “Ala Elokim.”

The person blowing the shofar says a special Yehi Ratzon, asking that our shofar blowing should be good. Then he says the brachos aloud, having in mind that everyone should be yotzei the mitzvah of shofar. When we listen to the brachos and answer “Amen,” we should have in mind also that through this we are fulfilling the mitzvah of Shofar.

The main sound of the shofar is the sound that sounds like someone crying. This is either the sound of Shevarim, or Teruah, or Shevarim and Teruah together. We are supposed to blow this sound three times, each time with a Tekiyah before and after it. That’s why we blow so many sounds, to make sure that we are blowing the right sound three times.

In between Tekiyos, in our siddur it tells us to be “Misvadeh Belachash.” This means to do Vidui quietly. We don’t say anything during this time, and we don’t think about our aveiros. We think about how much we want to be close and connected to Hashem.

At the end of Tekiyos, everyone (not just the Chazan) says “Uvechein Yehi Ratzon,” asking Hashem that our Tekiyos should be accepted.

After this main shofar blowing, we also blow another 40 sounds in Musaf and in Kaddish afterwards. Until after these Tekiyos are over, we shouldn’t make any interruption, because these are also part of the mitzvah that we made the bracha for.

(After davening, we blow another 30 sounds to confuse the Satan, for 100 sounds all together.)

See Halachos U’Minhagei Chabad, p. 19

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



Moshiach When We Don't Deserve It

In Tashlich, we say a posuk from Micha, which is a nevuah about the Geulah: “Mi Keil Kamocha, Nosei Avon Ve’over Al Pesha, Le’She’eris Nachalaso; Lo Hechezik Lo’ad Apo, Ki Chofeitz Chesed Hu.” “Who is like You Hashem? He forgives the aveiros and overlooks the sins of those left of His nation. He doesn’t stay angry forever, because He wants chesed.”

(In our Machzor, we see that this posuk hints to the Yud-Gimmel Midos HoRachamim!)

The Meforshim also teach us that this is something important we need to know about the Geulah:

When the Yidden go through the terrible, painful times of Chevlei Moshiach, the hard times close to Moshiach, not everyone will survive. (Many tzadikim say that this already happened, during the second World War.)

The Yidden who live after this time might not be perfect. They may even have many aveiros. So how will Hashem ever bring the Geulah?

We say the answer in this posuk! Hashem will forgive the aveiros, and overlook the sins of those Yidden that are left! Hashem wants Chesed, and this chesed will bring Moshiach even if it doesn’t seem like we deserve it!

See Sichas Parshas Vayechi Tof-Shin-Nun-Alef

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