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Parshas Naso - Shlishi with Rashi

Now the Torah tells us about the day when the Mishkan was first put up — on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. On this day, the different sections of the camp of the Yidden were also set up, with different levels of kedusha. There were the Machaneh Yisroel, where most of the Yidden camped, Machaneh Leviah, where the kohanim and Leviim camped, and Machaneh Shechinah, where the Mishkan was.

Hashem told Moshe that the Yidden who are tomei with a strong source of Tumah (like Tzoraas, Zav/Zava, and Tumas Meis) need to go outside of where the Yidden are camping in the Midbar, so that the camp will be tahor.

Now Hashem tells Moshe about what happens if a Yid steals and lies to Beis Din that he did not do it. (This isn’t only talking about someone who actually took someone else’s money — it could also be someone who says that he didn’t borrow money when he really did, or is not paying someone who worked for him, or found something someone else lost and is not telling the truth about it.)

If someone did one of these things, and promised in Beis Din that he did not do it, later he might want to do Teshuvah. What does he do? He has to pay back what he stole, PLUS another 1/5. (That’s like giving maaser from that money two times.)

What happens if the person he stole from passed away? Then he should pay back the money to the person’s closest relative.

But what if the person was a Ger Tzedek, and he doesn’t have any relatives (since when someone becomes a Ger, it’s like he’s a new person, and not related to anyone)? Then to do teshuvah, the one who stole has to pay the money to a kohen. He also needs to bring a Korban as a kaparah (forgiveness) for his aveira, like we learned earlier in Chumash.

Hashem also tells Moshe about another thing that needs to go to the kohanim:

The Bikurim that the Yidden bring to the Beis Hamikdash should go to the kohanim. Even though it’s hard to give away our very first fruits to the kohanim, we will get brachos from Hashem to become rich because of this mitzvah. Hashem warns us that if we DON’T give the kohanim what we’re supposed to, then Hashem will only give us as much as we were supposed to have given to the kohanim!



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Today’s Tehillim has the posukPadah Beshalom Nafshi,” where Dovid Hamelech says that he won his fights and was free in the zechus of the people that davened for him.

The Gemara says that this posuk is also talking about how the Shechinah and the Yidden are freed from Golus, when Moshiach comes!



Shaar Hayichud Veha'emunah Perek Gimmel

In the Tanya, the Alter Rebbe is explaining to us how to serve Hashem with feelings of Ahava and Yirah (love and fear of Hashem). Just like when you love someone, you need to know something about them first, we also have to know something about Hashem so we can have these feelings. First, we need to understand about Hashem as much as we are able to know, and strengthen our Emunah (belief) for what we can’t understand. These are the first things we need to have to bring out the feelings of Ahava and Yirah which are in our neshama. This is what we are learning about now in Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah.

Yesterday, the Alter Rebbe told us that there are some people who make a big mistake. They think that Hashem created the world and then went away, and the world just stays by itself! The Alter Rebbe explained how come they made the mistake, and why it’s wrong! We learned how the chayus of Hashem (from the Alef-Beis in Torah) gives chayus every moment to every part of the world.

The world can’t just stay by itself! Hashem has to give it chayus all the time so it will exist. That makes sense… but we can’t see it.

When we look around, we see Gashmius. We see things that look like they are alive on their own. It doesn’t look like it needs a constant chayus from Hashem!

Hashem doesn’t allow our eyes to see the truth. If Hashem did let our eyes see it, we would look around at the world and see something completely different! We would just see the chayus that Hashem is giving to it every moment — and we would not see the Gashmius thing at all!



Yud Sivan

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn about how important it is to have Iskafya, and that only when we have Iskafya, is our neshama able to shine.

The Alter Rebbe once told a chossid in Yechidus how to make his neshama shine:

Yidden are called oil candles. A candle has a container to hold the oil, oil, a wick, and a flame. It can’t shine until the flame is lit!

The Alter Rebbe told this Chossid, “You have a good candle. But you need to light the flame!”

How do you “light” your “candle”? The Yetzer Hara is like a special kind of stone called a flint stone. It can make a fire when it is hit hard against another stone. Similarly, when we “hit” our Yetzer Hara by doing Iskafya (NOT to think or do something that we want, in order to do what Hashem wants), it makes a spark of fire! That little spark kindles the fire of Hashem and makes the neshama shine.



Shiur #38 - Mitzvas Asei #154

Today, we learn a very important mitzvah again (Mitzvas Asei #154): To rest on Shabbos! Hashem tells us clearly in the Torah that “on the seventh day you should rest.” This mitzvah means that we are not allowed to do any melacha on Shabbos — and that we can’t let our animals or our slaves do melacha either.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת

The details are explained in Mesechta Shabbos and Mesechta Beitzah (Yom Tov).

The Chachomim explain to us what “melacha” means — the 39 kinds of work that were used to build the Mishkan. There is a whole mesechta in Gemara that talks about the details of this mitzvah, called Mesechta Shabbos! Many more halachos are also discussed in another mesechta about Yom Tov, called Mesechta Beitzah.



Hilchos Shabbos

In Rambam today, we are learning many halachos about Shabbos. Today we are learning about the halachos of cooking on Shabbos, and bentching licht.

Perek Gimmel: The Rambam teaches us that we are allowed to begin a melacha before Shabbos and let it finish by itself on Shabbos. There are some exceptions to this when it comes to cooking or making a fire. The Chachomim were worried that a person might stir the fire to make food cook faster on Shabbos, which is a melacha! This is the reason why we have a blech, to cover the fire and remind the person not to make the fire higher on Shabbos. This way, we can let something continue cooking on Shabbos.

Perek Daled: This perek discusses something called hatmanah, covering a pot to keep it hot on Shabbos. We are not allowed to wrap it fully in something that would add heat (like an electric blanket!) even before Shabbos. On Shabbos, we aren’t even allowed to wrap a pot with something that DOESN’T add heat, because of gezeiros the Chachomim made to keep us far away from doing melacha on Shabbos.

Perek Hey: We learn about the mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles! We learn when to light, what kind of wicks and oil we should use, and not using the light of the Shabbos candles so we don’t put it out.

Did you know that the Rambam says it’s a halacha to have a Shabbos alarm in a city? This way everyone knows when to stop working and when to light Shabbos candles.



Hilchos Avodas Kochavim - Perek Beis

In Perek Beis, the Rambam explains to us why we have so many mitzvos to keep us away from Avodah Zarah: Because it is easy for a person to make a mistake. We sometimes have questions about Hashem and Torah, but many times we just didn’t know enough to really understand. If we just do whatever we think makes sense, it is very easy to end up serving Avodah Zarah. So we have many mitzvos to keep us from making a mistake!

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Writing Chiddushei Torah

In past generations, Chassidim were careful not to share or write the way they understood things in Torah. They were afraid that maybe their own thoughts were not the true meaning of the Torah. They were also worried that talking about things they figured out in Torah would make them feel too proud of themselves.

The Rebbe told us that in our times, we should write down and share our own understanding of the Torah. Of course, we should do our best to make sure that the ideas we write are according to the Klolim (rules) of how Torah is understood. By sharing these thoughts, it will bring more chayus into learning Torah, for ourselves and for others. This is something that we definitely need!

That is the reason why nowadays we need to write down our Chiddushei Torah.

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Davening Without Tachanun

We don’t say Tachanun from the beginning of Sivan until the end of the Yemei Tashlumin, on Yud-Beis Sivan.

There are many things we do differently in Shacharis when we don’t say Tachanun. Even though the main part of Tachanun is after Shemoneh Esrei (including the longer Tachanun on Monday and Thursday), there are other parts of davening that speak about aveiros or things that are related to tzaar (pain), and we don’t mention them on joyous days when we don’t say Tachanun.

- Before and after the Akeidah, there are Tefillos asking Hashem to remember the zechus of the Avos and not forsake us in Golus, and we do not say them when we don’t say Tachanun.

- We skip the paragraph before the Korban Tomid which asks Hashem to forgive our aveiros like the Korban Tomid did in the time of the Beis Hamikdash.

- We skip the paragraph after we finish going through the order of the Avodah that was done each day in the Beis Hamikdash, which says that because of our aveiros we don’t have the Beis Hamikdash.

- In one of the brachos of Shemoneh Esrei, Selach Lanu, we ask Hashem to forgive us. We still say the bracha, but we don’t do an action that shows that our aveiros are from the Yetzer Hara in our heart. Usually we bang our fist on our chest, over our heart, by the words “Chotono” and “Foshonu.” When we don’t say Tachanun, we don’t do this.

- We don’t say Tachanun after Shmoneh Esrei — including the longer Tachanun on Mondays or Thursdays.

- We don’t say Kapitel Chof after the second Ashrei, which speaks about tzaar. (The Frierdiker Rebbe said that on days we don’t say Kapitel Chof in davening, we should say it before the daily Tehillim, as a part of Tehillim and not a part of Tefillah.)

- We don’t say “Tefillah Ledovid” before the Shir Shel Yom. This paragraph is the conclusion of Tachanun, and also mentions painful things.

We also say Shir Hamaalos (which speaks about Geulah) instead of Al Naharos Bavel (which speaks about the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash) in the kapitelach of Tehillim we say before bentching.

Tachanun is where we ask Hashem to forgive our aveiros. On days we don’t say Tachanun, it means Hashem is ready to overlook our aveiros even without us asking, and on these happy days we only speak about happy things in davening!



Melave Malka

On Motzei Shabbos we should set the table, even if we’re not planning a big Melaveh Malka. We say goodbye to the Shabbos in a way of kavod, the same way we show kavod to Shabbos when it starts. Some people have a minhag to light candles for Melaveh Malka.

The Rebbe would say during Melaveh Malka, “Da Hi Se’udasa D’Dovid Malka Meshicha” — “this is the seudah of Dovid Hamelech.”

There is also a minhag to say over a story of a tzadik at this seudah, and it is a segulah for many good things!

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch Siman Shin, se’if alef and beis

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



Seeing the Chayus of Hashem

We learned in Tanya today that even though the true chayus of everything in the world is the chayus of Hashem from the letters of the Torah which gives it life, we are not able to see this chayus in everything today.

It is interesting that now, as we get closer to Moshiach, scientists are starting to see a hint to this chayus! They can see that even things that don’t move, like rocks, really DO have a lot of chayus inside of them. If you look at a rock with a very strong microscope, you can see that it is made of atoms that really are moving around! Still, we can’t see how it’s all made of the chayus of Hashem through the letters of the Alef-Beis — but soon, when Moshiach comes, we will see that too!

Yeshaya HaNavi says that when Moshiach comes, our eyes will be allowed to see how everything exists only with Hashem’s chayus!

וְנִגְלָה כְּבוֹד ה׳ וְרָאוּ כָל בָּשָׂר יַחְדָּו כִּי פִּי ה׳ דִּבֵּר

Venigla Kevod Hashem — When Moshiach comes, Hashem’s kavod will be revealed

Vera’u Chol Basar Yachdav — And everyone will be able to see together

Ki Pi Hashem Diber — That it was Hashem Who said these words of comfort, since they happened!

Chassidus explains that the words “Ki Pi Hashem Diber” can also mean that everyone will see that it is the words of Hashem that constantly give chayus to the world and make it exist!

See Yeshaya perek Mem posuk Hey

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