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Parshas Balak - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, 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’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 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.



72 - 76

Today’s kapitelach are Ayin-Beis to Ayin-Vov.

Kapitel Ayin-Beis begins with the word “L’Shlomo.” This was the last kapitel of Tehillim that Dovid Hamelech said. (The kapitelach of Tehillim are not in the order that they were made.) Dovid Hamelech saw with Ruach Hakodesh that his son Shlomo Hamelech would ask Hashem for a special bracha, and Dovid Hamelech asked Hashem to give it!

What was this bracha?

In Sefer Melachim, we learn the story of what happened: When Shlomo Hamelech became king, there was not yet a Beis Hamikdash. People would bring korbanos wherever they wanted, on a bamah, a type of Mizbeiach.

Shlomo Hamelech went to Givon, where the Mizbeiach Hanechoshes was in those days. There he brought a thousand korbanos to Hashem!

In Givon, Hashem came to Shlomo Hamelech in a dream. Hashem asked, “What should I give you?”

Shlomo Hamelech could have asked for a long life, or for riches, or for his enemies to leave him alone. But Shlomo Hamelech answered, “Hashem made me the king, but I am still young. Please, Hashem, give me the understanding to properly take care of the Yidden!”

Hashem was very happy with the bracha that Shlomo Hamelech had asked for! Not only did Hashem give Shlomo Hamelech wisdom to understand, Hashem also gave him riches and honor, and promised that if he would keep the Torah, he would live a long life.

This is what Dovid Hamelech asked for in this kapitel. The first posuk says, “L’Shlomo, Elokim Mishpatecha Lemelech Tein, Vetzidkascha Leven Melech.” “About Shlomo: Hashem, give the chochmah of Your Torah to a king (Shlomo), and Your tzedek to judge properly to a king’s son (Shlomo was also the son of a king).”

The meforshim say that this kapitel is also speaking about the wisdom of Moshiach!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Gimmel

Today we learn how many times a person would have to fast if he did an aveira many times, and then did teshuvah.

We learned that if a person does an aveira, he needs to give Hashem a present after doing teshuvah. Since we don’t have a Beis Hamikdash, a way to give Hashem a present is to fast.

What if a person does an aveira more than one time? Does he need to fast for EACH time he did the aveira, or just one time for all of them together?

There is a machlokes! One opinion is that if a person did an aveira a bunch of times, he should fast for each time he did it like it was in the Beis Hamikdash with a kind of korban called a chatas!

Another opinion is that he only needs to bring it once like it was with the korban called Olah.

The halacha is — a compromise! Even if a person did an aveira a hundred times, he only needs to fast for THREE times he did the aveira.

The Zohar explains why: When a person does an aveira, it makes the neshama a little dirty. The second time the dirty spot gets bigger, and after three times, the whole neshama is dirty.

Imagine a shirt. First someone splashes grape juice on it — now it’s a little bit dirty. Then more grape juice spills all over the sleeve — now the dirty part is bigger. Then the whole bottle of grape juice falls over and the WHOLE shirt gets dirty! Once the whole shirt gets dirty, splashing more juice doesn’t make so much difference.

That’s why the first three times of an aveira are the most important to fix. So a person also should fast for the first three times they do an aveira.

Tomorrow IY”H we will see that nowadays we give tzedakah in place of fasting.



Yud-Daled Tammuz

Today we learn something that the Alter Rebbe told his sons during the week of Parshas Balak, and was later written in one of the maamarim of the Tzemach Tzedek.

Did you ever wonder why the people on the other side of the world don’t fall off the world, if the world is like a big ball and they are on the bottom?

When the Alter Rebbe spoke about this to his children, he told them that scientists have an answer, but it is not the true answer. The true answer is in Eitz Chayim, where it explains that the world is from the Ruchniyus’dike chayus of Hashem called Igulim.

Igulim is a chayus that is like a circle — a circle doesn’t have a top and a bottom! The world gets its chayus from Hashem this way, so no part of the world is really “on top”! Everything is part of the world-circle, which is inside of the sky-circle. The people on the other side don’t fall because they aren’t underneath us. Their sky is over them like our sky is over us!



Shiur #116 - Mitzvas Asei #93, #114

We learn one last mitzvah about a Nazir:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #93) When a person finishes his time of being a Nazir, he has to shave off his hair and bring korbanos.

The Rambam learns this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Naso: בְּיוֹם מְלֹאת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ

We also learn one mitzvah from the next set of halachos:

2) (Mitzvas Asei #114) If a person promises to give Hashem as much money as a certain person is worth, he needs to follow what it says in the Torah about how much money to give.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bechukosai: אִישׁ כִּי יַפְלִא נֶדֶר בְּעֶרְכְּךָ נְפָשֹׁת וגו׳



Hilchos Nezirus - Erchin V'Charamin

In Rambam, we finish learning about the Nazir:

Perek Tes: At the end of a person’s Nezirus, he has to bring certain korbanos. The money that is set aside to pay for them, and the animals that he brings, get a special kedusha! So if he set aside too much money for his korbanos, the money has kedusha and can’t be used for other things.

Perek Yud: This is the last perek about the halachos of a Nazir.

There are three times a Nazir might need to shave his hair:

1) At the end of his NezirusTiglachas Tahara
2) If he became tomei in the middle, he shaves all of his hair when he becomes tahorTiglachas Tumah
3) If he becomes tamei from Tzoraas during the time he is a Nazir

The Rambam tells us what happens if he has all three, or if there is a sofek that he might have them — how and when he needs to shave his hair and bring his korbanos.

At the end of this perek, the Rambam tells us that a person who becomes a Nazir for the right reason is very special to Hashem!

We now start a new set of Halachos — Hilchos Erchin VaCharamin — when a person promises to make a donation to Hashem (to help pay for keeping the Beis Hamikdash running). We learn how to find out how much a person is worth, or a field, or other kinds of things. This is also a kind of Neder (promise) — which is what this Sefer of Rambam (Hafla’ah) is all about! This is a kind of promise called Nidrei Hekdesh.

Perek Alef: The Rambam discusses the din of Erkei Adam, the worth of a person. The Rambam tells us from the Chumash how much money to give for each person based on if they are a man or a woman, and how old they are. There is also another kind of neder where we figure out how much someone is worth depending on how much people would pay for them if they were sold as a slave.



Hilchos Klei HaMikdash - Perek Ches

Now we learn about the clothes of the kohanim. The clothes had to be perfectly neat and clean — otherwise their Avodah was no good!

The Rambam teaches us about the materials they were made of, and where they were kept. The clothes the Kohen Gadol wore on Yom Kippur were only worn ONCE, and then they had to be buried! The clothes of the kohanim wouldn’t get washed — once they got dirty, they were made into wicks.

In the Beis Hamikdash, they had a very organized way to store all the clothes!

icon of clock


Yud-Beis Tammuz

Even though it’s already after Yud-Beis Tammuz, the inyan of the Yom Tov continues for another few days!

After the Frierdiker Rebbe went free, he wasn’t able to say the bracha Hagomel (that a person usually says when coming out of jail) until Tes-Vov Tammuz, when he actually came home! (According to the Alter Rebbe, a person who was in jail isn’t allowed to make the bracha until he gets home.)

One year, the Rebbe told Chassidim to keep on making farbrengens every day until Tes-Vov Tammuz! At each farbrengen we should make three hachlatos — one in Torah, one in Avodah, and one in Gemilus Chassadim.

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Yehoshua bin Nun wrote the tefillah of Aleinu, after the Yidden captured the city of Yericho, when they entered Eretz Yisroel for the first time.

The war with Yericho wasn’t a regular war. It was full of incredible nisim!

The people in Yericho didn’t want to make peace with the Yidden, and they didn’t want to leave. They had thick walls around their city, and they closed the gates tightly so nobody could come in or go out.

Hashem promised Yehoshua that they would easily win over Yericho, and told him what to do:

Seven kohanim, each of them blowing a trumpet, went at the head of the line. Behind them went kohanim carrying the Aron from the Mishkan. At the end of the line came all of the soldiers of the Yidden, marching quietly.

On the first day, Yom Rishon, they marched around the city one time, and then came back to the camp of the Yidden.

Again on Yom Sheini, they marched once around Yericho.

They did the same thing each day until Shabbos. On Shabbos, the kohanim who were blowing their trumpets, the kohanim who were carrying the Aron, and the whole Yiddishe army marched around Yericho SEVEN times.

Yehoshua told the soldiers to all shout out loud when they went around the seventh time! They will soon see that Hashem is letting them capture Yericho. They should be careful not to take anything from the city, and they should save the life of Rachav, a woman who helped the Jewish spies (that’s another story in Sefer Yehoshua!).

So they marched around Yericho a seventh time, with the kohanim blowing their trumpets and all of the soldiers shouting! In front of their eyes, the thick walls around the city collapsed into the ground!

The Yidden were easily able to go inside and capture the city of Yericho. After these nisim, Yehoshua wrote this tefillah.



Noisy Things

Let’s imagine that Avi just got a great present — a set of drums!

He brings it to his room and starts to practice.

Then he remembers that his brother has a headache and isn’t feeling well. Banging drums will probably make his brother feel even worse!

Of course it would be NICE not to play on his drums now, but does he HAVE TO stop?

The halacha is that we need to be careful not to hurt other people with the things we do. If we know that our (unusual) noise will hurt someone, we are not allowed to do it.

See Shulchan Aruch, Dinei Nizkei Mamon, se’if 17

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



No More Yetzer Hara!

The Navi Yechezkel was one of the Yidden brought into Golus in Bavel, towards the end of the first Beis Hamikdash. He warned the Yidden to do teshuvah, or else Hashem would destroy the Beis Hamikdash. Unfortunately, the Yidden didn’t listen. When the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, they realized that the Navi Yechezkel was telling the truth, and they felt very sad.

Now Yechezkel tried to make the Yidden feel better. He told them many nevuos about the building of the second Beis Hamikdash, the Geulah, and the third Beis Hamikdash. He wanted them to know that they wouldn’t stay in Golus forever! When Hashem was happy with the way they were acting, they would be brought back to Yerushalayim.

The main reason why we do aveiros isn’t because aveiros are so much fun. It is because our Yetzer Hara tricks us into doing them!

The Navi Yechezkel tells us that when Moshiach comes, Hashem will take away our Yetzer Hara! We will be able to serve Hashem properly all the time:

וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם לֵב אֶחָד וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה אֶתֵּן בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וַהֲסִרֹתִי לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשָׂרָם וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם לֵב בָּשָׂר

Venasati Lahem Leiv Echad — Hashem says, I will give them one heart, that believes in Hashem completely

V’Ruach Chadasha Etein Bekirbechem — And I will put inside of them a new ratzon to do only what Hashem says

Vehasirosi Leiv Ha’even Mibesaram — And I will take out their heart of stone (that doesn’t want to do the ratzon of Hashem)

Venasati Lahem Leiv Basar — And I will give them a soft heart (that wants to do what’s right!)

See Yechezkel perek Yud-Alef posuk Yud-Tes

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