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Parshas Bereishis - Revi'i with Rashi

In the beginning of the parsha we learned about the six days of Creation and Shabbos, and we also learned that on the sixth day of Creation, after Adam and Chava were created, they did the Cheit Eitz Hadaas. Today the Torah tells us what happened after that, especially about the second major aveira that happened after the world was created, the story of Kayin and Hevel.

Now that Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz Hadaas, they might decide to eat from the Eitz Hachayim, which would make them live forever. Since eating from the Eitz Hadaas gave them a Yetzer Hara, that would mean the Yetzer Hara would also live forever! So Hashem had to send them out of Gan Eden, and put a malach there to guard it so they can’t come back in.

Before this happened, Adam and Chava had 5 children — Kayin and a twin sister, and triplets — Hevel and two sisters. They married their sisters, which was allowed at that time.

Hevel decided to be a shepherd, since the ground was cursed because of the Cheit Eitz Hadaas. Kayin decided to be a farmer anyway.

Once they both decided to bring Korbanos to Hashem: Kayin brought one of his plants as a korban, but it was not the nicest one. Hevel decided to bring his best and nicest sheep. Hashem was happier with Hevel’s korban, and sent a fire down from Shomayim to burn it.

Kayin was jealous, but he didn’t want to think that he did something wrong, so he didn’t do Teshuvah. Hashem told him that if he really wants he can also bring a special korban. It is up to him to be a good person and overcome his Yetzer Hara. But, instead of listening to Hashem, he got angry at Hevel, and killed him.

Hashem told Kayin that he will be punished for what he did! He won’t be able to live in one place for his whole life, he will need to wander from place to place. Also, even though the ground already grew less because of the Cheit Eitz Hadaas, now it will grow even less than it did before.

Kayin cried and asked why Hashem could not forgive his aveira. If he has to wander around, other people or animals might kill him! Hashem made a sign on his head so that nobody will hurt him, but he will be punished after seven generations. But Kayin didn’t really do Teshuvah, and he decided to live in one place even though Hashem told him he has to wander.

Now the Torah tells us about Kayin’s son Chanoch. Kayin built a city, and named it in honor of his son Chanoch. Chanoch had a son Irad, who had a son named Mechuyoel, whose son was Mesusha’el, who had a son Lamech.

Knowing about these people will help us understand what happened to Kayin later in the parsha.



119 (second half)

Today we are saying the second half of the LONGEST kapitel in the whole Tehillim, Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes!

There is a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti Ki Eidvosecha Sicha Li” — “I have learned from all of my teachers, because Your mitzvos are what I talk about.”

We learned in Pirkei Avos (Perek Daled), “Eizehu Chochom Halomeid Mikol Adam.” “Who is called a chochom? Someone who learns from every person.” The Mishna learns this from this posuk in Tehillim, “Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti.”

When the Rebbe visited Camp Gan Yisroel in Tof-Shin-Chof, it was 200 years since the histalkus of the Baal Shem Tov. The Rebbe taught the campers many things we learn from the Baal Shem Tov, including an explanation on this posuk:

Does it make sense to learn from everyone? Not everyone is a teacher, and not everyone has something good to teach! Some people are NOT such good people and we probably SHOULDN’T learn from them!

The Baal Shem Tov explains that we SHOULD learn from everyone: From some people we should learn how to act and what to do, and from other people we should learn what NOT to do.

So the Rebbe said to the campers: By following the words of the Mishna and learning from everyone, each one of us will be a chochom and bring our teachers and parents a lot of nachas!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

Yesterday, we learned something about why a person gets angry: Because he doesn’t have enough Emunah! If he did, he would know that Hashem is the one making the other person say something not nice, and he won’t get angry at them.

The Alter Rebbe tells us about this to explain something similar that the Baal Shem Tov said, which his Talmidim wrote down in the sefer Tzavaas Harivash: If someone is trying to daven, and a goy next to him starts talking and trying to bother him, what should he do? He should not get upset! Instead he should think about how the Shechinah is inside of this goy, and is making this happen in order to bring out his deeper kochos to daven with more kavana.

Some people didn’t like this! They said that it can’t be that Hashem’s chayus is in a Goy!

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe explains this.

First he explains what the Chachomim say, that if someone gets angry it is because he doesn’t have proper Emunah. Now we learn how the chayus of Hashem is in everything in the world, in a way of Hashgacha Protis.

The Baal Shem Tov tells us that the words Hashem used to create the world weren’t said just once, they are said constantly because Hashem is making the world AGAIN every single second! It’s just that we can’t see it because the koach Hashem uses to hide is so strong that we can’t tell!

Hashem doesn’t make the world the same way PEOPLE make things. When we make something, we’re really just changing one thing into another thing! (For example, we make paper out of trees, we make juice out of fruits, and we make cars out of metal.) That’s why when we finish making something, we are finished! We don’t have to keep making it so it won’t disappear!

But Hashem made the world out of nothing, so Hashem has to make it again every single second or else it won’t be there at all!

After understanding this idea of Hashgacha Protis (which we also learned in Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah), we will learn how the Hashgacha Protis can come even into a goy who is bothering a Yid during davening, in a way of Golus. Thinking about that will make us realize that Hashem is making it happen, and we won’t get angry! Instead, we will understand that it’s there to get us to work harder to have kavana and ignore whatever is bothering us!



Chof-Vov Tishrei

We learned in Tanya today that the Baal Shem Tov explains how the chayus of Hashem makes the world exist anew every moment.

The Rebbe tells us today that the Medrash already told this to us BEFORE the Baal Shem Tov. Still the Alter Rebbe says it from the Baal Shem Tov! Why?

The Alter Rebbe wanted us to always remember Chai Elul, the day the Baal Shem Tov was born: The posuk that teaches us about how Hashem always gives the world new chayus says that Hashem’s chayus is always in the SHOMAYIM, giving the world new chayus. When did Hashem make the Shomayim? On Yom Sheini, Monday. That was also the day the Baal Shem Tov was born — Monday, Chai Elul!

The Alter Rebbe wanted there to be at least a hint to this special day in Tanya.



Shiur #97 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #179, #180, #188

Today we learn a few more mitzvos about eating Kosher:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #179) We aren’t allowed to eat a bug that lives in the water.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: אַל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם וְנִטְמֵתֶם בָּם

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #180) We are not allowed to eat an animal that died without a proper shechitah. This is called a Neveilah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תֹאכְלוּ כָל נְבֵלָה

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #188) We are not allowed to eat an animal that the Beis Din paskened that it needs to be killed. This is called a Shor Haniskal, and we can’t eat its meat even if it was shechted properly. (For example, if an animal killed a person, the Beis Din paskens that it needs to be killed.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וְלֹא יֵאָכֵל אֶת בְּשָׂרוֹ



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

Perek Ches: We learn about the part of an animal called Gid Hanasheh, which we aren’t allowed to eat. We learn that we are allowed to sell non-kosher animals to goyim.

Perek Tes: We learn many halachos about not eating or cooking milk and meat together (Basar BeChalav). One halacha is that we aren’t allowed to make milchige bread that looks like regular bread, because someone might eat it with fleishigs by mistake.

Perek Yud: All of the non-kosher foods we learned about before are with animals. In this perek we learn about things that grow that are not kosher. Here are some of those things that the Rambam speaks about in this perek:

- Chadash: We are not allowed to eat new grain until we bring the Korban Omer.
- Kilai Hakerem: We are not allowed to grow different plants together or too close to each other.
- Tevel: We are not allowed to eat food before we bring the Terumah and Maaser from it.
- Orlah: We are not allowed to eat from a fruit tree before it grows for at least three years.



Hilchos Brachos - Perek Zayin

The Rambam teaches us the halachos of Derech Eretz B’Seudah — the mentchlich way to act at a meal. For example, you shouldn’t look at someone else eating, or at someone else’s plate, so that you won’t embarrass him. Another halacha is that you shouldn’t throw food or ruin it.



Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s Torah Ohr, for Parshas Bereishis, we learn something very important:

Some people think that if they want to understand more Torah, they need to learn more and more. They will daven faster and not be as careful with mitzvos and having Ahavas Yisroel, because they want to learn more.

But Torah isn’t just learning from pages! Torah is the chochma of Hashem, and to be able to know what Hashem really wants from us in the Torah, we need to ACT the way the Torah teaches.

The Alter Rebbe promises us that if we do our mitzvos with Kavana and with a chayus, we will understand Torah much better and faster than if we don’t! What could take us 1000 hours to understand in Torah without our chayus in mitzvos and Ahavas Yisroel will only take us ONE HOUR if we do what we are supposed to! (The Tzemach Tzedek made a note on this maamar, saying that 1000 times faster isn’t an exaggeration — it’s really how much it helps!)

The Rebbe once told an older Chossid in Yechidus that if Chassidim will use chayus to go on Mivtzoyim and do it properly, they will have 1000 times more hatzlacha in their own learning and Chinuch of their own family!


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Torah Tziva

The Rebbe introduced 12 pesukim and Maamarei Chazal for children to know. They should both learn them by heart, and also know what they mean. This way we can think about the lessons the pesukim teach us even when we are between games, and be so excited about them that we will want to talk about them with our friends too!

Torah Tziva and Shema were chosen to be the first two pesukim. This is based on what the Gemara says, that as soon as a child starts to speak, his father should teach him to say pesukim. The pesukim the Chachomim tell us to first teach are Torah Tziva and Shema Yisroel!

So the very first posuk we start off the chinuch of a Jewish child with is Torah Tziva.

The words of the posuk mean that Moshe Rabbeinu taught us (“Tziva Lanu”) the Torah, and it is given over as a yerusha (“Morasha”) to all of the children of Yaakov (“Kehilas Yaakov”), all of the Yidden.

The lesson that this posuk teaches us is that Torah is OURS!

When we have a toy that is OURS, we put it away in a special place, we spend time playing with it and figuring out how it works.

The Torah is ours too! When we think about that, we will want to keep Torah close to us! We will want to spend time learning and understanding this special present that belongs to us.

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder, vol. 5 p. 245



Cutting Nails

It is a mitzvah to cut our nails Lekavod Shabbos. Some are careful to ONLY cut their nails on Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov. They cut their toenails the day before (Thursday in a regular week), so they won’t cut their fingernails and toenails on the same day, which can be a sakana, as brought in Shulchan Aruch.

We are careful not to cut our nails in order, one after another. Instead, we do it by skipping fingers.

We start with the ring finger of our left hand (finger Daled), then skip one to our pointer finger (Beis). Then we go back to our pinky (Hey), skip over to our middle finger (Gimmel), and then do our thumb (Alef). (The siman to remember the order is “DeVeHeGA”.)

Then we do the same pattern with our right hand, but start from the other side. We cut the nail on our pointer finger (Beis), and skip over to our ring finger (Daled). We then go to the thumb (Alef), skip to our middle finger (Gimmel), and finish off with our pinky (Hey). (The siman to remember the order is “BeDeAhGaH”.)

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Samach, siman Beis and Gimmel

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



In OUR Time

One of the foundations of Emunah is to believe that Moshiach will come, and hope for him to come every day!

People may have a question when they hear this. How can Moshiach come in OUR time? There were so many tzadikim in other generations who were much greater than us, and Moshiach didn’t come in their time! So how can we think that Moshiach will come now?

The answer is that all of the good things that were ever done stay! So today, we have with us all of the mitzvos and special things that were done by the Yidden and tzadikim of the past generations. When we add this to the little bit that we did compared to them, with all of those good things together, we can be sure that we will see Moshiach very soon!

See sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach 5718, printed in Likutei Sichos chelek Alef p. 247

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