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Parshas Shemos - Shvi'i with Rashi

The suffering of the Yidden in Mitzrayim becomes very intense. Hashem chooses Moshe Rabbeinu as the one who will take the Yidden out of Golus.

In today’s Chumash we will learn how Moshe begins his shlichus. Moshe and Aharon go to Paraoh, but like Hashem said, he doesn’t listen. Instead, he calls the Yidden lazy and makes them work much harder! Moshe complains to Hashem, and Hashem tells Moshe he won’t get to go into Eretz Yisroel.

Now it was time to go to Paraoh and tell him to let the Yidden go. Even though the leaders of the Yidden were supposed to come too, they were scared and so in the end, only Moshe and Aharon went.

They told Paraoh to let the Yidden go and serve Hashem in the desert for a few days. 

Paraoh said, “Who is Hashem? I don’t know Him, so I don’t have to listen.”

Moshe and Aharon told Paraoh that if he doesn’t let the Yidden go, he will get punished!

Paraoh said, “You’re just trying to make the Yidden stop working! You must be lazy, and they must be lazy. Go back to whatever you usually do.” Then Paraoh decided to make it hard for the lazy Jews! He said that they now need to get their OWN straw to make bricks! Then they will stop being lazy.

Now the work was MUCH harder for the Yidden! They had to get their own straw, and still make enough bricks! All of the Yidden were punished by the Mitzriyim because it was too hard!

Dasan and Aviram saw Moshe and Aharon by the palace and were very angry at them for making things so hard.

Moshe asked Hashem, “Why are You making it so hard for the Yidden? I went to Paraoh, and now instead of making things better, things are worse for the Yidden!”

Hashem wasn’t happy that Moshe was asking questions like that, and He told Moshe that he wouldn’t get to go into Eretz Yisroel. Still he would see how with a mighty hand, Hashem would take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. Even if the Yidden would not want to leave, Paraoh himself would send them out to their Geulah!



104 - 105

Today’s kapitelach are Kuf-Daled and Kuf-Hey.

In today’s Tehillim we have a very interesting posuk: “Al Tig’u Bimeshichoi” — “Do not touch My anointed ones.”

The Chachomim tell us that one of the things “Meshichoi” (My anointed ones) means is Yiddishe children.

The Rebbe tells us that especially children who are educated by Chassidus in our time are called Meshichoi — when you look at them, the first thing you are reminded of is Moshiach!

In the farbrengen of Simchas Torah, Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis, the Rebbe farbrenged very strongly about how children are called Meshichoi, and the pure and strong Emunah they have in the Geulah.



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Beis

In today’s Tanya, we learn the secret power that the beinoni has which gives him the koach to ALWAYS win in the war against the Yetzer Hara!

A beinoni is someone who is like a rasha in the way he feels, but like a tzadik in the way he acts. Only during special times, like davening, he is able to feel like a tzadik! Through proper davening, his neshama becomes stronger and puts the Nefesh Habehamis to sleep, so it can’t bother him with rasha-like feelings. After davening, though, the Nefesh Habehamis wakes up again and makes the beinoni have feelings like a rasha again.

In the beinoni, both nefashos are equally as strong, and they are both fighting all the time. So how does the beinoni ALWAYS make the Nefesh Elokis win?

The answer is that Hashem made people with a special koach built in. The Zohar calls this koachMoach Shalit Al Halev,” that Hashem gives the koach for the mind to be in control. Even when a person has a taava, he is able to choose not to think about it. The mind is stronger, so the person can decide to do something else and not pay attention to the taava. (If a person gets too used to doing the taava, they can lose this koach until they do a proper teshuvah, like we’ll learn later.)

This koach works even if the reason a person decides not to listen to a taava is because it isn’t healthy or good for him.

The koach of Moach Shalit Al Halev is even stronger if a person chooses not to listen to a taava because they don’t want to do an aveira. Why is it stronger if a person chooses to be in control for kedusha reasons, because he wants his neshama to be in charge?

We can understand this from what Shlomo Hamelech says in Koheles, “Vera’isi Sheyesh Yisron Lachochmah Min Hasichlus, Keyisron Ha’or Min Hachoshech.” “I’ve seen that chochmah (the Nefesh Elokis, which is called a chochom) has a maalah over foolishness (the Nefesh Habehamis, which is called a foolish king), like the maalah that light has over darkness.”

What is the maalah of light over darkness? It is so much stronger that it doesn’t even need to fight! You only need a little bit of light to push away A LOT of darkness, and it happens automatically! If you put even a tiny candle in a big dark room, the whole room isn’t dark anymore!

The same is true with the Nefesh Elokis and the Nefesh Habehamis: If a person wants to be in control of the taava of the Nefesh Habehamis because that’s what Hashem wants, then this koach of Moach Shalit Al Halev has a much stronger impact than it would if he was doing it for other reasons.

So how does the beinoni do it? He uses his Moach Shalit Al Halev for kedusha reasons, and that has such a tremendous koach, that his every Machshava, Dibur, and Maaseh are the way Hashem wants!



Chof-Alef Teves

This story happened when the Rebbe and the Frierdiker Rebbe were walking together. It was Erev Shavuos, and the family was in the city of Landerov for the chasunah of Rebbetzin Shaina on Yud Sivan.

The Frierdiker Rebbe met a water carrier with full buckets of water. He said, “When a person meets up with water, they should say: ‘The Baal Shem Tov says that water is a siman bracha.’”

In a sicha, the Rebbe explains why it’s not enough to just say “Water is a siman bracha,” but we have to say that the Baal Shem Tov says so:

A bracha can be in many different kinds of ways. It can be a bracha in Ruchnius, or in Gashmius, or in Gashmius in a way that we can see the bracha, or many other ways. The Baal Shem Tov was known for brachos from a very high level in Ruchnius, that were able to be seen clearly in Gashmius.

That’s why we say that the Baal Shem Tov said that water is a siman bracha — it is a siman bracha the way the Baal Shem Tov gave brachos, that the bracha will be the highest bracha in a way that’s clear to see!



Shiur #195 - Mitzvas Asei #107

Today (and for the next week!) we will be learning the same mitzvah:

(Mitzvas Asei #107) If someone gets Tomei with Tumas Meis (the tumah from a body after the neshama leaves it), he needs to follow the halachos about how he becomes tomei and how the tumah gets passed on. Later we will learn how to become Tahor from this kind of tumah.



Hilchos Tumas Meis

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Gimmel, Daled and Hey of Hilchos Tumas Meis, we learn many halachos about Tumas Meis, and also important rules about passing on Tumah. A person can get some kinds of Tumah only if he touches or carries it, and he can get other kinds if he is even just in the same house!

Becoming Tomei from Tumas Meis makes a person Tomei for 7 days, and only afterwards can he become Tahor.



Hilchos Me'ilah - Perek Zayin

We learn what happens if someone makes a shliach to use the thing that is hekdesh, or has someone else watch it without telling him that it is hekdesh and can’t be used. The Rambam gives many cases and says who would need to do this teshuva of paying and bringing a korban in each example.

icon of clock


Sleeping Lekavod Shabbos

Today is the birthday of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka’s youngest sister, Rebbetzin Shaina. She married a chossid named R’ Mendel Horenstein. They were killed by the Nazis yemach shemam, Hashem Yinkom Damam. Rebbetzin Shaina’s yartzeit was set for the second day of Rosh Hashana.

The Rebbe told a certain story about her a number of times, including on her birthday and yartzeit:

When Rebbetzin Shaina was little and still lived in Lubavitch, she was nicknamed Shaindel. When she was little, her family would like to tease her, because she always had cute things to say.

One time while she was very young, her Zaidy the Rebbe Rashab told her to make sure that everything she does on Shabbos should be Lekavod Shabbos, including when she’s eating or taking a walk. She said that she’s ready to do everything Lekavod Shabbos, except for one thing — sleeping. Because when you’re sleeping, you’re asleep, so how can it be Lekavod Shabbos?

The Friediker Rebbe told this story to the Rebbe. The Rebbe explained what we can learn from this story, in honor of a group of Baalei Teshuvah who came for a Pegisha to 770:

Chassidus teaches us that if you put effort into davening and learning during the day, you can dream about it at night too! The same is true with thinking about Shabbos. By thinking about Shabbos during everything you do, even your sleep will be Lekavod Shabbos! This is especially true if it will bother you not to have it that way — then Hashem will help us make sure that it will be that way!

See Parshas Shemos 5725

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Netilas Yodayim

After washing our hands for the second time in the morning, we say the bracha of Al Netilas Yodayim. In this bracha, we bentch Hashem for making us holy with the mitzvah the Chachomim gave us, of washing our hands.

The bracha finishes with the words “Al Netilas Yodayim,” “about the washing of the hands.”

Actually, there is a better word for “washing” in Lashon Kodesh, “Rechitzah.” One of the reasons why the word “Netilah” was chosen is because in Aramaic, it also means “to elevate (in kedusha).” This washing of the hands is like the kohen who washes his hands to make himself holy to serve in the Beis Hamikdash! We too wash our hands to make ourselves holy to serve Hashem throughout the day.



Negel Vasser

One of the reasons we wash Negel Vasser in the morning is because of the Ruach Hatumah which comes into us when we are sleeping at night, and stays on our hands when we wake up in the morning.

That’s why when we wash Negel Vasser, we are careful to wash the entire hand until the wrist. We do this since the Ruach Hatumah spreads until the wrist.

Someone once asked the Rebbe, if this is the reason, how come on Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur we only wash our fingers and not our whole hand?

Really, we aren’t allowed to wash our hands at all on these days. The only reason we do is because of the halacha that we need to wash off this Ruach Hatumah. But if the tumah goes until the wrist, by washing just our fingers we didn’t take off the Ruach Hatumah anyway, and we may as well not wash at all!

The Rebbe explained that this is because of the way the Ruach Hatumah works. It wants to go to places that are holy, to get chayus from kedusha. That’s why it comes into the guf kadosh, the holy body of a Yid. But on Tisha B’Av, the kedusha is on a lower level because we are sad. The Ruach Hatumah doesn’t have as much of a taava for that kedusha, so it only spreads until the fingers.

On Yom Kippur, it is just the opposite! We are like malochim on Yom Kippur, on a much higher level of kedusha. Even if the Ruach Hatumah WANTS to spread past the fingers, it can’t! That’s why we only need to wash until our fingers.

Once the regular level of kedusha comes back, after Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur, we need to wash our hands completely right away.

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



Higiya Zman Geulaschem

When Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to tell the Yidden that it was time for their Geulah, Moshe said he didn’t think the Yidden would believe him. Even though they knew about Hashem’s promise, they were in Golus already for so many years! Moshe Rabbeinu thought that by now, they wouldn’t be so ready to believe that the Golus was actually ending.

But Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu that he shouldn’t worry. Every morning, a Yid’s neshama comes back to him, refreshed and new. So for the neshama, they weren’t in Golus for so many years — they only went into Golus that day! Of course they would be ready to believe that the time of the Geulah was here.

The same is true with us today! Our bodies might have been in Golus for many years, but for our neshama, it’s still a new thing, and we are VERY ready to hear that the time of our Geulah is here!

See Sefer Hasichos 5751, Parshas Shemos

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