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CHUMASH

Parshas Vaeira - Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe and Aharon begin their shlichus to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. They make a sign in front of Paraoh and bring the first two makos.

Hashem told Moshe and Aharon one last thing before they went to Paraoh: How to show Paraoh that Hashem is really sending them. Moshe should have Aharon throw his stick on the floor, and it will become a snake.

Moshe and Aharon went to Paraoh, ready to do exactly what Hashem told them to.

When Paraoh asked them to make a sign to show that they are coming from Hashem, Aharon threw the stick on the floor and it turned into a snake. Once the miracle was over, it turned back into a stick.

Paraoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing with their tumah magic! They all threw down their sticks, and they turned to snakes.

But now, Aharon’s stick ate up all of their sticks, and didn’t even get bigger! This was a neis that they COULDN’T do, and it showed that Hashem is in charge.

But Paraoh was stubborn and didn’t listen to Moshe and Aharon anyway.

Now Hashem would have to send the Makos to punish Paraoh for not listening, and get him to change his mind…

Makas Dam:

Before the first makah, Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to meet Paraoh at the Nilus in the morning in order to warn him. (Paraoh would secretly go to the bathroom there, so he could tell people he is like Hashem and doesn’t do things that regular people do!) They should warn Paraoh that if he doesn’t listen, Hashem will show him who is in charge! Hashem will make the Nilus turn into blood. (Since the Mitzriyim worshiped the Nilus, it would also show them that their Avodah Zarah is wrong.)

Since the Nilus saved Moshe when he was a baby in the basket, Hashem told Moshe that AHARON should hit the water. This was because we need to show Hakoras Hatov when someone or something helps us. It wasn’t right for Moshe to hit the water, when that was what saved him.

After hitting the Nilus, all of the water in Mitzrayim would turn to blood. 

Moshe and Aharon did what Hashem told them. They warned Paraoh for three weeks, but he didn’t listen. Then Aharon hit the water in the Nilus, and all of the water in Mitzrayim turned to blood. The people were able to dig wells and find fresh water, though. This way the Mitzriyim could see that they shouldn’t worship the Nilus!

Some of Paraoh’s magicians did tumah-magic and turned the water from the wells into blood, and Paraoh decided that Moshe and Aharon were just doing magic. He didn’t want to believe that it was from Hashem, so he decided to ignore what Moshe and Aharon told him.

This first Makah lasted a week.

Makas Tzefardeia:

Right after Makas Dam was over, Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to warn Paraoh about the second makah, frogs. They should say: “Let the Yidden go, or else Hashem will send frogs to go all over Mitzrayim! They will first go into your palace, and then all over — even into people!”

After three weeks, Hashem told Moshe that Aharon should pick up his hand with his stick over the water in Mitzrayim, and the frogs will come out.

Aharon did this, and a big frog came out of the Nilus. When the Mitzriyim hit it, it turned into many many frogs. Paraoh’s magicians also made a frog that turned into many frogs, so Paraoh decided the makah was just magic and he ignored Hashem.

Paraoh wanted the frogs to go away, so he told Moshe and Aharon he would let the Yidden go if they got rid of the frogs. Moshe asked when the frogs should leave. Paraoh answered “tomorrow.” Moshe agreed to daven for the frogs to go away, to show Paraoh that Hashem is in charge.

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TEHILLIM

119 (first half)

Today we say the first half of the LONGEST kapitel of Tehillim, kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes! It has 176 pesukim, 8 pesukim for every letter in the Alef-Beis!

Most of the pesukim in this kapitel talk about how special Torah is and how much we love it! 

Here is one of these pesukim: “Az Lo Eivosh, Behabiti El Kol Mitzvosecha.” It means, “I will not be embarrassed because I think about all of your mitzvos.”

The Rambam uses this posuk at the beginning of his sefer Yad Hachazakah (the Mishnah Torah), where he explains all of the halachos of the mitzvos of the Torah.

Why does the Rambam choose this posuk?

All of the mitzvos are in the Torah. We can find them by learning the pesukim!

For example, the mitzvah of Tefillin comes from the posuk which we say in Shema — “Ukshartam Le’os Al Yadecha, Vehayu Letotafos Bein Einecha.” “You should tie these words as a sign on your hand, and they should be a sign between your eyes.”

But if we try to keep the mitzvah of Tefillin just by learning the worlds of the Chumash, we will not end up with kosher Tefillin! Someone who tried that would be very embarrassed.

That’s why the Rambam uses this posuk at the beginning of his sefer: Because by learning the halachos in the Mishnah Torah, we won’t need to be embarrassed — we will know how to keep every mitzvah of the Torah properly!

See Yein Malchus (new edition) siman Beis

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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Gimmel

The Tanya begins with the words a neshama is told before it comes into a body, that it should be a tzadik and not a rasha. And even if the whole world tells you that you are a tzadik, you should see yourself as a rasha. One of the questions we asked is, if we see ourselves as a rasha, won’t that make us sad and keep us from serving Hashem joyfully?

Now that we know what a beinoni is, the Alter Rebbe gives us the answer to the question!

It doesn’t say that a Yid should think that he IS a rasha, it says that a Yid should think he’s “KeRasha” — like a rasha! A beinoni isn’t like a tzadik who doesn’t have a Yetzer Hara, a beinoni HAS a Yetzer Hara just like a rasha does — it’s just that he doesn’t listen to it.

So a person needs to be careful not to make a mistake and think he’s a tzadik if he’s really a beinoni — because then he could think he doesn’t need to fight his Yetzer Hara!

Even if he’s doing his shlichus ALL day, it doesn’t mean the Nefesh Habehamis went away. He’s just not listening to it at all.

Even during davening, when the Nefesh Habehamis has no say at all (like a tzadik) — it’s really just sleeping. Just like a person who sleeps can wake up, the sleeping Yetzer Hara can also wake up and go back to trying to make the beinoni get involved in the Yetzer Hara’s ideas.

There can even be a beinoni that can feel like the Yetzer Hara is not there ALL DAY, because he is learning torah Lishma. But in truth, his Nefesh Habehamis is still there, just that it sleeps all day. He’s not a tzadik as long as the Nefesh Habehamis is still inside.

That’s why the Gemara says that Raba considered himself a beinoni. Raba learned Torah all day, and he couldn’t feel his Yetzer Hara. But he thought that it could have been that the Yetzer Hara was just sleeping, and wasn’t really gone the way it is by a tzadik.

So we learned that the beinoni feels a very strong connection to Hashem during davening. But after davening, he doesn’t feel that strong love anymore! Compared to the level of a real tzadik, this avodah is not called Emes, true, because it isn’t the same all the time.

Still, the Alter Rebbe says that this avodah IS Emes for the beinoni, since a beinoni is always able to reconnect to Hashem by davening properly. So for a beinoni, this is called Emes.

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HAYOM YOM

Chof-Hey Teves

We are learning now in Chumash about Yetziyas Mitzrayim. In today’s Hayom Yom we see how Chassidus is like Yetziyas Mitzrayim, and one of the main differences!

The Rebbe Rashab said in a sicha that Chassidus makes a kind of Yetziyas Mitzrayim!

Being in Mitzrayim meant being stuck in a place that didn’t let the Yidden be the way they should. Yetziyas Mitzrayim is when they left that place and were able to serve Hashem fully!

Chassidus also does that! There are things in the world that distract us from living the way we should, and learning Chassidus and living the way it teaches us helps us come out of that “Mitzrayim” and serve Hashem fully!

But there is one main difference:

When the Yidden came out of Mitzrayim, they were never supposed to go back there! They were FINISHED with it!

But that’s not how we should act with the “Mitzrayim” of the world that tries to distract us. Chassidus teaches that we shouldn’t push it away and try to run away from it. We remind ourselves that Hashem made it and it is good, and figure out how to use it for kedusha!

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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #199 - Mitzvas Asei #107

Today’s mitzvah is the same one as yesterday:

(Mitzvas Asei #107) When a neshama leaves a body, the body becomes Tomei. Someone who touches or is in the same house as the body gets some of this Tumah too, called Tumas Meis. There are many halachos about how this tumah is passed on. Today’s mitzvah is to follow all of these halachos!

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RAMBAM

Hilchos Tumas Meis

Today’s Rambam is perakim Tes-Vov, Tes-Zayin, and Yud-Zayin. We are learning more about how someone can get Tumas Meis. We learned before about “Ohel” — that anything under the same roof as a Meis becomes tomei with Tumas Meis.

The Rambam says that if there is an open space that is at least as big as a tefach, like a window or door, the Tumah can spread and go into the next room or the next house, which is under one Ohel. In today’s first perek, the Rambam explains what kind of materials can be used to close up the space so the tumah won’t spread.

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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Korban Pesach - Perek Gimmel

A person is only allowed to be part of one group to eat the Korban Pesach. In this perek we learn about all kinds of situations where a person isn’t sure which Korban Pesach he is part of, or who a Korban Pesach belongs to.

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INYANA D'YOMA

Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s parsha, Hashem sent Moshe and Aharon to Paraoh to do a special job: To tell Paraoh to let the Yidden go! To prove to him that Hashem sent them, they had a sign to show him! Moshe would take his stick and throw it on the floor, and it would turn into a snake! Then when he picked it up, it would turn back into a stick!

Why did they do this sign and not a different one? The Alter Rebbe, in Torah Ohr, tells us what message Hashem was giving to Paraoh:

Paraoh and the Mitzriyim thought they could do whatever they want. They didn’t believe in Hashem, and thought they could be mean to the Yidden and didn’t need to listen to Moshe and Aharon.

Moshe showed Paraoh that the chayus of Hashem is like a stick — a long, straight line. It comes into this world and hides even in the form of a snake! It goes into sneaky mean people and gives THEM chayus too.

Now it’s time for the kelipah in the world to realize where it gets chayus from to stay alive. Moshe showed them how the stick became a snake. And then afterwards, he showed them how the snake became a stick again, showing how the chayus of Hashem that was hiding inside can come out of the kelipah and go back to Hashem.

That’s what happened when the Yidden came out of Mitzrayim — they brought all of the kedusha of Mitzrayim out with them, and none of the kelipah remained!

See Torah Ohr, Dibur Hamas’chil Vayomer Hashem El Moshe

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TEFILLAH

Asher Yatzar

Asher Yatzar is part of Birchos Hashachar, the morning brachos, and we say it for another reason then — because we are like a new person each morning, and we thank Hashem for our incredible body!

However we also say Asher Yatzar every time we use the bathroom during the day.

After coming out of the bathroom, we wash our hands (and dry them), and say this bracha, thanking Hashem that our body is working well.

When we say Asher Yatzar, just like when we say any bracha, we shouldn’t be doing anything else, not even drying our hands. We should be paying attention to what we are saying, and appreciating that our body is working properly.

It is written in seforim that paying attention to the words that we say in this bracha, to thank Hashem for His kindness that our body is working properly, is a segulah for good health.

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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Yarmulka

Part of the “uniform” for a boy in Tzivos Hashem is a yarmulka.

The Shulchan Aruch lists a few reasons why a Jewish boy needs to wear a yarmulka all the time:

1) Tznius — For a boy, the top of the head is a part of the body that should be covered. Boys wear yarmulkas to keep their heads tznius.

2) Acting like a Yid — Because of tznius, it became the minhag of Yidden to wear yarmulkas. Not wearing a yarmulka is now like acting in a goyishe way. This is asur because of “Uvechukoseihem Lo Seileichu,” that we are not allowed to follow a non-Jewish way of behavior.

3) Yiras Shomayim — Wearing a yarmulka reminds us to have Yiras Shomayim.

The Gemara (Mesechta Shabbos, daf 156 amud beis) tells a story about an Amora named R’ Nachman. An astrologer told his mother that he would be a thief! R’ Nachman’s mother told him to always keep his head covered, so that the fear of Heaven would be upon him.

Another important reason to wear a yarmulka all the time is to be able to follow the halacha that your head needs to be covered whenever you say Hashem’s name.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman beis

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

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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Believing and Hoping For Moshiach

A Yid has a chiyuv to believe in Moshiach and hope that he will come.

How do we fulfill this chiyuv? What do we need to know or think to be counted as believing and hoping in Moshiach?

The Torah tells us about many special things that will happen when Moshiach comes, and about the rewards Yidden will get for the mitzvos they did in the times of Golus. But the Rambam tells us that main accomplishment of the coming of Moshiach is that we will be able to keep all of the mitzvos of the Torah in the best way.

This is also what our emunah needs to be: That we know that we will be able to keep all of the mitzvos again, and we hope that it will be very soon!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek Yud-Ches, p.280

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