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Sheini with Rashi

In Parshas Vaeira, we are starting to learn about the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim! But first we will learn about the people who Hashem chose to be the ones to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim: Moshe and Aharon.

The Torah tells us about Moshe and Aharon’s family. They were from Shevet Levi, an important shevet. They were also from Amram’s family, the leader of the Yidden at that time. This made the Yidden able to respect them. Moshe and Aharon grew up in a house of Torah, a house of Yiras Shomayim, and a family that had Mesiras Nefesh to help other Yidden.

Now that the Torah tells us that both Moshe and Aharon deserved to have this special shlichus from Hashem, we are ready to learn what happened next.



108 - 112

Today’s kapitelach are Kuf-Ches through Kuf-Yud-Beis.

In today’s Tehillim, we have a posuk that says “Reishis Chochma Yiras Hashem” — the beginning of Chochma (the first thing before we get the chochma of Torah) is to have Yiras Hashem.

A person could go to Yeshiva and learn a lot of Torah! Sometimes a person might think he is so smart, he is smarter than his teachers! He thinks he doesn’t need to listen to his parents either!

That’s why we need to have Yiras Shomayim first, because this way (as the Gemara explains), we can make sure that our Torah will only bring to GOOD things!

See Gemara Brachos 17a



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Beis

In today’s Tanya, we learn about how important davening is in the avodah of a beinoni, helping us stay in control of our behavior during the day. We learn how Moach Shalit Al Halev should be used both for things that are Bein Adam LaMakom, and Bein Adam LaChaveiro.

We learned that during davening, we feel more Ruchnius’dik and more aidel. This makes our Nefesh Habehamis become sleepy — but it wakes up after davening.

Even though that Ruchnius’dike feeling and aidelkeit doesn’t stay all day, the Alter Rebbe tells us that it does leave a mark! We still remember how we felt and how we decided to act while we were davening. This helps us stay in control of what we do and what we choose to think about, that they should only be the way Hashem wants, all day!

Being this way isn’t only in mitzvos between us and Hashem, Bein Adam LaMakom. We also need to act this way when it comes to how we think about and act with other people.

As we learned, acting the way Hashem wants us to isn’t only in the things we do, but the things we think. For example, when a taavah comes into our minds, an idea of something that we want but shouldn’t have, we shouldn’t think about it. We should use our koach of Moach Shalit Al Halev to push away the idea!

This is also true in the way we think about other people, Bein Adam LaChaveiro. It is not enough to be in control of the things we do or say to them, we also need to be in control of the feelings that come into our mind.

If someone does something that upsets us or makes us angry, we shouldn’t think about it! We push away the not good thoughts that we have, and remind ourselves that everything comes from Hashem, not from what that other person did! Then we can treat the other person nicely, no matter what he did.

This is just like Yosef HaTzaddik, that even though his brothers sold him, he understood that it was from Hashem, and was nice to them in Mitzrayim!



Chof-Gimmel Teves

Today’s Hayom Yom teaches us that when we notice problems in Yiddishkeit around us, it’s not enough to complain about them — we need to try to fix them!

Sometimes a person sees something wrong in the world. So he gives a “krechtz” (groan). He says, “Oy vey, that’s terrible!”

But that’s not enough! A krechtz by itself doesn’t help!

Our krechtz is supposed to make us realize that something needs to be changed! We need to think about how we can help fix the problem. Every person can help figure out a way to teach more Torah and help more Yidden to do mitzvos. One person can do this through writing, another person by giving speeches, and a different person by giving money for strengthening Yiddishkeit.

What can YOU do? What special kochos do you have to be able to fix the world?



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #42, Asei #120, Lo Saasei #210

Today we learn one last mitzvah about Kilayim, things we can’t mix together. Today’s mitzvah is about Kilayim in clothes!

Shatnez: (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #42) We are not allowed to wear clothes made of wool and linen mixed together. This is called shatnez.

We are starting a new part of Rambam now, about what we give to the poor. We learn 2 mitzvos about this today, about the part of our fields we leave for the poor, called Pe’ah:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #120) It is a mitzvah to leave over a corner of our fields or orchards for the poor people to take food from there.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #210) It is asur to NOT leave over that corner!



Hilchos Kela'im - Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last halachos of Kilayim, and start the halachos of Matnos Aniyim.

Perek Tes: We are not allowed to force different kinds of animals to get married to each other. We can only help sheep to get married to sheep and have baby sheep! We don’t have them get married to goats and have baby… shoats?

We are not allowed to make two kinds of animals work together to pull a wagon or other piece of farm equipment. It is asur to even sit in a wagon pulled by two kinds of animals, because that makes them shlep it! But a PERSON is allowed to help an animal pull a wagon — people aren’t animals!

Perek Yud: In this perek, we learn the halachos of Kilayim in clothing — shatnez. Shatnez means mixing wool and linen together. Any way we mix them — by sewing them together, making a kind of material with wool and linen, or even just sewing one thread of wool into linen — are all asur! But it IS okay to wear a linen belt over wool clothes, because they are not connected.

Shatnez isn’t just for clothes — if it can touch your skin and make you warm, it is also asur! So sheets, towels, and soft squishy couches also can’t have shatnez.

Now we start the halachos about Matnos Aniyim, what we need to give to poor people. We will be learning 13 mitzvos about this, in 10 perakim.

Perek Alef: In this perek, the Rambam tells us about the five gifts that a person has to give to the poor from the things he grows. They are called Pe’ah, Leket, Peret, Olelos, and Shichecha. We will learn them over the next few days in Sefer Hamitzvos and Rambam.

The Chachomim say that a person should leave over 1/60th of his field or orchard as Pe’ah, but if a person was bentched with more than he expected, he should give more. The more you give, the more reward you get!



Hilchos Biyas Hamikdash - Perek Gimmel

People who are tamei are not allowed to come into the Beis Hamikdash. One halacha is that if a person who is tamei comes in by climbing over the roof, or in a box flying in the air, he doesn’t get Kareis, but he does get Makas Mardusmalkos from the Beis Din.



Erev Chof-Daled Teves

The Rebbe teaches us that the avodah of shlichus, bringing people closer to Yiddishkeit, is what makes us into a Chabad chossid!

Once when the Mitteler Rebbe was a child, he had a dream that bothered him. He came to his father, the Alter Rebbe, and told him the dream. (http://www.sie.org/2787712 — see section 15 and on)

One part of the dream was that there were three men walking, one of whom was the Alter Rebbe. They came to two rivers: one was smooth, without any waves, and was flowing along and growing. The second river was colorful, and full of choppy waves. There was a board on each of the rivers. A man told the Alter Rebbe to cross the second river, and he did without a problem.

The Mitteler Rebbe was very upset by this dream.

The Alter Rebbe explained that the other men in the dream were the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid. The two rivers were a mashal for the avodah of tzadikim, with is smooth and strong, and the avodah of Baalei Teshuvah, which is challenging, like choppy waves.

The reason that the Alter Rebbe was able to cross this raging river was because he used the Torah he learned from the Maggid to help bring Yidden closer to Yiddishkeit — to make Baalei Teshuvah.

This story was told over from Rebbe to Rebbe, and each one added something. When the Rebbe Rashab told the story to the Friediker Rebbe, he added that the Alter Rebbe gave this koach to make Baalei Teshuvah to whoever he gave it to... and now it is given to every chossid.

The Friediker Rebbe told this story to chassidim on Yud-Tes Kislev, and the Rebbe told this story to chassidim also at a Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen, in Tof-Shin-Chof-Ches. The Rebbe added that not only is this koach GIVEN to every chossid, but that only by working to make Baalei Teshuvah do we BECOME chassidim!

This koach is even more strong by a person who wasn’t born a chossid and became a chossid through his own avodah (a “gevorene”), but is there too for someone who was born a chossid (“geborene”).

We see from this that the avodah of shlichus and bringing Yidden closer to Yiddishkeit is the essence of being a chossid, as it was established by the Alter Rebbe.


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Kavana in Brachos

When we daven, we are supposed to have kavana. We should know what we are saying to Hashem, at least to know what we are talking about.

In Shulchan Aruch, it says that this is even more important when we say a bracha. When we say brachos, we should really know the meaning of every word.

Each name of Hashem also has a meaning that we are supposed to be thinking about:

When we say the name of Hashem of Ad-nay, spelled as Alef-Daled-Nun-Yud, we should have in mind that Hashem is the master of the entire world.

There is a name of Hashem that is spelled Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay (or in a siddur sometimes as just two Yuds), that we pronounce as Ad-nay. When we say this name, we should think about the meaning of Ad-nay, which is that Hashem is the master of the world. We should also think about the meaning of Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay, that Hashem includes all times, past, present, and future.

When we say the name Elokim, we should have in mind that Hashem is strong, and controls everything that happens in Ruchnius and in Gashmius!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Hey



Kibud Av Va'em

When my parents are asleep,
I won’t play a noisy game.
I will not scream or shout —
That’s part of Kibud Av Va’eim!

Part of the mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’eim is not to wake up our parents when they are sleeping. We can’t wake them up even when we will miss out on something by letting them sleep!

BUT, if our PARENT will miss out on something by sleeping, we ARE allowed to wake them up! Since we know it will make them happy to be woken up, we can do it.

We are also allowed to wake up our parents so they don’t miss doing a mitzvah — because that shows kavod for Hashem!

Shmiras Mitzvas Hayom p. 270

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



Moshiach's Job

One of Moshiach’s main inyonim is to bring Shleimus in Torah and mitzvos. That’s why he needs to bring back the melucha of Dovid Hamelech, rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and take the Yidden back to Eretz Yisroel!

The Rambam tells us that Moshiach’s role according to halacha is to bring back the Torah and mitzvos to their complete state.

That helps us understand the halacha where the Rambam says that Moshiach will bring back Malchus Beis Dovid to the way it is supposed to be. We understand why it’s so important, because many mitzvos are dependent on having a Jewish king!

That’s also why it’s Moshiach’s job to build the Beis Hamikdash: So we can keep all of the mitzvos that have to do with the korbanos and the Avodah.

Moshiach will also need to bring back all of the Yidden to Eretz Yisroel, because only when all Yidden live there can we keep the mitzvos of Shemitah and Yovel.

See Rambam Hilchos Melachim Perek Yud-Alef, Likutei Sichos Chelek Yud-Ches p. 276

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