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Parshas Beshalach - Shlishi with Rashi

Paraoh finally sent the Yidden out of Mitzrayim, but as soon as Hashem hardened Paraoh’s heart again, he changed his mind and started chasing the Yidden to bring them back.

The Yidden were afraid since Paraoh was chasing them! Moshe started to daven to Hashem also, but Hashem said, “Now is not the time to daven! Now it’s time to DO something! I will take care of the Mitzriyim, but you have a job — tell the Yidden that they can keep on going! I have already decided to split the Yam Suf for them, and the zechus of their Avos and the zechus of the Emunah they have is enough that they should be saved. Pick up your stick and the Yam Suf will split, so the Yidden can walk through on dry land. The Mitzriyim will follow, and drown in the sea! Then they will realize that I am Hashem.”

Now that the Mitzriyim were even closer, the malach of Hashem that usually went in front of the Yidden went behind them, to keep the Mitzriyim from hurting any Yidden. At night, instead of disappearing, the cloud also moved behind the Yidden. It made it dark so the Mitzriyim couldn’t see the Yidden at all! They kept trying to shoot arrows, but the cloud caught them so none of the Yidden got hurt.

Moshe picked up his arm over the Yam Suf, and Hashem made a strong wind blow all night, splitting the Yam Suf and turning it into dry land. The water all over the world also split, so everyone would know about the neis!

The Yam Suf split into 12 paths, one for each Shevet. The Yidden, starting with Shevet Binyamin, went through on dry land.

The cloud followed the Yidden into the Yam Suf, and then the Mitzriyim could see the Yidden again! They chased after the Yidden, right into the Yam Suf! Then Hashem sent the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire to punish the Mitzriyim. The pillar of cloud made the ground turn into mud, and the pillar of fire made the mud boiling hot! The shoes fell off of the horses, and the wheels fell off the chariots. The Mitzriyim got shlepped through the hot mud, and banged around. The Mitzriyim realized that Hashem was fighting for the Yidden!

As the Yidden came out of the Yam Suf, they were able to see Hashem so clearly — even a very simple person then was able to see even more than the greatest Neviim were able to see!



49 - 54

Today’s kapitelach are Mem-Tes through Nun-Daled.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Nun-Gimmel (53), it talks about the churban of the Second Beis Hamikdash. At the end of the kapitel, Dovid Hamelech says how he hopes Hashem will save the Yidden: “Mi Yitein MiTzion Yeshuos Yisroel...” (“Who will give, from Yerushalayim, the saving of the Yidden?”)

This posuk is actually written TWICE in Tehillim — once in Kapitel Yud-Daled (14), and once here.

The Medrash says that these two times where it says “Mi Yitein” is also asking Hashem to bring Yidden the Geulah. These two times where it says Mi Yitein in Tehillim also match with two places in the Chumash where it says the words “Mi Yitein!”

In one place in the Torah, Hashem says how He hopes the Yidden will all have Yiras Shomayim (“Mi Yitein Vehaya Levavam Zeh Lahem LeYirah Osi...”), and in the other place, Moshe Rabbeinu hopes that all of the Yidden will be neviim (“Umi Yiten Kol Am Hashem Neviim”).

The Medrash says that Dovid Hamelech is asking that Moshiach should come, when both of the “Mi Yitein”s will be fulfilled — all Yidden will be neviim and have Yiras Shomayim!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Ches

In the Sefer of Tanya, the Alter Rebbe is teaching us how to serve Hashem in the way of Chassidus. He explains that every Yid has the ability to serve Hashem with every part of his behavior by using bilvavcha, by feeling Ahava and Yirah to Hashem.

If that’s what it means to serve Hashem with Chassidus, then maybe Chassidus isn’t for everyone? To feel Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Shomayim, you need to have hisbonenus. You need to know certain things about Hashem and think about them, so that they change the way you naturally think and behave. Not everybody is so good at thinking deep thoughts, or is interested in thinking about Hashem. So how can we say that it is Karov Me’od, very possible for everyone to serve Hashem with Ahava and Yirah?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that there is a type of Ahava (that has Yirah in it too) that every Yid has built into his neshama, given to us as a yerusha from the Avos. This love, called Ahava Mesuteres, is able to keep us in control of our behavior, even without hisbonenus!

How is this possible?

If we look throughout history, we will see something incredible. Even Yidden who knew nothing about the greatness of Hashem gave up their lives Al Kiddush Hashem. They may not have been able to have hisbonenus, and may not even have been very good at staying away from aveiros. But when someone told them to deny Hashem (Chas Veshalom), they were ready to even give up their lives!

Here is a very powerful story which is one example for this, which was told by the Rebbe Maharash:

That koach to have Mesiras Nefesh comes from the Ahava Mesuteres, and it is a part of every single Yid’s neshama.

The specific part of the neshama where this Ahava is held is in the chochma of the neshama, where our emunah is. Because chochma is the highest level of the neshama, and it is higher than the levels of our understanding, it is the place where we can feel Hashem the most. No matter what, in this part of the neshama a Yid feels that Hashem is One! When the chochma of the neshama is active, it is impossible for a Yid to deny his connection to Hashem.

Usually, when a Yid is given a nisayon that pushes him to give up his Yiddishkeit, this part of the neshama is “turned on.” In the next few perakim, we will learn a way to wake up our Ahava Mesuteres any time, for even the smallest mitzvah! This will make it possible for us to ALWAYS be in control of our behavior the way Chassidus teaches us, with Ahava and Yirah (bilvavcha), even without hisbonenus.



Tes Shevat

When the Rebbe Rashab finished learning the whole Gemara (Shas) for the third time, he said a maamar about making a siyum on a mesechta (a part of Gemara).

Tomorrow, Yud Shevat, is the yartzeit of Rebbetzin Rivkah, the Friediker Rebbe’s grandmother and the mother of the Rebbe Rashab. Today we will learn something about her yartzeit:

At the end of 11 months, when the Rebbe Rashab finished saying Kaddish for his mother Rebbetzin Rivkah, he made a siyum on the whole Mishnayos.

At her first yartzeit, the Rebbe Rashab made a siyum on the whole Shas!



Shiur #212 - Mitzvas Asei #102, #103

Today we learn about two kinds of Tzoraas:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #102) When there is Tzoraas on clothes we need to follow the halachos of how they become Tomei, and how they can become Tahor!

2) (Mitzvas Asei #103) When there is Tzoraas on a house we need to follow the halachos on how it becomes Tomei, and how to make it tahor.



Hilchos Tumas Tzoraas

In Rambam, we learn about today’s second mitzvah.

Perek Yud-Daled: The Rambam teaches us about what kinds of houses can get Tzoraas, and what it looks like.

Perek Tes-Vov: This perek teaches us the halachos of how the kohen decides that the house is Tomei, and how to make it Tahor again.

Perek Tes-Zayin: We learn how people or things can become Tomei from a house with tzoraas.

Now we finish the halachos of Tzoraas! The Rambam often finishes a section of halachos with a lesson for us to learn. Here is the lesson from Tumas Tzoraas: Tzoraas comes from speaking Lashon Hara — talking about other people in a not-nice way. The Rambam tells us that this isn’t a Yiddishe way to talk — Yidden talk about Torah, and Hashem gives them brachos because of it!



Hilchos Bechoros - Perek Gimmel

Now we learn about how the bechor is checked for a mum that would make it not good for a korban. A kohen can’t decide for his OWN bechor! We also learn about using the wool that fell off of the bechor.

icon of clock


Erev Yud Shevat

On Yud Shevat, the Rebbe’s nesius of the Dor Hashvi’i began. This happened right after the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe, and especially when the Rebbe officially accepted the nesius at the Yud Shevat farbrengen, in Tof-Shin-Yud-Alef.

There are many stories about that period in time before the Rebbe officially became Rebbe. Chassidim begged the Rebbe to accept the nesius, and finally the Rebbe accepted it publicly on Yud Shevat. (There is an entire sefer that has stories from that time, called Yemei Bereishis.)

In the farbrengen of Yud Shevat Tof-Shin-Yud-Alef, the Rebbe set up the goals for Dor Hashvi’i. Before starting the maamar, the Rebbe made a clear statement, outlining the job of the Dor Hashvi’i:

“When the Frierdiker Rebbe came to America, he quoted (from the Medrash) ‘When you come to a place, you follow the customs of that place.’ In America, people like to hear an announcement, and especially something mind-blowing. It’s called a statement. I don’t know if this is the way it really needs to be, but we will do according to the custom of the place:

“The three loves — love of Hashem, love of the Torah, and love of our fellow Yid — are all one. You can’t separate them, because they are all part of one etzem… If you love Hashem, and you don’t have a love for the Torah and Ahavas Yisroel, that is a sign that there is something missing in the love for Hashem. On the other hand, if you have Ahavas Yisroel, even though it’s a mitzvah that makes sense, at the end it will bring to a love of the Torah and love for Hashem. As it is known the story of the Tzemach Tzedek, who, because he lent someone money, was able to reach a higher level in Ruchnius than he was able to reach through learning and davening itself…

“And when we will have these three loves, it will be a triple string that is not easy to break (as the posuk says in Koheles). This will also bring the Geulah, because just as the Golus came because we did not have Ahavas Yisroel, so too through Ahavas Yisroel, we will have the Geulah, bimheira veyameinu mamosh.”

You can read this whole sicha, as well as the Rebbe’s maamar Bosi Legani, in English on www.sie.org/2420930

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Birchas Hamazon

Who made the brachos of bentching?

R’ Nachman, an Amora, tells us in Mesechta Brachos. Today we will learn where the fourth bracha comes from:

It is because of a very sad story from the time of the Churban, but with a neis at the end.

The Yidden in Beitar, a city in Eretz Yisroel, had an interesting minhag. When a baby boy was born, they would plant a certain kind of tree, and when a baby girl was born they would plant another type. When the children grew up and were ready to get married, they would cut down “their” tree and use it to make the chuppah.

A princess, the daughter of Hadrian the Caesar, was once traveling through Beitar. On her trip, a part of the wagon wheel broke. Her servants, not knowing that the trees were special, cut one down to fix the wheel. The Yidden of Beitar got angry and attacked them, and the servants told Hadrian that the Yidden were rebelling.

Hadrian right away sent an army of soldiers to attack Beitar.

But in Beitar, there was a very powerful general named Bar Kochba. Bar Kochba made his soldiers prove that they were very strong and brave!

Bar Kochba was so strong himself that when the enemy would shoot huge stones at the city, he would catch them and throw them back at the Romans!

Hadrian tried to attack the city for three and a half years, but couldn’t beat Bar Kochba and his soldiers. He was going to give up and go back to Rome, but then one of the enemies of the Yidden came and told Hadrian the real reason why the Yidden could not be beaten:

In Beitar, an old tzadik, R’ Elazar, fasted and davened during this entire time. He asked Hashem not to let Beitar be captured.

This man told Hadrian that he would fix the problem. He came and pretended to whisper something into R’ Elazar’s ear while he was davening. When Bar Kochba heard, he asked the man what he said, but he refused to tell. Bar Kochba then asked R’ Elazar what he said, but R’ Elazar hadn’t heard anything. Bar Kochba got angry at him and kicked him, and R’ Elazar passed away.

That day, the Romans attacked Beitar again, and this time they were able to capture the city and Bar Kochba was killed. The Romans angrily killed everyone they could find in the city.

Hadrian was so angry that Beitar had won against him for so long that he wouldn’t even let the Yidden bury the people who were killed for many years.

Finally, fifteen years later, on Chamisha-Asar B’Av, the Yidden were allowed to bury the people.

Hashem had made a neis! All of the bodies of the Yidden from Beitar were still perfectly whole, and the Yidden were able to bury them with proper kavod.

To thank Hashem for this neis, a fourth bracha was added to bentching, Hatov Vehameitiv, speaking about the goodness of Hashem.

See Gemara Brachos daf Mem-Ches amud beis, Gemara Gittin daf Nun-Zayin




One of the ten things we need for a Kos Shel Bracha is to be “Magbia Tefach,” to lift it up at least one tefach off the floor or table. We learn this from the posukKos Yeshuos Esa” — “I pick up a cup of yeshuah.”

The reason we pick up the kos is so that everyone at the table will be able to see it.

Even though the Gemara only tells us to pick it up a tefach, the Chabad minhag is that lechatchila and for a hiddur mitzvah we pick it up THREE tefachim higher than the table.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Ayin-Alef se’if Yud-Ches, siman Kuf-Pey-Gimmel se’if Ches, and Sefer Haminhagim Chabad (cited in the haoros on the Shulchan Aruch)

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



Shalom Brings Geulah

On Yud-Tes Kislev Tof-Shin-Yud-Alef, the Rebbe suggested to make a chalukah of Mishnayos, to split up the Mishnayos, to finish on Yud Shevat. Everyone should take five perakim.

On Yud Shevat that year, the Rebbe made a siyum and explained the connection between the last piece of Mishnayos and the first piece of Mishnayos.

The last piece of Mishnayos is that Hashem found that the best keili to bring bracha to Yidden is shalom — “Lo Matza HaKadosh Baruch Hu Keili Machzik Bracha LeYisrael Ela HaShalom.”

The beginning of the Mishnayos is about reading Shema at night and in the morning. “Mei’eimasai Korin Es Shema Be’arvis” and “Mei’eimasai Korin Es Shema Beshacharis.”

When we use the end of Mishnayos and make a hachlata to have shalom, then we will also get what it says at the beginning of Mishnayos, to be able to say Shema both at night and in the morning. Saying Shema means to recognize the goodness of Hashem. When we make shalom, we will see the goodness of Hashem “at night” (in the darkness of Golus) and then also “in the morning” (in the time of Geulah, when darkness will be turned to light).

See Likutei Sichos chelek Beis p. 502

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