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Parshas Bereishis - Shlishi with Rashi

The Torah is continuing to tell us about the creation of Chava:

Even though Adam looked at all the animals, he couldn’t find any for him to marry! (Remember, Adam was made as a man and woman together!)

Hashem made Adam fall asleep, so it wouldn’t see, and took off the part that would be used to make Chava. Hashem brought her to Adam, who called her an “Isha” (woman) since she came from part of a man (“ish”).

Hashem gave them a mitzvah to get married, and they did!

Now the Torah tells us about something that happens later, about Cheit Eitz HaDaas, because it only happened after the snake saw Adam and Chava get married:

The snake was jealous of Adam. IT wanted to get married to Chava! It decided to trick Chava into giving fruit from the Eitz Hadaas to Adam.

The snake asked Chava if she was allowed to eat from all the trees. She said, “Yes — except for the Eitz Hadaas, which Hashem said we shouldn’t eat or touch, because it will make us die.” Of course, Adam didn’t tell her that touching the tree was dangerous, but she thought that was part of what Hashem said.

The snake pushed Chava against the tree so that she did touch it! “See,” the snake said, “You didn’t die from touching the tree! You wont die if you eat from it either!”

The snake told her, “Hashem doesn’t want you to eat from that tree because then you will be like Hashem!” The snake kept on talking to Chava until it convinced her that it would be good to eat from the tree. It hoped that she would give Adam the fruit first, and then he would die, so that it could marry Chava instead!

But instead of giving Adam first, she ate the fruit herself! Then she shared it with Adam, who ate it too!

The fruit of the Eitz Hadaas changed them. Before, they didn’t feel embarrassed that they were not wearing clothes, because they didn’t have a Yetzer Hara. Now they did, so they were embarrassed and wanted to cover themselves up.

Then they heard Hashem calling them!

Hashem said to Adam, “Ayeka? Where are you?” Hashem wanted Adam to tell the truth and do teshuvah, but at first Adam blamed Chava for making him eat from the fruit. Chava also didn’t do teshuvah right away — she blamed the snake.

Hashem didn’t make Adam and Chava die right away, since they DID feel bad. But instead of living forever, they would have to die later.

Then Hashem spoke to each one of them and told them what would happen because of the Cheit Eitz Hadaas:

The snake — Hashem made it not able to talk anymore, and took away its feet so it could only crawl on the ground. People would be able to kill it.

Chava — Hashem made it hard for her to have babies. It would be hard to take care of them, and hard to have babies. She would want to be with her husband, but he will be in charge.

Adam — It would be hard to grow plants for food, and he would have to work very hard.

Now the world wasn’t as holy as it was before — Yidden would need to fix that and make the world a Ruchnius place again!

Now we go back to what we were talking about before — how Hashem made Chava.

Adam named her Chava, since she would be the mother of all living (chai) people.

And back to what happened after Cheit Eitz Hadaas:

Hashem decided to help Adam and Chava become Tznius, and made them special, warm, and comfortable clothes that fit them perfectly. They could have made their own, but Hashem did it as a chesed for them.



119 (first half)

In today’s Tehillim, we start kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes. It is the longest kapitel, and we only say half of it today — it takes us two days to finish it in Chitas! This kapitel goes according to the Alef-Beis, and every letter has eight pesukim that start with it.

In the letter Beis, there is a posuk that says “Bameh Yezakeh Naar Es Orcho Lishmor Kidvorecha.” The posuk means, “How does a person make the way he acts pure? By listening to what Hashem says.” By doing mitzvos and acting the way Hashem tells us in the Torah, we will be pure and holy.

But there is another meaning to this posuk too!

The Alter Rebbe once went to his Rebbe, the Maggid, and asked for a bracha to have a baby boy. The Maggid said: “Bameh Yezakeh Naar? How does a person have the zechus to have a baby boy? ‘Es Orcho’ — by having Hachnosas Orchim.”



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

Today we are starting a new letter from the Alter Rebbe. One of the things we learn from this letter is what we can do so we don’t get angry.

When someone says something to us that we don’t like, or does something we don’t like, we can get angry at them. The Chachomim tell us that getting angry is like serving Avodah Zarah! If we had stronger Emunah in Hashem, we wouldn’t get angry.

What does Emunah have to do with getting angry?

The Alter Rebbe explains: Why does a person get angry when someone does something not nice to him? Because he is sure that it’s the other person’s fault that he is hurt! That’s a good reason to get angry at them, right?

But it isn’t really true! Everything that happens in the world is from Hashem. Even if someone is saying something not nice to you, it is only because the chayus of Hashem is in that person and is letting him say that not nice thing. If Hashem didn’t want him to say it, he wouldn’t be able to!

(Of course there is no excuse to say or do not nice things to other people! Someone who does is doing an aveira, which they may need to get punished for, but that is a separate thing!

Hashem gave the person the koach to say or do what they did. Hashem decided that this thing should happen to us. If it wouldn’t have happened through that person, Hashem has many other messengers.)

Instead of getting angry at the other person, we should think about the chayus of Hashem that is doing it, think why Hashem is making this happen to us, and what we need to do to make it stop.

Sometimes we are so upset about what’s happening that it’s hard to think about our Emunah in Hashem. That’s why there is an eitzah from seforim to stay quiet so our anger doesn’t get stronger, and to wait for some time. During this time, we can remind ourselves that everything is really from Hashem, and we don’t have to get angry.



Chof-Hey Tishrei

The Alter Rebbe made ten niggunim. Some are only very short tunes and not even a whole niggun, but they were made by the Alter Rebbe himself!

The niggunim that we have from the Mitteler Rebbe aren’t really made up by the Mitteler Rebbe — they were made by chassidim and sung in front of the Mitteler Rebbe. 

The Mitteler Rebbe had a choir, a “kapelye.” Some chassidim would sing, and some played instruments. The songs that they sang in front of the Mitteler Rebbe are what we call the Mitteler Rebbe’s niggunim.

There are certain times, like at the end of Yomim Tovim, when it is a minhag to sing the niggunim of all the Rebbbeim. We sing a niggun made by the Alter Rebbe, and a niggun called “Kapelye” from the Mitteler Rebbe which was made by these chassidim.

For many years, on Simchas Torah, the Rebbe would teach a niggun himself! Those are the niggunim that we call “the Rebbe’s niggunim.” There were also niggunim that Chassidim wrote or sang for the Rebbe’s Yom Huledes, with a posuk from the Rebbe’s kapitel. Many times Chassidim would whistle during niggunim when the Rebbe would want them to!



Shiur #96 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #173, #175, #176, #177, #178

Today we learn even more mitzvos about eating Kosher!

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #173) We are not allowed to eat a non-kosher fish.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְשֶׁקֶץ יִהְיוּ לָכֶם מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וְאֶת נִבְלָתָם תְּשַׁקֵּצוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Gimmel

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #175) We are not allowed to eat flying bugs (like flies or bees).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: וְכֹל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם לֹא יֵאָכֵלוּ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #176) We are not allowed to eat crawling bugs (like spiders or worms).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לֹא יֵאָכֵל

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #177) We are not allowed to eat bugs that grow on rotten food.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְלֹא תְטַמְּאוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל הָאָרֶץ

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #178) We are not allowed to eat bugs that grow inside of fruits or seeds once they already came out of the fruit or seeds (even if they went back in later).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: לְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ לֹא תֹאכְלוּם כִּי שֶׁקֶץ הֵם



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

Perek Hey: We learn the halachos of Eiver Min Hachai, not eating meat that was taken from an animal while it was still alive.

Perek Vov: In this perek, we learn about the isur of eating blood. The Rambam teaches how we get meat ready to eat, by taking out the blood. One of the ways to do this is to soak the meat in water, and then pour salt on it to help the blood come out. Afterwards, we wash the meat in water until the water doesn’t turn red anymore. This is called Melicha.

(Nowadays, we usually don’t need to do this at home. When we buy meat or chicken from a kosher store, it has already been soaked and salted.)

Perek Zayin: The Rambam teaches us the halachos of cheilev, the pieces of fat from an animal that we are not allowed to eat. We need to take out these pieces of fat, along with certain veins that are asur because of eating blood. (The person who does this job is called a “Menaker.”)



Hilchos Brachos - Perek Vov

In this perek, we learn about washing our hands for a seudah, and Mayim Acharonim. The Rambam says that Netilas Yodayim for a seudah is a mitzvah from the Chachomim, but Mayim Acharonim is for a sakana, so you need to be even MORE careful with Mayim Acharonim!



Easy Mitzvos, Hard Mitzvos

We learn in today’s Chumash about the Cheit Eitz Hadaas. Adam and Chava were told not to eat from the Eitz Hadaas, but they ended up doing it anyway.

When we learn the story in Chumash, we might wonder: What’s so hard about not eating a fruit? There were plenty of other fruits in Gan Eden! Why did Adam and Chava not manage to keep such an easy mitzvah?

Chassidus teaches us that when there is a very important mitzvah, then the opposite side of kedusha fights EXTRA strong against it! It makes it feel VERY hard to keep even a small or easy mitzvah!

That is an important lesson for us:

When there is something that feels that it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is very hard for us anyway, then that might be a mitzvah that is so important for us to do! Since it is so important for our neshama, our Yetzer Hara is fighting very hard against it! When we realize that, we can find the koach to do the mitzvah no matter how hard it seems!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, Parshas Bereishis


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The Twelve Pesukim

The Rebbe didn’t teach all of the Twelve Pesukim at once. The Rebbe taught the first six pesukim on Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Tof-Shin-Lamed-Vov, and then the Rebbe taught the next six pesukim on Lag B’Omer, a few weeks later.

Each set of six pesukim is set up in the same way: There are two pesukim from Torah Shebichsav (the Chumash), then there are two pesukim from Torah Shebaal Peh (Mishna, Gemara, or Medrash), and then there are two pesukim from Chassidus (Tanya).

Even though we call them all pesukim, only the first two of each set of six are actually pesukim from the Torah. The rest are Maamarei Razal, sayings of the Chachomim.

Let’s go through the first six!

The first two pesukim are from Torah Shebichsav:

Torah Tziva — This posuk comes from Parshas Vezos Habracha, which we just leined on Simchas Torah!

Shema Yisroel — This posuk comes from Parshas Va’eschanan, and it is the first posuk of Shema which we say many times in davening.

Then we have two Maamorei Razal from Torah Shebaal Peh:

Bechol Dor Vador — This is a Mishna in Mesechta Pesachim, which we also say in the Haggadah.

Kol Yisrael — This is a Mishna in Mesechta Sanhedrin. We say this Mishna before beginning each perek when we say Pirkei Avos!

The last two are from Tanya:

Ki Karov — This is in the Shaar Blatt of Tanya. Even though it is also a posuk, the Alter Rebbe bases the whole Tanya on this posuk!

Vehinei Hashem — This is from the beginning of Perek Mem-Alef of Tanya.

The reason why the Rebbe chose these pesukim is because they have messages that are important even for small children! So besides for knowing them by heart, we need to make sure that we know what they mean and the lessons they have for us!



Dipping Challah Into Salt

We started dipping our challah into salt again, instead of honey.

Why do we dip challah into salt?

One reason is that the Chachomim teach us that our table is like a Mizbeiach! When we eat a meal, it is in a way like we are eating a korban. And the Torah teaches us to always put salt on our korbanos!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, siman Kuf-Samach-Zayin se’if Ches

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



Chassidus Brings Moshiach

A chossid once wrote a letter to the Rebbe, sharing good news.

In the letter back, the Rebbe asked that this chossid shouldn’t just share this kind of good news, he should also include another very important kind of good news! “Ain Tov Ela Torah” — “There is no good except for Torah!” The Rebbe asked the chossid that he should also write about his learning Torah, especially Chassidus!

Learning Chassidus is especially important, since it brings the Geulah! As R’ Chaim Vital, a talmid of the Arizal, explains, not learning enough Pnimius HaTorah keeps the Geulah from coming faster.

The Gr”a, the Vilna Gaon, also writes about this, in his pirush on Mishlei.

And it is important to not only learn Chassidus, but to also spread the teachings of Chassidus to others, so that the Geulah comes much faster!

See Igros Kodesh chelek Yud-Gimmel, p. 32

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