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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Revi'i with Rashi

Eliezer was sent as a shliach from Avraham, to find a shidduch for Yitzchak. He found Rivkah by the well, and is confident that the shlichus is successful. Today we learn about how Rivkah’s family agrees to the shidduch!

Eliezer said, “Baruch (blessed is) Hashem, who did chesed to Avraham! Hashem brought me to the right place, to Avraham’s brother’s house!”

Rivkah ran to her mother and told her what happened.

Rivkah had a brother named Lavan, who was in his mother’s house and heard what Rivkah said. He ran to Eliezer who was at the well.

Why did he run? Lavan saw his sister wearing expensive jewelry. He was excited that Eliezer was rich, and he wanted to get some of that money.

Lavan acted very nice to Eliezer. He asked him why he was still standing at the well. He invited him to his house where he could rest and eat. He told him that he had even cleared out the house from Avodah Zarah, knowing that a servant of Avraham would be careful about that. Lavan even had made space for the camels!

Lavan and Eliezer came to the house, untied the muzzles, and fed the camels. Lavan gave Eliezer and the men who were with him water to wash their feet.

Food was served, but Eliezer didn’t want to eat until he explained why he was there. He told them about Avraham, how Avraham had made him promise to find a wife for Yitzchak, and everything that had happened. (He changed the order a little bit, so they wouldn’t wonder how he had given her presents before knowing for sure that she was from the right family.)

The Torah writes all of the details of what Eliezer said, even though we already know it from the pesukim before. Usually the Torah is very careful not to use an extra word — there are many mitzvos that are only hinted to us from one word or letter in the Torah! But here, the Torah repeats the whole story! Rashi tells us what it says in the Gemara, that this shows how precious the Avos are to Hashem. Even the plain words of their servants are more precious to Hashem than the Torah learning of their children, the Yidden in the future, after Matan Torah — “Yafeh Sichasan Shel Avdei Avos MiTorasan Shel Banim.”

Now, Eliezer asked, “Will you let me take Rivkah back to marry Yitzchak?”

Lavan was chutzpadik and answered before Besuel his father. They said that they see it came from Hashem and couldn’t say no. “Take Rivkah and go, like Hashem said.”

Eliezer bowed to Hashem to show thanks.

Rashi says that we learn from this that we need to thank Hashem when we hear good news!



106 - 107

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Vov and Kuf-Zayin.

Kapitel Kuf-Zayin starts with the words “Hodu LaHashem Ki Tov, Ki LeOlam Chasdo!” “Thank Hashem because He is good, His kindness is forever!”

The first word is “Hodu,” which means to thank. But it also means something else! Hodu also means to “admit.”

What are we admitting to?

The Tzemach Tzedek explains that we know that Hashem is creating the world EVERY SECOND and is here inside us EVERY MOMENT. But we don’t see it! So we need to admit that it’s true anyway.

But when Moshiach comes, we won’t have to admit it anymore — we will all be able to see it!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

So far we learned that doing mitzvos in this world, which is Hashem’s Ratzon, makes “clothes” which help the neshama feel Hashem in Gan Eden. Today we learn that there is a part of Torah that makes this happen too — halacha!

Hashem gave us 613 mitzvos. All of these mitzvos are written in the Torah. But if you try to figure out the mitzvos just by learning Chumash, you’ll never understand what Hashem really wants! For example, it says in Torah that we don’t do melacha on Shabbos. But it doesn’t say what that means! The Chachomim taught us that this means not to do the 39 melachos, and explained all of the halachos of how to do that.

So without the halachos the Chachomim taught us, we can know THAT we need to do the mitzvos, but not HOW to keep them. The halachos are not just another part of Torah, they are the HIGHEST part of Torah! They’re the ones that really show us what Hashem wants!

In Olam Haba, we get to appreciate the chayus of Hashem that comes from His Ratzon, what He wants. The part of Torah that explains the Ratzon of Hashem which is in mitzvos is the halachos in Torah. That’s why it says that a person who learns halachos every day is promised Olam Haba — because by knowing the halachos you’ll be able to feel close to Hashem in Olam Haba!



Chof-Beis Mar-Cheshvan

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn how special it is to do a mitzvah in this Gashmius world!

The Alter Rebbe first came to his Rebbe, the Maggid of Mezritch, at the end of the summer in the year Tof-Kuf-Chof-Daled (5524) and he stayed for about a half a year, until Pesach.

One of the first “Torahs” he heard then from his Rebbe was about how special it is to do a mitzvah in this gashmius’dike world. The Maggid explained how Hashem created so many ruchnius’dike madreigos and “worlds” and malochim — but the main reason for all of these amazing things is that a Yid should do a mitzvah in this gashmius’dike world!

The Maggid showed how the Medrash says this about Avraham Avinu:

The ruchnius’dike midah of chesed complained to Hashem: “Before Avraham Avinu, I had plenty of work to do to bring the Chesed of Hashem into the world. But now Avraham is doing so much Chesed! He started doing Hachnosas Orchim, and teaching people about Hashem, so I don’t have a job anymore!”

Even though the midah of chesed is such a strong Ruchnius koach, it was jealous of Avraham Avinu! It was jealous that Avraham was able to use the chesed of Hashem not only in Ruchnius, but as a GASHMIUSDIKE mitzvah, to spread the knowledge of Hashem in the world.

Wow! Even the malochim are jealous of our mitzvos! We are so lucky that we are able to do so many mitzvos in this Gashmius world!



Shiur #107- Mitzvas Lo Saasei #248, #249

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn two mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #248) A Yid is not allowed to say that he doesn’t owe money when he really does, or that he doesn’t have something he is watching when he really does. This is an aveira even if he doesn’t make a shevuah about it.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim, וְלֹא תְכַחֲשׁוּ

The Gemara discusses the details of this mitzvah in many places in Mesechta Shevuos.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #249) If a person DOES make a shevuah that he doesn’t owe the money or have the thing he was watching, when he really does, he is also going against another mitzvah: A Yid is not allowed to make a non-true promise in Beis Din to say that he doesn’t owe money when he really does.

We learn this mitzvah from the same posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וְלֹא תְשַׁקְּרוּ אִישׁ בַּעֲמִיתוֹ

The halachos of this mitzvah are in Perek Hey of Mesechta Shevuos.

There is a different mitzvah for making ANY kind of non-true promise, which we learned about two days ago in Sefer Hamitzvos. But when it is a non-true promise denying that you owe money, then the person gets another aveira.



Hilchos Shevuos

In today’s Rambam, we learn halachos about different types of non-true promises.

In Perek Zayin and Ches, we learn the halachos about Shevuas HaPikadon (which are today’s mitzvos in Sefer Hamitzvos), and in Perek Tes we start to learn the halachos of Shevuas Ha’eidus. This is a kind of false shevuah where someone promises that he didn’t see or know about something he really could be an Eid (witness) about.



Hilchos Rotzeiach U'Shmiras HaNefesh - Perek Yud-Beis

Now the Rambam explains more about how to stay safe. We make sure food is safe before we eat it. We don’t go into a house that might fall down. We are also careful about not selling something to a person who might use it to hurt Yidden. In fact, we should ALWAYS be careful not to make another person do something wrong.



Don't Be Embarrassed to Ask!

In the farbrengen of Chof Cheshvan Tof-Shin-Mem-Vov, the Rebbe spoke about how important it is to understand what we are learning in Chassidus. The Rebbe brought the Mishna that says, “Lo Habayshan Lomeid,” a person who is too embarrassed to ask will not end up learning! We need to ask questions so we will be able to understand.

But isn’t it chutzpadik to ask questions instead of trusting our teachers? The Mishna tells us that an Az Ponim, someone who is chutzpadik, belongs in the opposite place of Gan Eden!

And what about Naaseh Venishma? Aren’t we supposed to just do what we are told to do, and not worry about understanding why at first?

The Rebbe explains that we SHOULD keep asking until we understand!

Asking questions isn’t chutzpadik if we ask in the right way. We don’t say “That makes no sense!” or “I don’t like that!” We ask our questions in a kavodike way. We know that it is Torah and it MUST be true, and that if we keep asking questions, we will start to understand it too.

We also don’t have to worry about Naaseh Venishma when it comes to learning. Naaseh Venishma is with mitzvos — that we should do mitzvos even if they don’t make sense to us completely. But Torah is different! Part of the mitzvah of learning Torah is to understand it in our own minds!

The Chachomim and the Rebbeim all want us to understand the Torah they taught us. We should keep asking, without feeling embarrassed, until the Torah is clear in our minds!

See sicha Chof Cheshvan 5746


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Davening With Avodah

In the Purim farbrengen in 5718, the Rebbe told a story that the Frierdiker Rebbe said at a Purim farbrengen 22 years before, in Otvotzk in 5696:

One of the Alter Rebbe’s chassidim was a simple Yid. He didn’t know very much Chassidus, in fact he didn’t even know Lashon Kodesh perfectly — he might not have understood all of the words in davening. Still, he would daven for a long time every single day, Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv!

The other Chassidim wondered how he could daven so long. You could tell that he wasn’t pretending to have kavana, he really was davening with his whole heart!

When they asked this chossid, he answered, “I don’t know. All I can tell you is that I heard a vort from my Rebbe (the Alter Rebbe), that ‘Shamor Vezachor Bedibur Echad.’

This is part of Lecha Dodi. It means, “Shamor and Zachor were said in one dibur — together.” The word Zachor comes from the Aseres Hadibros, which we read in Parshas Yisro, “Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos Lekadsho,” “Remember the Shabbos day to keep it holy.” But when Moshe Rabbeinu reviews the Aseres Hadibros in Parshas Va’eschanan, he uses a different word — SHAMOR Es Yom HaShabbos Lekadsho, that you should guard (be careful with) the day of Shabbos to keep it holy.

The Gemara says that Hashem said both of these words (Zachor and Shamor) at the exact same time!

The Alter Rebbe explained this in a different way: Zachor Veshamor Bedibur Echad — in every word, we remember and are careful with the Echad of Hashem which is inside.

This simple chossid davened thinking about this vort for forty years!

In that sicha, the Frierdiker Rebbe said that we can see how a vort of Chassidim doesn’t get wasted. This one chossid lived with it all the time!

After telling this story, the Rebbe continued: Some people complain that they can’t work on davening like a chossid. They say that it’s too hard for them. We see from this story that even if you don’t understand very much Chassidus, and even if you don’t understand every word of davening, you can still daven with Avodah! This one vort from the Alter Rebbe is enough to daven with for forty years.

See Likutei Sichos vol. 14, p. 224



Driving at Night

Did you ever go on a long trip in a car?

If we drive at night, the Rebbe says that we shouldn’t just drive straight through. We should stop every hour for about 10 minutes.

See Mikdash Melech vol. 4 p. 490, Shulchan Menachem vol 1 p. 357

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



Kefitzas Haderech for Moshiach

When Eliezer told Rivkah’s family about how he had come, he told them that he traveled and came to the well on that same day. Rashi explains that Eliezer had Kefitzas Haderech, and his whole trip was finished that day!

Why did Hashem need to make a neis and have Eliezer come earlier? Why couldn’t the trip just take a few days, like it usually did?

The answer is that Rivkah had just turned three, old enough to get married. She was living among resha’im, and as soon as she was old enough to leave, it was an emergency to get her out of there! That’s why Hashem made a neis and gave Eliezer Kefitzas Haderech.

The things that happen to our Avos are also a sign for us — “Maaseh Avos Siman Labanim.”

We learn a lesson from this story, because all Yidden are like Rivkah in a way! We are also trapped among Resha’im, in this long and hard Golus. We need to know that as soon as we are able to get out, Hashem will give us Kefitzas Haderech! We won’t have to stay in Golus for even one extra second! There are just a few small things left, and then Hashem will bring the Geulah right away.

See Likutei Sichos vol 1 p 34, Dvar Malchus Parshas Chayei Sarah

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