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Parshas Yisro - Revi'i with Rashi

Today we start to learn about the preparations for Matan Torah!

Hashem asked other nations if they want the Torah, but they didn’t want it. So on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, Hashem told the Yidden that they would get the Torah! The Yidden were so excited!

The Yidden realized that the Torah would make them into one nation, so when they camped at Har Sinai it was like one person, with one heart!

The top of Har Sinai was covered by a cloud. On Beis Sivan, Moshe went up on Har Sinai to talk to Hashem. The malochim were very upset that Hashem was going to give the Torah to Yidden instead of keeping it in Shomayim for the malochim, but Moshe proved to them that it needs to be given to Gashmius people.

So now Hashem got Moshe ready to get the Torah:

Hashem told Moshe that when he’s teaching Yidden Torah, first he should tell the women, in a nice way — what is the mitzvah about, and what are the rewards. Then he should teach the men the mitzvah with all of its details, and the punishments for not keeping the mitzvos.

Then Hashem told Moshe something to tell all of the Yidden:

“You saw what Hashem did to the Mitzriyim, punishing them for hurting you. Now you see how Hashem takes such good care of you, and chose YOU to get the Torah!

“By doing the mitzvos, even when you don’t understand them, you will deserve many special things! You will be connected to Hashem forever, and you will be Hashem’s treasure! You will be a Mamleches Kohanim and a Goy Kadosh, a holy nation. Your job will be different than the goyim — they will take care of the Gashmius world, and you will make the world into a place for Hashem.”



83 - 87

Every single kapitel in today’s Tehillim has a special niggun which was made in honor of the Rebbe’s Yom Huledes! Can you find the niggun in each one?

In Kapitel Pey-Daled, the niggun is “Yeilchu Mechayil El Choyil, Yeiro’eh El Elokim BeTzion.” This means that people who trust in Hashem go from strength to strength, and they will go before Hashem in Yerushalayim.

The Rebbe tells us that Yeilchu Meichayil El Choyil, when we are always doing better than before, brings Yeiro’eh El Elokim Betzion, that we will be able to go to the Beis Hamikdosh! When we keep trying to do better, every single day and every single hour, we will bring Moshiach!

Chassidus says that there is a new chayus from Hashem that comes into the world, not just every day, but every hour! When that chayus comes, we get more opportunities to grow in Yiddishkeit! We need to make sure to use that new energy to do more!



Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Hey

On the Shaar Blatt (title page) of Tanya, the Alter Rebbe tells us that in Tanya we will learn what it means that “Ki Karov Eilecha HaDavar Me’od, Beficha Uvilvavcha Laasoso” — that it is really possible for every Yid not only to DO mitzvos, but to do them with a feeling of Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Hashem — a love and fear of Hashem!

The best way to do this is by learning Chassidus, thinking deeply about what we learned, davening with it, and creating a feeling of love and fear of Hashem which will inspire us to do the mitzvos!

But not everyone can understand these things well enough and think about them in a way that will make them feel Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Hashem! So the Alter Rebbe gives us another way to serve Hashem with our heart that EVERY Yid can do ALWAYS.

The Alter Rebbe taught us that every Yid is born with a teva (nature) that is part of the Yid’s neshama, and we don’t need to work to create it: That we love Hashem so much that we are even ready to give up our life to be always connected to Hashem! If a Yid feels that he is losing his connection to Hashem (like if Chas Veshalom he is being forced to become a Goy) then he would do anything to stop it, even if it meant to lose his life, just so his neshama will always stay connected to Hashem.

The Alter shows us that really, EVERY mitzvah is a connection to Hashem, just like that, and doing an aveira can Chas Veshalom make a person lose his connection to Hashem and to Yiddishkeit in the same way!

So how is it possible for a person to ever do an aveira? That’s because of a Ruach Shtus — a foolish thought that can come into a person’s head from the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara makes people forget about their hidden love for Hashem, and even if they do remember, it tries to convince them that doing an aveira doesn’t matter! It says that they are still connected to Hashem just like without the aveira.

So if we remind ourselves of our hidden love for Hashem, and we know that ANY aveira separates a Yid from Hashem, we will not let ourselves be convinced by the foolish thought of the Yetzer Hara! We don’t want to lose our connection to Hashem and Yiddishkeit even for a small aveira, and even for a short time!

It might feel very hard to hold ourselves back from doing something we REALLY want to do. But when we remember that our hidden love for Hashem would make us even give up our LIVES to stay connected to Hashem, then of course we should be able to overcome a taavah, which is a lot easier!

In today’s Tanya we also learn how the Ahava Mesuteres (hidden love) has a Yirah inside of it — a fear of becoming separated or distant from Hashem chas veshalom. That’s how we can serve Hashem “bilvavcha,” with Ahava and YIRAS Hashem. The Alter Rebbe also gives us an answer to our Yetzer Hara when it says, “It’s not so bad to do an aveira, because I can do teshuvah right afterwards!” When you learn today’s Tanya inside, you will know what to answer the Yetzer Hara’s foolish thought!



Yud-Zayin Shevat

In the year the Hayom Yom was written, it was Shabbos Shirah, so the Rebbe tells us some of the minhagim of the day.

One minhag is that during the reading of Az Yashir we stand. The Rebbe also tells us the haftorah according to our minhag, and that it’s a minhag to eat shvartze kasha (buckwheat).

Now the Rebbe tells us a story about the FIRST maamar in Likutei Torah, which we start to learn in Parshas Beshalach! (Even though we are still learning Torah Ohr until Parshas Vayakhel, there is one maamar at the beginning of Likutei Torah on Parshas Beshalach. This is a story about that maamar.)

The maamar that starts with the words “Re’u Ki Hashem,” which is printed in the beginning of Likutei Torah, was said over by the Tzemach Tzedek one year in Parshas Beshalach. Afterwards, he told the Rebbe Maharash the whole history of the Maamar:

The Alter Rebbe once heard a certain maamar on Parshas Beshalach from the Maggid of Mezritch. Afterwards, the Maggid called the Alter Rebbe in and told him that he heard this maamar from the Baal Shem Tov three times — once while the Baal Shem Tov was alive, again the year after he passed away (with an additional explanation), and that he just heard it again right before saying it now (nine years after the Baal Shem Tov’s histalkus)!

Thirty-six years later, the Alter Rebbe said this maamar himself, beginning it with the words “Re’u Ki Hashem.”

Then he called in the Tzemach Tzedek and told him this story.

Fifty-six years later, the Tzemach Tzedek said this maamar (the way it’s printed in Likutei Torah), and then told the Rebbe Maharash the story.

Then he told him: “Today, the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, and the Alter Rebbe came to me, and each one said the maamar in their own way.” A few hours later, the Tzemach Tzedek called the Rebbe Maharash in again, and told him his own explanation on the maamar.

One of the things it says in the maamar is how much pleasure a neshama has in Gan Eden. Imagine having the most delicious foods, the biggest house, the prettiest view, the nicest music, the fanciest clothes, and the funniest book — and imagine having all of that, together with any other pleasure you ever wanted — for a thousand years! All of that isn’t as much as one moment of how good the neshama feels in Gan Eden. And that pleasure in Gan Eden is created by the neshama itself, through the mitzvos it does in this world!

If we’re busy doing mitzvos during the week, then when Shabbos comes, we can have a tiny little taste of that Ruchniusdike pleasure through the mitzvos we did during the week, the same way that on Shabbos we can enjoy the delicious food and clean house and beautiful clothes that we prepared during the week.



Shiur #191 - Mitzvas Asei #68, #75, #76

Today we learn three mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #68) If the Sanhedrin makes a mistake and tells Yidden they are allowed to do something that is really an aveira, they need to bring a korban.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vayikra: וְאִם כָּל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁגּוּ וְנֶעְלַם דָּבָר מֵעֵינֵי הַקָּהָל

The mitzvah is explained in Mesechta Horayos, and a few places in Mesechta Zevachim.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #75) If a woman becomes Tomei with a kind of Tumah called “Zavah” she can’t become Tahor enough to eat from korbanos until she brings a korban of two birds.

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Metzora: וְאִם טָהֲרָה מִזּוֹבָהּ וְגוֹ׳ וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי תִּקַּח לָהּ שְׁתֵּי תֹרִים

3) (Mitzvas Asei #76) When a Mommy has a baby, she becomes Tomei. In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, she would bring a special korban to become fully Tahor again (a sheep and a bird, or two birds if she is poor). Until then, she can become Tahor enough for most things, but not enough to eat from Korbanos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tazria: וּבִמְלֹאת יְמֵי טָהֳרָהּ לְבֵן אוֹ לְבַת תָּבִיא כֶּבֶשׂ וְגוֹ׳



Hilchos Shegagos - Mechusrei Kaparah

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning Hilchos Shegagos:

Perek Tes-Vov: This perek explains what happens if a Kohen Gadol or a king does an aveira — they need to bring a different kind of korban.

Now we start learning Hilchos Mechusrei Kapara:

Perek Alef: we learn what “Mechusrei Kapara” means — it means someone who is not 100% Tahor, because they did not bring their korban yet. There are 4 kinds of people who can be Mechusrei Kapara: A Zav (a man with a kind of sickness that makes him Tomei), A Zavah (a woman with a kind of sickness that makes her Tomei), a woman who had a baby, and a person with Tzoraas.

Perek Beis: Now we learn about the kind of sickness that can make a man a Zav. If it happens once, he is Tomei. If it happens twice, he is a Zav. If it happens three times, he for sure needs to bring a korban.



Hilchos Sechirus - Perek Ches

Perek Ches teaches us about renting a field, in exchange for part of the food that grows. An old man might rent someone his peach orchard, and they will have to give him 1/4 of the money that they make from the peaches every year. We learn that the renter has to take good care of the field! He can’t decide to stop taking away the weeds.



Taking Care of the Guf

There are so many special things that will happen in the time of the Geulah! Each of those special things will happen because of something we did during Golus.

Taking care of our guf to make sure that it is healthy to serve Hashem properly also brings something special Le’asid Lavo!

What is that?

Let’s first learn more about the guf:

What is the main part of ourselves? Our guf, or our neshama?

Our neshama, of course! It is what gives us chayus! A body without a neshama cannot live.

But at one point after Moshiach comes, L’asid Lavo, things will change! Really, the guf of a Yid comes from an even HIGHER source, closer to Hashem! At that point in time Le’asid Lavo, the guf will be the MAIN thing. It won’t even need the chayus of the neshama anymore! Instead, the neshama will get chayus from the guf!

That’s why the Chachomim say that at a certain time Le’asid Lavo, the guf won’t need food or drink anymore to stay alive, because the guf will have such strong chayus that it won’t need to get it from anywhere else! In fact, the guf will be a source of chayus for the neshama!

Everything in the time of Moshiach happens because of something we did in Golus. So what is it that we do that will make this happen?

We need to take care of our guf now, since we know how special it will become! We need to be careful to be healthy, and not do anything that can hurt our body. When we do this, remembering that it is a mitzvah, it will help us be ready for the time when we will be able to see how special the guf of a Yid really is!

The Rambam says that for a Yid, it is not correct to take care of ourselves just because we want to be healthy. The reason to take care of ourselves is so that we can serve Hashem with a healthy body!

Keeping this in mind not only makes taking care of ourselves into something of kedusha, but it is also preparing ourselves for when Moshiach comes!

See Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos, Parshas Beshalach 5714, os zayin


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First Bracha of Shemoneh Esrei

In the Gemara, the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei is also called “Avos.” That’s because in this bracha, we mention each of the Avos.

Why do we speak about the Avos here in Shemoneh Esrei?

One of the reasons is because the whole reason we are able to stand here now, speaking privately to Hashem, about to ask Hashem for all of our needs, is because of the Avos!

Our special connection to Hashem, as Hashem’s special nation, is a yerusha from the Avos.

In this first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, we ask Hashem that, in the zechus of the Avos, our tefillos should be accepted.



More Ho'adamah Fruits, and Shehecheyanu

Yesterday we learned that there are some fruits that have a different bracha.

Just because something is a fruit doesn’t mean that it is Ha’eitz! There are some fruits that grow on trees or plants that are not considered fruit trees according to halacha. These fruits get the bracha of Ho’adamah!

Here are some examples:

- Papaya
- Pineapple
- Passion fruit
- Banana

Some of these are unusual fruits that people often buy… to make a Shehecheyanu on! But they are Ha’adamah! Can we still make a Shehecheyanu on them?

The answer is yes!

The Alter Rebbe holds that you can make a Shehecheyanu on a new fruit OR vegetable, not only on a fruit that is Borei Pri Ho’eitz!

See Seder Birchas Hanehenin Perek Vov and Perek Yud-Alef, Seder Birchos Hanehenin Hamevuar by Rabbi Chaim Pruss

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



The Purpose of Everything

In the beginning of the Chumash, where we learn about the creation of the world, the Torah tells us, “Veruach Elokim Merachefes Al Pnei Hamayim.” This means that the Ruach (spirit) of Hashem was hovering on the face of the water.

The Chachomim tell us that the Ruach of Hashem that the Torah is telling us about here is the Ruach of Moshiach!

This means that from the beginning of when the world was created, Hashem wanted the world to always know about its special purpose — the Geulah Sheleimah through Moshiach Tzidkeinu!

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