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CHUMASH

Parshas Chayei Sarah - Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Avraham buries Sarah in Me’aras Hamachpeilah. He also makes Eliezer his shliach to find a shidduch for Yitzchak.

Avraham bought Me’aras Hamachpeilah, and all of the people of Cheis saw that he paid for it, and now it belonged to him without a doubt. Avraham buried Sarah there.

Three years later, Avraham decided that it was time for Yitzchak to marry Rivkah. By now, Avraham was 140 years old! Hashem had given Avraham this special son, and Avraham knew it was his job to make sure that Yitzchak would get married and have children, so that they would continue Avraham’s work.

Avraham told Eliezer his servant to promise him to find Yitzchak a wife. He shouldn’t find a girl from Canaan, instead, he should go to Charan, where Avraham’s family is from. (Even though the people of Canaan agreed that Hashem is in charge of the whole world, they didn’t believe it strongly enough to ACT differently, so Avraham didn’t want his son to marry any of them.)

Eliezer asked if it would be okay if Yitzchak would move to Charan, because maybe a girl from there wouldn’t want to go live far away from her family.

Avraham answered no — Yitzchak CAN’T move to a place like Charan! Hashem wants Yitzchak to stay in Canaan (Eretz Yisroel). Because he was brought up as a korban to Hashem (at the Akeidah), it is not appropriate for him to leave Eretz Yisroel. Since Hashem wants Yitzchak to stay there, He will send a malach to help make sure things work out!

But since Eliezer was worried, Avraham told him that he just had to try. If the girl from Charan wouldn’t want to move to Canaan, the promise would be over, and Eliezer could look for a girl from the family of Aner, Eshkol, or Mamre.

(Eliezer hoped that Avraham would choose HIS daughter, but Avraham said no, because Eliezer was from the family of Canaan, who was cursed.)

Avraham asked Eliezer to make a shevuah, a very strong promise, that he would go and do this shlichus, to go to Charan and find the shidduch.

(To make a Torah promise, you need to hold onto something holy. For example, someone making a promise in Beis Din will hold onto a Sefer Torah. But before Matan Torah, it wasn’t so easy to find something that was holy! Even though the Avos kept the mitzvos and even used Gashmius’dike things for mitzvos, the world wasn’t able to hold onto kedusha. So as soon as the mitzvah was done, the kedusha went away. Only after Matan Torah could we use a piece of leather for Tefillin, and then have that leather stay holy forever! There was only one mitzvah that Avraham had specifically from Hashem with a Gashmius thing — his Bris Milah. Since that was a specific mitzvah from Hashem, it stayed holy even afterwards! So Eliezer promised with Avraham’s bris.)

Eliezer made the shevuah that he would do the shlichus as Avraham asked him.

 
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TEHILLIM

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!

 
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TANYA

Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

We explained before that the neshama needs “clothes” to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden.

The Alter Rebbe shows us where this is written clearly in the Zohar, that through doing mitzvos in this world, the neshama is later able to see Elokus in Gan Eden.

But this is only in Gan Eden Ha’tachton, the lower level of Gan Eden.

In the higher level of Gan Eden, Gan Eden Ha’elyon, there is a different type of “clothes” for the neshama to be able to see Elokus. The Zohar says that these clothes are the KAVANA of learning Torah and davening which the person had in this world.

So the kavana we have when we do the mitzvos is the “clothes” we need so the neshama can also see Elokus in the higher level of Gan Eden, Gan Eden Ha’elyon!

 
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HAYOM YOM

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 the Chesed instead of me! ”

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 do Hachnosas Orchim and spread the knowledge of Hashem in the world.

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!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #123 - Mitzvas Asei #121, #123, Lo Saasei #211, 212

Today’s mitzvos are about leaving parts of our fields for the poor.

Leket:
1) (Mitzvas Asei #121) If stalks of wheat fall on the ground when we are gathering the wheat, we need to leave them for the poor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #211) It is asur for the owner of the field to take the leket!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט

Olelos:
3) (Mitzvas Asei #123) If we find some clusters of grapes that aren’t as good (like if they don’t have as many grapes as usual), we need to leave them for the poor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #212) The owner of the vineyard is not allowed to take these olelos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תְעוֹלֵל

The details of all of these mitzvos are explained in Mesechta Pe’ah.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn about Pe’ah, and also the mitzvos of today’s Sefer Hamitzvos (plus one more mitzvah)! The first two perakim today are about Pe’ah, then we learn about Leket, Peret, and Olelos in the last perek.

Perek Beis: Pe’ah means leaving the corner of our fields for the poor. There are five conditions a field needs to have to be chayav in the mitzvah of Pe’ah:

1) It has to be a field of food (not like flax or cotton)
2) It has to grow from the ground (not like mushrooms)
3) It has to be guarded (to show that it belongs to someone) — not hefker
4) It has to all become ripe at the same time (not like figs, that all get ripe at different times)
5) It has to be something that can be stored for a long time, or dried and then stored (not like most vegetables)

Perek Gimmel: We learn how to do the mitzvah of Pe’ah in more than one field, or a field that is split up in a way that makes it become like two fields.

Perek Daled: When one or two stalks fall down when we are harvesting, they belong to the poor people — that’s Leket. But if they fell down because a person who was harvesting hurt himself, they don’t belong to the poor. We learn what happens if leket gets mixed up with the rest of that person’s grain.

Peret means one or two grapes that fall off the clusters when we are harvesting the grapes. They belong to the poor people. We are not allowed to put a basket under the vine to catch any grapes that fall, because that is stealing from the poor!

Finally we learn about Olelos. The Rambam says that they are called Olelos because an olel means a baby — and these grape clusters are still like babies, since they never grew up properly into big clusters of grapes. They need to be left for the poor — even if the WHOLE vineyard is full of them!

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Tes-Vov

Today we learn more about the melacha of Hotza’ah, carrying. We are not allowed to transfer things from one reshus (type of area) to another, or to carry things inside some types of reshus.

We learn the halachos about when someone is in one reshus, and is moving something in a different reshus. For example, sticking your hand out through a window and drawing up water from a well.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

Some people care very much about making a difference in the world. They work to open a big Chabad House, or teach classes to kids from all over their city. They are always looking for more ways to reach more people and teach them about Yiddishkeit.

Other people work very hard on their own avodah. They make sure they are davening with lots of kavana, they are careful with each of their mitzvos, and they make time to work on their midos and learn plenty of Torah.

Which do you think is more important?

We learn from Avraham Avinu that it is very important to have BOTH!

In today’s Chumash, in Sheini of Chayei Sarah, we learn that Avraham was “Zakein, Ba Bayamim.” “Avraham became old, advanced in days.” Of course, both of these can mean the same thing! But with these two expressions, the Torah is really teaching us about TWO things that Avraham had:

Avraham became Zakein — grown up in his own avodah. He came to recognize Hashem, and finished working on his own midos and connection to Hashem!

But Avraham ALSO became Ba Bayamim — grown up in his avodah with others. He had already done many important things by teaching other people about the existence of Hashem!

For our avodah to be in a way of Kedusha, we need to act like Avraham Avinu. We can’t just do shlichus or mivtzoyim with others, and we can’t just learn and daven on our own.

We need BOTH!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, p. 777

 

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TEFILLAH

Vehinei

IY”H tomorrow we will start to learn the meaning of Vehinei, the sixth posuk of the Yud-Beis Pesukim. Today, we will hear a story about how this posuk can help us in our war against the Yetzer Hara!

A bochur once had his turn to go into Yechidus with the Rebbe. Usually, Chassidim would write down their questions, and the Rebbe would answer them during the Yechidus.

When this bochur was preparing what to write, he thought of a certain problem he was having in Avodas Hashem. He was uncomfortable writing it, and wasn’t sure what he should do. Finally, he decided that if he would remember during the Yechidus, he would ask the Rebbe. He knew that during a Yechidus, Chassidim would often forget everything else! If he remembered anyway, that would be a sign that he should ask.

When the bochur came into Yechidus, the Rebbe quickly read through what he wrote, and answered his questions. The bochur realized that the Yechidus was almost over, and remembered the problem he was having. Like he had decided, he asked the Rebbe what to do.

The Rebbe answered that he should learn the beginning of Perek Mem-Alef of Tanya Baal Peh, until after the section of Vehinei.

Then the Rebbe raised his voice and said:

“And when the Yetzer Hara will come to you, you should remind yourself.” The Rebbe said the words slowly and clearly and in a loud voice: “That Vehinei Hashem Nitzav Alav, U’mlo Chol Ha’aret Kevodo! Umabit Alav Uvochein Klayos Valeiv, Im Ovdo Kara’ui! And when you remind yourself of this, the Yetzer Hara will RUN AWAY from you!”

As we will learn, these words mean that Hashem is watching us the whole time to see if we will act the way we should! Like we see in this story, these words are very powerful! Thinking about what they mean can help us have hatzlacha in our fight against the Yetzer Hara.

As heard from Rabbi Yekusiel Farkash, audio shiur #6 of Seder Yomo Shel Yehudi, approximately 6 minutes in

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Echod

The Gemara teaches us that if someone spends a long time thinking about the Daled of Echod in Shema, Hashem gives him a long life! (“Kol Hamaarich BeDaled Shel Echod, Maarichin Lo Yamav Ushnosav.”)

The halacha is that it is counted as a long enough time if we are able to think about how Hashem is the one Aibershter Who is in charge of the seven heavens and the earth (the Gematria of the Ches in the word Echod), and all four corners of the earth (the Gematria of the Daled in the word Echod).

In Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe brings the minhag that when we say the word Echod, we tilt our head in all of these directions — up, down, and towards all four corners. (If you watch a video of the Rebbe davening, you can see how this is done.)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Hilchos Kriyas Shema siman 61 se’if vov

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Shema

The paragraph of Shema comes from Chumash Devarim.

Rashi explains how this first posuk of Shema makes us think about the Geulah!

We say, “Shema Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu.” Right now, Hashem is only Elokeinu, OUR Aibershter, because the goyim don’t know Hashem.

But when Moshiach comes, EVERYONE will know that “Hashem Echod,” Hashem is One!

We see this from pesukim in Navi that tell us that in the times of the Geulah, the goyim will also recognize Hashem. Like we say at the end of Aleinu, “Bayom Hahu Yihiyeh Hashem Echod Ushmo Echod!” On that day Hashem will be One, and His Name will be One!

See Rashi, Devarim 6:4

 
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