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Parshas Bereishis - Shvi'i with Rashi

The Torah is telling us the generations from Adam to Noach, and today we will finish them:

9) Lemech (a different Lemech)

10) Noach: Lemech had a Nevuah and gave him this name, since he would comfort the world (Yenachameinu) from the curse of Adam on the ground. He invented a plow, so now it wasn’t as hard to grow food.

Noach didn’t have children until he was 500 years old! This was so that his children could be saved from the Mabul — there wouldn’t be so many of them (to need an extra Teiva) and they wouldn’t be old enough to be punished.

Noach’s 3 sons were Sheim, Cham, and Yafes.

Now the Torah tells us about how the world turned into such Resha’im:

The princes were the ones who started — they decided to get married to whoever they wanted, even if they were already married! They didn’t treat marriage as something of Kedusha, and soon EVERYONE was just acting however they felt like.

Hashem was thinking of destroying all the people, and two Malachim told Hashem to do it — they hadn’t wanted Hashem to make people in the first place! Hashem told these two malachim, Shamchazai and Azael, to go see if they would be any better. They became giants in the world, and acted just as bad as the princes.

Soon they also stopped treating other people in a mentchlich way, and stole things and lied all the time. Hashem gave them 120 years to do Teshuvah, but they didn’t change.

The job of all of the people in the world was “Losheves Yetzara” — to make a world that runs in a nice way (civilization). Since they weren’t doing their job, there was no reason for there to be a world!

Hashem was glad that at least Malochim that were in Shomayim wouldn’t act in a way against Hashem!

Hashem decided to start acting in a way of Gevurah — being strict with the people. But instead of destroying EVERYONE, Hashem decided to only punish the ones who were Resha’im — almost everyone! He also decided to kill the animals, since they also acted in a not nice way, and because animals are only there to help people — if there are no people, we don’t need animals either!

Hashem decided to “start over” — but this time, to make the world in a way that it is much easier to do Teshuvah. Hashem would bring a Mabul to purify the world, and later Noach’s family — the only ones left — would have children and fill the world with people.



119 (second half)

Today we are saying the second half of the LONGEST kapitel in the whole Tehillim, Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes!

There is a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti Ki Eidvosecha Sicha Li” — “I have learned from all of my teachers, because Your mitzvos are what I talk about.”

We learned in Pirkei Avos (Perek Daled), “Eizehu Chochom Halomeid Mikol Adam.” “Who is called a chochom? Someone who learns from every person.” The Mishna learns this from this posuk in Tehillim, “Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti.”

When the Rebbe visited Camp Gan Yisroel in Tof-Shin-Chof, it was 200 years since the histalkus of the Baal Shem Tov. The Rebbe taught the campers many things we learn from the Baal Shem Tov, including an explanation on this posuk:

Does it make sense to learn from everyone? Not everyone is a teacher, and not everyone has something good to teach! Some people are NOT such good people and we probably SHOULDN’T learn from them!

The Baal Shem Tov explains that we SHOULD learn from everyone: From some people we should learn how to act and what to do, and from other people we should learn what NOT to do.

So the Rebbe said to the campers: By following the words of the Mishna and learning from everyone, each one of us will be a chochom and bring our teachers and parents a lot of nachas!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

Yesterday, we learned something about why a person gets angry: Because he doesn’t have enough Emunah! If he did, he would know that Hashem is the one making the other person say something not nice, and he won’t get angry at them.

The Alter Rebbe tells us about this to explain something similar that the Baal Shem Tov said, which his Talmidim wrote down in the sefer Tzavaas Harivash: If someone is trying to daven, and a goy next to him starts talking and trying to bother him, what should he do? He should not get upset! Instead he should think about how the Shechinah is inside of this goy, and is making this happen in order to bring out his deeper kochos to daven with more kavana.

Some people didn’t like this! They said that it can’t be that Hashem’s chayus is in a Goy!

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe explains this.

First he explains what the Chachomim say, that if someone gets angry it is because he doesn’t have proper Emunah. Now we learn how the chayus of Hashem is in everything in the world, in a way of Hashgacha Protis.

The Baal Shem Tov tells us that the words Hashem used to create the world weren’t said just once, they are said constantly because Hashem is making the world AGAIN every single second! It’s just that we can’t see it because the koach Hashem uses to hide is so strong that we can’t tell!

Hashem doesn’t make the world the same way PEOPLE make things. When we make something, we’re really just changing one thing into another thing! (For example, we make paper out of trees, we make juice out of fruits, and we make cars out of metal.) That’s why when we finish making something, we are finished! We don’t have to keep making it so it won’t disappear!

But Hashem made the world out of nothing, so Hashem has to make it again every single second or else it won’t be there at all!

After understanding this idea of Hashgacha Protis (which we also learned in Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah), we will learn how the Hashgacha Protis can come even into a goy who is bothering a Yid during davening, in a way of Golus. Thinking about that will make us realize that Hashem is making it happen, and we won’t get angry! Instead, we will understand that it’s there to get us to work harder to have kavana and ignore whatever is bothering us!



Chof-Vov Tishrei

We learned in Tanya today that the Baal Shem Tov explains how the chayus of Hashem makes the world exist anew every moment.

The Rebbe tells us today that the Medrash already told this to us BEFORE the Baal Shem Tov. Still the Alter Rebbe says it from the Baal Shem Tov! Why?

The Alter Rebbe wanted us to always remember Chai Elul, the day the Baal Shem Tov was born: The posuk that teaches us about how Hashem always gives the world new chayus says that Hashem’s chayus is always in the SHOMAYIM, giving the world new chayus. When did Hashem make the Shomayim? On Yom Sheini, Monday. That was also the day the Baal Shem Tov was born — Monday, Chai Elul!

The Alter Rebbe wanted there to be at least a hint to this special day in Tanya.



Shiur #111 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #157

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn that it is asur to NOT do something we said we would.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Matos: לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ כְּכָל הַיֹּצֵא מִפִּיו יַעֲשֶׂה

So if a person said that all cookies are asur for him, or if he said he would give $50 to tzedakah, or buy a raffle ticket for the school — it’s an aveira to eat the cookies, or not give the tzedakah, or not buy the raffle ticket!

You can learn more about this mitzvah in Mesechta Nedarim, or in these perakim of Rambam!



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, we are learning more halachos about Nedarim (a kind of promise).

Perek Zayin: What happens if someone makes a neder not to get ANYTHING from someone? What is he not allowed to take from this person, and what are the times when he can?

Perek Ches: We learn that the halacha is based on what was happening and what the person was thinking when he made the Neder, and not just what he says!

Perek Tes: Depending on what words a person uses, the neder might mean different things. Like if a person would say that grapes are asur for him, would that also include grape juice and wine?



Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Beis

Now we learn about making the Ketores, and about the mitzvah that the Aron needs to be carried and not transported in a wagon.



Shabbos Bereishis

There is a vort from the Rebbbeim that “Vi M’shtelt Zich Avek Shabbos Bereishis, Azoi Geit A Gantz Yohr.” The way we use the kochos from Shabbos Bereishis helps set things up for the whole year in a good way.

EVERY parsha and Yom Tov have certain things we need to learn from them, and live with those lessons the whole year. So why are the kochos we get from Shabbos Bereishis SO important, that we say that it sets things up for the whole year, more than any other parsha and Yom Tov?

The answer is that Shabbos Bereishis teaches us Emunah! We learn about how Hashem created the world, and so we understand that everything that happens in the world is all from Hashem. (As we are learning now in Tanya, the chayus of Hashem is constantly creating the world!) Emunah in Hashem is the most important thing that we need to have, and it makes a difference in EVERYTHING in our lives all year.

When we know that Hashem is making everything in the world happen, we will know that there can’t be anything in the world that can stop us from doing what Hashem wants. Since Hashem created everything in the world, and Hashem tells us to do the mitzvos, it isn’t possible that there can be anything in Hashem’s world that can keep us from doing what Hashem wants!

Our Emunah is also important for our Gashmius! When we know that everything comes from Hashem, we won’t worry so much about all of the gashmiyus things that we need, like parnasa and health and things we need for our family. We will know that everything that happens to us is from Hashem and know that it must be good. Even more, when we remember this, Hashem will give us good things in a way that we can tell is good too!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef, Parshas Bereishis

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Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbos

Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbos and Yom Tov is much fewer brachos than on a weekday! First we say 3 brachos praising Hashem, one bracha about the special day, and 3 brachos thanking Hashem.

The middle bracha in Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbos is five paragraphs:

1) Yismach Moshe — Hashem gave the mitzvah of Shabbos through Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai.

2) Veshamru — These are the pesukim in the Torah that say how the Yidden kept Shabbos, as a connection to Hashem.

3) Velo Nesato — Shabbos is a present that was given ONLY to Yidden!

4) Yismechu — By celebrating Shabbos, we get to feel its brachos!

5) Elokeinu — We ask Hashem to give us brachos in honor of the special day of Shabbos.



Cutting Nails

It is a mitzvah to cut our nails Lekavod Shabbos. Some are careful to ONLY cut their nails on Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov. They cut their toenails the day before (Thursday in a regular week), so they won’t cut their fingernails and toenails on the same day, which can be a sakana, as brought in Shulchan Aruch.

We are careful not to cut our nails in order, one after another. Instead, we do it by skipping fingers.

We start with the ring finger of our left hand (finger Daled), then skip one to our pointer finger (Beis). Then we go back to our pinky (Hey), skip over to our middle finger (Gimmel), and then do our thumb (Alef). (The siman to remember the order is “DeVeHeGA”.)

Then we do the same pattern with our right hand, but start from the other side. We cut the nail on our pointer finger (Beis), and skip over to our ring finger (Daled). We then go to the thumb (Alef), skip to our middle finger (Gimmel), and finish off with our pinky (Hey). (The siman to remember the order is “BeDeAhGaH”.)

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Samach, siman Beis and Gimmel

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



In OUR Time

One of the foundations of Emunah is to believe that Moshiach will come, and hope for him to come every day!

People may have a question when they hear this. How can Moshiach come in OUR time? There were so many tzadikim in other generations who were much greater than us, and Moshiach didn’t come in their time! So how can we think that Moshiach will come now?

The answer is that all of the good things that were ever done stay! So today, we have with us all of the mitzvos and special things that were done by the Yidden and tzadikim of the past generations. When we add this to the little bit that we did compared to them, with all of those good things together, we can be sure that we will see Moshiach very soon!

See sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach 5718, printed in Likutei Sichos chelek Alef p. 247

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