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CHUMASH

Parshas Shemos - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn that the Yidden grew and became a big nation in Mitzrayim! Paraoh was afraid they would rebel, so he tried making them work hard so they would stop having children. But that didn’t work! Paraoh’s astrologers told him that a boy would be born who would save the Yidden. So he commanded the Jewish midwives to stop baby boys from being born. Of course, they didn’t listen!

We are now starting a new Chumash, Chumash Shemos!

At the beginning of this week’s parsha, the Torah reviews that when the Yidden came down to Mitzrayim, there were only 70 people. But they had a bracha to have many children, and many times the mommies would have six babies at a time! Soon Mitzrayim was full of Yidden.

Yaakov’s sons were getting older now, and they all passed away (Levi passed away last). Many of the Yidden stopped keeping all of the mitzvos — except for the families in Shevet Levi.

Now a new Paraoh, who didn’t know Yosef, became king. He said he was afraid that the Yidden would fight against the Mitrziyim, since there were so many Yidden. He wanted to do something to stop them!

Paraoh asked his advisors what to do. Bilam, one of his advisors, gave Paraoh a sneaky idea that would stop the Yidden from having a lot of babies, and would get them to start to act like the Mitzriyim. (Yisro, another advisor, told Paraoh not to do it, but Paraoh didn’t listen to him. Yisro then had to run away to Midyan.)

Paraoh called all of the Yidden to come, and when everyone was there, he started making bricks. Everyone of course started to help — everyone except for Shevet Levi, who stayed home to learn Torah. At the end of the day, the Mitzriyim told the Yidden to count how many bricks they made. “You will have to make this many bricks EVERY day!” they told the Yidden. That’s how they tricked them into becoming slaves.

The Mitzriyim made the Yidden work very hard to build the cities of Pisom and Ramses. But Bilam’s plan wasn’t working. Even though the Yidden were working so hard, they still kept on having lots of children! 

The Mitzriyim were very frustrated! They thought of another idea: Now the Yidden would have to work even HARDER, and do work they weren’t used to doing. This way the parents would be too tired to have more children. But the Yiddishe Mommies knew that kinderlach are the most important thing!

Paraoh saw that the Yidden were still hoping to be freed, and were STILL having children! Then his advisors told him that the person who would take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim would be born soon! He realized that his plan wasn’t working.

So he came up with a new plan. He would kill all of the baby boys, and take the girls away so they wouldn’t know they were Yidden. Paraoh called the Yiddishe midwives (women who help Mommies have babies), Shifra (Yocheved, Amram’s wife) and Puah (Miriam, their daughter). (Really, the Yidden didn’t need midwives, but they were sometimes nervous, so Shifra and Puah told everyone that if there was any problem, they could call them.) 

Paraoh told Shifra and Puah to kill all of the Yiddishe baby boys, and only to let the baby girls live. Of course Shifra and Puah didn’t listen! They helped the baby boys to stay healthy instead.

 
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TEHILLIM

77 - 78

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Zayin and Ayin-Ches.

In Kapitel Ayin-Ches, which is in today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Vayakem Eidus BeYaakov, VeSora Sam BeYisroel” — “Hashem set up the Torah and mitzvos for Yaakov and Yisroel.” The kapitel continues that this was in order to pass it on to the next generations.

Chassidus teaches that each one of the Avos has something different and special about them, which they passed on to every single Yid. (For example, Avraham Avinu passed on his koach of chesed and Hachnosas Orchim, being kind to others and teaching them about Hashem.) In this posuk, which speaks about Torah, we mention the name of Yaakov and Yisroel, the third of the Avos.

Yaakov Avinu’s special koach was in learning Torah day and night. Yaakov is called a “Yoshev Ohalim,” someone who sits in the tent of Torah! The Torah tells us how Yaakov Avinu spent many years working very hard for his parnasa and to raise a family. Still, he made sure to use his time whenever he could to say Shir Hamaalos and to learn Torah! When things were easier too, like his last seventeen years in Mitzrayim, Yaakov Avinu also used that time in the best way, learning Torah with his children and grandchildren. He passed on this koach of being dedicated to learning Torah to each and every one of us.

 
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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Beis

In today’s Tanya, we learn the secret power that the beinoni has which gives him the koach to ALWAYS win in the war against the Yetzer Hara!

A beinoni is someone who is like a rasha in the way he feels, but like a tzadik in the way he acts. Only during special times, like davening, he is able to feel like a tzadik! Through proper davening, his neshama becomes stronger and puts the Nefesh Habehamis to sleep, so it can’t bother him with rasha-like feelings. After davening, though, the Nefesh Habehamis wakes up again and makes the beinoni have feelings like a rasha again.

In the beinoni, both nefashos are equally as strong, and they are both fighting all the time. So how does the beinoni ALWAYS make the Nefesh Elokis win?

The answer is that Hashem made people with a special koach built in. The Zohar calls this koachMoach Shalit Al Halev,” that Hashem gives the koach for the mind to be in control. Even when a person has a taava, he is able to choose not to think about it. The mind is stronger, so the person can decide to do something else and not pay attention to the taava. (If a person gets too used to doing the taava, they can lose this koach until they do a proper teshuvah, like we’ll learn later.)

This koach works even if the reason a person decides not to listen to a taava is because it isn’t healthy or good for him.

The koach of Moach Shalit Al Halev is even stronger if a person chooses not to listen to a taava because they don’t want to do an aveira. Why is it stronger if a person chooses to be in control for kedusha reasons, because he wants his neshama to be in charge?

We can understand this from what Shlomo Hamelech says in Koheles, “Vera’isi Sheyesh Yisron Lachochmah Min Hasichlus, Keyisron Ha’or Min Hachoshech.” “I’ve seen that chochmah (the Nefesh Elokis, which is called a chochom) has a maalah over foolishness (the Nefesh Habehamis, which is called a foolish king), like the maalah that light has over darkness.”

What is the maalah of light over darkness? It is so much stronger that it doesn’t even need to fight! You only need a little bit of light to push away A LOT of darkness, and it happens automatically! If you put even a tiny candle in a big dark room, the whole room isn’t dark anymore!

The same is true with the Nefesh Elokis and the Nefesh Habehamis: If a person wants to be in control of the taava of the Nefesh Habehamis because that’s what Hashem wants, then this koach of Moach Shalit Al Halev has a much stronger impact than it would if he was doing it for other reasons.

So how does the beinoni do it? He uses his Moach Shalit Al Halev for kedusha reasons, and that has such a tremendous koach, that his every Machshava, Dibur, and Maaseh are the way Hashem wants!

 
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HAYOM YOM

Tes-Vov Teves

The Rebbe points out a correction in a maamar from Torah Ohr for Parshas Vayechi.

The Friediker Rebbe said: “Yidden, listen carefully! Now is the time for Moshiach to come! All of the sad things happening in the world are because Moshiach is so close. Remember that only Hashem will save us — and it is only because we will do teshuva! Let us do teshuva and prepare ourselves and our families to be Mekabel Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu, who will come bekarov mamosh!”

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #160 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #139, #112, Asei #65

Today we learn 3 more mitzvos about Korbanos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #139) A Kohen is usually able to eat from a Korban Chatas. But a kohen can NOT eat from any Korban Chatas that has its blood sprinkled inside of the Kodesh or the Kodesh Hakodoshim (on the Mizbeiach Haketores, the Paroches, or the Aron.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tzav: וְכָל חַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר יוּבָא מִדָּמָהּ אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לְכַפֵּר בַּקֹּדֶשׁ לֹא תֵאָכֵל בָּאֵשׁ תִּשָּׂרֵף

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #112) A bird that is brought for a Korban doesn’t get shechted with a knife, it gets shechted with a very sharp fingernail! This is called Melikah. It is a mitzvah for the Kohen to make sure not to cut off the whole head when he is shechting it.

This mitzvah is learned from a posuk in Parshas Vayikra: וּמָלַק אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ מִמּוּל עָרְפּוֹ וְלֹא יַבְדִּיל

3) (Mitzvas Asei #65) We need to follow all of the halachos about how to bring a Korban Asham.

We learn this mitzvah from the posuk in Parshas Tzav: זֹאת תּוֹרַת הָאָשָׁם

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Maaseh HaKorbanos

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about bringing Korbanos.

Perek Daled: We learn about WHEN Korbanos are allowed to be brought (during the day) and also what we need to think about when we bring the KorbanKavana!

Perek Hey: This perek teaches us WHERE we bring Korbanos, and how we give the different parts of the Korban to Hashem.

Perek Vov: We learn EXACTLY how to bring a Korban Olah!

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Shecheinim - Perek Yud

We learn more halachos about being neighbors.

Perek Yud talks about how we need to be careful about bothering other people in a city. We can’t build something very smelly too close to a city, because everyone will be able to smell it!

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Hachana L'Yud Shevat

After a week of celebration following Hey Teves in 5747, the Rebbe told us that we need to start getting ready for Yud Shevat, with the help of a mashpiaAsei Lecha Rav! But what’s a mashpia?

A mashpia is someone who has more Yiras Shomayim and more experience in life than you. You can report to your mashpia how you are doing in Avodas Hashem so that you will know that someone knows what you are doing, which will help you feel a push to do more.

A mashpia can also help us if we’re not sure about something. Should I take on a hachlata to learn extra Tanya, or to give extra tzedakah? Is it okay to read a book about non-kosher animals? Should I be Maavir Sedra after I clean my room, or offer to help Mommy set the table? (Do you have any of your own questions?)

But how can we trust that the mashpia will tell us the right answer?

It is because a mashpia gets a special koach from Hashem to know the right thing to tell us.

Here is a story the Rebbe told about the koach of a Rav, that can help us understand this:

Long ago in Prague, there lived a very great Rav, called the Noda Biyehuda (R’ Yechezkel Landau). In his city, there were some people who didn’t like him. They decided to trick him so people would think he isn’t such a great Rav. So they looked for a very complicated halacha question, so that he would probably make a mistake.

Sure enough, when they asked The Noda Biyehuda this very complicated question, he told them the wrong answer! They were very excited that their plan worked. They showed the Noda Biyehuda the sefarim that proved that his answer was wrong!

But instead of the Noda Biyehuda looking embarrassed, he said, “This must not have been a real question about something that happened to you, right?”

Now THEY were embarrassed!

The Noda Biyehuda explained that a Rav is just a person, like all other people. He isn’t perfect — he can make mistakes. So how does the Torah tell us to ask a Rav what the Torah says? The Torah doesn’t have any mistakes, chas veshalom! How can we trust the Rav not to make a mistake about Torah?

The Noda Biyehuda explained to them that Hashem gives a special koach to a Rav, so that he will always answer the real halacha, exactly the way Hashem wants us to act.

The Noda Biyehuda knew that if he made a mistake, it means Hashem didn’t give him that special koach. Why not? Because he really didn’t need that koach — these people weren’t asking a real question!

The same way, we can trust that even though our mashpia may not perfect, he or she is telling us exactly the way Hashem wants us to act. If we choose our mashpia the way the Rebbe asked, the mashpia will get the special koach to give us the right answer and help us be the way we should.

 

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TEFILLAH

Modeh Ani

We just finished going through the explanation of the short davening for small children. The next thing we are going to learn is Birchos Hashachar. Even though we already learned about Modeh Ani, we will learn a little more about Modeh Ani before going on to the rest of the Birchos Hashachar.

The Rebbe Rashab’s older brother, the Raza, was very careful with dikduk, especially in davening. He was careful to pronounce the nekudos perfectly, and to say each posuk properly.

Once, when the Rebbe Rashab was about 9 years old, the Raza was teasing him by asking dikduk questions about davening. He asked him, “Why is there a dot after the word ‘bechemlah’ in Modeh Ani?”

The Rashab answered, “That’s the whole reason for davening! When we daven, we take that dot, that nekudah that is inside of us, and spread it.”

The Raza asked next, “Why do we daven every day?”

The Rashab answered, “Because we want the nekudah to be spread out inside of us every single day.”

Then he added that the word “bechemlah” is in two places in davening, in Modeh Ani and in Ahavas Olam (before Shema). There is no nekudah after the “bechemlah” in Ahavas Olam, because the davening spread it out already!

Years later, the Rebbe Rashab explained that the nekudah is the “Nekudas Halev,” the Pintele Yid. When we daven, this little spark of the neshama spreads out into our whole body.

See Sicha Yud Shevat 5723

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Netilas Yodayim

We are learning some of the halachos of washing our hands for bread. Today we will learn about shifshuf.

After carefully washing our hands with plenty of water, making sure it reached every part of our hands, we hold a little bit of water in the palm of the hand we just washed (our left hand) and go on to the next part of Netilas Yodayim. We hold our hands up to our heart, and make the bracha. Then we rub our hands together with the little bit of water that is left. This is called “shifshuf.”

Shifshuf is part of the mitzvah of Netilas Yodayim, to make our hands extra tahor.

Usually, we say a bracha BEFORE doing a mitzvah, but the Chachomim didn’t want us to make a bracha right before our hands are tahor. Instead, we say the bracha afterwards. But the best way to say the bracha is before doing shifshuf, so that the bracha is still at least before doing PART of the mitzvah. (If we forget, we can say the bracha even after drying our hands.)

Seder Netilas Yodayim L’seudah, se’if daled

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

Learning About the Geulah

The Baal Shem Tov says, “Bemakom Shemachshavto Shel Adam, Sham Hu Nimtza.” “Where a person’s thoughts are, that’s where he is.

This helps us understand why it’s so important to learn about the Geulah! When we are thinking about the Geulah, then in a certain way, we are already there!

By having our thoughts and our Ratzon in the time of the Geulah, we will also be excited to do whatever we can to make it happen sooner! So learning about the Geulah also gives us the koach to speed up bringing the Geulah for all the Yidden.

See Parshas Balak 5743

 
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נפטר ב' מנחם אב ה'תשע"ג

 
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