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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Shvi'i with Rashi

Now that the Torah tells us that Avraham Avinu passed away, it shows us how Hashem kept His promise to make Avraham’s sons into great nations.

First the Torah tells us about Yishmael. Yishmael had 12 sons, and they each had cities, living from Mitzrayim to Ashur! That’s how Hashem made them great.

Yishmael went back to live in the desert. He did teshuvah before he passed away at 137 years old.

Now that Avraham had passed away, Yishmael’s family was not protected by Avraham’s zechus anymore, and his enemies kept on trying to bother him.



120 - 134

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Kuf-Chof through Kuf-Lamed-Daled.

In today’s Tehillim, Kapitel Kuf-Chof-Ches, it says “Yegia Kapecha Ki Sochel, Ashrecha VeTov Lach” — “when you work hard for your food, it is good for you.” We see that it is important to work for what we need, and not just to take from Tzedakah!

Even though it is very important to work, Chassidus teaches us that the posuk uses very specific words. It says “Yegia KAPECHA” — “the work of your HANDS.” This teaches us that the work should be done with your hands to do it properly, but your HEAD should be busy with Torah the whole time! Even when we need to use our head to think what to do, the chayus in our head doesn’t need to be there. When your mind is always connected to Hashem, then your work will always be done the way Hashem wants.

Maamar Mayim Rabim Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches



Kuntres Acharon Siman Alef

We are starting the fifth (and last) section of Tanya, called Kuntres Acharon! In Kuntres Acharon, the Alter Rebbe explains more about things we learned before in Tanya, to understand them even better and deeper. At the end, there are also some letters that were not included in Igeres Hakodesh.

Now we are going back to something we learned in Perek Mem of Likutei Amarim, how it is important to have kavana in order to make our Torah and mitzvos go up to Hashem.

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe explains the difference between thinking words of Torah and saying them.

To connect with the ruchnius that only our neshamos can see, that is done especially through our thought. So if we just read stories in the Torah and think about them, we might be inspired by them. It will accomplish something in Ruchnius!

But to bring Hashem into the world and do our special shlichus in the world, that is not enough. We also need to SAY the words of Torah. By using our mouth in this world, that brings Hashem into this world.

The difference between thinking and speaking is that thinking about Ruchnius’dike things brings us UP and elevates the mitzvos we do, making them more beautiful. But that isn’t enough! Speaking (and doing) brings Hashem DOWN into the world — and that is the main reason we are created.



Chof-Zayin Mar-Cheshvan

Do you want Hashem to love you? Do you want Him to help you and to make you feel close to Him?

R’ Aizik Homiler heard wonderful advice for this: When he came to Liozna (where the Maggid of Mezritch, and later the Alter Rebbe, lived) he found many Chassidim who would always say: “If you love another Yid, Hashem will love you. If you do a favor for another Yid, Hashem will do you a favor. And if you will be mekarev another Yid (bring them close to Hashem), Hashem will make you become close!”

So if you want something for yourself, you can try to ask others to help you — but the best idea is to help someone else get that thing, and then Hashem will make sure you get it too!



Shiur #128 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #133, #134

Today we learn two mitzvos about who is not allowed to eat Terumah, which is holy!

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #133) Anyone who isn’t a kohen is NOT allowed to eat Terumah or Bikurim.

This Mitzvas Lo Saasei includes not only Terumah or Bikurim which belong to the kohen, but also not to benefit from anything that belongs to the Beis Hamikdash or from korbanos, called Me’ilah.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #134) Even someone who works for a kohen is still not allowed to eat Terumah.



Hilchos Terumos

In today’s Rambam, we continue learning the halachos about who can’t eat Terumah.

Perek Zayin: Now we learn about the mitzvos we’ll learn TOMORROW in Sefer Hamitzvos — that a kohen without a bris or a kohen who is tamei is not allowed to eat Terumah.

Perek Ches: The daughter of a kohen is allowed to eat terumah… unless she gets married to someone who is not a kohen! If a girl from a non-kohen family gets married to a kohen, she is allowed to start eating terumah because of her husband. We learn more halachos about this.

Perek Tes: Someone who lives in the house of a kohen IS allowed to eat terumah. For example, a kohen’s wife or his slave (not just someone working for him) are allowed to eat terumah, even if they aren’t kohanim themselves! (In fact, we can even feed terumah to the animals that belong to a kohen!) But if they move out or the kohen passes away, they are not allowed to eat terumah anymore.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Chof

Since a person is not allowed to even let his animals do melacha on Shabbos, the Rambam teaches us the halachos of what an animal is not allowed to go out with on Shabbos. He also teaches us the rest of the halachos about not letting our animals or our servants do work on Shabbos.



Kinus Hashluchim

This Shabbos is usually the Kinus Hashluchim Ha’olami.

Whether or not you are part of the Kinus, the Rebbe shows us that it has a message for EVERYONE!

The Kinus Hashluchim is a Kinus Ha’olami, an INTERNATIONAL Kinus. Even though each shliach has his main focus on spreading Yiddishkeit in one little part of the world, together all of the shluchim are changing the world!

But that’s not all. Every single Yid and every single shliach is able to make a difference HIMSELF in all parts of the world!


When we meet another person, and share a few words of Torah, the Torah can bring that person a new chayus in Yiddishkeit. That person has friends, and friends from other parts of the world, and he might share those words of Torah with them too. And those friends can share with their friends too, until your Dvar Torah spreads around the world!

This is one of the horaos we should take from the Kinus Hashluchim: That even though we are in one place, we have a tremendous koach to share Yiddishkeit INTERNATIONALLY!

See Sefer Hasichos Tof-Shin-Mem-Tes, Chof-Zayin Cheshvan, se’if hey


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Yehei Shmei Rabah

Between Pesukei Dezimra and the next part of davening, Birchos Kriyas Shema, we say Barchu. One of the reasons we say Barchu is for the same reason we say “Raboisai Mir Vellen Bentchen” before bentching with a mezuman: We tell everyone, “FOCUS! Pay attention!” Now we are reaching the ikar of davening, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei. The Chazan reminds everyone that we are coming to a very important part of davening and we all need to be thinking about what we are saying!

Then, the Chazan says a Kaddish. There are many types of Kaddish, but the first half is the same for all of them. The main part of this is when everyone says “Yehei Shmei Rabah Mevorach,” Hashem’s great Name should be blessed.

The Gemara tells a story that shows that when we answer Amen Yehei Shmei Rabah to Kaddish in shul, it brings Hashem a lot of nachas!

The Tanna R’ Yosi was once traveling. On his way, he passed some of the destroyed houses of Yerushalayim. He went into one of them to daven.

Eliyahu Hanavi waited for R’ Yosi at the door. After R’ Yosi finished davening and came outside, Eliyahu Hanavi greeted him. He asked why R’ Yosi had gone into such a dangerous place. R’ Yosi answered that he was looking for a quiet place to daven. Eliyahu Hanavi told him that it is better to daven a short tefillah on the road so nobody will interrupt you, and not to go into a dangerous place.

After teaching him this, Eliyahu Hanavi asked R’ Yosi what he had heard when he was in the ruined house.

R’ Yosi answered that he heard a voice, cooing like a dove. It said, “How sad it is for the children (the Yidden)! Because of their aveiros, I destroyed My home (Yerushalayim), burned My Heichal (the Beis Hamikdash), and sent them into Golus among the nations!”

Eliyahu Hanavi told him, “I promise you that the Shechinah did not only say this when you were inside the ruined home. The Shechinah cries this way three times during each day!

“And when Yidden say ‘Yehei Shmei Rabah Mevorach,’ that Hashem’s great Name should be blessed, it is like Hashem nods His head! Hashem says, ‘Happy is the king who is praised this way in his home.’ It would be so happy for Hashem to be praised this way in His Beis Hamikdash.

“Hashem continues, ‘How terrible it is for the father who sends away his sons, and how terrible for the sons who were sent away from their father’s table.’ It is so sad for Hashem Who sent away His children, the Yidden, and so sad for the Yidden who were sent away from Yerushalayim.”

When we answer Yehei Shmei Rabah Mevorach, it reminds Hashem how nice it would be to again have the Beis Hamikdash, and makes Hashem feel bad about the Yidden being in Golus!



Standing During Kaddish

Do we need to stand when the Chazan is saying Kaddish?

There are two opinions:

One opinion says that we don’t need to stand up when we hear Kaddish or Barchu. Still, if we are already standing up, like after Hallel, we should stay standing.

The second opinion is that we should stand whenever we hear words of Kedusha! We learn this from a non-Jewish king, a rasha, named Eglon. He stood up to hear the words of the Navi. If even he stood up, of course Yidden should stand to hear words of kedusha! According to this opinion, we should stand up even if we were sitting.

The Alter Rebbe says that it is good to follow this second opinion.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 56 se’if 5

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



Kaddish & Geulah

Kaddish starts with the words “Yisgadal Veyiskadash Shemei Rabah.” “Hashem’s great Name should be great and holy.”

The Avudraham (a famous meforash on Tefillah) explains that the words of Kaddish are asking that Hashem’s name should be made holy by bringing the Geulah. Then, everyone will see that Hashem is one!

These first words of Kaddish are based on a posuk from the Navi Yechezkel, which speaks about the war of Gog and Magog, which happens close to the time of Moshiach. The posuk is, “Vehisgadilti Vehiskadishti Venodaati Le’einei Goyim Rabim, Veyadu Ki Ani Hashem.” Hashem says that at this time, “I will become great and holy, and known to many nations, and they will know that I am Hashem.”

When Moshiach comes, EVERYONE will be able to see and understand that there is only Hashem and nothing else!

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