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Parshas Vaeira - Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe and Aharon begin their shlichus to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. They make a sign in front of Paraoh and bring the first two makos.

Hashem told Moshe and Aharon one last thing before they went to Paraoh: How to show Paraoh that Hashem is really sending them. Moshe should have Aharon throw his stick on the floor, and it will become a snake.

Moshe and Aharon went to Paraoh, ready to do exactly what Hashem told them to.

When Paraoh asked them to make a sign to show that they are coming from Hashem, Aharon threw the stick on the floor and it turned into a snake. Once the miracle was over, it turned back into a stick.

Paraoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing with their tumah magic! They all threw down their sticks, and they turned to snakes.

But now, Aharon’s stick ate up all of their sticks, and didn’t even get bigger! This was a neis that they COULDN’T do, and it showed that Hashem is in charge.

But Paraoh was stubborn and didn’t listen to Moshe and Aharon anyway.

Now Hashem would have to send the Makos to punish Paraoh for not listening, and get him to change his mind…

Makas Dam:

Before the first makah, Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to warn Paraoh, so he has another chance to do teshuvah. Hashem told them to meet Paraoh at the Nilus in the morning. Paraoh would secretly go to the bathroom there, so he could tell people he is like Hashem and doesn’t do things that regular people do! They should warn Paraoh that if he doesn’t listen, Hashem will show him who is in charge! Hashem will make the Nilus turn into blood. (Since the Mitzriyim worshiped the Nilus, it would also show them that their Avodah Zarah is wrong.)

Since the Nilus saved Moshe when he was a baby in the basket, Hashem told Moshe that AHARON should hit the water. This was because we need to show Hakoras Hatov when someone or something helps us. It wasn’t right for Moshe to hit the water, when that was what saved him.

After hitting the Nilus, all of the water in Mitzrayim would turn to blood. 

Moshe and Aharon did what Hashem told them. They warned Paraoh for three weeks, but he didn’t listen. Then Aharon hit the water in the Nilus, and all of the water in Mitzrayim turned to blood. The people were able to dig wells and find fresh water, though. This way the Mitzriyim could see that they shouldn’t worship the Nilus!

Some of Paraoh’s magicians did tumah-magic and turned the water from the wells into blood, and Paraoh decided that Moshe and Aharon were just doing magic. He didn’t want to believe that it was from Hashem, so he decided to ignore what Moshe and Aharon told him.

This first Makah lasted a week.

Makas Tzefardeia:

Right after Makas Dam was over, Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to warn Paraoh about the second makah, frogs. They should say: “Let the Yidden go, or else Hashem will send frogs to go all over Mitzrayim! They will first go into your palace, and then all over — even into people!”

After three weeks, Hashem told Moshe that Aharon should pick up his hand with his stick over the water in Mitzrayim, and the frogs will come out.

Aharon did this, and a big frog came out of the Nilus. When the Mitzriyim hit it, it turned into many many frogs. Paraoh’s magicians also made a frog that turned into many frogs, so Paraoh decided the makah was just magic and he ignored Hashem.

Paraoh wanted the frogs to go away, so he told Moshe and Aharon he would let the Yidden go if they got rid of the frogs. Moshe asked when the frogs should leave. Paraoh answered “tomorrow.” Moshe agreed to daven for the frogs to go away, to show Paraoh that Hashem is in charge.



119 (first half)

Today we say the first half of the LONGEST kapitel of Tehillim, kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes! It has 176 pesukim, 8 pesukim for every letter in the Alef-Beis!

Most of the pesukim in this kapitel talk about how special Torah is and how much we love it! 

Here is one of these pesukim: “Az Lo Eivosh, Behabiti El Kol Mitzvosecha.” It means, “I will not be embarrassed because I think about all of your mitzvos.”

The Rambam uses this posuk at the beginning of his sefer Yad Hachazakah (the Mishnah Torah), where he explains all of the halachos of the mitzvos of the Torah.

Why does the Rambam choose this posuk?

All of the mitzvos are in the Torah. We can find them by learning the pesukim!

For example, the mitzvah of Tefillin comes from the posuk which we say in Shema — “Ukshartam Le’os Al Yadecha, Vehayu Letotafos Bein Einecha.” “You should tie these words as a sign on your hand, and they should be a sign between your eyes.”

But if we try to keep the mitzvah of Tefillin just by learning the words of the Chumash, we will not end up with kosher Tefillin! Someone who tried that would be very embarrassed.

That’s why the Rambam uses this posuk at the beginning of his sefer: Because by learning the halachos in the Mishnah Torah, we won’t need to be embarrassed — we will know how to keep every mitzvah of the Torah properly!

See Yein Malchus (new edition) siman Beis



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes-Zayin

After introducing us to a tzadik and a rasha, the Alter Rebbe teaches us what a beinoni is! In the last perek we learned that a beinoni should also be an OVED, to do more than what we are used to!

In this perek, the Alter Rebbe tells us important rules the beinoni should know, called a Klal Gadol:

1) A beinoni needs to set things up so that the Yetzer Hara can’t pick a fight with him all the time.

The Yetzer Hara always has its own ideas of what to do. It can want things that aren’t good for us, can get angry, can feel lazy and just want to go to sleep, can get us to feel sad for no reason, makes us want to show off to others, and so on.

When a beinoni works hard on davening with hisbonenus, and to feel Yirah and Ahava to Hashem, he will be in control of his feelings (teva). That will keep the Yetzer Hara from even being able to TRY to convince him to listen to most of its ideas! Then, even when the Yetzer Hara DOES manage to try to get him to do the wrong thing, the beinoni will be able to be in control of the feelings from the Yetzer Hara and only do what Hashem wants.

2) Being inspired to do mitzvos with a chayus is enough.

Now that we know the first rule, to have hisbonenus to feel a Yirah and Ahava to Hashem, we might think that it needs to be the kind of Ahava that we REALLY feel!

You know what it feels like to really love someone, like the way you love your Tatty and Mommy or baby. We love them so much that we want to do nice things for them, to hug them and kiss them and give them presents.

But what if we don’t feel my love for Hashem that much?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that it’s not possible for every single person to FEEL how much they love Hashem. Many neshamos aren’t able to really love Hashem that strongly. But everyone can THINK about how Hashem is the true existence of everything, and that Hashem created us to keep Torah and mitzvos.

Then we will know that this is what we should be busy with, and will be happy and excited to do our shlichus in the world! We will love being a Yid!

We might still not feel a love for Hashem like we do for a person, but it’s a kind of Ahavas Hashem too! It makes us want to do His mitzvos! This kind of love is called “tevunah” — a kind of love that we have in our mind, even though we don’t have it in our heart.

This is the second “Klal Gadol,” important rule, that a beinoni needs to remember. What’s most important is not to have a glowing feeling of love for Hashem and the mitzvos. All that we need is to be inspired enough by thinking about Hashem and his Torah and mitzvos, so we will want to do what Hashem wants from us.



Chof-Hey Teves

We are learning now in Chumash about Yetziyas Mitzrayim. In today’s Hayom Yom we see how Chassidus is like Yetziyas Mitzrayim, and one of the main differences!

The Rebbe Rashab said in a sicha that Chassidus makes a kind of Yetziyas Mitzrayim!

Being in Mitzrayim meant being stuck in a place that didn’t let the Yidden be the way they should. Yetziyas Mitzrayim is when they left that place and were able to serve Hashem fully!

Chassidus also does that! There are things in the world that distract us from living the way we should, and learning Chassidus and living the way it teaches us helps us come out of that “Mitzrayim” and serve Hashem fully!

But there is one main difference:

When the Yidden came out of Mitzrayim, they were never supposed to go back there! They were FINISHED with it!

But that’s not how we should act with the “Mitzrayim” of the world that tries to distract us. Chassidus teaches that we shouldn’t push it away and try to run away from it. We remind ourselves that Hashem made it and it is good, and figure out how to use it for kedusha!



Shiur #170 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #120

(Mitzvas Lo Saasei #120) Today’s mitzvah is that each Korban has a day when we shouldn’t eat it anymore! Some Korbanos can be eaten for one day, and some for two days. We are not allowed to leave any part of the korban over to be eaten after that time. This is called “Nosar.” If it is left over, we will learn in Mitzvas Asei #91 that it needs to be burned.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor about the Korban Todah, and from there the Chachomim teach us that the same is for other korbanos too: לֹא תוֹתִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ עַד בֹּקֶר



Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about when a Korban is posul!

Perek Hey: We learn halachos about money set aside for a korban: If someone put money away to buy a Korban Chatas, but he passed away before he was able to bring the Korban, we have to throw the money into the sea so nobody can use it. If someone put away $10 for a korban, but the korban only cost $7, he uses the rest of the money to buy other korbanos.

Perek Vov: We learn what happens if a korban, or the meat of a korban, gets mixed up with other animals that CAN’T be a korban.

Perek Zayin: In this perek, the Rambam teaches us about what can make a bird posul as a korban.



Hilchos Shluchim VeShutfin - Perek Vov

Today we learn more about business partners:

Perek Vov teaches us about a kind of partnership where one person just gives the money, and the other person does all the work.



Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s parsha, Hashem sent Moshe and Aharon to Paraoh to do a special job: To tell Paraoh to let the Yidden go! To prove to him that Hashem sent them, they had a sign to show him! Moshe would take his stick and throw it on the floor, and it would turn into a snake! Then when he picked it up, it would turn back into a stick!

Why did they do this sign and not a different one? The Alter Rebbe, in Torah Ohr, tells us what message Hashem was giving to Paraoh:

Paraoh and the Mitzriyim thought they could do whatever they want. They didn’t believe in Hashem, and thought they could be mean to the Yidden and didn’t need to listen to Moshe and Aharon.

Moshe showed Paraoh that the chayus of Hashem is like a stick — a long, straight line. It comes into this world and hides even in the form of a snake! It goes into sneaky mean people and gives THEM chayus too.

Now it’s time for the kelipah in the world to realize where it gets chayus from to stay alive. Moshe showed them how the stick became a snake. And then afterwards, he showed them how the snake became a stick again, showing how the chayus of Hashem that was hiding inside can come out of the kelipah and go back to Hashem.

That’s what happened when the Yidden came out of Mitzrayim — they brought all of the kedusha of Mitzrayim out with them, and none of the kelipah remained!

See Torah Ohr, Dibur Hamas’chil Vayomer Hashem El Moshe


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Asher Yatzar

Asher Yatzar is part of Birchos Hashachar, the morning brachos, and we say it for another reason then — because we are like a new person each morning, and we thank Hashem for our incredible body!

However we also say Asher Yatzar every time we use the bathroom during the day.

After coming out of the bathroom, we wash our hands (and dry them), and say this bracha, thanking Hashem that our body is working well.

When we say Asher Yatzar, just like when we say any bracha, we shouldn’t be doing anything else, not even drying our hands. We should be paying attention to what we are saying, and appreciating that our body is working properly.

It is written in seforim that paying attention to the words that we say in this bracha, to thank Hashem for His kindness that our body is working properly, is a segulah for good health.




Part of the “uniform” for a boy in Tzivos Hashem is a yarmulka.

The Shulchan Aruch lists a few reasons why a Jewish boy needs to wear a yarmulka all the time:

1) Tznius — For a boy, the top of the head is a part of the body that should be covered. Boys wear yarmulkas to keep their heads tznius.

2) Acting like a Yid — Because of tznius, it became the minhag of Yidden to wear yarmulkas. Not wearing a yarmulka is now like acting in a goyishe way. This is asur because of “Uvechukoseihem Lo Seileichu,” that we are not allowed to follow a non-Jewish way of behavior.

3) Yiras Shomayim — Wearing a yarmulka reminds us to have Yiras Shomayim.

The Gemara (Mesechta Shabbos, daf 156 amud beis) tells a story about an Amora named R’ Nachman. An astrologer told his mother that he would be a thief! R’ Nachman’s mother told him to always keep his head covered, so that the fear of Heaven would be upon him.

Another important reason to wear a yarmulka all the time is to be able to follow the halacha that your head needs to be covered whenever you say Hashem’s name.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman beis

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



Believing and Hoping For Moshiach

A Yid has a chiyuv to believe in Moshiach and hope that he will come.

How do we fulfill this chiyuv? What do we need to know or think to be counted as believing and hoping in Moshiach?

The Torah tells us about many special things that will happen when Moshiach comes, and about the rewards Yidden will get for the mitzvos they did in the times of Golus. But the Rambam tells us that main accomplishment of the coming of Moshiach is that we will be able to keep all of the mitzvos of the Torah in the best way.

This is also what our emunah needs to be: That we know that we will be able to keep all of the mitzvos again, and we hope that it will be very soon!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek Yud-Ches, p.280

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