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Parshas Vayeira - Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how the malochim come to save Lot and his family before Sodom is destroyed.

The malachim who were sent to destroy Sodom had walked very slowly to give Avraham a chance to daven to save the cities. It was already night when they came to Sodom.

The people of Sodom chose Lot to be the judge that day, so he was sitting in his place at the gate of the city. When he saw the malachim, he invited them to sneak into his house so nobody would see, and they could rest and then leave early in the morning before people woke up.

The malachim said that they didn’t need to come to his house, they could sleep outside. But Lot, who had learned about Hachnosas Orchim from Avraham, begged them so much that they finally agreed to be his guests. Since it was Pesach, and Lot did some of the mitzvos, he made them matzah to eat.

The malachim asked Lot about the people of Sodom. Lot agreed they were not good people, but he made excuses for them.

Even before they went to bed, many wicked people of Sodom surrounded the house. Nobody tried to stop them, even though they knew they were going to do something mean.

They told Lot to send out the guests, and they would do something very not nice to them.

Lot wanted to take care of his guests, and would not agree. He offered to send out his daughters instead.

But the people told Lot they don’t want his daughters, they want the guests! They tried to break down the door and take them by force! The malachim pulled Lot inside, and made the wicked people blind so they couldn’t find the way into the house.

The malachim told Lot: “Now you can’t make excuses for them anymore! You see how bad they are! Tell us who else is in your family. They all need get out of here, because Hashem sent us to destroy the city!”

Lot told his sons-in-law to come, but they didn’t want to — they thought he was joking.

By now it was almost morning, the time for the cities to be destroyed. The malachim told Lot to at least take his daughters, or else he would be stuck in the city when it was destroyed!

Lot wanted to save his things, and he wasn’t ready to leave right away. The malachim grabbed his hands and his wife and two daughters, and pulled them outside the city. Then the malach in charge of them told them to run for their lives, and not to look — because they really deserved to be punished too. “Go run to Avraham!”

Lot didn’t want to run to Avraham, because he knew that next to Avraham, he looks very bad. So he asked if he could run to a different city, Bela, which was not as bad as the others. (Even though this was one of the 5 cities that were supposed to be destroyed, we will see that Hashem agreed not to destroy it as a favor to Lot.)



72 - 76

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Beis to Ayin-Vov.

When we say Kapitel Ayin-Daled, one of the things we think about is how much we want the Geulah. It speaks to us about how the Mishkan and Beis Hamikdash were destroyed, and we don’t see nisim from Hashem anymore. We need the Geulah so much, and we cry out to Hashem “Ad Mosai!”

One of the pesukim in the Kapitel is “Ad Mosai Elokim Yechoref Tzar” — “Hashem, Ad Mosai? How long will You let the goyim say chutzpa’dike things?”

Still, even in Golus, there are times when Hashem shines in the world and we can see real nissim!

These nisim remind us that Hashem is WITH US in Golus and that the Geulah is coming very soon!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

The Alter Rebbe is explaining the words of the Zohar: “Tzadika De’ispater Ishtakach Bekulhu Almin Yatir Mi’bechayohi” — after a tzadik passes away, he is found in ALL of the words more than in his lifetime. The Alter Rebbe asked a question on this. We can understand that the tzadik is found more in the Ruchnius worlds. We can also understand that the tzadik’s zechus and brachos are here even in this Gashmius world. But how can you say that the tzadik’s life, which we don’t see b’Gashmius, is found MORE in this Gashmius’dike world than before? Didn’t the tzadik leave the Gashmius’dike world?

To understand this, yesterday the Alter Rebbe told us what a tzadik’s life is, and how it is different than a regular person — that the entire life of a tzadik is his neshama, his emunah, his Ahava and Yirah. The guf is only a way for it to shine in this world.

The Alter Rebbe continues:

When a tzadik is alive b’Gashmius in this world, a chossid is connected to the tzadik by listening to how the Rebbe teaches him to act, and trying to understand what the tzadik wants. But the tzadik’s neshama can only be in one place — in the holy guf of the tzadik. The Chassidim only get the shine of the tzadik’s neshama through his holy guf by watching and hearing the tzadik.

After the histalkus of the tzadik, each of the chassidim get a little piece of the tzadik’s neshama itself inside of them. So we can feel a little bit of the Emunah, the Ahava and Yiras Shomayim of the tzadik, and so the tzadik lives inside of us.

But there is a condition to be able to live with a part of the tzadik’s neshama inside of us! That is what it says in one of the Yud-Beis Pesukim: Yogaati Umotzosi Taamin, we need to work hard to be connected to the midos of the tzadik! We can learn how to do this by following what the tzadik taught.

When a Rebbe has a piece of his neshama — his life — in so many chassidim, his life is more present even in this Gashmius’dike world than before.



Yud-Daled Mar-Cheshvan

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn that by being involved in “Ruchnius’dike parnasa” by strengthening Yiddishkeit, we get brachos from Hashem in a way that is higher than teva! The Rebbe will explain two pesukim, one from this week’s parsha and one from Tehillim, that will show this to us.

We learn in this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayeira, that Hashem spoke to Avraham before He destroyed Sedom and Amora. The Torah also tells us why Hashem spoke to him: Because Avraham is “Av Hamon Goyim” — the “father” of many nations, including Sedom and Amora, Hashem didn’t want to destroy them without speaking to Avraham first, the father of those nations.

Another reason why Hashem told him is because Hashem loves Avraham.

Why does Hashem love Avraham? The posuk also tells us why! “Ki Yedaativ Lemaan Asher Yetzaveh Es Banav Ve’es Beiso Acharav, Veshamru Derech Hashem” “Hashem loves him because he is going to teach his children and his family after him that they should follow the Derech Hashem (way of Hashem) … which will bring brachos to Avraham and his family.”

What is the “way of Hashem” that Avraham is teaching his family? The Rebbe tells us today that really there are two different ways to live in the world.

1) Derech Elokim — This is the way of nature. Elokim is the name of Hashem which hides Him in the world and makes it seem like the world runs by itself according to the rules of nature.

Living according to the Derech Elokim is living the way goyim live in the world.

2) Derech Havaya (Derech Hashem) — This is the way a Yid behaves in the world. We follow the laws of Torah and mitzvos, which don’t have to make sense in the rules of nature. (Havaya is the name of Hashem which is above nature.)

When we keep the Derech Hashem, doing mitzvos which don’t have to follow nature, then Hashem gives us brachos that are much more than would make sense in nature, too!

This helps us understand the meaning of a posuk in Tehillim: “MeHashem Mitzadei Gever Konanu Vedarko Yechpatz” — “Hashem sets up the steps of a person, because He wants His derech.” This means that Hashem puts every person in the place that they are, for a reason — because He wants us to follow the Derech Hashem! He wants us to keep the Torah and mitzvos, which will make the world a comfortable place for Hashem.

So wherever we end up, we need to look for ways to follow the Derech Hashem. We need to work hard to find opportunities to strengthen Torah and mitzvos, just like we work hard to find ways to make money to live.

We follow the Derech Hashem, which Avraham taught to his children! This brings down all of Hashem’s brachos.



Shiur #99 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #187, #186, #189, #190, #191, #192

Today we learn more mitzvos about what we are not allowed to eat:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #187) We are not allowed to eat milk and meat together (basar b’chalav).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Ki Sisa: לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Ches.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #186) We are not allowed to cook milk and meat together (even if we aren’t going to eat it).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #189) We are not allowed to eat bread (Lechem) from new grain of that year, until the day that the Korban Omer is brought on 16 Nissan. The new grain is called “Chodosh.”

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Menachos perek Zayin, and many places in Mesechta Shviis, Mesechta Maasros, and Mesechta Challah.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #190) There is a separate mitzvah not to eat roasted grain (Koli) from chodosh.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Menachos perek Zayin, and many places in Mesechta Shviis, Mesechta Maasros, and Mesechta Challah.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #191) There is a separate mitzvah not to eat fresh grain (Karmel) from chodosh.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ עַד עֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה

The details are explained in Mesechta Menachos perek Zayin, and many places in Mesechta Shviis, Mesechta Maasros, and Mesechta Challah.

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #192) We are not allowed to eat fruit from a tree for the first three years it grows (Orlah).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים לֹא יֵאָכֵל



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

In today’s Rambam, perakim Yud-Daled, Tes-Vov, and Tes-Zayin, we learn about when a person is chayav to be punished by the Beis Din for eating asur food. Just like at the Seder we eat a certain amount of matzah in a certain amount of time, a person only gets punished if he eats a certain amount of food in a certain amount of time.

We also learn about when a food is botul and is considered as if it’s not there. Let’s say you have a big pot of chicken soup cooking on the stove, when your baby brother comes into the kitchen. He takes his bottle of milk and throws it on the floor. It opens, and the milk splashes all over the kitchen! Is it still okay to eat the chicken soup, since some milk splashed inside? The answer is yes, because it is botul. There is SO MUCH chicken soup, and SO LITTLE milk that it doesn’t make the food non-kosher.

There are many halachos about bittul. Some kinds of food can NEVER become botul, and sometimes you need as much as 200 times more of the kosher food than the non-kosher food!



Hilchos Rotzeiach - Perek Daled

The Rambam teaches that only if a person MEANT to kill THAT SPECIFIC person in THAT way, does the Beis Din punish him. We also learn how to treat a murderer that the Beis Din is not allowed to kill, and who it is a mitzvah to kill.



Tov LaShomayim, Tov LaBriyos

Today is Tuesday, Yom Shlishi.

When Hashem created the world, Yom Shlishi was an extra special day! On all of the other days, Hashem looked at what was created that day and said, “Ki Tov,” that it was good. But on Yom Shlishi, Hashem said “Ki Tov” TWO times!

The Rebbe teaches us that these two times that Hashem said it was tov, good, teach us something very important: We need to make sure that our own Avodas Hashem is in a way of TWO kinds of good — Tov LaShomayim and Tov LaBriyos.

Something that is Tov LaShomayim, good for Shomayim, is something we do for Hashem, like our learning and davening. Tov LaBriyos, good for creations, is something that helps other people, like giving tzedakah or doing Hachnosas Orchim. We need to make sure our avodah has BOTH kinds!

But that’s not enough. Hashem said Ki Tov twice for the same day — the same time! We also need to make sure that we have both kinds of Tov at the same time!

But how do we do that? When we’re davening, it’s just Tov LaShomayim! How can we daven in a way that it helps other people too?

At the beginning of davening, we say right away, “Hareini Mekabel Alai Mitzvas Asei Shel Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha!” We start off our davening thinking about how we are ready to help every other Yid! Not only does this make our davening Tov Labriyos, it helps our davening too, because Hashem is more ready to accept our tefillos when we have Achdus with other Yidden!

But what about Tov LaBriyos? If we’re doing a favor for another person, how is that Tov LaShomayim?

When we remember that helping another person is a mitzvah, that makes it also Tov LaShomayim! And when we help another person because it is a mitzvah of Hashem, that also helps our favor to be done in a better way! Because usually we like to be nice to other people since it feels good to help. But what if it doesn’t feel good, like if the other person keeps complaining? If we remember that we’re doing it because it’s a mitzvah, we’ll help the other person anyway!

This way, we can make sure that our avodah ALL the time is done in a way of Tov LaShomayim AND Tov LaBriyos.

See Sicha to Nshei Ubnos Chabad, Chof-Ches Iyar Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches


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Az Yashir (3)

The last part of Pesukei Dezimra before Yishtabach is Az Yashir.

The Zohar says many special things about how important it is to say Az Yashir in davening. One thing it says is that if we say Az Yashir during Golus, we will be zoche to say it when Moshiach comes!

The last line of Az Yashir is the posukHashem Yimloch Le’olam Va’ed.”

After saying “Hashem Yimloch Le’olam Va’ed” twice, we say it one more time — but this time, we say it in Targum (translation), in Aramaic! This is something the Arizal taught us to do.

We also say then the posukKi Va Sus Paraoh,” which comes right after the Shirah in Parshas Beshalach. This is also based on the teachings of the Arizal.



Bechanuni Na Bezos

Sometimes a person wants to make conditions about their mitzvos. A person might think, “I will daven with kavana if Hashem makes me find my lost bicycle.”

We are not allowed to do this. It is called testing Hashem. Instead, we need to act in a way of “Tomim Tihiyeh Im Hashem Elokecha,” we do our mitzvos in a tmimus’dike way, without calculating what will happen afterwards. Not all of Hashem’s rewards happen right away or in a clear way, and we can’t make conditions for the mitzvos we do.

But there is one mitzvah that is different: Tzedakah!

For this mitzvah, Hashem says that we SHOULD test Him. We learn this from a posuk in Malachi, where Hashem says “Bechanuni Na Bezos,” “test me with this!” Hashem promises that when we give tzedakah, we WILL see clear brachos!

The Rebbe once wrote about this to a Yid who had given a big donation to tzedakah.

The Rebbe told him that he was happy to see that Hashem’s bracha did come quickly! Soon after giving this big donation, the Yid was zoche to the biggest bracha that parents can have — their oldest son got married and began to build a beautiful Yiddishe home.

Likutei Sichos vol 39 p. 294; See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deiah end of siman 247

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



The Alef of Geulah

The name of something in Lashon Kodesh is more than just a name — it shows us what the thing really is.

If we look at the letters of “Golah” (Golus) and “Geulah,” we will see that they are almost exactly the same! The only difference is that Geulah has one extra letter: An Alef.

That’s because really, Geulah is made up of all of the things of Golus together with an Alef.

What does that mean?

Hashem created the world as an Olam, from the same word as Helem, hidden — a place of hiding. The world was made in a way that Hashem will be hidden, and the creations there can’t see that Hashem is the Creator.

Because of this, even though it’s such a beautiful world, many terrible things can happen. There can be wars, hunger, sickness and jealousy.

But the Alef changes all of this!

What is an Alef?

One of the things “Alef” means is “Aluf,” master.

When Moshiach comes, the Aluf, the Master of the world, won’t be hidden anymore. The Alef will appear! So even though all of the Gashmius of the world will be the same as it was in Golus, everyone and everything will recognize that Hashem is the Master of the world!

When Hashem isn’t hidden anymore at all, and the world is a world of Geulah, none of these things will be able to happen. There will be no more hunger, no more war, and no more jealousy. Everything will be good for everyone!

See farbrengen of Parshas Emor, Tof-Shin-Nun-Alef

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