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Parshas Lech Lecha - Chamishi with Rashi

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned how Avram won over the four kings, and how the king of Sedom was saved.

The king of Sedom was very happy that his city was rescued in the end. He offered Avram, “If you let all of the people go, you can keep all of the riches in my city!”

Avram answered, “I won’t take even a thread or a shoelace! I don’t want you to say ‘I made Avram rich.’ Only HASHEM will make me rich. But if any of my soldiers want to take things, that is fine.”

After the war, Avram was worried. Maybe since Hashem made a neis for him to win the war, Hashem wouldn’t make any more nissim for him!

Hashem told Avram not to worry, he would get a lot of rewards. Avram told Hashem that the only reward he really wanted was a child. “I have a very good student and servant, Eliezer. If I don’t have any children, he will get everything passed down to him. But he is not my child!”

Hashem told Avram that he WOULD have children! He told Avram to go outside, look up at the sky, and try to count the stars. “This is how many your children will be — you won’t be able to even count them!”

Avram believed that Hashem would do what He said. He didn’t even ask Hashem for a sign!



49 - 54

In today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Avon Akeivai Yesubeini” — “the aveiros of my heels surround me.” Dovid Hamelech was saying that he’s not worried that he’s not keeping the “big” mitzvos that are written in the Torah or taught by the Chachomim, he’s worried that the “small” mitzvos — even though he’s keeping them — might not be kept carefully.

The Rebbe teaches: When we say this in Tehillim, we are also talking about our own mitzvos. Of course we are doing mitzvos — like keeping Shabbos and davening — and even being very careful with them. But we need to be worried about the “small” mitzvos, our Chassidishe Hanhagos — like saying Chitas or having Ahavas Yisroel for a Yid we never met, since we might not be doing these as carefully.

We need be careful with ALL of our mitzvos, the “big” ones AND the “little” ones!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

The Torah is in Golus together with the Shechinah, in the gashmiyus things in the world where we can’t feel that they are from Hashem.

There are two ways to take the Shechinah out of Golus:

1) The first way is to use these gashmiyus things to do what Hashem wants. This way, the kedushah that was in the gashmiyus connects back to Hashem, and comes out of Golus!

2) The second way is to learn about these gashmiyus things in Torah, and understand how the Torah says they should be used. This also brings them out of Golus! It’s even more when the halachos are complicated, and we need to try very hard to figure out what Hashem wants us to do with the gashmiyus. When we finally understand what Hashem wants, we take the Chochmah of Hashem, and the Shechinah that is hiding, and bring them both out of Golus!

Who can do this? Not neshamos in Gan Eden, and not malachim! Only a Yid who is living in the world with a gashmiyus body can do this! We can break the kelipah using our Torah learning, because our guf has this same kelipah. Neshamos and malachim aren’t stuck in Golus, so they can’t do it!

When we learn Torah and figure out how the halachos make sense, we find new things in the Torah! These are called “Chiddushei Torah” — parts of Torah that nobody noticed before! The neshamos in Gan Eden are very excited, and they come to hear our Chiddushei Torah, because they can’t do it themselves!

To make sure that our neshama can do its whole shlichus, we need to make sure to find Chiddushim in our Torah learning!



Tes Mar-Cheshvan

When the Rebbe Rashab was 4 or 5, he came to his Zaide the Tzemach Tzedek on Shabbos Parshas Vayeira. He started to cry, and asked how come Hashem appeared to Avraham Avinu and not to us?

The Tzemach Tzedek answered that when a 99 year old tzadik decides to have a bris, he deserves that Hashem should appear to him.

The Rebbe tells us that since we were told this story by a Rebbe, we need to learn a lesson from it! One thing we can learn from this is that even little kids can feel that they want to be able to see Hashem. Even kids can care so much about their connection to Hashem and Yiddishkeit that they will cry if they are missing it!



Shiur #94 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #353, Asei #149

Today we learn one last mitzvah about keeping marriage holy, and then we learn a mitzvah from the next part of Rambam — keeping kosher!

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #353) A person should be careful not to do things that might make him want to marry someone he’s not allowed to get married to.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Acharei: אִישׁ אִישׁ אֶל כָּל שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרוֹ לֹא תִקְרְבוּ לְגַלּוֹת עֶרְוָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Yevamos perek Daled.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #149) It is a mitzvah to check animals before we eat them, to make sure they are kosher kinds of animals.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: זֹאת הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלוּ וְגוֹ׳

The details are explained in Mesechta Bechoros and Mesechta Chulin.



Hilchos Isurei Biah - Maachalos Asuros

Today’s Rambam are the last two perakim of Isurei Biah, Perek Chof-Alef and Chof-Beis, and the first perek of Maachalos Asuros.

In today’s first two perakim, we finish the halachos about keeping marriages holy.

In Yiddishkeit, getting married and having children is a very holy, very special thing. Chassidus teaches that a married man and woman are a reflection of two special kinds of chayus of Hashem in this Gashmius world!

Since it is so HOLY, the Yetzer Hara tries very hard to stop us from getting married in a way of Kedusha. All of the mitzvos and halachos we are learning aren’t always easy to keep, but they make sure that our marriage is only in the way Hashem wants.

If you’re young, you might not understand why it’s so hard to keep these mitzvos. That’s because Hashem doesn’t give a person this Yetzer Hara until the body is more mature — usually at least 8 or 9, and often only around Bar or Bas Mitzvah.

One of the things the Rambam teaches us is that when a person reaches marriageable age, parents have a responsibility to help their children get married right away. This way, the Yetzer Hara won’t bother them so much.

In Perek Chof-Beis, the Rambam speaks about the halachos of Yichud, which are important for everyone to know. Yichud means that a man and woman who are not married should not be alone together in a private place. The Chachomim made these halachos to keep aveiros from happening.

We also start to learn a new set of halachos — about keeping ourselves holy, through only eating kosher! The food that we eat is very important, because it becomes part of us.

In today’s Rambam we learn about kosher and non-kosher animals and birds. Do you know what signs a kosher animal has to have?

- it chews its cud (swallows its food, but then goes back and chews it again and again)

- it has split hooves (hard feet that are split in half)

The Torah tells us the names of 24 birds that are not kosher, all other kinds of birds are kosher. But if you don’t know all of these birds and what they look like, you can only eat a kind of bird that you KNOW is kosher.

The Rambam also gives us signs to know what’s a kosher or a non-kosher bird. One way to know that a bird is NOT kosher is if it attacks other birds or animals with its claws and eats them. Can you think why that kind of bird is not kosher?

We also learn the signs of kosher locusts, and kosher fish. (Do you know what signs a kosher fish has?)



Hilchos Choveil U'Mazik - Perek Zayin

Today we learn about kinds of damage that you can’t see — like making something tomei, where it doesn’t look different. We also learn about doing something that makes something get damaged, like moving a pillow away when a glass is falling, and when someone isn’t sure how much damage he did.



Story of the Rebbe

Rabbi Groner, the Rebbe’s secretary, once told this story:

A Yid from Eretz Yisroel called to ask for a bracha for his daughter, who was very sick. Next to the name of the girl, the Rebbe wrote the words “Azkir Al Hatzion” (“I will daven by the Ohel”), by the father’s name the Rebbe wrote “Does he go on mivtzoyim?” Rabbi Groner called and told the father the Rebbe’s answer.

The father soon called back to say that he was doing mivtzoyim at the nearest Chabad House.

A few days later, the Rebbe told Rabbi Groner to find out how the girl was doing. The man told Rabbi Groner that it was a miracle! His daughter was much better.

When Rabbi Groner told the Rebbe this, the Rebbe said, “Look what mivtzoyim can accomplish!”


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Boruch Hashem Le'olam

After we finish the last kapitelach of Tehillim, we stand up and say a paragraph starting with the words, “Boruch Hashem Le’olam.”

This paragraph has pesukim from a few different kapitelach of Tehillim. The first posuk is the last posuk of Kapitel Pey-Tes, which is the last kapitel of Sefer Shlishi of Tehillim. The third and fourth pesukim are the last pesukim of Kapitel Ayin-Beis, which is the last kapitel of Sefer Sheini of Tehillim!

This is how we finish off this part of Pesukei Dezimra, praising Hashem with the words of Tehillim.




When you hear a bracha, you are supposed to answer Amen.

What do you think about when you say Amen?

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch teaches us what we should have in mind when we say Amen: It depends what we are answering Amen to!

The word Amen means “true,” like the word Emes.

When we answer Amen to a bracha (like if someone makes a bracha on food), we should think that the bracha the person said praising Hashem is true, and we also agree that Hashem should be praised that way.

When we answer Amen to a bracha that is a Tefillah, asking Hashem for something (like the brachos in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei), we have in mind TWO things: That the bracha is true, and also that we want the Tefillah to come true and be fulfilled very soon!

When we answer Amen to Kaddish, which is ONLY a Tefillah, we just have in mind that this Tefillah (Yisgadal Veyiskadash Shemei Rabah — that Hashem’s name should be recognized in the world) should come true very soon!

See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman Vov, se’if Ches

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



Hard Times Close to Geulah

Even though we are so close to the Geulah, and the Rebbe says that Moshiach is right here, there are sad things that happen. It still feels like Golus, and it is very hard.

The Or Hachama, a pirush on the Zohar, talks about times like this. The Or Hachama says that even when the Geulah is ready from Hashem, there will still be hard things happening in the world. But there is something we can do about it!

The koach of Yiddishe kinderlach can take away these hard times. By kids learning Torah and doing mitzvos, we are able to get rid of the painful moments of Golus right before we will be able to see the Geulah — may it be NOW, mamosh!

See Pirush Or Hachama 9a, Sodos Hageulah, p. 135

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