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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Shlishi with Rashi

Yesterday we learned how Avraham made Eliezer his shliach to find a shidduch for Yitzchak. Today we learn about the beginning of the hatzlacha of this shlichus!

Eliezer took ten of Avraham’s camels and some people along. These camels were special, and are called Avraham’s camels, because they had muzzles which kept them from stealing by eating from other people’s fields!

Avraham wrote a contract that said that everything he has belongs to Yitzchak, and gave it to Eliezer to show to the girl’s family. When they see that Yitzchak is very rich, they will want their daughter to marry him!

Eliezer traveled to Charan, where Nachor, Avraham’s brother, lived.

Hashem gave Eliezer kefitzas haderech, and he came in one day, even though it would usually take 17 days!

Eliezer brought the camels to the well at night, when girls go get water for their houses. He davened that Hashem should help him find the right girl. He said to Hashem he would make a sign: If he would ask a girl to give him some water, and she would also give his camels water, that would be the right wife for Yitzchak. Since she would be a girl of chesed, he would know that Hashem was showing him the right girl and she is worthy to marry into the family of Avraham.

He hadn’t even finished davening, when Rivka (the daughter of Besuel and the granddaughter of Nachor, Avraham’s brother) came out. She was beautiful and very tznius’dik. When she went down to the well, the water got higher so it would be easier for her to fill her pitcher! Eliezer saw the neis, and realized she was probably a tzadeikes.

Eliezer ran over to her and asked for a little drink. She right away gave him her pitcher and told him to drink. Then she said, “I will go get water for your camels and the people who came with you.” She poured her pitcher into the trough where the camels could drink, and ran back to the well to bring more.

Now that she had done everything Eliezer had asked for as a sign, he wondered if she was really from Avraham’s family. Had he really found the right girl already?

But even though he didn’t know who she was yet, he trusted that Avraham deserved nisim, and after all, Avraham had promised that Hashem would make it work.

So after the camels had drank as much as they wanted, he took out presents. He gave Rivka a gold nose ring that weighed a half a shekel, and two gold bracelets that weighed 10 shekels, so she would be engaged to Yitzchak! The half shekel of the nose ring was a hint to the Machatzis Hashekel that would help build the Mishkan, the two bracelets were a hint to the two Luchos, and the ten shekel they weighed hinted to the Aseres Hadibros.

Eliezer was sure that Hashem had given him hatzlacha in his shlichus in Avraham Avinu’s zechus. He was so sure, that he FIRST got Rivka engaged to Yitzchak, and only afterwards asked her any questions!

He asked Rivkah, “Who is your father? And can I stay there overnight?”

Rivkah answered in order, that her father was Besuel, the son of Nachor and Milka. And that they had plenty of straw and food for the camels, and place to stay A LOT of nights!

Hearing that Rivkah was indeed from Avraham’s family, Eliezer saw that Hashem had given him success. He bowed to Hashem to thank Him.



108 - 112

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Ches to Kuf-Yud-Beis.

Kapitelach with an extra special message were written with pesukim in the order of the Alef-Beis. One example is Ashrei, which we say three times a day. It is a very special kapitel, and is set up according to the Alef-Beis — each posuk starts with one of the Alef-Beis, in order.

In today’s Tehillim, we have another two of these special kapitelach! Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Alef and Kuf-Yud-Beis have a new letter of the Alef-Beis at the beginning of each part of a posuk. Kuf-Yud-Alef speaks about the greatness of Hashem, and Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Beis talks about the greatness of a tzadik.

One of the pesukim in this kapitel is “Mishmuah Rah Lo Yira, Nachon Libo Batuach BaHashem” — “he is not afraid of bad news, because he has strong bitachon in Hashem.”

We see an example of this in today’s Hayom Yom, how the Tzemach Tzedek wasn’t afraid of the government — he stood strong with bitachon in Hashem and Mesiras Nefesh for Yiddishkeit!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

So far we learned that doing mitzvos in this world, which is Hashem’s Ratzon, makes “clothes” which help the neshama feel Hashem in Gan Eden. Today we learn that there is a part of Torah that makes this happen too — halacha!

Hashem gave us 613 mitzvos. All of these mitzvos are written in the Torah. But if you try to figure out the mitzvos just by learning Chumash, you’ll never understand what Hashem really wants! For example, it says in Torah that we don’t do melacha on Shabbos. But it doesn’t say what that means! The Chachomim taught us that this means not to do the 39 melachos, and explained all of the halachos of how to do that.

So without the halachos the Chachomim taught us, we can know THAT we need to do the mitzvos, but not HOW to keep them. The halachos are not just another part of Torah, they are the HIGHEST part of Torah! They’re the ones that really show us what Hashem wants!

In Olam Haba, we get to appreciate the chayus of Hashem that comes from His Ratzon, what He wants. The part of Torah that explains the Ratzon of Hashem which is in mitzvos is the halachos in Torah. That’s why it says that a person who learns halachos every day is promised Olam Haba — because by knowing the halachos you’ll be able to feel close to Hashem in Olam Haba!



Chof-Gimmel Mar-Cheshvan

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn about the Mesiras Nefesh that the Tzemach Tzedek had for Yiddishe Chinuch.

In the times of the Tzemach Tzedek, there was a group of Yidden that (R”L) wanted everyone to stop keeping mitzvos. They didn’t mind doing “Jewish” kinds of things, but only if THEY liked them — not because Hashem said so. This group was called the Maskilim.

The Maskilim tried to get the government to force the frum Yidden to act that way too. They especially tried to make laws that made it hard for Rabonim, and to change the way children were taught.

In Tof-Reish-Gimmel (5603), a group of Rabonim gathered together in Petersburg. The Maskilim and the government wanted them to agree to these new laws. The Tzemach Tzedek said absolutely not! Every time he refused to give in to the government at one of the meetings, they would arrest him again. All together, he was arrested 22 times!

One of the officers asked the Tzemach Tzedek why he is acting this way. He is making the government angry at him, and that can be dangerous!

The Tzemach Tzedek answered that going against the government is a danger for the guf. But going against Hashem (Chas Veshalom) is a danger for the NESHAMA! Which is worse?



Shiur #124 - Mitzvas Asei #124, #122, Lo Saasei #213, 214

Today we learn the last mitzvos about what we leave in our fields for the poor people.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #124) If one or two grapes fall on the ground while we are picking them, we need to leave them there for poor people to take later. (This mitzvah, and the other mitzvos of gifts to the poor from our fields, are only kept in Eretz Yisroel.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וּפֶרֶט כַּרְמְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #213) It is asur to pick up the grapes that fall on the ground. We need to leave them for the poor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וּפֶרֶט כַּרְמְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט

3) (Mitzvas Asei #122) If we forget a bundle of grain in the field when we are cutting the wheat, or forget to harvest one of our trees, we need to leave it for the poor. (This mitzvah is also only in Eretz Yisroel.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְשָׁכַחְתָּ עֹמֶר בַּשָּׂדֶה לֹא תָשׁוּב לְקַחְתּוֹ לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה יִהְיֶה

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #214) We are not allowed to go back and get the bundle of wheat, or pick from the tree that we forgot.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וְשָׁכַחְתָּ עֹמֶר בַּשָּׂדֶה לֹא תָשׁוּב לְקַחְתּוֹ

We learn the details of all of these mitzvos in Mesechta Pe’ah.



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the 5th and 6th presents for poor people from the fields, Shichecha and Maaser. Finally, we start learning about Tzedakah! This is what the last perakim in Hilchos Matnos Aniyim are about.

Perek Hey: We learn the halachos about Shichecha: If someone forgets a bundle of grain in the field, he has to leave it for the poor. We also learn that if someone forgets to pick the fruit off one of the trees in his orchard, that is also shichecha.

Perek Vov: Now we will learn the halachos about Maaser. First we review the halachos about the order of giving Terumah and maaser:

1) First we pick whatever grew and prepare it to be used. (For example, we separate the wheat kernels, or we squeeze the juice from the grapes.)

2) Then we take 1/50th for Terumah Gedolah, which goes to the Kohen.

3) Next we take 1/10th of what’s left for Maaser Rishon, which goes to the Levi. (He needs to take Terumas Hamaaser, 1/10th of what he got, for the Kohen.)

4) Finally, we take another 1/10th of what is left for Maaser Sheini. On the first, second, fourth, and fifth years after Shemitah, this is for the owner to eat in Yerushalayim. On the 3rd and 6th years, it is Maaser Oni — for the poor.

When a person has Maaser Oni, he needs to give any poor person that comes to his field at least enough to make him full. If he has a poor relative or friend, he can set aside up to half of the Maaser for him. If he has Maaser Ani at home, he can go give it to a certain person if he wants, or else he needs to give at least a kezayis to anyone who comes and asks.

Perek Zayin: Now we start learning the halachos of the mitzvah of giving Tzedakah! We need to give a poor person what he needs.

One halacha is that if someone says he is hungry, we give him right away. If someone says he needs clothes, we can first check if he is telling the truth. When a person goes from door to door to collect money, we give him a little bit, since he will be getting from a lot of people.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Tes-Zayin

We learn the halachos about what types of walls can surround an area to make it into a different type of reshus. (Halacha calls these walls mechitzos, and nowadays many people call it an “eruv.”)



Chassidishe Parsha

We learn in Pirkei Avos that “Yafah Sha’ah Achas BeTeshuvah Umaasim Tovim BaOlam Hazeh, Mikol Chayei Olam Haba.” “One hour of Teshuvah and mitzvos in the world is better than the whole Olam Haba!”

Why is that? Because the only way to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden is like we learned in Tanya — through using “clothes” made of mitzvos, that will let us see it. Otherwise, we can’t see the light of Hashem!

In our parsha, the Torah says that Avraham grew old. The Torah uses the expression that he was “Ba Bayamim,” “coming along in days.” The Zohar explains that he “came with his days” — Avraham came with the koach of every single day! He never missed a chance to do a mitzvos, so he had the mitzvos of every day of his whole life with him in a complete way!

What does that mean to regular people like us, who might have missed some chances to do mitzvos?

With the koach of teshuvah, Hashem can help us make up for any chances we missed so that we can also have complete days, like Avraham Avinu.

See maamar Vayiheyu Chayei Sarah 5745


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The sixth posuk of the Yud-Beis Pesukim starts with the words “Vehinei Hashem.” This posuk comes from the Tanya, in Perek Mem-Alef. The Alter Rebbe uses these words to strengthen our Yiras Shomayim, by remembering that Hashem is always watching us to see if we will behave in the right way!

Vehinei Hashem Nitzav Alav — Hashem is standing right next to us!

U’melo Chol Ha’aretz Kevodo — And even though Hashem’s glory fills the world,

U’mabit Alav — Hashem is looking specifically at US!

Uvochein Klayos Valeiv — Hashem checks to see what we are thinking and feeling

Im Ovdo Kara’ui — To see if we are serving Hashem the way we should.

When we think about this, we will be careful to always do what Hashem wants!



Fighting for a Mitzvah

We love mitzvos!

But even if we love them very much, it is NOT a mitzvah to fight to get to do a mitzvah ourselves. So, for example, a person shouldn’t fight to be the chazan in shul, or to do Gelilah for the Sefer Torah.

We learn this from what it says in the Mishnah about the kohanim and the Lechem Hapanim:

In the Beis Hamikdash, there were 12 loaves of bread for the Lechem Hapanim and a lot of kohanim who wanted the mitzvah of eating them! The tznuim (the aidel ones) didn’t even stretch out their hands, while the gargeranim (the greedy ones) grabbed all of it. The kohanim knew that it is NOT a mitzvah to fight for the mitzvah!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Gimmel, se’if Chof-Tes

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



Kefitzas Haderech for Moshiach

When Eliezer told Rivkah’s family about how he had come, he told them that he traveled and came to the well on that same day. Rashi explains that Eliezer had Kefitzas Haderech, and his whole trip was finished that day!

Why did Hashem need to make a neis and have Eliezer come earlier? Why couldn’t the trip just take as long as it usually did?

The answer is that Rivkah had just turned three, old enough to get married. She was living among resha’im, and as soon as she was old enough to leave, it was an emergency to get her out of there! That’s why Hashem made a neis and gave Eliezer Kefitzas Haderech.

The things that happen to our Avos are also a sign for us — “Maaseh Avos Siman Labanim.”

We learn a lesson from this story, because all Yidden are like Rivkah in a way! We are also trapped among Resha’im, in this long and hard Golus. We need to know that as soon as we are able to get out, Hashem will give us Kefitzas Haderech! We won’t have to stay in Golus for even one extra second! There are just a few small things left, and then Hashem will bring the Geulah right away.

See Likutei Sichos vol 1 p 34, Dvar Malchus Parshas Chayei Sarah

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