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Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Avraham Avinu bought Me’aras Hamachpeila to bury Sarah.

Sarah Imeinu heard about the Akeidah, how Avraham had been about to bring her only son as a korban, and that he was saved at the last minute. It was too much shock for her, and it caused her to pass away. She was 127 years old.

Sarah’s whole life was good in every way — she had the good parts about being young even when she was old! Hashem had made her look young and beautiful again before she had Yitzchak, and she stayed that way for the rest of her life. Sarah was a tzadeikes, and passed away without any aveiros.

Avraham had been in Be’er Sheva. He came to Chevron, where Sarah passed away, to mourn for her. He wanted to bury her in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, which belonged to one of the people of Cheis. He asked the Bnei-Cheis if he could buy part of the land to bury Sarah.

The Bnei-Cheis at first offered Avraham to bury Sarah in one of their cemeteries, but Avraham wanted just Me’aras Hamachpeilah! He told them to ask Efron, who had bought the field where Me’aras Hamachpeilah was, if he could buy the cave. He told them that he was ready to pay the whole price.

Efron at first said that he was ready to GIVE it to Avraham — and the whole field, not just the cave!

Avraham said that he wanted to PAY for the field! So Efron pretended to be very nice and said, “Oh, you don’t have to pay me the 400 silver shekels that this field would cost! You can have it for free to bury your wife.”

Avraham could tell that Efron really wanted a HUGE amount of money! He paid Efron all 400 silver shekels, and now nobody could ever argue that Me’aras Hamachpeila didn’t belong to Avraham.



90 - 96

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Tzadik through Tzadik-Vov.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Tzadik-Daled, there is a posukAshrei Hagever Asher Teyasrenu Kah, UmiToras’cha Selamdenu.” “A person is fortunate if Hashem makes him suffer, and You teach him from Your Torah.”

Why is he fortunate? Because Hashem is showing him that he can be better than he is right now! How can he become better? He can try to figure out what he needs to fix, so now he can grow!

If a baby never got uncomfortable about just being able to crawl, would he ever learn how to walk or run? Really we are very fortunate when we start being uncomfortable about being how we are — this helps us to work hard to be much better and do much more!

But what should we do if we can’t figure out what to fix, but we STILL feel like something is wrong? The answer to this is in the end of the posuk: “UmiTorascha Selamdenu” — We should learn Torah! The Torah is the chochmah of Hashem, and just like Hashem has no limits (Ein Sof), the Torah has no limits! When we learn it, we will always find MORE things we could be doing, and find another part of our life that we can make better than before. Then we will feel very happy that Hashem gave us this chance to grow and to bring the Geulah!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

Now we are starting a new letter from the Alter Rebbe. This letter will help us appreciate how special the halachos of Torah are, since they help us do the mitzvos properly.

But first we will learn an explanation of what the Arizal says — that a neshama needs to keep coming back into this world (gilgul) in order to fulfill all of the 613 mitzvos that it is possible for the neshama to keep. The Alter Rebbe explains to us why the neshama needs to have all 613 mitzvos, because they are the “clothes” for all 613 parts of the neshama to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden.

Sometimes we need special “clothes” to appreciate things! The light of the sun is so bright that we need to use a special kind of sunglasses to look at it. We need warm clothes to be able to go outside and enjoy the snow. The same thing is true about being able to see the light of Hashem in Gan Eden! The light of Hashem is so strong that the neshama can only enjoy it if it has certain “clothes.”

When Moshe Rabbeinu was on Har Sinai to learn the Torah from Hashem, he had to go inside of a cloud. From there, he was able to see Hashem!

When the neshama is in Gan Eden, it needs special “clothes” to see Hashem too. Those “clothes” are the mitzvos we do in this world! If we are missing these mitzvos, Chas Veshalom, we will be missing what we need to be able to see the light of Hashem in Gan Eden!



Yud-Tes Mar-Cheshvan

Today is 30 days before the Yom Tov of Yud-Tes Kislev, the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus! Thirty days before a Yom Tov, we start learning about the Yom Tov. In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something the Alter Rebbe told someone in Yechidus, about what Chassidus is.

Chassidus accomplished something very special. It used to be that if a Yid wanted to learn about the greatness of Hashem, he would have to learn Kabbalah. But by learning Kabbalah, a person can feel it with their neshama, but can’t really understand it! Chassidus helped us take these very Ruchniyus’dike things and really understand them, by giving us examples from things we know about.

And that’s what the Alter Rebbe told a Chossid in Yechidus — that “Chassidus is Shema Yisroel.” This idea is hinted to in the words “Shema Yisroel!”

The word “Shema” is the Roshei Teivos of a posuk — “Se’u Marom Eineichem, Ure’u Mi Bara Eileh.” “Lift up your eyes very high, and see Who created all of these things (the whole world).”

This is what Chassidus does! It helps us lift up our eyes to Marom (which is much higher than Shomayim, much higher than a person can understand), and still be able to understand it! Chassidus gives us mashalim through things we already understand, so we have a way to learn about Ruchnius’dike things that our Gashmius minds usually would not be able to understand. This way we can “see” (understand) the Aibishter Who created the whole world!



Mitzvas Asei #169

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #169) of taking a Lulav and Esrog to shake on Sukkos!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים וַעֲנַף עֵץ עָבֹת וְעַרְבֵי נָחַל וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם לִפְנֵי ה׳ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים

The mitzvah from the Torah is that everywhere in the world we should shake the Lulav and Esrog on the first day of Sukkos, and only in the Beis Hamikdash (“Lifnei Hashem”) for all seven days of Sukkos (“Shivas Yamim”).

Only after the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash, because of the takana of R’ Yochanan ben Zakai, do we shake the Lulav and Esrog on all seven days of Sukkos, “Zecher L’Mikdash.” When Moshiach comes it will go back to the way it was before this takana.

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Gemara, Mesechta Sukkah.



Hilchos Shofar V'Sukah V'Lulav

In today’s Rambam, we are finishing Hilchos Shofar V’Sukah V’Lulav.

Perek Vov: After learning about the walls of the sukkah and the sechach, in this perek, we learn the halachos of actually sitting in the sukkah. For example, we learn that you are allowed to eat certain snacks outside of the sukkah, but someone who is careful not to even drink water outside of the sukkahHarei Zeh Meshubach, he is doing something very good and should be praised.

Perek Zayin: We learn about the Daled Minim, the Lulav, Esrog, Hadassim, and Aravos. We learn how to tie them together, how to hold them, and how to shake them. The Rambam says that a child who knows how to shake the lulav has a Mitzvah DeRabbanan to shake the Lulav, because of Chinuch.

Perek Ches: We learn about what makes the Daled Minim posul, and the special simcha we have on Sukkos — including the Simchas Beis Hashoeivah!

The Rambam finishes this set of halachos with a halacha the Rebbe would quote often, about how important it is to have simcha in Avodas Hashem! We can learn from Dovid Hamelech, who didn’t think about his own kavod and danced in front of Hashem at the time that the Aron was coming back to where it belonged. We should also never feel embarrassed to show our simcha in Avodas Hashem!



Hilchos Maaser - Perek Zayin

One of the halachos we learn in this perek is that if we decide that certain fruits or part of the fruits will be maaser, we aren’t allowed to switch it for different fruits.




We learned in Rambam today about the importance of showing simcha in our Avodas Hashem!

In many sichos and letters, the Rebbe speaks about how a Yid needs to have simcha. When we are happy, we do things with more zerizus and in a better, more beautiful way! It is also a keili to bring down bracha from Hashem. The Rebbe also pointed out that people naturally like to be around happy people. So having simcha helps us have more hatzlacha in our shlichus! Here is a story which shows this:

The Shluchim in Lyon, in France, are the Gureveitches. Before they went on Shlichus, they had a Yechidus with the Rebbe! At the very end of the Yechidus, the Rebbe said something unexpected: “You should know that in general, the French people don’t like sad faces.”

Five years later, they finally understood why the Rebbe said that:

The Gurevitches were working hard to build a school for the Jewish children in Lyon. The local government gave them a building to use — and not just ANY building, but a beautiful building! Everyone was very surprised, since the government usually only helped public schools!

The mayor of Lyon gave a speech about the new school. He said that when he saw that Chabad was asking about building a school, he tried to find out what “Chabad” is. People told him that they are a Jewish group that does their work happily! “That’s why I decided to give them a big and beautiful building,” he said, “because I just can’t stand sad faces!”


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Davening With Moshiach

In Pesukei Dezimra, one of the pesukim that we say is “Yismach Yisroel Be’osav,” “The Yidden are happy with Hashem Who made them.”

If we look at the words carefully, there is also a deeper meaning hinted inside!

Yismach Yisroel — This means “Yisroel WILL be happy.” In the future, Yidden will have this simcha!

What is this simcha?

Be’osav — This word means with the ONES who created them, not the ONE who created them. It is talking about the Gashmius’dike world where everything thinks it is separate and has its own creator. When Moshiach comes, Yidden will celebrate because of the simcha Hashem has that this world was changed from a world of kelipah, which feels itself separate, into a world of Kedushah, where everything recognizes that there is one Hashem Who created it all!

We say it during davening nowadays, to show that even in the time of Golus we can also feel this simcha! We don’t have to wait until Moshiach comes, we can already live with the Geulah when we daven!



Kids and Tzedakah

Part of Chinuch for children is giving tzedakah.

We usually teach kids to give tzedakah by giving them nickels or pennies to put in the pushka or hand to a poor person. But that shouldn’t be all!

We should make sure to give kids money to spend themselves, too. That way, we can teach them to give tzedakah from their own money!

See Sefer Hasichos 5752 vol. 2, p. 391

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



Daven With Moshiach

R’ Avraham Yitzchak Kahan ztz”l was known as the Toldos Aharon, a Chassidic Rebbe. He once came to the Rebbe for Yechidus, and spoke for a long time. One of the main things they spoke about was about a Chassidishe davening, and how important it is to learn Chassidus before davening.

One of the things the Rebbe told the Toldos Aharon was that during davening, a person can put himself in a different place! He can put his mind and heart into a place of Geulah and the time of Moshiach, even right now while we are in Golus!

By davening with the “Moshiach” inside of the davening, we can live Moshiach when we daven!

Then the Rebbe gave an example, which we learned today in Biur Tefillah!

See Kovetz “Lifnei Mi Ata Omed”

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