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Parshas Toldos - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Avimelech comes to Yitzchak to renew his promise to have peace with him.

Earlier, Yitzchak left Gerar and went to live in the Gerar Valley, when Avimelech told him to move away. But while he was in the Gerar Valley, the Pelishtim kept fighting with him over his wells.

Now, Yitzchak moved again and went to live in Be’er Sheva.

Hashem appeared to him that night and said, “I am Hashem. Don’t worry about all the fighting, I am with you! I will give you a bracha to have many children coming from you, in Avraham’s zechus.”

Yitzchak built a mizbeiach there to thank Hashem. (We learned before in Chumash, like with Noach and Avraham, that making a Mizbeiach was a way of showing thanks to Hashem.)

Yitzchak set up his tent, and his servants tried to dig another well, but they didn’t find water right away.

In the meantime, Avimelech came from Gerar together with his friends and Fichol his general. Yitzchak asked, “Why are you coming here? You hate me, and sent me away!”

They answered, “We see that Hashem is with you, like with your father. We want you to keep your father’s promise not to bother us, just like we didn’t hurt you when we told you to leave.”



10 - 17

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Yud through Yud-Zayin.

Tehillim tidbits from the Rebbeim of Chassidus:

Baal Shem Tov: In Kapitel Yud, it says “Rasha Kegova Apo Bal Yidrosh” — “A Rasha, because of his gaavah and chutzpah, doesn’t think about how Hashem will punish people who deserve it.”

The Baal Shem Tov tells us that this posuk shows us why it is important to be humble to learn Torah properly: A person who is humble will learn from the Chachomim to understand better the way Hashem wants us to live. But a person with gaavah, “Bal Yidrosh” — he thinks he doesn’t need to hear from anyone else to understand better (“Yidrosh” can also mean to learn), he thinks he is smart enough on his own and doesn’t need to learn more.

See Keser Shem Tov siman Kuf-Mem-Tes

Maggid: In Kapitel Tes-Vov, there is a posuk that starts with the words, “Lo Ragal Al Leshono” — “he doesn’t speak Lashon Hara.” This kapitel is talking about the special things a tzadik has in order to go up to Gan Eden.

Because the tzadik is careful with how he speaks, something special happens!

When a person says Lashon Hara, those words go up to Shomayim. Later, when he speaks words of Torah, the Yetzer Hara tries to push away those words because of the words of Lashon Hara that he said. But because a tzadik DOESN’T have Lashon Hara, his words of Torah and Tefillah go straight up to Hashem!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

It says in Kabbalah that learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and davening make sparks of Ruchnius that are hiding in Gashmius go up to kedusha. In today’s Tanya we see how davening is extra-special! Davening brings the koach of Ein Sof of Hashem into the world to make a change in the world because of what we asked in our Tefillah!

Hashem made the world work in a natural way. The way the world works can make someone get sick chas veshalom, or to chas veshalom not have parnasa, or have a problem in the family. Only the koach that Hashem uses to make the world can change those things — because Hashem MADE it, Hashem can CHANGE it!

Guess what? We bring THIS koach of Hashem in the world when we daven! When we daven, we can ask Hashem to change something in the way the world works!

Chana, the mother of Shmuel Hanavi, didn’t have children for many years. Penina would try to make her feel bad that she wasn’t special. She was very hurt and davened hard to Hashem. That caused Hashem to make a CHANGE in the nature of the world and she had a child — Shmuel Hanavi.

Everything that Hashem does in the world needs to come through the Avodah of a Yid.

What do we need to do so we can deserve to have this special koach when we daven? We need to do just what Hashem does! Hashem’s strongest koach is used to make a change in the world, and WE need to use OUR strongest koach to serve Hashem! When we give all of our chayus to do what Hashem wants — Bechol Me’odecha — Hashem acts the same way, and uses the strongest koach of Ein Sof to change things in the world so Yidden will have all the good things we need.



Beis Kislev

The Gemara tells about an Amora called R’ Elazar. He used to be careful to give tzedakah before he davened.

In a maamar, the Rebbe Maharash explained why: Davening needs to be done with chayus. But we need Hashem’s help to get chayus! When we help ANOTHER Yid to have chayus, by giving tzedakah or helping him in another way, Hashem gives US a lot of chayus for our davening to be very special! (When saying the maamar, the Rebbe Maharash showed with his hands that the chayus is VERY much!)

The Rebbe Rashab was very careful to do this. Before davening, he would LOOK for a poor person to give Tzedakah to!



Shiur #132 - Mitzvas Asei #127

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos, we review the mitzvah we learned yesterday, to bring Maaser Rishon. We need to take 1/10th of what grows in our fields and give it to the Leviim. This mitzvah is kept only in Eretz Yisroel.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Korach: כִּי אֶת מַעְשַׂר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ לַה׳ תְּרוּמָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Maasros.



Hilchos Maaser

In today’s Rambam, we learn about tevel, food that needs maaser taken from it. It is asur to eat tevel.

Perek Daled: Food becomes tevel once it is brought into a house. We are allowed to eat food that is still in the field without taking maaser first. One halacha is that if someone meant to eat it outside and forgot, he is allowed to bring the food back outside and eat it there — it isn’t considered tevel.

Perek Hey: When food is sold, the halacha is a little bit different. If a person buys apples that are still on the tree, he doesn’t have to take maaser before eating any of them. But if the apples are already in a bucket, even if they are still in the field, he needs to take maaser before he can eat them!

Perek Vov: We are not allowed to give tevel as a present, or to plant it. We are only allowed to sell tevel if we HAVE to, and even then, only to a Talmid Chochom, so we can be sure maaser will be taken from it!



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Chof-Daled

In today’s Rambam, we learn about other things we don’t do on Shabbos, even if they aren’t similar to a melacha and won’t lead to a melacha. These things we don’t do because they aren’t Shabbosdik things to do, even though they have nothing to do with a melacha. The Chachomim learned from a posuk (“Mimtzo Cheftzecha VeDaber Davar”) that we shouldn’t act like we do during the week.

We learn not to speak about business like we do during the week. We are allowed to talk about money for the sake of a mitzvah though, like to raise money for tzedakah.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is a Chassidishe Yom Tov!

In about a month we will celebrate Hey Teves, the day when we celebrate Didan Notzach, when even goyim in court recognized what a Rebbe is, and that the seforim that were argued about belong to the Rebbe and to Chassidim. But even though this was decided on Hey Teves, the seforim which were taken from the Rebbe’s library were not brought back until today, Beis Kislev.

When the seforim came back to 770, the Rebbe and Chassidim were very happy!

The Rebbe saw some bochurim standing outside during seder (the time of learning in Yeshiva) waiting for the seforim to come back, and reminded them that Didan Notzach means that we should learn from the seforim and live the way a chossid should!

The Rebbe asked to print some of these seforim, so EVERYONE can learn from them!


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Bechol Dor Vador Chayav Adam Liros Es Atzmo Ke’ilu Hu Yatza Mimitzrayim.” The Mishna tells us that in every generation, we need to think that we are going out of Mitzrayim.

The Alter Rebbe tells us that this doesn’t only happen once a year on Pesach, but we come out of Mitzrayim every single day!

What is this Mitzrayim?

Our guf is our Mitzrayim. Our neshama very much wants to be close to Hashem, but the guf has other ideas. It wants to eat and drink things, to play and rest and feel good. That is very hard for the neshama! It feels like it is trapped in Mitzrayim, with no way to get out.

But when we say Shema, we leave our Mitzrayim!

How does that happen?

When we say Shema, we are saying that we are ready to be mekabel Ol Malchus Shomayim. We are saying that we realize that nothing is really there except for Hashem! The neshama is able to connect to Hashem in a very strong way, as if the guf wasn’t there!

So saying Shema is like Yetziyas Mitzrayim for the neshama!

That is why, at the end of Shema, we speak about Yetziyas Mitzrayim. Even though remembering Yetziyas Mitzrayim every day is its own mitzvah, we do it together with Shema, because Shema is also a Yetziyas Mitzrayim!

See Tanya Perek Mem-Zayin



Saying Shema with Kavana

Shema is supposed to help us realize that nothing exists aside for Hashem. That will help us be ready to do all of His mitzvos, no matter what!

In order to feel this, we need to have kavana when we say Shema.

We make sure to say Shema out loud, not just in a whisper, because that helps us have kavana.

We also close our eyes and cover them with our right hand when we say the first line of Shema. This helps keep us from getting distracted by the things around us. We are able to think about what the words mean, and that the words should bring us to have Kabolas Ol and Mesiras Nefesh.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Siman Samach Alef Se’if Hey

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



Halacha When Moshiach Comes

There are some halachos that are about things that are not possible to happen. For example, the Chachomim tell us about an Ir Hanidachas, that it never happened and it never will happen. These halachos warn us about something not good we should stay away from, but these actual things can’t really happen.

If these halachos are impossible nowadays, then they DEFINITELY will be impossible when Moshiach comes, and there won’t be any not good things in the world anymore!

Still, the halachos of Torah stay FOREVER, including when Moshiach comes.

One of the reasons is because every halacha has a source in Ruchnius. Even if it’s not practical to KEEP the halacha, the halacha still has a meaning in Ruchnius that we connect to when we learn it.

So even when Moshiach comes, all of the halachos the Torah will stay forever!

See Kuntres Halachos Shel Torah Shebaal Peh She’ainan Beteilin Le’olam, printed in Sefer Hasichos 5752, p. 32, ha’ara 49

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