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Parshas Bereishis - Shishi with Rashi

We will learn the beginning of today’s Chumash according to the Medrash Tanchuma, one of the pirushim that Rashi brings.

We learned before in the parsha that Hashem said that He would punish Kayin for killing his brother in the seventh generation. Lemech’s children were the seventh generation, so here’s what happened:

Hashem took away the sign He put on Kayin’s forehead to protect him.

Lemech was blind, and his son, Tuval-Kayin, used to take him around. Once, Tuval-Kayin saw Kayin and thought he was a wild animal! He got scared, and told his father to shoot Kayin! Lemech did, and once he realized what happened, he clapped his hands together because he was so upset — and by mistake hit Tuval-Kayin and killed him too.

That is how Kayin was punished for killing his brother.

After this happened, Lemech’s wives were angry at him, and didn’t want to stay married to him. Lemech argued that if it took seven generations to be punished for killing on purpose, then they shouldn’t be so angry at him for killing by mistake!

Now the Torah tells us that Adam had another baby — Sheis. (Noach would later come from his family!)

Sheis later had a son Enosh. In the times of Enosh, people thought that they need to give Kavod to Hashem’s servants, like the sun and the moon. They started giving them Korbanos and davening to them too. Later, people forgot all about Hashem, and ONLY davened to these things! They made idols, and thought that if they worshiped them they would get whatever they wanted.

Adam only managed to make sure that SOME of his children still believed in Hashem. The rest of the world were all Resha’im. Hashem tried to warn them by sending a small Mabul, but they didn’t do Teshuvah.

Now the Torah is going to tell us over the generations from Adam to Noach, and when they died. Today we do the first half:

1) Adam
2) Sheis
3) Enosh
4) Keinan
5) Mahalalel
6) Yered
7) Chanoch: Chanoch followed only Hashem, but Hashem saw that he would later become a Rasha. To keep him from needing to be punished, Hashem took him into Gan Eden while he was still alive.
8) Mesushelach



119 (first half)

In today’s Tehillim, we start kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes. It is the longest kapitel, and we only say half of it today — it takes us two days to finish it in Chitas! This kapitel goes according to the Alef-Beis, and every letter has eight pesukim that start with it.

In the letter Beis, there is a posuk that says “Bameh Yezakeh Naar Es Orcho Lishmor Kidvorecha.” The posuk means, “How does a person make the way he acts pure? By listening to what Hashem says.” By doing mitzvos and acting the way Hashem tells us in the Torah, we will be pure and holy.

But there is another meaning to this posuk too!

The Alter Rebbe once went to his Rebbe, the Maggid, and asked for a bracha to have a baby boy. The Maggid said: “Bameh Yezakeh Naar? How does a person have the zechus to have a baby boy? ‘Es Orcho’ — by having Hachnosas Orchim.”



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

Today we are starting a new letter from the Alter Rebbe. One of the things we learn from this letter is what we can do so we don’t get angry.

When someone says something to us that we don’t like, or does something we don’t like, we can get angry at them. The Chachomim tell us that getting angry is like serving Avodah Zarah! If we had stronger Emunah in Hashem, we wouldn’t get angry.

What does Emunah have to do with getting angry?

The Alter Rebbe explains: Why does a person get angry when someone does something not nice to him? Because he is sure that it’s the other person’s fault that he is hurt! That’s a good reason to get angry at them, right?

But it isn’t really true! Everything that happens in the world is from Hashem. Even if someone is saying something not nice to you, it is only because the chayus of Hashem is in that person and is letting him say that not nice thing. If Hashem didn’t want him to say it, he wouldn’t be able to!

(Of course there is no excuse to say or do not nice things to other people! Someone who does is doing an aveira, which they may need to get punished for, but that is a separate thing!

Hashem gave the person the koach to say or do what they did. Hashem decided that this thing should happen to us. If it wouldn’t have happened through that person, Hashem has many other messengers.)

Instead of getting angry at the other person, we should think about the chayus of Hashem that is doing it, think why Hashem is making this happen to us, and what we need to do to make it stop.

Sometimes we are so upset about what’s happening that it’s hard to think about our Emunah in Hashem. That’s why there is an eitzah from seforim to stay quiet so our anger doesn’t get stronger, and to wait for some time. During this time, we can remind ourselves that everything is really from Hashem, and we don’t have to get angry.



Chof-Hey Tishrei

The Alter Rebbe made ten niggunim. Some are only very short tunes and not even a whole niggun, but they were made by the Alter Rebbe himself!

The niggunim that we have from the Mitteler Rebbe aren’t really made up by the Mitteler Rebbe — they were made by chassidim and sung in front of the Mitteler Rebbe. 

The Mitteler Rebbe had a choir, a “kapelye.” Some chassidim would sing, and some played instruments. The songs that they sang in front of the Mitteler Rebbe are what we call the Mitteler Rebbe’s niggunim.

There are certain times, like at the end of Yomim Tovim, when it is a minhag to sing the niggunim of all the Rebbbeim. We sing a niggun made by the Alter Rebbe, and a niggun called “Kapelye” from the Mitteler Rebbe which was made by these chassidim.

For many years, on Simchas Torah, the Rebbe would teach a niggun himself! Those are the niggunim that we call “the Rebbe’s niggunim.” There were also niggunim that Chassidim wrote or sang for the Rebbe’s Yom Huledes, with a posuk from the Rebbe’s kapitel. Many times Chassidim would whistle during niggunim when the Rebbe would want them to!



Shiur #110 - Mitzvas Asei #94

Today’s mitzvah in Sefer Hamitzvos is the same as yesterday’s, Mitzvas Asei Tzadik-Daled.

If a person makes a neder, a promise to do something, it is a mitzvah to keep his word and do it. (Tomorrow we will learn the Mitzvas Lo Saasei of this mitzvah, that it is asur to NOT keep a promise.)

There are two pesukim in the Torah that teach us about this mitzvah. One is in Parshas Ki Seitzei, where the posuk says “Motza Sefasecha Tishmor Ve’asisa,” “The words of your mouth you should guard and keep.” The other is from Parshas Matos, where it says “Kechol Hayotzei Mipiv Yaaseh,” “He should do everything as he said he would.”

The details of the mitzvah are explained in many places in Mesechta Shevuos, Nedarim, at the end of Mesechta Menachos and in Mesechta Kinim. The Rambam organizes all of these halachos from Mishnayos and Gemara in these perakim in Rambam.



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Daled, Hey and Vov, we are learning more of the halachos of Nedarim, promises.

One halacha is that even if someone makes a neder that he won’t get anything from a friend, his friend still may be allowed to teach him Torah, give him medicine, or do Bikur Cholim, which are mitzvos!



Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Alef

We learn how the Shemen Hamishcha was made, and how it is used. The keilim in the Beis Hamikdash were different than in the Mishkan — they became holy just by being used and didn’t need the Shemen Hamishcha to be smeared on them. The Rambam also tells us some halachos about these keilim and their kedusha, like what happens if they are broken.



Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s Torah Ohr, for Parshas Bereishis, we learn something very important:

Some people think that if they want to understand more Torah, they need to learn more and more. They will daven faster and not be as careful with mitzvos and having Ahavas Yisroel, because they want to learn more.

But Torah isn’t just learning from pages! Torah is the chochma of Hashem, and to be able to know what Hashem really wants from us in the Torah, we need to ACT the way the Torah teaches.

The Alter Rebbe promises us that if we do our mitzvos with Kavana and with a chayus, we will understand Torah much better and faster than if we don’t! What could take us 1000 hours to understand in Torah without our chayus in mitzvos and Ahavas Yisroel will only take us ONE HOUR if we do what we are supposed to! (The Tzemach Tzedek made a note on this maamar, saying that 1000 times faster isn’t an exaggeration — it’s really how much it helps!)

The Rebbe once told an older Chossid in Yechidus that if Chassidim will use chayus to go on Mivtzoyim and do it properly, they will have 1000 times more hatzlacha in their own learning and Chinuch of their own family!

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Shemoneh Esrei on Friday Night

Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbos and Yom Tov has much fewer brachos than on a weekday! First we say 3 brachos praising Hashem, one bracha about the special day, and 3 brachos thanking Hashem.

The middle bracha of Shemoneh Esrei on Friday night has four paragraphs:

1) Ata Kidashta — We say that Hashem makes Shabbos holy.

2) Vayechulu — These are the words of the Torah that say how Hashem makes Shabbos holy.

3) Yismechu — We speak about how Yidden celebrate Shabbos!

4) Elokeinu — We ask Hashem to give us brachos in honor of the special day of Shabbos.



Dipping Challah Into Salt

We started dipping our challah into salt again, instead of honey.

Why do we dip challah into salt?

One reason is that the Chachomim teach us that our table is like a Mizbeiach! When we eat a meal, it is in a way like we are eating a korban. And the Torah teaches us to always put salt on our korbanos!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, siman Kuf-Samach-Zayin 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



Chassidus Brings Moshiach

A chossid once wrote a letter to the Rebbe, sharing good news.

In the letter back, the Rebbe asked that this chossid shouldn’t just share this kind of good news, he should also include another very important kind of good news! “Ain Tov Ela Torah” — “There is no good except for Torah!” The Rebbe asked the chossid that he should also write about his learning Torah, especially Chassidus!

Learning Chassidus is especially important, since it brings the Geulah! As R’ Chaim Vital, a talmid of the Arizal, explains, not learning enough Pnimius HaTorah keeps the Geulah from coming faster.

The Gr”a, the Vilna Gaon, also writes about this, in his pirush on Mishlei.

And it is important to not only learn Chassidus, but to also spread the teachings of Chassidus to others, so that the Geulah comes much faster!

See Igros Kodesh chelek Yud-Gimmel, p. 32

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