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Parshas Vayeira - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn the story of the Akeidah, and how Avraham Avinu finds out about a shidduch for Yitzchak.

The Akeida: The Satan complained to Hashem that Avraham hadn’t given a Korban from the time he moved to Chevron. Hashem said that it wasn’t true — everything Avraham did was for Hashem, and he would even give up his own son for Hashem!

Yishmael had done some teshuvah and moved back to Chevron to be closer to Avraham. But he thought HE deserved to be Hashem’s shliach after Avraham passed away. He boasted that he had a bris even though it hurt. Yitzchak answered that he would even give up his whole body to Hashem!

After hearing what the Satan and Yitzchak said, Hashem gave Avraham this exact test.

He told Avraham to take Yitzchak to Har Hamoriah, where the Beis Hamikdash would be built. He should prepare him to be a korban for Hashem.

Avraham woke up early in the morning. He woke up early, and saddled his own donkey to carry the wood and tools instead of asking a servant to help. He chopped the wood himself, and took along Eliezer (his servant), Yishmael, and Yitzchak.

Even though it usually took one day to travel to Har Hamoriah, Avraham only reached Har Hamoriah on the third day. He saw a cloud over the mountain and realized that this was the mountain Hashem wanted him to go to.

Avraham told Eliezer and Yishmael to stay with the donkey, and he and Yitzchak would go daven and come back to them. (He didn’t even realize but he said a nevuah, that Yitzchak would come back too!)

Avraham had Yitzchak carry the wood, while he carried the fire and the knife. Both of them were ready to do whatever Hashem wanted, even though Yitzchak didn’t know yet that he was going to become a korban.

Yitzchak then asked Avraham where the animal for the Korban was. Avraham told him that if Hashem doesn’t send something else, Yitzchak would be the korban. Yitzchak was still happy to walk with his father to do what Hashem wanted.

When they came to the right place, Avraham built a mizbeiach and arranged the wood on it. He tied up Yitzchak and put him onto the mizbeiach. Avraham took the knife, ready to shecht his son.

The Torah calls the knife a Ma’acheles, from the word “ochel,” to eat. Rashi explains that this is to hint to us that the Yidden will “eat” and enjoy the reward of this zechus for all generations!

The malachim all cried when they saw Avraham holding the knife, and some tears fell into Yitzchak’s eyes (later making him not able to see very well).

A malach called out and said “Avraham! Avraham! Do not shecht your son!” Avraham thought he should still give Yitzchak a small cut, but the malach said “No, do nothing!” Avraham was sad, because he thought this meant that he failed Hashem’s test.

Hashem said, “I didn’t WANT you to bring Yitzchak as a korban at all, it was just a test — and you were ready to do it, you passed the test!”

But Avraham didn’t just want to pass the test, he wanted Hashem to promise him brachos. He knew that for that, he had to give a Korban. So he looked around and saw a ram running to him! Hashem set aside this ram since creating the world, just for this reason! But the Satan was upset that Avraham had passed the test, so he made the ram’s horns get stuck in a bush. Avraham helped the ram free and brought it as a korban. Since he brought the ram as a korban as if it was Yitzchok, Yitzchok also became holy like a korban.

Avraham called this place “Hashem Yireh,” which means that Hashem sees. Avraham davened to Hashem, asking that Hashem should see this place as the one where the Shechinah will rest, and korbanos will be brought in the future.

After the korban, the malach called out again: “Since you were ready to give your only son as a korban, your children will become as many as the stars in the sky and the sand by the sea, and take over Eretz Yisroel!”


Avraham went back to live in Be’er Sheva. He realized that now was a good time for Yitzchak to get married. He was going to see if Aner, Eshkol or Mamrei had any daughters that would be good for Yitzchak. Hashem told Avraham that his nephew Besuel had a baby Rivka who deserved to be a wife for Yitzchak, so he stopped looking.



83 - 87

Today’s kapitelach are Pey-Gimmel to Pey-Zayin.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Pey-Daled, we have a very special posuk which we learned about in Tanya! “Ki Shemesh UMagen Hashem Elokim!” “Because the name of Hashem and Elokim is like a sun and a cover.”

A mashal for Hashem is the sun, which shines very strong. If the sun would shine on us with all of its might, it would make the word too hot! So Hashem put a cover on the sun, so that not ALL of its light shines on the world. Because of that, we are able to live in the world comfortably and enjoy the sun’s light.

The same is with Hashem: The chayus from the name Havaya is so strong that we wouldn’t be able to feel like people — we would all just be part of Hashem. But the name Elokim covers up the name Havaya so the world can keep on being a world, and appreciate the chayus of Hashem.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Ches

This new letter was written to comfort R’ Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, after his son, R’ Meir passed away. The Alter Rebbe writes “Mechutoni,” because they were mechutonim — R’ Levi Yitzchak’s grandson married the Alter Rebbe’s granddaughter.

When the Torah tells us about how Miriam passed away, it says it in the Torah right near the part where we learn about the Parah Adumah. The Chachomim explain that just like a Parah Adumah can make someone tahor from even the greatest tumah, so too when a tzadik passes away, it brings a kapara for even the greatest aveiros Yidden have done.

First, the Alter Rebbe tells us what happens in Ruchnius when the Parah Adumah is brought:

The mitzvah of Parah Adumah has many many details! When we do the mitzvah with all of the details like it says in the Torah, it brings a very great chayus of Hashem into the world. That chayus of Hashem is able to bring tahara even to the strongest tumah! This is much greater than what happens with regular korbanos.

Tomorrow IY”H we will learn what happens when a Tzadik passes away, and why these two things are similar.



Yud-Zayin Mar-Cheshvan

A person might think, “What’s the big deal if I miss learning Torah or doing my shlichus today— tomorrow is another day! With Hashem’s help, I will live a long life, with many many years! There will always be more chances.”

This is not how a Yid should think! We need to be very careful not to waste time! We need to use every chance we have for Torah and mitzvos.

Why is this so important?

Because every second in time is ONLY there right then. There is only ONE time when we can have this part of life! Our life will be complete only if we use that time for the right things!



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,bute 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 but forgot and brought it inside, 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 who we are sure will take maaser from it!



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Daled

There are some kinds of animals that even if they have no mum, we shouldn’t bring as a korban. For example, an animal that was used for Avodah Zarah is asur to bring for a korban.




In the end of this week’s parsha, Shvi’i of Parshas Vayeira, Hashem tests Avraham Avinu with a very hard test: The Akeidah. Hashem tells Avraham to bring his son, that he had waited for so long for, as a korban.

Not only did Avraham listen to Hashem and go bring Yitzchak up on the Mizbeiach, he RUSHED to do the mitzvah! He didn’t push it off because he didn’t want to do it, he HURRIED to do what Hashem asked him to! This showed that he was not just doing it because he needed to, but he was happy and excited to do what Hashem wanted.

Because of Avraham’s zerizus, Hashem gave him a lot of reward!

We can learn from Avraham Avinu how special it is to do mitzvos right away! In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe tells us that this is especially true for tzedakah — we should hurry to do it quickly!

In the zechus of this, we will be bentched (like Avraham Avinu was) with tremendous brachos!

See Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Alef

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Mizmorei Shabbos

Really the Chachomim had many other kapitelach of praise to Hashem that they wanted to put in davening. But that would have made the davening much longer! Since working during the week is a very important part of serving Hashem, these kapitelach are not part of davening on a weekday, to give us more time to work.

But on Shabbos, when we have more time to spend on davening and learning, we add 12 kapitelach of Tehillim, along with Ho’aderes Veha’emunah, before Boruch She’amar. This way, we say the many praises of Hashem!

The meforshim explain why these kapitelach specifically were chosen. There are reasons in Niglah and in Kabbalah.



Lokeil Asher Shovas

What happens if someone wasn’t paying attention, and by mistake started davening the weekday davening on Shabbos?

If he missed the special paragraphs we add in Birchos Kriyas Shema, he SHOULDN’T go back to say them.

But because it is important to speak about the praise of Shabbos, he should say the paragraph of Lokeil Asher Shovas AFTER davening.

From the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, halachos printed in the siddur

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



The Great Shofar

When Moshiach comes, a great shofar will be blown, and then all the Yidden will be brought back together in Eretz Yisroel!

Where is this shofar from? The Medrash tells us!

At Akeidas Yitzchak, Avraham Avinu brought a ram (an Ayil) as a korban instead of Yitzchak. The two horns of this ram were set aside for very special things: The horn on the left side was blown at Matan Torah! The horn on the right side, which was bigger than the other one, was set aside to be blown when Moshiach comes! This is the great shofar which the Navi is talking about, which will be used to gather all of the Yidden together with Kibbutz Galuyos!

See Pirkei DeRabi Eliezer perek Lamed-Alef

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