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Parshas Vayeira - Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how the malochim come to save Lot and his family before Sodom is destroyed.

The malachim who were sent to destroy Sodom had walked very slowly to give Avraham a chance to daven to save the cities. It was already night when they came to Sodom.

The people of Sodom chose Lot to be the judge that day, so he was sitting in his place at the gate of the city. When he saw the malachim, he invited them to sneak into his house so nobody would see, and they could rest and then leave early in the morning before people woke up.

The malachim said that they didn’t need to come to his house, they could sleep outside. But Lot, who had learned about Hachnosas Orchim from Avraham, begged them so much that they finally agreed to be his guests. Since it was Pesach, and Lot did some of the mitzvos, he made them matzah to eat.

The malachim asked Lot about the people of Sodom. Lot agreed they were not good people, but he made excuses for them.

Even before they went to bed, many wicked people of Sodom surrounded the house. Nobody tried to stop them, even though they knew they were going to do something mean.

They told Lot to send out the guests, and they would do something very not nice to them.

Lot wanted to take care of his guests, and would not agree. He offered to send out his daughters instead.

But the people told Lot they don’t want his daughters, they want the guests! They tried to break down the door and take them by force! The malachim pulled Lot inside, and made the wicked people blind so they couldn’t find the way into the house.

The malachim told Lot: “Now you can’t make excuses for them anymore! You see how bad they are! Tell us who else is in your family. They all need get out of here, because Hashem sent us to destroy the city!”

Lot told his sons-in-law to come, but they didn’t want to — they thought he was joking.

By now it was almost morning, the time for the cities to be destroyed. The malachim told Lot to at least take his daughters, or else he would be stuck in the city when it was destroyed!

Lot wanted to save his things, and he wasn’t ready to leave right away. The malachim grabbed his hands and his wife and two daughters, and pulled them outside the city. Then the malach in charge of them told them to run for their lives, and not to look — because they really deserved to be punished too. “Go run to Avraham!”

Lot didn’t want to run to Avraham, because he knew that next to Avraham, he looks very bad. So he asked if he could run to a different city, Bela, which was not as bad as the others. (Even though this was one of the 5 cities that were supposed to be destroyed, we will see that Hashem agreed not to destroy it as a favor to Lot.)



69 - 71

Today’s kapitelach are Samach-Tes, Ayin, and Ayin-Alef.

The first kapitel of today’s Tehillim is kapitel Samach-Tes. If you look through the kapitel, the beginning looks very sad. Dovid HaMelech is asking Hashem to please save him from everyone who wants to hurt him.

At the end, though, Dovid HaMelech is sure Hashem will help! He says that he will sing and praise Hashem, because He always listens to people who need His help! The skies and the seas will sing to Hashem when he rescues the Yidden — “Ki Elokim Yoshia Tzion” — “because Hashem will redeem Yerushalayim.”



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

A tzadik is more alive after his histalkus through the chayus his neshama gives to his Chassidim, and his tefillos for them in Shomayim!

The Zohar says that a tzadik is alive even more after his histalkus — “Ishtakach Bechulhu Almin Yatir Mibechayohi.” At that time, more chayus comes from his neshama to all of his Chassidim. Since this gets them to do more mitzvos and to serve Hashem with more chayus, the tzadik becomes more alive in this world through the mitzvos that they do!

But this isn’t only in Ruchnius things! After a tzadik’s histalkus, the brachos and help that a tzadik gives his chassidim in Gashmius things become stronger too! Like the Zohar says, if not for the tzadik’s davening in Shomayim, the world wouldn’t be able to exist for one moment.

This letter is the only one in the whole Tanya that has an additional explanation called a biur, which we will IY”H start to learn tomorrow!



Yud-Gimmel Mar-Cheshvan

The Baal Shem Tov used to teach Gemara, with a lot of meforshim. He would teitch the Gemara into Yiddish.

In the Gemara called Erchin it says about Lashon Hara that “Lishna Tlisa’i Katla Tlisa’i”, that Lashon Hara kills three people.

Usually we say that those three people are the one who says the Lashon Hara, the one who accepts the Lashon Hara, and the one who it’s about.

The Baal Shem Tov teitched it differently: He said that the three people are “The one who makes up the Lashon Hara, the one who says it, and the one who hears it.” The Lashon Hara kills these three in a Ruchnius way, which is even worse than killing b’Gashmius!

Chassidus teaches us that it’s not only wrong to SPEAK Loshon Hara, but that even to make it up, or just to think about it, can Chas Veshalom hurt our neshama. Even what we think has a strong koach to help or to hurt! (We learned about this in Igeres Hakodesh in Tanya, that when a not-good thought about someone pops into our mind, we should think about something else instead.)



Shiur #128 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #133, #134

Today we learn two mitzvos about who is not allowed to eat Terumah, which is holy!

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #133) Anyone who isn’t a kohen is NOT allowed to eat Terumah or Bikurim.

This Mitzvas Lo Saasei includes not only Terumah or Bikurim which belong to the kohen, but also not to benefit from anything that belongs to the Beis Hamikdash or from korbanos, called Me’ilah.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #134) Even someone who works for a kohen is still not allowed to eat Terumah.



Hilchos Terumos

In today’s Rambam, we continue learning the halachos about who can’t eat Terumah.

Perek Zayin: Now we learn about the mitzvos we’ll learn TOMORROW in Sefer Hamitzvos — that a kohen without a bris or a kohen who is tamei is not allowed to eat Terumah.

Perek Ches: The daughter of a kohen is allowed to eat terumah… unless she gets married to someone who is not a kohen! If a girl from a non-kohen family gets married to a kohen, she is allowed to start eating terumah because of her husband. We learn more halachos about this.

Perek Tes: Even though someone who lives in the house of a kohen can eat Terumah, that doesn’t last forever. If the kohen is not married to his wife anymore, she can’t eat Terumah anymore. If the slave goes free, he can’t eat Terumah anymore either. Animals also can only eat Terumah when they BELONG to the kohen.



Hilchos Biyas Hamikdash - Perek Tes

Of course, only kohanim are allowed to do the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash! This perek explains the halachos of what happens if a Yisroel does avodah in the Beis Hamikdash. The Rambam also gives a summary of all the people we said in this set of halachos who are not allowed to do Avodah.

Mazel Tov! We have now finished learning this set of halachos.




After the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe, there was a chossid who was feeling very alone. He missed seeing the Frierdiker Rebbe.

He wrote a letter to the Rebbe, asking what to do. The Rebbe told him what it says in the Igeres Hakodesh that we’re learning today in Tanya, that the chayus of a tzadik is even STRONGER after he passes away, but we can only feel it if our hiskashrus is strong!

How do we make our hiskashrus strong? By learning the Chassidus that the Rebbe teaches us and following the horaos the Rebbe told us to do. Then we can feel that he is alive even more than before.

See Igros Kodesh chelek Gimmel p. 352 and in many places

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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!



Standing Up

There are many different opinions about which parts of Pesukei Dezimra we should stand for.

In Shulchan Aruch it speaks about standing for Vayevarech Dovid, for Az Yashir, and Yishtabach.

Some Yidden have a minhag that only the chazan stands for Yishtabach.

But our minhag is that we stand up starting with Boruch Hashem Le’olam, and stay standing until after Borchu which leads us into the next section of davening, Birchos Kriyas Shema.

See Chikrei Minhagim

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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