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Parshas Beshalach - Shishi with Rashi

We learned before that the Yidden finished eating the food they took out of Mitzrayim, and they complained there was no food. Moshe told Aharon to tell the Yidden that Hashem will soon speak to them about this.

All of the Yidden were waiting to hear what Hashem would say to them, since they had complained about having no food.

With all of the Yidden standing there, Hashem spoke to Moshe from the cloud.

Hashem said: “I heard what the Yidden complained about! Tell them that they will have meat and bread, and they will know that I am Hashem! They will get the meat in the afternoon, but they will get the bread in the morning, in a loving way.”

The next morning, the mahn fell for the first time! Hashem sent a layer of dew underneath it, so it would be clean, and another layer to fall on top, to protect it. When the sun came up, the top layer of dew disappeared, and the Yidden could see the mahn! They didn’t know what it was exactly, and that’s why it got the name “mahn” — meaning just plain food. 

Moshe told the Yidden that this was the bread Hashem sent for them! They should take as much as they need for everyone in their family. The Yidden listened, but some people ended up taking more mahn than they needed, and some people took less. But when they measured it, they found that Hashem made a neis — everyone had EXACTLY as much as they needed!

Moshe warned the Yidden not to save the mahn, Hashem would send more when they needed! But some Yidden didn’t trust that they would get more tomorrow, and they put some away for the next day. The mahn got all rotten and full of worms, and Moshe got very upset at them for not listening and believing in Hashem!

Every morning, after the Yidden took their mahn, the mahn that was left on the ground would melt, and go into the rivers and streams. The meat from animals who drank it was delicious — and all of the goyim could see how Hashem loves the Yidden to send them such special food!

On Friday, the Yidden took as much mahn as they needed — but they found out that they had DOUBLE! They asked Moshe why. (The Yidden knew about Shabbos, but didn’t know Hashem wanted them to keep Shabbos even before Matan Torah.)

Moshe said, “I didn’t tell you this yet, but some of the halachos of Shabbos will be kept starting this week! You won’t be able to cook or bake on Shabbos. Everything will need to be prepared before Shabbos starts.” So the Yidden put the extra mahn aside — and this time, it didn’t get rotten overnight!

Still, the Yidden asked if they should go to get mahn on Shabbos, but Moshe told them no. When they asked again, he realized that they were scared that the mahn might not fall again! Moshe told them not to worry — the mahn would fall again after Shabbos, on Sunday.

Still, some Yidden went out on Shabbos to look for mahn. Hashem was not happy with the Yidden! Even though only some people went, all Yidden are responsible for each other.

The Yidden could have given the mahn a different name, but they decided to keep the name mahn. The mahn was round, like a little seed, and it was white. It tasted like dough fried in honey — unless they wanted it to taste like something else!

Hashem told Moshe to put an omer of mahn in a little jar, to keep forever in the Mishkan — so the Yidden will remember that Hashem always gives us what we need. (When the Mishkan was put up, Aharon did this.)

The Yidden would continue to eat the mahn for 40 years!



79 - 82

We learned in Tanya about the foolish thought the Yetzer Hara uses to try to convince us to do an aveira.

In Kuntres Umaayan, the Rebbe Rashab speaks about many kinds of foolish thoughts that the Yetzer Hara tries to convince a person. One of them is the shtus that the Yetzer Hara convinces a businessman, saying that his hatzlacha in business is because he is so smart and good at his work. Since he already has his parnasa worked out, he doesn’t have to spend too much time on Torah and mitzvos.

The Rebbe Rashab explains why this is so foolish, based on a posuk in today’s Tehillim:

In Kapitel Pey-Alef (81), the posuk says “Tiku BaChodesh Shofar, Bakeseh LeYom Chageinu. Ki Chok LeYisroel Hu, Mishpat Leilokei Yaakov.” These pesukim are talking about blowing the shofar, which is the mitzvah of Rosh Hashana.

The Gemara says that it is also talking about the parnasa that every Yid will have for the coming year. There is an argument in the Gemara whether a person is judged on Rosh Hashana, or every day, or even every hour!

The Rebbe Rashab explains in the maamar that it’s really not an argument — they’re just talking about different things! In Ruchnius, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is decided what a person will have. But based on how they act every day and every moment, it is decided whether that Ruchnius koach they deserve will come into Gashmius and give them parnasa, or stay in Ruchnius for Gan Eden.

The Yetzer Hara tries to convince a person that since anyway Hashem decided on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it doesn’t matter if they daven with a minyan or go to a shiur in Torah or do other mitzvos. Since it was already decided, once he sees it is going well, he doesn’t have to ask Hashem for help anymore, and doesn’t have to worry about how he behaves.

But that’s not true! Even if in Shomayim it was decided that a person will get a lot, if he doesn’t earn Hashem’s bracha today, he won’t get the bracha in Gashmius. And the opposite is also true — even if someone isn’t supposed to get a lot, with Hashem’s bracha that little can help him even more than a lot would!



Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Daled

In the beginning of today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe makes sure that we understand that EVERY SINGLE aveira, no matter how “little” it seems, separates a Yid from Hashem.

We find in the Torah that certain aveiros have one kind of punishment, and others have more serious punishments, which shows that there ARE differences between aveiros. We might think that it also means that some aveiros are not such a big deal! But, the Alter Rebbe explains, that is only AFTER someone does an aveira. The aveira leaves a pegam, an “injury” on the neshama. The kind of pegam is different for different aveiros, and it is corrected through teshuvah and neshama-cleanings for that type of aveira.

But as long as the aveira doesn’t have the punishment of kareis, as soon as he stops doing the aveira, then the guf and the Nefesh Habehamis (which were doing the aveira) and the neshama (which was in Golus because of the aveira) can join together again to serve Hashem.

That is all after the aveira was already done. But at the TIME the aveira is done, EVERY aveira, no matter how “small,” does the same thing: It separates a Yid chas veshalom from Hashem, and he is even further away from kedusha than the kelipah and Avodah Zara in the world!

We shouldn’t think that it’s not so bad to do an aveira because it is just for a short time! Because what happens at the moment a person does an aveira is the most embarrassing, awful moment that could possibly be. When a person does an aveira, the Guf and Nefesh Habehamis take the holy neshama, a part of Hashem, and shlep it down to become the lowest part of creation — even lower than Avodah Zarah!

That’s like going to a big and amazing king, grabbing his head, and sticking it into a pail of smelly, slimy garbage! Does it make sense to say “well, it’s only for one minute?”



Tes-Zayin Shevat

In Chassidus, we use a certain mashal often:

A person who serves Hashem with all of his heart, who is always excited to do what Hashem wants — that’s called “warm.” A person who feels like he always needs to understand everything — that’s called “cold.”

Being “cold” is not an aveira, but the Rebbe Rashab says that it is very close to kefirah — a person who is cold might very easily forget about Hashem Chas Veshalom.

There is a posuk (in Devarim) that says that Hashem is a fire! “Hashem Elokecha Eish Ochla Hu.” Learning Torah and davening needs to be in a “warm” way, with a chayus, with all of our heart! This will make sure that we remember Hashem, and we will be “warm” Yidden!

Hashem created the world in a way that Elokus is hidden. Because the Torah and mitzvos were given to us in a Gashmius’dike world, the Elokus in them is also hidden in some way. That’s why it’s important to learn Chassidus in a way that will inspire us to realize how Hashem is in everything.

For example, when we learn Torah, we could look at it in a “cold” way, seeing only stories and complicated discussions about halachos. But we need to learn it in a “warm” way, and remember that the Torah we are learning is the chochma and the ratzon of Hashem!

When we daven, we could just say the words, since that’s what we’re used to doing. But we need to remember “Da Lifnei Mi Ata Omed,” we are standing before Hashem! When we walk in the street, we need to remember that we are all shluchim of the Rebbe to bring Torah and Chassidus everywhere, and to be a Kiddush Hashem! The same is in everything we do. Our whole avodah needs to be with warmth and chayus!



Shiur #204 - Mitzvas Asei #113

Today’s mitzvah is the same as yesterday’s:

2) (Mitzvas Asei #113) It is a mitzvah to prepare the Parah Adumah so its ashes can be used to make Yidden Tahor from Tumas Meis.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Chukas: וְהָיְתָה לַעֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת

There is a whole mesechta of Mishnayos that deals with the dinim of Parah Adumah, called Mesechta Parah.



Hilchos Parah Adumah

In today's Rambam, we learn more about getting the Parah Adumah ready:

Perek Hey: We learn who becomes tomei from working on burning the Parah Adumah. (They don’t get Tumas Meis, but they are tomei for a day and need to go to the mikvah before they can go back into the Beis Hamikdash.)

Perek Vov: This perek explains where we can get the water to mix with the ashes of the Parah Adumah.

Perek Zayin: The Rambam teaches us things that can make the water posul while it is being filled up, like if someone is doing something else while the water is being filled.



Hilchos Megillah V'Chanukah - Perek Beis

In this perek, we learn the rest of the halachos about Purim. We learn about reading the Megillah properly, and how to do the other mitzvos of Purim.



Shabbos Shira

This week is called Shabbos Shirah, because Parshas Beshalach has in it the shirah, the song that the Yidden sang to Hashem after Kriyas Yam Suf, Az Yashir!

It is a minhag to eat Shvartze Kasha (buckwheat) on Shabbos Shira.

Where does this minhag come from?

The Frierdiker Rebbe told the story of how the Maharal began this minhag:

In the week of Parshas Beshalach, the Maharal would tell parents and teachers to gather all the young children on Shabbos in the courtyard of the shul. There, they should tell them the story of Kriyas Yam Suf, and how the birds chirped along when the Yidden sang Az Yashir! The children had rachmanus on the birds, and picked fruit from the Yam Suf and fed it to the birds.

The Maharal then asked that the children should be given kasha, so that they can also feed the birds.

Then the Maharal would bless the children and the parents that they should be zoche to teach the children properly and raise them to Torah, Chuppah, and Maasim Tovim.

In those days, most families and communities owned animals. On Shabbos we are only allowed to feed animals if they belong to us, so the minhag of feeding the birds can’t be done on Shabbos nowadays. But it is still important to teach children to have Rachmanus, so we tell them this story. Some put out kasha for the birds before Shabbos as well as keeping the minhag of eating kasha on Shabbos.

See farbrengen Parshas Beshalach Tof-Shin-Mem-Tes

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Birchas Hamazon

The way Birchas Hamazon is set up is four brachos, then the Horachamans, and then some pesukim that we say at the end.

The last Horachaman is “Horachaman Hu Yezakeinu Limos Hamoshiach,” that Hashem should bring Moshiach!

Since Moshiach comes from Dovid Hamelech, we first say a posuk about Dovid Hamelech: “Magdil Yeshuos Malko Ve’oseh Chesed Limshichoi,” we ask that Hashem should make Dovid His king great, and do chesed with Moshiach who comes from Dovid.

Then we say a posuk about Shalom, “Oseh Shalom Bimromav,” since all the brachos are only worthwhile when we have shalom!

We end off bentching with pesukim that speak about bitachon, trusting that Hashem will provide food and parnasa to us.



When Fruits & Vegetables are Shehakol

Yesterday, we learned about when fruits are Ho’adamah, in connection with Chamisha-Asar B’Shevat. Today, let’s learn another halacha about fruit — when their bracha is Shehakol!

The general bracha for food is Shehakol. But we say a special bracha on specific kinds of foods. For example, vegetables are special since they grow from the ground. Fruits are different because they grow on trees.

But we only make these special brachos when we eat these foods the way they are usually eaten. If we eat them in a strange way, they can lose their special bracha and become Shehakol.

For example, potatoes are a food that most people cook before eating. Raw potatoes don’t taste as good. So if someone decides to eat potatoes raw, that is not considered a normal way of eating. The potatoes don’t get their special bracha, and we make a Shehakol on them.

Oranges are another example. They are delicious raw, but when they are cooked, their flavor changes. Most people don’t eat them that way. So if we have a cooked orange (like on top of chicken), we don’t make a special bracha on it. We make just the general bracha of Shehakol.

See Seder Birchos Hanehenin Perek Vov

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



Learning Inyonei Geulah

The Rebbe teaches us that we should learn Inyonei Geulah U’Moshiach as we prepare in the last moments of Golus to be Mekabel Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

This is not only true when we are learning! Sometimes, when we are doing a mitzvah, we can also be learning and thinking about the Geulah!

Here’s one way the Rebbe teaches us we can learn Inyonei Geulah, together with a mitzvah that we do all the time:

When we give tzedakah, we can think about the words of Chazal, “Gedolah Tzedakah Shemekareves Es Hageulah,” that tzedakah has the koach to bring Moshiach closer!

When we think about this, at least from time to time when we give tzedakah, we are also learning and thinking about the Geulah!

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