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Parshas Vaeira - Rishon with Rashi

In last week’s parsha, Moshe complained to Hashem that things were now WORSE for the Yidden!

Hashem told Moshe that he shouldn’t complain, Hashem will keep His promises! Sometimes it doesn’t look better right away, but Hashem will always do what He says.

“Now tell the Yidden that I am about to keep the promise I made to the Avos, that I will give their children the land of Eretz Yisroel! I will take them out of Mitzrayim, and bring them to Eretz Yisroel!”

Moshe told the Yidden what Hashem had said, but things were so hard in Mitzrayim, that the Yidden didn’t feel better by hearing this.

Then Hashem told Moshe to tell Paraoh to let the Yidden go. Moshe said, “But even the Yidden didn’t listen to me — how will Paraoh listen?”

Hashem gave Moshe and Aharon instructions: He told them to be patient with the Yidden, and speak to Paraoh with kavod.

We will IY”H see the continuation of their shlichus in the Chumash for Yom Shlishi.



119 (second half)

Today’s Tehillim is very special! We are finishing the LONGEST kapitel in the whole Tehillim, kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes! This kapitel is so long that we don’t even say the whole thing in one day — it is split up between Yom Chof-Hey and Yom Chof-Vov!

One of the pesukim in today’s half is, “Sas Anochi Al Imrosecha Kemotzei Shalal Rav” — “I am so happy with Your words (the Torah), like someone who finds a huge treasure!”

The Rebbe’s father, R’ Levi Yitzchak, explains this posuk: He shows us that the first letters of the words “Kemotzei Shalal Rav” (like finding a big treasure) are “Kosher!”

How is “kosher” a big treasure?

The Rebbe explained during a rally for children what it means that kosher is a big treasure. This is something very important for us to know when we’re fighting with our Yetzer Hara: A person might think that it shouldn’t matter if a teeny little candy isn’t kosher. But the truth is, if we don’t listen to our Yetzer Hara, and only eat kosher candies, it’s like a HUGE treasure for Hashem! Even just a “small” thing that we win over the Yetzer Hara is a VERY big deal!



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes-Zayin

We learned in yesterday’s Tanya that a “Klal Gadol” for the beinoni is to be in control of his behavior and the feelings that make him do things. This is done by having a “tevunah” love in his mind that makes him want to connect to Hashem through Torah and mitzvos.

The Alter Rebbe tells us that for a mitzvah to fly up to Hashem, it needs to have “wings” — Yiras Shomayim (being afraid to do something that Hashem doesn’t want from us) and Ahavas Hashem (loving Hashem). These “wings” are the FEELINGS we have when we do the mitzvah, and they make our mitzvos full of Ruchnius chayus and bring them up to a more Ruchnius world, which the neshama is able to feel in Gan Eden.

We might worry that if we only have the tevunah kind of love, the kind we think about that makes us WANT to do the right thing, but that we don’t really feel it in our heart, then our mitzvos won’t be able to fly up!

The Chachomim teach us: “Machshava Tova, Hakadosh Baruch Hu Metzarfeh Lemaaseh.” The simple meaning is, “when we want to do a good thing, Hashem considers it like we did it (even if we can’t actually do it).”

The Alter Rebbe says that this also hints to us that Hashem takes our good thought — our tevunah, that we want to do what Hashem wants — and connects it (metzarfeh) to the mitzvah we did, so it can have this Ruchnius chayus in it and go all the way up to the Ruchnius world of Beriyah. So even though the tevunah is not a feeling in our heart, Hashem makes it like it really is, so our mitzvos can still go up to a very high level!

We see from here how important it is for a beinoni to create this Tevunah kind of love, by thinking about how precious Torah and mitzvos are, and how they connect us to Hashem. This should make us decide to actually do those mitzvos, because we understand what they do!

There are many things we can do to help bring out the Tevunah love, and make good hachlatos to do the right thing:

For example, we can watch a video of the Rebbe at a farbrengen, and be inspired by the Rebbe’s words to make a good hachlata. We can learn a sicha or a maamar that is meaningful, and look for what it will teach us in our Avodas Hashem. We can go to a farbrengen where an inyan is discussed, and make hachlatos of how we are going to change how we act. We can learn a perek of Tanya and find a lesson in it, and daven with kavana!

In the second half of Likutei Amarim, and throughout Toras HaChassidus, we learn many different things we can think about to make us inspired to do the Ratzon of Hashem.



Chof-Vov Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn the reason for a minhag in Tefillah.

We learned in Tanya that there are two kinds of kelipah — one kind that is called “Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios” (the three kelipos that are all tomei and can’t become kedusha), and “Kelipas Noga” (the kind of kelipa that we can change to kedusha if we use it right).

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us how to say a certain bracha in Shmoneh Esrei which hints to these two kinds of Kelipah. In the brachaVelamalshinim”, there are four words in a row: “se’aker, u’se’shaber, use’mager, ve’sachnia” (“pull out, break, crush, and push down”). We are asking Hashem to destroy these kelipos.

When we say these words, we stop for a second between saying the word “use’mager” and “ve’sachnia” because of the Ruchnius’dike meaning of these words of davening. The first three words (se’aker u’seshaber usemager) are talking about the Shalosh Kelipos Hatemeios, the kelipos which need to be completely destroyed.

The fourth word, “vesachnia” is talking about Kelipas Noga. Kelipas Noga is something we need to be “machnia” — to push it down, but we don’t have to completely break it, because it can be used for kedusha.

That’s why we make a separation, because we are asking Hashem to help us deal with the last kind of kelipah, Kelipas Noga, in a very different way. We ask Hashem that the not-good parts should be pushed away, and that we should be able to use what is good inside of it for kedusha!



Shiur #185 - Mitzvas Asei #78

Today’s mitzvah is to give Maaser from our animals! This is called Maaser Beheimah.

The tenth one from our animals is special — it is a present for Hashem! We are supposed to take it to Yerushalayim, and bring it for a Korban. Then we eat the meat of the Korban in Yerushalayim.

Really, we should keep this mitzvah nowadays, even without a Beis Hamikdash. We can still set aside our tenth animal and not eat it unless it gets a mum, like we learned before with a bechor. But the Chachomim were afraid that people wouldn’t wait until it got a mum, and would shecht and eat the animal even without a mum, while it still should be a korban. It is a very serious aveira (chiyuv Kareis), to shecht a korban outside the Beis Hamikdash (Shechitas Kodshim Bachutz). So the Chachomim said that we should not keep the mitzvah of maaser at all nowadays. We will have to wait to keep this mitzvah until the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bechukosai: וְכָל מַעְשַׂר בָּקָר וָצֹאן כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹר תַּחַת הַשָּׁבֶט הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה קֹּדֶשׁ לַה׳



Hilchos Bechoros

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about the Bechor, and about giving Maaser from our animals!

Perek Hey: What happens when we’re not sure which animal is really the bechor? The Rambam tells us what the halacha is in different kinds of cases!

Perek Vov: In this perek, we learn about giving Maaser from our animals.

Perek Zayin: Here’s how we figure out which animal is really maaser: We need to put all the baby sheep into one place, and put the mother sheep outside. We let them go out to their mother, one animal at a time, and count the tenth one. Every tenth one we mark with paint, and that one will be a present for Hashem.



Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh - Perek Zayin

We learn about deciding when the first day of Rosh Hashana will be, which is different in each kind of year. There are certain days of the week that can NEVER be the first day of Rosh Hashana. We remember these days with an expression: “Lo Ad”u Rosh” — the first day of Rosh Hashana can not be on any of the days with the Roshei TeivosAdu”, meaning Sunday (Yom Alef), Wednesday (Yom Daled), or Friday (Yom Vov).



Even When it Doesn't Make Sense

In the end of last week’s parsha, Parshas Shemos, Moshe Rabbeinu complains to Hashem. Even though he listened to Hashem and is doing his shlichus, things are getting worse! He wants to know why this is happening!

In today’s Chumash, Hashem tells Moshe that the Avos also had times when things were hard. For example, even though Avraham Avinu listened to Hashem and went to Eretz Yisroel, there was a hunger there right away and he had to leave! But Avraham Avinu, and the other Avos, didn’t ask questions! They still did what they were supposed to without asking.

The Rebbe tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu actually had a good reason to ask. Moshe Rabbeinu’s main inyan was chochmah, knowing and understanding things. That’s why Moshe was the one to give us the Torah! He needed to be able to understand things to do his shlichus.

But Hashem told Moshe that chochma is not enough! Even if that’s his main avodah, he ALSO needs to follow the way the Avos served Hashem, by using their midos. Even when they didn’t understand things, they still continued doing what they knew was right, without asking any questions.

That is also the hora’ah for us! We should try to learn and understand things as much as we can in Torah like Moshe Rabbeinu, but even if something is hard for us, we STILL should do what we know is right, and not ask any questions!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, parshas Vaeira


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We reviewed the four pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, and the four pesukim from Torah Shebaal Peh. Now let’s review the last four pesukim, from Chassidus!

Torah Shebichsav is the WHAT of the mitzvos, what mitzvos we need to do.

Torah Shebaal Peh is the HOW of the mitzvos, how to keep them.

Chassidus is the pnimius, the NESHAMA of the mitzvos.

Chassidus also shows us how to serve Hashem with our mind and our heart!

In the next four pesukim, we will see the neshama of what we learned in the first eight pesukim! We learned about how precious Torah and mitzvos are, and how we need to put our effort into it. We learned how to deal with other Yidden in the right way.

Now, in these last four pesukim, we will see the pnimius of all of this, and how to serve Hashem when we do this, with our mind and heart.



Lashon Hara

The Medrash says that the Yidden were freed from Mitzrayim in the zechus of the Yidden not saying Lashon Hara.

What does not saying Lashon Hara have to do with the Geulah from Mitzrayim?

When the Yidden left Mitzrayim, they became a nation. Hashem chose the Yidden as His special nation, and gave them the Torah on Har Sinai!

But for this to happen, they had to be one nation together.

One of the ways that people become separated from each other is by saying not nice things about others. That makes people stop liking each other, and makes them not want to be together anymore. But at the time of Yetziyas Mitzrayim, the Yidden were careful NOT to speak this way! They did not speak Lashon Hara, so they were really able to be one nation, connected to each other. Then Hashem chose the Yidden as His special nation, and gave us the shlichus of Torah and mitzvos.

What is Lashon Hara?

There are actually THREE not nice ways of speaking about other people that we need to be careful about:

Rechilus — Sharing anything about another person that he doesn’t want everyone to know about, even if it is not something bad

Lashon Hara — Saying something bad about another person which is true

Motzi Shem Ra — Saying something bad about another person which is not true

When we are careful not to say things that will separate Yidden from each other, we are making ourselves be one nation together, which makes us a good keili for the Geulah!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Lamed-Alef, parshas Shemos Beis; Piskei Teshuvos Orach Chaim siman Kuf-Nun-Vov

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



Five Promises

In today’s Chumash, Hashem tells Moshe to tell the Yidden that He will be keeping His promise to take the Yidden out of Golus!

Hashem uses five expressions to tell the Yidden that He will take them out: Vehotzeisi, Vehitzalti, Vego’alti, Velakachti, and Veheiveisi.

The first four expressions hint to the four times the Yidden are in Golus, the Golus of Bavel, Madai, Yavan, and Edom. The fifth expression, Veheiveisi, hints to another level in the time of Geulah itself!

We are in the fourth and last Golus now. Since Hashem already told us the five Leshonos of Geulah, we know that the Geulah already exists! All we need to do now is to reveal it in the world.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef, parshas Va’eira

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