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Parshas Vaeira - Shvi'i with Rashi

Hashem sends hail to destroy almost everything outside. Paraoh says the Yidden can go — but changes his mind when the hail stops.

Makas Barad (hail) continued

Moshe told Paraoh: “At this time tomorrow, Hashem will make it hail VERY HARD — not like anything you’ve ever seen before. Bring everything you own inside, because whatever is outside will be destroyed!”

Some Mitzriyim brought their things inside, but not everyone.

Moshe picked up his stick and Hashem made it thunder and start to hail — big balls of ice, and fire too! Hashem made a neis that even though the fire was inside of the balls of ice, the fire didn’t go out and it didn’t melt the ice. The hail broke everything outside — most of the plants, all of the trees, and every animal or person outside. But the hail didn’t fall in Goshen, where the Yidden lived.

Paraoh called Moshe and Aharon and this time admitted that he was doing the wrong thing — “Hashem is the Tzadik, and I am the Rasha!” He asked them to daven that the hail should go away, and said that he will let the Yidden go!

Moshe went out of the city (which was full of Avodah Zarah) and davened that the hail should stop, even though he knew that Paraoh still wasn’t really afraid of Hashem.

Hashem stopped the hail from falling, even if it was still in the air! But as soon as Paraoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder stopped, he got stubborn again and didn’t let the Yidden go.



135 - 139

Today’s Shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Lamed-Hey to Kuf-Lamed-Tes.

In Kapitel Kuf-Lamed-Ches, Dovid Hamelech praises Hashem for His kindness!

Hashem promised Dovid that he would become King of the Yidden. Hashem’s promise came true, and Dovid became Dovid Hamelech. In this kapitel Dovid Hamelech shows his Hakoras Hatov and thanks to Hashem for this chesed that Hashem gave to him!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Daled

In today’s Tanya, we learn that a Yid needs to try to be like a tzadik, and how to do it.

We learned before that every Yid has the ability to act like a beinoni at any time! But in the promise that the neshama makes before it is born, the neshama promises that it will be a tzadik, and not be a rasha. By always acting like a beinoni, that is keeping the part of the promise not to be a rasha. But how can it keep a promise to be a tzadik, since that is a high level that not everyone can reach?

Even though not everyone can REALLY be a tzadik, there are some things we can do to act a little bit like a tzadik!

One idea that the Alter Rebbe gives, based on the Gemara, is to look at some kind of food that doesn’t help us serve Hashem better and think about what happens to it if you leave it for a while — it becomes rotten and smelly!

That’s acting a little bit like a tzadik, who is Mo’es BeRa, who looks at Gashmius pleasure that doesn’t help in serving Hashem as disgusting.

If a beinoni does this, he might start getting used to being Mo’es BeRa. It will be easy for him to do this all the time, like a tzadik!

Also we can try to practice loving Hashem more like a tzadik by thinking about how great and special Hashem is and imagining the way a tzadik loves Hashem.

Then, Hashem might even connect a tzadik’s neshama to his neshama! That way, just like a tzadik, he will REALLY be able to have that strong kind of love for Hashem!

Doing these things is keeping the promise our neshama makes before it is born, to be a tzadik!



Chof-Ches Teves

The Tzemach Tzedek was called by the government to Petersburg (the capital of Russia) for a kinus of Rabbonim, to try to get them to make changes in Yiddishkeit chas veshalom.

The people in the government obviously didn’t believe in Hashem, so the Tzemach Tzedek had to explain things to them in a way that makes sense even without having emunah. The Tzemach Tzedek showed them, using proofs that even they could understand, that Hashem and the Torah are true.

The Tzemach Tzedek wrote a sefer explaining all of these things, called Sefer Hachakirah. In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us that the sefer is not complete — there are some notes missing.

Of course, Yidden believe in Hashem even without all of these explanations! Emunah is built into every Yid.

Here is a story from the Rebbe about this: Once a group of professors came to speak to the Rebbe. Each of them had a turn to ask different questions. Each of the professors came out amazed that the Rebbe understood everything so well! But one professor had questions about emunah, and the nissim we learn about in the Torah. When he came out, he said that the Rebbe was talking about emunah with the simplicity of a child!

That’s how a Yid is supposed to have emunah — like a child, who doesn’t need complicated reasons why to believe in Hashem. We learn about the Achdus of Hashem in Chassidus so that our emunah will also be part of the way we think.


We see an obvious connection between today’s Hayom Yom and the Chumash we are learning now!

In Chumash, we are learning about how Moshe Rabbeinu — the first Rebbe of the Yidden — was given kochos from Hashem to go speak before the goyishe ruler of his time. He would show Paraoh that Hashem exists, and that Paraoh needs to do what Hashem wants, which would get the world ready for the Geulah from Mitzrayim.

In this Hayom Yom, we see that the Tzemach Tzedek, the Rebbe of his time, also went with special kochos before the goyishe rulers to show them that Hashem exists and influence them to do what Hashem wants.

In our time, the Rebbe gave all of us special kochos to go to our goyishe neighbors and people we do business with, and talk to them about Hashem and about the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach. It is part of our shlichus to tell them and teach them about the mitzvos they are supposed to keep, which will make the entire world ready for the final and complete Geulah!



Shiur #202 - Mitzvas Asei #107, #113

Today’s mitzvah is the same one as yesterday:

(Mitzvas Asei #107) When a neshama leaves a body, the body becomes Tomei. Someone who touches, carries, or is in the same house as the body gets some of this Tumah too, called Tumas Meis. There are many halachos about how this tumah is passed on. Today’s mitzvah is to follow all of these halachos!

We also learn the first mitzvah about Parah Adumah:

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 Tumas Meis - Parah Adumah

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning the halachos about Tumas Meis, Perakim Chof-Daled and Chof-Hey. There are many halachos that explain to us how tumah can spread in a house! We learn about a house that is split by a wall, and there is tumah in the house. Sometimes the whole house can become tomei, and sometimes just one part.

Then we start a new set of halachos — about the Parah Adumah! Many times the Rambam finishes a set of halachos with a lesson, but this time the Rambam goes right away from talking about Tumas Meis to talking about the Parah Adumah, which makes us tahor from Tumas Meis!

Perek Alef: The Rambam explains the words in the Torah that tell us to take a Parah Adumah. We learn from the posuk that it has to be a cow (not a baby cow), ALL red (without even 2 hairs that are a different color), and it can’t be used for ANYTHING else! If someone even just leaned on the cow, it can’t be used for a Parah Adumah anymore.



Hilchos Korban Pesach - Perek Vov

There are some people who are not allowed to bring the Korban Pesach. Someone who was Tomei, and won’t become Tahor in time, has to wait until Pesach Sheini.

icon of clock


Chof-Ches Teves

Today, in the year Tof-Reish-Mem, Rebbetzin Chana, the Rebbe’s mother, was born.

In the Rebbetzin’s diary, she tells stories about the times when R’ Levi Yitzchak, the Rebbe’s father, was arrested and sent to jail, stories about the Rebbe when he was young, and even some things that happened when she already lived in Crown Heights!

Many times in the diary, Rebbetzin Chana says how much she appreciates the visits of her son, the Rebbe, and how much nachas and chayus it gives her to see everything that he is accomplishing as Rebbe. (That is a beautiful example of Kibud Av Va’eim!)

Here’s one story (that maybe you heard before!) but the way the Rebbe’s mother tells it:

In Tof-Reish-Samach-Hey (5665), there were goyim in Russia that were running around trying to hurt Yidden. Me and my children hid with other mothers and children in a pharmacy that belonged to a very nice goy. The babies and little children were very afraid and didn’t stop crying. The pharmacist was afraid that the mean goyim would hear, and he would be hurt also for trying to help the Yidden!

My 3-year-old son (the Rebbe) would walk around the room and quiet all of the children. This was really amazing to see! We couldn’t talk because people outside would be able to hear, so he showed them with his hands not to be afraid, and calmed each child down in a different way.

The pharmacist kept coming back in to see — he was so impressed with how my son took care of the children!

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Birchos Hashachar

The Chachomim gave us many brachos to say, to make it easier for us to say 100 brachos every day. In Birchos Hashachar, we say many brachos, thanking Hashem for the things we benefit from every day.

These brachos were made in the times of the Gemara, and they were set up in the order of what would happen when a person would wake up.

1) A person would first hear the rooster crow to tell him that it is morning. This bracha was made to bentch Hashem Who makes the rooster wake us up — Hanosein Lasechvi Vina (“Who gives understanding to the rooster”)

2) Then he would open his eyes, so this next bracha was made to give recognition to Hashem that we can see — Pokeiach Ivrim (“Who opens the eyes of the blind”)

3) Then he would start to move around in bed. In this bracha we thank Hashem that we are no longer stuck in one place like we were when we were asleep — Matir Asurim (“Who frees those who are captive”)

4) Afterwards, he would sit up. This bracha was made to show recognition to Hashem for being able to sit up straight — Zokeif Kefufim (“Who straightens the bent”)

5) He would get dressed (in those days, they got dressed right when they woke up, under their covers for tznius). This bracha thanks Hashem for clothing — Malbish Arumim (“Who clothes the naked”)

6) This next bracha was added later, when people were weaker. Since now the person would start to feel more awake, that his strength was coming back to him, this next bracha was set up to thank Hashem — Hanosein Laya’eif Koach (“Who gives the tired one koach”)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman mem-vov



Kiddush for Women and Children

Making Kiddush on Shabbos is a mitzvah from the Torah. We learn this from the posuk, “Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos Lekadsho” — “Remember (by speaking about) the day of Shabbos to make it holy.” The Chachomim made a takana that when we speak about the praise of Shabbos to make it holy, we should do it over a kos of wine.

Do women also have a chiyuv to hear or make kiddush on Shabbos?

We might think that they don’t have to, since kiddush is a Mitzvas Asei Shehazman Grama — a mitzvah with a set time. Women usually don’t have to keep a Mitzvas Asei with a set time, since their main job of Akeres Habayis is more important, and we don’t want them to have to worry about stopping in the middle to do a different mitzvah.

But the mitzvah of Kiddush is different! In the Aseres Hadibros, Hashem tells us the mitzvah of keeping Shabbos. The Aseres Hadibros are written twice in the Torah. In one place it says “Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos,” and in the other place it is written “Shamor Es Yom HaShabbos” — “guard the Shabbos.” The Chachomim teach us that actually Hashem said both words, Shamor and Zachor, at the same time!

We know that women have to guard the Shabbos, by not doing any melacha on Shabbos. That is a Mitzvas Lo Saasei, which women also need to keep.

Since Hashem said Shamor and Zachor together, we see that they are both connected! And just like women need to keep Shamor, guarding the Shabbos, we learn that women also have a chiyuv to keep Zachor, remembering Shabbos by making Kiddush.

And what about children? Do they also have a mitzvah to hear or say kiddush?

Kids don’t have a mitzva De’oraisa, from the Torah, to make Kiddush. But their parents have a mitzvah Miderabanan of Chinuch, making sure they learn and practice the mitzvos so they will be able to keep them easily when they do have the chiyuv. Because of this mitzvah, as soon as children are old enough to understand what Shabbos is, their parents should make sure that they hear or say Kiddush on Shabbos.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Ayin-Alef, se’ifim Alef, Beis, and Hey, and siman Shin-Mem-Gimmel se’if Gimmel

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



Bizchus Nashim Tzidkonios

The Gemara says that it was in the zechus of the women that we left Mitzrayim! “Bizchus Noshim Tzidkonios Shehayu Be’oso Hador, Nigalu Avoseinu MiMitzrayim.”

But didn’t Hashem PROMISE that the Yidden would come out of Mitzrayim? Why did we need the zechus of the women?

The answer is that Hashem did promise to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim — after 400 years. But because of the zechus of the Noshim Tzidkonios, the Yidden came out much earlier — after 210 years!

What was this zechus?

We know that Paraoh made a terrible gezeirah that the baby boys should be thrown into the Nilus. It would have made a lot of sense for the Jewish women to say that they don’t want to have any more children, so that these terrible things won’t happen to them!

But the Noshim Tzidkonios in Mitzrayim didn’t think about what might happen. They knew that Hashem wanted them to have children, and so they relied on Hashem to take care of the children — and that is actually what happened! Hashem made nissim and the children were saved, and were even the first to recognize Hashem at Kriyas Yam Suf!

Because they brought so many more Yiddishe neshamos into the world, the shlichus they needed to do in Golus was finished so much faster! Instead of it taking 400 years to finish, the Yidden were able to finish their shlichus in Golus Mitzrayim in just 210 years!

The Rebbe tells us that this teaches us a very important hora’ah!

The Arizal says that the Yidden living right before Moshiach comes are a gilgul, the same neshamos, as the Yidden who came out of Mitzrayim. And just like it was the zechus of the Noshim Tzidkonios in Mitzrayim that brought us out of Golus early, it will be in the zechus of the Noshim Tzidkonios today that Moshiach will come so much faster!

Nowadays there are also reasons to be afraid to have children. Women might be afraid that it will be hard, and that babies don’t give you a lot of time to sleep! They might be afraid that they might not have enough parnasa for so many kids, or that it won’t be easy to give them the right Chinuch.

But the Noshim Tzidkonios shouldn’t think about what might happen. They should have more children because that is what Hashem wants, and rely on Hashem to take care of everything! And in this zechus, with all of these special Yiddishe kinderlach, Moshiach will be able to come right away!

See Farbrengen Parshas Vayechi, Tof-Shin-Mem-Vov

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