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Parshas Yisro - Rishon with Rashi

Yisro comes to join the Yidden!

When Yisro, Moshe’s father-in-law, heard about Kriyas Yam Suf and the war with Amalek, he came to meet the Yidden near Har Sinai.

Yisro brought his daughter Tziporah (Moshe’s wife) and her sons Gershom and Eliezer. Moshe had left them in Midyan when he went to Mitzrayim to take the Yidden out, so they wouldn’t have to suffer in Mitzrayim.

When Moshe heard they were coming, he went out to meet them — and of course, the rest of the Yidden came too! Moshe bowed and kissed his father-in-law, and asked how he was doing. Then they went inside a tent.

Moshe wanted to bring Yisro closer to Torah, so even though Yisro had already heard a little bit about Kriyas Yam Suf and the war with Amalek, Moshe told him about all of the nissim that Hashem did, with all of the details. Yisro said that he was very happy that Hashem had helped the Yidden.

Even though Yisro already knew about Hashem beforehand, now he recognized the true greatness of Hashem, and how Hashem runs everything in the world with Hashgacha Protis.

Yisro brought korbanos to Hashem, and there was a special seudah with Aharon and the zekeinim.

We learn about Yisro in the first three aliyos of this week. As we will see in the Rashi at the beginning of tomorrow’s Chumash, many of the details written here happened after Matan Torah, which we didn’t learn about yet. Still, the Torah tells us about them now, even before telling us about Matan Torah. There is an important reason for this: The Zohar says that Hashem could only give the Torah after Yisro, who knew about all the Avodah Zarah in the world, came to recognize Hashem and wanted to get the Torah with all of the Yidden.

This is a lesson for us too, that even the part of us that knows about all of the Gashmius and taavos of the world, our guf and Nefesh Habehamis, ALSO has to want to get the Torah! Only when we are able to do that, will we be able to understand and have hatzlacha in Torah. (See Likutei Sichos chelek Daled, p. 1271)



88 - 89

Kapitel Pey-Tes starts with the posukMaskil LeEisan HoEzrachi,” telling us which person this kapitel comes from — it was written by a person named Eisan.

Chassidus explains that this name, “Eisan,” also has a very deep meaning which we need to learn from!

The word Eisan means strong. There are different kinds of strong — strong that it’s hard to fight with, or strong that it is hard to push. Then there is a kind of strong that NOTHING can break it or move it! That’s what Eisan is.

Every neshama has Eisan! It’s the part of the neshama that has the koach never to budge, no matter what anyone tries to do to it, and won’t do anything against what Hashem wants. That part is also called the Yechidah of the neshama, which is ready to have Mesiras Nefesh for Hashem!

In fact, the word Eisan has the same letters as the word “Tanya!” That’s one of the reasons given for why the Alter Rebbe started the sefer with this word, since it is the deepest part of the neshama that the Tanya teaches us how to wake up!



Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Hey

The Alter Rebbe gives examples today — not just of how a person could hold himself back from doing an aveira even if it is painful, but also how a person should work VERY hard to do a mitzvah!

Sometimes mitzvos aren’t easy. They might be very hard for us, and feel like we can’t do them or we really don’t want to. But because we know that’s what Hashem wants, we’re ready to have Mesiras Nefesh and do them anyway!

The Alter Rebbe tells us about how learning Torah, davening, and giving Tzedakah can be hard for a person. Still, because of the hidden love (Ahava Mesuteres) that we all have for Hashem, we are ready to do ANYTHING for Hashem!

We just need to think about how we would do ANYTHING it takes to stay connected to Hashem, even actual Mesiras Nefesh. Remembering that should make it easier for us to do what Hashem wants from us, even when it is very hard!

The Alter Rebbe adds that when we remember that every connection we make with Hashem through Torah and mitzvos stays forever, we will not let the Yetzer Hara convince us that it’s not worth putting in effort to make this connection! We would be happy to give our lives not to lose our connection to Hashem, of course we should be happy to have even one more chance to learn Torah and do mitzvos, which lasts forever!

This is also a good thing to remember when we do mivtzoyim with another Yid. Even though it looks like just one mitzvah, it is a mitzvah that makes this Yid one with Hashem, a connection that lasts forever!



Yud-Ches Shevat

Today the Rebbe tells us about another maamar in Torah Ohr!

The Alter Rebbe’s maamar called “Umareihem Umaaseihem” is based on the first maamar the Maggid ever said when he became Rebbe (Shavuos 5521/1761)!

So for the Chassidim of the Maggid (like the Alter Rebbe!) that maamar was like Bosi Legani is to us!

The Alter Rebbe wasn’t there when the Maggid said it, but he heard it from R’ Mendel Horodoker, who was there! The Alter Rebbe later said this maamar also, and explained it in his own way.

All of these Hayom Yoms about Torah Ohr and Likutei Torah show us how important it is for a chossid to learn the “Chassidishe Parsha!”



Shiur #206 - Mitzvas Asei #108

Today's mitzvah is the same as yesterday’s: (Mitzvas Asei #108) This mitzvah is about Mei Nidah — the water that is mixed with the ashes of the Parah Adumah. There are some kinds of things that it makes tamei, and other things that it makes tahor! The mitzvah is to follow all of these halachos.

At the end of this mitzvah, the Rambam tells us the source of all of the mitzvos of Tumah and Tahara in the Torah (Parshas Shemini, Tazria, Metzora, and Chukas), where they are explained in Mishnayos (Seder Taharos), and which mesechtos explain which mitzvos.



Hilchos Parah Adumah

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about using the Mei Nidah for making someone (or something) Tahor from Tumas Meis.

Perek Yud-Alef: In this perek we learn all of the details of how the water is actually sprinkled, using the Eizov branch.

Perek Yud-Beis: We learn what happens when more than one person or thing are sprinkled at one time. What if the water drips from one onto the other one? What if the water went onto one part of something, like only the lid of a pot? All of the answers are in today’s Rambam!

One of the things the Rambam teaches us about is called a Klubkerin — what we would call a winter coat! Even though there is an inside soft lining and an outside made of something else, it’s called just one thing, and if the water was sprinkled on any part, the whole thing is tahor.

Perek Yud-Gimmel: This perek teaches us about the extra rules of tumah and tahara we have with things used for the Mei Nidah.



Hilchos Megillah V'Chanukah - Perek Daled

We learn many halachos about lighting the Menorah. Here is one very important halacha: If someone only has enough money to do one mitzvah — lighting the Menorah or lighting Shabbos candles, he should get the Shabbos candles!

Why? Because the most important thing is to have Shalom Bayis, which is what Shabbos candle lighting is about!

Mazel Tov! We have now finished Sefer Zmanim!



Chassidishe Parsha

One of the maamarim in this week’s Torah Ohr is the famous maamar called “Bachodesh Hashlishi.” This maamar speaks about the koach of Torah!

The guf can sometimes make it hard for the neshama to do what it is supposed to. But Torah can change that!

Torah is called “Oz Vetushiya.” It is Oz (strength), because it gives strength to the neshama, and it is Tushiya (a helper), because it helps us make the Yetzer Hara weaker.

To get this koach of Torah in the best way, the Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to learn Torah in a special way: We need to remember that it’s HASHEM’S Torah, like by Matan Torah, when we could SEE that Hashem was giving it to us.

Whenever we learn Torah, we should remember that the words we are saying are the same words that were said by Matan Torah, and the same words that the Chachomim explained to us over the years. We are just repeating them! This is called learning Torah with bittul. We aren’t thinking about ourselves, we are thinking about the Torah of Hashem!

When we learn Torah this way, the Torah has the koach of Oz Vetushiya, so we can have hatzlacha in doing our shlichus in the world.

This maamar was said by the Alter Rebbe in preparation for the Yom Tov of Shavuos. It was put in Torah Ohr by the Tzemach Tzedek, because it is also connected to Yisro where we learn about Matan Torah. The Rebbe sometimes asked that it be learned on Shavuos, and would speak about the maamar both on Shavuos and in Parshas Yisro.

In Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis, the last sicha of Parshas Yisro that we heard from the Rebbe, the Rebbe spoke a lot about this maamar.

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Birchas Hamazon - Hazan Es Ha'olam

The first bracha of Birchas Hamazon starts with the words, “Baruch Ata Hashem… Hazan Es Ha’olam.”

In this bracha, we thank Hashem that He is the one Who is “Zan,” that Hashem gives food to us and to the whole world!

We say that Hashem gives food “Bechein, Bechesed, Uverachamim.” The Maharal explains that these three words tell us about the kinds of people Hashem gives to — whether or not they deserve it!

We praise Hashem for giving EVERYONE and EVERYTHING in the world food, and whatever they need. Like it says in the posuk, “Poseiach Es Yadecha Umasbia Lechol Chai Ratzon!” Hashem opens His hand and makes every person and animal satisfied with what they need or want.

We end off with the bracha, “Hazan Es Hakol,” that Hashem feeds EVERYONE.

Since this bracha actually thanks Hashem for the food we just ate, it is the main bracha in bentching! That is why kids who can’t say the whole bentching start off by just saying this paragraph, and why some people have the minhag to say this bracha in a louder voice.




It is a mitzvah for every person to make Kiddush on Shabbos, or be yotzei by listening to someone else make Kiddush.

In order to be yotzei someone else’s Kiddush, it is very important to be paying attention the whole time, and not to make a hefsek, interrupting the Kiddush at all!

Many people are used to listening to brachos in shul, and saying “Baruch Hu U’varuch Shemo” to praise Hashem every time they hear the chazan say Hashem’s name in a bracha. But saying this during Kiddush, or any other bracha that you want to be yotzei, is a hefsek! We should be quiet and listen during the whole bracha, and only answer Amen at the end of the bracha. This way we can be yotzei hearing Kiddush.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Kuf-Chof-Daled, se’if beis

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



Everyone Will Hear About It

In today’s Chumash, Yisro joins the Jewish people!

The Torah tells us that he hears about the many nissim that Hashem did for the Yidden, and wants to learn from such a special nation!

This is also something that will happen when Moshiach comes! The Navi says, “Kimei Tzeis’cha Me’eretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos,” that there will be nissim like there were at the time of Yetziyas Mitzrayim. All of the nations will hear about the these nissim, and they will all want to learn how to serve Hashem from such a special nation.

See sicha to children, Yud-Zayin Shevat Tof-Shin-Mem-Gimmel

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