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Parshas Tzav - Rishon with Rashi

Korban Olah:

We have been learning about the Korban Olah, a kind of korban that is completely burned up on the Mizbeiach, and kohanim don’t even get a little bit to eat! When we don’t get anything from what we do, sometimes we might not be as careful. So Hashem tells Moshe to tell the kohanim very strongly to keep the halachos of the Olah — “Tzav!” — “command them!”

Terumas Hadeshen: All the korbanos should be put on the Mizbeiach during the day, but even if they were put on at night it is still okay.

In the morning, a kohen needs to take off the ashes from the Mizbeiach. Even though it might be messy, he wears his special white kohen clothes because it is part of the holy Avodah! The kohen uses a rake to sweep through the middle of the pile of ashes that burned the Olah (and any other korbanos that were on the Mizbeiach). He needs to make sure that the korbanos were all burned. If they weren’t burned up properly, he needs to put them back into the fire. These ashes that he raked through are put on the ground near the Mizbeiach. (This is the same place where the ashes from the Ketores and the used wicks of the Menorah go.) Hashem makes a neis that they will sink into the ground!

Since only the middle part of the ashes is taken off every day, after a while there will be so many ashes on the Mizbeiach, there won’t be room to burn the korbanos! If the kohen sees that there is no room left, he will need to clean off the rest. To do this messy job, he wears a different set of clothes, not the regular Bigdei Kehunah. Those ashes are taken away from where the Yidden live, but it still needs to be brought to a tahor place.

Aish Tomid: The kohanim have to be very careful not to let the fire on the Mizbeiach go out! The fire that the kohanim light needs to burn all the time, even though Hashem will send down a fire from Shomayim to burn the korbanos. The kohanim also use this fire for lighting the Menorah!

A kohen should put fresh wood into the fire every morning, and then put the Korban Tomid (which is a Korban Olah) as the first korban on this new wood. (The last korban of each day is also the Korban Tomid.)

Korban Mincha:

Last week we started to learn about the Korban Mincha, a korban of flour and oil. Now we learn how the Korban Mincha is brought before Hashem: The kohen needs to use his hand to take out a fistful of flour where it is most oily. He has kavana that this korban should bring nachas to Hashem, and burns it on the Mizbeiach together with all of the Levonah spice.

Whatever is left over is for the kohanim to eat… but they can’t make it chometz! It is very holy (called “Kodesh Kodoshim”) and can only be eaten inside the Mishkan. Any other korbanos it touches become Kodesh Kodoshim too!

The flour left over from the Mincha, together with any other parts of the korbanos that are not burned, belong to the kohanim and are shared with all of them equally. It doesn’t matter if they have a mum and can’t actually bring the korbanos, it belongs to them too and they still are able to eat it.



44 - 48

Two of the kapitelach in today’s Tehillim speak about the war of Gog Umagog before Moshiach comes. Afterwards, everyone will throw away their weapons, and there will be no more war!

During a war, soldiers have certain mitzvos to keep. In a Yud-Alef Nisan farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke about one of these mitzvos, and the lesson it teaches us in Ahavas Yisroel!

In a war, soldiers have the mitzvah of “Al Yerach Levavchem,” that they are not allowed to be afraid.

But how can we expect the soldiers to keep this mitzvah? How can we tell them not to be afraid? War is scary — they see so many people getting hurt, they see how dangerous it is! It is normal to be scared.

The Rambam explains that the mitzvah is in thinking. The soldiers are not allowed to think about the scary parts, they need to instead think about what they are supposed to be doing! That way they can do their part in fighting without getting worried or afraid.

The Rebbe tells us that the same thing is true with Ahavas Yisroel!

The mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel is the mitzvah to love another Jew. But how can we expect someone to feel that they love someone? It’s normal not to like everyone we see. We only feel that we love certain people!

Like the mitzvah for soldiers, the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel is for us to think things that will make us want to love another Jew! We think about their maalos, how special it is that they have a neshama, and how Hashem loves them as His only child! Then, eventually, we will be able to fulfill the mitzvah of actually FEELING a love for another Yid!

See farbrengen Yud-Alef Nisan Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches



Likutei Amarim Perek Lamed-Tes

We are learning about the kavana we have when we serve Hashem.

One of the types of kavana we can have can be compared to an animal: We do the mitzvah because Hashem made us in a way that we have a built-in love for Hashem and Yiras Shomayim! (That’s the Ahava Mesuteres, and the koach of Mesiras Nefesh we are born with. We only need to remind ourselves of it to be able to use it to serve Hashem!)

All of the things an animal does are just because that’s how Hashem made them. They run to get food, they run away from scary things, and they stay away from certain smells.

There is another type of kavana that is compared to a person, who has sechel and is able to think. For this kind of kavana, someone needs to spend time thinking about the greatness of Hashem. This will create a feeling of love for Hashem! This kind of kavana is usually the avodah of a tzadik.

Even though for most of us the main kavana is using the natural Ahava we have for Hashem, we shouldn’t feel bad — malochim feel that way too! They also serve Hashem in a natural way, just because that’s how they’re made.

But our avodah isn’t as easy — we need to work harder than malochim! We have to do iskafya to keep the mitzvos, NOT doing what our body wants. That gives Hashem a lot of nachas, and accomplishes great things in Shomayim! Because of that, on Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh, a neshama in Gan Eden gets to go up to a higher level of Ruchnius! There the neshama has great pleasure, because it can feel Hashem in a much stronger way.

(The neshama goes from Gan Eden HaTachton, which is the world of Yetzirah, up to Gan Eden HaElyon, the world of Beriyah.)

Our neshamos can only “visit” the higher levels of Ruchnius but our mitzvos actually BECOME part of these higher levels of Ruchnius! The neshama in Gan Eden is able to feel some of the kedusha that shines from the mitzvos it did!



Ches Nisan

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn an explanation on a posuk in Tehillim, which is part of the Rebbe’s new kapitel this year, Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes!

Every neshama is sent down to the world with a special shlichus that it needs to do. We aren’t born just to do things that are easy for us — we need to find the things in ourselves that are NOT the way they should be, and our neshama should fix them.

How do we know which things need to be fixed? There’s a posuk from Tehillim that says, “MeiOivai Techakmeini Mitzvosecha, Ki Le’Olam Hi Li.” One of the ways to explain this posuk is, “From my enemies I become wise about Your mitzvos, because they (the mitzvos) are always with me.”

How do we become wise to figure out which mitzvos are our job to work on? By thinking about the not-good midos that we have, our “enemies.” When we see what is not good in our behavior and hard for us, we will know that those things are what our neshamos need to work hard to fix most!



Shiur #255 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #269, Asei #204

Today we learn TWO mitzvos about Hashovas Aveidah, the matching Mitzvas Asei and Lo Saasei:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #269) is that we can’t ignore something that we find, and just pretend we didn’t see it. If we see something lost, and we do ignore it, we are doing this aveira — the Lo Saasei.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei, when Moshe Rabbeinu reviews the mitzvos with the Yidden before they go into Eretz Yisroel: לֹא תוּכַל לְהִתְעַלֵּם

The details of this mitzvah are explained in the second perek of Mesechta Bava Metziah, Perek Eilu Metzios (one of the first pieces of Gemara learned in many Chadorim).

2) (Mitzvas Asei #204) is that we need to bring back something we find to the person who lost it. That’s the Mitzvas Asei of Hashovas Aveidah!

The Torah tells us about this twice. Once is in Parshas Mishpatim, right after Matan Torah: הָשֵׁב תְּשִׁיבֶנּוּ לוֹ

Then we learn about it again, in Parshas Ki Seitzei, in Moshe’s review of the mitzvos: הָשֵׁב תְּשִׁיבֵם לְאָחִיךָ

The details of this mitzvah are also explained in the second perek of Mesechta Bava Metziah, Perek Eilu Metzios.



Hilchos Gezeilah VaAveidah

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about returning things that we find — Hashovas Aveidah.

Perek Tes-Zayin explains when you need to return money or a treasure that you find. Usually, you are allowed to keep money that you find in the street, unless it has a siman (a sign), like it is arranged in a pile. Money that you find on the counter in a store needs to be returned, but money found on the floor in a store does not need to be.

Perek Yud-Zayin: Sometimes there is a lost object that the Torah says we do not need to return. There are halachos about what we need to do to make it ours. For example, just looking at it and saying, “I found it! I’m keeping it!” is not enough. We need to actually do something, like picking it up, for it to belong to us.

Perek Yud-Ches teaches the halachos of what we do if we find a shtar (contract). One of the halachos is that we do NOT give back a contract where somebody owes money, because maybe it was already paid, and if we give it back they will have to pay again!

Now we have finished learning the section of halachos about Gezeilah V’Aveidah.



Hilchos Naarah Besulah - Perek Gimmel

This perek teaches us the halachos about a Motzi Shem Ra, who makes up a not nice story about a girl.



Yud-Alef Nissan

On a birthday, the Rebbe tells us, it’s important to think about the reason why a person is born. In many of the Yud-Alef Nissan farbrengens, and also on Yud-Beis Tammuz, the Frierdiker Rebbe’s birthday, the Rebbe would explain about the reason why Hashem brought the neshama into the world, based on the posuk from Iyov, “Adam La’amal Yulad” — a person was born to work hard. Hashem made it this way so that we should have the zechus to be a partner with Hashem in making the world the way it should be.

There are four main kinds of hardships that people go through during their lives. They are hinted to in the four categories of people who need to bring a Korban Todah when they are saved from a danger:

1) A sick person who got better — We need to have a healthy Yiddishe head and heart. If we are sick, chas veshalom, we won’t be able to serve Hashem properly.

2) A person who gets out of jail — When the Yetzer Hara doesn’t let the neshama do what it wants, it is a kind of Ruchnius “jail.” Sometimes a Yetzer Hara can become so strong in the person’s mind or heart that it feels like he can’t control himself! This is another big challenge.

3) Going on a trip over the sea — Many years ago, people didn’t travel very much — usually they would only travel if they needed to for parnasa. A person might feel like they are drowning, because they are so worried about having enough money for things. Being worried about parnasa can make it very hard for a Yid to serve Hashem.

4) Going over the midbar — A desert is a place where nobody lives. The world can feel like a desert, because we can’t see Hashem in the world. Our job is to make sure that we CAN see Hashem, a Dira Betachtonim. But it can be a hard job to make our families, communities, and the world look the way Hashem wants.

These are struggles that every Yid has to deal with, but we can have bitachon that Hashem will help us! We need to work hard and do our very best, and feel sure that with Hashem’s help we will succeed. Then we will thank Hashem for the nissim that he has done for us to help us to be successful in our Shlichus and bring Moshiach now!

From Maamar Hagomel Yud-Beis Tammuz 5743

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Haggadah Shel Pesach

In Biur Tefillah, we are learning about the Haggadah. In this shiur and the next, we will IY”H go through the general structure of the part of the Haggadah where we tell over the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim, which is Maggid. We say much of this on Shabbos Hagadol after Mincha, which is when the nisim started!

On the night of Pesach, it is a mitzvah to tell over the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim.

Even though the exact nusach of the Haggadah comes from the time of the Geonim, the main setup of the seder and what we tell over on the night of Pesach is written in the Mishnah and Gemara.

The Mishnah says that after Mah Nishtana, the father should explain Yetziyas Mitzrayim to his son, based on what his son is able to understand.

He should tell the story in a way of “Maschil Begnus Umesayem Beshvach,” starting with the shameful part and finishing with praise. (There is more than one opinion what this is talking about. One opinion says it means starting with the fact that Yidden were slaves to Paraoh, and ending off that Hashem took us out with great nisim! Another opinion says we start the story even before that, with Avraham Avinu, who came from a family who served Avodah Zarah, and that Hashem kept His promise to Avraham and took the Yidden out of Mitzrayim with great wealth! The halacha is like the first opinion so we start with the Yidden being slaves in Mitzrayim; but afterwards we also tell the story from the beginning, about Avraham Avinu, like the second opinion!)

Then, the Mishnah tells us that we explain a certain paragraph from the Torah, posuk by posuk. This paragraph starts with the words “Arami Oved Avi.” When a person brought Bikurim to the Beis Hamikdash, he would praise Hashem that he had a chelek of Eretz Yisroel and could bring Hashem these fruits! In this paragraph, he would thank Hashem for taking us out of Mitzrayim, so we could later come to Eretz Yisroel.

During our seder, we explain each posuk of this paragraph according to a Medrash, the Sifri.

This is the main part of the Haggadah, which we also say on Shabbos Hagadol, and IY”H we will see the rest of Maggid in the next shiur

See footnotes in the Rebbe’s Haggadah, Maggid



Treats for Kids

Don’t forget to say the Nasi! Today’s Nasi is for Shevet Menasheh.


On the night of Pesach, before starting the seder, it is a minhag to give children nuts and treats. We want them to see that tonight is different, and ask us why we’re giving them treats even before the meal!

Even though we don’t answer that question directly, it helps the children realize that tonight is very different, and get them to wonder why and start asking questions, like about the matzah and maror and leaning while we eat! Then we’ll be able to answer them with Avadim Hayinu and the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Tof-Ayin-Beis se’if Lamed-Alef

As we are getting closer to Pesach, it is a good idea to review the halachos of Pesach again! Here are some halacha newsletters that you can use:
- Halacha Day by Day by Rabbi Yosef Braun
- Halacha Newsletter by Rabbi Shmuel Lesches

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



Kimei Tzeischa Me'Eretz Mitzrayim (6)

In Sefer Micha, the Navi tells us a promise Hashem made about the Geulah: “Kimei Tzeischa Me’Eretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos!” “I will show you wonders like in the days of Yetziyas Mitzrayim!”

According to the Zohar, really, the nissim of the Geulah will be much GREATER than the nissim of Yetziyas Mitzrayim!

So why does Hashem say that the nissim will be like then?

Before Yetziyas Mitzrayim, there was no such thing as Geulah. It was something impossible! But when Hashem took the Yidden out of Mitzrayim, Geulah wasn’t impossible anymore. At the right time, the Geulah could just happen!

So the Geulah we’re about to have is connected to the Geulah from Mitzrayim. It is only because of the first Geulah from Mitzrayim that it is possible for us to have the incredible nissim of the Geulah with Moshiach!

See the Maamar Kimei Tzeischa, Yud-Alef Nisan 5742 (Sefer Hamaamarim Melukat)

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