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Parshas Lech Lecha - Chamishi with Rashi

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned how Avram won over the four kings, and how the king of Sedom was saved.

The king of Sedom was very happy that his city was rescued in the end. He offered Avram, “If you let all of the people go, you can keep all of the riches in my city!”

Avram answered, “I won’t take even a thread or a shoelace! I don’t want you to say ‘I made Avram rich.’ Only HASHEM will make me rich. But if any of my soldiers want to take things, that is fine.”

After the war, Avram was worried. Maybe since Hashem made a neis for him to win the war, Hashem wouldn’t make any more nissim for him!

Hashem told Avram not to worry, he would get a lot of rewards. Avram told Hashem that the only reward he really wanted was a child. “I have a very good student and servant, Eliezer. If I don’t have any children, he will get everything passed down to him. But he is not my child!”

Hashem told Avram that he WOULD have children! He told Avram to go outside, look up at the sky, and try to count the stars. “This is how many your children will be — you won’t be able to even count them!”

Avram believed that Hashem would do what He said. He didn’t even ask Hashem for a sign!



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach are Samach to Samach-Hey.

In Kapitel Samach, the first of today’s Tehillim, we have a posuk that says “Lemaan Yeichaltzun Yedidecha, Hoshia Yemincha Va’aneini.” (We also say it by the end of Shmoneh Esrei.)

The pesukim before this one talk about how Hashem sometimes makes a person have a hard time so they can show that they ALWAYS believe in Hashem. This posuk tells us that really “Hashem does this so that He can save them, and will help with His right hand and answer.” Really, the whole time Hashem wants to save the person, but he wants them to show that they believe in Hashem all the time. Then everyone will know they deserve their brachos.

We see that even though sometimes things are hard, it’s because Hashem wants to give us later something even better.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

We learned before that when we work hard to understand the halachos of the Torah properly, we are taking the Torah out of the Golus it is in — the kelipah of the questions and things that make it hard to understand.

When Moshiach will come, we won’t need to learn Torah for THAT reason, because there will be no more kelipah to hide the kedushah of the Torah! We will only need to learn the Chassidus that explains the halachos, to bring extra kedushah into the Torah. But we won’t need to take it out of Golus, since there will be no more bad in the world!

And what about the halachos? We will know them by just learning them once — we won’t need to review them all the time. Plus, we will understand them by knowing the Chassidus that we learn about them!

This ends this very long letter! We understand now that in the times of Golus, the Torah is also in Golus. We know that when we work hard to understand the halachos and discover new insights in the Torah we bring the Geulah sooner. And we know that when Moshiach comes we will spend all of our time just learning Chassidus!



Yud-Alef Mar-Cheshvan

First, the Rebbe points out some corrections in the printed copy of Torah Ohr.

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe writes that the Rebbe Rashab wrote notes on the maamarPosach Eliyahu” (which is in Torah Ohr of Parshas Vayeira).

The Rebbe in each generation helps the chassidim understand the maamorim which were taught by the Rebbes before him. A chossid by himself can’t properly understand what he should do in his Avodas Hashem just by learning the Chassidus of the Alter Rebbe. We can see from this that the Rebbe Rashab wanted to make sure that the Chassidim in his time could understand what this maamar means for them.



Shiur #112 - Mitzvas Asei #95

Today’s mitzvah is that if someone makes a promise and changes his mind, he has to go to a Rav or a Beis Din to take away the promise.

There are some mitzvos that are only a mitzvah to do if we need to do them. For example, it isn’t a mitzvah to become tomei so we can become tahor through the Parah Adumah, but if someone DOES become tomei, it’s a mitzvah to follow the halachos of how to become tahor again!

This is also that kind of mitzvah: It isn’t a mitzvah to change your mind about a promise, but if someone DOES, he needs to follow the halachos of how to take away the promise. For a girl or a woman, her father or husband can take away certain promises (like we learn in Perek Yud-Alef and Yud-Beis of today’s Rambam), and a Rav or Beis Din can be mevatel promises for ANYONE.

We learn this mitzvah from the first aliyah of Parshas Matos. These pesukim teach how a father or husband can take away a neder. How Chachomim do it is hinted to in the posuk from yesterday’s mitzvah, but the main place we learn it from is Torah Shebaal Peh.

In Gemara, this mitzvah is explained in Mesechta Nedarim.



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about promises.

Perek Yud: We learn all kinds of halachos about a promise that has to do with time — like if someone makes a promise not to eat fruit for a day, or if he says he will save his bananas until it rains.

Perek Yud-Alef: We learn about what happens if a child (boy or girl) makes a promise in the year before their Bar or Bas Mitzvah. If a girl doesn’t live at home, and isn’t married yet, her promise is a promise! (If she does live at home or is married, her father or husband can take away the promise.)

Perek Yud-Beis: We learn about how a father or husband can take away a promise. One interesting halacha is that a father can take away ANY promise, but a husband can only take away a promise that will bother or annoy him or her or make it hard to stay married to his wife. We also learn that he can only take away the promise on the day he hears it — otherwise, the promise stays.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Daled

This perek discusses something called hatmanah, covering a pot to keep it hot on Shabbos. We are not allowed to wrap it fully in something that would add heat (like an electric blanket!) even before Shabbos. On Shabbos, we aren’t even allowed to wrap a pot with something that DOESN’T add heat, because of gezeiros the Chachomim made to keep us far away from doing melacha on Shabbos.



Leben Mit Der Tzeit

When we go to school, we learn Alef-Beis, Chumash, and Gemara. When we listen in class and get good marks on our tests, that means we are good students and good chassidim, right? Well, that’s part of it, but it’s not all!

The Rebbe teaches us that a Chossid is someone who doesn’t just daven and learn like a chossid, but someone who talks and plays with his friends like a chossid, who eats and drinks and walks around like a chossid! He speaks to other people the way a chossid should, with eidelkeit, and rechenen mit a tzveiten (sensitivity to others). Only when we live ALL THE TIME the way Chassidus teaches us, can we really be Chassidim.

The Rebbe tells us how Avraham Avinu, who we live with in this week’s parsha, was the first example of how to live this way!

From a letter of the Rebbe


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The third posuk from the Twelve Pesukim starts with the word Bechol. It is a Maamar Chazal that comes from the Mishna. Here’s what it means:

Bechol Dor Vador — In every generation

Chayav Adam Liros Es Atzmo — A person needs to see himself

K’ilu Hu Yatza Mimitzrayim — As if he went out of Mitzrayim!

Why should we feel like we went out of Mitzrayim ourselves? The Haggadah explains why!

It tells us that if Hashem hadn’t taken the Yidden out of Mitzrayim so many years ago, we would still be slaves there. So we should feel the same thankfulness for Yetziyas Mitzrayim today!

Since we are NOT slaves, and we do NOT have to work for Paraoh, we are free to serve Hashem! When we think about this posuk, it should help us feel thankful for the chesed Hashem does for us, and help us feel excited to learn Torah and do mitzvos with chayus and simcha!



The Meaning of Brachos

We say many brachos every day. What do they mean?

There is an opinion in halacha that says that we need to understand what we are saying when we say a bracha, or else it isn’t counted! A bracha thanks Hashem or praises Hashem for something, and if we don’t know what we are saying, we aren’t actually praising Hashem, and then it’s not really a bracha.

There are other opinions that say it is fine even if we just said the words. So even if we didn’t understand what we were saying, the halacha is that we don’t need to say the bracha again.

But lechatchilah, we do need to understand what we are saying whenever we make a bracha, like the first opinion.

We don’t need to know what the exact words mean, especially in long brachos with many details, but we should know what we are thanking or praising Hashem for! It is enough to understand what the beginning part and the end part of each bracha are talking about.

The beginning of each bracha is “Baruch Ata Hashem.” We should think about how we are praising Hashem, the King of the world!

The end of each bracha praises or thanks Hashem for something. For example, when we say “Borei Pri Ha’eitz,” we know that we are thanking Hashem for the delicious fruits we can eat! When we say the brachaAl Achilas Matzah,” we are praising Hashem for giving us the mitzvah to eat matzah.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Kuf-Pey-Hey

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



Who Dovid Hamelech Will Dance With

R’ Aizik Homiler once said:

“When Moshiach comes and there will be Techiyas Hameisim, the Avos will get up, and the holy Shevatim, Moshe and Aharon, all of the Neviim, all of the Tannaim and Amoraim, and the Gaonim and the Tzadikim of all generations…

“And all of them will give special attention to the poshute Yidden, the ones who serve Hashem in a temimus’dike way. Moshe Rabbeinu’s first dance will be with these Yidden, because the whole Torah stands on THEM — not on the Geonim that come up with Chiddushei Torah. And in the main dance, Dovid Hamelech will dance with the poshute Tehillim-zogers, the poshute Yidden who say Tehillim with their whole heart.”

Migolah L’Geulah p. 197

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