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CHUMASH

Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe and Aharon warn Paraoh about Makas Bechoros. Hashem gives the Yidden a mitzvah so they will deserve to go out of Mitzrayim — the Korban Pesach!

Moshe and Aharon were still standing near Paraoh. They told him that Hashem was going to do the next makah Himself — not through a malach! At about midnight, Hashem would make all of the oldest boys, and even the oldest animals, die. (Moshe told Paraoh that it would happen “at about midnight” so that Paraoh couldn’t say that Moshe was lying if his stargazers didn’t tell him the right time!) There would be loud crying all over Mitzrayim, so loud that it would scare all of the dogs! But no dogs would hurt any Yidden — “Ulechol Bnei Yisroel lo yecheratz kelev leshono.”

“Your officers will come and tell me that all of the Yidden should leave Mitzrayim — and we will go.” (Moshe meant also Paraoh himself, but he said “officers” out of kavod.)

Then Moshe left Paraoh’s palace, upset that Paraoh had so much chutzpah to say that he should never come back again!

Korban Pesach

On Rosh Chodesh Nisan, Hashem showed Moshe and Aharon the new moon. Hashem told Moshe that this would be the first month of the Jewish year.

The Yidden need to DESERVE Yetziyas Mitzrayim, which will happen very soon! So Hashem gave the Yidden two mitzvos to do: The Korban Pesach and the Bris Milah.

On the 10th day of Nissan, each family from the Yidden needs to choose a young lamb or goat for a Korban. By bringing a sheep as a korban, they will show that they don’t believe in the Mitzriyim’s Avodah Zarah (since the Mitzriyim worshiped sheep). They should make sure the sheep is big enough so everyone can have a kezayis but small enough that there won’t be any leftovers.

Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu the details of this mitzvah, for example if there are any leftovers, they will need to burn them. They can make groups to share one sheep if a family is too small to eat the whole thing themselves. The animal shouldn’t have anything wrong with it — no mum, nothing missing or broken.

On Yud-Daled Nissan, in the afternoon, the Yidden should shecht their animals, and put some of the blood on the top and sides around the doors of their houses. They should cook the animal over a fire, and eat the meat with matzah and maror. They should be wearing their shoes and all ready to go!

Hashem will kill all of the firstborns, but He will skip over the houses with blood, and not kill any of the Yidden in these houses.

The day the Yidden will come out of Mitzrayim, Tes-Vov Nissan, will become Pesach, and the Yidden will keep it as a Yom Tov forever. For seven days they will eat matzah. They may not eat chometz or even have any chometz in their houses.

 
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TEHILLIM

18 - 22

For today’s Shiur Tehillim, we say kapitelach Yud-Ches through Chof-Beis.

In Kapitel Yud-Tes, there is a posuk that talks about Torah: “Toras Hashem Temimah, Meshivas Nafesh.” “The Torah of Hashem is complete, it makes the neshama feel good.”

The Alter Rebbe uses this posuk to show why he was so happy to hear that the Chassidim learned the whole Shas (Mishnayos and Gemara) in many places during the year. When the Torah is temimah, complete (when the whole Torah is completely learned) it makes the neshama happy!

 
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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Tes-Zayin

After introducing us to a tzadik and a rasha, the Alter Rebbe teaches us what a beinoni is! In the last perek we learned that it’s not even enough to be a beinoni, we have to be an OVED, we have to “go the extra mile” and do more than what we are used to!

To be a beinoni, we need to have two things clear (the Alter Rebbe calls it a “Klal Gadol”):

1) My job is to be in control of my behavior.

A big part of a teacher’s job is to make sure that they stay in charge and the students don’t get wild, and they need to remember that. A beinoni (that’s what ALL OF US are trying to be) needs to stay in charge and not let the Yetzer Hara make trouble!

Our Yetzer Hara, which is our natural instincts, can want things that aren’t good for us, can get angry, can feel lazy and just want to go to sleep, can get us to feel sad for no reason, makes us want to show off to others, and so on. The job of a beinoni that the Alter Rebbe is teaching us, is that through davening and learning Torah and doing mitzvos, our neshama will be strongly connected to Hashem. The mind, which is the place of the Yetzer Tov, will control these feelings and either push them away or figure out how to use them for a good purpose.

2) Being inspired to do mitzvos with a chayus is enough.

You know what it feels like to really love someone, like the way you love your Tatty and Mommy or baby. We love them so much that we want to do nice things for them, to hug them and kiss them and give them presents.

But what if I don’t feel my love for Hashem that much?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that it’s not possible for every single person to FEEL how much they love Hashem. Many beinonim aren’t able to really love Hashem that strongly. But everyone can THINK about how Hashem made every single thing in the whole wide world! We can all think about how He gave us special mitzvos to do, that make us closer to Him, because He loves us!

Even after we think about how special Hashem is, we might still not feel it, but it’s a kind of Ahavas Hashem too! It makes us want to do His mitzvos! This kind of love is called “tevunah” — a kind of love that you think, and don’t feel.

This is the second “Klal Gadol,” important rule, that a beinoni needs to remember. What’s most important is not to have a glowing feeling of love for Hashem and the mitzvos. All that we need is to be inspired enough by thinking about Hashem and his Torah and mitzvos, so we will want to do what Hashem wants from us.

~

We say about Hashem: “Machshava Tova, Hakadosh Baruch Hu Metzarfeh Lemaaseh.” “When we want to do a good thing, Hashem considers it like we did it (even if we can’t).”

We can also learn from this that Hashem takes our good thought — our tevunah — and connects it (metzarfeh) to the mitzvah we did, so it can have real wings and fly up to Hashem!

Now we see how important it is that a beinoni gets himself always inspired to do mitzvos! So what are we doing to get ourselves inspired so that our mitzvos are full of chayus?

Here are some ideas: Go to a farbrengen, and hear someone speak words of Chassidus that will make us want to do mitzvos! Learn a sicha of the Rebbe, or learn Chassidus about a mitzvah that is hard for you! Learn some Tanya, and daven with kavana! Try to find a way to help inspire another Yid to do a mitzvah!

In the second half of Likutei Amarim, we will learn many different things we can think about to make us inspired to do Hashem’s mitzvos.

 
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HAYOM YOM

Gimmel Shevat

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn about how the Torah Ohr and Likutei Torah were printed.

Nine years after the Histalkus of the Mitteler Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek printed the maamorim of the Alter Rebbe for the first time.

In a letter written by the Tzemach Tzedek on Gimmel Shevat (5597), the Tzemach Tzedek writes about this Sefer, called Torah Ohr. The Sefer has the Alter Rebbe’s maamorim on Chumash Bereishis and Shemos (and a few Yomim Tovim). In the letter, the Tzemach Tzedek also writes about the second chelek of the Sefer, which IY”H will be printed later, with maamorim on the other Chumashim, Shir Hashirim, and the other Yomim Tovim.

Unfortunately, it took 11 years (!) until the second chelek was printed! Why did it take so long?!

The Russian government was very mean to Yidden, and there were many big Resha’im who didn’t want Yidden to be learning Torah. One of the things they did was to close down many Jewish printhouses, including the one in Kopust, where the sefer Torah Ohr was printed, so they couldn’t make any new books of Torah.

The second chelek was finally printed in 5608, in a different city — Zhitomir. Instead of calling it “Torah Ohr Chelek Beis” it got its own name, Likutei Torah.

In the Tzemach Tzedek’s letter, he also connects the name of the Alter Rebbe to the Chassidus he teaches: The Alter Rebbe’s name is Shneur, which is the words “Shnei Ohr,” two times light. The Gematria of the word “ohr” (light) two times, is 414, which is also the Gematria of the word Ve’ahavta. In the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidus, he teaches us how to love Hashem, “Ve’ahavta!”

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Mitzvas Asei #127

Now we have started learning a new set of halachos in Rambam, about Maaser.

(Mitzvas Asei #127) Today we learn the mitzvah of Maaser Rishon. We need to take 1/10th of the food that grows in our fields and give it to the Leviim.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Maaser

In today’s Rambam, we learn the first three perakim about Maaser Rishon, which goes to the Leviim.

One halacha is that Maaser is not as holy as Terumah, it is called “chulin.” It doesn’t have kedusha in it the way Terumah does.

Another interesting halacha is that even though Maaser Rishon is given to the Leviim, there was a time when it was given to the kohanim! Ezra Hasofer, who brought many Yidden back to Eretz Yisroel right after the second Beis Hamikdash was built, was upset that the Leviim did not come! So he gave them a knas (like a punishment), he made a takanah that Maaser Rishon would go to the Kohanim instead of to the Leviim for a period of time.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Gimmel

We learn from the pesukim in Torah about what animals are good for korbanos. Here are some of the things: It has to be at least eight days old, and it can’t be an animal that is half of one kind and half of the other! (Like a half sheep, half goat)

 
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DARKEI HACHASSIDUS

Learning and Teaching Chassidus

On this day, in the year 5752 (1992), the last year we heard sichos from the Rebbe, the Rebbe said something which was very startling to Chassidim:

The Rebbe said, “How can we understand the ways of Hashem, that the Frierdiker Rebbe, whose whole life was to teach and spread Chassidus, was given an illness that made it hard for him to speak?”

The Rebbe said that even though it’s not something we can understand, one thing we need to learn from that is that just like Moshe Rabbeinu had Aharon speak for him since he couldn’t, the Chassidim need to be the “Aharon” for the Rebbe, the Rebbe’s “mouth”, learning and teaching the words of Chassidus to other people.

Nowadays, too, our Shlichus is to be like Aharon, to teach Chassidus to the whole world until Moshiach comes and the Rebbe teaches us the Torah Chadasha of Moshiach!

 

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TEFILLAH

Birchos HaTorah

According to Kabbalah, the brachos that we say in Birchos HaTorah are considered three separate brachos.

1) Al Divrei Sorah — we bless Hashem for the mitzvah of learning Torah!

2) Vehaarev Na — we ask that our Torah learning should be enjoyable, that it should be lasting, that our children and Klal Yisrael also appreciate it, and that we learn for the right reasons!

3) Asher Bachar Banu — we thank Hashem for choosing US to give His special gift to, and that Hashem is Nosein HaTorah, constantly giving it to us!

Some say that the three brachos are because of the three parts of Torah: Mikra (Tanach), Mishna, and Medrash (sources and reasons for the halachos of Torah and the deeper meanings of pesukim).

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Not Eating Before Kiddush

From the time we are allowed to make to make Kiddush, we are not supposed to eat or drink anything (even water!) until after we make Kiddush.

When is the time of Kiddush? The time of Kiddush is from when Shabbos starts, or if we take in Shabbos early, from the time we accepted Shabbos. For a girl, this is from when she bentches licht. From that time, we are not supposed to eat or drink anything until we make or hear Kiddush.

What about kids?

The halacha is that we are not allowed to make kids uncomfortable or unhappy by making them wait to eat. If they are hungry, we should give them food!

But wait, isn’t there a mitzvah of Chinuch? And isn’t it asur to give children food that they aren’t supposed to eat?

That is only for food that is asur to eat ALL the time, like treif food. But if it is kosher food, and it is just not the right TIME to eat, we are allowed to give it to children.

So if kids are hungry before Kiddush, we do give them something to eat, and we are not allowed to tell them that they have to wait until Kiddush!

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Ayin-Alef, se’if Tes, and siman Reish-Samach-Tes, 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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

The Whole Torah

The Rambam brings proofs from the Torah about Moshiach, but not from Navi.

The Rambam explains that we don’t need to bring proofs from the Neviim, because the whole Navi is FULL of pesukim about Moshiach.

But there are also a lot of parts of Navi that talk about other things, and even talk about Golus! How can the Rambam say that the Navi is full of pesukim about the Geulah?

The Rebbe explains that if we think about what the Geulah really is, and we think deeper into the meaning of the stories in Nach, we will see that EVERYTHING in the Neviim really is about the Geulah!

 
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