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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Shlishi with Rashi

Yesterday we learned how Avraham made Eliezer his shliach to find a shidduch for Yitzchak. Today we learn about the beginning of the hatzlacha of this shlichus!

Eliezer took ten of Avraham’s camels and some people along. These camels were special, and are called Avraham’s camels, because they had muzzles which kept them from stealing by eating from other people’s fields!

Avraham wrote a contract that said that everything he has belongs to Yitzchak, and gave it to Eliezer to show to the girl’s family. When they see that Yitzchak is very rich, they will want their daughter to marry him!

Eliezer traveled to Charan, where Nachor, Avraham’s brother, lived.

Hashem gave Eliezer kefitzas haderech, and he came in one day, even though it would usually take 17 days!

Eliezer brought the camels to the well at night, when girls go get water for their houses. He davened that Hashem should help him find the right girl. He said to Hashem he would make a sign: If he would ask a girl to give him some water, and she would also give his camels water, that would be the right wife for Yitzchak. Since she would be a girl of chesed, he would know that Hashem was showing him the right girl and she is worthy to marry into the family of Avraham.

He hadn’t even finished davening, when Rivka (the daughter of Besuel and the granddaughter of Nachor, Avraham’s brother) came out. She was beautiful and very tznius’dik. When she went down to the well, the water got higher so it would be easier for her to fill her pitcher! Eliezer saw the neis, and realized she was probably a tzadeikes.

Eliezer ran over to her and asked for a little drink. She right away gave him her pitcher and told him to drink. Then she said, “I will go get water for your camels and the people who came with you.” She poured her pitcher into the trough where the camels could drink, and ran back to the well to bring more.

Now that she had done everything Eliezer had asked for as a sign, he wondered if she was really from Avraham’s family. Had he really found the right girl already?

But even though he didn’t know who she was yet, he trusted that Avraham deserved nisim, and after all, Avraham had promised that Hashem would make it work.

So after the camels had drank as much as they wanted, he took out presents. He gave Rivka a gold nose ring that weighed a half a shekel, and two gold bracelets that weighed 10 shekels, so she would be engaged to Yitzchak! The half shekel of the nose ring was a hint to the Machatzis Hashekel that would help build the Mishkan, the two bracelets were a hint to the two Luchos, and the ten shekel they weighed hinted to the Aseres Hadibros.

Eliezer was sure that Hashem had given him hatzlacha in his shlichus in Avraham Avinu’s zechus. He was so sure, that he FIRST got Rivka engaged to Yitzchak, and only afterwards asked her any questions!

He asked Rivkah, “Who is your father? And can I stay there overnight?”

Rivkah answered in order, that her father was Besuel, the son of Nachor and Milka. And that they had plenty of straw and food for the camels, and place to stay A LOT of nights!

Hearing that Rivkah was indeed from Avraham’s family, Eliezer saw that Hashem had given him success. He bowed to Hashem to thank Him.



97 - 103

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Tzadik-Zayin to Kuf-Gimmel.

In today’s Tehillim there is a posukMoshe VeAharon BeChohanov, U’Shmuel BeKorei Shemo.”

The Gemara explains that Shmuel Hanavi in his generation was as great as Moshe and Aharon in their generation!

The Rebbe teaches us that when the Yidden went out of Mitzrayim, Hashem gave them TWO leaders: Moshe, who taught them the Torah that is the same for everyone, and Aharon, who helped each person do their best to connect to Torah on their own level.

Shmuel Hanavi was able to do BOTH jobs together — to teach Yidden the truth, AND to help everyone according to their own level.

The Rebbe tells us that the Chabad Rebbes were each like Shmuel, who have both kochos together — they teach us Torah and how we need to serve Hashem, and help each one of us come closer to doing our own special shlichus.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

In order for the neshama to feel the pleasure of Elokus in Gan Eden, it needs to prepare in this world. We do that by doing what Hashem wants — the mitzvos.

The Chachomim say that a person who learns halachos of the Torah in this world is promised Olam Haba. That’s because the halachos explain the mitzvos of the Torah, which get the Neshama ready so it can feel Hashem in Olam Haba.

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe starts to explain why the mitzvos and halachos of the Torah are the “clothes” to make it possible for the neshama to be able to enjoy Elokus in Gan Eden.



Chof Mar-Cheshvan

Today is the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab. He was born in the year 5621. (The Tzemach Tzedek called this year “Kitra,” the letters of Tof-Reish-Chof-Alef, which means “crown!”)

The name the Rebbe Rashab was given was for two people: Part of his name was from the Mitteler Rebbe, Dovber, and the other part was from the first half of the Tzemach Tzedek’s father’s name (Sholom Shachna). Together his full name became Sholom Dovber.

The Rebbe Rashab said a maamar every year on his Yom Huledes (not in public unless it fell out on Shabbos). The last year before he passed away he again said a maamar on his new kapitel, Kapitel Samach, on the words “Nosata Lereiacha Neis Lehisnoseis.” Then he told the Frierdiker Rebbe to do the same on his Yom Huledes.

He also hinted to him that he would have something special happen on his birthday. He said, “Hashem should give you a present that you should say Chassidus on your Yom Huledes, but it should be with chesed and rachamim, with Hashem’s kindness and mercy. This was a hint that something would happen in the future on his Yom Huledes, which would be a hard thing, but would end well and he would say Chassidus.

The Frierdiker Rebbe said about this that it took seven years to happen. When was this? When the Frierdiker Rebbe was released from prison on his Yom Huledes, in the year Tof-Reish-Pey-Zayin. He said Chassidus on that day, as his father had told him he would, and it became a big Yom Tov, the Chag Hageulah of Yud-Beis Tammuz.



Shiur #135 - Mitzvas Asei #127, #128, Lo Saasei #152

Today we finish learning the set of halachos in Rambam about Maaser, and we’re starting the halachos of Maaser Sheini. So we will learn the same mitzvah again, and then learn some new mitzvos.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #127) It is a mitzvah to bring Maaser Rishon, 1/10th of the food which is grown, to give to the Leviim.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Korach: כִּי אֶת מַעְשַׂר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ לַה׳ תְּרוּמָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Maasros.

We also learn two mitzvos about Maaser Sheini:

2) (Mitzvas Asei #128) It is a mitzvah to take Maaser Sheini, another 1/10th of the food that grows. This food is brought to Yerushalayim and eaten there. (This mitzvah is kept only in the time of the Beis Hamikdash, and only in Eretz Yisroel.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר אֵת כָּל תְּבוּאַת זַרְעֶךָ הַיֹּצֵא הַשָּׂדֶה שָׁנָה שָׁנָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Maaser Sheini.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #152) If someone couldn’t bring the food all the way to Eretz Yisroel, he can sell the food and use the money to buy different food in Yerushalayim and eat it there. This mitzvah is that the money can ONLY be used to buy food. We are not allowed to use the money to buy anything that is NOT food — even if it’s for a mitzvah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Savo: וְלֹא נָתַתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ לְמֵת



Hilchos Maaser - Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning the set of halachos about Maaser, perakim Yud-Gimmel and Yud-Daled, and then start learning about Maaser Sheini.

Perek Alef: Maaser Sheini is only done in certain years. How do we calculate which year something was grown in? We count from the Rosh Hashana for plants (that’s the regular Rosh Hashana), and from Chamisha-Asar Bishvat if it’s a tree!

We also learn what happens if food from one year gets mixed with food from another year!



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Zayin

The Rambam teaches us that it’s not enough just to find an animal without a mum, we need to find the BEST one for Hashem. In fact, ALL of the mitzvos we do for Hashem should be with the best! The shul should look nicer than our house, and we should give poor people from our BEST food and clothes!



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is a special Chassidishe Yom Tov. It is the Yom Huledes (birthday) of the Rebbe Rashab!

One of the most important things that the Rebbe Rashab did, which the Rebbe would farbreng about, was that he started Tomchei Temimim — the Lubavitch Yeshiva. Tomchei Temimim taught bochurim to learn Niglah and Chassidus, to daven b’avodah, and to become Chassidim that were ready to have Mesiras Nefesh to spread Yiddishkeit! The Chassidim who were ready to do anything for Yiddishkeit in Russia, and the Shluchim and Chassidim who have the Mesiras Nefesh we need to have today, are all because of what was started with the yeshiva of Tomchei Temimim!

On Chof Cheshvan, the Rebbe asked that Chassidim should try to go to a Yeshiva for at least a few minutes to daven, give tzedakah, learn something or have a farbrengen. (If you can’t go to a Yeshiva, going to a Chabad House can accomplish the same thing!)

See farbrengen Parshas Vayeira Tof-Shin-Mem-Tes, Hamaaseh Hu Ha’Ikar Chof Cheshvan

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Learning Pirush Hamilos

R’ Shmuel Ber Borisover was a chossid of the Tzemach Tzedek, and later of the Rebbe Maharash. Once, at the end of a long discussion with the Rebbe Maharash, R’ Shmuel Ber asked, “Un vos is fort a chossid?” “So what actually is a chossid?”

The Rebbe Maharash said, “Go to my son.”

This seemed surprising! R’ Shmuel Ber was already one of the older Chassidim, and the Rebbe Maharash was sending him to his son (the Rebbe Rashab), who was very young at that time!

The Rebbe Maharash explained to him what he meant.

The Rebbe Maharash said, “I wake up very early every day (between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning). Once I woke up extra early, and I sent my meshores (assistant) to go to my son and see what he was doing.

“The meshores said that he saw my son sitting in front of a siddur, but the meshores wasn’t sure what he was doing.

“I sent a different shliach to see what he was doing. The shliach came back and told me that my son was sitting with an open siddur, together with an Avudraham (a sefer that explains the structure of davening) and a Nach with meforshim (which explain the meaning of the pesukim in davening).

“He was sitting and learning the simple meaning of the davening!”

The Rebbe Maharash said to R’ Shmuel Ber Borisover, “This is a Chossid!”

Even though there are many Ruchnius’dike things to be learning and thinking about, a Chossid doesn’t forget how important it is to understand the simple meaning of the davening.

See Sefer Hasichos of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Tes, p. 305



Hefsek BeTefillah

During davening, we are not allowed to interrupt for other things. This is called making a hefsek.

These halachos have many details, especially in a shul! In shul, there are many parts of davening that we are supposed to answer to, like Kaddish, Kedusha, Barchu, and amen to other brachos. If we are in the middle of some parts of davening, we are allowed to answer some of these things, but not in other parts. We will IY”H slowly try to understand when and why.

First let’s learn a halacha about hefsek that we need to know about when we daven outside of a shul:

Usually, when we hear someone saying a bracha, we answer Amen, saying that what was said in the bracha was true. But what if we’re in the middle of davening?

It depends where we’re up to! If we are in the middle of Pesukei Dezimra, where we praise Hashem, we DO answer amen to someone else’s bracha. That’s because a bracha, and agreeing with a bracha by saying amen, are ALSO praising Hashem! So it’s not really an interruption at all!

(This is true wherever we are in Pesukei Dezimra, except for during the paragraphs of Boruch She’amar and Yishtabach, because they are brachos themselves, and have different halachos.)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Alef

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



Being Excited About Moshiach

Many years ago, the Rebbe Rashab started the Yeshivah of Tomchei Temimim. The Rebbe Rashab farbrenged with the bochurim, explaining what their avodah was as Temimim. Three years after Tomchei Temimim was started, the Rebbe Rashab said a very famous sicha that starts with the words “Kol Hayotzei Lemilchemes Beis Dovid.

In this sicha, he told the Temimim that there are two types of people that the Temimim need to overcome, because they are dangerous for the Yidden:

1) Those that don’t want other people to believe in Hashem or keep Torah and mitzvos. They make fun of them, and say that Yidden don’t need it chas veshalom.

2) Yidden who DO keep Torah and mitzvos, but say that you don’t need to talk about Moshiach or get excited that Moshiach is coming.

The Yeshiva bochurim have to fight a war with these two kinds of people. And how do they fight it? Not with mussar or arguments, but with teaching Chassidus and strengthening the emunah that Moshiach is about to come!

Many years later, in a farbrengen with Chassidim, the Rebbe said that this sicha that the Rebbe Rashab said is now important for every Yid! We need to know that whenever we meet another Yid, we might think that it was for one reason or another. But the real reason is so we can share a few words of Chassidus and share the excitement that Moshiach is coming very soon!

See sicha of Chof Cheshvan, Tof-Shin-Mem-Hey (video excerpt)

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