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Parshas Lech Lecha - Shlishi with Rashi

Lot became very rich because he went with Avram. He had lots and lots of animals and tents.

In fact, he had so many animals, that between Avram’s animals and Lot’s animals, there weren’t enough grassy fields where they lived for all of the animals to eat!

Avram’s shepherds knew to only let the sheep and cows eat from grass that didn’t belong to anyone, but Lot’s shepherds gave the animals food even from other people’s fields! They thought that Eretz Yisroel belonged to Avram already, and since Avram didn’t have anyone to pass it down to except for Lot, they thought they could take any part of Eretz Yisroel already.

Avram’s shepherds argued with them, because taking grass from someone else’s fields is stealing! The Torah tells us that the shepherds of Lot were wrong — the land didn’t belong to Avram yet either, and the Canaani and Perizi lived there.

Avram didn’t want to be in a fight with his nephew, so he told him to maybe move a little bit further away, so that each of them have their own space. He promised to stay close by so he could always help him if he needed it. (As we will see later, that actually happened.)

Lot saw that Sedom and Amora had plenty of water, so things grew well there. It had lots of beautiful trees, like Gan Eden, where Adam Harishon lived when he was first created. It had lots of plants growing, like in Mitzrayim. Lot also saw that the people acted in not very tznius’dike ways, and he liked that too.

So Lot decided to move there, and also to move away from the way Avram served Hashem.

The people in the area were very not nice. They did aveiros on purpose, just to make Hashem angry. But Lot didn’t mind living with them anyway...

In the meantime, now that Lot moved away, Hashem spoke to Avram again. He promised him again that Eretz Yisroel would belong to his children, the Yidden. Hashem told Avram to look all over Eretz Yisroel, in all directions, and it would all belong to him.

Avram continued to travel through Eretz Yisroel, until he reached Chevron, where he built a Mizbeiach to thank Hashem.



49 - 54

In today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Avon Akeivai Yesubeini” — “the aveiros of my heels surround me.” Dovid Hamelech was saying that he’s not worried that he’s not keeping the “big” mitzvos that are written in the Torah or taught by the Chachomim, he’s worried that the “small” mitzvos — even though he’s keeping them — might not be kept carefully.

The Rebbe teaches: When we say this in Tehillim, we are also talking about our own mitzvos. Of course we are doing mitzvos — like keeping Shabbos and davening — and even being very careful with them. But we need to be worried about the “small” mitzvos, our Chassidishe Hanhagos — like saying Chitas or having Ahavas Yisroel for a Yid we never met, since we might not be doing these as carefully.

We need be careful with ALL of our mitzvos, the “big” ones AND the “little” ones!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

Even though the Torah itself is from the world of Atzilus, which is completely kedusha, it comes down into a world that has not-good mixed inside of it. By working hard to understand the reasons for the halachos of the Torah properly, a Yid takes the Torah out of its Golus in the kelipah of the world!

Yesterday, we learned how in the Zohar, the Torah is called the “Eitz HaDaas Tov VaRa” — “the tree of knowledge, with good and bad.” How can we say that any part of the Torah is bad? We explained that the Torah IS only good, but it puts on the “clothes” of the world, so it will be easier for people in the world to learn it. Since the Gashmius of the world is mixed with good and bad, it makes it look like Torah is too.

Really, the source of Torah doesn’t have these things! But for us to understand it, the Torah needs to wear this kind of “clothing.” The Torah comes down to this world in a way that we can understand it, so we can connect to Hashem by learning Torah.

Gashmius in the world is mixed with good and bad. This is called Kelipas Noga. That is why the Torah, the way it is in the world, is in Golus inside the Gashmius of the world.

But when we understand the Torah properly, we are able to take the Torah out of this Golus!

How does this work?

The Raya Mehemna says that the questions on the Torah, which make it hard to understand the Torah, are also part of the kelipah surrounding the Torah. When we try to understand the Torah and take away the questions, we are taking away the kelipah, and letting the kedusha of Torah shine. That’s why when we learn Torah and understand it properly, we are taking the Torah out of its Golus!



Tes Mar-Cheshvan

When the Rebbe Rashab was 4 or 5, he came to his Zaide the Tzemach Tzedek on Shabbos Parshas Vayeira. He started to cry, and asked how come Hashem appeared to Avraham Avinu and not to us?

The Tzemach Tzedek answered that when a 99 year old tzadik decides to have a bris, he deserves that Hashem should appear to him.

This story was told by the Frierdiker Rebbe in Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Gimmel and was recorded in the Rebbe’s Reshimos. The Rebbe repeated and explained this story many many times throughout the years.

One of the things that the Rebbe tells us is that since we were told this story by a Rebbe, we need to learn a lesson from it! One thing we can learn from this is that even little children can feel that they want to be able to see Hashem. Even kids can care so much about their connection to Hashem and Yiddishkeit that they will cry if they are missing it!



Shiur #110 - Mitzvas Asei #94

Today’s mitzvah in Sefer Hamitzvos is the same as yesterday’s, Mitzvas Asei Tzadik-Daled.

If a person makes a neder, a promise to do something, it is a mitzvah to keep his word and do it. (Tomorrow we will learn the Mitzvas Lo Saasei of this mitzvah, that it is asur to NOT keep a promise.)

There are two pesukim in the Torah that teach us about this mitzvah. One is in Parshas Ki Seitzei, where the posuk says “Motza Sefasecha Tishmor Ve’asisa,” “The words of your mouth you should guard and keep.” The other is from Parshas Matos, where it says “Kechol Hayotzei Mipiv Yaaseh,” “He should do everything as he said he would.”

The details of the mitzvah are explained in many places in Mesechta Shevuos, Nedarim, at the end of Mesechta Menachos and in Mesechta Kinim. The Rambam organizes all of these halachos from Mishnayos and Gemara in these perakim in Rambam.



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Daled, Hey and Vov, we are learning more of the halachos of Nedarim, promises.

One halacha is that even if someone makes a neder that he won’t get anything from a friend, his friend still may be allowed to teach him Torah, give him medicine, or do Bikur Cholim, which are mitzvos!



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Beis

Even though the halachos of Shabbos are so important, there is a mitzvah that always comes first: Saving a life! In fact, if it might save someone’s life, we are NOT supposed to ask a Rav first, we should try right away to save them, even if it means doing a lot of things that are asur on Shabbos.



Story of the Rebbe

In this week’s parsha, we start to learn about Avraham Avinu. He was the first Yid who had Mesiras Nefesh to teach about Hashem to everyone in the world.

As we learned in Hayom Yom, we get the koach to teach other Yidden about Yiddishkeit from Avraham Avinu.

Here is a story from the Rebbe about how when we bring Yiddishkeit to other Yidden, through doing mivtzoyim, it brings us tremendous brachos in the things that we need!

Rabbi Groner A”H, the Rebbe’s secretary, once told this story:

A Yid from Eretz Yisroel called to ask for a bracha for his daughter, who was very sick. Next to the name of the girl, the Rebbe wrote the words “Azkir Al Hatzion” (“I will daven by the Ohel”), by the father’s name the Rebbe wrote “Does he go on mivtzoyim?” Rabbi Groner called and told the father the Rebbe’s answer.

The father soon called back to say that he was doing mivtzoyim at the nearest Chabad House.

A few days later, the Rebbe told Rabbi Groner to find out how the girl was doing.

When Rabbi Groner called, the man told him that it was a miracle! His daughter was much better.

When Rabbi Groner told the Rebbe this, the Rebbe said, “Look what mivtzoyim can accomplish!”


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The Twelve Pesukim

When we want to learn something by heart, we need to review it many times! That’s why many people say the Twelve Pesukim every day after davening, or after saying Shema every night. They want to review the words many times so they will know them Baal Peh!

Since we need to not only know the WORDS by heart, but also the MESSAGE by heart, we will need to review what each posuk means many times! Let’s review the first two of the Twelve Pesukim and what we’re supposed to learn from them. Both of these pesukim are from the Chumash, and the Chachomim say that they are the first pesukim we should teach a child who has just learned to speak.

Torah Tziva — The first posuk is Torah Tziva. We say, “Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe,” the Torah which Moshe Rabbeinu commanded us, is “Morasha Kehilas Yaakov” — a yerusha to the whole Jewish people.

This means that the entire Torah, together with all of the parts of Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu got on Har Sinai, belongs to every single Yid!

The posuk teaches us that every Yid, even a young child, needs to know that the whole Torah is THEIRS, and that we should appreciate how precious the Torah is! That’s why right when a baby is born, we hang up words of Torah like Shir Hamaalos where the baby sleeps, and mothers sing songs about Torah, so the children will always know that “Torah iz di beste s’chora,” Torah is the best thing they can ever have!

Shema Yisroel — The second posuk is Shema. We say, “Shema Yisroel!” Listen Yidden! “Hashem Elokeinu,” Hashem is our Aibershter, and “Hashem Echod,” Hashem is one.

Besides for what we need to know for our own neshama, that Hashem gave us the Torah as a gift that is very special and very good for us, we need to know about the world too! When we go into the big world, which has seven heavens and stretches out so far in four different directions, we need to remember that it’s not something that exists on its own! It LOOKS like it exists by itself, but it was created by Hashem, and it was created for a reason!

The heavens and the earth, in all four directions, are all one with the Alef — with Hashem, the Alufo Shel Olam. The whole world is one with Hashem Who created it, and all of it is there so that we can use the special gift Hashem gave us, the gift of Torah and mitzvos! The whole world and everything in it exists so that we can use all of it in order to serve Hashem.

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder chelek Hey




When you hear a bracha, you are supposed to answer Amen.

What do you think about when you say Amen?

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch teaches us what we should have in mind when we say Amen: It depends what we are answering Amen to!

The word Amen means “true,” like the word Emes.

When we answer Amen to a bracha (like if someone makes a bracha on food), we should think that the bracha the person said praising Hashem is true, and we also agree that Hashem should be praised that way.

When we answer Amen to a bracha that is a Tefillah, asking Hashem for something (like the brachos in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei), we have in mind TWO things: That the bracha is true, and also that we want the Tefillah to come true and be fulfilled very soon!

When we answer Amen to Kaddish, which is ONLY a Tefillah, we just have in mind that this Tefillah (Yisgadal Veyiskadash Shemei Rabah — that Hashem’s name should be recognized in the world) should come true very soon!

See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman Vov, se’if Ches

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



Hard Times Close to Geulah

Even though we are so close to the Geulah, and the Rebbe says that Moshiach is right here, there are sad things that happen. It still feels like Golus, and it is very hard.

The Or Hachama, a pirush on the Zohar, talks about times like this. The Or Hachama says that even when the Geulah is ready from Hashem, there will still be hard things happening in the world. But there is something we can do about it!

The koach of Yiddishe kinderlach can take away these hard times. By kids learning Torah and doing mitzvos, we are able to get rid of the painful moments of Golus right before we will be able to see the Geulah — may it be NOW, mamosh!

See Pirush Or Hachama 9a, Sodos Hageulah, p. 135

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