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Parshas Yisro - Shishi with Rashi

The Yidden prepared for Matan Torah, and are now gathered around Har Sinai to receive it.

Hashem brought Shomayim down so it was on Har Sinai!

This was the most the Yidden would ever be able to see Hashem, and Hashem told Moshe to make sure none of them tried to come closer to Har Sinai to see better, because they can’t touch Har Sinai.

Moshe didn’t think the Yidden needed to be told again not to touch Har Sinai, because they were already told before. Hashem told Moshe to tell them again because there needs to be a warning before, and a warning at the actual time of Matan Torah too.

Finally, after all the preparations, Hashem was going to give the Torah, and now every Yid would have the zechus and achrayus to keep all of its mitzvos.

Hashem said all of the Aseres Hadibros all at once! Then Hashem said them again, one at a time.

1) Anochi — I am Hashem Who took you out of Mitzrayim!

2) Lo Yihiyeh — don’t have or serve idols

3) Lo Sisa — Don’t promise something silly or not true in Hashem’s name

4) Zachor — Remember and keep Shabbos

5) Kabeid — Honor your parents — Kibbud Av Va’eim

6) Lo Sirtzach — don’t kill

7) Lo Sinaf — don’t marry someone who is already married to someone else

8) Lo Signov — don’t kidnap

9) Lo Saaneh — don’t lie about someone in Beis Din

10) Lo Sachmod — don’t be jealous of other people’s things

Even though the Yidden only heard ten mitzvos, really, the whole Torah is hinted to in these Aseres Hadibros!

Something amazing happened at Matan Torah! It used to be that Ruchnius and Gashmius were always two separate things. Even though the Avos used Gashmius to do mitzvos, it never got kedusha! So the sticks that Yaakov Avinu used to do the mitzvah of tefillin with did not become holy afterwards! But as we learned in today’s Chumash, at Matan Torah, Shomayim came down to the world. After Matan Torah, even a Gashmius thing can become full of kedusha when we use it for mitzvos!

That’s also the reason why we see that some of the mitzvos in the Aseres Hadibros seem very obvious. Everyone understands on their own that it’s not right to kidnap! But after Matan Torah, these mitzvos also become full of kedusha! So when we don’t kidnap, we’re not just doing it because it makes sense, but because it’s a mitzvah that Hashem told us to do!

Throughout history, we see that many nations go against the Aseres Hadibros, even the mitzvos that make so much sense. They decided, when it was better for them, that it makes sense to do cruel things! The same thing is true with all of us! We can’t be sure that we will behave in the right way with other people if we do it only because it makes sense. The only way that we will keep these mitzvos of not hurting another person, even when it is hard, is if we do them with Kabolas Ol — because it is a mitzvah from Hashem. (See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel parshas Yisro, and many other places)



90 - 96

In today’s Tehillim, we have the kapitel that the Leviim would sing in the Beis Hamikdash on Shabbos — the Shir Shel Yom for Shabbos.

One of the pesukim in this kapitel speaks about how everybody thanks Hashem on Shabbos.

Chassidus explains that the words “Tov Lehodos LaHashem” (it is good to praise Hashem) are talking about Shabbos.

Hashem is always good, but on Shabbos we can FEEL it! That’s why especially on Shabbos Hashem’s goodness makes us want to thank and praise Hashem!



Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Hey

We learned in yesterday’s Tanya that when a Yid remembers the Ahava Mesuteres, the hidden love for Hashem, which we all have just because we are Yidden, we will use EVERY opportunity to do a mitzvah — even if it is uncomfortable and difficult.

But the Yetzer Hara might try to convince us that missing a chance to do a mitzvah is not such a big deal. After all, I’ll have plenty more chances tomorrow!

But really, every mitzvah is a connection with Hashem which lasts FOREVER.

How can that be?

A person can only be in one place, and in one time. If I’m in New York, I’m not in California. If it is my 10th birthday, it can’t be my 9th birthday at the same time.

But Ruchnius isn’t stuck in one place at a time. It is HIGHER than times and places! So something in Ruchnius can be everywhere, all the time!

When we do a mitzvah, we are connecting Gashmius and Ruchnius. So even though we are doing the mitzvah in a certain time and a certain place, the koach of that mitzvah stays everywhere, forever.

So we shouldn’t think that a chance to do a mitzvah is just for right now. The koach of this mitzvah will last forever — and we don’t want to chas veshalom miss that!

This also helps us use every opportunity to do a mitzvah with another Yid, even if they will only do it ONCE, like on mivtzoyim, because a mitzvah lasts FOREVER!


Based on what we learned until now about the hidden love for Hashem that helps us do all the mitzvos, we can understand what Moshe Rabbeinu told the Yidden before they went into Eretz Yisroel:

In Chumash Devarim, we learn about all the things Moshe Rabbeinu told the Yidden before they went into Eretz Yisroel. One of the mitzvos Moshe gave the Yidden to do was to say Shema two times a day, so that they will be Mekabel Ol Malchus Shomayim and even be ready to have Mesiras Nefesh for Hashem.

Even though Moshe promised the Yidden that they WOULDN’T need to give up their lives, he told them that they should say Shema twice a day and be ready to have Mesiras Nefesh. Why?

Moshe Rabbeinu wanted the Yidden to use their Ahava Mesuteres to serve Hashem! They didn’t need to HAVE Mesiras Nefesh, but they needed to REMEMBER that they would be READY to have Mesiras Nefesh! That would help them stay away from every aveira and stay connected to Hashem always!

This is the end of the explanation that the Alter Rebbe started in Perek Yud-Ches, to teach us how to make serving Hashem with feeling, very doable for everybody, “Karov Eilecha Hadavar Meod.”

That’s because every Yid has the koach of Mesiras Nefesh, and we just need to remind ourselves of it to be ready to do the Ratzon of Hashem no matter how hard it may be!



Yud-Tes Shevat

The Rambam tells us what each of the 613 mitzvos are (in the Sefer Hamitzvos and the Rambam). The first mitzvah, the Rambam tells us, is the first thing Hashem told us in the Aseres Hadibros (which we learn in today’s Chumash): To know that there is an Aibershter, Who makes everything be, and that all of our chayus comes only from Hashem.

This mitzvah uses a special part of ourselves that most other mitzvos don’t! Tefillin, lighting Shabbos candles, and giving tzedakah all use our hands. To go to shul or to visit a sick person — we use our feet. The havdalah candle uses our eyes. Saying nice things to a friend uses our mouth.

But this mitzvah is a mitzvah for our MIND, our brain.

Every Yid believes in Hashem, and is ready to do whatever Hashem wants. But this mitzvah tells us that it’s not enough to believe in Hashem — we need to use our mind to understand as much as we can! (We fulfill this mitzvah by learning Chassidus, which explains to us about Achdus Hashem!)



Shiur #193 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #106, Asei #87

Today we start a new set of halachos in Rambam, called Hilchos Temurah. Today we learn two mitzvos about Temurah, which means “switching.”

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #106) Let’s say that a person chose one of his sheep to be a korban. Then he changes his mind — he wants to keep that sheep at home, and bring a DIFFERENT one for a korban. This mitzvah tells us NO! We can’t do that. Once you decide that an animal will be a korban, it becomes holy, and you are not allowed to switch it for a different one!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bechukosai: לֹא יַחֲלִיפֶנּוּ וְלֹא יָמִיר אֹתוֹ

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Temurah.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #87) If someone tries to change which animal he is bringing for a korban, BOTH of them become holy and BOTH of them need to be brought as korbanos!

We learn this mitzvah from another part of the same posuk: וְהָיָה הוּא וּתְמוּרָתוֹ יִהְיֶה קֹּדֶשׁ



Hilchos Temurah

In today’s Rambam, we learn about Temurah, switching.

Perek Alef: The Rambam tells us that we are not allowed to switch one animal for another once it was already set aside as a korban. If somebody does this, he gets punished with malkos. Still the animal he switched it for becomes holy (so now he has TWO holy animals!). The Rambam tells us what kind of people this applies to, and for which korbanos.

Perek Beis: The Rambam explains what kind of words a person might use to make a Temurah, and when it is counted that the aveira was done.

Perek Gimmel: Once someone made a Temurah, what is done with this animal? In this perek, the Rambam teaches what to do with this animal depending on what it was switched for.



Hilchos Sechirus - Perek Yud

In today’s Rambam, we learn about when a worker is called a shomer, guarding something! If you pay a carpenter to fix your bookshelf, he is a shomer sachar, a paid guard. If it gets broken, he has to pay for it. But if he calls you and tells you to come pick it up because it is done, he is like a shomer chinam (an unpaid guard), and doesn’t have to pay for it unless he did something not responsible.



Ahavas Yisroel

Once a chossid came to the Rebbe Rashab in yechidus. He complained that the doctor told him he has to do a certain type of refuah to feel better, and it hurts him!

The Rebbe Rashab told him, “it seems to me that you haven’t begun to do the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel properly.”

The chossid wondered what the Rebbe Rashab meant.

The Rebbe Rashab continued, “You think that Ahavas Yisroel just means to dance with another Yid on Simchas Torah? Ahavas Yisroel can be very hard, or even hurt! If you really had Ahavas Yisroel, you would be used to things that are hard or painful, and the medicine wouldn’t bother you as much.”

Sometimes Ahavas Yisroel can be very hard — like if someone wasn’t nice to you. It isn’t easy to love them anyway, but that’s what the mitzvah is all about.


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First Bracha of Shemoneh Esrei

Usually in this section we learn about the different parts of davening and why it’s important to have each piece of davening and in this specific order. But the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei is different than other parts. As we learned, in order to be yotzei davening Shemoneh Esrei, we need to at least know what we are saying in the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei. This is why we are translating the actual words of the bracha. Yesterday we started explaining the first words, that we bless Hashem who is our Aibershter and the Aibershter of our Avos.

Now we continue with the praise of Hashem:

HaKeil Hagadol, Hagibor, Vehanora — The great, strong, and awesome Aibershter

Keil Elyon — The Aibershter is high and rules over everything

Gomel Chasadim Tovim — Hashem does truly good kindness, more than a person’s kindness

Konei Hakol — The Aibershter creates everything.

All of the words we use to praise and describe Hashem here are based on words of pesukim. The Avudraham, a meforash on the Siddur, points out which pesukim each of these words are based on or come from.




The Chachomim teach us that Ain Kiddush Ela Bemakom SeudahKiddush has to be connected to the seudah.

This means that in order to be yotzei Kiddush, you need to be eating right afterwards. This usually means eating the seudah of Shabbos, but what if you’re not ready to eat the meal yet? The halacha is that eating a kezayis of Mezonos (like cake or cookies), or drinking a revi’is of wine, are counted as a “seudah” for Kiddush.

So just because someone heard Kiddush doesn’t mean he is yotzei! If he didn’t eat then, he still needs to make or hear Kiddush again.

We will learn more about this IY”H tomorrow.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch Siman Reish-Ayin-Gimmel, se’if Alef, Zayin and Ches

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



Moshiach and Matan Torah

The purpose of the world is for the times of Moshiach and Techiyas Hameisim. Then, the Achdus of Hashem will be revealed in the whole world!

Do you know when else the Achdus of Hashem was felt in the world? At the time of Matan Torah! So Matan Torah was a taste of Moshiach!

Now that it happened once, we have the koach to make it happen again — but this time, the time of the Geulah, it will stay that way forever!

See Tanya Perek Lamed-Vov with the Rebbe’s explanations

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