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Parshas Beshalach - Revi'i with Rashi

The Yidden finally left Mitzrayim, after Makas Bechoros! Hashem hardened Paraoh’s heart again, and he chased after the Yidden, to bring them back to Mitzrayim. Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu that the Yidden should not be afraid, because Hashem will save them. Hashem told Moshe to lift his hand over the water, and the water split! The Yidden walked through on dry land. The Mitzriyim didn’t stop chasing the Yidden, and followed them in. Hashem made the ground muddy and hot and the Mitzriyim saw that Hashem was fighting against them.

Hashem said to Moshe: “Pick up your hand over the sea, so the water will stop standing like a wall, and it will drown the Mitzriyim.”

Moshe did, and the water went back to being a regular sea. The Mitzriyim were so confused, they ran INTO the water instead of away from it! Hashem made the water throw the Mitzriyim around, so they would be punished for longer, and then they all drowned.

The Yidden couldn’t see what happened to the Mitzriyim, and they were scared that maybe the Mitzriyim came out of the water also and would start chasing them again! So Hashem made the Yam Suf spit out the bodies of the Mitzriyim, and then they disappeared into the ground.

When the Yidden saw this, they really believed in Hashem and Moshe, His servant! They sang a special song to Hashem, called Az Yashir (we say it every day in davening!) This song thanks Hashem for the nissim of Kriyas Yam Suf.

The women also wanted to sing to thank Hashem. Miriam took her tambourine and all of the women danced with their tambourines, singing to Hashem.

After singing and thanking Hashem, the Yidden collected the gold and silver decorations from Paraoh’s chariots. There was so much, it was even more than all they got before leaving Mitzrayim! The Yidden were so busy taking the gold, Moshe had to force them to leave when it was time to travel.

Then the Yidden began to travel in the Midbar.

For three days, the Yidden walked in the desert without finding any water. Finally, they found a stream called Marah, but the water was very bitter! Instead of asking Moshe to daven for them, the Yidden complained, “What should we drink?”

Moshe davened to Hashem, and Hashem showed him a tree. Moshe threw a branch of the tree into the water, and it became sweet!

Near Marah, Hashem gave the Yidden some Torah to learn, including about the Parah Adumah. Hashem said that if the Yidden do the mitzvos, even the ones they don’t understand, Hashem won’t bring any of the sicknesses like He gave the Mitzriyim during the makos. If they ever do get sick, “Ani Hashem Rofecha” — “I am Hashem Who heals you” — if you do the mitzvos, Hashem will make you feel better.



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey through Nun-Tes.

In the end of today’s first kapitel is the very special niggun Padah Veshalom, which we sing on the Geulah of the Rebbeim. In this kapitel, Dovid Hamelech is talking about his OWN Geulah, because there were people who fought against him.

Dovid Hamelech says at the end, the last three words, “Va’ani Evtach Bach” — “and I trust in You.” Dovid Hamelech didn’t think about the people who were trying to hurt him, and only trusted in Hashem, that Hashem will help him. And of course, Hashem did!

We should feel this way too with all of the things we need: If we do what we are supposed to and trust in Hashem, Hashem will surely help us!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Tes

In today’s Tanya, we are learning more about the Ahava Mesuteres, the “hidden” love for Hashem that every single Yid has, which is passed down from the Avos.

What does the Ahava Mesuteres make us want?

The neshama is like the flame on a candle. You can see that a flame ALWAYS wants to go up. It looks like it wants to jump off the candle and fly up to Shomayim! Of course, if the flame could let go, it wouldn’t be able to burn anymore down here, and Shomayim is the source of the light, and it wouldn’t be noticed there. But still, that’s what the fire wants!

A Yid’s neshama is like that, too. Our neshama always wants to go up to Hashem, even though next to Hashem, the neshama would not be noticed as anything special! Even though it doesn’t make sense that the neshama would want to not be noticed anymore, this is still the nature of the neshama, what the neshama always wants. This comes from the “Chochma” part of the neshama.

So then how can a Yid do an aveira which separates him from Hashem? The Chochma of the neshama, which always wants to be close to Hashem, should never let it happen!

The Alter Rebbe tells us that the Chochma of the neshama could be in Golus, hiding. This is what happens when a Yid does an aveira — the chochma is hidden.

In fact, this is why the Ahava Mesuteres is called this, the “hidden love.” Because this love, which comes from the Chochma of the neshama, can sometimes hide! This makes it possible for the Yetzer Hara to convince someone to do an aveira, which is real narishkeit!

The reason why a person can ever do an aveira is because the chochma is asleep, and not reminding the person that aveiros are narishkeit!

But when it comes to a nisayon in Emunah, it’s like poking the Emunah! And where does the Emunah come from? The Chochma of the neshama! What happens when you poke something? It wakes up! So a nisayon in emunah wakes up the chochma of the neshama. With that koach, a person will only do what Hashem wants.

The Chochma of the neshama is so strong that when it’s awake, a person can’t even say or do something that doesn’t show Emunah — like to bow to an idol even if he doesn’t believe in it, or say something that sounds like he doesn’t believe in Hashem, even if he doesn’t mean it.

Usually, the Ahava Mesuteres is only woken up if a Yid is really “pushed against the wall.” When a Yid is threatened that his Yiddishkeit will be taken away from him, like if a goy is forcing him to convert, then the Ahava Mesuteres will wake up and not let it happen.

But with a “small” aveira, the Ahava Mesuteres might not wake up. That’s how the Yetzer Hara can convince a Yid to do an aveira.

In the next few perakim, the Alter Rebbe is going to teach us a new thought process that will help us wake up the Ahava Mesuteres for ANY aveira: We will learn to think about how serious every aveira is, and that there is no such thing as a small aveira. This will help us use our Ahava Mesuteres to not let us do ANY aveira, and give us koach to do ANY mitzvah, even one that is very hard! (Here is a video for kids with a story about how no aveira is small: http://www.chabad.org/2098674)



Yud Shevat

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe first makes a correction to Torah Ohr, which is also a reminder to chassidim that every chossid needs to learn these seforim of the Alter Rebbe. In fact, at the last Kinus Hashluchim with the Rebbe, the Rebbe said that Chassidim should make a hachlata to learn the whole Torah Ohr and Likutei Torah — from beginning to end!

Yud Shevat is also the yartzeit of Rebbetzin Rivkah, the Frierdiker Rebbe’s grandmother, and the Rebbe Rashab’s mother. In today’s Hayom Yom we learn a story about her.

Once when Rebbetzin Rivkah was 18, she was sick, and the doctor told her to eat right away in the morning. She didn’t want to eat before davening, so she got up earlier so she could first daven and then eat! When the Tzemach Tzedek (her father-in-law) heard about this, he said “A Yid needs to be strong! Mitzvos need to be done with chayus, and you need to be strong and happy to do them!” The Tzemach Tzedek told her, “Better to eat so you can daven, than to daven so you can eat.” Then the Tzemach Tzedek bentched her to have a long life.

When the Rebbe Rashab told this story to someone at yechidus, he added “and you should do this with simcha!”

The Rebbe teaches that really, eating is an example for all of the gashmiyus’dike things that we do, and davening is an example for all of the ruchniyus’dike things we do. The lesson from this story is that the MAIN thing in our lives needs to be the ruchniyus’dike things — all of our “eating” and the Gashmius needs for ourselves should be for the purpose of “davening” and serving Hashem.

Once at a Yud Shevat farbrengen the Rebbe said that the Frierdiker Rebbe saw all of the Hayom Yoms and approved of all of them, which means that this Hayom Yom is the Torah and the hora’ah for Yud Shevat.



Shiur #213 - Mitzvas Asei #99

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #99) is about the Tumah of Niddah, a kind of tumah a woman can get from her body. We need to follow all of the halachos about when a person gets this kind of tumah, and how it can be passed on.

Even though this kind of tumah, and some of the other kinds of tumah we will learn about, are kept in certain ways nowadays, in these halachos we are learning about how someone with these kinds of tumah makes other people or things tomei. These halachos are only kept when there is a Beis Hamikdash.

This mitzvah includes the halachos of Tumas Niddah which are written in Parshas Tazria.



Hilchos Metamei Mishkav U'Moshav

In today’s Rambam, we start learning a new set of halachos — about people who can make something tomei in a different way than the kinds of tumah we learned before, like Tumas Meis or Tumas Tzoraas. These people have a certain kind of tumah that come from their body.

Perek Alef: The Rambam teaches us what can make a person tomei enough to make other things Tomei by sitting down or lying down on them. (Those things will become an Av HaTumah — that’s is the strongest kind of tumah, which can make other things Tomei more easily.)

Perek Beis: Now we explain the halachos about things that come from a person with these kinds of Tumah — like their blood or the spit in their mouth. This can be also counted as an Av HaTumah.

Perek Gimmel: This perek teaches us when another person can get this kind of Tumah too, from them. We also learn about when a woman finds out that she was Tomei — sometimes we say that she was probably Tomei the day before too, and just didn’t find out until now. So everything she touched since yesterday is Tomei too!



Hilchos Bechoros - Perek Daled

The Rambam teaches us when an animal is patur from being a bechor, and when it’s a sofek — for example, if it belongs to a Yid and a goy, or if we are not sure it is a bechor.

icon of clock


Yud Shevat

Today is the very special day of Yud Shevat. Every day is an opportunity to make good things happen and to bring the Geulah closer. But there are some days that have extra special kochos hidden in them! Yud Shevat is one of those days.

There are two inyonim in this day. What is closer to us is that today is the beginning of the Rebbe’s nesius, and we need to use today to work on our hiskashrus and keeping the Rebbe’s horaos. Yud Shevat is also the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe, and the Rebbe taught us to keep minhagim connected to the yartzeit.

Let’s review some of the minhagim that the Rebbe asked us to keep:

   - Make a farbrengen

   - Talk about the life and Mesiras Nefesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe to help every Yid and bring the Geulah (and especially for the chinuch of young children)

   - To learn through the maamar of Bosi Legani

   - Give extra tzedakah before Shacharis and Mincha

   - Write a Pa”N

   - Say Mishnayos with the letters of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s name

   - Learn a perek of Tanya before Shacharis and after Mincha

In the Maamar Bosi Legani, the Rebbe tells us a story about each of the Rebbeim, about how they showed Ahavas Yisroel. Here is an amazing story of Ahavas Yisroel that happened with the Rebbe the night before saying this maamar:

The night before Yud Shevat, Tof-Shin-Yud-Alef (5711/1951), Rabbi Moshe Groner was the only one in the secretaries’ offices in 770. It was already later at night, when he heard the phone ringing. Since he wasn’t really one of the secretaries, he didn’t answer the phone at first, but when it kept ringing, he finally picked it up.

He was very surprised to hear the Rebbe on the phone! The Rebbe asked Rabbi Groner if he could come over to his house! Rabbi Groner of course ran over right away. The Rebbe wanted him to find the name of the doctor who was in charge of a certain patient, and then get him on the phone.

Rabbi Groner managed to do it, and told the Rebbe that the doctor was on the phone. He went into the Rebbe’s study so he wouldn’t hear the private conversation. Rabbi Groner was amazed by what he saw in the room! There was a copy of the Friediker Rebbe’s maamar open on the desk, and seforim of all of the Rebbeim!

Then the Rebbe came into the room, and told Rabbi Groner that he was going to the hospital. The Rebbe wanted the doctor to go see the patient in the middle of the night, but the doctor didn’t agree. But when the Rebbe said he would go too, the doctor said he would go…

So the night before, as the Rebbe prepared to accept the job of being the Rebbe of all Yidden, the Rebbe put everything aside and went out in the middle of the night to make sure that a Yid was seen by the right doctor!

Read this story with more details, plus much more about Bosi Legani, in the Chassidishe Derher!

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Pirush Hamilos

Since today is the yartzeit of the Frierdiker Rebbe, we are going to learn a story about davening from the Frierdiker Rebbe.

At a farbrengen on Yud-Beis Tammuz Tof-Shin-Zayin (printed in Likutei Diburim), the Frierdiker Rebbe spoke about how he learned the Pirush Hamilos of tefillah, the meaning of the words of davening:

“My father (the Rebbe Rashab) learned Pirush Hamilos with me twice. I learned the meaning of the weekday davening, Shabbos and Yom Tov, the Haggadah Shel Pesach, and some of the tefillos of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

“The first time was when I was a child, and the second time was starting from my Bar Mitzvah, on Yud-Beis Tammuz Tof-Reish-Nun-Gimmel.

“When my father started to learn Pirush Hamilos with me the first time, he said: ‘To daven and not know what you are davening is Nit Kein Zach — not right.’ He then started to teach me the basic meaning of davening.

“The second time my father learned with me, he taught me the Chassidishe meaning of davening

“Starting from Modeh Ani, my father explained every posuk according to Chassidus, with a lesson that can be taken from it. Together with each inyan, he would tell a story, mostly they were “Torahs” that the Alter Rebbe heard from the Chassidus of the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid. Sometimes it would also be an explanation of the Alter Rebbe himself or one of the later Rebbeim.”

Later in this farbrengen, the Frierdiker Rebbe explained the Sulam HaTefillah, the ladder of davening, with all of the levels of davening. He also shared how the Rebbe Rashab explains the paragraph of Lamnatzeiach Binginos, that we say before Boruch She’amar.




Before we make Kiddush we make sure that the Challah that is on the table is covered.


There are three reasons:

1) On our Shabbos table, we are careful to have Lechem Mishnah, two challos. This reminds us of the double portion of mohn we got on Erev Shabbos. Before the mohn fell every day, Hashem made dew fall on the ground, and then more dew fell on top of the mohn to cover it (like we learn in this week’s parsha). To remember this, we have a challah board under our Lechem Mishnah, and a cover on top, like the dew that was under and over the mohn.

2) After Kiddush, which speaks about the kavod of Shabbos, we show this kavod to Shabbos by having a seudah! Many years ago, they would only bring out the table after making Kiddush, to show that this is a special seudah just in honor of Shabbos. Nowadays, our table is already set, but we keep the challah covered until after Kiddush, so we can later uncover it and show that this is the seudah Lekavod Shabbos that we were talking about!

3) According to the Seder Birchos Hanehenin, the bracha on Challah comes before the bracha on wine. Since really we should be making the bracha first on the challah, we cover the challah during Kiddush so it isn’t “embarrassed” that we skip it and make the bracha on wine first.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Ayin-Alef se’if Yud and Yud-Zayin, and the Tur siman Reish-Ayin-Alef

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



Az Yashir

In today’s Chumash, we learn Shiras Hayam, the song the Yidden sang at Kriyas Yam Suf. The Shirah starts with the words “Az Yashir Moshe,” saying that Moshe and the Yidden sang these words to Hashem.

Rashi explains that this is a hint to Techiyas Hameisim from the Torah!

Really, the Torah could have said “Az SHAR Moshe,” “then Moshe SANG.” Instead, it uses the words “Az YASHIR,” which can mean “then he WILL sing.”

When will Moshe sing? At the time of Techiyas Hameisim, when Moshe Rabbeinu will again sing shirah to Hashem, together with all of the Yidden!

The Zohar says that in Az Yashir, there are hints to all of the types of praise that are given to Hashem — the praise that everything in the world gives to Hashem, and the praise that is given to Hashem by the malochim and in Shomayim! By saying Az Yashir every day, we will also be zoche to give this special praise to Hashem when Moshiach comes!

See Rashi on Az Yashir, and Zohar Parshas Beshalach

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