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Parshas Noach - Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the details of the Mabul, which lasted for a complete year.

Rain fell for forty days, until the morning of Chof-Ches Kislev. This was just enough water for the Teiva to start floating, but the water was still very shallow.

Then, hot springs of water from deep under the earth opened up and filled the world with boiling water. The Teiva started drifting on the deep water, away from where Noach built it.

Even more boiling water poured out from the underground springs, until it covered all of the highest mountains! The water of the Mabul reached 15 amos above the highest mountain peak. All of the people and all of the animals that weren’t in the Teivah died, except for the fish.

Why not the fish? We learned that most of the animals had started marrying other animals, and didn’t deserve to live either. But the fish had never acted that way, so they didn’t need a fresh start after the Mabul. But how did they survive if the water was boiling hot? We know that hot water rises above cold water! The hot water of the Mabul only hurt the animals on dry land, not the fish in the cooler seas.

The water continued rising for 150 days, until the end of Iyar. Noach was lonely on the Teiva. It was very hard for him to feed all the animals in the Teivah for so long. Once he was even hit by a lion for bringing its food late! So Noach davened to Hashem for help.

Because of Noach’s tefilos, Hashem decided to have rachmonus on the world. He remembered Noach, and all of the animals on the Teivah who hadn’t done any aveiros. On Alef Sivan, the water started to go down.

Once the water went down enough, on Yud-Zayin Sivan, the Teivah rested on top of a mountain in Harei Ararat. Then, on Alef Menachem-Av, the water was low enough that you could see the tops of the mountains!

Forty days later, Noach decided to find out if it was time to come out of the Teivah. He wanted to do his Shlichus in the world already! On Yud Elul, he opened the window, and the next day he sent out the Orev bird (raven) to see if the water had dried up yet. The Orev was afraid of going all by itself. It didn’t end up going and instead just circled around and around the teiva.

On Chai Elul, Noach sent out a Yona bird (dove) to check. But the Yona came back, and Noach realized there was nowhere for it to rest. A week later, on Chof-Hey Elul, he sent it out again — and this time, it came back with an olive leaf. Noach realized that it was almost time to come off the Teivah, since there were leaves growing on trees! (The Yona picked an OLIVE leaf, which is bitter, to show Noach that it likes getting even bitter food from Hashem more than getting sweet food from a person.) Another week later, Noach sent out the Yona again — and this time it didn’t come back.

On Rosh Hashana, 1657 years after Hashem made the world, the water had cleared up. Noach saw that the earth was drying, even though it was still wet. On 27 Mar-Cheshvan, one year after the Mabul started (365 days — a solar year, not a lunar year), the world became completely dry.

The world had changed a lot during the Mabul — it became tahor and became a place where it would be much easier in the future to be able to do Teshuvah.

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140 - 144

In today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk, “Tikon Tefilasi Ketores Lefanecha” — “I bring my davening before Hashem like Ketores!” (The Rambam chooses this posuk to put at the beginning of his sefer about Korbanos.)

The Rebbe teaches us that when the kohen brings the Ketores, nobody else is allowed to be there — it’s just the kohen bringing the Ketores to Hashem. The same thing is when we daven — it’s private, between us and Hashem!

Also, the word Ketores is like the word “Kesher” (in Aramaic — Ketar) — a connection. Davening is one of the ways we make a special connection with Hashem.

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Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

The Alter Rebbe is continuing to explain a certain vort from the Baal Shem Tov:

The vort from the Baal Shem Tov is that if a Goy comes to you in the middle of davening, and tries to bother you, you should realize that it’s Hashgacha Protis, and try to daven harder and with more kavanah. You should think about how Hashem is giving chayus to that Goy right now and letting him do it, and understand that Hashem is giving you a message to have MORE kavanah.

People said that it can’t be that Hashem is giving chayus to a Goy who is trying to make you mixed up in the middle of davening! How can you say that Hashem’s chayus is in a Goy like that? The Alter Rebbe explains that the chayus of Hashem IS there, but it’s in Golus.

Wherever the chayus of Hashem goes, it stays the same. But in different Olamos, Hashem is more hidden or more seen in that Olam. In some worlds the chayus of Hashem is hidden as if it was put behind a thin curtain, but in lower levels, the light of Hashem is hidden as if it was put behind a very thick curtain that blocks the light of Hashem from shining through!

Of course, the chayus of Hashem stays the same, no matter what curtains it is hiding behind!

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Chof-Tes Tishrei

One time in the Baal Shem Tov’s shul in Mezibuzh, a very scary story happened:

Two people, who weren’t such good friends, were arguing with each other. One of them got so mad, he yelled at the other one, “I will rip you up like a fish!”

When the Baal Shem Tov heard this, he called his Talmidim to come. He told them to hold hands with each other, and the Baal Shem Tov himself finished their circle. Then he asked them all to close their eyes.

All of a sudden, they saw something that made them all terrified! They saw this man tearing up the other one like a fish, just like he had said!

From here we see how careful we need to be with what we say, because whatever we say will do something. Sometimes it is in Ruchniyus only, and most people can’t see it, but it ALWAYS makes something happen.

We need to be so careful to only say nice things about other people!

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Shiur #114 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #202, #203, and #204

Today, we learn 3 mitzvos about a Nazir:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #202) A Nazir can’t drink wine or any other drink that was made with grapes. He can’t even have wine vinegar!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Naso: וְכָל מִשְׁרַת עֲנָבִים לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #203) A Nazir can’t eat grapes

We learn this mitzvah from other words in the same posuk: וַעֲנָבִים לַחִים ... לֹא יֹאכֵל

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #204) A Nazir can’t eat raisins (because they are dried grapes!)

We also learn this mitzvah from the same posuk: וִיבֵשִׁים לֹא יֹאכֵל

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Hilchos Nezirus

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about the Nazir.

Perek Gimmel: How long is a person a Nazir for? It depends — he is allowed to decide how long he wants to be a Nazir for. But if he doesn’t say how long, he is a Nazir for 30 days.

Perek Daled: At the end of being a Nazir, the Nazir needs to shave all of his hair and bring certain korbanos. When does he do these things if he made a promise to be a Nazir more than one time in a row? In this perek, the Rambam answers this question too!

Perek Hey: In this perek we learn about the three things that are Asur for a Nazir:

1) He is not allowed to eat anything that comes from grapes
2) He is not allowed to cut his hair
3) He is not allowed to make himself Tamei from a dead person

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Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Hey

We give special kavod to the Kohen Gadol. He needs to act in a kavodike way so that people treat him properly. We learn that when the Kohen Gadol starts his avodah, he brings a special korban.

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Yom Kippur Katan

Today is Yom Kippur Katan. It’s like a mini Yom Kippur for the month of Tishrei! We do a Cheshbon Hanefesh to see how we did for the past month, and decide that next month, Cheshvan, will be even better!

We should also add at least a little bit in Torah, in Avodah (davening), and in Gemilus Chasadim (helping another Yid or giving extra tzedakah).

See Halachos Uminhagei Chabad

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Tov LaShomayim, Tov LaBriyos

Today is Tuesday, Yom Shlishi.

When Hashem created the world, Yom Shlishi was an extra special day! On all of the other days, Hashem looked at what was created that day and said, “Ki Tov,” that it was good. But on Yom Shlishi, Hashem said “Ki Tov” TWO times!

The Rebbe teaches us that these two times that Hashem said it was tov, good, teach us a lesson we can think about, especially every Yom Shlishi: We should serve Hashem with TWO kinds of good — Tov LaShomayim and Tov LaBriyos.

Something that is Tov LaShomayim, good for Shomayim, is something we do for Hashem, like our learning and davening. Tov LaBriyos, good for creations, is something that helps other people, like giving tzedakah or doing Hachnosas Orchim.

We need to make sure our avodah has BOTH kinds, and we can even have them both together!

How do we have them both together?

Even when we are davening (Tov LaShomayim), we should think about other Yidden (Tov LaBriyos)! We do this right away at the beginning of davening, saying “Hareini Mekabel Alai Mitzvas Asei Shel Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha!” And we should daven not just for ourselves, but for other people too!

And when we help another person (Tov LaBriyos), we should do it for Hashem (Tov LaShomayim)! When we are doing it for Hashem, we will help even if it doesn’t feel good. Even if the person is complaining instead of thanking us, we will help them because it is a mitzvah!

This way, we can make sure that our avodah ALL the time is done in a way of Tov LaShomayim AND Tov LaBriyos together.

See Sicha to Nshei Ubnos Chabad, Chof-Ches Iyar Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches

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Building Bitachon in Davening

The Sefer Chovos Halevavos has many chapters, called “She’arim” (gates). In Shaar Habitachon, it explains what a person needs to know in order to truly trust Hashem.

The second condition to have total trust in Hashem is to know that Hashem is GOOD. Hashem’s kindness is very strong, and Hashem is good to us even if we don’t deserve it. All we need to do is be a keili to accept Hashem’s brachos, and He will help us because of His rachmanus for us. We become a keili by trying to connect to Hashem and do what He wants. But the bracha that Hashem gives us is in a way of chesed, much more than we deserve!

There are many pesukim in davening that help us feel Hashem’s goodness. For example, the posuk in Ashrei that starts with a Tes: “Tov Hashem Lakol, Verachamav Al Kol Maasav.” “Hashem is good to everyone, and His rachmonus (kindness even if we don’t deserve it) is on all of His creations.”

By thinking about this, our bitachon will be stronger!

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Mishnayos Baal Peh

Many seforim speak about how special it is to learn Mishnayos Baal Peh. Chassidim especially have a minhag to do this!

When the Frierdiker Rebbe came to America, he started a group called “Machaneh Yisrael,” which he wanted every Yid to join. As part of this group, each member was supposed to learn a part of Mishnayos Baal Peh. This would help make the air in the world more pure!

In Tof-Shin-Gimmel, there was a big siyum on Mishnayos, from all of the Mishnayos learned baal peh by members of Machaneh Yisrael. At the siyum, the Frierdiker Rebbe said:

Once, the Rebbe Maharash was near a group of Chassidim. The Rebbe Maharash called out, “Shabbos, come here!”

The Chassidim standing around were confused. Nobody had the name “Shabbos!” Levik, Yitzchok, Yosef, Yaakov — all of those names they could understand, but who was Shabbos?

The Rebbe Maharash finally pointed at a specific chossid, and said, “You are called Shabbos!”

In Shomayim, someone who learns a Mesechta of Mishnayos by heart is called by the name of that mesechta!

The Rebbe Maharash explained that this chossid had learned Mesechta Shabbos baal peh, so in Shomayim he got the name “Shabbos!”

The Frierdiker Rebbe finished by saying, “I am learning Mesechta Menachos baal peh, so in Shomayim I am called ‘Menachos…’”

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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The Yonah and Geulah

In this week’s Chumash, Parshas Noach, we learn the story of the Yonah, the dove that Noach sent away three times.

The main way we learn Chumash is pshat, understanding the meaning of the story the way the Torah teaches it. There are also other ways to understand the stories of the Torah. One of these is called remez, hinting.

We learn a very interesting remez from the story of the Yonah:

Yidden are compared to a dove. We are like the yonah that was sent away. We were sent into Golus. The first time, we did teshuvah and came back, rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash. Again we were sent away into Golus, again coming back ourselves to the Beis Hamikdash.

Then the yonah was sent away for the third time, and it didn’t come back. This is like us in this last Golus. We were sent away into this long and painful Golus, but we won’t come back on our own. Instead, Hashem will BRING us back, so that we can enjoy the Geulah forever and never again be sent away!

See Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah Al HaTorah, Parshas Noach

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