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Parshas Shemos - Rishon with Rashi

We are now starting a new Chumash, Chumash Shemos!

In the last Chumash, Chumash Bereishis, we learned about the creation of the world. We learned about the Avos, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and his children the Shevatim. We learned the things that happened to them and what they did.

All of this is a preparation for what we will learn in this next Chumash: We will learn how Hashem takes us out of Mitzrayim and gives us the Torah so we become a nation! But first we learn about the Golus Mitzrayim that the Yiddeen had to go through for that to happen.

In today’s Chumash, we learn how the Golus starts. The Yidden grow and become a big nation, and Paraoh makes decrees to try to stop them from growing.

First the Torah reviews that when the Yidden came down to Mitzrayim, there were only 70 people. But they had a bracha to have many children, and many times the mothers would have six babies at a time! Soon Mitzrayim was full of Yidden.

Yaakov’s sons were getting older now, and they all passed away (Levi passed away last). Unfortunately, as time went on, many of the Yidden stopped keeping all of the mitzvos — except for the families in Shevet Levi.

Now a new Paraoh, who didn’t know Yosef, became king. He said he was afraid that the Yidden would fight against the Mitrziyim, since there were so many Yidden. He wanted to do something to stop them!

Paraoh asked his advisors what to do. Bilam, who was one of his advisors, gave Paraoh a sneaky idea that would stop the Yidden from having a lot of babies, and would get them to start to act like the Mitzriyim. (Yisro, another advisor, told Paraoh not to do it, but Paraoh didn’t listen to him. Because Paraoh was upset at him, Yisro had to run away to Midyan.)

Paraoh decided to do Bilaam’s idea: He called all of the Yidden to come, and when everyone was there, he started making bricks. Everyone of course started to help — everyone except for Shevet Levi, who stayed home to learn Torah. At the end of the day, the Mitzriyim told the Yidden to count how many bricks they made. “You will have to make this many bricks EVERY day!” they told the Yidden. That’s how they tricked them into becoming slaves.

The Mitzriyim made the Yidden work very hard to build the cities of Pisom and Ramses. But Bilam’s plan wasn’t working. Even though the Yidden were working so hard, they still kept on having lots of children! 

The Mitzriyim were very frustrated! They thought of another idea: Now the Yidden would have to work even HARDER, and do work they weren’t used to doing. This way the parents would be too tired to have more children. But the Jewish women knew that having children is the most important thing!

Paraoh saw that the Yidden were STILL having children! He realized that his plan wasn’t working. Then his advisors told him that the person who would take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim would be born soon!

So he came up with a new plan, to stop the Yidden from growing and to make sure that nobody would take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. He would kill all of the baby boys, and take the girls away so they wouldn’t know they were Yidden. Paraoh called the Yiddishe midwives (women who help Mommies have babies), Shifra (Yocheved, Amram’s wife) and Puah (Miriam, their daughter). 

Paraoh told Shifra and Puah to kill all of the Yiddishe baby boys, and only to let the baby girls live. Of course Shifra and Puah didn’t listen! They helped the baby boys to stay healthy instead.



90 - 96

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Tzadik through Tzadik-Vov.

The first kapitel in today’s Tehillim was written by Moshe Rabbeinu. Dovid Hamelech later put it in Tehillim. It starts with the words “Tefillah LeMoshe, Ish HaElokim” — “This is a Tefillah by Moshe Rabbeinu, a person of Hashem.”

Why is Moshe Rabbeinu called a “person of Hashem”?

Hashem is everything and everything is Hashem — but we can’t see Him! Hashem made the world because He wanted Yidden to act in a certain way that will make Hashem happy here.

But if we can’t see Hashem, how do we know how to act? That’s why Hashem gave Yidden a Moshe Rabbeinu, who is “a person of Hashem.” A Moshe Rabbeinu has two parts — one part of him that is “of Hashem” — very close to Hashem so he knows what Hashem wants, but he is also “a person” — so he can teach us what we need to do!

There is ALWAYS a Nasi, like Moshe Rabbeinu, who helps the Yidden do what Hashem wants at that time. Now, of course, the Rebbe is our Moshe Rabbeinu!

The Rebbe told us that we are about to see the Geulah, and we need to learn and teach about it! We need to spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidus everywhere, and ask Hashem for Moshiach NOW!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Gimmel

In today’s Tanya, we learn about a kind of beinoni who is busy with holy things all day. Even he needs to stay on guard and remember that he still has a Yetzer Hara!

We learned that a beinoni needs to always be on guard to make sure that his Yetzer Hara doesn’t take control.

But what about a beinoni whose Yetzer Hara never says anything? For example, there could be someone who learns in Yeshivah and spends all day learning Torah and davening, who might not feel a taavah to do any aveiros.

The Alter Rebbe explains that this kind of beinoni is called a “Beinoni Hamispalel Kol Hayom,” a beinoni that is davening all day. He might not be actually davening all day, but all day long he is busy with learning Torah and davening in a way that puts his Nefesh Habehamis to sleep!

This kind of beinoni needs to stay on guard too! He shouldn’t think that he is a tzadik, and doesn’t have to worry about his Yetzer Hara anymore. Just like a sleeping lion can get up any second, the Nefesh Habehamis can wake up anytime and start to bother him.

Even when we are feeling very Ruchnius’dik, we need to watch out for our Yetzer Hara, because it can wake up any second and give us foolish ideas!



Yud-Tes Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn about the Chumash part of Chitas and where it comes from!

Chassidim have a minhag that started from the Alter Rebbe, that every day we learn part of Chumash with Rashi. The Rebbeim also kept this minhag!



Shiur #178 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #114

Today we learn another mitzvah about not using animals that are supposed to be korbanos: We are not allowed to cut the hair of an animal, like we usually do to get wool, if it is going to be a korban.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: וְלֹא תָגֹז בְּכוֹר צֹאנֶךָ

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Bechoros.



Hilchos Me'ilah

In today's Rambam, we learn more halachos about Me’ilah, a person who uses or benefits from hekdesh, something that belongs to the Beis Hamikdash.

Perek Hey: In this perek we finish learning about which kinds of things are counted as me’ilah, specifically things that were given as a donation to the Beis Hamikdash. One of the halachos in this perek is if it is called me’ilah when a person uses a korban brought by a goy. (Of course we can NEVER take something that doesn’t belong to us! But here we are talking about a separate aveira that needs an extra special kind of teshuva, for taking something from the Beis Hamikdash.)

Perek Vov: This perek teaches what the person needs to be doing with it for it to be counted as the aveira of me’ilah. If it is something that becomes worth less when it is used, if it becomes worth at least a perutah less, it is called me’ilah.

Perek Zayin: We learn what happens if someone makes a shliach to use the thing that is hekdesh, or has someone else watch it without telling him that it is hekdesh and can’t be used. The Rambam gives many cases and says in each example who would need to do this teshuva of paying back for what was used plus an extra fifth and bringing a korban.



Hilchos Shekalim - Perek Daled

Today we finish learning the halachos about the Machatzis Hashekel, about what kind of things the money can be used to pay for.



Proud Soldiers in Tzivos Hashem

One time, there was a little girl who went with her father to 770. He had just bought her a little present, a Tzivos Hashem pin! He wanted her to put it on when they went to 770. The little girl was embarrassed to wear it, and refused to put it on! Finally, after lots of begging, she agreed to put on the pin… but only on her skirt, not on her shirt.

Soon, the Rebbe came into 770! He saw the little girl, and smiled. He made a sign with his hand to show her that she shouldn’t be embarrassed to wear a Tzivos Hashem pin!

As soon as the Rebbe walked past, lots of Chassidim rushed over to make sure that the little girl’s Tatty would move the pin onto the top of her shirt.

Now, that little girl is a VERY proud shlucha, helping Yidden do more and more mitzvos and bring Moshiach closer!

Are YOU proud to be a soldier in Tzivos Hashem?


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We are going to review the Yud-Beis Pesukim, but in a different order!

The Rebbe taught the Yud-Beis Pesukim as part of Mivtza Chinuch. The Rebbe wanted us to know and understand them well, because they have lessons that are very important for our own Chinuch and to share with others! Every Yid, even young children, needs to know these messages. We should learn the pesukim by heart and understand what they mean so we can think about them wherever we are and whenever we can.

The pesukim come from the three main parts of Torah — Torah Shebichsav, Torah Shebaal Peh, and Chassidus. Today we are going to start reviewing the pesukim from the first part of Torah, Torah Shebichsav.

Very young children already knew the first two pesukim since the times of the Gemara! The Chachomim taught us that as soon as a child begins to speak, we teach them Torah Tziva and Shema.

Let’s review some of the lessons they teach us:

Torah Tziva — The message of Torah Tziva is how precious and special Torah is! Every Yid, no matter who, inherits the entire Torah! We need to know that every part of Torah belongs to us, and we just need to take this special treasure and use it.

Shema — The posuk of Shema teaches us that Hashem is in charge of the world. Even though the world looks gigantic, and sometimes even scary, it is all botul to Hashem. Hashem created the world, and takes care of every detail of the world with Hashgacha Protis.

IY”H in our next shiur, we will review the next two pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, Bereishis and Veshinantam. We will see how they are really a continuation of these first two pesukim!



Derech Malbush

Wearing something outside as clothing is not called carrying. This is called “Derech Malbush.”

Still, the Chachomim want to make sure that it is something that we will not take off and carry around! Two of these halachos are just about kids:

For example, if a kid goes outside in Tatty or Mommy’s shoes, the shoes will probably fall off. Then he will end up carrying them. So going outside in Tatty or Mommy’s shoes on Shabbos is not allowed because of hotza’ah!

But a shirt that is too big won’t usually fall off by itself. So even if it looks silly, a kid IS allowed to go out on Shabbos with a shirt that is too big, and it’s not a problem of carrying. We are not worried that it will bring him to carrying outside.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, 301:3

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



Chumash With Rashi

We learned in today’s Hayom Yom that the Alter Rebbe asked us to learn Chumash with Rashi every day.

But why just Rashi? There are so many important explanations on the Chumash! There is Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Kli Yakar, Or Hachayim, and many more!

The Rebbe gives us three reasons:

1) It’s in Shulchan Aruch! In Shulchan Aruch, it says that when we are Maavir Sedra before Shabbos, the best way to review the parsha is with Rashi. (If we already learned Chitas, we don’t have to do it with Rashi again!)

2) It has secrets of Torah! We learned in another Hayom Yom that Rashi is “Yeina Shel Torah” — the wine (hidden secrets) of Torah.

3) It gets us ready for the Geulah! Rashi explains peshat, the basic meaning of the Torah. Rashi wants us understand the Peshuto Shel Mikra, the peshat of every word of Torah.

And what about the hidden secrets? They’re all hidden inside the peshat! In many sichos, the Rebbe showed us how to find some of the secrets inside of Rashi.

When Moshiach comes, the hidden secrets of the Torah won’t be hidden anymore — we’ll be able to see them in the “basic” parts of life, the regular things we do! So learning Rashi and the Torah secrets inside helps us get ready for Moshiach, when we will be able to see the secrets of Torah in everything!

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