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Revi'i with Rashi

On Simchas Torah, we finished the entire Torah, and we stared the Torah again from the beginning. On Simchas Torah, we learned the first three aliyos of Parshas Bereishis, and today we will continue with Revi’i. In the beginning of the parsha we learned about the six days of Creation and Shabbos, and we also learned that on the sixth day of Creation, after Adam and Chava were created, they did the Cheit Eitz Hadaas. Today the Torah tells us what happened after that, especially about the second major aveira that happened after the world was created, the story of Kayin and Hevel.

Now that Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz Hadaas, they might decide to eat from the Eitz Hachayim, and then live forever. That might make them look like they are trying to be Hashem. So Hashem had to send them out of Gan Eden, and put a malach there to guard it so they can’t come back in.

Before this happened, Adam and Chava had 5 children — Kayin and a twin sister, and triplets — Hevel and two sisters. They were allowed to marry their sisters, since Hashem needed there to be more people in the world!

Hevel decided to be a shepherd, since the ground was cursed because of the Cheit Eitz Hadaas. Kayin decided to be a farmer anyway.

Once they both decided to bring Korbanos to Hashem: Kayin thought that the KIND is important, but not which ones — so he brought the worst plant from the fanciest kind of plants. Hevel thought that the kind isn’t so important, but you need to bring the best. So even though he didn’t bring a fancy animal (like a cow), he brought the nicest sheep. Hashem was happier with Hevel’s korban.

Kayin was jealous, but he didn’t want to think that he did something wrong, so he didn’t do Teshuvah. Hashem told him that if he really wants he can also bring a special korban. It is up to him to be a good person and overcome his yetzer hara. But, instead of listening to Hashem, he got mad at Hevel, and killed him.

Hashem told Kayin that he needs to be punished for what he did! He will have to always be wandering around, he won’t be able to live anywhere. And the ground will grow even less than it did before.

Kayin cried and asked Hashem why he won’t forgive him — now everyone, and all of the animals too, will want to kill him! Hashem made a sign on his head so that nobody will hurt him, and he will get punished after seven generations. But Kayin didn’t really do Teshuvah, and he decided to live in one place even though Hashem told him he has to wander.

Now the Torah tells us about Kayin’s son Chanoch. Kayin built a city, and named it in honor of his son Chanoch. Chanoch had a son Irad, who had a son named Mechuyoel, whose son was Mesusha’el, who had a son Lamech.

Knowing about these people will help us understand what happened to Kayin later in the parsha.



113 - 118

The kapitelach in today’s Tehillim are the kapitelach that we say in Hallel! We have been saying Hallel every day of Sukkos and Simchas Torah, and now we get to say it for one more day!

The day after Yom Tov is called Isru Chag. The word “isru” means tied, connected. It is a day that connects the regular weekdays with the Yom Tov that just ended.

On Isru Chag, we bring some of the joy of Yom Tov into a regular day. We eat nicer food than usual to show that it is special, and we don’t fast.

The Gemara says that someone who eats and drinks more on the day after Yom Tov, connecting it to the Yom Tov, it is like he built a Mizbeiach and brought a korban!

We hint to this in a posuk of today’s Tehillim: “Isru Chag Ba’avosim Ad Karnos Hamizbeiach.” If you eat “avosim” (fatty food) on Isru Chag, it is like you brought a korban to the corners of the Mizbeiach.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Chof-Tes se’if yud-zayin



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Daled

Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us about not talking during davening:

Imagine that you are waiting for a long time to see someone special. Finally, he tells you that he will be coming to your house tomorrow! You will be so excited — you were waiting for so long!

Imagine that your special guest comes — but you don’t even go to talk to him. You decide that you need to go shopping, or you need to go play a game with your friend.

Wouldn’t that be a crazy way to act? You were waiting for so long, and now that your guest comes, you just waste your time and forget about how excited you were?! You should be spending time with him, not doing anything else — especially things that aren’t even important!

Hashem is like a king who is very special, and who we aren’t allowed to see all the time. We ask Hashem for Moshiach now, when we will see Him ALL the time! But even nowadays, we are very lucky that Hashem comes to “visit” us every day when we daven! When we pay attention to the words of davening, we can feel that Hashem is there with us!

If we waste that time and talk about other things, we are being foolish ourselves, and it is embarrassing for Hashem. He wants us to be happy with the time we spend with Him, and not to be busy with other things at the same time!

Even if davening doesn’t feel special for us, we still need to act with the kavod we would have if we DID feel that we are having a special connection with Hashem during this time.

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe makes a Takana that NOBODY should speak at all during davening in Shul — from the very beginning until the end of the last Kaddish! If someone does speak (and it wasn’t by mistake or because they didn’t know) they need to ask Hashem to forgive them, in front of three people, for not acting the way they should!

When we are careful not to talk during davening, Hashem will give us lots of brachos!



Chof-Daled Tishrei

Today’s Hayom Yom was written for Shabbos Mevorchim Mar-Cheshvan, so we learn about keeping one of the minhagim of Shabbos Mevorchim — having a farbrengen.

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us a little bit about a farbrengen.

First of all, a farbrengen is very important for a Chossid! Being part of a farbrengen helps make our Ahavas Yisroel stronger.

How do farbrengens work? The Rebbe tells us how they should be set up:

Someone should be in charge of leading the farbrengen. He should talk about improving ourselves to become better Yidden and fix up the way we behave! He should speak about making times to learn Chassidus and to behave the way Chassidus teaches!

The person who is leading the farbrengen shouldn’t feel like he is better than everyone else, and that he gets to tell them what to do. He should also be talking to HIMSELF, because he also needs to become better! If he is talking about something that he doesn’t have a problem with himself, he should still try to think of a way he can do better in that part of his Avodah. That way, when he talks, everyone at the farbrengen will listen to him and want to do what he says.

He needs to be very careful not to embarrass anyone when he is talking! A Chassidishe farbrengen is ALWAYS in a way of Ahavas Yisroel and being careful about other people’s feelings.



Mitzvas Asei #19

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos we learn the same mitzvah again (Mitzvas Asei #19) — that after we eat, we need to bentch.

We learn this from a very famous posuk in Parshas Eikev: וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Brachos.



Hilchos Brachos

Perek Zayin: The Rambam teaches us the halachos of Derech Eretz B’Seudah — the mentchlich way to act at a meal. For example, you shouldn’t look at someone else eating, or at someone else’s plate, so that you won’t embarrass him. Another halacha is that you shouldn’t throw food or ruin it.

After the meal is over, we should sweep the floor so that no big pieces of bread will get stepped on.

Perek Ches: We learn about the brachos on food, aside for Mezonos and Hamotzi, which we already learned earlier.

Many of the Geonim before the Rambam said that sugar cane is either Ha’eitz or Ho’adamah. The Rambam says that it is not a fruit, and we need to make a Shehakol.

If you put food into your mouth without making a bracha, what do you do? Do you know?

Perek Tes: Just like we’re not allowed to enjoy eating food without a bracha, we aren’t allowed to enjoy a good smell without a bracha. We do this at Havdalah every week — Borei Minei Besamim!

There are specific brachos for smells, depending on where the smell comes from, like from a plant or from a flower. Just like Shehakol is a general bracha for food, Borei Minei Besamim is a general bracha for smells.

There are certain smells we don’t make a bracha on at all — do you know which ones?



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim - Perek Zayin

Now we start learning the halachos of the mitzvah of giving Tzedakah! We need to give a poor person what he needs.

One halacha is that if someone says he is hungry, we give him right away. If someone says he needs clothes, we first check if he is telling the truth. When a person goes from door to door to collect money, we give him a little bit, since he will be getting from a lot of people.



VeYaakov Halach Ledarko

There is a minhag in Chabad that after Simchas Torah, there is an announcement made in shul, “Veyaakov Halach Ledarko.” This is to remind everyone to take the special kochos we get during the Yomim Tovim of Tishrei, and carry them with us all year!

We have to think about the special things we got on Yom Tov — the stories we heard, the hisorerus we felt, the hachlatos we made, the good feelings we have for our families and the Yidden we spent Yom Tov with — and make sure that we keep them during the regular weekdays too!


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No More Worries

When we daven, we wake up the love for Hashem that is hiding inside. This helps take away our worries!

Even though Hashem wants us to take care of things, like parnasa, we don’t need to WORRY about them. When we daven, we are reminding ourselves that Hashem is in charge, so there is nothing for us to worry about.

In the Beis Hamikdash there was a fire that came down from Shomayim and burned up the animal. The same thing happens when we daven! Our davening is like a korban. Our love of Hashem, which is like the fire from Hashem, burns up all of our worries, which come from the animal inside of us, our Nefesh Habehamis!

See Maamar Ushe’avtem, Likutei Torah



Mashiv Haruach U'Morid Hageshem

On Musaf of Shemini Atzeres, we started saying Mashiv Haruach U’Morid Hageshem in Shemoneh Esrei.

If you make a mistake and say Morid Hatal instead of Mashiv Haruach, you don’t have to go back in Shmoneh Esrei. That’s because even though you didn’t mention rain, at least you mentioned dew (tal) which is also a source of bracha. A person would only have to go back if he didn’t say either one.

In fact, that is one of the reasons we say Morid Hatal in the summer — so that if a person wasn’t sure they praised Hashem for rain in the winter, at least we know that they said Morid Hatal — they praised Hashem for dew (tal) which is also a source of bracha!

Mashiv Haruach PRAISES Hashem for rain, but ASKING for rain is in a different bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, in the bracha of Bareich Aleinu. We don’t actually start to ask Hashem for rain in Bareich Aleinu until Zayin Cheshvan in Eretz Yisrael, and until the end of Tekufas Tishrei in the rest of the world. (Tekufos are seasons, which go according to the solar calendar. This year we will start to say Vesein Tal Umatar on the 4th of December, which is the night leading into Chof-Zayin Kislev.)

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Kuf-Yud-Daled, se’if Vov, and Halacha Newsletter by Badatz of Crown Heights, p. 54

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



Ruach of Moshiach

At the beginning of Parshas Bereishis, the Torah tells us that the Ruach Elokim was hovering in the world when it was first created. “Veruach Elokim Merachefes Al Pnei Hamayim.”

The Medrash tells us that this Ruach Elokim means the ruach of Moshiach! Starting from the very beginning of the world, the koach of Moshiach was already there. Since the goal for the world is to reach the time of Moshiach, Hashem prepared it for us right away!

Nowadays, when we learn Parshas Bereishis, we feel even more excited. We know that we are SO close to reaching the goal that Hashem created the world for!

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