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Parshas Emor - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the Yom Tov of Sukkos!

Sukkos is 7 days long (in Eretz Yisroel), and there is a special Sukkos korban every day!

On the 8th day, there is an extra day of Yom Tov, Shmini Atzeres. This is because Hashem loves when we have such a happy Yom Tov with Him, and He wants it to last for an extra day!

The first day of Sukkos, and the last day (Shmini Atzeres) are both days when we can’t do any melacha. The other days are Chol Hamoed.

On Sukkos, we take 4 different kinds of plants together. They are an Esrog, a Lulav, Hadassim and Aravos.

On Sukkos, we live in a Sukkah. This reminds us of the Ananei Hakavod, the clouds Hashem put around the Yidden to keep them safe in the Midbar.



88 - 89

In Kapitel Pey-Tes, there’s a posuk, “Ki Amarti Olam Chesed Yibaneh” — Hashem said, “I will build a world of chesed.” This means that Hashem makes the world with chesed!

Chassidus explains that Hashem created the world with the midah of Chesed. Why? We see that for a person to do chesed, there needs to be someone else to give to or help!

We see this with Avraham Avinu, who was the midah of Chesed. When there were no guests, it bothered him so much! Without someone to GIVE to, you can’t use Chesed.

The same is true also with the midos of Hashem! In order for Hashem to give chesed, there needs to be a world to give it to. That’s why the posuk says “Olam Chesed Yibaneh,” that the world was created because of the midah of Chesed.

Hashem also gave each of us the midah of Chesed! We need to use it, to show Ahavas Yisroel to another Yid.



Likutei Amarim Perek Mem-Tes

The Alter Rebbe is teaching us something we can think about, especially during the brachos of Shema and Shema itself, that will help us love Hashem.

We learned about two kinds of chayus from Hashem, Sovev Kol Almin (which makes everything in the world exist, but is too strong to feel) and Memalei Kol Almin (which Hashem needs to hide through Tzimtzum so each thing can get its proper chayus).

Hashem’s “light” is so strong! Hashem had to make Tzimtzumim, hiding His light more and more until there could be a world where we can live and make a Dira Betachtonim.

Here are the three main tzimtzumim: Each time, Hashem hid His light more and more. From Atzilus (where there is only Elokus and nothing else), there needs to be a tzimtzum to create Beriyah, where some high malochim and neshamos can exist. From there, there needs to be another tzimtzum to create Yetzira, which is still too Ruchnius’dik for a person to live. And there still needs to be another tzimtzum to create the world of Asiyah. Only in Asiyah can we have a Gashmius’dike person.

Hashem made all of these Tzimtzumim for a reason — so there can be a Gashmius person, who can be a part of making a Dira Betachtonim.

When we think about how HASHEM made these Tzimtzumim, to hide His light more and more instead of shining it, because of His love for a YID — that should make us also hide the things that WE want to do more and more, so we can do the shlichus that Hashem lets us be a part of!

There is a special time for this hisbonenus, during the brachos of Shema! IY”H in the next shiurim in Tanya, we will learn how the brachos Shema help us to do this hisbonenus and create a love for Hashem!



Yud-Ches Iyar

Today is thirty-three days of the Omer!

Lag B’Omer was an extra-special Yom Tov by the Mitteler Rebbe!

Together with the Chassidim, they would go out to the fields on Lag B’Omer. The Mitteler Rebbe didn’t wash for a Seudah, but he did make L’chaim on mashke, even though usually he didn’t because of his health.

It was a day of lots of nissim, especially brachos for children. All year long, people would wait for Lag B’omer to get a bracha from the Mitteler Rebbe to have a baby!

There are many stories about children born because of a Lag B’omer bracha from the Rebbe. One year, a group of women came from Eretz Yisroel in honor of Lag B’omer. They waited for the Rebbe, and then asked for a bracha to have children. The Rebbe gave each one of them a coin and a bracha. That year, every single one of those women were bentched with a child.



Shiur #295 - Mitzvas Asei #197, Lo Saasei #234

In today’s Rambam, we are starting a new set of halachos: The halachos about borrowing or lending money. There are many mitzvos about this, and today we are learning two of them:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #197) To lend money to poor people, to make their life a little bit easier. The Rambam says that this is even more important than tzedakah! That’s because people don’t want to become poor and need to ask for money — it will be very embarrassing for them! When you give them a loan, you save them from needing to ask for tzedakah!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: אִם כֶּסֶף תַּלְוֶה אֶת עַמִּי אֶת הֶעָנִי עִמָּךְ

The details are explained in many places in Mesechta Kesubos and Mesechta Bava Basra.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #234) Not to ask a person to pay back your loan if you know he can’t.

We learn this mitzvah from the same posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא תִהְיֶה לוֹ כְּנשֶׁה



Hilchos Malveh VeLoveh

In Perek Alef, we learn that it’s a special mitzvah to give a loan to a poor person, or anyone who needs it. Lending money is a very big mitzvah!

But borrowing money is a very serious thing too — if a person borrows money when he does not need to, and then can’t pay back the loan, he is called a rasha.

Perek Beis teaches us how the Chachomim helped make it easier for us to lend money: After the time of the Gemara, there were a lot of sneaky people who said they couldn’t pay back their loans — even though they really could. The Chachomim decided to force people to make a shevuah (a very strong Torah promise in Hashem’s name) in front of the Beis Din if they said that they did not have money. That stopped people from lying, and kept everyone from being afraid to lend money!

We also learn the halacha that when someone gives a loan, he should have witnesses, a mashkon, or a contract, to show that it is a serious thing and make sure all of the details of the loan are clear (like the exact amount he lent).

In Perek Gimmel the Rambam teaches us about a mashkon: A mashkon (a security) is when someone takes an object from someone he lent money to, and gives it back when he is paid back. We learn the details of mitzvos we will be learning later, like not taking a mashkon from an almanah (widow), or not taking a mashkon from keilim that are used to make food with.



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros - Perek Yud-Daled

In today’s Rambam, we learn about when a person is chayav to be punished by the Beis Din for eating asur food. Just like at the Seder we eat a certain amount of matzah in a certain amount of time, a person only gets punished if he eats a certain amount of food in a certain amount of time.



Lag B'omer

Lag B’omer is the Yom Hilula of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. Even though on this day he passed away, he asked that we make it a day of celebration for the secrets of Torah that he taught during his life!

There is also something else that happened on Lag B’Omer:

The students of Rabbi Akiva, who had been passing away because they didn’t show the proper kavod to each other, stopped passing away on this day.

The Rebbe teaches us that both of these are connected:

Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, who was also one of the students of Rabbi Akiva, fixed up the mistake of the other talmidim, and showed how to have proper respect for another talmid!

A talmid is someone who is connected to his Rebbe, and learns Torah from him. He behaves according to what he learns and sees from his Rebbe, and is a dugma chaya (an example) for others to learn from.

Based on this, we would think that if a Rebbe has a few very close talmidim, they should all behave in the same way, since they are all learning from the same Rebbe. But that’s not actually the way it is!

We see an example of this in Pirkei Avos, Perek Beis. R’ Yochanan ben Zakai had five close talmidim, and asked each of them what is the most important midah for a person to work on having. We would think that they would all answer the same thing, based on the Torah they learned from their Rebbe. But each of them had a different answer! Even though the talmidim all learned from the same Rebbe, they were not the same.

This is because every person has a different shlichus in the world. Based on each person’s shlichus, Hashem gives them different deios, different ways of understanding things in Torah. So each talmid learns the words of his Rebbe in a different way, according to the shlichus Hashem gave to that specific talmid.

The 24,000 talmidim of Rabbi Akiva were all very special talmidim. They learned from their Rebbe and made what they learned part of everything in their lives! They learned from his Torah, from his Mesiras Nefesh, and from what he said that Ahavas Yisroel is a most important part of Torah.

But each of them understood their Rebbe’s words according to their own shlichus. Because they loved each other, they wanted their fellow talmidim to also understand things their way. They weren’t able to respect a different type of shlichus and a different way of understanding.

This was something that was missing in the first 24,000 talmidim.

But Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai fixed that!

Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai was also very connected to the Torah of his Rebbe. He also learned from Rabbi Akiva’s Mesiras Nefesh and spent 13 years in a cave, learning Torah, with barely any food and always in danger. Still, he also learned from Rabbi Akiva how to be respectful of another person. When he left the cave and saw people who were not doing things in his way of serving Hashem, he was able to respect that other Yidden have a different kind of shlichus.

On Lag B’omer, we celebrate what we learn from Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. We learn how to be a talmid of Torah and of our Rebbe in the right way! Together with being connected in a very strong way and making what we learn part of everything in our lives, we always need to remember that Hashem wants there to be many types of Yidden! Each of us have a different shlichus and a different way of understanding things. Hashem made us this way and wants each of us to do our own specific shlichus. Then, we will fulfill the shlichus all Yidden have together, to prepare ourselves and the world around us for Kabolas Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu!

See sicha of Lag B’omer, Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Beis and Chelek Lamed-Beis

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The first posuk of the Torah tells us that the whole world is made by Hashem.

Bereishis Bara Elokim — In the beginning when Hashem created

Es Hashomayim — the heavens

V’Es Ha’aretz — and the earth.

Of course this doesn’t mean JUST the sky and the ground. The Chachomim tell us that the word “Es” is hinting to everything inside of them! So the posuk is telling us:

Bereishis Bara Elokim — In the beginning when Hashem created

Es Hashomayim — ALL of the heavens and everything inside

V’Es Ha’aretz — and the WHOLE ENTIRE earth with everything inside.

When we realize that the whole world was created by Hashem, we will make sure to do everything the way Hashem says!

We will make sure to eat the way Hashem tells us to (only kosher food, and with a bracha), to play the way Hashem tells us to (in a nice way, and with Ahavas Yisroel), and even sleep the way Hashem tells us to (with Shema and Negel Vasser)!

We will want to do things the way Hashem wants us to, because we know that this whole wonderful world was made by Hashem!

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder vol. 5, p 286



Some Halachos and Minhagim of Lag Ba'omer

- We don’t say Tachanun on Lag B’omer.

- It is a minhag to give more tzedakah than usual. One year the Rebbe said to give tzedakah in multiples of 18, especially because Lag B’omer is the 18th of Iyar.

- It is a minhag to eat eggs on Lag B’omer. It was the Rebbe’s minhag to eat an egg that was dyed brown. (One way to dye eggs brown is to boil them with onion skins.)

- It is a minhag to eat bokser (carob fruit) on Lag B’omer, because Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai and his son R’ Elazar only had carobs to eat while they were learning Torah in the cave.

- It is not our minhag to cut hair on Lag B’omer, except for an upshernish. A boy with an upshernish after Lag B’omer waits to cut his hair until Erev Shavuos.

- Since Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai is the one who taught the secrets of Torah, it is a special time to learn and spread these teachings the way we have them today in Chassidus, and to take on good hachlatos to add in learning Chassidus.

- We should try to add in Torah and Tefillah on Lag B’omer. One year the Rebbe said that we should say Kapitel Lamed-Gimmel (“Lag”) of Tehillim, and learn Chitas better than usual.

- It is an old minhag for children to go out to the fields and play with bows and arrows. Nowadays we make rallies and parades for children in honor of Lag B’omer, which can also be done with our families and online. Adults should also have farbrengens for Lag B’omer.

See Halachos U’Minhagei Chabad - Lag B’Omer

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



Signs of Moshiach

It is a minhag on Lag B’omer for kids to go out to the fields and play with bows (“Keshes”) and arrows.

One of the reasons is to remind us about the Geulah! This is based on what the Zohar says about rainbows, which are also called Keshes in Lashon Kodesh.

The Zohar says that when you see a rainbow with bright colors, it is a sign for Moshiach!

Lag B’omer is the Yom Hilula of R’ Shimon ben Yochai, who taught Pnimius HaTorah. Teaching the secrets of Torah (like Chassidus) is ALSO a sign for Moshiach!

On this special day, we play with bows and arrows, to be a sign that Moshiach is coming very soon!

See Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos vol 3 p. 77

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