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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Revi'i with Rashi

Eliezer was sent as a shliach from Avraham, to find a shidduch for Yitzchak. He found Rivkah by the well, and is confident that the shlichus is successful. Today we learn about how Rivkah’s family agrees to the shidduch!

Eliezer said, “Baruch (blessed is) Hashem, who did chesed to Avraham! Hashem brought me to the right place, to Avraham’s brother’s house!”

Rivkah ran to her mother and told her what happened.

Rivkah had a brother named Lavan, who was in his mother’s house and heard what Rivkah said. He ran to Eliezer who was at the well.

Why did he run? Lavan saw his sister wearing the expensive jewelry that Elizer had given her. He was excited that Eliezer was rich, and he wanted to get some of that money.

Lavan acted very nice to Eliezer. He asked him why he was still standing at the well. He invited him to his house where he could rest and eat. He told him that he had even cleared out the house from Avodah Zarah, knowing that a servant of Avraham would be careful about that. Lavan even had made space for the camels!

Lavan and Eliezer came to the house, untied the muzzles, and fed the camels. Lavan gave Eliezer and the men who were with him water to wash their feet.

Food was served, but Eliezer didn’t want to eat until he explained why he was there. He told them about Avraham, how Avraham had made him promise to find a wife for Yitzchak, and everything that had happened. (He changed the order a little bit, so they wouldn’t wonder how he had given her presents before knowing for sure that she was from the right family.)

The Torah writes all of the details of what Eliezer said, even though we already know it from the pesukim before. Usually the Torah is very careful not to use an extra word — there are many mitzvos that are only hinted to us from one word or letter in the Torah! But here, the Torah repeats the whole story! Rashi tells us what it says in the Gemara, that this shows how precious the Avos are to Hashem. Even the plain words of their servants are more precious to Hashem than the Torah learning of their children, the Yidden in the future, after Matan Torah — “Yafeh Sichasan Shel Avdei Avos MiTorasan Shel Banim.”

Now, Eliezer asked, “Will you let me take Rivkah back to marry Yitzchak?”

Lavan was chutzpadik and answered before Besuel his father. They said that they see it came from Hashem and couldn’t say no. “Take Rivkah and go, like Hashem said.”

Eliezer bowed to Hashem to show thanks.

Rashi says that we learn from this that we need to thank Hashem when we hear good news!



113 - 118

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Yud-Gimmel through Kuf-Yud-Ches.

Today’s Tehillim is the kapitelach which make up Hallel!

One of the things we say in Hallel, in Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Daled, is that after Hashem took the Yidden out of Mitzrayim, He did many miracles for us!

In the next kapitel (Kuf-Tes-Vov), we say “Lo Lanu Hashem, Lo Lanu, Ki L’Shimcha Ten Kavod.” “Don’t do it for us Hashem, don’t do it for us! Do it instead to give honor to Your name.”

During the time of Golus, we don’t see Hashem’s nissim as much. That’s why we ask Hashem to treat us in a way of nissim — not because of how we act, but because we are Hashem’s nation. We ask Hashem to do this just for the sake of Hashem’s holy name, which will get honor by the chesed Hashem will do with Yidden.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Lamed

What if someone started giving $100 to tzedakah every week, but then they started to earn less money at work? Should they start giving $50 instead? The Alter Rebbe says no! In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe explains why it’s so important to keep giving the same amount of tzedakah, even if you have less money.

The Gemara says that if someone stops coming to shul, Hashem asks where they are. And the same thing is with other mitzvos too — if someone stops doing a mitzvah, Hashem “asks” about it! He is waiting for them to do their mitzvah.

Our tzedakah brings chayus of Hashem into the world from very high places in ruchniyus. We need to give at least the same amount of tzedakah, so at least the same amount of Hashem’s special chayus (and not chas veshalom less) will keep coming into the world!



Chof-Daled Mar-Cheshvan

It is easy to look around and see people who have better gashmiyus’dike things than us — a nicer computer, or bike, or fancy toy.

But that’s not how we should think!

For gashmius things, we should look around and see someone who has even LESS gashmius than us — someone who has NO bike at all or NO toys. That will make us thank Hashem for all of the things we DO have!

It is also easy to look around and see someone who is less frum than us, or less Chassidish than us. That makes us feel proud of ourselves, since we think we are better than they are.

But that’s not how we should think!

In ruchnius things, we should look at someone who has even MORE mitzvos than we do. We should look at how someone else davens with more kavana, or has good midos, or goes on mivtzoyim more often.

We should ask Hashem to help us learn from that person, and give us koach to become better!



Shiur #125 - Mitzvas Asei #130, #195, Lo Saasei #232

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos, we have three mitzvos about Tzedakah!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #130) On the 3rd and 6th years from Shemitah, we give Maaser Animaaser to poor people, instead of Maaser Sheini, which is brought during the other years and eaten in Yerushalayim.

This mitzvah, like the other mitzvos of presents from our fields, is only kept in Eretz Yisroel.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: מִקְצֵה שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים תּוֹצִיא אֶת כָּל מַעְשַׂר תְּבוּאָתְךָ וגו׳

2) (Mitzvas Asei #195) It is a mitzvah to give tzedakah to poor people. It is our job to take care of them and make sure they have what they need. Even a poor person has a mitzvah to give at least a little bit of tzedakah to others!

We learn this mitzvah from many pesukim in the Torah. One of them is also in Parshas Re’eh: פָתֹחַ תִּפְתַּח אֶת יָדְךָ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #232) We are not allowed to ignore poor people and not help them when we really can.

We also learn this mitzvah in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תְאַמֵּץ אֶת לְבָבְךָ וְלֹא תִקְפֹּץ אֶת יָדְךָ מֵאָחִיךָ הָאֶבְיוֹן



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last three Perakim of Matnos Aniyim. Now we are learning about Tzedakah!

Perek Ches: We learn that saying that we will give Tzedakah is like making a neder, and we need to keep it. We also learn about a Goy giving Tzedakah, and finally about the great mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim, helping a Yid come out of jail. The Rambam says that there is no bigger mitzvah than this one!

Perek Tes: We learn that every city should have a Gabbai who is in charge of giving out Tzedakah to people who need. Everyone in the city should give money to this Gabbai for him to give out to the poor.

Perek Yud: The Rambam tells us how special it is to give, and that even when we can’t give, we should try to make the poor person feel good. Also, helping other people to give Tzedakah is even BETTER than giving yourself!

The Rambam also teaches us about:
- 8 levels of Tzedakah
- giving Tzedakah before davening
- not taking Tzedakah unless someone really needs to.

We need to trust in Hashem Who will make sure we have everything we need!



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Yud-Zayin

In those days, most houses were inside of courtyards, and most courtyards were in an alleyway (mavui). We learn what needs to be done to the mavui to make it into a Reshus Hayochid. We also learn about pasim, small dividers that can sometimes act as a mechitza to make it into a different reshus.



Sameiach Bechelko

Imagine you are feeling sad that you don’t have a new backpack this year. Instead you are using the same old one from last year. Is that the right way to feel?

Or imagine that you are making yourself happy by thinking about how you daven much more nicely than everyone else in your class. Is that the right way to feel?

Someone wrote to the Rebbe once, telling the Rebbe that things were a bit hard for him. His parnasa was not so good, but he had bitachon that things would get better. His children were not doing as well in Yiddishkeit as he hoped, but he made himself feel better by realizing that at least they were better than some others.

In the Rebbe’s answer, he saw that it’s not always good to be happy with the way things are!

The Rebbe answered with the words of a posuk, “Bashomayim Mimaal Ve’al Haaretz Mitachas.” In the Torah, this is saying that “In the heavens above and on the earth below, there is nothing aside for Hashem!”

In many sefarim, these words are explained in another way: Bashomayim, in Shomayim things, meaning about Hashem and kedusha, we look Mimaal, above — we look at people on a HIGHER level than us and try to be like them.

Only in Gashmius things, “Al Haaretz,” things that are on the earth, we look “Mitachas,” below. In those things we look at people who have less than us, and realize that we should be happy with what we have. Then we will truly feel rich — “Aizehu Ashir, Hasameiach Bechelko!” “Who is rich? Someone who is happy with what he has.”

This is the same idea as what we learned today in Hayom Yom. Many times the Rebbe would remind Chassidim that it’s good to be happy with our Gashmius, but we should always look at others to see how to make our Ruchnius better!

See Igros Kodesh chelek Hey, page 237


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How Davening Helps Shlichus

In a sicha, the Rebbe once spoke about shluchim who said that they weren’t having hatzlacha. They complained that they were trying to spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidus, but it wasn’t working, and they wanted to leave their shlichus.

The Rebbe said that the way to fix their problem and start to have hatzlacha in shlichus is by davening properly!

The Alter Rebbe says in Likutei Torah, Parshas Ki Savo, that there are three things we need to do to prepare for davening:

1) Learn Chassidus

2) Go to the mikvah

3) Give tzedakah

When the shluchim will prepare for davening so that they can daven properly, and then do their shlichus with all of their kochos, they will definitely see hatzlacha in their shlichus!

See Farbrengen Simchas Torah Tof-Shin-Tes-Vov



Importance of Halacha on Shlichus

Before the Fellers went on shlichus to Minnesota, they had a yechidus with the Rebbe.

The Rebbe told the Fellers some horaos about how to do their shlichus, and had a very important question for Rabbi Feller: What halacha sefarim did he have?

The Rebbe wanted to make sure that he was bringing along a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, the Mishnah Berurah, as well as a new set of seforim, “She’arim Hametzuyanim Behalacha.” These sefarim went according to the order of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, but had answers from more recent Rabbonim. The Rebbe told him that even though most of the answers were kulos, not strict, the chumros inside were very good.

We see from here how important it is to be constantly learning halacha when we are doing the Rebbe’s shlichus!

Yechidus in 1962, from JEM interview with Rabbi Feller, shown on Living Torah #377

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



The Alef of Geulah

What is Geulah?

One way to know is by looking at the word itself! As we learned, the word “Geulah” has the same letters as the word “Golah” (Golus) — just with an extra alef. This teaches us that Geulah comes to add something new to Golus, which will change it into Geulah!

The Rebbe taught us three things we can learn about Geulah from this Alef:

1) Alef is the same letters as Aluf, which means master — Alufo Shel Olam, the Master of the world, Hashem! In the times of Geulah, the whole world will recognize that Hashem is in charge of the world.

2) Alef is connected to the word Ulfena (like in the posuk, “Aalefcha Chochmah, Aalefcha Binah) to learn. In the times of Geulah, the whole world will learn and live according to the Torah!

3) Alef is the same letters as the word Peleh, a wonder — there will be many wonders and nissim in the time of Geulah, and we will have new and wonderful secrets of Torah!

But there is another reason why the word Geulah is made up of the letters of Golah: Because it is our avodah in Golah, in Golus, which makes the Geulah possible!

In fact, even in Golus we can start getting the world ready for the Alef of Geulah — according to all the things the Alef teaches us!

1) Alufo Shel Olam — We should work on making sure everything we do is Lesheim Shomayim, for Hashem. When we eat, drink, work, or play, we should remember that Hashem is in charge of the world and we are doing these things to serve Hashem!

2) Aa’lefcha Chochmah — We should start learning extra Torah already!

3) Peleh — We shouldn’t only wait for the new secrets of Torah that we will have in the Geulah, we should learn the secrets of Torah we have now, by learning Chassidus!

Of course, we shouldn’t only do this ourselves. We should help others too, so we can bring in the Alef and change the world from Golah to Geulah!

Based on the sicha from Parshas Emor 5751

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