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Parshas Vaeira - Chamishi with Rashi

Hashem chose Moshe and Aharon to speak to Paraoh so he will let the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. But first, there are going to be Makos. The first makah came and went, and Paraoh refused to let the Yidden go. Today we learn what happened after the second makah finished.

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned how Paraoh asked Moshe to take away the frogs. Moshe agreed to daven to Hashem that the frogs would go away from everyone’s houses, and only the frogs that are still in the Nilus would remain alive.

Moshe davened that the frogs should go away and all of the frogs died. The Mitzriyim made big piles of dead frogs all over and they smelled very bad!

But Paraoh decided not to listen to Hashem this time either!

So Hashem told Moshe to warn Paraoh about the third makah — lice.

Makas Kinim: Moshe and Aharon warned Paraoh that the makah would start if he didn’t do teshuvah. He didn’t listen, so Hashem had Aharon hit the dust of Mitzrayim. (Moshe couldn’t hit it, because the dirt helped bury the Mitzri he killed, and that wouldn’t be Hakoras Hatov.)

When Aharon hit the dust, it turned into lice all over Mitzrayim! Lice is a little bug that is very itchy, and this makah bothered all of the people and animals in Mitzrayim.

Paraoh’s magicians tried to make lice too, but they couldn’t — because tumah magic doesn’t work with anything smaller than a grain of barley. They had to admit that Hashem made this makah! Still, Paraoh wanted to think that Moshe and Aharon were just better magicians, so he ignored what Moshe and Aharon said and didn’t let the Yidden go.

Makas Arov: Hashem told Moshe to warn Paraoh about the next makah — wild animals. He should tell Paraoh that if he doesn’t let the Yidden go out of Mitzrayim, Hashem will send very mean wild animals to hurt people and ruin things!

All of the other makos were also in Goshen, where the Yidden lived (even though they weren’t bothered by them), but the wild animals won’t go into Goshen at all!

Paraoh will have to realize that Hashem is in charge of the whole world!



119 (second half)

Today’s Tehillim is very special! We are finishing the LONGEST kapitel in the whole Tehillim, kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes! This kapitel is so long that we don’t even say the whole thing in one day — it is split up between Yom Chof-Hey and Yom Chof-Vov!

One of the pesukim in today’s half is, “Sas Anochi Al Imrosecha Kemotzei Shalal Rav” — “I am so happy with Your words (the Torah), like someone who finds a huge treasure!”

The Rebbe’s father, R’ Levi Yitzchak, explains this posuk: He shows us that the first letters of the words “Kemotzei Shalal Rav” (like finding a big treasure) are “Kosher!”

How is “kosher” a big treasure?

The Rebbe explained during a rally for children what it means that kosher is a big treasure. This is something very important for us to know when we’re fighting with our Yetzer Hara: A person might think that it shouldn’t matter if a teeny little candy isn’t kosher. But the truth is, if we don’t listen to our Yetzer Hara, and only eat kosher candies, it’s like a HUGE treasure for Hashem! Even just a “small” thing that we win over the Yetzer Hara is a VERY big deal!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Daled

In today’s Tanya we learn how EVERY Yid should try to become a beinoni!

Every person can behave like a beinoni at any time. Because, what is a beinoni? Not someone who doesn’t have a Yetzer Hara. A beinoni is someone who DOES have a Yetzer Hara and not good desires, but will not let the Yetzer Hara be in charge of the body and do the not-good things it wants to do!

Even when the Yetzer Hara comes up with foolish ideas of things it wants to think about or do, we can stop ourselves and think about something else!

How do we stop ourselves?

The Alter Rebbe gives us something we can think about and tell ourselves, which will stop us from doing an aveira. This way we will be able to act like a beinoni at any time!

We should think about how we are ready to even have Mesiras Nefesh to stay connected to Hashem!

This is what we can say in our mind:

“I don’t want to be separated from Hashem for even one second! I want to serve Hashem and be connected to Hashem always.

“Any aveira, no matter how small, separates the neshama from Hashem.

“I know that really everyone would be ready to even have MESIRAS NEFESH not to separate from Hashem! Even a person who usually lets the Yetzer Hara be in charge would also have Mesiras Nefesh not to do something that he KNOWS will separate him from Hashem. The only reason why he usually lets his Yetzer Hara be in charge is because of a Ruach Shtus, a foolish thought that says that only big aveiros separate a Yid from Hashem, and that his connection to Hashem doesn’t change by doing a little aveira.

“But I know the truth! I know that EVERY aveira separates a Yid from Hashem! I don’t want to be a fool like him, and chas veshalom lose my connection to Hashem for a time by doing this aveira. It’s not worth it!”

By remembering the koach of Mesiras Nefesh which every Yid has, it gives us the power to act like a beinoni at any time!

Not everyone can love Hashem strongly enough to become a tzadik, that is a special gift from Hashem... but every one of us can decide to act like a beinoni at any time!

By telling ourselves that we don’t want to and cannot be separated from Hashem, it will help us do the right thing all the time!



Chof-Vov Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn the reason for a minhag in Tefillah.

We learned in Tanya that there are two kinds of kelipah — one kind that is called “Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios” (the three kelipos that are all tomei and can’t become kedusha), and “Kelipas Noga” (the kind of kelipa that we can change to kedusha if we use it right).

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us how to say a certain bracha in Shmoneh Esrei which hints to these two kinds of Kelipah. In the brachaVelamalshinim”, there are four words in a row: “se’aker, u’se’shaber, use’mager, ve’sachnia” (“pull out, break, crush, and push down”). We are asking Hashem to destroy these kelipos.

When we say these words, we stop for a second between saying the word “use’mager” and “ve’sachnia” because of the Ruchnius’dike meaning of these words of davening. The first three words (se’aker u’seshaber usemager) are talking about the Shalosh Kelipos Hatemeios, the kelipos which need to be completely destroyed.

The fourth word, “vesachnia” is talking about Kelipas Noga. Kelipas Noga is something we need to be “machnia” — to push it down, but we don’t have to completely break it, because it can be used for kedusha.

That’s why we make a separation, because we are asking Hashem to help us deal with the last kind of kelipah, Kelipas Noga, in a very different way. We ask Hashem that the not-good parts should be pushed away, and that we should be able to use what is good inside of it for kedusha!



Shiur #200 - Mitzvas Asei #107

Today’s mitzvah is the same one as yesterday:

(Mitzvas Asei #107) When a neshama leaves a body, the body becomes Tomei. Someone who touches or is in the same house as the body gets some of this Tumah too, called Tumas Meis. Today’s mitzvah is to follow all of the halachos about this tumah!



Hilchos Tumas Meis

In today’s Rambam (Perakim Yud-Ches, Yud-Tes, and Chof), we learn more about how Tumas Meis can spread inside of a house.

One of the things the Rambam teaches is that “Derech Hatumah Latzeis, Ve’ein Darka Lehikanes” — tumah goes out of things, but doesn’t come in. Tumah can come out of even a closed container to make the whole house tamei, but it doesn’t go into a sealed container and make things inside of it tamei.

So for example, if there are dishes inside of a sealed box in a house that has Tumas Meis inside, the dishes stay tahor, even though the whole house is tomei. The tumah doesn’t go inside of the box.

But if there is Tumas Meis inside of a sealed box inside of a house, the whole house becomes tomei. The tumah that is inside of the box goes out of it.



Hilchos Korban Pesach - Perek Daled

Today we learn many halachos about what happens when a Korban Pesach becomes posul or tomei.

icon of clock


Using Emunah in Golus

At the beginning of this week’s parsha, Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu something about the Avos. Even though many hard things happened to the Avos, they never asked Hashem why. They always trusted with Emunah!

But Moshe Rabbeinu DID ask Hashem why, when he saw how hard the Golus was for the Yidden.

The Rebbe explains that Moshe Rabbeinu was the one who would teach the Torah to the Yidden. His main Avodah was with Chochmah, understanding things. So when he saw that the Golus was so painful for the Yidden, he couldn’t keep on doing his shlichus, because he didn’t understand why Hashem made it so hard for them. He was stuck!

Hashem was telling Moshe that even though his main Avodah was to understand things and teach Torah, that is not enough. There are times when we need to use Emunah, like the Avos, like when something is too hard to understand.

This wasn’t just a lesson for Moshe Rabbeinu, it is a lesson for all of us!

Since we know so much Torah nowadays, we all have the Avodah of Chochmah, understanding things. But sometimes this Golus is SO hard and SO terrible that we just can’t understand!

But we shouldn’t get stuck and stop doing our shlichus. At times when things make no sense, we need to use the koach of Emunah from the Avos. We need to trust in Hashem and keep working on bringing the Geulah!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, Parshas Vaeira

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Elokai Neshama

The first thing we said in the morning was Modeh Ani, thanking Hashem for returning our neshama. But since we said Modeh Ani before washing Negel Vasser, we weren’t able to say this as a bracha, with Hashem’s name.

Now that we made our body clean (by washing out our mouth and using the bathroom) and washed our hands as a preparation for davening, we are able to say Hashem’s holy name. We said the bracha of Al Netilas Yodayim, and thanked Hashem for our healthy body in Asher Yatzar. Now we are able to properly thank Hashem for giving us a healthy neshama, with the bracha of Elokai Neshama!

In Elokai Neshama, we use different expressions about how our neshama was given to us. Chassidus explains that these correspond to the different olamos (Ruchnius’dike levels, called “worlds”) that the neshama goes through before coming into the Gashmius’dike world.

In this bracha, the Chachomim also remind us about Techiyas Hameisim! We hinted to it in Modeh Ani, with the words “Raba Emunasecha,” saying that Hashem is faithful and will give back our neshama at Techiyas Hameisim. Here, we say it clearly, that Hashem will take away our neshama, but return it again when Moshiach comes. This keeps our emunah in Techiyas Hameisim strong!




Jewish boys and men need to have their heads covered with a yarmulka all the time. A yarmulka is needed so that we are tznius’dik, and it helps us have Yiras Shomayim.

Unless you glue your yarmulka to your head, it might fall off sometimes! If that happens, the halacha is that we cover our head with our hand as a heker (reminder) until we reach our yarmulka and can put it back on.

But that only helps for SOME of the reasons we wear a yarmulka.

Another reason we wear a yarmulka is to make sure our head is covered whenever we say Hashem’s name. We can’t cover ourselves with another part of ourselves — that’s not called covering! (“Ein Etzem Mastir Al Etzem.”) We need to cover our head with something separate in order to say Hashem’s name.

So if someone needs to say Hashem’s name when he can’t reach his yarmulka right away, he should cover his head with his sleeve, or with someone else’s hand.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman beis

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



Hints to Moshiach

When Moshe Rabbeinu warns Paraoh about the Arov, in today’s Chumash, the posuk says, “Hineni Mashliach Becha,” “I will get them to attack you.”

One of the Baalei Hatosfos (the authors of the Tosfos), the Rabbeinu Efrayim, tells us an important reason why the Torah uses this word:

Hashem promises the Navi that when Moshiach comes, we will have nisim like we did at the time of Yetziyas Mitzrayim — “Kimei Tzeischa Me’eretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos.”

So in the words of the Torah about the nisim of Yetziyas Mitzrayim, Hashem puts a hint about Moshiach!

The word “Mashliach” has the same letters as the word “L’Moshiach” — to Moshiach!

Here, in the nisim of Yetziyas Mitzrayim, Hashem is reminding us about the nisim of the final Geulah!

See Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah Al HaTorah

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