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Parshas Lech Lecha - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Avram wins over four very strong kings to save his nephew Lot!

Kedarlaomer, the king of Elam, ruled over the lands of five other kings (Bera from Sedom, Birsha from Amora, Shinav, Shemever, and the king of Bela). For twelve years these five kings allowed Kedarlaomer to rule over them, and then they didn’t want to be ruled! So for thirteen years, they rebelled, not listening to Kedarlaomer anymore.

The fourteenth year of their not listening was the same year Avram came to Canaan. That year, Kedarlaomer had enough! He asked three of his friends, Amrafel, Aryoch, and Sidal, to join with him in Emek Hasidim and fight the five rebelling kings. (Emek Hasidim, the valley of the Sidim, later filled with water and became the Yam Hamelach.)

First, they went to capture more lands. They won over the Refaim, the Zuzim, and the Eimim! They won even over all of the giants there, and the only giant left was Og. They also won over the Chori people, they captured the land that would later belong to Amalek, and they won over the Emori.

Then the five kings that had stopped listening to Kedarlaomer came to Emek Hasidim to fight. The four kings won this war also.

The five kings had to run away! When the king of Sedom was running, he fell into a big hole full of clay. Even though a person usually would sink inside and not be able to live, he was okay! Hashem did this to show the nations that nisim can happen, and now they would believe that Avram was saved from the fiery furnace by a neis also.

Everyone else ran away to the mountains to hide.

Now the group of four kings took everything they wanted from Sedom and Amorah. They also took Lot, who lived there.

Og, who survived the war, ran and told Avram that his nephew was captured. Avram decided that he needs to fight these four kings to save Lot! So Avram made Eliezer, his main servant and student, his general! Avram wasn’t afraid to make a war with the four kings, even though they were so strong and won so many wars before.

Avram won the war with them, and set Lot free and got all of his things back.

When Avram came back, the king of Sedom came out to greet him. All of the people who survived the war called him the prince of Hashem!

Shem (who is also called Malki-Tzedek), the king in Yerushalayim, also came and blessed Avram. Avram knew that there were many leaders of Avodah Zarah, but Shem was the only leader (kohen) of serving Hashem! To show kavod for Hashem, Avram gave Shem maaser from everything he had.



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes.

Today’s Tehillim has the posukPadah Beshalom Nafshi,” where Dovid Hamelech says that he won his fights and was free in the zechus of the people that davened for him.

When the Alter Rebbe said this Kapitel, he came out of his Golus as well — out of jail — on Yud-Tes Kislev!

The Chachomim explain this posuk in the Gemara, that “When someone learns Torah, it’s like taking the Shechinah and the Yidden out of Golus!” The Alter Rebbe explains this in the Igeres Hakodesh we are learning now in Tanya!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

The Torah is in Golus together with the Shechinah, in the gashmiyus things in the world where we can’t feel that they are from Hashem.

There are two ways to take the Shechinah out of Golus:

1) The first way is to use these gashmiyus things to do what Hashem wants. This way, the kedushah that was in the gashmiyus connects back to Hashem, and comes out of Golus!

2) The second way is to learn about these gashmiyus things in Torah, and understand how the Torah says they should be used. This also brings them out of Golus! It’s even more when the halachos are complicated, and we need to try very hard to figure out what Hashem wants us to do with the gashmiyus. When we finally understand what Hashem wants, we take the Chochmah of Hashem, and the Shechinah that is hiding, and bring them both out of Golus!

Who can do this? Not neshamos in Gan Eden, and not malachim! Only a Yid who is living in the world with a gashmiyus body can do this! We can break the kelipah using our Torah learning, because our guf has this same kelipah. Neshamos and malachim aren’t stuck in Golus, so they can’t do it!

When we learn Torah and figure out how the halachos make sense, we find new things in the Torah! These are called “Chiddushei Torah” — parts of Torah that nobody noticed before! The neshamos in Gan Eden are very excited, and they come to hear our Chiddushei Torah, because they can’t do it themselves!

To make sure that our neshama can do its whole shlichus, we need to make sure to find Chiddushim in our Torah learning!



Yud Mar-Cheshvan

The way Hashem created the world is that there are four Ruchnius’dike worlds, where Hashem’s kedusha hides more and more. In this last world, Asiyah, Hashem’s kedusha is almost completely hidden. But in the highest “world,” Atzilus, Hashem’s kedusha isn’t hiding at all! It is felt very strongly.

The Alter Rebbe would feel so connected to the kedusha of that olam when speaking about Atzilus, he couldn’t even say the word! He would say “oiben!” (“above”). And the Alter Rebbe couldn’t even write it… he would write “Atzi–” but was too awed to even finish writing the word!



Shiur #111 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #157

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn that it is asur to NOT do something we said we would.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Matos: לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ כְּכָל הַיֹּצֵא מִפִּיו יַעֲשֶׂה

So if a person said that all cookies are asur for him, or if he said he would give $50 to tzedakah, or buy a raffle ticket for the school — it’s an aveira to eat the cookies, or not give the tzedakah, or not buy the raffle ticket!

You can learn more about this mitzvah in Mesechta Nedarim, or in these perakim of Rambam!



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, we are learning more halachos about Nedarim (a kind of promise).

Perek Zayin: What happens if someone makes a neder not to get ANYTHING from someone? What is he not allowed to take from this person, and what are the times when he can?

Perek Ches: We learn that the halacha is based on what was happening and what the person was thinking when he made the Neder, and not just what he says!

Perek Tes: Depending on what words a person uses, the neder might mean different things. Like if a person would say that grapes are asur for him, would that also include grape juice and wine?



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Gimmel

The Rambam teaches us that we are allowed to begin a melacha before Shabbos and let it finish by itself on Shabbos. There are some exceptions to this when it comes to cooking or making a fire. The Chachomim were worried that a person might stir the fire to make food cook faster on Shabbos, which is a melacha! This is the reason why we have a blech, to cover the fire and remind the person not to make the fire higher on Shabbos. This way, we can let something continue cooking on Shabbos.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

After the war with the kings, Avraham Avinu was worried. So many nisim had happened to him, he was afraid he had used up all of his reward from Hashem! But Hashem told Avraham not to be worried, his reward would be very great.

Why was Avraham Avinu so worried about his reward? The Rambam tells us that Avraham Avinu is an example of serving Hashem because he LOVED Hashem, not serving Hashem to get a reward!

The Rebbe explains that for Avraham Avinu, the reward wasn’t for HIM. He wanted everyone to see that by serving Hashem properly, you get good things. He wanted the reward so that people would want to serve Hashem.

That’s why Avraham Avinu was worried that he used up his reward. Then people might not realize how good it is to serve Hashem! Hashem promised him that he would be rewarded fully, and his shlichus would be successful.

Likutei Sichos Chelek Chof, p. 44; Dvar Malchus Lech Lecha


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The Twelve Pesukim

When we want to learn something by heart, we need to review it many times! That’s why many people say the Twelve Pesukim every day after davening, or after saying Shema every night. They want to review the words many times so they will know them Baal Peh!

Since we need to not only know the WORDS by heart, but also the MESSAGE by heart, we will need to review what each posuk means many times! Let’s review the first two of the Twelve Pesukim and what we’re supposed to learn from them. Both of these pesukim are from the Chumash, and the Chachomim say that they are the first pesukim we should teach a child who has just learned to speak.

Torah Tziva — The first posuk is Torah Tziva. We say, “Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe,” the Torah which Moshe Rabbeinu commanded us, is “Morasha Kehilas Yaakov” — a yerusha to the whole Jewish people.

This means that the entire Torah, together with all of the parts of Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu got on Har Sinai, belongs to every single Yid!

The posuk teaches us that every Yid, even a young child, needs to know that the whole Torah is THEIRS, and that we should appreciate how precious the Torah is! That’s why right when a baby is born, we hang up words of Torah like Shir Hamaalos where the baby sleeps, and mothers sing songs about Torah, so the children will always know that “Torah iz di beste s’chora,” Torah is the best thing they can ever have!

Shema Yisroel — The second posuk is Shema. We say, “Shema Yisroel!” Listen Yidden! “Hashem Elokeinu,” Hashem is our Aibershter, and “Hashem Echod,” Hashem is one.

Besides for what we need to know for our own neshama, that Hashem gave us the Torah as a gift that is very special and very good for us, we need to know about the world too! When we go into the big world, which has seven heavens and stretches out so far in four different directions, we need tor remember that it’s not something that exists on its own! It LOOKS like it exists by itself, but it was created by Hashem, and it was created for a reason!

The heavens and the earth, in all four directions, are all one with the Alef — with Hashem, the Alufo Shel Olam. The whole world is one with Hashem Who created it, and all of it is there so that we can use the special gift Hashem gave us, the gift of Torah and mitzvos! The whole world and everything in it exists so that we can use all of it in order to serve Hashem.

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder chelek Hey



Friends Eating Milchigs and Fleishigs

Let’s say you go on a trip. If one of your friends has a salami sandwich for lunch, and you have a cream cheese sandwich, you need to put something called a “Heker” on the table. The heker will remind you not to sneak a taste of your friend’s food!

One heker that Shulchan Aruch teaches us is for one person to eat on a tablecloth, and the other person not to. Another heker can be putting something between you that you usually don’t put on the table, like maybe your Chitas!

See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman Mem-Vov

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



Saving Lot

In today’s Chumash, we learned about how Avram fought four mighty kings to save his nephew Lot. There is a deeper meaning to this story also — shwoing that Avram was getting ready for Moshiach!

There is a posuk in Tehillim that says, “Motzosi Dovid Avdi,” Hashem says, “I have found Dovid, My servant.”

The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah) tells us where Hashem found Dovid Hamelech: In Sedom!

When was Dovid Hamelech in Sedom?

Dovid Hamelech comes from Rus, who was a giyores from the nation of Moav. Moav comes from Lot… who lived in Sedom!

Based on this, seforim explain that the story of Avram’s Mesiras Nefesh in today’s Chumash was not just to save Lot, but to bring the Geulah for the Yidden later!

They explain that the real reason why Nimrod captured Lot was to stop the coming of Moshiach! He knew that Moshiach (who comes from Dovid Hamelech) would come from the family of Lot. He didn’t want the Yidden in the future to be saved by Moshiach!

When Avram heard that Lot was captured, he knew that it was very important to save him. Not only would he be saving his nephew, but he would be saving Malchus Beis Dovid, which would come from his nephew Lot! Moshiach, who comes from Malchus Beis Dovid, would later save ALL of the Yidden!

This is a deeper reason why Avram felt that it was so important to have Mesiras Nefesh to save Lot — and he did!

This is one of the deeper meanings of the story in today’s Chumash — that Avram had Mesiras Nefesh and was shown nisim from Hashem in order to pave the way for Moshiach to come!

When we also have Mesiras Nefesh to bring Moshiach, like when we do a mitzvah even when it is hard for us in order to bring the Geulah faster, we are following in the footsteps of Avraham Avinu!

Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah Al HaTorah p. 138, from Sefer Beis Yisroel

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