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Parshas Vaeira - Revi'i with Rashi

Moshe and Aharon begin their shlichus to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. They make a sign in front of Paraoh and bring the first two makos.

Hashem told Moshe and Aharon one last thing before they went to Paraoh: How to show Paraoh that Hashem is really sending them. Moshe should have Aharon throw his stick on the floor, and it will become a snake.

Moshe and Aharon went to Paraoh, ready to do exactly what Hashem told them to.

When Paraoh asked them to make a sign to show that they are coming from Hashem, Aharon threw the stick on the floor and it turned into a snake. Once the miracle was over, it turned back into a stick.

Paraoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing with their tumah magic! They all threw down their sticks, and they turned to snakes.

But now, Aharon’s stick ate up all of their sticks, and didn’t even get bigger! This was a neis that they COULDN’T do, and it showed that Hashem is in charge.

But Paraoh was stubborn and didn’t listen to Moshe and Aharon anyway.

Now Hashem would have to send the Makos to punish Paraoh for not listening, and get him to change his mind…

Makas Dam:

Before the first makah, Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to meet Paraoh at the Nilus in the morning in order to warn him. (Paraoh would secretly go to the bathroom there, so he could tell people he is like Hashem and doesn’t do things that regular people do!) They should warn Paraoh that if he doesn’t listen, Hashem will show him who is in charge! Hashem will make the Nilus turn into blood. (Since the Mitzriyim worshiped the Nilus, it would also show them that their Avodah Zarah is wrong.)

Since the Nilus saved Moshe when he was a baby in the basket, Hashem told Moshe that AHARON should hit the water. This was because we need to show Hakoras Hatov when someone or something helps us. It wasn’t right for Moshe to hit the water, when that was what saved him.

After hitting the Nilus, all of the water in Mitzrayim would turn to blood. 

Moshe and Aharon did what Hashem told them. They warned Paraoh for three weeks, but he didn’t listen. Then Aharon hit the water in the Nilus, and all of the water in Mitzrayim turned to blood. The people were able to dig wells and find fresh water, though. This way the Mitzriyim could see that they shouldn’t worship the Nilus!

Some of Paraoh’s magicians did tumah-magic and turned the water from the wells into blood, and Paraoh decided that Moshe and Aharon were just doing magic. He didn’t want to believe that it was from Hashem, so he decided to ignore what Moshe and Aharon told him.

This first Makah lasted a week.

Makas Tzefardeia:

Right after Makas Dam was over, Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to warn Paraoh about the second makah, frogs. They should say: “Let the Yidden go, or else Hashem will send frogs to go all over Mitzrayim! They will first go into your palace, and then all over — even into people!”

After three weeks, Hashem told Moshe that Aharon should pick up his hand with his stick over the water in Mitzrayim, and the frogs will come out.

Aharon did this, and a big frog came out of the Nilus. When the Mitzriyim hit it, it turned into many many frogs. Paraoh’s magicians also made a frog that turned into many frogs, so Paraoh decided the makah was just magic and he ignored Hashem.

Paraoh wanted the frogs to go away, so he told Moshe and Aharon he would let the Yidden go if they got rid of the frogs. Moshe asked when the frogs should leave. Paraoh answered “tomorrow.” Moshe agreed to daven for the frogs to go away, to show Paraoh that Hashem is in charge.



140 - 150

Today we are going to finish the whole Tehillim, from kapitel Kuf-Mem to Kuf-Nun! Since there are only 29 days in Teves, we say the tehillim for Yom Chof-Tes AND Yom Lamed.

There are five very special kapitelach at the end of Tehillim, where Dovid Hamelech says Hashem’s praises! The Chachomim who put together the davening made these kapitelach the main part of Pesukei Dezimra, the part of davening where we praise Hashem. In fact, in certain cases, if someone doesn’t have enough time for the whole davening, the halacha is that these kapitelach are more important than saying some of the other parts.

The first kapitel begins with the words “Tehillah LeDovid,” “a song by Dovid.” Then each kapitel starts and ends with the word Hallelukah.

The very last posuk in Tehillim is “Kol Haneshama Tehalel Kah, Halelukah!” “Every neshama praises Hashem — praised is Hashem!” The Gemara says that the word neshama can also mean “neshima,” breath. We learn from here that we should thank Hashem for every breath! Even though we only say thank you to Hashem at certain times, we need to remember it in our mind always.



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Ches

We are now starting to learn a new inyan in Tanya, which we will learn from Perek Yud-Ches through Chof-Hey.

Today’s Tanya is an introduction to what we will be learning for the next eight perakim:

Until now, the Alter Rebbe told us what the avodah of a beinoni is, and that being a beinoni is an avodah for every Yid. We learned that the main job of a beinoni is to be constantly in control of his behavior, and that the way to do this is through hisbonenus — thinking deeply about our connection to Hashem and realizing that learning Torah and doing mitzvos is the right thing for a Yid.

We also said that a special time for hisbonenus is during tefillah, and if it’s done right, the Yetzer Hara will fall asleep, and there will be no distractions to the Yetzer Tov during davening — the way it is for a tzadik!

The problem is that not everybody can have hisbonenus. Not everybody knows enough about the inyanim that bring us to have Ahava and Yirah, and not everybody is able to concentrate properly to think about these things.

The Alter Rebbe now is going to explain what we can do to make the right decisions and be successful in our shlichus even for someone who can’t have hisbonenus. So now, for the next 8 perakim, the Alter Rebbe will teach about this. Once we understand this properly, we will not have to have hisbonenus — we will just have to REMIND ourselves of something that is already there, and we will have the koach to make the right decision no matter what!

What is this?

The Alter Rebbe says (as quoted in Hayom Yom): “A Yid Nisht Er Vil Un Nisht Er Ken Zain Opgerisen Fun Getlichkeit” — a Yid NATURALLY doesn’t want to do something against Hashem, and CAN’T do something if he realizes that what he is doing is against what Hashem wants.

We will see that the only thing that CAN get a person to do an aveira is a Ruach Shtus, the foolish thoughts of the Yetzer Hara that convince us that what we are doing does not separate us from Hashem and from our connection to Yiddishkeit. As soon as we realize that this is the plot of the Yetzer Hara, and we know that everything we do IS important to our relationship with Hashem and being a Yid, then we won’t be able to do any aveira! We don’t even need to have hisbonenus for this, we just need to remind ourselves of what is true!

We will first need to learn more about what the nature of a Yid is, and what the Ruach Shtus of the Yetzer Hara is, along with some other inyanim to help us use this koach to win over the Yetzer Hara EVERY TIME.

The Alter Rebbe starts in today’s Tanya by telling us that every Yid has an “Ahava Mesuteres,” a hidden love for Hashem. It’s something we all have built in to our neshama. If you have a neshama, you have a love for Hashem hiding inside — automatically!

You can probably think of some things you got passed down from your parents — like maybe the color of their hair, or their talent for singing. Every Yid gets Ahava Mesuteres from the Avos, the parents of all of the Yidden!

The Avos loved Hashem very much. They were botul to Hashem, doing everything Hashem wanted, without thinking of themselves at all. Because of that, Hashem gave them a reward — that their love for Hashem will become something that their children will have as part of their neshama. That’s why we all have this Ahava Mesuteres, a hidden love for Hashem!

The place of this Ahava Mesuteres is in the Chochma of the neshama. There’s a very good reason why Hashem put it there, and IY”H we will be learning more about it in tomorrow’s shiur of Tanya!



Chof-Tes Teves

Anan Poalei Deyemama Anan!” The avodah of a chossid is to bring the light of Torah into the world.

How do we do this?

Certainly, we need to make sure that we act properly like Chassidim ourselves. But that’s not enough! We need to teach other Yidden to act like Chassidim and bring the light of Chassidus to them as well! We need to help others understand that learning Torah and doing mitzvos itself is not enough, it needs to be done with a chayus! This chayus we get through davening the way Chassidus teaches us.



Shiur #188 - Mitzvas Asei #70

Today’s mitzvah is the same one as yesterday’s!

(Mitzvas Asei #70) If a person isn’t sure if he did an aveira, he needs to bring a korban called an Asham Talui.

We learn this mitzvah from two pesukim in Parshas Vayikra:

וְאִם נֶפֶשׁ כִּי תֶחֱטָא וְעָשְׂתָה אַחַת מִכָּל מִצְוֹת ה׳ אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֵעָשֶׂינָה וְלֹא יָדַע וְאָשֵׁם וְנָשָׂא עֲו‍ֹנוֹ: וְהֵבִיא אַיִל תָּמִים מִן הַצֹּאן בְּעֶרְכְּךָ לְאָשָׁם אֶל הַכֹּהֵן וְכִפֶּר עָלָיו הַכֹּהֵן עַל שִׁגְגָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר שָׁגָג וְהוּא לֹא יָדַע

The details are explained in Mesechta Kerisus.



Hilchos Shegagos

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the Korbanos a person brings if he did an Aveira by mistake.

Perek Vov and Zayin: These perakim teach us the halachos if a person forgot that something is an Aveira, and then did it a lot of times. Does he need to bring a new korban for each time he did the Aveira, or just one for the whole time he forgot?

Perek Ches: The Rambam teaches us about the Korban Asham Talui — if a person isn’t sure he did the kind of Aveira that he would need to bring a Korban Chatas for (an aveira that is punished by Kareis). These are the halachos about today’s Mitzvah!



Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh - Perek Yud

Today we learn another way of calculating when spring starts. The Beis Din needed to figure this out to make sure that Pesach starts every year in the spring!



Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s parsha, Hashem sent Moshe and Aharon to Paraoh to do a special job: To tell Paraoh to let the Yidden go! To prove to him that Hashem sent them, they had a sign to show him! Moshe would take his stick and throw it on the floor, and it would turn into a snake! Then when he picked it up, it would turn back into a stick!

Why did they do this sign and not a different one? The Alter Rebbe, in Torah Ohr, tells us what message Hashem was giving to Paraoh:

Paraoh and the Mitzriyim thought they could do whatever they want. They didn’t believe in Hashem, and thought they could be mean to the Yidden and didn’t need to listen to Moshe and Aharon.

Moshe showed Paraoh that the chayus of Hashem is like a stick — a long, straight line. It comes into this world and hides even in the form of a snake! It goes into sneaky mean people and gives THEM chayus too.

Now it’s time for the kelipah in the world to realize where it gets chayus from to stay alive. Moshe showed them how the stick became a snake. And then afterwards, he showed them how the snake became a stick again, showing how the chayus of Hashem that was hiding inside of Mitzrayim can come out of the kelipah and go back to Hashem.

That’s what happened when the Yidden came out of Mitzrayim — they brought all of the kedusha of Mitzrayim out with them, and none of the kelipah remained!

See Torah Ohr, Dibur Hamas’chil Vayomer Hashem El Moshe


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The Yud-Beis Pesukim - Hiskashrus

Now that we have finished learning about the Yud-Beis Pesukim, we will learn something based on what the Rebbe said about them at one of the rallies:

The Rebbe wanted us to understand the meaning of the Yud-Beis Pesukim. This way, we can think about their important lessons even when we are doing other things, like walking, eating and playing. We can also share their lessons with other children!

But there is something else we should ALSO think about when we say the Yud-Beis Pesukim! We should think about the way the pesukim were said at rallies, together with the Rebbe and other Yiddishe children.


The Chachomim tell us, “Al Yipater Adam MeChaveiro, Ela Mitoch Dvar Halacha.” Before a person leaves his friend, they should share a word of Torah. This way, when they review this halacha, they will remember each other.

Since Torah is higher than time and place, when two people both review the same part of Torah, they are actually connected, even if they are very far away!

The Rebbe said that the same thing is true when we say the Yud-Beis Pesukim!

We can always connect with the Rebbe and other children, by saying the same words of Torah that were said at the rallies! Even when we are each in our own homes, and even many years later, we will be just as connected. Torah is higher than time and space, so no matter where and no matter when, by saying these Torah pesukim, we are again together with the Rebbe and with other Yiddishe children.

So when we say pesukim and think about their lessons, we are doing something very special. Of course we are keeping what the Rebbe asked us to do, which brings the Rebbe nachas. But also, we are connecting with the Rebbe, and other Jewish children, with a very strong hiskashrus!

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder



Havdalah for Women

Is it a mitzvah for women to say or hear Havdalah?

Some seforim say that it is a mitzvah for women, the same way that Kiddush is a mitzvah for women. It is part of the mitzvah of “Zachor Es Yom Hashabbos,” remembering Shabbos, which women also need to keep.

But other seforim say that Havdalah was a separate takana added by the Chachomim, and so it’s NOT part of the mitzvah for women.

So what do we do?

Usually, women do make sure to be yotzei Havdalah. They are allowed to make Havdalah for themselves or for other women. But since there is an opinion that they don’t have the same chiyuv as they do for Kiddush, they are not allowed to make Havdalah for a man. And if a man already was yotzei Havdalah, he is not allowed to make Havdalah just for women, because his chiyuv is different.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Siman 296

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



Our Responsibility

The Rebbe once wrote to a Chossid in a letter:

“Whether we like it or not, we are taking the place of the Chassidim of the previous Rebbeim, all the way back to the Alter Rebbe, who started Chassidus Chabad!

“In every generation, the way we need to behave as Chassidim was set up for us, so we don’t have to figure everything out on our own. But WE have a very big job — to finish the work and bring Moshiach!

“If you think about this, even just a little, it will feel like a very big responsibility. We learn so many special things about Moshiach — and it’s all up to us to bring him!”

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