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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Shishi with Rashi

Today we learn about the end of the life of Avraham Avinu. He passes away and is buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah.

Avraham married Hagar again after Sarah passed away. She was now called Keturah, because she did teshuvah and now she made Hashem happy like ketores. She had many children, including Midian.

Even though he had more children, Avraham gave all he owned to Yitzchak, and also the gift of being able to give brachos.

Avraham gave other kinds of presents to Hagar’s sons: The power to make magic with tumah, and all of the presents that Avraham didn’t want to keep, like the presents he got from Paraoh and Avimelech. Then he sent them away, far from Yitzchak. They helped people too, and taught at least a little bit about Hashem. Avraham also sent away Yishmael, but he came back before Avraham passed away.

Avraham lived for 175 years, and passed away as a complete tzadik. He saw during his lifetime all of his children believing in Hashem.

Yitzchak and Yishmael buried him in Me’aras Hamachpeila. Yishmael understood that Yitzchak was the head of the family, and let him lead the levayah.

After Avraham passed away, Hashem comforted Yitzchak. Avraham didn’t give a bracha to Yitzchak before he passed away, because he knew that Eisav would be born from him, but Hashem came and bentched him now.

Yitzchak lived near Be’er Lachai Ro’i.



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-Alef

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe will explain to us the importance of Ahavas Yisroel and that we need it to bring the Geulah!

Hashem and the Yidden are compared to a heart and a body. Hashem is like the heart and all of the Yidden are like the body.

How does a body live? The heart pumps blood, which has chayus, to all the parts of the body to give them chayus, and then the blood goes back to the heart.

As long as there are no places where the blood will get stuck, the blood can go to all places and keep the person healthy. But if chas veshalom one of the places where the blood needs to go gets smaller or blocked, the whole person can become sick!

That’s just how Hashem gives US chayus. The chayus flows to every single Yid, all over the world. We share our chayus with each other, like the blood flows from one part to another. But if we don’t have Ahavas Yisroel and the chayus gets “stuck” by us because we don’t pass it on, then the Yidden can’t all be healthy chas veshalom! Not only that, but it hurts Hashem too.

That’s why the Chachomim say that the reason for the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash was because of Sinas Chinam. It’s also why the Zohar says that after the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, the Shechinah is “sick” in Golus. The Yidden didn’t have enough Ahavas Yisroel, making them ALL be “sick” in Golus... and the Shechinah is too.

So when we love each other and are nice to each other, it makes all of the Yidden feel better, and makes Hashem feel better too, until there is no more reason for Golus and Moshiach can come right away!



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 #109 - Mitzvas Asei #94

Today’s mitzvah is that if we say we are going to do something, we have to do it!

We learn this from the words of a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ תִּשְׁמֹר וְעָשִׂיתָ

This means “The words of your mouth you should guard and keep.”

So if someone says he will give tzedakah, bring a korban, or makes a shevuah or a neder, he has a mitzvah to keep his word. (That’s why we are careful to say “bli neder,” so that we will not do this aveira.)

The halachos of this mitzvah are explained in Gemara: Mesechta Shevuos, Nedarim, Menachos, and Kinim.



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the first perakim of Hilchos Nedarim!

Perek Alef: There are two different kinds of Neder. One of them is deciding that something will be asur for you. For example, if someone makes a neder not to eat bananas, bananas become asur for him. The second kind is promising to give something to Hashem, like promising to bring a korban.

There are certain words that need to be used when making a neder.

Perek Beis: There are special halachos if someone makes a Neder for another person, and then that person answers amen. A person can also make a neder with a condition — he says he will only do it IF something happens. At the end of the perek, the Rambam explains that making something hefker (saying that it doesn’t belong to anyone right now) is like a Neder, and you can’t change your mind.

Perek Gimmel: the Rambam explains what is different about a Shevuah and a Neder, and the halachos that are different for each kind.



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Alef

In today’s Rambam, we start to learn halachos of buying things.

In this perek we learn about buying a field or house. Just saying that you are selling it doesn’t make it sold according to halacha! There are three ways that make the sale happen: One is by giving money. The second is with a shtar document. The third way is by the person walking through it, getting a key, locking it or other things that show that it is his.



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. You make your self feel better by reminding yourself that even though everyone else has a new backpack, you are better than a lot of them in Chumash. 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

Rabbi Moshe Feller is the Rebbe’s shliach to Minnesota.

Before he went out on shlichus, he went with his wife to the Rebbe for a private yechidus.

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



Moshiach in Halacha

We learn about Moshiach in many parts of Torah! The Gemara and other seforim tell us about all of the wonderful things that will happen when Moshiach comes, and about how special Moshiach himself is.

The Rambam, though, doesn’t talk about all of these things. The Rambam only tells us things that are halacha, a decision according to Torah that this is how it will be!

The Rambam tells us that the main point of Moshiach is to make us able to do Torah and mitzvos COMPLETELY, when we can keep every single mitzvah in the Torah. We had a taste of this when we had Malchus Beis Dovid, when all of the Yidden lived in Eretz Yisroel and had a Beis Hamikdash.

According to halacha, Moshiach will bring back all of the Yidden to Eretz Yisroel, rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and bring back Malchus Beis Dovid! This way, we will be able to keep ALL of the mitzvos properly.

See Hilchos Melachim Perek Yud-Alef

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