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Shishi with Rashi

We learned before in the parsha that Hashem said that He would punish Kayin for killing his brother in the seventh generation. Lemech’s children were the seventh generation, so here’s what happened:

Hashem took away the sign He put on Kayin’s forehead, and now he looked like an animal!

Lemech was blind, and his son, Tuval-Kayin, used to take him around. Once, Tuval-Kayin saw Kayin and got scared, and told his father to shoot Kayin! Lemech did, and once he realized what happened, he clapped his hands together because he was so upset — and by mistake hit Tuval-Kayin and killed him too.

That is how Kayin was punished for killing his brother.

Now the Torah tells us what happened next:

Lemech’s wives, Ada and Tzilah, were very upset, and they didn’t want to have children anymore. They were afraid ALL of their children would be punished by Hashem. Adam told them not to think too much about what Hashem would do — they should just do THEIR mitzvah and have children. Lemech’s wives agreed, but they reminded Adam that HE hadn’t had children in a long time! He ALSO needs to do the mitzvah!

Adam realized they were right, so he had another baby — Sheis. (Noach would later come from his family!)

Sheis later had a son Enosh. In the times of Enosh, people thought that they need to give Kavod to Hashem’s servants, like the sun and the moon. They started giving them Korbanos and davening to them too. Later, people forgot all about Hashem, and ONLY davened to these things! They made idols, and thought that if they worshiped them they would get whatever they wanted.

Adam only managed to make sure that SOME of his children still believed in Hashem. The rest of the world was all Resha’im. Hashem tried to warn them by sending a small Mabul, but they didn’t do Teshuvah.

Now the Torah is going to tell us over the generations from Adam to Noach, and when they died. Today we do the first half:

1) Adam
2) Sheis
3) Enosh
4) Keinan
5) Mahalalel
6) Yered
7) Chanoch: Chanoch followed only Hashem, but Hashem saw that he would later become a Rasha. To keep him from needing to be punished, Hashem took him into Gan Eden while he was still alive.
8) Mesushelach



119 (second half)

Today we are saying the second half of the LONGEST kapitel in the whole Tehillim, Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes!

There is a posuk in today’s Tehillim, “Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti Ki Eidvosecha Sicha Li” — “I have learned from all of my teachers, because Your mitzvos are what I talk about.”

We learned in Pirkei Avos (Perek Daled), “Eizehu Chochom Halomeid Mikol Adam.” “Who is called a chochom? Someone who learns from every person.” The Mishna learns this from this posuk in Tehillim, “Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti.”

When the Rebbe visited Camp Gan Yisroel in Tof-Shin-Chof, it was 200 years since the histalkus of the Baal Shem Tov. The Rebbe taught the campers many things we learn from the Baal Shem Tov, including an explanation on this posuk:

Does it make sense to learn from everyone? Not everyone is a teacher, and not everyone has something good to teach! Some people are NOT such good people and we probably SHOULDN’T learn from them!

The Baal Shem Tov explains that we SHOULD learn from everyone: From some people we should learn how to act and what to do, and from other people we should learn what NOT to do.

So the Rebbe said to the campers: By following the words of the Mishna and learning from everyone, each one of us will be a chochom and bring our teachers and parents a lot of nachas!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

Yesterday, we learned something about why a person gets angry: Because he doesn’t have enough Emunah! If he did, he would know that Hashem is the one making the other person say something not nice, and he won’t get angry at them.

The Alter Rebbe tells us about this to explain something similar that the Baal Shem Tov said (his Talmidim wrote it down in the sefer Tzavaas Harivash) — that if someone is davening and hears someone talking, even if it’s a goy who is just trying to bother him, it’s Hashgacha Protis, and Hashem just wants him to daven harder and with more kavana.

Some people didn’t like this! They said that it can’t be that Hashem’s chayus is in a Goy! (Of course, we know that Hashem is EVERYWHERE, but they were learning Kabbalah and got confused how to understand it.)

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe explains this. It will sound a little bit like what we learned in Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, where he also explains how people made a mistake in understanding something in Emunah.

The Baal Shem Tov tells us that we might think that Hashem made the world one time, and now He makes sure that everything that happens is with Hashgacha Protis. But that’s not it! Hashem is making the world AGAIN every single second! It’s just that we can’t see it because the koach Hashem uses to hide is so strong that we can’t tell!

Hashem doesn’t make the world the same way PEOPLE make things. When we make something, we’re really just changing one thing into another thing! (For example, we make paper out of trees, we make juice out of fruits, and we make cars out of metal.) That’s why when we finish making something, we are finished! We don’t have to keep making it so it won’t disappear!

But Hashem made the world out of nothing, so Hashem has to make it again every single second or else it won’t be there at all!



Chof-Vov Tishrei

We learned in Tanya today that the Baal Shem Tov explains how the chayus of Hashem makes the world exist anew every moment.

The Rebbe tells us today that the Medrash already told this to us BEFORE the Baal Shem Tov. Still the Alter Rebbe says it from the Baal Shem Tov! Why?

The Alter Rebbe wanted us to always remember the Baal Shem Tov’s birthday: The posuk that teaches us about how Hashem always gives the world new chayus says that Hashem’s chayus is always in the SHOMAYIM, giving the world new chayus. When did Hashem make the Shomayim? On Yom Sheini, Monday. That was also the day the Baal Shem Tov was born — Monday, Chai Elul!

The Alter Rebbe wanted there to be at least a hint to his birthday in Tanya.



Mitzvas Asei #215

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos we learn the same mitzvah again — (Mitzvas Asei #215) that every Jewish boy needs to have a Bris Milah.

We also say the beginning of the Rambam’s nusach in davening. (This is one of the places where people who do Sefer Hamitzvos say the exact same thing as those who learn 3 perakim of Rambam!)



Hilchos Milah - Tefillos MiKol Hashana

In today’s Rambam, we learn the halachos about how to do a bris and which brachos to say.

Perek Beis: We are allowed to make a bris on Shabbos, but we need to prepare everything before Shabbos. If we forgot, we need to do the Bris Milah the next day.

Perek Gimmel: We learn the brachos we say when we do a Bris Milah. There is a bracha for the mohel, and a bracha for the father.

Then we end the second sefer of Rambam! As an addition to this sefer, where we learned the halachos of davening, we start reading through the whole davening according to the Rambam’s siddur.

If you pay attention, you will see many differences between our nusach and the Rambam’s nusach!



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim - 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.



Chassidishe Parsha

In this week’s Torah Ohr, we learn something very important:

Some people think that if they want to understand more Torah, they need to learn more and more. They will daven faster and not be as careful with mitzvos and having Ahavas Yisroel, because they want to learn more.

But Torah isn’t just learning from pages! Torah is the chochma of Hashem, and to be able to know what Hashem really wants from us in the Torah, we need to ACT the way the Torah teaches.

The Alter Rebbe promises us that if we do our mitzvos with Kavana and with a chayus, we will understand Torah much better and faster than if we don’t! What could take us 1000 hours to understand in Torah without our chayus in mitzvos and Ahavas Yisroel will only take us ONE HOUR if we do what we are supposed to! (The Tzemach Tzedek made a note on this maamar, saying that 1000 times faster isn’t an exaggeration — it’s really how much it helps!)

The Rebbe once told an older Chossid in Yechidus that if Chassidim will use chayus to go on Mivtzoyim and do it properly, they will have 1000 times more hatzlacha in their own learning and Chinuch of their own family!


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Shemoneh Esrei on Friday Night

Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbos and Yom Tov has much fewer brachos than on a weekday! First we say 3 brachos praising Hashem, one bracha about the special day, and 3 brachos thanking Hashem.

The middle bracha of Shemoneh Esrei on Friday night has four paragraphs:

1) Ata Kidashta — We say that Hashem makes Shabbos holy.

2) Vayechulu — These are the words of the Torah that say how Hashem makes Shabbos holy.

3) Yismechu — We speak about how Yidden celebrate Shabbos!

4) Elokeinu — We ask Hashem to give us brachos in honor of the special day of Shabbos.



Cutting Nails

It is a mitzvah to cut our nails Lekavod Shabbos. Some are careful to ONLY cut their nails on Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov. They cut their toenails the day before (Thursday in a regular week), so they won’t cut their fingernails and toenails on the same day, which can be a sakana, as brought in Shulchan Aruch.

We are careful not to cut our nails in order, one after another. Instead, we do it by skipping fingers.

We start with the ring finger of our left hand (finger Daled), then skip one to our pointer finger (Beis). Then we go back to our pinky (Hey), skip over to our middle finger (Gimmel), and then do our thumb (Alef). (The siman to remember the order is “DeVeHeGA”.)

Then we do the same pattern with our right hand, but start from the other side. We cut the nail on our pointer finger (Beis), and skip over to our ring finger (Daled). We then go to the thumb (Alef), skip to our middle finger (Gimmel), and finish off with our pinky (Hey). (The siman to remember the order is “BeDeAhGaH”.)

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Reish-Samach, siman Beis and Gimmel

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



What to Ask For

On Hoshaana Rabbah, the Rebbe would give out lekach in the sukkah to all of the Chassidim who would come and stand on line.

Once, in Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches, a small boy came with his father to get lekach. When it was his turn, he said to the Rebbe, “We want Moshiach now!”

The Rebbe loudly answered him, “Amen, Amen!”

The boy then asked the Rebbe a question: “Why didn’t Moshiach come yet?”

The Rebbe answered the boy: “Because you’re the only one who is asking! Your father is here to ask for a bracha for parnasa. And everyone else on line is here to ask for lekach, and are thinking about important brachos like health, nachas, and parnasa. You’re the only one who thinks to ask for a bracha that Moshiach should come! If you would get everyone to ask for Moshiach, just like you are doing, Moshiach would come now!”

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine, published on Shmais.com

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