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Parshas Vayeira - Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Avraham escorts his guests (the malochim). He finds out that Hashem wants to destroy Sodom, and davens to Hashem to save them.

Sarah was afraid to have a baby when she was so old, so she laughed. At first, she said “I didn’t laugh.” But Hashem said that she did.

The malach who had told Sarah the news was finished its job, and it left. The two malochim that were left looked and saw Sodom, where they had another job to do: Destroy the cities and rescue Lot. (Hashem wanted to destroy the cities, because the people there did many not-nice things — they even made it against the law to do nice things for other people, like giving tzedakah or having guests!)

Avraham saw that his guests (the malochim) were ready to go, and he went out with them to take them part of the way.

Hashem told Avraham about his plan to destroy Sodom, because after all, Sodom is part of Eretz Yisrael, which will belong to Avraham later. He told Avraham that since the people there were so wicked, he would have to stop them from doing more mean things to people.

Avraham davened to Hashem not to kill everyone in Sodom. “Hashem, maybe there are some good people there! In their zechus, You should save the cities! Maybe there are ten good people in each city — would You save them then?” Hashem said He would — but there were not 10 good people in each city.

Avraham tried again — what if Hashem is the tenth for each city? But Hashem said there weren’t 9 good people in each city either.

Avraham davened again — what if SOME cities have 10 good people? Would You save those cities? “Yes,” Hashem said — but there weren’t cities with 10 good people.

Avraham tried again and again, but there weren’t even 9 tzadikim in any of the cities. Avraham knew that the 8 good people in Noach’s time weren’t enough to save everyone, so he stopped asking Hashem to save them.

Hashem stopped speaking to Avraham, and Avraham went back home.



77 - 78

Kapitel Ayin-Ches reviews all of the Nissim that Hashem did for the Yidden, starting from Yetzias Mitzrayim, until He made Dovid Hamelech the king over the Yidden!

One of the pesukim in this kapitel is “Vayikatz Keyashen Hashem” — Dovid Hamelech asks Hashem to wake up!

What does this mean? Does Hashem sleep?!

Chassidus explains (in the Bar Mitzvah maamar) that during Golus, the chayus that the world feels is like the chayus a person feels when he is sleeping. When someone is asleep, the neshama goes up to Shomayim and the person can only have dreams, and not think about things that make sense. The world doesn’t feel most of the chayus of Hashem, it only feels the little bit of chayus, like enough to make a person dream.

So we ask Hashem to bring Moshiach, when everyone can see and feel the chayus of Hashem in the world like a person who is awake! We want Hashem’s chayus to be revealed and strong. When we learn Torah and do mitzvos, we make this happen and bring the Geulah closer!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

The Alter Rebbe is explaining the words of the Zohar: “Tzadika De’ispater Ishtakach Bekulhu Almin Yatir Mi’bechayohi” — after a tzadik passes away, he is found in ALL of the worlds more than in his lifetime. The Alter Rebbe asked a question on this. We can understand that the tzadik is found more in the Ruchnius worlds. We can also understand that the tzadik’s zechus and brachos are here even in this Gashmius world. But how can you say that the tzadik’s life, which we don’t see b’Gashmius, is found MORE in this Gashmius world than before? Didn’t the tzadik leave the Gashmius world?

To understand this, yesterday the Alter Rebbe told us what a tzadik’s life is, and how it is different than a regular person — that the entire life of a tzadik is his neshama, his emunah, his Ahava and Yirah. The guf is only a way for it to shine in this world.

The Alter Rebbe continues:

When a tzadik is alive b’Gashmius in this world, a chossid is connected to the tzadik by listening to how the Rebbe teaches him to act, and trying to understand what the tzadik wants. But the tzadik’s neshama can only be in one place — in the holy guf of the tzadik. The Chassidim only get the shine of the tzadik’s neshama through his holy guf by watching and hearing the tzadik.

After the histalkus of the tzadik, each of the chassidim get a little piece of the tzadik’s neshama itself inside of them. So we can feel a little bit of the Emunah, the Ahava and Yiras Shomayim of the tzadik, and so the tzadik lives inside of us.

But there is a condition to be able to live with a part of the tzadik’s neshama inside of us! That is what it says in one of the Yud-Beis Pesukim: Yogaati Umotzosi Taamin, we need to work hard to be connected to the midos of the tzadik! We can learn how to do this by following what the tzadik taught.

When a Rebbe has a piece of his neshama — his life — in so many chassidim, his life is more present even in this Gashmius world than before.



Tes-Vov Mar-Cheshvan

Up in Shomayim, neshamos are waiting for their turn to be born. Why are they so excited to be born? Because they know how much a neshama can do in this world!

Now that our neshamos are already here in this world, the time they were so excited for, it’s time to start doing it! What are we waiting for?



Shiur #116 - Mitzvas Asei #93, #114

We learn one last mitzvah about a Nazir:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #93) When a person finishes his time of being a Nazir, he has to shave off his hair and bring korbanos.

The Rambam learns this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Naso: בְּיוֹם מְלֹאת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ

We also learn one mitzvah from the next set of halachos:

2) (Mitzvas Asei #114) If a person promises to give Hashem as much money as a certain person is worth, he needs to follow what it says in the Torah about how much money to give.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bechukosai: אִישׁ כִּי יַפְלִא נֶדֶר בְּעֶרְכְּךָ נְפָשֹׁת וגו׳



Hilchos Nezirus - Erchin V'Charamin

In Rambam, we finish learning about the Nazir:

Perek Tes: At the end of a person’s Nezirus, he has to bring certain korbanos. The money that is set aside to pay for them, and the animals that he brings, get a special kedusha! So if he set aside too much money for his korbanos, the money has kedusha and can’t be used for other things.

Perek Yud: This is the last perek about the halachos of a Nazir.

There are three times a Nazir might need to shave his hair:

1) At the end of his NezirusTiglachas Tahara
2) If he became tomei in the middle, he shaves all of his hair when he becomes tahorTiglachas Tumah
3) If he becomes tamei from Tzoraas during the time he is a Nazir

The Rambam tells us what happens if he has all three, or if there is a sofek that he might have them — how and when he needs to shave his hair and bring his korbanos.

At the end of this perek, the Rambam tells us that a person who becomes a Nazir for the right reason is very special to Hashem!

We now start a new set of Halachos — Hilchos Erchin VaCharamin — when a person promises to make a donation to Hashem (to help pay for keeping the Beis Hamikdash running). We learn how to find out how much a person is worth, or a field, or other kinds of things. This is also a kind of Neder (promise) — which is what this Sefer of Rambam (Hafla’ah) is all about! This is a kind of promise called Nidrei Hekdesh.

Perek Alef: The Rambam discusses the din of Erkei Adam, the worth of a person. The Rambam tells us from the Chumash how much money to give for each person based on if they are a man or a woman, and how old they are. There is also another kind of neder where we figure out how much someone is worth depending on how much people would pay for them if they were sold as a slave.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Ches

In this perek, we learn the first 10 melachos, from plowing the earth to kneading the dough. The Rambam tells us the halachos of each of these melachos.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

In today’s Chumash, Sheini of Parshas Vayeira, we learned how Avraham davened for the people of Sedom, asking Hashem to save them from their terrible punishment.

The word the Torah uses to say that Avraham came to daven is “Vayigash,” and he came close. Rashi explains that this word means that he was even ready to speak strong words to Hashem!

That doesn’t sound like Avraham Avinu! Avraham had lots of chesed, and enjoyed doing Hachnosas Orchim. How could Avraham be ready to speak in a strong way to Hashem?

The Rebbe teaches that Avraham Avinu was ready to do something hard for him in order to save another person. Even though his nature was to speak with chesed, he was ready to even demand that Hashem save the people of Sodom.

We can learn an important lesson from Avraham Avinu!

When it comes to saving another person, whether to save his body or to save his neshama, we need to do whatever we can! We should be ready to use any opportunities, even if it is against our nature.

Yitzy is a very shy boy. He has a few close friends, but is uncomfortable speaking in front of groups or in front of people he doesn’t know. One Monday, he goes shopping with his mother. When they get to the checkout line, Yitzy’s mother suddenly remembers that she forgot the eggs. The line is long, so she asks Yitzy to watch her cart while she runs back to get them. Yitzy is standing with the cart, when he sees the man behind him looking curiously at him. Yitzy wonders if that man might be Jewish, but he is very shy to ask. Then he remembers how Avraham was ready to do something that was the opposite of what he usually did to help another person! Yitzy smiles at the man and asks him if he is Jewish. The man answers eagerly that he is. By the time Yitzy’s mother comes back, he is having a whole conversation about wearing a yarmulka. Before they leave the store, they have already invited their new friend to join them for Shabbos! Yitzy is glad that he overcame his shyness in order to help another Yid become connected to Yiddishkeit.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud p. 55, Dvar Malchus Parshas Vayeira


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Kol Yisrael

The fourth posuk of the Yud-Beis Pesukim starts with the words “Kol Yisrael.” It is a Mishna in Sanhedrin, and we say it before each perek of Pirkei Avos.

This posuk speaks about how special Yidden are!

Kol Yisrael — Every single Yid

Yeish Lahem Chelek Le’olam Haba — will be part of Techiyas Hameisim, which is also called Olam Haba.

Shene’emar — Like the Navi Yeshaya says,

Ve’ameich Kulam Tzadikim — “The nation of Yidden, who are all tzadikim,

L’olam Yirshu Aretz — deserve to have Olam Haba as a yerusha forever.

Neitzer Mata’ai, Maasei Yadai — They are like a branch that Hashem planted, the work of Hashem,

Lehispa’er — and Hashem is proud of them.”

IY”H we will learn more about what this posuk means, and the important lessons even children could learn from it!



Don't Pick Up Your Phone Before Davening!

The halacha is that a person shouldn’t get busy with anything before davening. Even though there are some that are not so strict if you already said Birchos Hashachar, the Alter Rebbe says that this is not the right thing to do! Davening should be the FIRST thing in our day. (We should only do things before that prepare us for davening.)

The Rebbe once said at a farbrengen:

A Yid will sometimes wake up in the morning, and the first thing he does is to run to the telephone to make an important call. He can’t wait until after Modeh Ani, after Hodu, and after learning a bit of Torah after davening. He needs to rush and make this phone call before the other businessman leaves his house, so he won’t miss making the deal!

Acting this way comes from not having enough emunah, and not understanding that it is Hashem Who brings us hatzlacha in all we do.

If we had proper emunah, we would realize that it’s impossible that following what the Torah tells us in Shulchan Aruch should make us lose out in what Hashem wants to give us! It is impossible that davening in shul, and learning a shiur afterwards, should cause us to miss out in the parnasa that was decided for us in Shomayim.

So why does a Yid go to the phone before davening? He isn’t going to use the phone to remind his friend to come to the minyan, which is the real reason a phone was created... He thinks that his hatzlacha is based only on what HE does: If he gets the businessman in time, it will be good.

But the truth is that when you first daven and learn something, and only afterwards go to the phone, that is when you get Hashem’s bracha!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Pey-Tes, se’if daled; farbrengen Balak Mem-Daled

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



Not Losing Anything

Some people think that when Moshiach comes, they going to have to give away all of the good things they have in the time of Golus. That makes them not want Moshiach chas veshalom! They think that when Moshiach comes, they won’t be able to play games anymore, they’ll just have to go to school and learn Torah all day.

The Rebbe told us something very interesting: The word “Geulah” has all of the letters of the word “Golah,” which means Golus, with just one extra letter (an alef)! Isn’t that strange? Shouldn’t Geulah have NOTHING to do with Golus?

There are two reasons why Golus and Geulah are so connected:

1) It is our Torah and mitzvos that BRING the Geulah. So Geulah is the letters of Golah, since Moshiach comes from the mitzvos we did in Golus!

2) Geulah isn’t changing into something new — most of the things we have in Golus will stay the same. We will have the same Gashmius things: Food, clothes, playgrounds, friends, amusement parks and iPods. So what’s the difference? It’s all hinted to in the alef!

Can you think of what this means? Later we will IY”H learn more about the Alef of Geulah!

See sicha of Parshas Emor 5751

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