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לעילוי נשמת ר׳ יוסף בנימין בן ר׳ מנשה קאלטמאנן
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לעילוי נשמת הרה״ח הרה״ת הר׳ משה פינחס בן הר׳ אברהם מרדכי הכהן כ״ץ
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Parshas Mishpatim - Rishon with Rashi

If you count all of the parshios of the Torah from the beginning, you will see that Parshas Yisro is the 17th parsha, and Parshas Mishpatim is the 18th parsha.

The Rebbe tells us that we can learn something very important from this!

The number 17 is the Gematria of the word “tov,” good. Inside of Parshas Yisro, we have the story of Matan Torah! Like the Chachomim say, “Ein Tov Ela Torah,” “There is no good except for Torah.” That’s what we learn from Parshas Yisro being the 17th parsha.

The number 18 is the Gematria of the word “chai,” life. In Parshas Mishpatim, we start to learn the mitzvos of the Torah. We take the Torah that we got on Har Sinai, and learn how to do it! This way, Torah is not just something good, but it’s something that changes how we live our lives — Toras Chaim, a Torah of life! That is why Parshas Mishpatim is the 18th parsha of the Torah! (See Hisvaaduyos 5749 vol. 2 p. 307, Hamaor Shebetorah Shemos, p. 375)

In today’s Chumash we learn some of the first mitzvos that Hashem taught Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai after Matan Torah.

- Eved Ivri and Amah Ivriyah: We learn some of the dinim of a Jewish slave, and what to do if he doesn’t want to go free, and the dinim of a Jewish girl slave.

- What happens if someone kills another person on purpose or by mistake

- The punishment for cursing or hurting parents

- The punishment for someone who kidnaps

- The punishment if someone hurts another person



119 (first half)

Today we say the first half of Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes. It has 176 pesukim, 8 pesukim for every letter in the Alef-Beis! Most of the pesukim in this kapitel talk about how special Torah is and how much we love it! 

Here’s one of the first pesukim: “Az Lo Eivosh, Behabiti El Kol Mitzvosecha” — it means “I won’t be embarrassed because I look carefully at all of your mitzvos.” The Rambam uses this posuk at the very beginning of his sefer.

What is the connection between the sefer of the Rambam and looking at mitzvos so we are not embarrassed?

When we just learn Chumash, we see many mitzvos that Hashem gave the Yidden. But even though we know that they are mitzvos, we don’t really know the details of how they are kept. That might make us feel embarrassed that we don’t really know the mitzvos!

That’s why the Rambam tells us this posuk at the beginning of his sefer. When we learn the halachos of the mitzvos, like we do in Rambam, we won’t be embarrassed when we look at the mitzvos, because we will know how to keep every single mitzvah with all of its details!

See Yein Malchus (new print) siman beis



Likutei Amarim Perek Chof-Zayin

We learned about the special nachas ruach that Hashem has when we stop ourselves from thinking bad thoughts or about bad taavos. We learned that this avodah is called Iskafya.

Now that we are already talking about iskafya, the Alter Rebbe tells about another kind of iskafya, which is very well known in the avodah of Chassidus: Iskafya from things that are not asur at all!

In the times of the Gemara, people would eat their breakfast three hours after it got light. But the Talmidei Chachomim wouldn’t eat for another two hours, while they learned Torah. Then they would eat and go back to learning.

Why did they do that? To have iskafya!

Iskafya means that when we want to do something that we are allowed to do, we say, “STOP! I don’t do things just because I want to. I do things the Torah tells me to and because it is the Ratzon of Hashem!” So we don’t do it right away. We do something for the neshama, to make it think about the ratzon of Hashem, and then we might use what we feel we want to do for Hashem — Lesheim Shomayim.

For example, let’s say you passed the cabinet and suddenly realized that you REALLY want a candy! It’s not a fast day, and you’re not late for school, so there’s nothing wrong with eating one. But if you get it right now, you’re letting your Yetzer Hara and taavah decide what you should do! So instead you practice your Tanya Baal Peh and THEN if you think the candy will make you happy so you can do your Avodas Hashem, you take one.

We can have iskafya with all kinds of things — with words we want to say, with things we want to think about, and things we want to do.

When we have iskafya, we are reminding the Yetzer Hara that it’s not in charge. That will “shecht” the Yetzer Hara, bring kavod to Hashem, make our neshama stronger, and help us a lot in our Avodas Hashem!

We know many ways to make our neshama stronger by doing mitzvos, not doing aveiros, or davening with kavana. But we see that even just by not doing what the Yetzer Hara wants right away, we are making our neshama stronger too!

We get so many good things from doing iskafya, that it’s worth LOOKING for times to do it more!

Lots of times, our Nefesh Habehamis says “I want that! I’m even allowed to have it! I want it right now!” With Iskafya, we can say to ourselves, “Yes, it’s a good thing that I want, but I need to remember Hashem, so I’m going to wait a minute before I have it. I can’t do what I want, when I want, and how I want. I will think about Hashem first.”

When we think about Hashem in those times, we are making ourselves holy! We are doing a mitzvah called “Vehiskadishtem” — that Yidden should be holy. And not only did WE make ourselves more holy, Hashem makes us more holy too, and takes away a little bit of our Yetzer Hara’s koach!

Even though we just wait a little bit, Hashem has so much nachas and helps us A LOT, by making our Yetzer Hara weaker! What an AMAZING (and not too hard!) way to accomplish so much in the war with our Yetzer Hara, a little bit at a time!

One time, a Chossid came to the Rebbe Maharash. He said that he did a certain aveira, and wanted a way to do Teshuvah. The Rebbe Maharash told him he needs to fast HUNDREDS of times!

The Chossid was surprised that the Rebbe Maharash would say something like that. So the Rebbe Maharash continued right away: “Do you think that fasting means not eating from sunrise until Shkiah? That’s called going on a diet. What I meant by fasting is that you shouldn’t do the things you want to — close your eyes when you see something you shouldn’t be looking at, and close your mouth when you shouldn’t be saying something. That’s the fasting that I’m talking about, that will be a good Teshuvah and bring you closer to Hashem!”

Can you think of some ways to have Iskafya? Maybe you can say some of the pesukim before you play on the computer, or read your emails, or think about how to make someone else happy before you eat dessert.



Chof-Hey Shevat

Learning Chitas every day is very special, and brings us much bracha. But not just for ourselves!

By keeping the takana to say the daily Chumash and Tehillim, and to say the whole Tehillim on Shabbos Mevorchim, it not only affects us, but also our children and grandchildren!

Today’s Hayom Yom comes from a sicha of the Frierdiker Rebbe on Simchas Torah in the year Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Zayin. At that time, Chumash and Tehillim were the only parts of Chitas. Now, we have more parts of Chitas. We have the takana from the Frierdiker Rebbe to say the Tanya of each day, and also the Rebbe’s takana of learning Rambam or Sefer Hamitzvos! Keeping these takanos brings much bracha to ourselves and our families!



Shiur #213 - Mitzvas Asei #99

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #99) is about the Tumah of Niddah, a kind of tumah a woman can get from her body. We need to follow all of the halachos about when a person gets this kind of tumah, and how it can be passed on.

Even though this kind of tumah, and some of the other kinds of tumah we will learn about, are kept in certain ways nowadays, in these halachos we are learning about how someone with these kinds of tumah makes other people or things tomei. These halachos are only kept when there is a Beis Hamikdash.

This mitzvah includes the halachos of Tumas Niddah which are written in Parshas Tazria.



Hilchos Metamei Mishkav U'Moshav

In today’s Rambam, we start learning a new set of halachos — about people who can make something tomei in a different way than the kinds of tumah we learned before, like Tumas Meis or Tumas Tzoraas. These people have a certain kind of tumah that come from their body.

Perek Alef: The Rambam teaches us what can make a person tomei enough to make other things Tomei by sitting down or lying down on them. (Those things will become an Av HaTumah — that’s is the strongest kind of tumah, which can make other things Tomei more easily.)

Perek Beis: Now we explain the halachos about things that come from a person with these kinds of Tumah — like their blood or the spit in their mouth. This can be also counted as an Av HaTumah.

Perek Gimmel: This perek teaches us when another person can get this kind of Tumah too, from them. We also learn about when a woman finds out that she was Tomei — sometimes we say that she was probably Tomei the day before too, and just didn’t find out until now. So everything she touched since yesterday is Tomei too!



Hilchos Ishus - Perek Zayin

In today’s Rambam, we are learning more about doing Kiddushin with conditions — saying “I’ll get married to you with this thing IF...”




We learned in Tanya today about having iskafya, not letting the Yetzer Hara to express itself when it wants, because really the neshama needs to be in charge! We learned about not letting our Yetzer Hara tell us when to eat something or say something, but only doing it when our neshama agrees that it’s good for us.

The Rebbe once said that nowadays, iskafya with food for a bochur in Yeshiva means to eat what the Yeshiva serves. (Mafteiach L’Sichos Kodesh, p. 107)

How is it iskafya to eat?

We can understand based on what we learned in Tanya!

If a bochur in Yeshiva doesn’t eat the food he is served, it’s because he doesn’t like it, or because he doesn’t want it… meaning that his Nefesh Habehamis doesn’t want it!

But who is in charge? The neshama! The neshama knows that to have a healthy body and be able to serve Hashem, we have to eat healthy food. So we have iskafya over our Yetzer Hara, and eat the food that we are served, so that we can serve Hashem properly.

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Eating Before Davening

There is a halacha that we are not allowed to eat before davening.


A person with a neshama is connected to Hashem in a higher way than food is. When we eat food, we can bring it up closer to Hashem!

But that’s only when our neshama is spread out in our body! Before we daven, our neshama is still sleeping. Our guf is busy thinking about taavos and worrying about parnasa. When we daven, we wake up the neshama so it spreads out through our whole body. This way the neshama is in control and helps us think about the right things!

Before davening, a person isn’t connected to Hashem in a higher way than the food. So if he eats before davening, he can’t bring the food closer to Hashem! He can only do it once he already davened.

(Only if a person needs to eat in order to daven properly, then he can use the food to help his davening.)

See Likutei Torah Dibur Hamas’chil “Vaachaltem Achol”



Adar Prizes

This past Shabbos was Shabbos Mevorchim Adar, when we bentch the new month of Adar. We learned that we already start now with adding in simcha for the month of Adar!

The Rebbe tells us that parents should give good things to their children in Chodesh Adar. “Mishenichnas Adar, Marbim Besimcha” — when Adar starts, the Torah tells us we need to add in things that bring us happiness!

Just like it is a mitzvah to give kids toys and treats on Yom Tov to make them happy, we need to make them happy in Chodesh Adar too! Especially a father, who is sometimes strict, needs to give his children special treats now to show how much he loves them.

See Sicha of Parshas Terumah, 5752

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



How Rambam Brings Moshiach

We learned in Hayom Yom how special a takana of a Rebbe is, and how the zechus of keeping it helps even our grandchildren! One very important takana of the Rebbe is to learn Rambam (or Sefer Hamitzvos) every day:

Many years ago, in Yerushalayim, there was a big and beautiful house for Hashem, where we were able to give Hashem presents and feel His kedushah. But goyim came and destroyed it, knocking down the walls, stealing the gold and silver, and setting everything on fire.

Why did Hashem let such a terrible thing happen?

The Gemara tells us that it was because the Yidden had Sinas Chinam, hating each other for no reason.

Now we miss the Beis Hamikdash. We suffer very much in Golus, and we want the Geulah.

When there is love and achdus between all of the Yidden, Hashem will take the Golus away, since now there is no more reason for the Golus to exist!

More than thirty-five years ago, the Rebbe gave us a very special way to bring more achdus and love between all the Yidden: That all of us should learn Torah together! And not just any part of Torah — the Rebbe told us to learn Rambam, which has all of the halachos of the Torah, all in one sefer!

When we learn Torah, we become one with Hashem, and when many Yidden learn the same part of Torah, we also become connected with each other, because we are all connecting using the same channel. This achdus will soon bring us all together again to the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi, may it be rebuilt very soon!

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