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Parshas Vayikra - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn how Hashem would speak to Moshe Rabbeinu after the Mishkan was built. Hashem starts to tell Moshe about korbanos that Yidden can bring. The first section is about an animal which is entirely given to Hashem as a present.

Every time Hashem would speak to Moshe, Hashem would first call out to him in a loving way, a “Kriah Shel Chibah.” That’s why the Torah first says “Vayikra El Moshe,” that Hashem called out to Moshe in a loving way. Only after that Hashem told Moshe what to tell the Yidden.

When Hashem would speak to Moshe Rabbeinu, it was from between the Keruvim on the Aron. Even though there was a very powerful voice inside the Mishkan, none of the Yidden (or even Aharon Hakohen) could hear anything outside!

Hashem would tell Moshe to teach the words of Hashem to the Yidden. Moshe should also tell the Yidden how special they are, that Hashem only speaks to him because of the Yidden!

In between each section, Hashem would give Moshe some time to think about what he just learned, before Hashem would teach him the next section. Rashi tells us that we should learn from here that if Hashem gave Moshe time to think between each inyan, certainly regular people that are learning from each other should give some time to think about the things which are being learned!

Hashem told Moshe to teach the Yidden about a korban that is given as a gift to Hashem — nedavah. The first kind is called a Korban Olah, which is given completely to Hashem.

Korban Olah:

Here are the details of the Korban Olah, as Hashem told them to Moshe:

A Korban Olah has to be from a kosher male (boy) animal, the kind that is kept on a farm (a beheimah) — not a wild animal (a chaya). It has to belong to the person bringing the korban, it needs to be perfectly healthy — with no mum, and can’t have been used for an aveira. A person has to want to bring the korban!

The animal should be brought to the entrance of the Ohel Moed at a time when the Mishkan is standing. The person should lean his hands on the animal’s head (called Semicha), and his korban will help him come close to Hashem again even after if he missed an opportunity to do a mitzvah.

A male cow can be shechted anywhere in the Chatzer of the Mishkan, but a sheep or goat should be shechted only on the north side of the Mizbeiach.

After the animal is shechted, the kohen should sprinkle the blood on all sides of the Mizbeiach, by sprinkling towards two opposite corners so it goes on all of the sides.

Then the skin of the animal should be taken off, and the meat should be cut into certain pieces.

The pieces of meat and the head of the korban should be put on the wood of the Mizbeiach, and the inside pieces which are dirty should be washed. Then these pieces should also be put on the Mizbeiach to be burned as a Korban Olah as a nachas ruach to Hashem.



18 - 22

In Kapitel Yud-Ches, there is a posuk that says “Yashes Choshech Sisro,” that Hashem hides in darkness.

Chassidus explains that Hashem created the world in a way that the things we do are what bring Hashem’s chayus into the world. The Rebbe told us many times that the Rambam also paskens this way in halacha, that a person needs to remember that his mitzvah can bring good things to the whole world!

The Alter Rebbe teaches us in Likutei Torah that the KINDS of things we do bring different kinds of chayus of Hashem into the world. When we do a Mitzvas Asei, it brings a very special chayus into the world. When we stop ourselves from doing an aveira, it brings an even GREATER chayus!

This chayus that we bring down from the Mitzvas Lo Saasei is a chayus that is usually hiding, even in Shomayim! This chayus is too high to bring down by ourselves. Instead, Hashem has to send this chayus down! Our Mitzvas Lo Saasei is what “makes a place” for Hashem to bring this chayus into the world. When we stop ourselves from doing an aveira even when we want to do it, that is what “makes the room” for this hidden chayus to come into the world!



Likutei Amarim Perek Lamed-Daled

In the last few perakim in Tanya, we learned how we can bring simcha into our lives! We can think about how Hashem is always with us, and how Hashem has nachas from our avodah!

Now the Alter Rebbe tells us that this doesn’t stop us from being humble and recognizing how we are not perfect.

The Zohar tells a story that R’ Shimon bar Yochai revealed the secrets of the Torah about the Churban Beis Hamikdash to R’ Elazar his son.

When R’ Elazar heard these secrets, he cried. He explained that from one side of his heart he is crying about the Churban, and from the other side of his heart he is happy about the secrets of the Torah he is hearing.

From this we see that a person can have different feelings in his heart at the same time, if they are from different reasons! The same is true with what we learned in Tanya about simcha!

We can be happy because we are making a Dira BeTachtonim, and Hashem is with us all the time! At the same time, we are disappointed only in our guf and Nefesh Habehamis, that we know that we can do better. This way we can be humble and full of simcha at the same time!



Gimmel Adar Sheini

In the time of the Tzemach Tzedek, there was a terrible decree against Yidden. The Russian government kidnaped young children and took them to non-Jewish homes until they were old enough to serve for many years in the army. These soldiers were called Cantonists.

Since they were so young when they were taken, many of them hadn’t had a chance to learn much Torah. Away from home, they weren’t able to do many mitzvos, and they couldn’t remember all of them.

Still, most of the Cantonists remembered that they were Yidden, and had Mesiras Nefesh for the few mitzvos they knew how to do.

The Tzemach Tzedek was once able to speak to a big group of about 600 Cantonist soldiers. He said a maamar for them, telling them how much Hashem appreciates their avodah. Afterwards, a few soldiers came to the Tzemach Tzedek, saying that all they were able to do was to say some words from davening and Tehillim, but they didn’t even know what they meant! The Tzemach Tzedek told them that if they believe in Hashem and in Hashgacha Protis, and they do the little bit that they know, then they are strong, healthy Yidden! He bentched them that they should remain healthy and return home safely.

That evening, the Tzemach Tzedek spoke to a group of Chassidim, telling them how precious the avodah of the Cantonistim is to Hashem. It is even more special than the davening of someone who davens with the kavanos of the Arizal, because their davening is with Mesiras Nefesh and pure emunah!

One of the Chassidim, R’ Chaim, approached the Tzemach Tzedek afterwards, asking how he could also have this precious avodah! The Tzemach Tzedek told this chossid what he could do.

The chossid that came to the Tzemach Tzedek was a very big Talmid Chochom. He knew the whole Shas very well, and knew a lot of Chassidus! He was able to understand and appreciate every part of his Yiddishkeit.

The Tzemach Tzedek told him that if he wants the maalah of the simple Yidden, he needs to have Kabolas Ol!

A poshute Yid doesn’t understand very much, or see how his mitzvos are special. All he thinks about is Kabolas Ol! He thinks all the time about how Hashem is watching over him, and he needs to do everything exactly the way Hashem wants him to. He thinks so much about this, that you can tell even when he is asleep!

Kabolas Ol is easier for a simple chossid. That is the only way for him to do his avodah! He doesn’t understand the deeper meaning behind what he is doing, so he does it just because Hashem wants him to.

But a chossid who understands a lot can ALSO have Kabolas Ol, and it will change who he is! If he decides to do whatever Hashem wants, even without understanding, he can also have this special maalah of the poshute Mesiras Nefesh Yid.

A soldier in Tzivos Hashem lives with Kabolas Ol! Even when he understands many of the mitzvos and takanos that he is doing, he does them when and in the way that he is told. He listens to the orders of his Commander-in-Chief, Hashem, the way his parents and his teachers show him how.

Adults also need to live with Kabolas Ol. They need to listen to their mashpiim and to their Rabonim. They might think that they know better, but just like a soldier listens to his general even if he is older and smarter than him, every Yid needs to listen to the person that has the achrayus to show him how to behave.



Shiur #191 - Mitzvas Asei #68, #75, #76

Today we learn three mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #68) If the Sanhedrin makes a mistake and tells Yidden they are allowed to do something that is really an aveira, they need to bring a korban.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayikra! וְאִם כָּל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁגּוּ וְנֶעְלַם דָּבָר מֵעֵינֵי הַקָּהָל

The mitzvah is explained in Mesechta Horayos, and a few places in Mesechta Zevachim.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #75) If a woman becomes Tomei with a kind of Tumah called “Zavah” she can’t become Tahor enough to eat from korbanos until she brings a korban of two birds.

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Metzora: וְאִם טָהֲרָה מִזּוֹבָהּ וְגוֹ׳ וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי תִּקַּח לָהּ שְׁתֵּי תֹרִים

3) (Mitzvas Asei #76) When a Mommy has a baby, she becomes Tomei. In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, she would bring a special korban to become fully Tahor again (a sheep and a bird, or two birds if she is poor). Until then, she can become Tahor enough for most things, but not enough to eat from Korbanos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tazria: וּבִמְלֹאת יְמֵי טָהֳרָהּ לְבֵן אוֹ לְבַת תָּבִיא כֶּבֶשׂ וְגוֹ׳



Hilchos Shegagos - Mechusrei Kaparah

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning Hilchos Shegagos:

Perek Tes-Vov: This perek explains what happens if a Kohen Gadol or a king does an aveira — they need to bring a different kind of korban.

Now we start learning Hilchos Mechusrei Kapara:

Perek Alef: we learn what “Mechusrei Kapara” means — it means someone who is not 100% Tahor, because they did not bring their korban yet. There are 4 kinds of people who can be Mechusrei Kapara: A Zav (a man with a kind of sickness that makes him Tomei), A Zavah (a woman with a kind of sickness that makes her Tomei), a woman who had a baby, and a person with Tzoraas.

Perek Beis: Now we learn about the kind of sickness that can make a man a Zav. If it happens once, he is Tomei. If it happens twice, he is a Zav. If it happens three times, he for sure needs to bring a korban.



Hilchos Me'ilah - Perek Gimmel

This perek teaches us about korbanos that either die or become posul — did a person do an aveira if he used these korbanos?



Megillas Esther

Everything in the world should teach us something, right?

Wrong! Everything in the world should teach us something ABOUT OUR AVODAS HASHEM.

Is there a difference?

The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya how for a Yid, every part of our life is supposed to be part of our Avodas Hashem. Even the things we read and learn are supposed give us chayus in our Avodas Hashem.

Someone once tried to prove from the Megillah that Yidden need to spend time learning all of the secular subjects:

In the Megillah, we have the story of Bigsan and Seresh, who were standing in the king’s courtyard discussing how to kill the king. They were talking in a foreign language, and they were sure nobody else understood it. But Mordechai was part of the Sanhedrin, and needed to know 70 languages! Because of this, he was able to pass on the message and save the king’s life. This eventually is what saved all of the Yidden!

That story, said the man, proves that we need to know a lot of secular subjects!

At a farbrengen, the Rebbe talked about what this person had said. The Rebbe said that the truth is the opposite! If in the story of Purim, all of the Yidden knew secular subjects, including all of the languages, then Bigsan and Seresh would never have talked out loud! If they knew that all Yidden knew foreign languages, they wouldn’t have talked in a place where Mordechai could hear them.

In fact, most Yidden DIDN’T know foreign languages. The only reason Mordechai did was because he needed it to be part of the Sanhedrin! He only knew the secular subjects because it was important for his Avodas Hashem. And because he learned it for the right reasons, it became a part of the neis.

That is an important lesson for us too:

When we learn secular subjects, we need to remember why we’re doing it! It may be because it is part of the chinuch our parents are giving us, so that we can understand a part of Torah better, or when we’re older, it could be in order to get parnasa for our families. But each and every thing we learn is in order to help us come closer to Hashem!


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Shir Hamaalos LeDovid

In the ladder of Tefillah, we already climbed to the top! We stood before Hashem in Shemoneh Esrei, “Ke’avda Kama Marei,” like a servant in front of his master. Now we are getting ready to do our avodah of the day. We need to bring this feeling into our day.

One of the things we need to make sure to live with during the day is a feeling of Hakoras Hatov to Hashem!

One kapitel of Tehillim which is said right before Shir Shel Yom is Shir Hamaalos LeDovid, kapitel Kuf-Chof-Daled.

In this kapitel, we show that we understand that all of our hatzlacha comes from Hashem! Only Hashem’s help has made us who we are today. “Ezreinu Besheim Hashem, Oseh Shomayim Va’aretz.” Our salvation comes from Hashem, the Creator of heavens and earth.



Mishloach Manos

Today we will learn about one of the four mitzvos of Purim, Shalach Manos.

At the end of the Megillah, we read how Mordechai sent out letters to the Yidden, telling them how to celebrate the neis that happened. One of the things to do is to send gifts of food from one person to the other.

The meforshim give many reasons to explain why we do this mitzvah. One of the basic reasons is to bring friendship and closeness between Yidden. That’s why boys give to boys, and girls give to girls — it is appropriate that boys be friends with boys, and girls be friends with girls! (Matanos L’evyonim is different, because we are giving money to help a person in need, not to build a friendship. That’s why we can give Matanos L’evyonim to either men or women.)

The words of the Megillah that teach us this mitzvah are “Mishloach Manos Ish Le’Rei’eihu,” “to send portions of food from a person to his friend.”

Mishloach — Because it says the word “to send,” we learn that it can be sent through a shliach. However, it is not necessary to use a messenger to fulfill the mitzvah.

Manos — Because it says “portions” (not portion), we learn that it has to be more than one type of food. Manos means portions of food that are ready to eat, and not something that needs to be cooked or prepared. It is best that each portion be at least a kezayis.

Ish Le’Rei’eihu — Because it says to his friend (not friends), we learn that it is enough to give Shalach Manos to one friend. But we are taught, “Kol Hamarbeh Harei Zeh Meshubach” — someone who gives to more people, and brings more friendship, is praised! (Still, giving more Matanos L’evyonim is even MORE important.)

Women also need to keep this mitzvah, and we should teach even small children to do it too!

The Rebbe pointed out that this is a very easy mitzvah! It’s an excellent opportunity to make sure as many people as possible — men, women, and children — do this mitzvah. On Mivtzoyim, we shouldn’t just give people Shalach Manos, we should make sure that they give to a friend and bring more friendship. A practical way to do this is to have people trade a meal or a Shalach Manos package.

(See Shevach Hamo’adim p. 151-152, and Halachos Uminhagei Chabad, p. 150-151)

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



A Special Place

After saying a maamar for a group of Cantonist soldiers, the Tzemach Tzedek spoke about their special avodah to a group of Chassidim. He told them that the davening and Tehillim of these simple Yidden are so precious to Hashem, since they are said with Mesiras Nefesh and Emunah.

The Tzemach Tzedek also described how they will be treated when Moshiach comes! Moshiach will have a special nachas from these Mesiras Nefesh Yidden. He will enjoy spending time with them, and they will have a special place, a Heichal set aside only for them! The big Talmidei Chachomim will be jealous of these simple Yidden and what they are given!

That’s when R’ Chaim, the chossid of today’s Hayom Yom, asked his question. He also wanted to have the maalah of these simple Yidden. The Tzemach Tzedek told him that he could reach their level if he had Kabolas Ol.

See Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, vol. 4, p. 148

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