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Parshas Shemos - Sheini with Rashi

Paraoh made a decree that baby boys should be thrown into the Nilus. Miriam convinced her parents, Amram and Yocheved, to have another baby. They had a baby boy, and realized he was very special! Yocheved hid baby Moshe in a basket in the Nilus, and Paraoh’s daughter Basya found him and took him to the palace.

Paraoh saw that Shifra and Puah weren’t killing the baby boys, and he asked them why they weren’t listening! Shifra and Puah explained that really the Yiddishe women didn’t need midwives, they had the babies by themselves.

Because of their Mesiras Nefesh, Hashem gave them a big reward — Dovid Hamelech came from Miriam’s family, and Yocheved’s children became Kohanim and Leviim (through Moshe and Aharon).

Since they weren’t doing what he wanted, Paraoh had to think of a new plan. He decided to build houses for Mitzriyim in Goshen, where the Yidden lived. These Mitzriyim would be spies and find out who had a baby boy, so they could throw them in the Nilus.

Amram, who was the leader of the Yidden at that time, thought that maybe they shouldn’t have children anymore, since Paraoh was going to kill the babies anyway. He even got divorced from Yocheved, and the rest of the Yidden copied him. But Miriam told her father that our job is to have children — what happens afterwards is Hashem’s decision. Also, Paraoh was only killing baby boys, but by not having any children, there would be no baby girls either! Miriam said a nevuah, that her parents would have a baby who would take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim!

Amram realized that Miriam was right, and he got married to Yocheved again. The other Yidden got married again also. On Zayin Adar, Amram and Yocheved had a baby boy! He was born early, so the Mitzriyim didn’t think to check right away to see if he was born.

When Moshe was born, the house became full of light! Yocheved and Amram realized that this could be the baby who would later take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim! They were able to hide him for three months, until the Mitzri spies would come and check if a baby boy was born.

Paraoh’s magicians told him that the baby who would take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim was born! They weren’t sure if the baby was a Yid or a Mitzri, but they saw in the stars that he would die because of water. So Paraoh made a new decree that ALL baby boys would have to be thrown into the Nilus, but all girls should grow up like Mitzri girls.

Yocheved took a basket and made it waterproof (smelly pitch outside, but clay inside, so Moshe wouldn’t need to smell the pitch). She put the baby in the basket, and hid it in the reeds by the side of the Nilus. (She didn’t put the basket in the water, because the water was the Avodah Zarah of the Mitzriyim.) Miriam hid nearby to see what would happen.

(After Paraoh’s magicians told Paraoh that the baby was in the water, Paraoh canceled the decree.)

Paraoh’s daughter, Basya, didn’t want to worship Avodah Zarah anymore, so she decided to use the Nilus as a mikvah to become tahor and daven only to Hashem. Then Moshe’s basket floated into the water.

Basya saw the basket and wanted to see what was inside. Her helpers told her it was probably a Jewish baby, so she shouldn’t look. Basya tried to grab the basket anyway, and Hashem made her arm long enough to reach the baby!

Basya saw right away that this was a special baby. He was crying, and Basya felt bad. She saw that he had a bris and was a Jewish baby, but wanted to take care of him anyway.

Basya tried to get the Mitzri women to nurse the baby, but he wouldn’t eat from a person who wasn’t Jewish. So Miriam, who was still watching, asked if she should go get a Jewish woman to feed the baby. Basya agreed, and Miriam ran home very quickly to get her mother! 

Basya asked Yocheved if she could pay her to nurse the baby. Of course Yocheved agreed! Yocheved gave lots of excuses why the baby needed to stay with her, and kept him home until he was about 12, teaching him about being a good Yid. Then she had to bring him to Basya, who treated him like a son. Basya called him Moshe, which means “taking out,” because she took him out of the water — Ki Min Hamayim Meshisihu.



97 - 103

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Tzadik-Zayin through Kuf-Gimmel.

In one of today’s kapitelach, we have a posuk that says “Horiu LaHashem Kol Ha’aretz” — “the whole world should sing to Hashem!”

It is brought in Chassidus that the words “Horiu LaHashem Kol Ha’aretz” are the Roshei Teivos of (the first letters spell the word) Halacha!

When we follow Halacha, the way the Aibershter wants things to be, that’s like the world is singing to Hashem!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Gimmel

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe teaches us that being Emes’dik is different based on the level you are on. So a beinoni should not feel bad that his emes is not the same emes as a tzadik.

We learned that the beinoni feels a very strong connection to Hashem during davening. But after davening, he doesn’t feel that strong love anymore!

So is his avodah really Emes?

Compared to the level of a real tzadik, this avodah is not called Emes, true, because it isn’t the same all the time.

Still, the Alter Rebbe says that this avodah IS Emes for the beinoni, since a beinoni is able to make this strong connection to Hashem every day by davening b’avodah. So for a beinoni, this is called Emes.



Chof Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn how important it is to have a good friend to discuss how to be a better Yid!

When the Mitteler Rebbe was 16, the Alter Rebbe put him in charge of guiding the younger Chassidim. One of the things that the Mitteler Rebbe started was the inyan of having a good chaver (friend). A good friend also helps a person find what kinds of things they should be asking their mashpia, and helps him follow what the mashpia says. Here the Mitteler Rebbe explains to someone in Yechidus why a good chaver is so helpful in serving Hashem!

The Mitteler Rebbe said to someone in Yechidus:

When two Yidden talk about Avodas Hashem together, their neshamos help each other! So inside each of them, it’s like there are TWO Nefesh Elokis (or Yetzer Tovs) working to overcome their Nefesh Hativis (or Yetzer Hara)!

We are learning in Tanya about ways to help our Nefesh Elokis outsmart the Nefesh Habehamis. Here in Hayom Yom, we learn another way to do it — to join with another Yid!

When we say “Two Yetzer Tovs against one Yetzer Hara,” we are talking about the way it is for EACH of the Yidden talking together. Another person’s Yetzer Tov will be happy to help his friend, and will join with the friend’s Yetzer Tov. But a Yetzer Hara is selfish — it won’t try to help the other person! So each person only has their own Yetzer Hara. When there’s two against one, there is a much bigger chance to be successful!



Shiur #179 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #114, Asei #55, Lo Saasei #115, #116

Today we review the mitzvah of yesterday:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #114) We are not allowed to cut the hair of a sheep that is meant for a Korban.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: וְלֹא תָגֹז בְּכוֹר צֹאנֶךָ

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Bechoros.

We also learn 3 mitzvos about the Korban Pesach, since we are starting those halachos today!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #55) It is a mitzvah for every Yid to bring (or be part of a group that brings) a Korban Pesach on Erev Pesach.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: וְשָׁחֲטוּ אֹתוֹ כֹּל קְהַל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Pesachim.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #115) We can’t bring the Korban Pesach if we have chometz in our house!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא תִזְבַּח עַל חָמֵץ דַּם זִבְחִי

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Perek Hey of Mesechta Pesachim.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #116) The fat of the korban needs to be burned on the Mizbeiach before the next day. We are not allowed to leave it overnight. If it is left, it becomes nosar and is not allowed to be burned on the Mizbeiach anymore.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וְלֹא יָלִין חֵלֶב חַגִּי עַד בֹּקֶר



Hilchos Me'ilah - Korban Pesach

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last Perek of Me’ilah — which is also the last perek of the entire Sefer Avodah!

Perek Ches: We learn about people who are working using Hekdesh, like farmers, builders, or Kohanim. We learn that even these people also need to be careful with Me’ilah!

The Rambam finishes by reminding us that we need to do mitzvos carefully, even if they are chukimmitzvos we don’t understand!

With that halacha, we finished the eighth Sefer in Rambam! Now we are going to start the NINTH sefer, called Sefer Korbanos. This sefer will talk about specific Korbanos.

The first set of halachos is about the Korban Pesach. In 10 perakim, the Rambam will teach us about the 16 mitzvos connected to the Korban Pesach! Only four of them are Mitzvos Asei, things we need to do. All the rest are Lo Saasei — things we have to be careful NOT to do. We will IY”H learn them all in Sefer Hamitzvos.

Perek Alef: In this perek, we learn the answers to the questions “What? Where? When? How?” about the Korban Pesach. (The Rambam usually doesn’t teach us the details of the WHY, which is explained in other places in Torah.)

Perek Beis: Now we learn WHO — who brings the Korban Pesach, and about eating it together as a group.



Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh - Perek Alef

Now we start to learn the halachos of Kiddush Hachodesh. We learn how the Beis Din decides when the new month starts. Because a month can be 29 days or 30 days, depending on if we see the new moon. If someone sees the moon, they come tell the Beis Din! The Beis Din asks them lots of questions to make sure that they are telling the truth.

How do they know?

There are ways to figure out how the moon should look at different times of the year.

The Beis Din knows which part of the sky the moon should be in, and which way it should be pointing. They know how wide the moon should be, and when you should be able to see it.

After we learn about the witnesses in the next few perakim, we will be learning about how the Beis Din figures all of these things out! This way they will be able to be sure that the eidim are telling the truth.



Chof Teves

Today is the yartzeit of the Rambam.

We all know that the Rambam wrote the Sefer Hamitzvos and the Seforim that we call “Rambam” — the Yad Hachazakah. The Rambam also wrote another very famous sefer, called Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed). In the time of the Rambam, many people had questions about Yiddishkeit, and the sefer Moreh Nevuchim helped them understand how to serve Hashem.

The Rebbe teaches us that there must be a connection between the Rambam and the Alter Rebbe, since their Yartzeits are just a few days apart.

One connection is very easy to see:

The Rambam wrote the Yad Hachazakah which teaches us the halachos of Torah, and the Moreh Nevuchim which teaches how to serve Hashem.

The Alter Rebbe wrote the Shulchan Aruch which teaches us the halachos of Torah, and the Tanya to teach us how to serve Hashem!

The Rebbe tells us that today is a good day to make a farbrengen and to strengthen the learning of Sefer Hamitzvos and Rambam, for ourselves and for others!


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We are reviewing the Yud-Beis Pesukim, in the order of where they come from.

We started with the first two pesukim of Torah Shebichsav, the pesukim of Torah Tziva and Shema. The Chachomim say that these pesukim should be the first thing we teach a child, as soon as they learn to talk! In our time, the Rebbe strengthened this hora’ah of the Chachomim, by putting them first into the Yud-Beis Pesukim that every child should know.

A few weeks after teaching the first six pesukim of the Yud-Beis Pesukim, the Rebbe taught us more! The Rebbe started by adding two more pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, the pesukim of Bereishis and Veshinantam.

Today we will review the posuk of Bereishis, and see how the first posuk the Rebbe taught this time is a continuation of the very first posuk the Rebbe taught before!

Bereishis Bara Elokim — “In the beginning, Hashem created the Heavens and the earth.” This is the very first thing that the Torah tells us! We shouldn’t be afraid if it looks like the world doesn’t seem like such a holy place. We should remember that Hashem created this world! Hashem gave us the Torah, which lets us change this world into a beautiful holy world, the way it is supposed to be.

Once we know what it says in the posuk Torah Tziva, that the Torah is a precious treasure that each Yid has, we get to start USING our treasure, by learning as much as we can! We start from the very first posuk of the entire Torah, Bereishis!

There, we also see another special thing about our precious Torah: That the Torah helps us fix the world into the way Hashem wants it to be!



Negel Vasser After Naps

When we wake up in the morning, before we do anything (or even touch anything), we wash our hands Negel Vasser. Washing three times on each hand, in the pattern of Negel Vasser, makes us tahor from the Ruach Hatumah that came into our hands during the night.

In halacha, there are two opinions about this Ruach Hatumah.

Some Chachomim say that this is a nighttime tumah, and it comes every night, even if we didn’t sleep. According to this opinion, we should wash Negel Vasser right away in the morning even if we stayed up all night.

Other Chachomim say that this Ruach Hatumah comes from sleep, whether it is during the night or during the day. According to this opinion, we should wash Negel Vasser every time we sleep during the day.

The Alter Rebbe says that the Ruach Hatumah comes especially from sleeping at night. When a person sleeps at night, he has to be sure to wash Negel Vasser right away when he wakes up.

If a person sleeps during the day, there is a doubt (sofek) if the Ruach Hatumah comes into a person. Because of this, the halacha is not as strict about needing to wash RIGHT AWAY and before touching anything. So we do wash Negel Vasser three times on each hand if we took a nap during the day, but we don’t need to wash by our bed like we do after sleeping at night.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Daled, se’if Tes-Vov; according to the shiurim of Rabbi Yekusiel Farkash

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




The Rebbe’s takana of learning Rambam and Sefer Hamitzvos is a very special way to get ready for Moshiach!


When we have a birthday party coming up, we make sure to prepare the things that will happen at the party! We figure out the rules for the games we will play, which hachlata we make, and decide how we will set the table and when we’ll say the pesukim.

The Rambam says in the halachos about Moshiach that in the times of Moshiach, we are going to be able to do ALL of the mitzvos just like we used to when the Beis Hamikdash was standing, exactly the way Hashem wants!

What is the best way to get ready for that? We can learn and know about all of the mitzvos and halachos so we’ll know what Hashem wants. There is only one sefer that teaches us EVERYTHING we need to know (including the halachos about the Beis Hamikdash and bringing korbanos): The Rambam!

So what’s a better way to get ready for Moshiach? Let’s make sure to learn Rambam every day!

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