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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.



79 - 82

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Tes to Pey-Beis.

In Kapitel Pey (80) Dovid Hamelech says, “Gefen Mimitzrayim Tasia, Tegaresh Goyim Vati’ta’eha” — “You took a vine out of Mitzrayim, You pushed out the goyim and planted it.” This is talking about the Yidden, who are compared to a vine. Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim and “planted” us in Eretz Yisroel.

The Friediker Rebbe said a maamar on this posuk, which the Rebbe later explained (http://chabad.org/1878854). The Chachomim say that we only dig up a vine to plant it somewhere where it will grow even better! Similarly, Hashem only puts a Yid in a new place because there he can have even more hatzlacha.

That’s how it was when Hashem took the Yidden out of Mitzrayim and brought them to Eretz Yisroel, and that’s also how it is whenever Hashem puts us with Hashgacha Protis in a new place! It is so we will have hatzlacha in bringing Yiddishkeit to our new place, like a vine that makes wine that brings happiness to everyone around!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Beis

In todya’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe explains how a beinoni is different than a tzadik.

We learned that the beinoni doesn’t do any aveiros, and when he davens his Nefesh Habehamis can’t even come up with ideas to make him do the wrong thing! So why is he called a Beinoni, which means in between? We said that a beinoni is between a tzadik and a rasha, but it sounds like a beinoni is just like a tzadik!

The Alter Rebbe explains that even though the neshama’s love for Hashem can make the Nefesh Habehamis go to sleep, it’s not pushing it away at all — it’s still there, just as strong. After davening, it wakes up and goes right back to what it was doing before.

The Beinoni has a hidden love for Hashem all the time, which helps him control his behavior. However, it’s not the strong feeling he has during davening which puts his Nefesh Habehamis to sleep. The Ahavas Hashem he has all day can only stop him from doing aveiros, but it can’t stop his Nefesh Habehamis from sending not good thoughts into his mind!

That’s why a beinoni is different than a tzadik. With a tzadik, the Nefesh Habehamis is sleeping all the time (or changed into a Yetzer Tov!). The beinoni, however, can only put his Nefesh Habehamis to sleep at certain times (like during davening). For the rest of the time, he needs to use the special koach Hashem gives him (Moach Shalit Al Halev) to always be in control!



Tes-Zayin Teves

It can be hard for a neshama to feel ruchnius. The world is full of so much kelipah and narishkeit!

In a Yechidus, the Tzemach Tzedek told a chossid named Reb Hendel about 3 different parts of Torah that can help his neshama:

1) When the neshama wants to feel more connected to Hashem, learn Zohar, because Zohar makes the neshama feel elevated! (Chassidus works too — it explains many parts of the Zohar.)

2) When the neshama wants to get excited about Hashem and His mitzvos, learn Midrash, because it wakes up the heart!

3) When the neshama feels like it got “dirty” from the kelipah in the world, say Tehillim with tears, and that will wash and clean the grobkeit of the guf.



Shiur #161 - Mitzvas Asei #89, Lo Saasei #145, #148

Today we learn 3 mitzvos about EATING korbanos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #89) It is a mitzvah for the kohanim to eat certain parts of the korbanos. Their eating it is part of the kapara for the person who brought the korban!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tetzaveh: וְאָכְלוּ אֹתָם אֲשֶׁר כֻּפַּר בָּהֶם

The details of the mitzvah are explained in a few places in Mesechta Zevachim.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #145) It is asur to eat a Korban Chatas or a Korban Asham (called Kodshei Kodshim) outside of the Beis Hamikdash, and all other Korbanos (Kadashim Kalim) we have to eat ONLY in Yerushalayim!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #148) Someone who is not a kohen is not allowed to eat from the korbanos that are Kodshei Kodshim.

We learn this mitzvah from the same posuk in Parshas Tetzaveh: וְזָר לֹא יֹאכַל כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הֵם



Hilchos Maaseh HaKorbanos

In today’s Rambam, we are learning about specific kinds of korbanos and how we bring them:

Perek Zayin: In this perek, we learn how to bring a Korban Chatas! There are two kinds — some are eaten, and some are just burned. The Korban Chatas that we burn is burned outside of Yerushalayim.

Perek Ches: If anything touches the blood of a Korban Chatas before the blood was sprinkled on the Mizbeiach, it needs to be washed. (This is the only kind of korban that we need to do this for!) Whatever pot we use to cook the meat of a Korban Chatas (the kind we eat) needs to be washed, or broken if it is made of clay.

Perek Tes: The Rambam teaches us the halachos about a Korban Asham and a Korban Shelamim. At the end of the perek, the Rambam also mentions the Korban Pesach!



Hilchos Shecheinim - Perek Yud-Aelf

We learn more halachos about being neighbors.

This perek teaches us about not bothering people who live close to us with smelly or noisy things, and what happens if we already built something very smelly or noisy: Do we need to stop using it?



Stopping Paraoh's Gezeira

In today’s Chumash, Sheini of Parshas Shemos, Paraoh decrees that the baby boys should be thrown into the Nilus, and that the girls should live.

It seems strange that it should be DECREED that the girls should live. How is that part of the wicked gezeira?

Paraoh didn’t want to just let the girls live, he wanted the girls to be raised to live like Mitzriyim.

So his gezeira had two parts — to kill the guf of the baby boys, and to kill the neshama of the baby girls.

There is a Ruchnius’dike Paraoh in every generation. Just like Paraoh in Mitzrayim, it doesn’t just want to hurt Yidden begashmius, but also wants to hurt our Ruchnius! We need to stop this decree also. One of the ways we do this is by making sure all Yiddishe kinderlach get a proper chinuch!

See Likutei Sichos chelek alef p. 111


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Modeh Ani

The Frierdiker Rebbe once told this story at a farbrengen:

“When I was a very young child, right when I started to speak, my father (the Rebbe Rashab) told me, ‘If there’s anything you want to ask, you should ask me.’ Even though I had someone else taking care of me, my father said that I should ask any questions to him.

“When I was taught how to say Modeh Ani, I was told to put one hand next to the other and bow my head. This is the way I should say Modeh Ani.

“When I got a little older, but while I was still a child, I asked my father why we needed to say Modeh Ani like this. Why do we need to put one hand next to the other and bow the head?

“He answered me, ‘Really we should do this without asking why. But I did tell you that you should ask me if you have any questions.’

“He called in R’ Yosef Mordechai the meshares (assistant), an 80-year old man. He asked him, ‘How do you say Modeh Ani in the morning?’

“R’ Yosef Mordechai answered, ‘I put my hands next to each other and bow my head.’ “My father continued, ‘Why do you do it this way?’

“R’ Yosef Mordechai answered, ‘I don’t know. When I was a young child, this is what I was taught.’

“‘You see?’ my father told me. ‘He does it because this is what his father taught him, and so it goes back all the way until Moshe Rabbeinu and Avraham Avinu, who was the first Yid. We need to do what we are told without asking why.’

“I answered, ‘But I am still small!’

“My father told me, ‘All Yidden are really small. When we get older, we start to realize that we are really small.’”


The way we say Modeh Ani is by putting our hands together and bowing our head.

Story from Sefer Hasichos 5710



Netilas Yodayim

Before we eat any amount of bread, even just a little bit, we need to do Netilas Yodayim, wash our hands.

But we only make the bracha Al Netilas Yodayim if we plan to eat at least a kebeitzah of bread. A kebeitzah means the size of an egg, which the Chachomim teach is the size of two olives — kezayis. The way we measure nowadays, this is about two ounces, which is usually the size of one or two slices of bread.

Seder Netilas Yodayim L’seudah, se’if Yud-Ches

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



Why Do We Want Moshiach?

Do we want Moshiach because then candy will grow on trees? Or because the weather will always be nice?

Even though there will be many fun and exciting things that will happen when Moshiach comes, the Rambam tells us that the Chachomim and Neviim didn’t want Moshiach for these kinds of reasons.

They didn’t want Moshiach because then the Yidden will be in charge, or so that the Goyim will respect the Yidden. They weren’t excited about Moshiach because then we can eat and drink and be happy.

Why did they want Moshiach?

Because then we will be able to learn Torah and its wisdom without anything bothering us!

See Rambam Hilchos Melachim Perek Yud-Beis, halacha Daled

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