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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Avraham Avinu bought Me’aras Hamachpeila to bury Sarah.

Sarah heard about the Akeidah, how Avraham had been about to bring her only son as a korban, and that he was saved at the last minute. It was too much shock for her, and it caused her to pass away. She was 127 years old.

Rashi shows us how the way the Torah tells us Sarah’s age tells us about the greatness of Sarah. Sarah’s whole life was good in every way — she had the good parts about being young even when she was old. Hashem had made her look young and beautiful again before she had Yitzchak, and she stayed that way for the rest of her life! Sarah was a tzadeikes, and passed away without any aveiros.

As we learned in the end of last week’s parsha, after the Akeidah, Avraham went to Be’er Sheva. When he heard that Sarah passed away, he came to Chevron, where Sarah passed away, to mourn for her. He wanted to bury her in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, a cave which belonged to one of the people of Cheis. He asked the Bnei-Cheis if he could buy part of their land to bury Sarah.

The Bnei-Cheis at first offered Avraham to bury Sarah in one of their cemeteries, but Avraham wanted just Me’aras Hamachpeilah! He told them to ask Efron, who had bought the field where Me’aras Hamachpeilah was, if he could buy it. He told them that he was ready to pay the full price.

Efron at first said that he was ready to GIVE it to Avraham — and the whole field, not just the cave!

Avraham said that he wanted to PAY for the field! So Efron pretended to be very nice and said, “Oh, you don’t have to pay me the 400 silver shekels that this field would cost! You can have it for free to bury your wife.”

Avraham could tell from the way Efron was speaking that Efron really wanted a HUGE amount of money! He paid Efron all 400 silver shekels, and now nobody could ever argue that Me’aras Hamachpeila didn’t belong to Avraham.



104 - 105

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Daled and Kuf-Hey.

In today’s first kapitel, Dovid Hamelech tells us about how amazing the world is, and how Hashem made everything just perfect!

The second posuk says, “Oteh Or KaSalma” — “Hashem puts on light, like clothes.”

In the Tzemach Tzedek’s pirush on Tehillim, Yahal Ohr, there is another explanation of this posuk, based on the Tanya we are learning now!

The Tzemach Tzedek says that this posuk is also talking about the neshama:

Oteh Or Kasalma” — “Hashem puts the light of Torah and Mitzvos onto the neshama, like clothes.”

By wearing “clothes” of Torah and mitzvos, the neshama will be able to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden. So when we do mitzvos, Hashem puts their light on us so we will get to appreciate the pnimius of that light, the pleasure that Hashem has from the mitzvos!

This is what we are learning now in Tanya, Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe gives a mashal to help us understand why mitzvos are clothes for the neshama, that make it be possible for it to see the “Noam Hashem” in Gan Eden.

A mitzvah connects a Yid with Hashem. For something to connect two sides together, it needs to reach both sides. For example, to connect the floor to the ceiling you need a tall, tall pillar which is touching both sides!

A mitzvah connects Gashmius people who have a “gevul,” a limit, together with Hashem, Who is Bli Gevul, without a limit! That’s why a mitzvah has both things: Mitzvos are done with our Gashmius body or with our Gashmius heart which have a limit, but inside every mitzvah is Ratzon Hashem — the Will of Hashem which has no limit, a very high level of Ruchnius!

So when a person does a Gashmius mitzvah, he is also getting Ratzon Hashem! That’s how the mitzvah becomes the kind of clothes that let a person enjoy the light of Hashem (the Pnimius of the Ratzon) in Gan Eden!

What we are learning now, about the mitzvos being the clothes for the neshama to be able to have pleasure from the light of Hashem in Gan Eden, is explained with more detail in many places in Chassidus. B’Hashgacha Protis, one of those places is in the Chassidishe Parsha — the Torah Ohr — of this week, and in a famous maamer of the Rebbe from the farbrengen of Motzei Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sarah Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches.



Chof-Alef Mar-Cheshvan

The Frierdiker Rebbe wrote a kuntres called Kuntres Toras Hachassidus which explains the inyan of Chassidus and of davening according to Chassidus. Many pieces of this kuntres are quoted in Hayom Yom.

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe quotes a section from Kuntres Toras Hachassidus that explains what Tefillah accomplishes according to Chassidus.

First we learn something in Chassidus. Then we daven while thinking about the Chassidus that we learned. Our davening brings an excitement to what we know! That excitement makes us want to do mitzvos with Yiras Shomayim (Bein Adam Lamakom), and to work on having good midos (Bein Adam Lachaveiro)!



Shiur #122 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #42, Asei #120, Lo Saasei #210

Today we learn one last mitzvah about Kilayim, things we can’t mix together. Today’s mitzvah is about Kilayim in clothes!

Shatnez: (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #42) We are not allowed to wear clothes made of wool and linen mixed together. This is called shatnez.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תִלְבַּשׁ שַׁעַטְנֵז

The details are explained in Mesechta Kilayim, Mesechta Shabbos, and the end of Mesechta Makos.

We are starting a new part of Rambam now, about what we give to the poor. We learn 2 mitzvos about this today, about the part of our fields we leave for the poor, called Pe’ah:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #120) It is a mitzvah to leave over a corner of our fields or orchards for the poor people to take food from there.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

The details are explained in Mesechta Pe’ah.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #210) It is asur to NOT leave over that corner!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: לֹא תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָׂדְךָ בְּקֻצְרֶךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Pe’ah.



Hilchos Kela'im - Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last halachos of Kilayim, and start the halachos of Matnos Aniyim.

Perek Tes: We are not allowed to force different kinds of animals to get married to each other. We can only help sheep to get married to sheep and have baby sheep! We don’t have them get married to goats and have baby… shoats?

We are not allowed to make two kinds of animals work together to pull a wagon or other piece of farm equipment. It is asur to even sit in a wagon pulled by two kinds of animals, because that makes them shlep it! But a PERSON is allowed to help an animal pull a wagon!

Perek Yud: In this perek, we learn the halachos of Kilayim in clothing — shatnez. Shatnez means mixing wool and linen together. Any way we mix them — by sewing them together, making a kind of material with wool and linen, or even just sewing one thread of wool into linen — are all asur! But it IS okay to wear a linen belt over wool clothes, because they are not connected.

Shatnez isn’t just for clothes — if it can touch your skin and make you warm, it is also asur! So sheets, towels, and soft squishy couches also can’t have shatnez.

Now we start the halachos about Matnos Aniyim, what we need to give to poor people. We will be learning 13 mitzvos about this, in 10 perakim.

Perek Alef: In this perek, the Rambam tells us about the five gifts that a person has to give to the poor from the things he grows. They are called Pe’ah, Leket, Peret, Olelos, and Shichecha. We will learn them over the next few days in Sefer Hamitzvos and Rambam.

The Chachomim say that a person should leave over 1/60th of his field or orchard as Pe’ah, but if a person was bentched with more than he expected, he should give more. The more you give, the more reward you get!



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Yud-Daled

The melacha of hotza’ah is what we usually call “carrying.” It means to take something from one type of place (called a Reshus) to another. For example, taking something from a private house to a public street is this melacha. Hotza’ah has many details! We learn about the four different reshuyos: Reshus Hayochid, Reshus Horabim, Karmelis, and Mekom Petur.



Don't Be Embarrassed to Ask!

In the farbrengen of Chof Cheshvan Tof-Shin-Mem-Vov, the Rebbe spoke about how important it is to understand what we are learning in Chassidus. The Rebbe brought the Mishna that says, “Lo Habayshan Lomeid,” a person who is too embarrassed to ask will not end up learning! We need to ask questions so we will be able to understand.

The Rebbe also brought some other places in Torah which seem to say the opposite:

The Mishna tells us that Az Ponim, someone who is chutzpadik, belongs in the opposite place of Gan Eden! Isn’t it chutzpadik to ask questions instead of trusting our teachers?

And what about Naaseh Venishma, to do and then to understand? Aren’t we supposed to just do what we are told to do, and not worry about understanding why at first?

The Rebbe explained then that we SHOULD keep asking until we understand!

Asking questions isn’t chutzpadik if we ask in the right way. We don’t say “That makes no sense!” or “I don’t like that!” We ask our questions in a kavodike way. We know that it is Torah and it MUST be true, and that if we keep asking questions, we will start to understand it too.

We also don’t have to worry about Naaseh Venishma when it comes to learning. Naaseh Venishma is with mitzvos — that we should DO mitzvos even if they don’t make sense to us completely. But learning Torah is different! Part of the mitzvah of learning Torah is to understand it in our own minds!

The Chachomim and the Rebbeim all want us to understand the Torah they taught us. We should keep asking, without feeling embarrassed, until the Torah is clear in our minds!

See sicha Chof Cheshvan 5746


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Mechalkel Chaim Bechesed

In the times of the Alter Rebbe, many Chassidim earned money by making and selling mashke. One year, the government decided to stop allowing this. They made a new law that only the government is allowed to produce and sell mashke.

This was a very big problem for many chassidim! Suddenly, their parnasa was taken away from them! Now how would they have enough money to live?

A group of the closest Chassidim came to the Alter Rebbe to ask him to beg Hashem for Rachmonus. (In this group were the Mitteler Rebbe, R’ Aharon MiStrashele, and R’ Pinchas Reizes.)

The Alter Rebbe told them that when Hashem gives brachos from Shomayim, you need to have kelim down here to catch the brachos. The kelim for Hashem’s brachos are Ahava and Achva (love and friendship), and staying away from jealousy and rechilus (gossip).

The Alter Rebbe told them that this explains the bracha that the kohanim say before Birchas Kohanim: “Asher Kidishanu … Levarech Es Amcha Yisroel B’Ahava.” This means that the bracha of the kohanim is given with Ahava, and it also means that they bentch the Yidden to have Ahava between themselves! This way they will have the kelim to get all of the brachos in Birchas Kohanim!

After telling this to the group of Chassidim, the Alter Rebbe went out to the big Beis Medrash. The Alter Rebbe had a powerful, sweet voice, but he still went up onto the Bima to make sure everyone was able to see and hear.

The Alter Rebbe said, “Mechalkel Chaim Bechesed — Hashem gives life with chesed! (These words are from the second bracha of Shemoneh Esrei).

“Hashem gives life with Chesed, not with mashke factories!

“Hashem’s Chesed is not like a person’s chesed. The chesed of a person is not the real reason for why the other person got something. The chesed of Hashem IS the hashpa’ah, the chesed of Hashem is what gives a person life!

“But to receive this Chesed, you need the keilim of Ahava and Achva.”

Then the Alter Rebbe stepped down from the Bima.

That year, Chassidim were bentched with tremendous parnasa!

See how the Frierdiker Rebbe tells the story in Sefer Hasichos 5698 p. 283; and the Rebbe’s retelling and beautiful conclusion in the sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach 5718



Horaos for Traveling

A school that had planned an end-of-the-year trip out of town wrote to the Rebbe. The Rebbe gave two horaos for the trip:

1) Remember to say Tefillas Haderech!

2) The students should spread Yiddishkeit in a way that makes sense for kids their age.

See the letter printed in Shaarei Halacha Uminhag, chelek alef p. 224

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



The Alef of Geulah

Lashon Kodesh is a very special language. We can learn about what something is by the letters of the name it has!

By looking at the word Geulah, we can see what the Geulah is about.

The letters of the word Geulah are almost the exact same letters as the word Golah, which is Golus. There is only one difference: The word Geulah has an alef added.

We learn from this that the Geulah has the same things as Golus, but with one important difference that changes everything — an Alef!

What is the Alef that makes Geulah so different?

So far, we learned two things we can understand from the Alef:

First of all, the Alef is Alufo Shel Olam. An Aluf is a master, and Alufo Shel Olam is the Master of the world — Hashem! In the time of the Geulah, every creation will be able to see that the world has an Aluf. Everyone and everything will realize that it was created by Hashem! Then everything will be the way Hashem wants it to be.

Alef is also connected to the word Ulfena, which means to learn or teach. In the times of the Geulah, we will have the Torah in a way of Shleimus — completely. We will all be able to learn the entire Torah and do all of the mitzvos it teaches!

There is also a third thing that the Alef shows us about the Geulah:

Alef is also the same letters as the word Peleh, which means a wonder. Many things that will happen in the time of the Geulah will be miracles and wonders. One of the main ones will be the great miracle of Techiyas Hameisim, when all those who passed away will come back to life! We will also all be able to see the great wonders of Torah, Pnimius HaTorah, the secrets of Torah that will be revealed to everyone!

See Sichas Parshas Emor 5751

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