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Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about three dinim: The Aishes Yefas Toar, the Bechor Ben Hasnuah, and the Ben Sorer Umoreh.

Aishes Yefas Toar: When the Yidden went to fight against the Goyim, the Goyim would sometimes try to stop the Yidden from fighting, by getting them to think about what their Yetzer Hara wanted instead of about the job they needed to do!

One of the tricks they would use is to have beautiful women nearby, so the Yidden would want to get married instead of fighting.

Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden what to do if this happens — and it is a trick that can work when our Yetzer Haras try to trick us too!

Instead of doing anything right away, the soldier needs to bring the woman home, and not give her anything to make her look beautiful — he needs to do things to make her look ugly! If he still wants to marry her after a month, he is allowed to. And if he changes his mind later, he can’t keep her as a servant — he needs to send her away to wherever she wants to go.

That’s a good trick for us too: We can have ISKAFYA — telling our Yetzer Hara to just wait a little bit! Sometimes that’s enough for us to realize that we don’t want that thing SO much. We can also remind ourselves that the things the Yetzer Hara wants aren’t really so special or beautiful!

Bechor Ben Hasnuah: When a person passes away, the din is that the oldest son (the bechor) gets double the amount of his father’s property. Even if the father had two wives, he can’t choose the one he likes better to be the bechor.

Rashi says that this should be a warning to a soldier: If he takes an Aishes Yefas To’ar home with him, he will start to hate her. His oldest child — even if he is the son of the Yefas Toar — will be his bechor according to Torah. He will need to give the bechor more money after he passes away, even if he doesn’t want to.

Ben Sorer Umoreh: Then we learn about the Ben Sorer Umoreh, a boy who does certain things like a Rasha. He steals money from his parents, and eats a lot of food in a grubbe (crass) way. His parents need to bring him to the Beis Din and the Beis Din will need to kill him, since if he acts this way now, he will be a big Rasha when he grows up.

It is possible that there never WAS a Ben Sorer Umoreh — since there are so many details for a person to become a Ben Sorer Umoreh. But this is still a part of Torah! First of all, it is to warn the soldiers that if they marry a Yefas To’ar, they might end up having a child that is like the Ben Sorer Umoreh, since they didn’t marry her for the right reasons.

It is also a part of Torah that is very special — we don’t learn Torah only because we need to USE what we learn, but also just because it is Hashem’s holy Torah.



44 - 48

Today’s kapitelach are Mem-Daled to Mem-Ches, and we also say Chof-Beis, Chof-Gimmel, and Chof-Daled for Chodesh Elul.

In today’s Tehillim, Kapitel Mem-Vov talks about how when Moshiach comes, Hashem will make no more wars. The world will be quiet and peaceful. “Lechu Chazu Mifalos Hashem Asher Sam Shamos BaAretz” — “Go look at what Hashem did — He made the world empty (of war).”

The Alter Rebbe explains in Torah Ohr that this isn’t just talking about wars with soldiers and guns, it’s talking about fighting with our Yetzer Hara too! Nowadays we always need to fight with our Yetzer Hara to do the right thing, because Hashem wants us to work hard and become better Yidden.

But when Moshiach comes, we will be able to rest from our fighting with the Yetzer Hara, just like we rest on Shabbos from our hard work all week!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Yud-Beis

Now we are starting a new letter from the Alter Rebbe. This letter will tell us about two kinds of Tzedakah: Tzedakah that we LIKE to give, and Tzedakah that is HARD for us. We will see how any tzedakah is special, but that the tzedakah that is harder is even more amazing!

First, let’s look at what we say in davening and in bentching: “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” — that Hashem makes Shalom in Shomayim.

What does THAT mean? Why should Hashem need to make Shalom in Shomayim? Who is fighting in Shomayim?!?

The answer is that Shalom is not only for when people are fighting, but also when there are two things that are different, and you need them to be together.

In Shomayim, there are two different kinds of Malochim. There is Malach Michoel, who is the nice and giving malach, and Malach Gavriel, who is the strict malach. They are both doing what Hashem wants, but they are doing two opposite things!

Hashem makes shalom with them both! He reminds them that they are not really opposite, they are really the same! They are both malachim of Hashem, and they are both doing exactly what Hashem wants. When they see how they are both the same, they are happy to be together.

When Hashem makes shalom between them, it is like giving Tzedakah — it is helping them in a very special way.

IY”H tomorrow we will learn what this has to do with OUR giving tzedakah!



Ches Elul

One of the important things we do in Chodesh Elul is to look for ways to have more zechus, so that when we are judged on Rosh Hashana, Hashem will give us a Shana Tova. That’s one of the reasons we check our Tefillin and Mezuzos in Elul!

Today’s Hayom Yom tells us about a special zechus that helped the Tzemach Tzedek in a very hard time:

In Tof-Reish-Gimmel, there was a big gathering of Rabbonim in Petersburg. The Maskilim wanted to force all of the Rabbonim and all of the Yiddishe kinderlach, that they should have to learn all sorts of things that aren’t Torah.

Of course the Tzemach Tzedek fought very hard to make sure this wouldn’t happen — and in the end, he won!

The Tzemach Tzedek said that there were 3 special things he did that gave him the zechus to win. One of them was that he spent 32,000 hours (about 3 hours EVERY DAY for 30 years!) learning and understanding the Alter Rebbe’s maamorim. Later, the Tzemach Tzedek printed these maamorim in Torah Ohr and Likutei Torah.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #285

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #285) is that it is asur to lie when a person is being a witness (eid). This is one of the Aseres Hadibros! This mitzvah is also a warning to Eidim Zomemim or Eidim that do not tell the truth. Beis Din gives them a certain punishment, which we will learn about in tomorrow’s mitzvah.



Hilchos Eidus

In today’s Rambam we learn the halachos of today’s mitzvah, that you can’t say a not true eidus. What is a not true eidus?

In Perek Yud-Zayin, we learn that even if you KNOW that someone is telling the truth, you can’t be a witness unless you really saw or heard what happened.

So if a teacher says to one of his talmidim, “You know I would never lie! Someone owes me money, but I only have one witness. Please be the second witness for me!” The talmid can’t be an eid — that would be a not true witness, since the talmid didn’t really see what happened!

The Beis Din would give a little mussar about someone who says a false eidus, to try to prevent people from doing it.

In Perek Yud-Ches and Yud-Tes, the last two perakim of today (and tomorrow’s whole Rambam) we will learn halachos about Eidim Zomemim. Eidim Zomemim are when there are witnesses to prove that other witnesses are lying!



Hilchos Nedarim - Perek Gimmel

Today the Rambam explains what is different about a Shevuah and a Neder, and the halachos that are different for each kind.



Chodesh Elul

We learned in Hayom Yom that for important things we sometimes need a special zechus! In Elul, we try to do things that will bring us extra zechus, so that when we are judged on Rosh Hashana, Hashem will give us a sweet and happy year!

One thing we do in Elul for that special zechus is to check our Tefillin and Mezuzos, to make sure they are still kosher. Even though the halacha says you only really need to check them two times every SEVEN years, we check them every year!

Besides for bringing Mezuzos to the sofer to make sure that they are kosher, we need to make sure that they are on right! We need to make sure we have Mezuzos on all of the rooms that need them (even some big closets!), that they are hung up at the right height, and they are on the right side of the door. (Here are some of those halachos: When you bring your mezuzos to the sofer, it is a good time to also ask and make sure you are hanging your mezuzos up correctly!


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Yehi Chevod

At the beginning of Pesukei Dezimra we say a bracha, the bracha of Boruch She’amar. This way we start (and later end) Pesukei Dezimra with a bracha.

The main part of Pesukei Dezimra (as the Chachomim set it up) is the last six kapitelach of Tehillim. These kapitelach are the main praise of Hashem which prepare us for speaking to Hashem in Shemoneh Esrei!

The Chachomim also added later some other paragraphs to Pesukei Dezimra.

One of them is the paragraph after Boruch She’amar, which starts with the posukYehi Chevod.”

Yehi Chevod has 18 sentences, mainly pesukim from Tehillim. In Yehi Chevod, we speak about how we should have bitachon in Hashem, who will save us from whatever is bothering us. Yehi Chevod helps put us into a good mood, so that we are happy and free of worries! This way we will be able to praise Hashem with our whole heart!



Order of Brachos

If we are about to eat a bunch of different foods, we need to figure out which foods to make a bracha on first!

Before we start, we make sure that we don’t have any fruits from the Shivas Haminim. There are special halachos with the Shivas Haminim, which often change the order. We will IY”H learn their special halachos later.

The first thing we do is to figure out if we have foods that are more than one bracha. If we do, we start going through each bracha in order: Mezonos, Hagafen, Ha’eitz and Ha’adamah (these two brachos are together for the order of brachos), and then Shehakol.

Then after we know which bracha comes first, we look at the foods that have the same bracha. One bracha at a time, we figure out which food we should choose to make the bracha on. We try to make the bracha on the most important food of each bracha:

1) Whole — We look to see if we have a food that is WHOLE, not cut up or broken. That is considered the most important food, and we make a bracha on that food.

What if we don’t have anything that is whole, or we have more than one whole food to choose between? Then we go on to the next question:

2) Choviv — Which of these foods with the same bracha is most important to US? Which do we like more in general, or want to eat more now? We choose this food to say a bracha on.

For the order of brachos, we put Ha’eitz and Ha’adamah together, even though Ha’eitz is more specific. If the food is whole or more important to us, we make that bracha first.

But if none of the food is more Choviv to us, we say Ha’eitz before Ha’adamah.

See Birchos Hanehenin Perek Yud

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



Kimei Tzeischa Me'eretz Mitzrayim

The Navi Micha saw in his nevuos the time before Moshiach comes. Seeing all of the troubles the Yidden would go through made Micha cry out to Hashem. He asked Hashem to take care of the Yidden the way Hashem took care of the Yidden in the time of Moshe Rabbeinu!

Hashem answered Micha, “I heard what you asked, and I will do it!”

כִּימֵי צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אַרְאֶנּוּ נִפְלָאוֹת

Kimei Tzeischa Me’Eretz Mitzrayim — Just like in the time of coming out of Mitzrayim, when I made tremendous nisim

Arenu Niflaos — I will show you wonders in the time of the Geulah!

Based on this posuk, we learn many thing about the Geulah! Since we know so much about the Geulah from Mitzrayim, both in Gashmius and in Ruchnius, this teaches us so much about how things will be when Moshiach comes! We can find these explanations in maamarim throughout Chassidus, and especially in the Rebbe’s Torah!


The Rebbe points out that Micha only got this beautiful promise after he asked Hashem for it! We see from here that we need to ask Hashem for the Geulah, and that when we do, Hashem will answer us and make it happen!

See Micha perek Zayin posuk Tes-Vov, and Sefer Hasichos 5751 chelek Beis p. 474 and ha’ara 54 (Hebrew)

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