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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Avraham buries Sarah in Me’aras Hamachpeilah. He also makes Eliezer his shliach to find a shidduch for Yitzchak.

Avraham bought Me’aras Hamachpeilah, and all of the people of Cheis saw that he paid for it, and now it belonged to him without a doubt. Avraham buried Sarah there.

Three years later, Avraham decided that it was time for Yitzchak to marry Rivkah. By now, Avraham was 140 years old! Hashem had given Avraham this special son, and Avraham knew it was his job to make sure that Yitzchak would get married and have children, so that they would continue Avraham’s work.

Avraham told Eliezer his servant to promise him to find Yitzchak a wife. He shouldn’t find a girl from Canaan, instead, he should go to Charan, where Avraham’s family is from. (Even though the people of Canaan agreed that Hashem is in charge of the whole world, they didn’t believe it strongly enough to ACT differently, so Avraham didn’t want his son to marry any of them.)

Eliezer asked if it would be okay if Yitzchak would move to Charan, because maybe a girl from there wouldn’t want to go live far away from her family.

Avraham answered no — Yitzchak CAN’T move to a place like Charan! Hashem wants Yitzchak to stay in Canaan (Eretz Yisroel). Because he was brought up as a korban to Hashem (at the Akeidah), it is not appropriate for him to leave Eretz Yisroel. Since Hashem wants Yitzchak to stay there, He will send a malach to help make sure things work out!

But since Eliezer was worried, Avraham told him that he just had to try. If the girl from Charan wouldn’t want to move to Canaan, the promise would be over, and Eliezer could look for a girl from the family of Aner, Eshkol, or Mamre.

(Eliezer hoped that Avraham would choose HIS daughter, but Avraham said no, because Eliezer was from the family of Canaan, who was cursed.)

Avraham asked Eliezer to make a shevuah, a very strong promise, that he would go and do this shlichus, to go to Charan and find the shidduch.

(To make a Torah promise, you need to hold onto something holy. For example, someone making a promise in Beis Din will hold onto a Sefer Torah. But before Matan Torah, it wasn’t so easy to find something that was holy! Even though the Avos kept the mitzvos and even used Gashmius’dike things for mitzvos, the world wasn’t able to hold onto kedusha. So as soon as the mitzvah was done, the kedusha went away. Only after Matan Torah could we use a piece of leather for Tefillin, and then have that leather stay holy forever! There was only one mitzvah that Avraham had specifically from Hashem with a Gashmius thing — his Bris Milah. Since that was a specific mitzvah from Hashem, it stayed holy even afterwards! So Eliezer promised with Avraham’s bris.)

Eliezer made the shevuah that he would do the shlichus as Avraham asked him.



90 - 96

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Tzadik through Tzadik-Vov.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Tzadik-Daled, there is a posukAshrei Hagever Asher Teyasrenu Kah, UmiToras’cha Selamdenu.” “Fortunate is the man who Hashem makes him suffer, and You teach him from Your Torah.”

Why is he fortunate?

Sometimes feeling uncomfortable can be good for us!

If a baby never got uncomfortable about just being able to crawl, would he ever learn how to walk or run? Really we are very fortunate when we start being uncomfortable about being how we are — this helps us to try to find ways to grow and become better!

But what should we do if we can’t figure out what to fix, but we STILL feel like something is wrong? The answer to this is in the end of the posuk: “UmiTorascha Selamdenu” — We should learn Torah! The Torah is the chochmah of Hashem, and just like Hashem has no limits (Ein Sof), the Torah has no limits! When we learn it, we will find also that there is no limit to growing in Yiddishkeit! We can always find another part of our life that we can make better than before. Then we will feel very happy that Hashem gave us this chance to grow!

See farbrengen Motzei Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sarah 5740 sicha 1



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

Now we are starting a new letter from the Alter Rebbe. This letter will help us appreciate how special the halachos of Torah are, since they help us do the mitzvos properly.

But first we will learn an explanation of what the Arizal says — that a neshama needs to keep coming back into this world (gilgul) in order to fulfill all of the 613 mitzvos that it is possible for the neshama to keep. The Alter Rebbe explains to us why the neshama needs to have all 613 mitzvos, because they are the “clothes” for all 613 parts of the neshama to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden.

Sometimes we need special “clothes” to appreciate things! The light of the sun is so bright that we need to use a special kind of sunglasses to look at it. We need warm clothes to be able to go outside and enjoy the snow. The same thing is true about being able to see the light of Hashem in Gan Eden! The light of Hashem is so strong that the neshama can only enjoy it if it has certain “clothes.”

When Moshe Rabbeinu was on Har Sinai to learn the Torah from Hashem, he had to go inside of a cloud. From there, he was able to see Hashem!

When the neshama is in Gan Eden, it needs special “clothes” to see Hashem too. Those “clothes” are the mitzvos we do in this world! If we are missing these mitzvos, Chas Veshalom, we will be missing what we need to be able to see the light of Hashem in Gan Eden!



Yud-Tes Mar-Cheshvan

Today is 30 days before the Yom Tov of Yud-Tes Kislev, the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus! Thirty days before a Yom Tov, we start learning about the Yom Tov. In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something the Alter Rebbe told someone in Yechidus, about what Chassidus is.

Chassidus accomplished something very special. It used to be that if a Yid wanted to learn about the greatness of Hashem, he would have to learn Kabbalah. But by learning Kabbalah, a person can feel it with their neshama, but can’t really understand it! Chassidus helped us take these very Ruchniyus’dike things and really understand them, by giving us examples from things we know about.

And that’s what the Alter Rebbe told a Chossid in Yechidus — that “Chassidus is Shema Yisroel.” This idea is hinted to in the words “Shema Yisroel!”

The word “Shema” is the Roshei Teivos of a posuk — “Se’u Marom Eineichem, Ure’u Mi Bara Eileh.” “Lift up your eyes very high, and see Who created all of these things (the whole world).”

This is what Chassidus does! It helps us lift up our eyes to Marom (which is much higher than Shomayim, much higher than a person can understand), and still be able to understand it! Chassidus gives us mashalim through things we already understand, so we have a way to learn about Ruchnius’dike things that our Gashmius minds usually would not be able to understand. This way we can “see” that the Aibershter is the Creator of the whole world!



Shiur #134 - Mitzvas Asei #127

(Mitzvas Asei #127) Today we again review the same mitzvahMaaser Rishon, to take 1/10th of the food that we grow in our fields, and give it to the Leviim.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Korach: כִּי אֶת מַעְשַׂר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ לַה׳ תְּרוּמָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Maasros.



Hilchos Maaser

In today’s Rambam, we learn many halachos about demai — food that we’re not sure if maaser was separated from it.

Perek Yud: This perek teaches us about what kind of person can be trusted if they say they took maaser, so that their food won’t be demai. We also learn about what happens when someone we CAN trust gives demai to another person.

Perek Yud-Alef: We learn about selling demai.

Perek Yud-Beis: This perek has halachos about when we CAN trust an Am Ha’aretz. For example, even a simple Yid by nature will tell the truth on Shabbos. They are also afraid of eating dimua, food that has Terumas Maaser or Terumah mixed in. So if anyone, even an Am Ha’aretz, says about food on Shabbos that maaser was taken from it, or they tell us that something is not dimua, they can be trusted.



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Vov

We learn that not only can the ANIMAL not have a mum, but ALL of the things on the Mizbeiach need to be good and not ruined! That means that the wood, the oil, the wine, and all of the other things we use can not be rotten or broken.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

Some people care very much about making a difference in the world. They work to open a big Chabad House, or teach classes to kids from all over their city. They are always looking for more ways to reach more people and teach them about Yiddishkeit.

Other people work very hard on their own avodah. They make sure they are davening with lots of kavana, they are careful with each of their mitzvos, and they make time to work on their midos and learn plenty of Torah.

Which do you think is more important?

We learn from Avraham Avinu that it is very important to have BOTH!

In today’s Chumash, in Sheini of Chayei Sarah, we learn that Avraham was “Zakein, Ba Bayamim.” “Avraham became old, advanced in days.” Of course, both of these can mean the same thing! But with these two expressions, the Torah is really teaching us about TWO things that Avraham had:

Avraham became Zakein — grown up in his own avodah. He came to recognize Hashem, and finished working on his own midos and connection to Hashem!

But Avraham ALSO became Ba Bayamim — grown up in his avodah with others. He had already done many important things by teaching other people about the existence of Hashem!

For our avodah to be in a way of Kedusha, we need to act like Avraham Avinu. We can’t just do shlichus or mivtzoyim with others, and we can’t just learn and daven on our own.

We need BOTH!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, p. 777

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By saying Yishtabach, we finish the part of davening called Pesukei Dezimra, where we praise Hashem. Now we are ready to go on to Shema. Then we will daven Shemoneh Esrei, where we will ask Hashem for all of our needs! But if we are davening with a minyan, we first say Kaddish and Barchu.

What is Barchu?

The Chazan says, “Barchu Es Hashem Hamevorach!” Let’s go bentch Hashem Who is blessed!

Everyone bows and answers, “Baruch Hashem Hamevorach Le’olam Va’ed!” Blessed is Hashem, the One Who is blessed, forever!

One of the reasons for saying Barchu now is from the Zohar. According to the Zohar, we need to make sure to bring the Shechinah into our minyan before we daven. We do this by bentching Hashem together first. Once the Shechinah is resting fully in our minyan, we can go daven together.

See Mesechta Shel Tefillah



Hefsek BeTefillah

In halacha, there are many times when we are supposed to do a mitzvah without any interruptions. For example, we don’t talk or do other things between washing our hands Netilas Yodayim and eating the challah. Washing our hands and eating challah are connected, and we can’t separate between them by making a hefsek, an interruption. (If someone makes a hefsek, where they were not supposed to, sometimes they need to start again.)

In davening, we also don’t make a hefsek between parts that are connected. Starting from Boruch She’amar, we don’t make a hefsek until after Shemoneh Esrei.

How are all of these parts connected?

Boruch She’amar is the bracha at the beginning of Pesukei Dezimra, and Yishtabach is the bracha at the end. The whole Pesukei Dezimra is meant to be sandwiched between brachos, so we don’t make a hefsek to separate it. Pesukei Dezimra is meant to be an introduction to Shemoneh Esrei. The Chachomim put Kriyas Shema right before Shemoneh Esrei for other reasons, but we try to keep Pesukei Dezimra as close to Shemoneh Esrei as we can, by not making any hefsek.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Alef

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

The name of something in Lashon Kodesh is more than just a name — it shows us what the thing really is.

If we look at the letters of “Golah” (Golus) and “Geulah,” we will see that they are almost exactly the same! The only difference is that Geulah has one extra letter: An Alef.

That’s because really, Geulah is made up of all of the things of Golus together with an Alef.

What does that mean?

Hashem created the world as an Olam, from the same word as Helem, hidden — a place of hiding. The world was made in a way that Hashem will be hidden, and the creations there can’t see that Hashem is the Creator.

Because of this, even though it’s such a beautiful world, many terrible things can happen. There can be wars, hunger, sickness and jealousy.

But the Alef changes all of this!

What is an Alef?

One of the things “Alef” means is “Aluf,” master.

When Moshiach comes, the Aluf, the Master of the world, won’t be hidden anymore. The Alef will appear! So even though all of the Gashmius of the world will be the same as it was in Golus, everyone and everything will recognize that Hashem is the Master of the world!

When Hashem isn’t hidden anymore at all, and the world is a world of Geulah, none of these things will be able to happen. There will be no more hunger, no more war, and no more jealousy. Everything will be good for everyone!

See farbrengen of Parshas Emor, Tof-Shin-Nun-Alef

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