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Parshas Lech Lecha - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Avraham Avinu does Hashem’s mitzvah to make a bris. Sarai gets a new name, Sarah, and they are promised that they will have a special son, Yitzchak!

Hashem promised Avraham that the Yidden will follow Hashem, and He will be their Hashem! He will give them the special land of Eretz Yisroel, and be especially close to the Yidden that live there.

And what does Avraham have to do to deserve this? To have a Bris Milah himself, and for every Jewish boy who is born.

Hashem then gave Sarai a new name: Sarah! (Hashem took a letter Yud away from her name — later He would give that Yud to Hoshea, and he would be called Yehoshua!)

Sarah will also become young again, and she will have a baby even though she is almost 90 years old! Avraham laughed, he was so happy! What a neis to have a baby when he is almost 100 years old!

Avraham told Hashem that he doesn’t even deserve such a neis — he would be happy if Yishmael would be a Yerei Shomayim. Hashem said that still, Avraham would have a son, and should name him Yitzchak. Only Yitzchak’s children will be Hashem’s special nation.

But Avraham shouldn’t feel bad for Yishmael — Hashem will give him brachos and he will have many many children.

Then Hashem finished speaking to Avraham, and the Shechinah went back up.

Avraham asked his friends, Aner, Eshkol and Mamrei, if he should do a bris. He wanted them to also have a part of it, so everyone would know that he is making this deal with Hashem! Mamrei was the only one who said it was a good idea to do anything for Hashem, Who made such nissim for Avraham!

Avraham gave himself a bris when he was 99, and Yishmael had one when he was 13. Hashem helped Avraham to do his own bris, since he was afraid his hands would shake. Avraham also gave a bris to everyone else in his house.



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach are Samach to Samach-Hey.

In Kapitel Samach, the first of today’s Tehillim, we have a posuk that says “Lemaan Yeichaltzun Yedidecha, Hoshia Yemincha Va’aneini.” (We also say it by the end of Shmoneh Esrei.)

The pesukim before this one talk about how Hashem sometimes makes a person have a hard time so they can show that they ALWAYS believe in Hashem. This posuk tells us that really “Hashem does this so that He can save them, and will help with His right hand and answer.” Really, the whole time Hashem wants to save the person, but he wants them to show that they believe in Hashem all the time. Then everyone will know they deserve their brachos.

We see that even though sometimes things are hard, it’s because Hashem wants to give us later something even better.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

Today’s Tanya is a letter the Alter Rebbe wrote to Chassidim after their Rebbe, Reb Mendel Horodoker, passed away.

While he was alive, the Chassidim would rely on the Rebbe to give advice in ruchnius things, and advice in gashmius things. In this letter, the Alter Rebbe comforts them, telling them that these things continue even after he passes away.

But first, the Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to know that when a Chossid acts like his Rebbe taught him, then the Rebbe is alive in him, and through him to the world around him.

The Rebbe told chassidim to learn this Igeres Hakodesh on Yud Shevat. It helps us understand how a tzadik lives forever and the connection chassidim have with their Rebbe after histalkus.



Yud-Alef Mar-Cheshvan

First, the Rebbe points out some corrections in the printed copy of Torah Ohr.

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe writes that the Rebbe Rashab wrote notes on the maamarPosach Eliyahu” (which is in Torah Ohr of Parshas Vayeira).

The Rebbe in each generation helps the chassidim understand the maamorim which were taught by the Rebbes before him. A chossid by himself can’t properly understand what he should do in his Avodas Hashem just by learning the Chassidus of the Alter Rebbe. We can see from this that the Rebbe Rashab wanted to make sure that the Chassidim in his time could understand what this maamar means for them.



Shiur #96 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #173, #175, #176, #177, #178

Today we learn even more mitzvos about eating Kosher!

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #173) We are not allowed to eat a non-kosher fish.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְשֶׁקֶץ יִהְיוּ לָכֶם מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ וְאֶת נִבְלָתָם תְּשַׁקֵּצוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Gimmel

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #175) We are not allowed to eat flying bugs.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: וְכֹל שֶׁרֶץ הָעוֹף טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם לֹא יֵאָכֵלוּ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #176) We are not allowed to eat crawling bugs.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לֹא יֵאָכֵל

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #177) We are not allowed to eat bugs that grow on rotten food.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְלֹא תְטַמְּאוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל הָאָרֶץ

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #178) We are not allowed to eat bugs that grow inside of fruits or seeds once they already came out of the fruit or seeds (even if they went back in later).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: לְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ לֹא תֹאכְלוּם כִּי שֶׁקֶץ הֵם



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

Perek Hey: We learn the halachos of Eiver Min Hachai, not eating meat that was taken from an animal while it was still alive.

Perek Vov: In this perek, we learn about the isur of eating blood. The Rambam teaches how we get meat ready to eat, by taking out the blood. One of the ways to do this is to soak the meat in water, and then pour salt on it to help the blood come out. Afterwards, we wash the meat in water until the water doesn’t turn red anymore. This is called Melicha.

(Nowadays, we usually don’t need to do this at home. When we buy meat or chicken from a kosher store, it has already been soaked and salted.)

Perek Zayin: The Rambam teaches us the halachos of cheilev, the pieces of fat from an animal that we are not allowed to eat. We need to take out these pieces of fat, along with certain veins that are asur because of eating blood. (The person who does this job is called a “Menaker.”)



Hilchos Rotzeiach

Today we learn the BIGGEST MITZVAH a person can do — to save the life of another Yid. The Rambam tells us that if a person saves another Yid it is like he saved the WHOLE world!

The Rebbe tells us that the same is true of helping a Yid to do a mitzvah and giving every child a good chinuch. It is also like saving their life, which the Rambam says is like saving the WHOLE world!



Leben Mit Der Tzeit

When we go to school, we learn Alef-Beis, Chumash, and Gemara. When we listen in class and get good marks on our tests, that means we are good students and good chassidim, right? Well, that’s part of it, but it’s not all!

The Rebbe teaches us that a Chossid is someone who doesn’t just daven and learn like a chossid, but someone who talks and plays with his friends like a chossid, who eats and drinks and walks around like a chossid! He speaks to other people the way a chossid should, with eidelkeit, and rechenen mit a tzveiten (sensitivity to others). Only when we live ALL THE TIME the way Chassidus teaches us, can we really be Chassidim.

The Rebbe tells us how Avraham Avinu, who we live with in this week’s parsha, was the first example of how to live this way!

From a letter of the Rebbe


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Vayevarech Dovid

The first half of Vayevarech Dovid is the words of Dovid Hamelech to the Yidden before he passed away. This was before the Beis Hamikdash was built, since it would only be built when Shlomo Hamelech was the king.

The second half of this paragraph, starting from the words “Vivarchu Sheim Kevodecha,” was written many years later. After the Churban of the first Beis Hamikdash, the Yidden were sent into Golus. Years passed, and they started to come back to Eretz Yisroel, hoping to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.

The Navi Nechemyah ben Chachalyah gathered together the Yidden. He told them to do a full teshuvah and return to Hashem with a full heart. He asked them to stand up and bentch Hashem, the Creator of the entire world.

Vecharos — One of the great things Hashem did was to make a bris with Avraham Avinu. Hashem chose his children to be His special nation, and took them out of Mitzrayim with great miracles!

These words of Nechemyah lead us into the next part of davening, where we describe those great miracles, especially of Kriyas Yam Suf.




When we get ready to make Kiddush, we fill up our becher with wine. Not only do we fill it up to the top, we pour even more, so the wine overflows!

The Gemara says that overflowing the cup is a siman bracha, a sign of bracha.

But, the Alter Rebbe says, we need to be careful not to spill wine on the floor. That isn’t kavod for the wine of Kiddush.

Because of this, we put a plate under our becher, so that the wine will pour into a keili and not onto the floor.

See Toras Menachem 5742, vol. 3, p. 1692, Shulchan Menachem vol. 2 p. 65

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



Bris Bein Habesarim

In this week’s parsha, Hashem promises Avraham that his children will get the WHOLE Eretz Yisroel, all 10 lands.

But first, the Yidden will need to go through a Golus of 400 years — Golus Mitzrayim.

Really, we won’t get the WHOLE Eretz Yisroel until Moshiach comes. So why does Hashem’s promise only talk about the Geulah from Mitzrayim?

The Maharal brings from the Medrash that the Torah uses the word “vegam” (“and also”) to hint to us that there will be more Golus after that one. Golus Mitzrayim was the main Golus, and every other Golus comes from it. Hashem was telling Avraham about EVERY Golus that would happen, and promised that at the end we would leave even this last GolusBirchush Gadol,” with great riches!

Gevuros Hashem perek Tes, Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah p. 259

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