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Parshas Vayikra - Shlishi with Rashi

In Chumash today, Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu more about the Mincha korban — the korban made of flour, that poor people can give, since flour doesn’t cost as much as an animal or a bird!

In yesterday’s Chumash, Hashem told Moshe about three kinds of Korban Mincha — one that is just plain flour, one that is baked, and one that is fried. All of these kinds of Korban Mincha need to have flour, oil, spices, and salt!

Hashem taught Moshe Rabbeinu about another kind of Korban Mincha, called the Minchas Marcheshes. It should be cooked in a pot with a lot of oil, deep fried!

The fifth and last kind of Korban Mincha is called Minchas Bikurim (or “Minchas Ha’omer”). Just like Bikurim are the FIRST of the fruits that grow, Minchas Bikurim is also from the FIRST barley that grows. The flour for this Mincha should not be ground very well, it should still have big pieces of barley.

For every Korban Mincha, the kohen should take part of it to burn on the Mizbeiach, and the rest he should keep to eat himself. It still has a lot of kedusha, and that’s why it’s only for the kohen to eat!

Hashem told Moshe to be very careful not to make a Korban Mincha chometz’dik! Only the “Shtei Halechemkorban we bring on Shavuos was made of chometz.

Hashem told Moshe that the Yidden should not put anything in ANY kind of korban to make it sweet, like honey or juice. Only the Bikurim had dates with honey inside of them.

Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu that EVERY korban (not just a Korban Mincha) needs to have salt!

Rashi tells us that Hashem was keeping a promise! When Hashem made the world, He separated the water into water over the sky, and water on the earth, in the oceans and seas. The salty water that was on the earth complained to Hashem, it didn’t want to be on the bottom! Hashem promised that it would be rewarded for being the lower water: Salt from the sea would be brought with all of the Korbanos, and once a year water would be poured on the Mizbeiach! That’s why the posuk calls this “Bris Melach,” the promise of salt, because it is the promise that Hashem gave during the creation of the world, that the salt will be used for korbanos.



135 - 139

In a time of trouble for Yidden, it has always been the minhag to say Tehillim.

As we know, Tehillim has a tremendous koach to protect Yidden and help them during hard times.

The Rebbe adds that there is something we should be doing TOGETHER with saying Tehillim: We should be giving tzedakah!

Tzedakah also has a special koach of teshuvah, so Hashem will forgive us for anything we did wrong and take away any not-good gezeiros!

With the koach of Tehillim TOGETHER with the koach of tzedakah, we will surely be able to bring a yeshuah to Yidden.

See sicha Chai Elul Tof-Shin-Mem-Hey (English essay)



Likutei Amarim Perek Lamed-Zayin

So far in this perek, we learned something so special about mitzvos, especially the mitzvah of tzedakah! Mitzvos fill the world with kedusha, and get it ready for the Geulah! This is exactly the job Hashem sent the neshama in this world to do.

But what about learning Torah? Don’t we say every day at the end of brachos, “Talmud Torah Keneged Kulam” — that learning Torah is more important than everything?

Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us three special maalos of learning Torah:

1) We are using a more pnimius’dike part of ourselves when we learn Torah!

Our neshama has three levushim, three ways to use the guf: It can make the guf think something (Machshava), say something (Dibur), or do something (Maaseh). When we do mitzvos, we mainly use our Maaseh. But when we learn Torah, we use our Machshava and Dibur, which are more pnimius’dik than Maaseh.

2) Even if a person does many mitzvos, it doesn’t change the Yetzer Hara into a Yetzer Tov. But learning a lot of Torah can CHANGE our thinking into a way of kedusha!

The main kochos we use to do mitzvos (our midos) are also used very much by the Yetzer Hara. Because of that, most people are only able to USE those kochos, but not to change them into kedusha. But the koach we use for Torah, our sechel, can be changed into kedusha by learning a lot of Torah!

3) The Elokus which shines into the neshama when a person learns Torah is higher than what shines into a person when he does mitzvos!

The Chachomim were speaking about these maalos when they told us that Torah is the most important thing!



Chof-Ches Adar

The year the Hayom Yom was written, it was a Shana Me’uberes, a leap year. In a Shana Me’uberes, there are TWO months of Adar! We want to learn all of the Hayom Yoms, so this year we learn the Hayom Yom from BOTH months!

Chof-Ches Adar Alef

If you look in the Siddur, there are many things we say before and after saying Shema at night! For example, the posuk “Beyodcha Afkid Ruchi,” which even little children say, is all the way at the end of the Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita!

Today the Rebbe tells us the Minhag Chabad about what parts of Kriyas Shema we skip on Shabbos and Yom Tov, which pesukim we say three times, and that we say the word Emes at the end of Shema. The Rebbe also tells us minhagim about Tikun Chatzos (which we don’t say nowadays).

All of these minhagim are already printed in the Siddur, so if you look inside when you say Kriyas Shema you’ll do it all like it says in today’s Hayom Yom!

Chof-Ches Adar Sheini

Even though some do not have the minhag to add aything in bentching by a bris, it IS our minhag to say a special Horachaman in bentching by a Bris Milah.

Here’s something that the Frierdiker Rebbe once said at a Bris:

At a bris, we say “Kesheim shenichnas lebris, kein yikones leTorah, leChupah, ul’Maasim Tovim!” Since the baby had his bris, we ask Hashem that he should also live a life of Torah, get married, and do a lot of mitzvos!

It is our minhag to start paying for tuition so the baby can learn in yeshiva when he gets older!

Then the Frierdiker Rebbe gave money, saying “this is for the Yeshiva!”



Shiur #232 - Mitzvas Asei #101

Today’s mitzvah is a mitzvah we are reviewing. This mitzvah is about the tumah of a person who has Tzoraas. This includes all of the halachos abut this kind of tumah: What tzoraas looks like, when the Metzora needs to be put into quarantine, when the hair around the tzoraas needs to be shaved before the quarantine, and how the tumah is passed on.



Hilchos Keilim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about what the Torah calls a Keili, so we will know if something can become Tomei.

Perek Tes teaches us that if a keili doesn’t have its own name, it’s not counted as a keili by itself, because it is botul and is part of something else.

Perek Yud has the halachos about parts of keilim, and tells us when they can become tomei.

Perek Yud-Alef has the halachos about when a broken keili is still counted as a keili — when we can still use it. So even though it is broken, it can still become tomei (even though usually a broken keili can’t become tomei.)



Hilchos To'ein Venit'an - Perek Alef

In today’s Rambam, we start to learn the details of the halachos the Torah tells us to do if two people come to Beis Din with an argument over money or property. Very often one of them needs to make a shevuah, a special kind of promise, that they don’t owe anything.

If two people come to Beis Din and agree about part of the money — like if Reuven says “you owe me $100!” and Shimon says, “I owe you money, but only $50” — then Shimon needs to make a shevuah that he only owes $50 and pay the money right away.



When We Can't Do Mitzvos

Many many years ago, the cruel Russian Czar made a terrible new decree. He kidnapped young Jewish children, some just five years old, and took them to be part of the Russian army.

The poor children were beaten and forced to listen to the army officers. They couldn’t keep kosher or Shabbos. They couldn’t wear a yarmulka or tzitzis. Many of them could hardly remember anything about Yiddishkeit, since they were taken away from their homes when they were so young.

It was a very sad time for the Yidden.

The Mitteler Rebbe spoke about these young soldiers, called Cantonists. The Mitteler Rebbe said how precious each of their mitzvos are to Hashem.

The Mitteler Rebbe said that when they keep the mitzvos that they CAN do with a full heart and the best way they can, and when they feel bad about the mitzvos they CAN’T keep right now, which shows how much they want to do them, Hashem is so happy with their Avodah!

Many years later, the Rebbe spoke again about the Cantonists.

It was during a very hard time in Russia. The Russian government wanted to stop all Yidden from keeping Torah and mitzvos! They would force children to come to the public schools, where they would teach them not to believe in Hashem, chas veshalom. They did not let Yidden learn Torah or celebrate the Yomim Tovim.

Many Yidden tried to do these things secretly. They were sometimes able to learn a little bit of Torah, or to get a chance to put on Tefillin. They tried to keep their children home from school on Shabbos. But there were so many mitzvos that they couldn’t keep!

The Rebbe said that just like with the Cantonists, the Yidden in Russia should know that Hashem is so happy with their Avodah! When they keep the mitzvos that they CAN do with a full heart, and they feel bad about the mitzvos that they are NOT able to do, which shows how much they WANT to do them, then it is very precious to Hashem!

With what is going on in the world today, many of us are also not able to keep all of the mitzvos in the best way. We can’t go to shul or daven with a minyan. We can’t do the mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim or Bikur Cholim like we usually do. So many mitzvos are hard for us now!

But we know that just like with the Cantonists, our Avodah is very special to Hashem! When we keep the mitzvos we CAN do with a full heart, and we feel bad about the mitzvos that we CAN’T do right now, which shows how much we really care about the mitzvos, we are making Hashem very happy!

See maamar Parshas Yisro Tof-Shin-Chof-Daled


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Avadim Hayinu

In Biur Tefillah, we are preparing for Pesach by going through the Haggadah to understand it a little better.

In the beginning of Maggid, the children ask the Mah Nishtanah, the questions about why we see so many different things at the seder. This is a preparation for understanding what we are celebrating on the night of Pesach.

We start explaining what is special about the night of Pesach with the words “Avadim Hayinu,” that we were slaves to Paraoh, and then Hashem took us out.

Towards the end of Maggid, we also say a paragraph taken from the Mishna, saying “Bechol Dor Vador Chayav Adam Liros Es Atzmo Ke’ilu Hu Yatza MiMitzrayim” — every person needs to see himself as if he came out of Mitzrayim.

How do we do that?

The Rambam explains that we are supposed to really be able to imagine ourselves as slaves in Mitzrayim. We should think about how hopeless we would feel, how there was so much work and so much pain. Then we should think about how happy we feel that we aren’t slaves stuck in Mitzrayim anymore!

In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe explains that in a deeper way, Yetziyas Mitzrayim isn’t something that just happened more than 3330 years ago far away in a place called Mitzrayim. Every day we are supposed to see ourselves as if we came out of Mitzrayim, because this really happens to us every day!

Our guf is like a Mitzrayim. It makes us stuck, keeps us from doing things we know we should, and tries to get us to do things that aren’t good for our neshama. We can sometimes feel like slaves because of our guf!

But our neshama is NOT stuck. Our neshama is a piece of Hashem and always connected to Hashem! We can take our neshama out of the Golus of the Guf, by making it the most important thing in our life. We do this by showing how we are connected to Hashem through Torah and mitzvos, starting with davening at the beginning of the day. This way, we are really having Yetziyas Mitzrayim every day!

On Pesach we have a mitzvah to really spend time thinking about this, discussing it and reliving it at the seder, which will help us feel this in a stronger way every day of the year!

See Rambam Hilchos Chomeitz U’Matzah perek Zayin, halacha Vov; and Tanya perek Lamed-Alef and Mem-Zayin



Maos Chitim

One of the things that the Rebbe would speak about every year is Maos Chitim.

Before Pesach, it is very important to give Maos Chitim, tzedakah to those who need so they will have enough money to buy what they need for Pesach. Of course, it is best to give it early enough so they will have plenty of time to cook it and get it ready!

Especially in these hard times, we should look out for each other to make sure everyone has what they need. Part of Maos Chitim is to help make sure that everyone we know has what they need for Pesach, especially if it is hard to get it.

If your city has its own Maos Chitim fund, that is a very important place to give tzedakah to.

Here are some other places we can give online:

- Colel Chabad (Eretz Yisroel) - http://colelchabad.org
- Chevra Simchas Shabbos V’Yom Tov (Crown Heights) - http://www.cssy.org
- The Shluchim Fund (Shluchim worldwide) - http://theshluchimfund.com
- Adopt a Family (Anash and Shluchim in Eretz Yisroel) - http://charityforisrael.com

The Rebbe says in a sicha that together with giving as much money as we are able to for Maos Chitim, we should also give RuchniusMaos Chitim” by teaching people how to keep Pesach properly! (26 Adar 5751)

See Shevach Hamoadim, Kitzur Hilchos Pesach

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



Doing Mitzvos During Golus

In Musaf on Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh, we ask Hashem to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and we’ll be able to bring the korbanosKemitzvas Retzonecha,” like the mitzvos of Your Will.

We will only be able to do Hashem’s mitzvos properly, the way Hashem wants, when Moshiach comes.

Still, we shouldn’t think that since it’s not going to be done right until Moshiach comes, we shouldn’t bother trying now. A Yid needs to do whatever he is able to do, and Hashem will make it complete when Moshiach comes!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef p. 221

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