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Parshas Lech Lecha - Chamishi with Rashi

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned how Avram won over the four kings, and how the king of Sedom was saved.

The king of Sedom was very happy that his city was rescued in the end. He offered Avram, “If you let all of the people go, you can keep all of the riches in my city!”

Avram answered, “I won’t take even a thread or a shoelace! But if any of my soldiers or my helpers want to take things, that is fine.”

Avram didn’t want the king of Sedom to be able to say that HE was the one who made Avram rich and famous. He wanted it to be clear that it was from Hashem, and because of what Hashem promised him!

After the war, Avram was worried. Maybe since Hashem made a neis for him to win the war, Hashem wouldn’t make any more nissim for him!

Hashem told Avram not to worry, he would get a lot of reward. Avram told Hashem that the only reward he really wanted was a child. “I have a very good student and servant, Eliezer. If I don’t have any children, he will get everything passed down to him. But he is not my child!”

Hashem told Avram that he WOULD have children! He told Avram to go outside, look up at the sky, and try to count the stars. “This is how many your children will be — you won’t be able to even count them!”

Avram believed that Hashem would do what He said. He didn’t even ask Hashem for a sign!



44 - 48

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 rest from our fighting with the Yetzer Hara, just like we rest on Shabbos from our hard work all week!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

Yesterday, we learned how in the Zohar, the Torah is called the “Eitz HaDaas Tov VaRa” — “the tree of knowledge, with good and not good.” How can we say that any part of the Torah is not good? We explained that the Torah IS only good, but it puts on the “clothes” of the world, so it will be easier for people in the world to learn it. Since the Gashmius of the world is mixed with good and not good, it makes it look like Torah is too.

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us we shouldn’t be surprised that the Torah could wear that kind of costume — the Shechinah wears these “clothes” too!

Gashmius in the world is mixed with good and not good. This is called Kelipas Noga (a “see-through peel,” with good inside). The good that is inside everything is the Shechinah!

The Shechinah is in Golus, since it is inside of a “wrapper” that is Kelipah. When we learn Torah (which also wears the “wrapper” of Kelipas Noga in the world), and understand what’s tomei and what’s tahor, what’s mutar and what’s asur, we take the Shechinah out of Golus!



Ches Mar-Cheshvan

Imagine that you got a message that the Rebbe wants you to come into Yechidus to speak to you. When you went into Yechidus to speak to the Rebbe, the Rebbe told you to do a special shlichus. Wouldn’t you be so excited to do exactly what the Rebbe asked from you?

This is what happens every time we do a mitzvah! Hashem is asking us to do something for Him — to wash negel vasser, to daven, or to learn Torah. Even though we’re just regular people, now we become very important, since we’re doing something especially for Hashem!

That’s what the word “mitzvah” means — in Aramaic, “tzavsa” (which is like the word “mitzvah”) means “connected.” When we do a mitzvah, we become connected to Hashem, like a great Chochom who asks for a special favor from a very simple person!

The Chachomim say that the reward for a mitzvah IS a mitzvah — “Schar Mitzvah Mitzvah!” Because the best reward for doing a mitzvah is that we become connected to Hashem!



Shiur #123 - Mitzvas Asei #121, #123, Lo Saasei #211, 212

Today’s mitzvos are about leaving parts of our fields for the poor.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #121) If stalks of wheat fall on the ground when we are gathering the wheat, we need to leave them for the poor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #211) It is asur for the owner of the field to take the leket!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט

3) (Mitzvas Asei #123) If we find some clusters of grapes that aren’t as good (like if they don’t have as many grapes as usual), we need to leave them for the poor.

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

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #212) The owner of the vineyard is not allowed to take these olelos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תְעוֹלֵל

The details of all of these mitzvos are explained in Mesechta Pe’ah.



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn about Pe’ah, and also the mitzvos of today’s Sefer Hamitzvos (plus one more mitzvah)! The first two perakim today are about Pe’ah, then we learn about Leket, Peret, and Olelos in the last perek.

Perek Beis: Pe’ah means leaving the corner of our fields for the poor. There are five conditions a field needs to have to be chayav in the mitzvah of Pe’ah:

1) It has to be a field of food (not like flax or cotton)
2) It has to grow from the ground (not like mushrooms)
3) It has to be guarded (to show that it belongs to someone) — not hefker
4) It has to all become ripe at the same time (not like figs, that all get ripe at different times)
5) It has to be something that can be stored for a long time, or dried and then stored (not like most vegetables)

Perek Gimmel: We learn how to do the mitzvah of Pe’ah in more than one field, or a field that is split up in a way that makes it become like two fields.

Perek Daled: When one or two stalks fall down when we are harvesting, they belong to the poor people — that’s Leket. But if they fell down because a person who was harvesting hurt himself, they don’t belong to the poor. We learn what happens if leket gets mixed up with the rest of that person’s grain.

Peret means one or two grapes that fall off the clusters when we are harvesting the grapes. They belong to the poor people. We are not allowed to put a basket under the vine to catch any grapes that fall, because that is stealing from the poor!

Finally we learn about Olelos. The Rambam says that they are called Olelos because an olel means a baby — and these grape clusters are still like babies, since they never grew up properly into big clusters of grapes. They need to be left for the poor — even if the WHOLE vineyard is full of them!



Hilchos Biyas Hamikdash - Perek Daled

We learn about how a kohen who is tamei is not allowed to do ANY avodah in the Beis Hamikdash.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

After the war with the kings, Avraham Avinu was worried. So many nisim had happened to him, he was afraid he had used up all of his reward from Hashem! But Hashem told Avraham not to be worried, his reward would be very great.

Why was Avraham Avinu so worried about his reward? The Rambam tells us that Avraham Avinu is an example of serving Hashem because he LOVED Hashem, not serving Hashem to get a reward!

The Rebbe explains that for Avraham Avinu, the reward wasn’t for HIM. He wanted everyone to see that by serving Hashem properly, you get good things. He wanted the reward so that people would want to serve Hashem.

That’s why Avraham Avinu was worried that he used up his reward. Then people might not realize how good it is to serve Hashem! Hashem promised him that he would be rewarded fully, and his shlichus would be successful.

Likutei Sichos Chelek Chof, p. 44; Dvar Malchus Lech Lecha

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Before Chodesh Elul, we started to go through the davening again from the beginning. We took a break for the Yomim Noraim, and to learn about how davening is a good time to strengthen our bitachon in Hashem. Now we are going back to learning about Pesukei Dezimra:

In Pesukei Dezimra, we say the last kapitelach of Tehillim, which all start and end with the word “Hallelukah.”

When we say the last kapitel of the Tehillim, we read the last line twice! “Kol Haneshama Tehalel Kah Hallelukah, Kol Haneshama Tehalel Kah Hallelukah.”

Why do we say it twice?

The Avudraham says that it shows that we don’t want the holy words of Tehillim to end! We say the last line twice to show that we enjoy saying these words. This way, the Satan can’t argue that we just want to rush through davening. We LOVE davening!

(That is also why we repeat a line at the end of Az Yashir — “Hashem Yimloch Le’olam Va’ed, Hashem Yimloch Le’olam Va’ed.”)



Intertwining Hands

The Torah gives us instructions for some things that don’t seem like a big deal at all — like the way we hold our hands!

We don’t intertwine the fingers of both hands together, meaning that each finger is between fingers from the other hand. The Alter Rebbe brings in Shulchan Aruch that the reason is because it brings down din on the person from Shomayim.

In the seforim of the Arizal, it says that he warned his talmidim to be very careful not to do this, and to teach their families as well.

Nowadays, many goyim have a minhag to hold their hands this way when speaking or praying. Because of this, some say it is ALSO asur because of “Uvechukoseihem Lo Seileichu,” that we don’t follow the minhagim of goyim.

An artist once made a painting of the Rebbe. He didn’t know that it was asur to intertwine fingers, and he painted the Rebbe’s fingers intertwined. When the Rebbe saw the picture, he complimented it, but asked the artist to change the way the hands were, because it is against halacha to have them that way.

However, if we don’t intertwine the fingers completely together, like if we put two fingers together, it is not considered intertwined, and we are allowed to do that.

Here is a link to see what intertwined fingers look like, and a link to read this full story of the Rebbe.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Tzadik-Alef se’if vov, Piskei Teshuvos vol. 1 p. 749

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



Saving Lot

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned about how Avram fought four mighty kings to save his nephew Lot. There is a deeper meaning to this story also — showing that Avram was getting ready for Moshiach!

There is a posuk in Tehillim that says, “Motzosi Dovid Avdi,” Hashem says, “I have found Dovid, My servant.”

The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah) tells us where Hashem found Dovid Hamelech: In Sedom!

When was Dovid Hamelech in Sedom?

Dovid Hamelech comes from Rus, who was a giyores from the nation of Moav. Moav comes from Lot… who lived in Sedom!

Based on this, seforim explain that the story of Avram’s Mesiras Nefesh in yesterday’s Chumash was not just to save Lot, but to bring the Geulah for the Yidden later!

They explain that the real reason why Nimrod captured Lot was to stop the coming of Moshiach! He knew that Moshiach (who comes from Dovid Hamelech) would come from the family of Lot. He didn’t want the Yidden in the future to be saved by Moshiach!

When Avram heard that Lot was captured, he knew that it was very important to save him. Not only would he be saving his nephew, but he would be saving Malchus Beis Dovid, which would come from his nephew Lot! Moshiach, who comes from Malchus Beis Dovid, would later save ALL of the Yidden!

This is a deeper reason why Avram felt that it was so important to have Mesiras Nefesh to save Lot — and he did!

This is one of the deeper meanings of the story in yesterday’s Chumash — that Avram had Mesiras Nefesh and was shown nisim from Hashem in order to pave the way for Moshiach to come!

When we also have Mesiras Nefesh to bring Moshiach, like when we do a mitzvah even when it is hard for us in order to bring the Geulah faster, we are following in the footsteps of Avraham Avinu!

Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah Al HaTorah p. 138, from Sefer Beis Yisroel

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