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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Avraham Avinu bought Me’aras Hamachpeila to bury Sarah.

Sarah heard about the Akeidah, how Avraham had been about to bring her only son as a korban, and that he was saved at the last minute. It was too much shock for her, and it caused her to pass away. She was 127 years old.

Rashi shows us how the way the Torah tells us Sarah’s age (100 and 20 and 7, instead of 127) tells us about the greatness of Sarah. Sarah’s whole life was good in every way — she had the good parts about being young even when she was old. Hashem had made her look young and beautiful again before she had Yitzchak, and she stayed that way for the rest of her life! Sarah was a tzadeikes, and passed away without any aveiros.

As we learned in the end of last week’s parsha, after the Akeidah, Avraham went to Be’er Sheva. When he heard that Sarah passed away, he came to Chevron, where she was, to mourn for her. He wanted to bury her in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, a cave which belonged to one of the people of Cheis. He asked the Bnei-Cheis if he could buy part of their land to bury Sarah.

The Bnei-Cheis at first offered Avraham to bury Sarah in one of their cemeteries, but Avraham wanted just Me’aras Hamachpeilah! He told them to ask Efron, who had bought the field where Me’aras Hamachpeilah was, if he could buy it. He told them that he was ready to pay its full price.

Efron at first said that he was ready to give it to Avraham for free — and the whole field, not just the cave!

But Avraham said that he wanted to PAY for the field! Efron pretended to be very nice and said, “Oh, you don’t have to pay me the 400 silver shekels that this field would cost! You can have it for free to bury your wife.”

Avraham could tell from the way Efron was speaking that Efron really wanted a HUGE amount of money! He paid Efron all 400 silver shekels, and now nobody could ever argue that Me’aras Hamachpeilah didn’t belong to Avraham.



88 - 89

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Pey-Ches and Pey-Tes.

Today’s two kapitelach of Tehillim teach us about the power of our Tefillos!

In Kapitel Pey-Ches, Dovid Hamelech asks Hashem for all of the Yidden, “Tavo Lefanecha Tefilasi!” Hashem, my Tefillah should come before you! And what is this Tefillah? That the Golus should end and Moshiach should come!

Right away in the next kapitel, it says “Chasdei Hashem Olam Ashira,” Hashem I will sing Your praises forever! We will praise Hashem forever because Hashem promises to bring Moshiach!

In a rally to children, the Rebbe said that this shiur in Tehillim shows us the koach of our Tefillah, asking for Moshiach to come! As soon as we ask Hashem for Moshiach, Hashem already promises to bring him!

See rally Chai Nisan Tof-Shin-Mem-Daled



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Ches

We are learning what the Alter Rebbe wrote to R’ Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, to comfort him after his son passed away.

All of the Torah learning and davening that the tzadik does during his lifetime brings down a big chayus of Hashem in Ruchnius, but it is hidden. When the tzadik passes away, all of his accomplishments during his lifetime come together and make a very strong chayus from Hashem, but this time it shines in the world!

This chayus is so strong and special that it makes Hashem forgive the Yidden for even big aveiros, and even if they were done on purpose!

That’s why the Torah talks about how Miriam the tzadeikes passed away, right next to the place where the Torah teaches about the Parah Adumah. Because the Parah Adumah ALSO forgives the Yidden for such big aveiros!

This great chayus from the tzadik is “Poel Yeshuos Bekerev Ha’aretz,” it brings great brachos to all of the Yidden!



Yud-Ches Mar-Cheshvan

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us some corrections in the Torah Ohr, from the notes of the Rebbe Rashab.

(One year (Tof-Shin-Chof-Hey, 5725), the Rebbe asked the Chassidim to learn the Likkutei Torah or Torah Ohr of the parsha every week, and the Rebbe gave a special Lechaim at the weekly Shabbos farbrengens to the Chassidim who did it!

In Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis, the Rebbe asked again to learn Torah Ohr and Likutei Torah, just like we learn Rambam every day.)



Shiur #133 - Mitzvas Asei #127

Today we learn again the same mitzvah we learned yesterday: We need to take Maaser Rishon, 1/10th of the food that we grow, and give it to the Leviim. This mitzvah, along with the other presents from what we grow, is kept only in Eretz Yisroel.

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

Perek Zayin: One of the halachos we learn in this perek is that if we decide that certain fruits will be maaser, we aren’t allowed to switch it for different fruits.

Perek Ches: What happens if what was set aside for maaser got mixed up? One halacha is that if a person has 100 barrels of wine, and decided that one of them is maaser but forgot which one, he takes some of the wine from each of the barrels and mixes it together! Then he gives that wine for maaser.

Perek Tes: We learn about demai — food that we’re not sure if maaser was taken or not. If an Am Ha’aretz (someone who doesn’t know halacha) says that he took maaser, the food is demai, which means we aren’t sure that the maaser was actually taken right. There are many halachos of what to do with this demai.



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Hey

We learn about today’s mitzvah of not bringing a korban with honey or Chometz, and other kinds of things we can’t use for korbanos — like using stolen wood for the fire on the Mizbeiach. We also learn about using salt with the Korban.



Don't Be Embarrassed to Ask!

Is asking questions when we are learning a good thing, or should we just accept what we are taught with Kabolas Ol?

In the farbrengen of Chof Cheshvan Tof-Shin-Mem-Vov, the Rebbe spoke about how important it is to understand what we are learning in Chassidus. The Rebbe brought the Mishna that says, “Lo Habayshan Lomeid,” a person who is too embarrassed to ask will not end up learning! We need to ask questions so we will be able to understand.

The Rebbe also brought some other places in Torah which seem to say the opposite:

The Mishna tells us that Az Ponim, someone who is chutzpadik, belongs in the opposite place of Gan Eden! Isn’t it chutzpadik to ask questions instead of trusting our teachers?

And what about Naaseh Venishma, to do and then to understand? Aren’t we supposed to just do what we are told to do, and not worry about understanding why at first?

The Rebbe explained then that we SHOULD keep asking until we understand!

Asking questions isn’t chutzpadik if we ask in the right way. We don’t say “That makes no sense!” or “I don’t like that!” We ask our questions in a kavodike way. We know that it is Torah and it MUST be true, and that if we keep asking questions, we will start to understand it too.

We also don’t have to worry about Naaseh Venishma when it comes to learning. Naaseh Venishma is with mitzvos — that we should DO mitzvos even if they don’t make sense to us completely. But learning Torah is different! Part of the mitzvah of learning Torah is to understand it in our own minds!

The Chachomim and the Rebbeim all want us to understand the Torah they taught us. We should keep asking, without feeling embarrassed, until the Torah is clear in our minds!

See sicha Chof Cheshvan 5746

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At the beginning of Pesukei Dezimra, we said the bracha of Boruch She’amar. Then we say the kapitelach of Tehillim and pesukim of Pesukei Dezimra. We end off with the bracha of Yishtabach, which praises Hashem using many different expressions.

In some seforim, it says that the first part of Yishtabach was written by Shlomo Hamelech. This is hinted to in the worlds “Shimcha La’ad Malkeinu HoKeil,” which has the Roshei Teivos of Shlomo!

Some seforim also bring that the end of Yishtabach was written by Avraham Avinu. We can see this hinted in the Roshei Teivos of the last phrases of Yishtabach. Starting with the words “Keil Ha’hodaos,” the phrases spell out the name of Avraham Avinu!



Fighting for a Mitzvah

If Tatty asks someone to bring him his hat and jacket for bentching, should we all fight over who gets to do the mitzvah?

We love mitzvos!

But even if we love them very much, it is NOT a mitzvah to fight to get to do a mitzvah ourselves. So, for example, a person shouldn’t fight to be the chazan in shul, or to do Gelilah for the Sefer Torah.

We learn this from what it says in the Mishnah about the kohanim and the Lechem Hapanim:

In the Beis Hamikdash, there were 12 loaves of bread for the Lechem Hapanim and a lot of kohanim who wanted the mitzvah of eating them! The tznuim (the aidel ones) didn’t even stretch out their hands, while the gargeranim (the greedy ones) grabbed all of it. The aidel kohanim knew that it is NOT a mitzvah to fight for the mitzvah!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Nun-Gimmel, se’if Chof-Tes

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



Not Losing Anything

When Moshiach comes, will we have to leave our big beautiful house and move to a small apartment in Eretz Yisroel? Will we have to give away our toys and go learn Torah all day?

Some people think that when Moshiach comes, they going to have to give away all of the good things they have in the time of Golus. That makes them not want Moshiach chas veshalom! They think that when Moshiach comes, they won’t be able to play games anymore, they’ll just have to go to school and learn Torah all day.

The Rebbe told us something very interesting: The word “Geulah” has all of the letters of the word “Golah,” which means Golus, with just one extra letter (an alef)! Isn’t that strange? Shouldn’t Geulah have NOTHING to do with Golus?

There are two reasons why Golus and Geulah are so connected:

1) It is our Torah and mitzvos that BRING the Geulah. So Geulah is the letters of Golah, since Moshiach comes from the mitzvos we did in Golus!

2) Geulah isn’t changing into something new — most of the things we have in Golus will stay the same. We will have the same Gashmius things: Food, clothes, playgrounds, friends, amusement parks and iPods. So what’s the difference? It’s all hinted to in the alef!

Can you think of what this means? Later we will IY”H learn more about the Alef of Geulah!

See sicha of Parshas Emor 5751

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