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Shlishi with Rashi

As part of their shlichus to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim, Moshe and Aharon have already brought many of the makos.

Paraoh called for Moshe Rabbeinu and said, “Okay, you can go serve Hashem, and even bring your children. Just leave your animals here to prove you’re coming back.”

Moshe said, “We need all of our animals for korbanos. We’ll even need some of YOUR animals! Since we won’t know what Hashem will want us to bring for korbanos, maybe our own won’t be enough.”

Hashem made it hard for Paraoh to do teshuvah again, and Paraoh said, “No way! Go away from here! I don’t want to see you ever again!”

Moshe answered, “Yes indeed — I will not again come to see your face.”

10: Makas Bechoros (death of the firstborn)

Hashem told Moshe and Aharon that He would send one last makah: Every firstborn would be killed. Then Paraoh will finally send the Yidden out of Mitzrayim!

The Yidden should ask the Mitzriyim to give them gold and silver, so they will go out rich, like Hashem promised Avraham.



10 - 17

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Yud through Yud-Zayin.

In one of the pesukim in today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says, “Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid” — “I always place Hashem before me.”

In the first se’if of Shulchan Aruch, the Ramo brings this posuk. He explains that this is a “Klal Gadol BaTorah,” a basic inyan in Torah. A Yid should always remember that Hashem is in front of him, which will help him have Yiras Shomayim and act the way Hashem wants him to!

The Shulchan Aruch is a sefer that was written to make it clear for a Yid to know the halachos of how to live. That’s why it is called “Shulchan Aruch,” meaning a set table. When the table is already set, you just need to come and sit down, because everything is ready! In the Shulchan Aruch, R’ Yosef Caro, also known as the Mechaber because he put this sefer together, set out all of the halachos in a clear way, so that Yidden would not be confused what they should do.

But the Mechaber was a Sefardi, and there are some differences in halacha for Ashkenazim. There are also many minhagim kept by Ashkenazi Yidden, and some of them became halacha.

R’ Moshe Isserlis, known as the Ramo, lived in Krakow, Poland. He saw that the Shulchan Aruch was not enough on its own for Ashkenazi Yidden. He wrote a pirush on the Shulchan Aruch, which was called “Mapas Hashulchan,” “the tablecloth.” This pirush showed Yidden what to do whenever there was a difference in halacha between Ashnekazim and Sefardim. It made it possible for every Yid to follow the Shulchan Aruch, together with their minhagim! It brought tremendous achdus among Yidden.



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes-Vov

In today’s Tanya, we learn more about someone who serves Hashem (avado) and someone who “doesn’t serve Hashem” (lo avado).

The Alter Rebbe explains that the difference is that an “avado” does at least one tiny bit more than he is used to — he is working! So in the times of the Gemara, where everybody reviewed what they learned 100 times, an avado, someone who works to serve Hashem, would learn it 101 times! It’s only one extra time, but since he’s not used to it, he has to work hard to do it! He really needs to fight his Yetzer Hara.

The Gemara gives an example for someone who is an Oved Hashem, from a donkey rental. At a donkey rental in those days, you needed to pay based on how far you made the donkey go. To rent a donkey to go on a ten parsa long trip cost 1 zuz, and renting a donkey for an 11 parsa trip cost 2 zuz! That one extra parsa was as hard as the whole first “normal” trip that was only ten parsas long.

That’s what an Oved Hashem is — someone who does something against his nature. Just like in the donkey rental, that extra little bit is worth just as much as the whole avodah that you were used to. The stuff you are used to, you can do because it’s your habit. But to do more, you really have to want to do something for Hashem!

A beinoni should try to be someone who SERVES Hashem (Avado), working hard to win over his Yetzer Hara!



Beis Shevat

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn about the maamarDer Frumer Va’eira.”

The Alter Rebbe used to say a certain maamar every 3 years, on Parshas Va’eira. Each time, it was said almost exactly the same. The Chassidim would call it “Der Frumer Va’eira” — because it made them want to do teshuvah and become more frum.

The Tzemach Tzedek (who heard these maamarim from the Alter Rebbe) said that every time it was something new!

The Rebbe Maharash explained that even though the words were the same, since the Alter Rebbe was teaching it, every time he said the maamar it was something new.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #137

Today’s mitzvah is that a woman who is a Challalah is not allowed to eat Terumah or other holy foods.

A Chalalah is someone who got married to a kohen when she wasn’t allowed to.

Part of this mitzvah is also that a Bas Kohen who gets married to someone who isn’t a kohen can never eat certain parts of the korbanos again (even though there’s nothing wrong with getting married to him).



Hilchos Terumos

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last three perakim about Terumah, perakim Yud-Gimmel, Yud-Daled, and Tes-Vov.

These perakim talk about what happens if Terumah gets mixed up with regular food. One thing we learn is that it doesn’t become botul unless there is 100 times as much regular food! (For milk and meat, if there’s 60 times as much it is enough.) So, for example, if 1 Terumah apple gets mixed up in a box of 100 other apples, we can take one apple and give it to the kohen, and the rest is all fine to eat.

If there is less, then the food is called “Medumah” and only a kohen can eat it.

The last halacha in today’s Rambam teaches us about the special bracha on Terumah. First the kohen makes the regular bracha on food, and then he says the bracha “...Asher Kidishanu Bikdushaso Shel Aharon Vetzivanu Le’echol Terumah!”



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Beis

Today we learn more about different kinds of mum in an animal. We also learn about some kinds of mum that could go away, and the animal would be kosher for a korban!



Being Busy With Our Shlichus

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learned about the maamar of the Alter Rebbe called the “Frumer Va’eira.”

The Rebbe spoke about the Frumer Va’eira in a sicha of Parshas Va’eira Tof-Shin-Yud-Beis. The Rebbe said that since the maamar was only printed once, and it had some mistakes, he would chazer it for the chassidim. The Rebbe said the maamar, and cried a lot while saying it.

One of the main points of the “Frumer Va’eira” is that our neshama needs to use EVERY SINGLE opportunity it has to connect to Hashem through Torah and mitzvos. When we realize how important this is, it will lead us to dedicate ourselves to every opportunity Hashem gives us. It will also help us do a proper teshuvah so that Hashem will “fill in” any chance we may have missed. (This maamar was recently translated, and is also available online in English.)

A month later the Rebbe spoke more about this inyan in a very famous maamar, called “Lo Sihiyeh Meshakeilah.” In the middle of saying this maamar, the Rebbe put his head down on the table and cried for a long time. The Rebbe spoke about how busy we need to be with our shlichus, and treasure every moment.

(Here is a link to the maamar Lo Sihiyeh Meshakeilah online, in Hebrew and English.)


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Birchos HaTorah

The first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is to say Birchos Hashachar. We thank Hashem for the things we might take for granted, but are really a daily gift from Hashem!

Hashem gives us back our neshama, gives us new chayus, and gives us a healthy body. We are able to wake up and get out of bed, walk around, get dressed and put on shoes, and do so many special mitzvos! We ask Hashem to bring us hatzlacha so our day goes the way Hashem wants it to, and with only good things.

Then we say some very important brachos, the Birchos HaTorah. In these brachos, we show how happy and thankful we are that Hashem gave us the Torah!

The Chachomim say that Eretz Yisroel was destroyed because even though the Yidden learned a lot of Torah, they didn’t make a bracha on it first, to show that they knew Who gives us the Torah. They learned Torah because it is very interesting, but didn’t appreciate that it is Hashem’s Chochma, a very special gift from Hashem.

Because they weren’t careful with the kedusha of the Torah, the Torah didn’t protect them, and Eretz Yisroel was destroyed. But when we say a bracha first, reminding ourselves Who gave us the Torah, we will be zoche to the bracha we ask for in Birchos HaTorah, that the Torah will stay with us and our children forever!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 47



No Words of Torah Before Birchos HaTorah

We are not allowed to say any words of Torah before we say the Birchos HaTorah that are in Birchos Hashachar. We don’t say pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, and we are also not allowed to learn from Torah Shebaal Peh, or speak about ideas from Torah. (We are allowed to THINK words of Torah, though, before saying the Birchos HaTorah.)

Even though some parts of Birchos Hashachar come from the Gemara, we are allowed to say them before the Birchos HaTorah. That is because we are saying them as a tefillah, and not as words of Torah.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 47

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



Being Strong in Our Yiddishkeit

The Navi Micha says: Kimei Tzeischa Me’Eretz Mitzrayim, Arenu Niflaos! At the time of the Geulah, Hashem promises to show us nisim like He did in the times of Yetziyas Mitzrayim!

This teaches us that Yetziyas Mitzrayim is very connected to the Geulah — it is like a mashal that helps us understand how the Geulah will be!

For example, one of the things the Yidden did that helped them deserve the Geulah was the Korban Pesach. The Yidden took the Avodah Zarah of Mitzrayim, and went to do what Hashem asked them to. They ignored whatever the Mitzriyim said, and did the mitzvah proudly.

This is also how we can deserve the Geulah: By being strong and proud with our Yiddishkeit, not worrying what other people say, Hashem will see that we are ready to do whatever He asks us to! Then we will be ready to have Moshiach now!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef parshas Bo

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