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Shvi'i with Rashi

Now that the Torah tells us that Avraham Avinu passed away, it shows us how Hashem kept His promise to make Avraham’s sons into great nations.

First the Torah tells us about Yishmael. Yishmael had 12 sons, and they each had cities, living from Mitzrayim to Ashur! That’s how Hashem made them great.

Yishmael went back to live in the desert. He did teshuvah before he passed away at 137 years old.

Now that Avraham had passed away, Yishmael’s family was not protected by Avraham’s zechus anymore, and his enemies kept on trying to bother him.



119 (first half)

Today’s shiur Tehillim is the first half of Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes.

In today’s Tehillim, we have a posuk that says “Chaver Oni Lechol Asher Yereiucha Uleshomrei Pikudecha” — “I am a friend to those who fear You (Hashem) and keep Your mitzvos.”

From this posuk we can learn that when you see others doing a mitzvah, you should try to help out if you can — like a good friend!

In many of the Rebbe’s letters and sichos, the Rebbe would use this posuk to explain why he will give money for a project or mosad that is doing good things — “Chaver Oni Lechol Asher Yereiucha!” (You can also see the Rebbe quoting this posuk in videos from Dollars!)



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Lamed-Alef

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe will explain to us the importance of Ahavas Yisroel and that we need it to bring the Geulah!

Hashem and the Yidden are compared to a heart and a body. The Shechinah is like the heart which gives the Yidden chayus, and all of the Yidden are like the body which receives its chayus from Hashem.

How does a body live? The heart pumps blood, which has chayus, to all the parts of the body to give them chayus, and then the blood goes back to the heart.

As long as there are no places where the blood will get stuck, the blood can go to all places and the whole body will be healthy. But if chas veshalom one of the places where the blood needs to go gets smaller or blocked, the whole person can become sick!

That’s also how Hashem gives Yidden our chayus. The chayus flows to every single Yid, all over the world. We share our chayus with each other, just like the blood flows from one part of the body to the other. But if we don’t have Ahavas Yisroel and the chayus gets “stuck” because we don’t want to have anything to do with another Yid or group of Yidden, then Yidden can’t all be healthy chas veshalom! Not only does it hurt the Yidden, but it hurts the Shechinah, which is like the “heart” that gives chayus to the Yidden.

That’s why the Chachomim say that the reason for the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash was because of Sinas Chinam. It’s also why the Zohar says that after the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, the Shechinah is called “sick” in Golus. The Yidden didn’t have enough Ahavas Yisroel, making them ALL be “sick” in Golus... and the Shechinah is too.

But when we make a place in our heart for every single Yid, and help each other as much as we can, it makes all of the Yidden feel better! Then the Shechinah feels better too, until there is no more reason for Golus and Moshiach can come right away!



Chof-Hey Mar-Cheshvan

Hashem puts every Yid in the place where they live for a purpose. Hashem wants us to make sure that Yiddishkeit in these places is strong and that we teach the Torah to as many people as we can.

We can learn from a farmer. Something will grow only when he plows the field and plants the seeds. It is the same for us — when we work hard to “plow and sow,” something will for sure grow. The places where we live will become Yiddisher and Chassidisher and will be ready for Moshiach to come.



Mitzvas Asei #153

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the same mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #153) again: How the Beis Din needs to make a calendar and calculate the months and the years. This is the mitzvah of Kiddush Hachodesh.



Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Yud-Beis, Yud-Gimmel and Yud-Daled, we are learning more about how the Beis Din knows where the moon will be on Rosh Chodesh.

To understand these halachos, you need to know about how the sun and stars and moon move around (orbits).

These calculations help the Beis Din figure out where the moon should be, so they can make sure that what the witnesses are saying makes sense, and that they really DID see the new moon!



Hilchos Maaser - Perek Yud-Gimmel

In this perek, we learn about food that we don’t have to worry about demai for, like a kind of fruit that is usually hefker because it grows wild in the forest, or a kind of fruit that is usually bought from outside Eretz Yisroel.



Chof-Hey Cheshvan

Today is the yartzeit of the Rebbe’s youngest brother-in-law, R’ Mendel Horenstein, who was married to the Frierdiker Rebbe’s youngest daughter, Rebbetzin Shaina. He died Al Kiddush Hashem during the Holocaust, HY”D.

Today is also an important day connected to the day of Didan Notzach, Hey Teves.

Even though the main Nitzachon of the sefarim happened on Hey Teves in the year Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin, it wasn’t complete until the next year, on Chof-Hey Cheshvan. Even after the court ruled that the seforim belong to the Rebbe and to Chassidim, there was still an appeal, another chance to argue with the decision.

On Chof-Hey Cheshvan Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches, exactly 30 years ago, the court ruled on the appeal. They said that the decision made on Hey Teves would stay, and the seforim should go back to the Rebbe and to the Chassidim!

This is similar to what we will learn in Hayom Yom, that even after the Alter Rebbe came out of jail on Yud-Tes Kislev, he was put back into jail another time later until he was finally freed once and for all.


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The section of davening that comes after Pesukei Dezimra is Kriyas Shema and its brachos.

Shema is not just a very important part of davening. It is a mitzvah of its own! It is a mitzvah from the Torah to say Shema every day.

Saying Shema also helps us to keep other mitzvos. We learn in Sefer Hamitzvos that it is a mitzvah to know that Hashem is One, and to be ready to do whatever Hashem wants us to — to be mekabel Ol Malchus Shomayim.

This is what we are doing when we say the first line of Shema!

We are now ready to agree to serve Hashem! Yidden are called with the name Yisroel. We speak to ourselves and say: Shema Yisroel, “Listen, Yisroel,” Hashem Elokeinu, “Hashem is our Aibershter,” Hashem Echod — “Hashem is One!”

When we say that Hashem is our Aibershter, we are saying that we WANT Hashem to be our Aibershter, and we are ready to do the Torah and mitzvos Hashem gave us to keep.

When we show that we are ready to take on the Achrayus of Torah and mitzvos, the Ol Malchus Shomayim, it makes something special happen! Hashem takes our neshama out of the Golus that it has in the guf, which keeps it from shining. When we say Shema, our neshama comes out of hiding, and becomes connected to the way things really are, to the Emes that Hashem Echod — the whole world is one with Hashem!

See Tanya perek Mem-Zayin




The Gemara teaches us that if someone spends a long time thinking about the Daled of Echod, Hashem gives him a long life! (“Kol Hamaarich BeDaled Shel Echod, Maarichin Lo Yamav Ushnosav.”)

The halacha is that it is counted as a long enough time if we are able to think about how Hashem is the one Aibershter Who is in charge of the seven heavens and the earth (the Gematria of the Ches in the word Echod), and all four corners of the earth (the Gematria of the Daled in the word Echod).

In Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe brings the minhag that when we say the word Echod, we tilt our head in all of these directions — up, down, and towards all four corners. (If you watch a video of the Rebbe davening, you can see how this is done.)

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Hilchos Kriyas Shema siman 61 se’if vov

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




The paragraph of Shema comes from Chumash Devarim.

Rashi explains how this first posuk of Shema makes us think about the Geulah!

We say, “Shema Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu.” Right now, Hashem is only Elokeinu, OUR Aibershter, because the goyim don’t know Hashem.

But when Moshiach comes, EVERYONE will know that “Hashem Echod,” Hashem is One!

We see this from pesukim in Navi that tell us that in the times of the Geulah, the goyim will also recognize Hashem. Like we say at the end of Aleinu, “Bayom Hahu Yihiyeh Hashem Echod Ushmo Echod!” On that day Hashem will be One, and His Name will be One!

See Rashi, Devarim 6:4

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