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Parshas Lech Lecha - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the Bris Bein Habesarim, the story of Hagar and the birth of Yishmael, and Avram’s mitzvah to get a Bris Milah. At the end of today’s Chumash, Avram gets a new name — Avraham!

Bris Bein Habesarim: Avram didn’t ask for a sign about having children, but he DID want a sign that Hashem would give the Yidden Eretz Yisroel. He wanted to know what zechus the Yidden would have so they could get Eretz Yisroel.

Hashem told Avram that it would be in the zechus of the korbanos that the Yidden will bring. So Hashem asked Avram to bring some animals to remind him of the korbanos: Three cows, three goats, three rams, a turtledove, and a dove.

He told Avram to shecht the animals and cut them in half. He should walk between the halves, like a path, and Hashem will send a fire to go between the halves to show that He is making a promise. This was called the Bris Bein HaBesarim — the promise between the halves.

So Avram did what Hashem told him to do. He didn’t cut the birds in half though, which was a sign that the Yidden will be treated differently than the goyim by Hashem, just like the birds in this Bris are different than the animals.

Vultures (a kind of bird that likes to eat dead animals) tried to eat the pieces of the animals, but Avram wouldn’t let. This was a hint that Hashem will only let Moshiach get rid of all of the mean goyim (who are compared to animals) in the time of the Geulah.

Then Avram got very tired and fell into a deep sleep. He felt very scared. Hashem explained to Avram that he was scared because he was feeling that there would be a Golus for his children, but Hashem would save them! They would come out of Golus with great riches.

Hashem also promised Avram that he would live a good long life, and that his children would serve Hashem. Hashem promised that in the end, the Yidden would come back to Eretz Yisrael.

Then Hashem made the sun set, and it became dark. Hashem made the fire go between the animal pieces, and promised Avram to have the full land of Eretz Yisroel, the way it will be when Moshiach comes.

Avram marries Hagar: Sarai said to Avram that maybe he should also marry Hagar, and maybe then they will have their own child. Avram understood that Sarai was saying a nevuah, and so he did marry her.

Soon after getting married, Hagar found out that she was expecting a baby! But instead of being so happy and grateful, Hagar started thinking that she was better than Sarai, since SHE was going to have a baby, and Sarai was married for so long (10 years) and didn’t have any!

Sarai was very upset, and said to Avram that he should have told Hagar not to talk that way. Because Sarai was upset, Hashem didn’t give Hagar that baby after all.

Hagar runs away: Avram told Sarai to deal with Hagar in the way she thought was right. Since Hagar was really a maid, Sarai gave her lots of hard work. Hagar was very upset and ran away to the desert.

A malach from Hashem came and spoke to Hagar, who was sitting by a wellspring of water. She wasn’t scared, because she was used to seeing malachim from Avram’s house. He asked her where she was going. Hagar answered that she was running away from Sarai.

A second malach told her to go back home, even though Sarai was in charge of her.

A third malach promised her that she would have many people coming from her and her children.

A fourth malach told her she would soon have a baby boy, and she should call him Yishmael, since Hashem heard (shama) her suffering. Yishmael would be wild and fighting with everyone, but his children would be friends with each other and they would live together.

Hagar thanked Hashem for being so nice to her. She realized that she didn’t deserve to see malachim, and was happy Hashem sent a malach to her. This showed that she did teshuva.

The well where the malach found Hagar is called “Be’er Lachai Ro’i” — the place where the living malach appeared.

Yishmael is born: Hagar soon had a baby boy. Even though she didn’t tell Avram what the malach said, he had Ruach Hakodesh and called him Yishmael!

Avram is told to have a bris: 13 years later, in Nisan, when Avram was 99 years old, Hashem told Avram that he would give him a new mitzvahBris Milah. Avram was worried that people wouldn’t want to be Jewish if they would have that mitzvah, but Hashem told Avram not to worry.

Through having a bris, Avram would become tomim — whole and perfect. Hashem promised Avram a lot of brachos if he would have a bris. He also gave him a new name — Avraham, with a Hey. This means “Father of many nations.”



66 - 68

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Samach-Vov, Samach-Zayin, and Samach-Ches.

In Kapitel Samech-Vov, it says “Hofach Yam LaYabasha” — Hashem made the water into dry land, during Kriyas Yam Suf.

Chassidus explains that this is like what will happen when Moshiach comes.

Usually, there is water that covers over the sea. During Kriyas Yam Suf, Hashem made it into dry land — and we could see everything that used to be hiding inside the sea!

Also when Moshiach comes, we’ll be able to see things that are hidden. The whole entire world will be able to see that Hashem creates it, and understand that we need to act the way Hashem tells us to!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

Today’s Tanya is a letter the Alter Rebbe wrote to Chassidim after their Rebbe, Reb Mendel Horodoker, passed away.

While he was alive, the Chassidim would rely on the Rebbe to give advice in ruchnius things, and advice in gashmius things. In this letter, the Alter Rebbe comforts them, telling them that these things continue even after he passes away.

But first, the Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to know that when a Chossid acts like his Rebbe taught him, then the Rebbe is alive in him, and through him to the world around him.

The Rebbe told chassidim to learn this Igeres Hakodesh on Yud Shevat. It helps us understand how a tzadik lives forever and the connection chassidim have with their Rebbe after histalkus.



Yud-Beis Mar-Cheshvan

We learned in a different Hayom Yom that the Alter Rebbe at first said very short pieces of Torah. In today’s Hayom Yom, these short pieces are called “verter.”

One of the Alter Rebbe’s short “verter” is on the posukShema Yisroel”:

Shema Yisrael — a Yid feels that
Havayeh Elokeinu — our koach (Elokeinu can also mean “our strength”) comes from the level of Hashem that is called Havayah, which is higher than nature, and that
Havayeh EchadHavayah is One.

(What the Alter Rebbe said here in just a few words was later explained much more in his other Chassidus, including what we learned in Tanya, in Shaar Hayichud Ve’haEmunah!)



Shiur #113 - Mitzvas Asei #95, #92, Lo Saasei #209

Today’s mitzvah is the same as yesterday’s (Mitzvas Asei #95) — that if a Yid makes a promise and changes his mind, he needs to go to a Rav or Beis Din to do that.

We also learn two more mitzvos, from the next set of halachos in Rambam, halachos about a Nazir.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #92) A Nazir has a mitzvah to let his hair grow. Like we will see in the next mitzvah, it is asur for a Nazir to cut his hair. In this Mitzvas Asei, we learn that it’s not enough for him not to cut it, the Nazir needs to make sure he is letting his hair grow. So, for example, he isn’t allowed to rub cream on his head that keeps hair from growing.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #209) A Nazir is not allowed to cut off his hair — not even one single hair!

These mitzvos are explained in Gemara, in Mesechta Nazir.



Hilchos Nedarim - Hilchos Nezirus

Perek Yud-Gimmel: (This is the last perek of Hilchos Nedarim.) We learn about HOW we take away a promise. At the end of the perek, the Rambam tells us when it’s a GOOD thing to make a neder. A neder can actually help us in our Avodas Hashem!

For example, if someone eats way too much, and not in an aidel way, he can make a promise not to eat any meat for one or two years. If someone drinks too much wine, he can make a neder to only drink wine on Shabbos and Yom Tov for a few years, or he can promise never to get drunk.

Still, we should be careful not to make too many nedarim, so that we don’t forget how serious a neder is in halacha. Nowadays, when we make a hachlata, we should always say that it is bli neder. Even though we are very serious about keeping our hachlata, we want to be extra careful to not ever end up chas veshalom not keeping a neder.

Now we start the next set of halachos, about a SPECIFIC kind of promise — if someone promises to become a Nazir!

Perek Alef: There are things that are asur if someone becomes a Nazir — cutting his hair or eating things made with grapes. A person doesn’t have to say “I will become a nazir” to become one — he can say things like “I will grow my hair,” while thinking that he wants to be a Nazir.

Perek Beis: We learn more about a Nazir’s promise: What happens if he makes the promise by mistake, or because someone forces him, or because of a reason that ends up not being true? In many cases, he is not a Nazir.

One interesting halacha is that a person STAYS a Nazir until they bring their korbanos, and that a Nazir needs to be in Eretz Yisroel. So if someone makes a promise to be a Nazir nowadays, he has to move to Eretz Yisroel and stay a Nazir until the Beis Hamikdash is built and he can bring his korbanos.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Hey

We learn about the mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles! We learn when to light, what kind of wicks and oil we should use, and not using the light of the Shabbos candles so we don’t put it out.

Did you know that the Rambam says it’s a halacha to have a Shabbos alarm in a city? This way everyone knows when to stop working and when to light Shabbos candles.



Chassidishe Parsha

The Chachomim say that Avraham Avinu kept the whole Torah even before it was given! But then why did he wait so long, until he was 99 years old, to do a Bris Milah?

Did your Mommy ever ask you, “Do you want a cracker now, or a piece of cake as soon as it’s ready?” If you are smart, you will wait until the cake is ready, even though it won’t be right away!

Avraham Avinu did the same thing. If he did the Bris Milah right away, he would have done something good. But by waiting until Hashem told him to, his Bris Milah was much more special! He was able to feel the special chayus of Hashem that we will ALL feel when Moshiach comes! This was only because he waited until Hashem told him to do it.

See maamar Be’etzem Hayom Hazeh (Torah Ohr, parshas Lech Lecha). This maamar is usually said by a father when his son has his bris! (chabad.org/108205)


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The words of the posuk Bechol tell us that we should imagine that we were taken out of Golus at the time of Yetziyas Mitzrayim.

This posuk is especially important for us nowadays!

At the end of the Golus, things can feel scary and sad. We don’t always understand what is happening.

We might worry, how can Moshiach fix all of this? We might be nervous, what will Geulah even be like? We might wish we knew, when will Moshiach ever come?

When we say the posuk Bechol Dor Vador, we see that we have nothing to worry about!

Bechol Dor Vador — In every generation

Chayav Adam Liros Es Atzmo — We need to imagine ourselves

K’ilu Hu Yatza Mimitzrayim — As if we went out of Mitzrayim!

Hashem came down to the Yidden in Mitzrayim, made them not slaves anymore, and got them ready to leave the Golus. When we think about that, we will know that Hashem will also do that again!

Hashem will take away the problems of Golus, and help us be ready for Moshiach to come! What Hashem will do for us will be even GREATER than Yetziyas Mitzrayim, taking us out of Golus and bringing us to the complete and final Geulah!

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder vol. 5 p. 273



Saying Brachos Out Loud

As we learned yesterday, when we say a bracha, we should know what we are saying! It is important to know who we are saying the bracha to (the meaning of the words Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam), and what the bracha is about (the last words of the bracha).

In order to have this kavana, it is brought in halacha that we should make a bracha out loud! Even if there is nobody there to hear us saying it, “Hakol Me’orer Es Hakavana” — our voice helps us have kavana.

That way we will be able to think how we are saying a bracha to Hashem, and what we are saying the bracha about.

See Misgeres Hashulchan to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman Vov and sources there

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



Techiyas Hameisim

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Hashem gave Avraham very special promises at the Bris Bein Habesarim! One of the promises is that Avraham’s children will inherit the holy land of Eretz Yisroel!

In the time of Yehoshua, the Yidden got only part of Eretz Yisroel, the land where seven different nations used to live. But Hashem promised Avraham that he will get a much BIGGER Eretz Yisroel — the land of TEN nations!

This will happen when Moshiach comes.

Hashem hinted to Avraham Avinu that he would be there to see the promise come true! At that time, Avraham was living in Chevron. And when the promise comes true, Avraham will be in Chevron also — getting up from Me’aras Hamachpeilah, with Techiyas Hameisim!

Yalkut Moshiach UGeulah Al HaTorah

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