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CHUMASH

Parshas Bereishis - Sheini with Rashi

Now the Torah goes back and tells us more about how Hashem made people:

Hashem took dirt from all parts of the world for the body. He also used part of the dirt from the place of the Beis Hamikdash, where we bring Korbanos to do Teshuvah — so that a person is MADE to be able to do Teshuvah.

We learned that on the third day of the creation of the world, the plants started to grow. Still, they only started growing IN the ground. They didn’t grow up out of the ground, since there was no rain. Hashem made the ground wet, but it wouldn’t rain until a person would ask for it.

Hashem used this wetness together with the dirt to make like a “dough”, and shaped a person. Hashem blew a Neshama inside, as part of Hashem! He called it “Adam,” a person, from the word “Adamah” — earth, since that’s what it was made of!

Hashem filled Gan Eden with beautiful trees and plants (mostly apple trees) and put the person there.

The Torah now tells us more about Gan Eden: Hashem made two trees in the middle of Gan Eden — a tree of life (Eitz Hachayim) and a tree of knowledge (Eitz Hadaas). Rivers came out of Gan Eden and made the places they flowed to very good!

At first the person didn’t want to go into Gan Eden, because it was afraid of the mitzvos Hashem would give it there — having such a big job to be in charge of the world. Still, Hashem convinced it to go there!

Hashem told it not to eat from the Eitz Hadaas, or else it would die.

Now the Torah starts to tell us more about how Chava was created:

Hashem didn’t want the person to look like it didn’t need any help, or it would look like a Hashem! So He decided to split the person into two parts — a man and a woman, who would help him do the right thing.

Hashem wanted the person to WANT to have two parts, so first Hashem asked it to name all of the animals. Once it would see that ALL animals are married, it would want to be married too! The person figured out how to name all of the animals, based on their special kochos!

 
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TEHILLIM

113 - 118

The kapitelach in today’s Tehillim are the kapitelach that we say in Hallel! We have been saying Hallel every day of Sukkos and Simchas Torah, and now we get to say it for one more day!

The day after Yom Tov is called Isru Chag. The word “isru” means tied, connected. It is a day that connects the regular weekdays with the Yom Tov that just ended.

On Isru Chag, we bring some of the joy of Yom Tov into a regular day. We eat nicer food than usual to show that it is special, and we don’t fast.

The Gemara says that someone who eats and drinks more on the day after Yom Tov, connecting it to the Yom Tov, it is like he built a Mizbeiach and brought a korban!

We hint to this in a posuk of today’s Tehillim: “Isru Chag Ba’avosim Ad Karnos Hamizbeiach.” If you eat “avosim” (fatty food) on Isru Chag, it is like you brought a korban to the corners of the Mizbeiach.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Chof-Tes se’if yud-zayin

 
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TANYA

Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Daled

Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us about not talking during davening:

Imagine that you are waiting for a long time to see someone special. Finally, he tells you that he will be coming to your house tomorrow! You will be so excited — you were waiting for so long!

Imagine that your special guest comes — but you don’t even go to talk to him. You decide that you need to go shopping, or you need to go play kugelach with your friend.

Wouldn’t that be a crazy way to act? You were waiting for so long, and now that your guest comes, you just waste your time and forget about how excited you were?! You should be spending time with him, not doing anything else — especially things that aren’t even important!

Hashem is like a king who is very special, and who we aren’t allowed to see all the time. We ask Hashem for Moshiach now, when we will see Him ALL the time! But even nowadays, we are very lucky that Hashem comes to “visit” us every day when we daven! When we pay attention to the words of davening, we can feel that Hashem is there with us!

If we waste that time and talk about other things, we are being foolish ourselves, and it is embarrassing for Hashem. He wants us to be happy with the time we spend with Him, and not to be busy with other things at the same time!

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe makes a Takana that NOBODY should speak at all during davening in Shul — from the very beginning until the end of the last Kaddish! If someone does speak (and it wasn’t by mistake or because they didn’t know) they need to ask Hashem to forgive them, in front of three people, for not acting the way they should!

When we are careful not to talk during davening, Hashem will give us lots of brachos!

 
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HAYOM YOM

Chof-Daled Tishrei

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us a little bit about a farbrengen.

First of all, a farbrengen is very important in the life of a Chossid! By being part of a farbrengen, it will bring us to have more Ahavas Yisroel.

How do farbrengens work? The Rebbe tells us how they should be set up:

Someone should be in charge of leading the farbrengen. He should talk about how we can become better Yidden and better Chassidim and fix up the way we behave! We should make times to learn Chassidus and make sure to really learn in those times!

The person who is leading the farbrengen shouldn’t feel like he is better than everyone else, and that he gets to tell them what to do. He should also be talking to HIMSELF, because he also needs to become better! If he is talking about something that he doesn’t have a problem with, he should still think about how he can do better in that thing at least in some way. That way, when he talks, everyone at the farbrengen will listen to him and want to do what he says.

He needs to be very careful not to embarrass anyone when he is talking! A Chassidishe farbrengen is ALWAYS in a way of Ahavas Yisroel and being careful about other people’s feelings.

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #95 - Mitzvas Asei #150, #151, #152, Lo Saasei #172, #174

Today we learn many of mitzvos about eating Kosher!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #150) We have a mitzvah to check to make sure a bird is a kosher kind before we eat it!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: כָּל צִפּוֹר טְהֹרָה תֹּאכֵלוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #151) We have a mitzvah to check to make sure a grasshopper is a kosher kind before we eat it.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: אֲשֶׁר לוֹ כְרָעַיִם מִמַּעַל לְרַגְלָיו

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Gimmel.

3) (Mitzvas Asei #152) We have a mitzvah to check and make sure fish are kosher kinds before eating them.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: אֶת זֶה תֹּאכְלוּ מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר בַּמָּיִם

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Gimmel.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #172) We are not allowed to eat a non-kosher animal.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: אַךְ אֶת זֶה לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמַּעֲלֵי הַגֵּרָה וְגוֹ׳ אֶת הַגָּמָל וְאֶת הָאַרְנֶבֶת וְאֶת הַשָּׁפָן וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Gimmel.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #174) We are not allowed to eat a non-kosher bird.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shemini: וְאֶת אֵלֶּה תְּשַׁקְּצוּ מִן הָעוֹף לֹא יֵאָכְלוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Gimmel.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

Today’s Rambam, Perakim Beis, Gimmel, and Daled, teaches us many halachos about kosher animals! We learn about bugs in food or water, about food that comes from a non-kosher animal, and an animal that was sick or hurt before it was shechted (treifa), or an animal that died without being shechted (neveila).

Usually, food that comes from a non-kosher animal is not kosher. So milk from a non-kosher animal is not kosher, and eggs from a non-kosher bird aren’t kosher.

But here’s one thing that comes from a non-kosher insect that we CAN eat: Honey! The Rambam explains that really the honey doesn’t come FROM the bees — the bees collect herbs or pollen from flowers and store it for later by making it into honey.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Brachos - Perek Hey

In this perek, we learn who is chayav in bentching. Children need to bentch because of Chinuch.

We also learn about making a mezuman.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

VeYaakov Halach Ledarko

There is a minhag in Chabad that after Simchas Torah, there is an announcement made in shul, “Veyaakov Halach Ledarko.” This is to remind everyone to take the special kochos we get during the Yomim Tovim of Tishrei, and carry them with us all year!

We have to think about the special things we got on Yom Tov — the stories we heard, the hisorerus we felt, the hachlatos we made, the good feelings we have for our families and the Yidden we spent Yom Tov with — and make sure that we keep them during the regular weekdays too!

 

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TEFILLAH

The Twelve Pesukim

In the year Tof-Shin-Lamed-Vov, the Rebbe introduced something very special for children — the Twelve Pesukim. On Rosh Chodesh Iyar, the Rebbe taught the first six pesukim, and the next six pesukim were taught on Lag B’Omer, a few weeks later. The Rebbe explained that these pesukim have a very special koach to protect the Yidden!

Many people have a minhag to say the Twelve Pesukim after Shacharis, or after Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah. This helps to learn and know these pesukim by heart!

The Rebbe said that the point is not only to know the words of the pesukim, but to know what they mean! These pesukim were chosen because they have important messages for even young children. When we know the pesukim very well, we will be able to think about them in our free time, and even to explain their messages to other children!

IY”H over the next few weeks we will go through the meaning and the messages of each of these pesukim.

See Der Rebbbe Redt Tzu Kinder, vol. 5 p. 245

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Mashiv Haruach U'Morid Hageshem

On Musaf of Shemini Atzeres, we started saying Mashiv Haruach U’Morid Hageshem in Shemoneh Esrei.

If you make a mistake and say Morid Hatal instead of Mashiv Haruach, you don’t have to go back in Shmoneh Esrei. That’s because even though you didn’t mention rain, at least you mentioned dew (tal) which is also a source of bracha. A person would only have to go back if he didn’t say either one.

In fact, that is one of the reasons we say Morid Hatal in the summer — so that if a person wasn’t sure they praised Hashem for rain in the winter, at least we know that they said Morid Hatal — they praised Hashem for dew (tal) which is also a source of bracha!

Mashiv Haruach PRAISES Hashem for rain, but ASKING for rain is in a different bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, in the bracha of Bareich Aleinu. We don’t actually start to ask Hashem for rain in Bareich Aleinu until Zayin Cheshvan in Eretz Yisrael, and until the end of Tekufas Tishrei in the rest of the world. (Tekufos are seasons, which go according to the solar calendar. This year we will start to say Vesein Tal Umatar on Motzei Shabbos, the 5th of December, which is the night leading into Chof Kislev.)

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Kuf-Yud-Daled, se’if Vov, and Halacha Newsletter by Badatz of Crown Heights, p. 49

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Ruach of Moshiach

At the beginning of Parshas Bereishis, the Torah tells us that the Ruach Elokim was hovering in the world when it was first created. “Veruach Elokim Merachefes Al Pnei Hamayim.”

The Medrash tells us that this Ruach Elokim means the ruach of Moshiach! Starting from the very beginning of the world, the koach of Moshiach was already there. Since the goal for the world is to reach the time of Moshiach, Hashem prepared it for us right away!

Nowadays, when we learn Parshas Bereishis, we feel even more excited. We know that we are SO close to reaching the goal that Hashem created the world for!

 
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