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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.”



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes.

Today’s Tehillim has the posukPadah Beshalom Nafshi,” where Dovid Hamelech says that he won his fights and was free in the zechus of the people that davened for him.

When the Alter Rebbe said this Kapitel, he came out of his Golus as well — out of jail — on Yud-Tes Kislev!

The Chachomim explain this posuk in the Gemara, that “When someone learns Torah, it’s like taking the Shechinah and the Yidden out of Golus!” The Alter Rebbe explains this in the Igeres Hakodesh we are learning now in Tanya!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

We learned before that when we work hard to understand the halachos of the Torah properly, we are taking the Torah out of the Golus it is in — the kelipah of the questions and things that make it hard to understand.

When Moshiach will come, we won’t need to learn Torah for THAT reason, because there will be no more kelipah to hide the kedushah of the Torah! We will only need to learn the Chassidus that explains the halachos, to bring extra kedushah into the Torah. But we won’t need to take it out of Golus, since there will be no more bad in the world!

And what about the halachos? We will know them by just learning them once — we won’t need to review them all the time. Plus, we will understand them by knowing the Chassidus that we learn about them!

This ends this very long letter! We understand now that in the times of Golus, the Torah is also in Golus. We know that when we work hard to understand the halachos and discover new insights in the Torah we bring the Geulah sooner. And we know that when Moshiach comes we will spend all of our time just learning Chassidus!



Yud Mar-Cheshvan

The way Hashem created the world is that there are four Ruchnius’dike worlds, where Hashem’s kedusha hides more and more. In this last world, Asiyah, Hashem’s kedusha is almost completely hidden. But in the highest “world,” Atzilus, Hashem’s kedusha isn’t hiding at all! It is felt very strongly.

The Alter Rebbe would feel so connected to the kedusha of that olam when speaking about Atzilus, he couldn’t even say the word! He would say “oiben!” (“above”). And the Alter Rebbe couldn’t even write it… he would write “Atzi–” but was too awed to even finish writing the word!



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.



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

Today’s Rambam 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 animal 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.



Hilchos Choveil U'Mazik - Perek Ches

Today we learn the last perek about someone that damages another person’s things.

The Rambam teaches us the din of a moser — someone who tells on a Yid to the government so they will take him or his money. It is a VERY BIG aveira.



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! (


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Vayevarech Dovid

The first part of Vayevarech Dovid is the words Dovid Hamelech said to the Yidden before he passed away. They are pesukim from the sefer Divrei Hayamim.

After telling the Yidden that the Beis Hamikdash would be built by his son Shlomo Hamelech, Dovid Hamelech praised Hashem.

The expressions of praise we give Hashem in Yishtabach are based on the praises that Dovid Hamelech used in these pesukim, the pesukim that follow, and in Az Yashir. This is one of the reasons why we say Vayevarech Dovid before finishing Pesukei Dezimra and saying the bracha of Yishtabach.



Friends Eating Milchigs and Fleishigs

Let’s say you go on a trip. If one of your friends has a salami sandwich for lunch, and you have a cream cheese sandwich, you need to put something called a “Heker” on the table. The heker will remind you not to sneak a taste of your friend’s food!

One heker that Shulchan Aruch teaches us is for one person to eat on a tablecloth, and the other person not to. Another heker can be putting something between you that you usually don’t put on the table, like maybe your Chitas!

See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman Mem-Vov

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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