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Parshas Lech Lecha - Rishon with Rashi

Hashem tells Avram “Lech Lecha” — to go to Eretz Yisroel and get many brachos there, and he goes. There is a famine there and he needs to leave Eretz Yisroel and go down to Mitzrayim. He tells Sarai to hide.

Hashem spoke to Avram for the first time when he was 75 years old. (Hashem gives the name Avraham later, but now the Torah calls him by his original name, Avram.) He told him “Lech Lecha! You already went with your father away from where you were born, to Charan (as we learned in the end of last week’s parsha). Now, go even further away, and leave your father, Terach. Go to the land that I will show you.”

(Even though Terach believed in Hashem, he pretended to do Avodah Zarah because he didn’t want other people to know. Hashem wanted Avraham to go away from that.)

Hashem didn’t tell Avram where, for two reasons. The trip would be harder and he would get an extra reward for the mitzvah, but also the end would be more exciting and special. This would make him love Eretz Yisroel even more!

Hashem promised Avram many brachos for going there, and said he would be happy and understand that it is good. This is what Lech Lecha means, “go for yourself” — it will be good for you too!

Here are some of the brachos Avram would get:
- He would go away from the Avodah Zarah in Charan
- He would have children, even though where he is now, he can’t have children
- A big nation would come from him
- He would become rich
- Even though he is going to a new place, he would become famous, so he can teach more people about Hashem
- He would have the koach to give other people brachos
- He would become one of the Avos that would be mentioned in Shemoneh Esrei, and the bracha would even be ended with his name (“Baruch Ata Hashem, Mogein Avraham”)
- Everyone who gives him a bracha will get a bracha — and the opposite too
- People will give brachos by saying “You should be like Avraham!”

Avram went, like Hashem told him. He took his wife, Sarai (later her name would become Sarah), and his nephew Lot came too. Avram followed Hashem’s directions, and they came to Eretz Yisroel (which was called Canaan at that time).

Avram stopped in Shechem (which is also called Elon Moreh). There, he davened for Shimon and Levi who would later fight with Shechem, and Hashem also showed him Har Grizim and Har Eival there, where the Yidden would promise to follow the Torah when they came into Eretz Yisrael.

Avram saw that the Canaanim were capturing Eretz Yisroel then, from the children of Shem. Hashem appeared to Avram in a nevuah and promised that He would give Eretz Yisroel back to his children, the Yidden, who are from Shem!

Avram built a Mizbeiach to thank Hashem for the two promises he just got — that he would have children, and that they would get Eretz Yisroel!

Then they went further, and traveled past Beis-Keil. When they got between Beis-Keil and a place called Ai, Avram set up the tents. First he set up his wife’s tent, out of kavod for her, and then set up his own tent. Then he built another Mizbeiach. Avram had a nevuah that someone would do an aveira here and the Yidden would be in danger, so he davened for them. (The danger happened in the time of Yehoshua, with a man named Achan).

Avram kept going closer and closer to the place where the Beis Hamikdash would be built!

That year, there was a famine in Eretz Yisroel (food didn’t grow, so there was nothing to eat). Hashem made this famine only in Eretz Yisroel, to test Avram. Would he doubt Hashem’s words, that Hashem told him to come to Eretz Canaan and now he is already forced to leave?

He decided to go to Mitzrayim in the meantime, since there was no famine there.

On the way, Avram saw Sarai in the water, like a mirror. Usually, he didn’t think so much about how pretty she was, but now he realized that people would think she was VERY beautiful! He was afraid that the Egyptians would want to kill him and take her away to get married to her. So he told Sarai to hide in a box, and that if they find her, she should say that she is Avram’s sister, so they won’t kill him. They will instead try to be nice to Avram, and give presents so they can take her. This would be a keili for Hashem’s bracha that he would become rich.

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23 - 28

In today’s Tehillim, we have a kapitel that is the Shir Shel Yom of every Sunday, Yom Rishon!

Some of the pesukim in this kapitel talk about the time when Shlomo Hamelech went to bring the Aron into the Kodesh Hakodoshim in the Beis Hamikdash. He asked the gates to open up, “Se’u She’arim Rosheichem.” Just like in a song sometimes you sing parts twice, these words are said twice in this Kapitel.

The Metzudas Dovid, who explains the meaning of pesukim in Nach (it is said that the Rebbeim especially liked his pirush), says that it is also a hint: The two times it says “Se’u She’arim Rosheichem” hint to the two times that the Shechinah rested in the Beis Hamikdash — the first Beis Hamikdash, and in the third Beis Hamikdash. (Because in the second Beis Hamikdash, Hashem’s Shechinah wasn’t there as much as it was in the first, or as much as it will be in the third.)

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Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe will explain to us the difference between Torah learning during Golus, and Torah learning when Moshiach comes, based on the words of the Zohar. To understand this, we will also learn many more special things about learning Torah and about the times of Moshiach!

The Alter Rebbe bases his words on a part of the Zohar called the Raya Mehemna, in Parshas Naso.

The Zohar is talking about what is going to happen before Moshiach comes. In Sefer Daniel it says that many people will be tested to show what a person really is like inside. The Zohar says that this is only for people who taste from the Eitz Hadaas, the people that only learn Niglah. But people who taste from the Eitz Hachaim, who learn the Zohar and Pnimius HaTorah, won’t need to be tested. That’s because the Eitz Hachaim has the koach of teshuvah in it.

The Zohar is speaking about the difference between Niglah and Pnimius HaTorah. It seems to say that Niglah of Torah is connected to the Eitz Hadaas, which has tov (good) and ra (not good), but Pnimius HaTorah is the Eitz Hachaim which doesn’t have any ra. That’s why, with the koach of Pnimius HaTorah, Yidden will be able to go out of Golus.

But how can this make sense? How can we say that any part of Torah has ra, not good? There are clear pesukim and quotes from our Chachomim that say the exact opposite! They all say that the WHOLE Torah is called an Eitz Chaim, not just Pnimius HaTorah! And so many of our Chachomim and great tzadikim lived before the time that Pnimius HaTorah was allowed to be learned by everyone, and they only learned Niglah! Only years later did the Arizal say that it was now a mitzvah to spread Pnimius HaTorah! Even the Rashbi himself spent most of his years in the cave learning Niglah! The whole Zohar wouldn’t have taken him more than two or three months to say!

Obviously, it can’t be that this is what the Zohar is saying! The Alter Rebbe will explain to us what the Zohar really means. By the end of the letter, we will understand what incredible things happen when we learn Torah now in Golus, and how the purpose of our learning will change when Moshiach comes.

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Daled Mar-Cheshvan

A person shouldn’t think that if he has a set time to learn Torah, it’s his own business; and even if he doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt anyone. Today we learn that isn’t true!

Learning Torah makes an atmosphere at home. It brings the feeling of Torah and Yiras Shomayim in the house!

Learning isn’t just for yourself, it is for the whole family — that it should feel like a Yiddishe home!

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Shiur #119 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #111, #215

Today we are learning the last perek in Sefer Hafla’ah, and starting a new Sefer in Rambam, called Sefer Zera’im! In this new sefer, we will learn all about the mitzvos of planting!

We learn one last mitzvah about Cherem (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #111): That a person is not allowed to change his mind about a field he made into Cherem. He cannot decide instead to redeem it by giving as much as it is worth, like he can if he promises his field to the Beis Hamikdash. If he gives his field in a way of plain Cherem, the actual field goes to the kohen and he can’t redeem it.

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Bechukosai: לֹא יִמָּכֵר וְלֹא יִגָּאֵל

(Mitzvas Lo Saasei #215): We also learn a mitzvah about Kilayim, mixing seeds: In Eretz Yisroel, we aren’t allowed to plant two kinds of seeds together.

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Kedoshim: שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרַע כִּלְאָיִם

The details are explained in Mesechta Kilayim.

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Hilchos Erchin V'Charamin - Hilchos Kela'im

In Rambam, we learn the rest of the halachos about donations to the Beis Hamikdash.

Perek Ches: On Tes-Vov Adar (Shushan Purim), the Beis Din checks on the donations they got all year for the Beis Hamikdash and puts the money together with the Machtzis Hashekel they just collected, so it will be ready to use for all of the things the Beis Hamikdash will need. All of the things that were given need to be sold, because the Beis Hamikdash will only use the money!

Mazel Tov! We just finished learning Sefer Hafla’ah! Now we start learning the next sefer, Sefer Zera’im, which begins with the halachos of Kilayim:

Perek Alef: We learn about two kinds of Kilayim, things we are not allowed to mix. There are Kilai Zeraim, different kinds of seeds or plants which are not allowed to be planted together, and Kilai Ilanos, different kinds of trees that are not allowed to be forced to grow into one tree.

The mitzvah of Kilai Zeraim is only in Eretz Yisrael, but Kilai Ilanos, forcing two kinds of trees to grow into one tree, is asur everywhere. But even though we can’t GROW those kind of trees, we ARE allowed to eat fruit that grew from them!

Perek Beis: What happens if someone realizes that his field was by mistake planted with different kinds of seeds? How can he fix it? There are many halachos about what to do!

Every year, the Beis Din reminds everyone to check their fields to make sure there is no Kilayim. On Tes-Vov Adar (like with Erkin), the Beis Din comes around to check everyone’s fields!

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Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Yud

We learn how the clothes of the kohanim are put on. They have to be put on in a special order — first the pants, then the shirt, then the belt, then the hat. The Kohen Gadol needs to put on the me’il, the efod, and the choshen, then the hat and the tzitz. We learn about making sure there are exactly the right number of clothes, and what we do when the Urim Vetumim doesn’t light up to tell an answer from Hashem.

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Learning Torah Every Day

Today’s Hayom Yom the Rebbe took from a letter the Frierdiker Rebbe sent to a person who said he had no time to learn Torah. The Frierdiker Rebbe told him that “Ra Hadavar Me’od Me’od” — this is very, very bad! A person NEEDS to have a set time to learn Torah every single day!

1) It is very important for Gashmius: As we learned in the Hayom Yom of Chof-Ches Tishrei, Hashem gives us the Gashmius we need BECAUSE we learn Torah — “Im Bechukosai Teileichu… Venasati Gishmeichem Be’itam!”

2) It is very important for Ruchnius: Of course we need to learn Torah to know how to keep the mitzvos, and also because Hashem created the world and put neshamos of Yidden there to learn Torah. But besides for that, we need to learn Torah because it gives our neshama the kochos it needs to do its shlichus in the world! It is like food for the neshama!

3) It is important for every person in the family: As we see in today’s Hayom Yom, the father learning Torah makes a difference for everyone in the family! It makes the home have an atmosphere of Torah and Yiras Shomayim.

The Frierdiker Rebbe told this person that if until now he has been busy 12 hours a day with business, from now on he should be busy for 14 hours — to learn Torah at least 2 hours every day! The Frierdiker Rebbe gives him a bracha that Hashem should help him find plenty of parnasa, easily.

See Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, p. 277

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Answering to Brachos

One of the special things that Yidden do for each other is to give them brachos. We bentch each other to be healthy, to have hatzlacha, and to have all the things we need.

Of course, when we hear someone give a bracha, we say Amen. But we learn from the Rebbe that we should do something more!

Whenever people would give the Rebbe a bracha, like on the Rebbe’s birthday or on Yud Shevat, the Rebbe would answer in the same way: “Kol Hamevarech Misbareich Bebirchaso Shel Hakadosh Baruch Hu.”

These words are a way of saying thank you for the bracha, and giving back a bracha to the other person!

This is based on a posuk in today’s Chumash: Hashem tells Avraham Avinu that anyone who bentches him will be bentchedVa’avarcha Mevarachecha. The Chachomim explain that “Kol Hamevarech, Misbarech Bebirchaso Shel Hakadosh Baruch Hu,” anyone who bentches another person gets a bracha from Hashem, which is much greater than a bracha that a person can give!

IY”H tomorrow we will see how especially children can get this big bracha from Hashem.

See for example Yud-Tes Nisan Tof-Shin Mem-Vov

▼ Jump to Coloring Books & Downloads ▼

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Building Bitachon Through Davening

Bitachon is part of the way we connect to Hashem.

One of the main times we make that connection with Hashem stronger is during davening. We spend time thinking about and working on our love, fear, and trust in Hashem.

We think about things that help us realize how much it makes sense to trust in Hashem. This way, we will feel it too!

One thing we think about is to realize that nothing in the world has any koach of its own. Everything is from Hashem!

When we understand this, we won’t be scared of anything! Nothing in the world can do anything to us unless Hashem wants it to. We also don’t need to trust in anyone or anything else — they can only help us if Hashem wants them to!

One of the places we can think about this is in Pesukei Dezimra. One of the pesukim we say is, “Al Tivtechu Bindivim, Beven Adam She’ain Lo Seshuah.” “Don’t trust in donors, in a person who doesn’t really have help.” His help isn’t HIS! It is Hashem helping you, through that person! We realize that it only makes sense to trust in Hashem.

See Chovos Halevavos, Shaar Habitachon, perek Gimmel

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The Face of the Shechinah

In the Zohar Chadash for Parshas Lech Lecha, it says something very beautiful: When the Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai) would go to see kinderlach learning Torah, he would say that he was going to see the face of the Shechinah!

This isn’t just a nice saying. The sefer Kav Hayashar says that a melamed of Jewish children needs to keep this in mind. He should remember that the Shechinah is with them when they are learning, and he should be careful to do his work properly! He should also make sure that the room where he is teaching is clean and kavodik (respectful) for the Shechinah!

Poskim say that a classroom where children learn Torah has halachos similar to a shul or Beis Medrash, that it needs to be kept clean and treated with respect!

See Piskei Teshuvos vol. 2, p. 224

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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Lech Lecha - A Step Up

The name of this week’s parsha is Lech Lecha. “Lech” means to go!

In the parsha we see how Avraham goes and does what Hashem is asking him to, coming closer B’Gashmius to where Hashem wanted him to go, and B’Ruchnius coming closer to Hashem. Wherever he goes, he is doing his shlichus to teach everyone about Hashem!

But some parts of the parsha don’t exactly seem like Avraham is moving forward! Right when Avraham comes to Eretz Yisroel, there is a hunger and he needs to leave Eretz Yisroel and go down to Mitzrayim. There, Sarah is captured and taken to Paraoh’s palace. Does that sound like going UP in kedusha or going DOWN?

Really, this IS all part of Lech Lecha, going forward! These things that happened were part of Avraham Avinu’s tests. As Avraham passed each of these tests, he became even closer to Hashem! And because of going down to Mitzrayim, he became rich and famous, making it easier to do his shlichus in a much better way. So even these “down” things are all part of going up!

The same thing is with Golus and Geulah. We are trying to go forward, up towards Geulah. But many of the things that happen in Golus seem to look like we are being shlepped even further from the Geulah, chas veshalom! Instead of things getting better, they sometimes look like they are getting worse.

But just like with Parshas Lech Lecha, these “down” times are all part of going up higher! These hard “down” parts of Golus are part of getting closer to Moshiach! It doesn’t always feel that way, but the truth is that the Golus itself is what brings the Geulah!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek Hey, parshas Lech Lecha

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