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Parshas Lech Lecha - Shlishi with Rashi

Lot became very rich because he went with Avram. He had lots and lots of animals and tents.

In fact, he had so many animals, that between Avram’s animals and Lot’s animals, there weren’t enough grassy fields where they lived for all of the animals to eat!

Avram’s shepherds knew to only let the sheep and cows eat from grass that didn’t belong to anyone, but Lot’s shepherds gave the animals food even from other people’s fields! They thought that Eretz Yisroel belonged to Avram already, and since Avram didn’t have anyone to pass it down to except for Lot, they thought they could take any part of Eretz Yisroel already.

Avram’s shepherds argued with them, because taking grass from someone else’s fields is stealing! The Torah tells us that the shepherds of Lot were wrong — the land didn’t belong to Avram yet either, and the Canaani and Perizi lived there.

Avram didn’t want to be in a fight with his nephew, so he told him to maybe move a little bit further away, so that each of them have their own space. He promised to stay close by so he could always help him if he needed it. (As we will see later, that actually happened.)

Lot saw that Sedom and Amora had plenty of water, so things grew well there. It had lots of beautiful trees, like Gan Eden, where Adam Harishon lived when he was first created. It had lots of plants growing, like in Mitzrayim. Lot also saw that the people acted in not very tznius’dike ways, and he liked that too.

So Lot decided to move there, and also to move away from the way Avram served Hashem.

The people in the area were very not nice. They did aveiros on purpose, just to make Hashem angry. But Lot didn’t mind living with them anyway...

In the meantime, now that Lot moved away, Hashem spoke to Avram again. He promised him again that Eretz Yisroel would belong to his children, the Yidden. Hashem told Avram to look all over Eretz Yisroel, in all directions, and it would all belong to him.

Avram continued to travel through Eretz Yisroel, until he reached Chevron, where he built a Mizbeiach to thank Hashem.



39 - 43

In today’s Tehillim, it says “Haysa Li Dimasi Lechem Yomam Valayla, Be’emor Eilai Kol Hayom Ayei Elokecha.” “My tears were like my food all day and night, when they say to me all day ‘Where is Hashem?’”

The Rebbe explains that this posuk is saying that for a person to really be close to Hashem, we need to be crying for Hashem ALL the time. We shouldn’t want to be close to Hashem just on Shabbos or only when we’re davening, but even when we’re eating or playing on a regular weekday!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Vov

The Alter Rebbe is explaining a piece in the Zohar which seems to be saying that the halachos of Torah are mixed with good and bad, and that we won’t learn them when Moshiach comes. The Alter Rebbe told us that this can’t be right, and today explains to us the right way to understand it.

The Alter Rebbe explains that the THINGS that the Torah talks about are mixed with good and bad (Eitz HaDaas Tov VaRa). When Moshiach comes, the not good part of it won’t be there anymore. But the HALACHOS themselves, the way they are in Torah, are FOR SURE always only from Kedusha (Eitz HaChaim)!

All of the Gashmius’dike things in the world come from kelipah. Many of them come from a kind of kelipah called Kelipas Noga, which has a mixture of good and bad. You can choose to use it for kedusha (if you do a mitzvah with it) or Chas Veshalom a person could use it for not good things. (It’s a little bit like pareve food — if you cook it with milchigs it becomes milchig; if you cook it with fleishig it becomes fleishig.)

(During the week, we need to have kavana, to think that you’re using the thing to serve Hashem, like if you play a game so you’ll have koach to learn Torah. On Shabbos, eating food is a mitzvah. So eating on Shabbos, even with out a special kavana, is kedusha!)

But the HALACHOS, even the halachos ABOUT tumah, are all part of Torah Shebaal Peh, which the Zohar says very clearly is a VERY high level of kedusha.



Zayin Mar-Cheshvan

Many people think that to become close to Hashem and live the way a Yid should, we should first think about how the Torah is the right way to live, and how good it is. Then we should discuss it with other people too. After that, we can start to do the mitzvos and live that way.

That USED to be the way to do it, but not anymore!

Avraham Avinu, when he was a very young boy, thought about how Hashem must be the One Who created the world, and that people need to act the way Hashem wants. Then he went and taught about Hashem to everyone in the world!

Finally, he had a Bris Milah. He did a mitzvah in Gashmius so his body would be connected to Hashem!

But after Hashem gave us the Torah, doing the mitzvah itself comes first. That’s why now we do the opposite order: First we do a Bris Milah, and only afterwards do we learn Torah, and only then do we think about why we do it, and how the Torah is the true way a Yid needs to live.



Shiur #92 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #52, #32, #55, #54, #354, #360, #361

A Jewish marriage needs to be holy, the way Hashem wants! Today we learn more mitzvos about this:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #52) It is asur for a Jew to get married to a non-Jew.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vaeschanan: וְלֹא תִתְחַתֵּן בָּם

The details are explained in Mesechta Avodah Zarah and Mesechta Sanhedrin.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #32) It is asur for a Jewish woman to marry a man from Amon or Moav, even if he becomes a Ger.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא יָבֹא עַמּוֹנִי וּמוֹאָבִי בִּקְהַל ה׳

The details are explained in Mesechta Yevamos perek Ches and the end of Mesechta Kiddushin.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #55) We are not allowed to push away a Ger from Mitzrayim forever. A Yid can marry the grandchild of a Ger from Mitzrayim.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תְתַעֵב מִצְרִי

The details are explained in Mesechta Yevamos perek Ches and the end of Mesechta Kiddushin.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #54) The same thing is for a Ger from Edom: A Yid can marry the grandchild of a Ger from Edom.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תְתַעֵב אֲדֹמִי כִּי אָחִיךָ הוּא

These above three mitzvos cannot be fulfilled nowadays, because Nevuchadnetzar mixed up all the nations, and we don’t know who really belongs to each one of these nations.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #354) A mamzer can’t get married to a Yid. (Someone who is born from two people who aren’t allowed to get married to each other)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא יָבֹא מַמְזֵר בִּקְהַל ה׳

The details are explained in Mesechta Yevamos perek Ches and the end of Mesechta Kiddushin.

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #360) A man who got hurt and now can’t have children is not allowed to get married to a Jewish woman.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא יָבֹא פְצוּעַ דַּכָּא וּכְרוּת שָׁפְכָה בִּקְהַל ה׳

The details are explained in Mesechta Yevamos perek Tes.

7) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #361) We are not allowed to hurt a man or an animal so that he can’t have children.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וּבְאַרְצְכֶם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ

The details are explained in many places in Mesechta Shabbos and Mesechta Yevamos.



Hilchos Isurei Biah

In today’s Rambam, we learn about what kinds of people are called a mamzer.

We also learn about women that a kohen is not allowed to get married to.



Hilchos Choveil U'Mazik - Perek Hey

This perek teaches us that it is asur to even pick up your hand against another Yid. Someone who does is called a rasha, even if he didn’t hurt him! We also learn that a person should be mochel the person who hurt him if he asks for forgiveness.



Ahavas Yisroel

Do you wish it was still Sukkos? Well, guess what? It still sort of is!

The Yidden didn’t start asking for rain until the last Yid got back home from the Beis Hamikdash. That could take a long time — from Sukkos until today, Zayin Cheshvan!

Even nowadays, the Yidden in Eretz Yisroel don’t start asking for rain (Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha) until today!

The Rebbe tells us that we can learn a very big lesson in Ahavas Yisroel from this! Really, ALL of the Yidden needed rain right away for plants to grow, and there was only one last Yid in the middle of travelling. Still, ALL the Yidden waited to ask for what they needed, so that this Yid could get home from Yerushalayim easily, without having to go through a rainy and muddy path. This shows us how much we need to care about the pain of even one Yid, because all Yidden are one.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof, p. 378


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Strengthening Our Bitachon Through Davening

We have been learning about how the time of davening is a good time to make our bitachon in Hashem stronger.

In every Yid’s neshama, there is emunah in Hashem. A Yid believes that Hashem loves and cares for him, and is able to help him in everything he needs. But for us to feel it in a way that we will trust in Hashem and have bitachon because of it, we need to think about it. We learned about things we can think about during Pesukei Dezimra that will help make our bitachon stronger.

But that’s not ALL we need to have complete bitachon.

It doesn’t make sense to rely on Hashem and at the same time go against what Hashem says! Even though Hashem doesn’t expect us to be perfect, and with His chesed gives more than we deserve, we still need to try our best to do what Hashem wants from us.

A good place to strengthen this is in Kriyas Shema and the brachos before. In the brachos before Shema, we wake up our Ahava to Hashem so we will want to serve Hashem, and in Shema we say that we take upon ourselves Ol Malchus Shomayim, that we are ready to serve Hashem the best we can!

This way, we can have a much stronger bitachon in Hashem, so that when we stand before Hashem during Shemoneh Esrei, “Ke’avda Kamei Marei,” like a servant before his master, we will be sure that Hashem will give us all we need.

See Chovos Halevavos Shaar Habitachon



Kiddush Levana

It is our minhag that Lechat’chila the first day we say Kiddush Levana is on Yom Zayin of the month.

The Rema writes that we dance and celebrate at Kiddush Levana the way we celebrate at a chasunah! Kiddush Levana is a sign for the Geulah of Yidden, when there will be the chasunah between Yidden and Hashem!

One of the last horaos we got from the Rebbe, in 5752, is to be extra careful with Kiddush Levana. We are careful to do it properly, at the right time, and to do it in a beautiful way — wearing nice clothing, together with many people, and in public!

See Shulchan Menachem, chelek beis, p. 206

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



Moons and Moshiach

The Gemara says that when a person does Kiddush Levana at the right time, it is like he is greeting the Shechinah!

What does Kiddush Levana have to do with greeting the Shechinah?

During Golus, we are not zoche to greet the Shechinah. But every month, when the moon grows large again, we are reminded that Yidden will also become great again when Moshiach comes. Then we will be able to greet the Shechinah!

That is why one of the things we say in Kiddush Levana is “Dovid Melech Yisroel Chai Vekayam!” The kingdom of Dovid Hamelech is compared to the moon. Like the moon, Dovid Hamelech’s melucha will grow great again — when Moshiach comes!

See Shulchan Menachem chelek beis, p. 205

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