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Parshas Vayeira - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn what happened with Avraham Avinu in Be’er Sheva.

Avimelech, the king of Gerar, saw the miracles that happened to Avraham Avinu. He came and asked Avraham to make a deal not to hurt him or his children or grandchildren. Avraham agreed.

Avraham asked why some of Avimelech’s servants took over his well. Avimelech said he didn’t know about it, so they decided that they would let Hashem decide who the well belonged to. They both went to get water from the well, and the water came up for Avraham, showing it belonged to him. Avraham gave Avimelech animals, and also seven sheep as a sign that the well belonged to Avraham.

They called the place “Be’er Sheva” — the well of the promise, because they made a promise there that they won’t hurt each other.


Avraham opened a hotel in Be’er Sheva, and also planted fruit trees so he could give fruit to his guests. There he helped people realize who we need to daven to:

After eating, his guests would try to thank him, but Avraham would say, “Thank Hashem — not me — HE made the world!” If they didn’t want to, Avraham would tell them to pay him a lot of money. Then they would admit that Avraham was right about Hashem, and agree to thank Hashem.

Avraham lived there for 26 years.



79 - 82

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Ayin-Tes through Pey-Beis.

When these kapitelach were the Rebbe’s kapitelach for his Yom Huledes, there was a niggun made up for each one! Do you know them all?

In Kapitel Pey, Dovid Hamelech starts asking Hashem that “Roei Yisroel Haazina, Noheg Katzon Yosef.” “The Shepherd of Yidden, listen, the One who takes care of Yosef like sheep.”

In this posuk, Yidden are called with TWO names: Yisroel and Yosef.

We know Yidden are called Bnei Yisroel, because we are all children of Yaakov Avinu, who is also called Yisroel. But why are all Yidden called with the name Yosef, if he was only one of the Shevatim?

The reason is because in the time when there was no food in Eretz Yisroel, Yosef was the one who fed all the Yidden. Since he gave all the Yidden chayus, we are all called by his name!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

After the histalkus of a tzadik or a Rebbe, a part of the neshama of the Rebbe can come inside of each one of the Chassidim! If a chossid works hard to learn the Rebbe’s Torah and follow the Rebbe’s horaos, he gets this special koach.

With the extra koach from the tzadik’s neshama, it is easier to live the way the Rebbe taught! With this koach, the chassidim can really understand the things the Rebbe said, because part of the Rebbe becomes a part of them in a way of Pnimius!

Besides for that, there’s ANOTHER special koach that the Chassidim get after the histalkus of a Rebbe: A part of the neshama of the Tzadik that comes in a way of Makif, and doesn’t become a part of us in a way we can understand. This koach brings in thoughts that help us do teshuvah and do mitzvos in a more beautiful way.



Tes-Zayin Mar-Cheshvan

A person has a koach in their neshama called machshava, which means thinking. This koach is ALWAYS working — a person is ALWAYS thinking! But where does this koach find things to think about? From the koach of the neshama called sechel, things a person knows or learns.

So if a person knows or learns good things, things about Torah and Yiddishkeit and Ahavas Yisroel, that’s what they will be thinking about! But if what a person knows is just about Gashmius, or just what they see and hear about in the street, then THAT’S what they will think about.

That is why a person sometimes has Machshavos Zaros, meaningless or not good thoughts, because the sechel is not full of Torah.

So we need to make sure to learn Torah every day. This will fill up our sechel with good things, and keep our machshava busy thinking about them!



Shiur #131 - Mitzvas Asei #127

Now we have started learning a new set of halachos in Rambam, about Maaser.

(Mitzvas Asei #127) Today we learn the mitzvah of Maaser Rishon. We need to take 1/10th of the food that grows in our fields and give it to the Leviim. This mitzvah is kept only in Eretz Yisroel.



Hilchos Maaser

In today’s Rambam, we learn the first three perakim about Maaser Rishon, which goes to the Leviim.

One halacha is that Maaser is not as holy as Terumah, it is called “chulin.” It doesn’t have kedusha in it the way Terumah does.

Another interesting halacha is that even though Maaser Rishon is given to the Leviim, there was a time when it was given to the kohanim! Ezra Hasofer, who brought many Yidden back to Eretz Yisroel right after the second Beis Hamikdash was built, saw that the Leviim did not come! So he gave them a knas (like a punishment), and made a takanah that Maaser Rishon would go to the Kohanim instead of to the Leviim for a period of time.



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach - Perek Gimmel

We learn from the pesukim in Torah about which animals are good for korbanos. Here are some of the things: It has to be at least eight days old, and it can’t be an animal that is half of one kind and half of the other (kilayim)! (Like a half sheep, half goat)



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

In today’s Chumash, Shishi of Parshas Vayeira, we learned how Avraham Avinu set up a free hotel and restaurant in the middle of the desert! He used it like a Chabad House, to teach people about Hashem.

First he would give them free food, and told them that they shouldn’t pay him — they should thank Hashem, Who CREATED the food. But if they didn’t agree that Hashem created the food, Avraham became strict. He told them that then they should pay what it’s really worth — a lot of money! In the end, they realized that Avraham was right, and they started to believe in Hashem.

Chassidus explains that we learn an important lesson from Avraham in how we should act. Even if we want to be nice, we have to make sure that our being nice is for a good reason, not just because it makes us feel good! We see that Avraham was strict with his guests when he needed to be, even if that didn’t make him feel good.

Avraham wasn’t nice to all of his guests just because it made him feel happy to be nice. Avraham Avinu wanted to be nice so that more people would believe in Hashem.

When we walk down the street and smile and wave at people, it shouldn’t just be because it makes us feel good to make other people happy. We need to remember that it has a reason — to make a Kiddush Hashem.

See Kuntres Umaayan, maamar alef

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Az Yashir (3)

The last part of Pesukei Dezimra before Yishtabach is Az Yashir.

The Zohar says many special things about how important it is to say Az Yashir in davening. One thing it says is that if we say Az Yashir during Golus, we will be zoche to say it when Moshiach comes!

The last line of Az Yashir is the posukHashem Yimloch Le’olam Va’ed.”

After saying “Hashem Yimloch Le’olam Va’ed” twice, we say it one more time — but this time, we say it in Targum (translation), in Aramaic! This is something the Arizal taught us to do.

We also say then the posukKi Va Sus Paraoh,” which comes right after the Shirah in Parshas Beshalach. This is also based on the teachings of the Arizal.



Bentching Licht with Shabbos Clothes

It is a very good minhag of women to put on their Shabbos clothes before bentching licht. It shows kavod for the Shabbos licht and for Shabbos itself, which starts right after lighting our candles!

But if someone is running late, it is better to bentch licht wearing weekday clothes, than to bentch licht very close to Shkiyah, which might chas veshalom possibly end up as Chillul Shabbos.

See Kitzur Dinei Uminhagei Neiros Shabbos Kodesh VeYom Tov by Rabbi N. Dubov, p. 11

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



Big Beis Hamikdash and Little Beis Hamikdash

The Rebbe shows us that the time we are living in now is very close to the Geulah, and the things we do now are a preparation for Geulah. One of the things we will have in the times of Geulah is a Beis Hamikdash. As part of getting ready, we make sure that we have a Beis Hamikdash, a home for Hashem, in ourselves and in our rooms and homes.

In this discussion between two of the Rebbeim, we learn how to make the Beis Hamikdash in ourselves shine!

The Rebbe Rashab would sometimes take a walk with his son, the Frierdiker Rebbe. Once, on one of these walks, the Rebbe Rashab explained how the small Beis Hamikdash inside of each of us works.

The Rebbe Rashab said that when Hashem told the Yidden, “Veshochanti Besocham,” “I will live among you,” a small Beis Hamikdash came into the heart of every Yid — from then until Moshiach comes. When a Yid would come to the Beis Hamikdash, it would make the Shechinah in his small Beis Hamikdash shine, just like in the big Beis Hamikdash!

The Rebbe Rashab explained (at length) how this happens in a similar way when a chossid goes to the Rebbe for Yechidus. By going to the Rebbe, it makes the Shechinah shine inside of the little Beis Hamikdash of the chossid!

Sefer Hasichos 5699, p. 297

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