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Parshas Vayikra - Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Hashem is still speaking to Moshe Rabbeinu, telling him more about the korbanos that the Yidden will bring in the Mishkan.

Hashem told Moshe that sometimes a person wants to give Hashem a korban as a present (nedavah). One way to do this is by giving a Korban Olah, a korban that is burned up completely on the Mizbeiach, with no parts left for the person or the kohen to eat. (That is why it is called “olah”, because the whole korban “goes up” to Hashem.)

In yesterday’s Chumash, Hashem told Moshe about bringing an ANIMAL as a Korban Olah.

Now Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu that if a person can’t afford to bring an animal as a present, he can bring a BIRD as a Korban Olah instead. Even though the birds are smaller than animals, if the person gave it with a good kavana, it brings Hashem the same nachas as a bigger korban!

After the kohen shechts the bird, he should take out the inside parts of the bird, that are used for eating food (the digestive system). With a korban of an animal, we take these parts and wash them out, but with the bird, we throw these parts away.

Rashi tells us that this is because of the kind of food birds eat! An animal that can be brought as a korban is a kind of animal that lives on a farm, and only eats what its owner gives it. But a bird flies around and eats whatever it finds, which is like stealing. We throw these parts away so our korban won’t have a connection to stealing.

Hashem told Moshe that after taking out these parts, the bird should be burned on the Mizbeiach. Even though feathers are very smelly when they are burned, they shouldn’t be taken off! Hashem wants the korbanos of poor people to look as big and important as possible.

Still, for some very poor people, even a bird can be too expensive! Hashem told Moshe that there is another, cheaper korban that can be brought as a present to Hashem. This korban is made of flour, and is called a “Korban Mincha”.

When Hashem was telling Moshe about the Korban Mincha, Hashem didn’t use the same word as usual for the person bringing the korban. Instead of saying “Adam” (a person), Hashem said “Nefesh” — a neshama! Hashem wanted Moshe to know that when a person is very poor, but still wants to give a present to Hashem, his korban is very precious! Hashem counts it as if he is giving his whole nefesh as a present!

Hashem told Moshe about the different ways that flour is used as a korban. (Three of these ways are in today’s Chumash.)

One kind of flour korban is actually raw flour. The person brings fine flour, and the kohen should pour oil and spices on top. One handful should be burned on the Mizbeiach, and the rest of it the kohanim will be allowed to take home and eat.

For another kind of Mincha, the kohen should bake the flour. This baked Mincha has two kinds: One is called “Challos Matzos,” where the kohen will MIX the flour with the oil and then bake it. The other is called “Rekikei Matzos,” where the kohen will SMEAR the oil on top of the baked Mincha.

There is also a kind of Mincha that should be fried in a pan until it gets crispy.

Hashem told Moshe that for all of the kinds of Mincha where the flour is already cooked or baked, the kohen should break it into pieces and then pour oil in it.



120 - 134

Today we are saying the 15 Shir Hamaalos! Every kapitel in today’s tehillim (15 kapitelach) starts with the words “Shir Hamaalos” or “Shir Lamaalos.”

Maalos means steps, going up! They bring us higher and closer to Hashem!

These fifteen kapitelach were first said by Yaakov Avinu when he was in Lavan’s house. 

They were also said by Dovid Hamelech when he was digging a stream under the place of the Beis Hamikdash, and the underground water was about to make a big flood! Dovid asked a Rav if he can write Hashem’s name on a piece of clay, and when Achitofel said yes, he did it. The water went back down, but too far down! So Dovid Hamelech said the 15 Shir Hamaalos, and the water came up 15,000 amos, so the ground wouldn’t be too dry to grow things.

Do you know what else is 15 in Yiddishkeit? Here are some of them!

- There are 15 steps in the Seder on Pesach
- There are 15 things that are done every day in the Beis Hamikdash (we say them in davening, in a paragraph that starts “Abaye”)
- There are 15 steps into the Beis Hamikdash
- There were 15 years where all of the Avos were alive at the same time!
- There were 15 years where all of the Avos of Chassidus were alive at the same time — the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, and the Alter Rebbe!



Likutei Amarim Perek Lamed-Zayin

Today’s Tanya is a very famous section brought in the Rebbe’s sichos many times, about how special the mitzvah of tzedakah is and why the Chachomim tell us that it brings the Geulah closer.

The chachomim tell us that the most important mitzvah is Tzedakah — it’s as important as all of the other mitzvos together!


We learned that when we do mitzvos, we use every part of the world for Kedusha, so it will be ready for the Geulah! So when we do mitzvos with different things, it’s getting the world ready for Moshiach.

Most mitzvos only use one part of our body to do the mitzvah — like wearing Tefillin with our hand and head, or smelling besamim with our nose.

But to get money, a person needs to work very hard with ALL of his koach and use many Gashmius’dike things. Then, when he uses some of that money for Tzedakah, he is making ALL of these kochos ready for the Geulah!

That’s why the Chachomim teach us that Gedolah Tzedakah Shemekareves Es HaGeulahtzedakah is a great mitzvah because it brings Moshiach closer!

Other mitzvos make only some parts of the world ready for Moshiach, but tzedakah makes MANY, MANY parts of the world ready!



Chof-Zayin Adar

The year the Hayom Yom was first made in was a Shana Me’uberes (a leap year) and there were two Adars. This year is a Shana Peshuta which has only one Adar, so we need to learn the Hayom Yom for BOTH Adars so we will finish the whole Hayom Yom!

Chof-Zayin Adar Alef

When a person makes a Cheshbon Hanefesh, thinking about where things are holding and how to improve, he might not be doing it in a true way (in a way of emes).

Sometimes, a person can be extra strict with himself. He tries to find problems, things that maybe were aveiros — even if that’s not true.

Other times, it is the opposite! A person ignores things that really need to be fixed, because he isn’t interested in working on them.

Neither of those are emes! A Yid needs to be truthful in his own Avodas Hashem! He shouldn’t be too machmir on himself, finding things that are not wrong, and he shouldn’t be too meikil, not paying attention to things that really need to be corrected.

Chof-Zayin Adar Sheini

In the year the Hayom Yom was written, Chof-Zayin Adar Sheini was Shabbos Mevorchim Nissan, and Parshas Hachodesh. The Rebbe reminds us to do the minhagim of Shabbos Mevorchim.

In Parshas Shemini, we learn the story of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon Hakohen, who came into the Mishkan without permission, and Hashem made them pass away.

The Rebbe Rashab explains in a sicha about how their mistake was that they did “Ratzo without Shuv.” What does that mean?

RATZO is when a person wants to come close to Hashem! A person may get very excited after learning a lot of Torah and Chassidus, and want very much to come close to Hashem!

But, because of this excitement, with just Ratzo, a person can forget that even MORE important than being CLOSE to Hashem is doing what Hashem WANTS — to do mitzvos in the world.

That’s SHUV — remembering that even though we want to be so close to Hashem, we can’t forget that the main thing is to do what Hashem wants.

That is also what happened with Nadav and Avihu, that they went into the Mishkan with Ratzo, without Shuv. After that, Hashem gave instructions to Aharon to make sure that this mistake doesn’t happen again.

Today’s Hayom Yom shows us the meaning of this posuk according to Chassidus, how the posuk teaches us to make sure not to do Ratzo without Shuv.



Shiur #231 - Mitzvas Asei #108

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #108) is one we already learned this year! Since there are no mitzvos that are just about Keilim becoming Tomei, we review all of the mitzvos from Sefer Tahara while we learn this set of halachos.

The mitzvah we review today is about the Mei Nidah — the water that we mixed the ashes of the Parah Adumah inside of. The halachos of Mei Nidah are very interesting — people who touch it become Tomei, but it makes other things Tahor!



Hilchos Keilim

In today’s Rambam, we are learning more about what kinds of Keilim can become Tomei:

Perek Vov has the halachos about when a keili changes and can’t become tomei anymore. If a keili is broken, or it can’t do its job anymore, it isn’t counted as a keili anymore, and it can’t become tomei. And if it is coated with something that is not mekabel tumah, it can’t become tomei either.

Perek Zayin explains the halachos of keilim made out of leather, like bags, or Tefillin, or shoes! We learn when they are able to become tomei.

Perek Ches teaches us the difference between metal and wood — a keili that is tomei when it is made out of wood can be tahor when it’s made out of metal!

The Rambam also teaches us that something that makes a person beautiful, like jewelry, can become tomei. But jewelry made for an animal, or a decoration made for another keili, doesn’t become tomei. The kavana we have, meaning what we planned to use the keili for, makes a big difference!



Hilchos Malveh VeLoveh - Perek Chof-Zayin

The last perek of this set of halachos, Perek Chof-Zayin, talks about a shtar, a paper that is written to show that money was borrowed.

One halacha is that we need to be careful in a shtar, to make sure that we don’t write things in a way that someone else could change them. So for example, we can’t write the word “shalosh” (three) at the end of a line — because someone could add the letters yud and shlos mem, making it say “shloshim” (thirty) instead!



Chof-Zayin Adar

Today is Chof-Zayin Adar. On this day, sadly, Hashem took away from us the zechus of being able to hear the Rebbe speak to us and farbreng. It is a day when we hope and daven for the time when we will be able to hear the Rebe farbreng with us again, when Moshiach comes.

We will learn one of the things the Rebbe spoke about during the last farbrengen we were zoche to hear from the Rebbe, Parshas Vayakhel Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis.

In the first sicha, the Rebbe taught us an important lesson about Ahavas Yisroel, from Parshas Vayakhel and Parshas Shekalim.

It is very important for all Yidden to be united together! But in order to have achdus of Yidden together, we first need to have achdus when we are by ourselves.

How do we have achdus by ourselves?

First we need to make an achdus between all of the parts of our life. We need to make sure that ALL of the things we are doing are part of the same purpose — to serve Hashem (Leshamesh Es Koni). This is something we can think about when we say Modeh Ani first thing in the morning, how we know that our neshama comes from Hashem and we are ready to follow what Hashem wants from us all day.

Then we can also work on having achdus with other Yidden in our own minds and feelings. We can try to feel how much we WANT to be together with every Yid! We do this when we say Hareini Mekabel at the beginning of davening, even before the minyan starts davening together.

That way, later on, we will be able to have a real achdus when we are together with other Yidden!

Even though usually Hashem sets things up in a way that we are always able to be together, sometimes Hashem makes it that we need to be by ourselves. Then, especially, we need to work on the achdus in ourselves. When we first have achdus between ourselves and Hashem, and then feel how we want to have achdus with other Yidden, we will be able to have a real achdus when we are able to be together Begashmius!

Then, all of the Yidden together will be able to use this strong achdus to make an achdus in the world — to show how the whole world is part of Hashem. We will all be able to see this achdus when Moshiach comes!


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Haggadah Shel Pesach

During the seder we tell over the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim.

The Mishna (the last perek of Mishnayos Pesachim) and Gemara talk about the order of the story, and the nusach of the Haggadah today is based on that.

The Mishna says that right after the child asks the Mah Nishtana, the father should teach him and give him the answer, based on what he will be able to understand. The Mishna tells us that we should tell the story in a way of “Maschil Begnus Umesayeim Beshevach,” to start off with the embarrassing part and finish off with praise.

What is the embarrassing part of the story?

There are two opinions in the Gemara: One opinion is that it is embarrassing that we were slaves to Paraoh in Mitzrayim. The second opinion is that it is embarrassing that until Avraham Avinu came to recognize Hashem, our ancestors served Avodah Zarah.

In our actual Haggadah, we start off with the first opinion. Right after Mah Nishtana, we start answering the questions with the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim, starting with “Avadim Hayinu” — we were slaves to Paraoh in Mitzrayim, until Hashem took us out.

But then, a few paragraphs later, we follow the second opinion also. We go back to the very beginning, “Mitchila Ovdei Avodah Zarah Hayu Avoseinu” — at first our ancestors served Avodah Zarah.

We finish off the story with praise, how Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim and made us free, and how Hashem made us His special nation and gave us the Torah!

See the Rebbe’s Haggadah, Dibur Hamaschil Avadim Hayinu



Model Seders

Before Pesach, kids learn all about the Yom Tov! It is a good idea not just to learn about the seder, but to actually make a model seder! This way they can see how the Seder will be done, and they will remember the halachos about it better.

Different families and communities have different minhagim, especially during the Pesach seder. When we do a model seder with kids that have different minhagim, we should make sure not to take away their chayus in the minhagim that they will be keeping at home.

See Igros Kodesh vol. 10 p. 350 (Hebrew letter)

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



Moshiach Manners

One time there was a Shliach who went to teach a Yid about Yiddishkeit. He made an appointment to visit the man’s office. This man was a professor, who was very smart and not easy to speak to!

The Shliach started talking to him about Yiddishkeit, and the professor argued with him. The professor went to get a book to try to show the Shliach that he is right, and when he came back he saw that the Shliach is standing near the wall and shaking back and forth!

After he finished, the Shliach told the professor that he was davening Mincha before it got too late.

The professor was so impressed that even though this was an important appointment, when the Shliach had to talk to Hashem, he stopped right away to daven!

This professor became a Baal Teshuva and helped many other Yidden come closer to Yiddishkeit too!

The Rebbe told us that we should learn from here that even though manners are important, when we tell a Yid first thing about Moshiach, and that we want Moshiach now, this will get his neshama excited! He sees that a regular person comes to him, and what is he thinking about? He’s thinking about Moshiach and that we want Moshiach to come now!

See Parshas Tzav 5745

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