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Parshas Bereishis - Shishi with Rashi

We learned before in the parsha that Hashem said that He would punish Kayin for killing his brother in the seventh generation. Lemech’s children were the seventh generation, so here’s what happened:

Hashem took away the sign He put on Kayin’s forehead, and now he looked like an animal!

Lemech was blind, and his son, Tuval-Kayin, used to take him around. Once, Tuval-Kayin saw Kayin and got scared, and told his father to shoot Kayin! Lemech did, and once he realized what happened, he clapped his hands together because he was so upset — and by mistake hit Tuval-Kayin and killed him too.

That is how Kayin was punished for killing his brother.

Now the Torah tells us what happened next:

Lemech’s wives, Ada and Tzilah, were very upset, and they didn’t want to have children anymore. They were afraid ALL of their children would be punished by Hashem. Adam told them not to think too much about what Hashem would do — they should just do THEIR mitzvah and have children. Lemech’s wives agreed, but they reminded Adam that HE hadn’t had children in a long time! He ALSO needs to do the mitzvah!

Adam realized they were right, so he had another baby — Sheis. (Noach would later come from his family!)

Sheis later had a son Enosh. In the times of Enosh, people thought that they need to give Kavod to Hashem’s servants, like the sun and the moon. They started giving them Korbanos and davening to them too. Later, people forgot all about Hashem, and ONLY davened to these things! They made idols, and thought that if they worshiped them they would get whatever they wanted.

Adam only managed to make sure that SOME of his children still believed in Hashem. The rest of the world was all Resha’im. Hashem tried to warn them by sending a small Mabul, but they didn’t do Teshuvah.

Now the Torah is going to tell us over the generations from Adam to Noach, and when they died. Today we do the first half:

1) Adam
2) Sheis
3) Enosh
4) Keinan
5) Mahalalel
6) Yered
7) Chanoch: Chanoch followed only Hashem, but Hashem saw that he would later become a Rasha. To keep him from needing to be punished, Hashem took him into Gan Eden while he was still alive.
8) Mesushelach



135 - 139

In today’s Tehillim there are some kapitelach we say during Shacharis on Shabbos. The kapitelHodu Lashem Ki Tov, Ki Le’olam Chasdo”, also called Hallel HaGadol (Kapitel Kuf-Lamed-Vov), is one of them. We also have Al Naharos Bavel in today’s Tehillim, which we say before bentching on a weekday.

In Hallel Hagadol, one of the things we thank Hashem for is the big lights that shine on the world — the sun, the moon, and the stars. We say, “Le’oseh Orim Gedolim, Ki Le’olam Chasdo! — Hashem makes the big lights — because His kindness is forever!”

We also thank Hashem that the sun and moon follow a seder, the sun by day and the moon by night: “Es Hashemesh Lememsheles Bayom, Es Hayareiach VeChochavim Lememshelos Balailah.”



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Hey

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe is explaining to us about our Emunah in Hashem — what it means that Hashem gives chayus to the world every second. Everything a person does or says is from the chayus that Hashem gives the person at that moment — and that is not only with a Yid, but also a goy! EVERYTHING we say or do is from the chayus Hashem gives us at that moment.

Some Yidden didn’t understand how Hashem can be giving chayus to a goy every second, even if he is doing things that are trying to stop a Yid from doing a mitzvah. That is what the Alter Rebbe is explaining here.

So far we learned that the chayus Hashem gives to the world every moment is called the Shechinah. Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us about the Golus of the Shechinah. (That’s going to be the answer how Hashem can give chayus to something going against Hashem — because the Shechinah is in Golus.)

Golus means that something is not the way it is supposed to be. Like someone who is in jail — he really wants to be at home but he is stuck in jail. The same thing is with the chayus of Hashem: Golus means that the chayus goes into something that doesn’t deserve it. Right after the Cheit Eitz HaDaas, the first Golus started. That’s when bad started getting mixed up into good, and it was like Hashem giving chayus to something that doesn’t really deserve it — and that’s Golus.

But that was only the beginning of Golus. Once the Yidden went into Golus, that was a complete Golus. Yidden have a Neshama which is a part of the most special chayus of Hashem, the pnimius of Hashem’s chayus! When that chayus had to become stuck in Golus, then Hashem’s most special chayus is in a place that is not proper for it to be — and that is a FULL Golus

Very soon, when Yidden will come out of Golus AND there won’t be any tumah or bad in the world, that will be a COMPLETE Geulah!



Chof-Ches Tishrei

In order to get married, a Chosson gives his Kallah a ring so she will become his wife. He promises to take care of his Kallah and make sure she has what she needs.

The Yidden and Hashem are like a Chosson and Kallah! The same is with our marriage with Hashem! Hashem gave US a ring — the mitzvos, to make us His kallah. Now Hashem has to make sure we have all of the things we need to live a happy life.

When we act the way Hashem wants, Hashem promises us that He will give us everything we need, like the posuk says, “Im Bechukosai Teileichu, Venasati Gishmeichem Be’itam.”

Now that Chodesh Tishrei is ending, we are going back into the regular Gashmius’dike work to get our parnasa. We need to remember that the bracha will only come if we take care of our Ruchnius as well, by having a Kvius Itim (a set time) to learn Torah and doing mitzvos properly!



Shiur #99 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #187, #186, #189, #190, #191, #192

Today we learn more mitzvos about what we are not allowed to eat:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #187) We are not allowed to eat milk and meat together (basar b’chalav).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Ki Sisa: לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Ches.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #186) We are not allowed to cook milk and meat together (even if we aren’t going to eat it).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #189) We are not allowed to eat bread (Lechem) from new grain of that year, until the day that the Korban Omer is brought on 16 Nissan. The new grain is called “Chodosh.”

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Menachos perek Zayin, and many places in Mesechta Shviis, Mesechta Maasros, and Mesechta Challah.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #190) There is a separate mitzvah not to eat roasted grain (Koli) from chodosh.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Menachos perek Zayin, and many places in Mesechta Shviis, Mesechta Maasros, and Mesechta Challah.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #191) There is a separate mitzvah not to eat fresh grain (Karmel) from chodosh.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶחֶם וְקָלִי וְכַרְמֶל לֹא תֹאכְלוּ עַד עֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה

The details are explained in Mesechta Menachos perek Zayin, and many places in Mesechta Shviis, Mesechta Maasros, and Mesechta Challah.

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #192) We are not allowed to eat fruit from a tree for the first three years it grows (Orlah).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים לֹא יֵאָכֵל



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

In today’s Rambam, perakim Yud-Daled, Tes-Vov, and Tes-Zayin, we learn about when a person is chayav to be punished by the Beis Din for eating asur food. Just like at the Seder we eat a certain amount of matzah in a certain amount of time, a person only gets punished if he eats a certain amount of food in a certain amount of time.

We also learn about when a food is botul and is considered as if it’s not there. Let’s say you have a big pot of chicken soup cooking on the stove, when your baby brother comes into the kitchen. He takes his bottle of milk and throws it on the floor. It opens, and the milk splashes all over the kitchen! Is it still okay to eat the chicken soup, since some milk splashed inside? The answer is yes, because it is botul. There is SO MUCH chicken soup, and SO LITTLE milk that it doesn’t make the food non-kosher.

There are many halachos about bittul. Some kinds of food can NEVER become botul, and sometimes you need as much as 200 times more of the kosher food than the non-kosher food!



Hilchos Brachos - Perek Tes

Just like we’re not allowed to enjoy eating food without a bracha, we aren’t allowed to enjoy a good smell without a bracha. We do this at Havdalah every week — Borei Minei Besamim!

There are specific brachos for smells, depending on where the smell comes from, like from a plant or from a flower. Just like Shehakol is a general bracha for food, Borei Minei Besamim is a general bracha for smells.

There are certain smells we don’t make a bracha on at all, like smells from Avodah Zarah.



Midos Tovos

Every Shabbos has two inyonim in it. It finishes off and elevates the week before, and it brings bracha to the coming week! So Shabbos Bereishis is also connected to Parshas Noach.

We will learn something from a famous sicha on Parshas Noach:

In Parshas Noach, we learn two very important things about our midos:

When the Torah tells us about the animals that went into the Teivah, it doesn’t say to bring seven pairs of kosher animals and two treife animals, it says to bring two animals that aren’t tahor. That shows us that we need to be careful to say things in the nicest way that we can. Instead of saying “tomei,” we can say “not tahor.” Instead of saying something is bad, we can say it isn’t very good.

Then there is a second lesson. When Noach drank too much wine after the Mabul (like we will see in Friday’s Chitas) he did something not good. When Shem and Yafes saw it, they went backwards to cover their father but didn’t want to see what he had done that wasn’t right. They just went to fix the problem.

The same thing is if we see people not acting the way they should. We shouldn’t think about how they aren’t acting right and think not good things about them in our mind, and of course not to say something not nice about them to others Chas Veshalom! Instead, we should just make sure to fix the problem in a kind way.

The Baal Shem Tov says that if we think too much about how another person isn’t good, and not just about fixing the person’s problem, that is a sign from Hashem that we have that not good thing in ourselves. Hashem is showing it to us like when we look in a mirror, when we really see ourselves inside.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud, Parshas Noach


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Torah Tziva

The first posuk of the Twelve Pesukim starts with the words “Torah Tziva.”

The Chachomim tell us that this should be the first thing we teach a child who is just learning to talk!

The Rebbe explains that this posuk is very important for a child to know before they start learning Torah:

Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe,” the Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu commanded us on Har Sinai, is “Morasha Kehilas Yaakov,” a yerusha to each one of us! That means that the very same Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu was given at the time of Matan Torah is what belongs to each of us today.

What Moshe Rabbeinu got on Har Sinai was not just the Chumash, or even just Tanach. It was ALL the Torah that we would ever have, including Kabbalah and Medrashim and even the Torah of Moshiach! And now all of that Torah is ours too!

We are able to understand and learn a lot of parts of Torah. We can learn Chumash, Tanach, Medrash, Shas, and even part of Kabbalah! But there are some parts of it that we AREN’T able to understand. Some parts might be too hard for us, and of course we can’t learn or understand the Torah of Moshiach until Moshiach comes!

So why do we need to know that those parts of Torah are ours too?

We can understand by using the mashal of a tower:

Learning Torah is like building a tower. To build a tower, you need to make a strong foundation at the bottom to keep the building steady, and then you build more and more layers on top until your tower is very high! A Torah tower can always keep growing, because there is always more Torah to learn!

But we need to make sure that our foundation is very strong. Otherwise our whole tower will be shaky!

What we learn in Torah Tziva is very important for our foundation, what keeps our whole Torah tower strong. We learn that we are NOT able to understand some parts of Torah, but we know that they are all part of the same Torah!

This way, no matter what part of Torah we are learning, we will know that it is true even if we don’t understand it! We will have Kabolas Ol, and keep the Torah even if it’s too hard for us to understand.

This is something we need to know right away, even before we start learning Torah. We need to know that we will do what Hashem tells us in the Torah, even if we don’t understand it.

See Likutei Sichos chelek daled, sicha for Simchas Torah



Closing Seforim

RING! Is that the bell for recess?

Before we run to get our snack, we first take care of our seforim! We close the sefer we were in the middle of using, since it is not kavodik for a sefer to be left open with nobody learning from it.

The Rebbe said that cheder kids used to ALL know this. Nowadays, people don’t always think about their seforim! They leave the room, and just leave their poor seforim open, all alone.

Once the Frierdiker Rebbe noticed an important person walking away from a table where he had been learning. His sefer was still open. In a kind way, the Frierdiker Rebbe asked him to close the sefer, and not just leave it that way.

The Rebbe had been standing nearby. The Rebbe knew how the Frierdiker Rebbe was always so careful not to bother other people, especially important people. He told the Frierdiker Rebbe that he could have asked him, the Rebbe, to close the sefer instead of telling this person!

The Frierdiker Rebbe said that it is important to make sure that the sefer is closed when it is left alone, but that is not all. It is also important that if it is possible, the person who opened it should close it himself.

See Toras Menachem vol. 39, p. 190-192

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



A Taste of Moshiach

During the Mabul, Hashem destroyed the world so it could be built again, but this time properly.

From all of the animals in the world, only the ones on the Teiva survived.

Even though the Teiva was big, there were very many kinds of animals. It was very crowded on the Teiva! But none of the animals fought.

Snakes stayed calmly next to birds, and lions lay down next to lambs. Everything was peaceful, just like it will be when Moshiach comes!

But when the Mabul ended, and all of the animals had to leave the Teiva, this peaceful time ended too. The lions went back to their chasing and attacking, and snakes tried to capture other animals for food again. The Moshiach’dike time was over.

Since Hashem was rebuilding the world, Hashem wanted to rebuild it with a little taste of Moshiach which is what happened on the Teivah. That would give us the koach later to keep working to bring Moshiach, when everyone, including animals, will be able to live peacefully — forever!

See Sefer Hasichos Tof-Shin-Nun parshas Noach, Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah Al HaTorah Noach p. 25

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