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Parshas Ki Sisa - Sheini with Rashi

Today’s Chumash is extra long! It has the WHOLE story of the Cheit Ha’eigel. In shul on Shabbos, a Kohen gets the first aliyah, a Levi gets the second aliyah, and a Yisroel gets the third aliyah. That means that this aliyah goes to a Levi. Since Shevet Levi wasn’t part of the Cheit Ha’eigel, it isn’t embarrassing for a Levi to be called up for this aliyah. But it COULD be embarrassing for a Yisroel to be called up to this aliyah, since the other Shevatim were involved in this aveira.

We go back to what happened at the end of Moshe’s 40 days on Har Sinai:

When Hashem finished teaching Moshe the mitzvos we learned in Parshas Mishpatim, Hashem gave Moshe two luchos: They were square shaped — 6 tefachim tall and 6 tefachim wide — and 3 tefachim thick. Five of the Aseres Hadibros were carved on one of the Luchos, and the other five were carved on the other one of the Luchos. The letters were all engraved with a neis: The letters were engraved straight through the Luchos, but the letters looked the same on both sides! Also, even though some letters have a piece in the middle (like Samach and Shloss Mem) none of those pieces from the letters fell out!

Meanwhile, down at the bottom of Har Sinai, the Yidden made a very big mistake. They were counting the days until Moshe Rabbeinu would come back, and they thought (just like with a bris milah where we count the first day and the last day as part of the 8 days), that the 40 days that Moshe would be on Har Sinai also started on the day Moshe went up on Har Sinai. But really, Moshe meant 40 FULL days. So when they finished counting what they thought were 40 days, and Moshe hadn’t come back yet, they thought that Moshe wasn’t going to come back at all. Really, though, it wasn’t time for Moshe to come down yet!

The Satan also tricked the Yidden by showing them something that looked like Moshe passed away!

The Yidden believed the Satan, and now they thought they need to get someone else to show them what Hashem wants. They thought that maybe Hashem would agree to talk to them through something made of gold, like the Keruvim on the Aron. They thought that if Aharon would make a gold statue, Hashem would talk to them through it. (They didn’t know yet that it is asur to make something like the Keruvim. Hashem already told this to Moshe, but Moshe didn’t have a chance to teach this to the Yidden yet.)

Aharon didn’t think it was a good idea, so he told them to go get gold rings from their wives and children. He thought that the women and kids wouldn’t want to give away their jewelry, and this way he could push it off until later. But instead, the men took their OWN gold jewelry and brought it to Aharon.

Aharon wrapped up the gold and threw it into a fire. Then some tumah magicians from the Eirev Rav (the group of goyim who joined the Yidden when they left Mitzrayim) made some magic and a live calf (baby cow) made of gold (Eigel Hazahav) came out of the fire! The Eirev Rav said, “This is Hashem who took you out of Mitzrayim!” Even though the Yidden just wanted something to LEAD them instead of Moshe, the Eirev Rav decided to treat it as an Avodah Zarah. Some of the Yidden got excited and started to do Avodah Zarah with the Eirev Rav.

Aharon wanted to stop them, but since he saw that they killed Miriam’s son Chur when he told them it was asur, he realized he wouldn’t be able to stop them by speaking to them. Aharon thought he could find another way to make them wait, so he said he would build a Mizbeiach. He built it himself, very slowly, so there would be enough time for Moshe to come down before then.

But the Satan woke the Yidden up very early the next morning. It was the morning of Shiva Asar B’Tamuz. They brought korbanos to the Eigel, and did many aveiros.

Hashem told Moshe to go down the mountain, since the Eirev Rav got some of the Yidden to do aveiros. Because the Yidden are at a lower madreigah in kedusha, Moshe has to go down too.

Hashem told Moshe that the Yidden keep not trusting Hashem, so He will just destroy the Yidden and make Moshe’s children into a new nation.

Moshe begged Hashem not to do that! He davened to Hashem to forgive the Yidden. Hashem agreed that only the Yidden who actually did the Avodah Zarah would die right away.

Now Moshe went down from Har Sinai, carrying the Luchos. Yehoshua had been waiting for Moshe, and they went down together. When Yehoshua heard the noise coming from the Yidden, he said, “It sounds like they are fighting!” “No,” said Moshe, “it is a very sad sound — a sound of aveiros.”

When Moshe saw the Yidden dancing around the Eigel, he decided to break the Luchos so the Yidden couldn’t get punished for not keeping the Aseres Hadibros. He threw the Luchos, and they broke into pieces on the ground.

The Yidden stopped the Avodah Zarah, and Moshe took everyone who was part of it to Beis Din. Moshe asked that people who didn’t do the Avodah Zarah help him, and Shevet Levi came. They helped Moshe to punish the people who deserved it. Three thousand people were punished for their aveiros.

Now Moshe told Shevet Levi that the bechor of a family won’t do the Avodah anymore. Instead, the kohanim from Shevet Levi will.

The next day, Moshe went back up onto Har Sinai to ask Hashem to forgive the Yidden.

Moshe said, “if You forgive the Yidden that is good! But if not, please erase my name from the Torah!” Hashem said that He would erase the names of the Resha’im from the Torah, not Moshe’s name!

Hashem made anyone who was seen doing Avodah Zarah, but was not able to be punished by the Beis Din, get sick and they died.

Moshe stayed on Har Sinai for another 40 days, and didn’t eat or drink anything the whole time.

Hashem told Moshe to take the rest of the Yidden to Eretz Yisroel, but a malach would come with them. The Yidden aren’t able to have Hashem’s Presence with them anymore the way it was before.

When Moshe saw that Hashem wasn’t so close to the Yidden anymore, Moshe decided to put his tent at the very end of the Yidden’s camp.

Moshe called his tent the “Ohel Moed” — the “meeting” tent, because that’s where you could “meet” Hashem the best, near a tzadik.

All of the Yidden would watch Moshe go to his tent, and saw how Hashem’s cloud went down onto the tent. They would bow because they knew that Moshe was talking to Hashem!

Hashem would speak to Moshe “face to face” — like a person talks to his friend. Then Moshe would go and teach the Yidden what Hashem told him.

The Torah tells us that during the whole time, Yehoshua never went away from Moshe’s tent!



83 - 87

In Kapitel Pey-Daled, there is a posukYeilchu Mechayil El Choyil, Yeiro’eh El Elokim BeTzion.” This means that people who trust in Hashem go from strength to strength, and they go before Hashem in Yerushalayim.

The Rebbe tells us that Yeilchu Meichayil El Choyil, when we are always doing better than before, brings Yeiro’eh El Elokim Betzion, that we will be able to go to the Beis Hamikdosh! When we keep trying to do better, every single day and every single hour, we will bring the Geulah!

Chassidus says that there is a new chayus from Hashem that comes into the world, not just every day, but every hour! When that chayus comes, we get more opportunities to grow in Yiddishkeit! We need to make sure to use that new energy to do more!



Likutei Amarim Perek Lamed-Hey

Yesterday we learned that a Yid is like an oil candle: The fire is the Shechinah, the wick is the body, and the oil (that the fire needs) is the mitzvos.

Today the Alter Rebbe explains why only MITZVOS work as the oil to keep the Shechinah shining on us. Really, we would think that the holy neshama should be enough to keep the Shechinah shining! Why do we need mitzvah oil?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that of course the neshama is very holy and a part of Hashem, but it can’t make Hashem SHINE. When we say that Hashem is shining, it means that you can’t see anything except for Hashem!

That doesn’t work with just a neshama, because once a neshama comes into the body of a person, it feels a little bit separate from Hashem.

But mitzvos are Hashem’s Ratzon, where Hashem is not hidden at all! So when a Yid does a mitzvah, the only thing that’s important is Hashem Himself and that this mitzvah is what Hashem wants us to do! That’s why it takes mitzvah oil to make Hashem’s Shechinah shine in a Yid, because there is nothing else in the way.



Yud-Zayin Adar

The Hayom Yom was written for a year where there were TWO Adars (a Shana Me’uberes). This year there is only ONE Adar (a Shanah Peshutah), so we learn BOTH Hayom Yoms every day!

Yud-Zayin Adar Alef

This story happened before the Geulah of Yud-Tes Kislev. After that, the Alter Rebbe would say much longer Chassidus. What we learn today is a whole maamar, and you can see it was very short!

Once the Alter Rebbe came out to the Chassidim and said, “In Gan Eden, all of the Malochim see how special it is to do a mitzvah in this world! They would give anything for one “Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah” of a Yid who says it with his whole kavana!”

When the Chassidim heard this, everyone was so excited! For a whole year, everyone said “Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah” with a lot of kavana!

Yud-Zayin Adar Sheini

There are two ways to write the word “Kol” (everything) — sometimes it is with a komatz, and other times it is with a cholam. In this Hayom Yom the Rebbe shows us the proper nekudos.

In today’s Tehillim, in the posukKol Maayonai Boch” (in the kapitel that starts “Livnei Korach”) we say it with a Komatz. But when we say this paragraph before bentching, we should say the word “Koil” with a Cholam!



Shiur #235 - Mitzvas Asei #106

Since we are learning a set of halachos that doesn’t have its own mitzvah, Hilchos Keilim, we are reviewing other mitzvos from Sefer Tahara, since keilim can also get these kinds of tumah!

Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #106) is about a Zavah — a woman who has a specific tumah that comes from her body. This mitzvah is that we need to follow the halachos of when she becomes Tomei, and what else she makes Tomei. Even though it is important to know this mitzvah and its halachos always, as part of Torah, it was actually kept when we had a Beis Hamikdash, since someone tomei is not allowed to go into the Beis Hamikdash or eat from the korbanos!



Hilchos Keilim

In today’s Rambam, we learn about clay keilim and when they can become Tomei.

In Perek Yud-Ches we learn that a clay keili is only tomei if it is a Klei Kibul — it has a place to hold things inside.

Perek Yud-Tes teaches us about when a clay keili is broken — when are the pieces big enough that they are counted as their own keilim, so they can still become tomei?

Perek Chof is about things that are attached to a clay keili, to know when they are counted as a keili by themselves.



Hilchos Gerushin - Perek Daled

Today in Rambam we learn about the get and how a person can write it. A get can’t be written with invisible ink or juice that will disappear! It’s better not to write a get with a pencil, because it can be erased.




Now that it’s after Purim, we need to start thinking about preparing for Pesach! The halacha is that we start to learn the halachos about the Yom Tov starting from 30 days before.

One of the first mivtzoyim which the Rebbe started was to make sure that the Yidden we know about should have Shmurah Matzah for the Pesach sedarim. Now is a good time to think about who we need to bring Shmurah Matzah to and how we will bring it!

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Eating Before Davening

There is a halacha that we are not allowed to eat before davening.


A person with a neshama is connected to Hashem in a higher way than food is. When we eat food, we can bring it up closer to Hashem!

But that’s only when our neshama is spread out in our body! Before we daven, our neshama is still sleeping. Our guf is busy thinking about taavos and worrying about parnasa. When we daven, we wake up the neshama so it spreads out through our whole body. This way the neshama is in control and helps us think about the right things!

Before davening, a person isn’t connected to Hashem in a higher way than the food. So if he eats before davening, he can’t bring the food closer to Hashem! He can only do it once he already davened.

(Only if a person needs to eat in order to daven properly, then he can use the food to help his davening.)

See Likutei Torah Dibur Hamas’chil “Vaachaltem Achol”



Not Eating Matzah

Imagine you are getting ready for your birthday party. A few days before, you get a package from Bubby and Zaidy in the mail, with a beautifully wrapped present inside. There is a note that says that you should open it at the party, when all of your friends and family are there. You put the package on the dresser in your room so it will stay safe until the birthday party! Every day, you wonder what is inside. But then, a day before, you can’t hold yourself back. You rip off the big bow, and tear off the pretty wrapping paper. Now you can see what a special toy Bubby and Zaidy bought for you! But then, at the party, when you bring out the present, it doesn’t feel the same. The bow is gone, the wrapping paper is torn, and now it isn’t a special surprise anymore! How would you feel?

For this reason, on Erev Pesach, it is asur to eat matzah. We are supposed to wait until the seder, when we can eat it with excitement as part of the special mitzvah.

Many Yidden have a minhag to be careful not to eat matzah starting from Rosh Chodesh Nissan — two weeks before Pesach. The Chabad minhag is to not eat matzah starting from 30 days before Pesach, when we start preparing for the Yom Tov.

What kind of matzah does this mean? What about egg matzah, machine matzah, or matzah balls for example?

In Shulchan Aruch, in the halachos of Erev Pesach, it says that matzah that you wouldn’t be yotzei the mitzvah with on the night of the seder is not included in this isur. There are also some who say that matzah that tastes different than the matzah you would eat on Pesach (like machine matzah) is not part of the isur. It is important to check with your family’s Rav so you know what to do!

We are allowed to give even Shmurah Matzah to very young children who don’t understand that matzah is special for the Pesach seder.

See Halachos Uminhagei Chabad, Piskei Teshuvos siman Tof-Ayin-Alef, halacha newsletter by Rabbi Shmuel Lesches of Melbourne Australia

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



Ki Am Kshei Oref Hu

After the Cheit Ha’Eigel, Moshe asked Hashem to forgive the Yidden.

“Hashem, You know that the Yidden are stubborn, so You should forgive them! Ki Am Kshei Oref Hu, Vesolachta!” Moshe was saying, “Hashem, You know they have a Yetzer Hara! Just forgive them, even though they made a mistake! They are Kshei Oref, they are stubborn. They can’t always stop themselves from doing every aveira!”

Chassidus explains that Kshei Oref, also called akshanus, means that you don’t compromise or change your mind. And Moshe Rabbeinu isn’t telling Hashem to forgive the Yidden because of something not good, but because of something VERY good that Yidden have! It is a very good thing that the Yidden are an Am Kshei Oref!

We have a tricky Yetzer Hara, that always tries to convince us to do what Hashem doesn’t want. But we are stubborn! We say, “I am a Yid and I need to behave the way Hashem wants me to, no matter what!”

Since the Yidden have that big maalah, that Shtus Dikedusha of being STUBBORN, they deserve that Hashem should forgive them!

Ultimately, Hashem did forgive the Yidden, and to show the whole world that He forgave us, He asked the Yidden to build the Mishkan.

In a famous sicha on Chof-Ches Nissan, 5751, the Rebbe told us we should use this koach! When we are stubborn to live the way a Yid should, Hashem will bring the Geulah and give us the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi!

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