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Parshas Vaeira - Chamishi with Rashi

Hashem chose Moshe and Aharon to speak to Paraoh so he will let the Yidden out of Mitzrayim. But first, there are going to be Makos. The first makah came and went, and Paraoh refused to let the Yidden go. Today we learn what happened after the second makah finished.

In yesterday’s Chumash, we learned how Paraoh asked Moshe to take away the frogs. Moshe agreed to daven to Hashem that the frogs would go away from everyone’s houses, and only the frogs that are still in the Nilus would remain alive.

Moshe davened that the frogs should go away and all of the frogs died. The Mitzriyim made big piles of dead frogs all over and they smelled very bad!

But Paraoh decided not to listen to Hashem this time either!

So Hashem told Moshe to warn Paraoh about the third makah — lice.

Makas Kinim: Moshe and Aharon warned Paraoh that the makah would start if he didn’t do teshuvah. He didn’t listen, so Hashem had Aharon hit the dust of Mitzrayim. (Moshe couldn’t hit it, because the dirt helped bury the Mitzri he killed, and that wouldn’t be Hakoras Hatov.)

When Aharon hit the dust, it turned into lice all over Mitzrayim! Lice is a little bug that is very itchy, and this makah bothered all of the people and animals in Mitzrayim.

Paraoh’s magicians tried to make lice too, but they couldn’t — because tumah magic doesn’t work with anything smaller than a grain of barley. They had to admit that Hashem made this makah! Still, Paraoh wanted to think that Moshe and Aharon were just better magicians, so he ignored what Moshe and Aharon said and didn’t let the Yidden go.

Makas Arov: Hashem told Moshe to warn Paraoh about the next makah — wild animals. He should tell Paraoh that if he doesn’t let the Yidden go out of Mitzrayim, Hashem will send very mean wild animals to hurt people and ruin things!

All of the other makos were also in Goshen, where the Yidden lived (even though they weren’t bothered by them), but the wild animals won’t go into Goshen at all!

Paraoh will have to realize that Hashem is in charge of the whole world!



119 (second half)

Today’s Tehillim is very special! We are finishing the LONGEST kapitel in the whole Tehillim, kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes! This kapitel is so long that we don’t even say the whole thing in one day — it is split up between Yom Chof-Hey and Yom Chof-Vov!

One of the pesukim in today’s half is, “Sas Anochi Al Imrosecha Kemotzei Shalal Rav” — “I am so happy with Your words (the Torah), like someone who finds a huge treasure!”

The Rebbe’s father, R’ Levi Yitzchak, explains this posuk: He shows us that the first letters of the words “Kemotzei Shalal Rav” (like finding a big treasure) are “Kosher!”

How is “kosher” a big treasure?

The Rebbe explained during a rally for children what it means that kosher is a big treasure. This is something very important for us to know when we’re fighting with our Yetzer Hara: A person might think that it shouldn’t matter if a teeny little candy isn’t kosher. But the truth is, if we don’t listen to our Yetzer Hara, and only eat kosher candies, it’s like a HUGE treasure for Hashem! Even just a “small” thing that we win over the Yetzer Hara is a VERY big deal!



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes-Zayin

We learned in yesterday’s Tanya that a “Klal Gadol” for the beinoni is to be in control of their behavior and the feelings that make them do things. This is done by having a “tevunah” love in his mind that makes him want to connect to Hashem through Torah and mitzvos.

The Alter Rebbe tells us that for a mitzvah to fly up to Hashem, it needs to have “wings” — Yiras Shomayim (being afraid to do something that Hashem doesn’t want from us) and Ahavas Hashem (loving Hashem). These “wings” are the FEELINGS we have when we do the mitzvah, and they make our mitzvos more aidel and bring them closer to Hashem.

We might worry that if we only have the tevunah kind of love, the kind we think about that makes us WANT to do the right thing, but that we don’t really feel it in our heart, then our mitzvos won’t be able to fly up!

The Chachomim teach us: “Machshava Tova, Hakadosh Baruch Hu Metzarfeh Lemaaseh.” The simple meaning is, “when we want to do a good thing, Hashem considers it like we did it (even if we can’t actually do it).”

The Alter Rebbe says that this also hints to us that Hashem takes our good thought — our tevunah, that we want to do what Hashem wants — and connects it (metzarfeh) to the mitzvah we did, so it can have real wings and fly up to Hashem! So even though the tevunah is not a feeling in our heart, Hashem makes it work like one so our mitzvos can still fly up!

We see from here how important it is that a beinoni gets himself always inspired to do what Hashem wants! Because then, Hashem takes our feeling of being inspired and connects it to the mitzvos that we did!

So what are we doing to get ourselves inspired so that our mitzvos are full of chayus?

Here are some ideas: Go to a farbrengen, and hear someone speak words of Chassidus that will make us want to serve Hashem! Learn a sicha of the Rebbe, or a maamar that is meaningful to us! Learn some Tanya, and daven with kavana!

In the second half of Likutei Amarim, we will learn many different things we can think about to make us inspired to do the Ratzon of Hashem.



Chof-Vov Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn the reason for a minhag in Tefillah.

We learned in Tanya that there are two kinds of kelipah — one kind that is called “Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios” (the three kelipos that are all tomei and can’t become kedusha), and “Kelipas Noga” (the kind of kelipa that we can change to kedusha if we use it right).

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us how to say a certain bracha in Shmoneh Esrei which hints to these two kinds of Kelipah. In the brachaVelamalshinim”, there are four words in a row: “se’aker, u’se’shaber, use’mager, ve’sachnia” (“pull out, break, crush, and push down”). We are asking Hashem to destroy these kelipos.

When we say these words, we stop for a second between saying the word “use’mager” and “ve’sachnia” because of the Ruchnius’dike meaning of these words of davening. The first three words (se’aker u’seshaber usemager) are talking about the Shalosh Kelipos Hatemeios, the kelipos which need to be completely destroyed.

The fourth word, “vesachnia” is talking about Kelipas Noga. Kelipas Noga is something we need to be “machnia” — to push it down, but we don’t have to completely break it, because it can be used for kedusha.

That’s why we make a separation, because we are asking Hashem to help us deal with the last kind of kelipah, Kelipas Noga, in a very different way. We ask Hashem that the not-good parts should be pushed away, and that we should be able to use what is good inside of it for kedusha!



Shiur #171 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #131

(Mitzvas Lo Saasei #131) Yesterday, we learned that we can’t leave any part of the Korban after the time we are supposed to eat it. Today’s mitzvah is that we can’t EAT it after that time!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tetzaveh: וְזָר לֹא יֹאכַל כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הֵם



Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin

In today’s Rambam, we learn about when Korbanos might need to be brought again.

Perek Ches: If birds for Korbanos get mixed up, we need to know what to do.

Perek Tes: What if our birds for korbanos fly away, or fly to a different group of birds?

Perek Yud: What happens if someone brought birds for two kinds of korbanos, but the kohen brought them all on the Mizbeiach like one kind of korban — do they still count?



Hilchos Shluchim VeShutfin - Perek Zayin

We learn more halachos about business partners: Perek Zayin tells us what happens when the person doing all the work doesn’t do it right.



Even When it Doesn't Make Sense

In the beginning of this week’s parsha, Parshas Vaeira, Moshe Rabbeinu complains to Hashem. Even though he listened to Hashem and is doing his shlichus, things are getting worse! He wants to know why this is happening!

Hashem tells Moshe that the Avos also had times when things were hard. For example, even though Avraham Avinu listened to Hashem and went to Eretz Yisroel, there was a hunger there right away and he had to leave! But Avraham Avinu, and the other Avos, didn’t ask questions! They still did what they were supposed to.

The Rebbe tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu actually had a good reason to ask. Moshe Rabbeinu’s main inyan was chochmah, knowing and understanding things. That’s why Moshe was the one to give us the Torah! He needed to be able to understand things to do his shlichus.

But Hashem told Moshe that chochma is not enough! Even if that’s his main avodah, he ALSO needs to follow the way the Avos served Hashem, by using their midos. Even when they didn’t understand things, they still continued doing what they knew was right, without asking any questions.

That is also the hora’ah for us! We should try to learn and understand things as much as we can in Torah like Moshe Rabbeinu, but even if something is hard for us, we STILL should do what we know is right, and not ask any questions!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, parshas Vaeira


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Elokai Neshama

The first thing we said in the morning was Modeh Ani, thanking Hashem for returning our neshama. But since we said Modeh Ani before washing Negel Vasser, we weren’t able to say this as a bracha, with Hashem’s name.

Now that we made our body clean (by washing out our mouth and using the bathroom) and washed our hands as a preparation for davening, we are able to say Hashem’s holy name. We said the bracha of Al Netilas Yodayim, and thanked Hashem for our healthy body in Asher Yatzar. Now we are able to properly thank Hashem for giving us a healthy neshama, with the bracha of Elokai Neshama!

In Elokai Neshama, we use different expressions about how our neshama was given to us. Chassidus explains that these correspond to the different olamos (Ruchnius’dike levels, called “worlds”) that the neshama goes through before coming into the Gashmius’dike world.

In this bracha, the Chachomim also remind us about Techiyas Hameisim! We hinted to it in Modeh Ani, with the words “Raba Emunasecha,” saying that Hashem is faithful and will give back our neshama at Techiyas Hameisim. Here, we say it clearly, that Hashem will take away our neshama, but return it again when Moshiach comes. This keeps our emunah in Techiyas Hameisim strong!




Jewish boys and men need to have their heads covered with a yarmulka all the time. A yarmulka is needed so that we are tznius’dik, and it helps us have Yiras Shomayim.

Unless you glue your yarmulka to your head, it might fall off sometimes! If that happens, the halacha is that we cover our head with our hand as a heker (reminder) until we reach our yarmulka and can put it back on.

But that only helps for SOME of the reasons we wear a yarmulka.

Another reason we wear a yarmulka is to make sure our head is covered whenever we say Hashem’s name. We can’t cover ourselves with another part of ourselves — that’s not called covering! (“Ein Etzem Mastir Al Etzem.”) We need to cover our head with something separate in order to say Hashem’s name.

So if someone needs to say Hashem’s name when he can’t reach his yarmulka right away, he should cover his head with his sleeve, or with someone else’s hand.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman beis

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



One of the Mitzvos

Believing in Moshiach is a very basic part of Yiddishkeit, and is something that every Yid needs to believe.

But if so, why isn’t it one of the 613 mitzvos?

At the beginning of Sefer Hamitzvos, we learned the Rambam’s rules about what makes something counted as one of the 613 mitzvos. One of the rules is that if there is something very general in the Torah, like “be careful to do the mitzvos,” it is not counted as its own mitzvah.

That is why believing in Moshiach isn’t its own mitzvah. Believing and hoping for the Geulah means to believe that there will soon be a time when we will be able to do the WHOLE Torah and mitzvos in the best way.

So believing in Moshiach is very general — it is believing that we can do all the mitzvos properly. Since it is general, it is not counted as one of the 613 mitzvos, even though it is a very important part of every Yid’s life!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud-Ches, p. 280, ha’ara 63

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