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Parshas Chayei Sarah - Shlishi with Rashi

Yesterday we learned how Avraham made Eliezer his shliach to find a shidduch for Yitzchak. Today we learn about the beginning of the hatzlacha of this shlichus!

Eliezer took ten of Avraham’s camels and some people along. These camels were special, and are called Avraham’s camels, because they had muzzles which kept them from stealing by eating from other people’s fields!

Avraham wrote a contract that said that everything he has belongs to Yitzchak, and gave it to Eliezer to show to the girl’s family. When they see that Yitzchak is very rich, they will want their daughter to marry him!

Eliezer traveled to Charan, where Nachor, Avraham’s brother, lived.

Hashem gave Eliezer kefitzas haderech, and he came in one day, even though it would usually take 17 days!

Eliezer brought the camels to the well at night, when girls go get water for their houses. He davened that Hashem should help him find the right girl. He said to Hashem he would make a sign: If he would ask a girl to give him some water, and she would also give his camels water, that would be the right wife for Yitzchak. Since she would be a girl of chesed, he would know that Hashem was showing him the right girl and she is worthy to marry into the family of Avraham.

He hadn’t even finished davening, when Rivka (the daughter of Besuel and the granddaughter of Nachor, Avraham’s brother) came out. She was beautiful and very tznius’dik. When she went down to the well, the water got higher so it would be easier for her to fill her pitcher! Eliezer saw the neis, and realized she was probably a tzadeikes.

Eliezer ran over to her and asked for a little drink. She right away gave him her pitcher and told him to drink. Then she said, “I will go get water for your camels and the people who came with you.” She poured her pitcher into the trough where the camels could drink, and ran back to the well to bring more.

Since she had done everything Eliezer had asked for as a sign, he wondered if she was really from Avraham’s family. Had Hashem really given him hatzlacha in his trip? But he trusted that Avraham deserved nisim, and after all, Avraham had promised that Hashem would make it work.

So after the camels had drank as much as they wanted, he took out presents. He gave Rivka a gold nose ring that weighed a half a shekel, and two gold bracelets that weighed 10 shekels, so she would be engaged to Yitzchak! The half shekel of the nose ring was a hint to the Machatzis Hashekel that would help build the Mishkan, the two bracelets were a hint to the two Luchos, and the ten shekel they weighed hinted to the Aseres Hadibros.

Eliezer was sure that Hashem had given him hatzlacha in his shlichus in Avraham Avinu’s zechus. He was so sure, that he FIRST got Rivka engaged to Yitzchak, and only afterwards asked her any questions!

He asked Rivkah who her father was. Could he stay there overnight?

Rivkah answered in order, that her father was Besuel, the son of Nachor and Milka. And that they had plenty of straw and food for the camels, and place to stay A LOT of nights!

Hearing that Rivkah was indeed from Avraham’s family, Eliezer saw that Hashem had given him success. He bowed to Hashem to thank Him.



104 - 105

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Daled and Kuf-Hey.

In today’s first kapitel, Dovid Hamelech tells us about how amazing the world is, and how Hashem made everything just perfect!

The second posuk says, “Oteh Or KaSalma” — “Hashem puts on light, like clothes.”

In the Tzemach Tzedek’s pirush on Tehillim, Yahal Ohr, there is another explanation of this posuk, based on the Tanya we are learning now!

The Tzemach Tzedek says that this posuk is also talking about the neshama:

Oteh Or Kasalma” — “Hashem puts the light of Torah and Mitzvos onto the neshama, like clothes.”

By wearing “clothes” of Torah and mitzvos, the neshama will be able to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden. So when we do mitzvos, Hashem puts their light on us so we will get to appreciate the pnimius of that light, the pleasure that Hashem has from the mitzvos!

This is what we are learning now in Tanya, Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes.



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

Today we learn that the Ratzon of Hashem which the neshama connects to by doing mitzvos, becomes “clothes” for the neshama in Gan Eden! In the lower level of Gan Eden, the mitzvos themselves, which are done with Gashmius things, are the “clothes.” And in the higher level of Gan Eden, it is the kavana of these mitzvos which is also the Ratzon of Hashem, which are the “clothes” for the neshama!

We explained before that the neshama needs “clothes” to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden. The mitzvos have a chayus of Hashem inside of them which is part of what the neshama will appreciate in Gan Eden. Since the mitzvos are wrapped up in Gashmius, the neshama is able to make this chayus a part of itself!

The Alter Rebbe shows us where this is written clearly in the Zohar, that through doing mitzvos in this world, the neshama is later able to see Elokus in Gan Eden.

But this is only in Gan Eden Ha’tachton, the lower level of Gan Eden.

In the higher level of Gan Eden, Gan Eden Ha’elyon, there is a different type of “clothes” for the neshama to be able to see Elokus. The Zohar says that these clothes are the KAVANA of learning Torah and davening which the person had in this world.

Having kavana is also part of the mitzvah, it is also part of what Hashem wants! So our mitzvos that we do in this world, with kavana, are the “clothes” for the neshama to be able to see Elokus also in the higher level of Gan Eden, Gan Eden Ha’elyon!



Chof-Alef Mar-Cheshvan

The Frierdiker Rebbe wrote a kuntres called Kuntres Toras Hachassidus which explains the inyan of Chassidus and of davening according to Chassidus. Many pieces of this kuntres are quoted in Hayom Yom.

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe quotes a section from Kuntres Toras Hachassidus that explains what Tefillah accomplishes according to Chassidus.

First we learn something in Chassidus. Then we daven while thinking about the Chassidus that we learned. Our davening helps us feel excited about what we know! That excitement makes us want to do mitzvos with Yiras Shomayim, and to work on having good midos!



Shiur #106 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #62

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #62) that it is asur to make a Shvuas Shav (like we learned about in yesterday’s Rambam) — a promise in Hashem’s name for no reason. Here are some examples of a Shevuas Shav:

- To make a promise that EVERYONE knows isn’t true — like promising during the day that it is really night

- To make a promise that something impossible happened (like “I didn’t sleep for a whole week”)

- A promise to do an aveira

- A promise that EVERYONE already knows is true (“the sky is the sky”)

We learn this mitzvah from one of the Aseres Hadibros, in Parshas Yisro: לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת שֵׁם ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ לַשָּׁוְא

The halachos are explained in Mesechta Shevuos.



Hilchos Shevuos

Perek Daled: This perek talks about the kind of expressions a person uses to make a shevuah, and what the halacha is in each case.

Perek Hey: We learn some details about two of the kinds of shevuos we are learning about in Sefer Hamitzvos, Shevuas Bitui and Shevuas Shav.

Perek Vov: The Rambam teaches us what happens if a person changes his mind and wants to take away the shevuah. This is called Heter Shevuos.



Hilchos Rotzeiach U'Shmiras HaNefesh - Perek Yud-Alef

This perek teaches us halachos about being careful of dangerous things. For example, we need to have a fence around the roof, to keep people from falling.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

Some people care very much about making a difference in the world. They work to open a big Chabad House, or teach classes to kids from all over their city. They are always looking for more ways to reach more people and teach them about Yiddishkeit.

Other people work very hard on their own avodah. They make sure they are davening with lots of kavana, they are careful with each of their mitzvos, and they make time to work on their midos and learn plenty of Torah.

Which do you think is more important?

We learn from Avraham Avinu that it is very important to have BOTH!

In this week’s Chumash, in Sheini of Chayei Sarah, we learn that Avraham was “Zakein, Ba Bayamim.” “Avraham became old, advanced in days.” Of course, both of these can mean the same thing! But with these two expressions, the Torah is really teaching us about TWO things that Avraham had:

Avraham became Zakein — grown up in his own avodah. He came to recognize Hashem, and finished working on his own midos and connection to Hashem!

But Avraham ALSO became Ba Bayamim — grown up in his avodah with others. He had already done many important things by teaching other people about the existence of Hashem!

For our avodah to be in a way of Kedusha, we need to act like Avraham Avinu. We can’t just do shlichus or mivtzoyim with others, and we can’t just learn and daven on our own.

We need BOTH!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, p. 777


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Mechalkel Chaim Bechesed

In the times of the Alter Rebbe, many Chassidim earned money by making and selling mashke. One year, the government decided to stop allowing this. They made a new law that only the government is allowed to produce and sell mashke.

This was a very big problem for many chassidim! Suddenly, their parnasa was taken away from them! Now how would they have enough money to live?

A group of the closest Chassidim came to the Alter Rebbe to ask him to beg Hashem for Rachmonus. (In this group were the Mitteler Rebbe, R’ Aharon MiStrashele, and R’ Pinchas Reizes.)

The Alter Rebbe told them that when Hashem gives brachos from Shomayim, you need to have kelim down here to catch the brachos. The kelim for Hashem’s brachos are Ahava and Achva (love and friendship), and staying away from jealousy and rechilus (gossip).

The Alter Rebbe told them that this explains the bracha that the kohanim say before Birchas Kohanim: “Asher Kidishanu … Levarech Es Amcha Yisroel B’Ahava.” This means that the bracha of the kohanim is given with Ahava, and it also means that they bentch the Yidden to have Ahava between themselves! This way they will have the kelim to get all of the brachos in Birchas Kohanim!

After telling this to the group of Chassidim, the Alter Rebbe went out to the big Beis Medrash. The Alter Rebbe had a powerful, sweet voice, but he still went up onto the Bima to make sure everyone was able to see and hear.

The Alter Rebbe said, “Mechalkel Chaim Bechesed — Hashem gives life with chesed! (These words are from the second bracha of Shemoneh Esrei).

“Hashem gives life with Chesed, not with mashke factories!

“Hashem’s Chesed is not like a person’s chesed. The chesed of a person is not the real reason for why the other person got something. The chesed of Hashem IS the hashpa’ah, the chesed of Hashem is what gives a person life!

“But to receive this Chesed, you need the keilim of Ahava and Achva.”

Then the Alter Rebbe stepped down from the Bima.

That year, Chassidim were bentched with tremendous parnasa!

See how the Frierdiker Rebbe tells the story in Sefer Hasichos 5698 p. 283; and the Rebbe’s retelling and beautiful conclusion in the sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach 5718



Horaos for Traveling

A school that had planned an end-of-the-year trip out of town wrote to the Rebbe. The Rebbe gave two horaos for the trip:

1) Remember to say Tefillas Haderech!

2) The students should spread Yiddishkeit in a way that makes sense for kids their age.

See the letter printed in Shaarei Halacha Uminhag, chelek alef p. 224

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



The Alef of Geulah

What is Geulah?

One way to know is by looking at the word itself! As we learned, the word “Geulah” has the same letters as the word “Golah” (Golus) — just with an extra alef. This teaches us that Geulah comes to add something new to Golus, which will change it into Geulah!

The Rebbe taught us three things we can learn about Geulah from this Alef:

1) Alef is the same letters as Aluf, which means master — Alufo Shel Olam, the Master of the world, Hashem! In the times of Geulah, the whole world will recognize that Hashem is in charge of the world.

2) Alef is connected to the word Ulfena (like in the posuk, “Aalefcha Chochmah, Aalefcha Binah) to learn. In the times of Geulah, the whole world will learn and live according to the Torah!

3) Alef is the same letters as the word Peleh, a wonder — there will be many wonders and nissim in the time of Geulah, and we will have new and wonderful secrets of Torah!

But there is another reason why the word Geulah is made up of the letters of Golah: Because it is our avodah in Golah, in Golus, which makes the Geulah possible!

In fact, even in Golus we can start getting the world ready for the Alef of Geulah — according to all the things the Alef teaches us!

1) Alufo Shel Olam — We should work on making sure everything we do is Lesheim Shomayim, for Hashem. When we eat, drink, work, or play, we should remember that Hashem is in charge of the world and we are doing these things to serve Hashem!

2) Aa’lefcha Chochmah — We should start learning extra Torah already!

3) Peleh — We shouldn’t only wait for the new secrets of Torah that we will have in the Geulah, we should learn the secrets of Torah we have now, by learning Chassidus!

Of course, it’s not enough for only us to do these things. We should help others too, so we can bring in the Alef and change the world from Golah to Geulah!

Based on the sicha from Parshas Emor 5751

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