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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayeira - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn what happened with Avraham Avinu in Be’er Sheva.

Avimelech, the king of Gerar, saw the miracles that happened to Avraham Avinu. He came and asked Avraham to make a deal not to hurt him or his children or grandchildren. Avraham agreed.

Avraham asked why some of Avimelech’s servants took over his well. Avimelech said he didn’t know about it, so they decided that they would let Hashem decide who the well belonged to. They both went to get water from the well, and the water came up for Avraham, showing it belonged to him. Avraham gave Avimelech animals, and also seven sheep as a sign that the well belonged to Avraham.

They called the place “Be’er Sheva” — the well of the promise, because they made a promise there that they won’t hurt each other.

~

Avraham opened a hotel in Be’er Sheva, and also planted fruit trees so he could give fruit to his guests. There he helped people realize who we need to daven to:

After eating, his guests would try to thank him, but Avraham would say, “Thank Hashem — not me — HE made the world!” If they didn’t want to, Avraham would tell them to pay him a lot of money. Then they would admit that Avraham was right about Hashem, and agree to thank Hashem.

Avraham lived there for 26 years.

 
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TEHILLIM

90 - 96

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Tzadik through Tzadik-Vov.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Tzadik-Daled, there is a posukAshrei Hagever Asher Teyasrenu Kah, UmiToras’cha Selamdenu.” “Fortunate is the man who Hashem makes him suffer, and You teach him from Your Torah.”

Why is he fortunate?

Sometimes feeling uncomfortable can be good for us!

If a baby never got uncomfortable about just being able to crawl, would he ever learn how to walk or run? Really we are very fortunate when we start being uncomfortable about being how we are — this helps us to try to find ways to grow and become better!

But what should we do if we can’t figure out what to fix, but we STILL feel like something is wrong? The answer to this is in the end of the posuk: “UmiTorascha Selamdenu” — We should learn Torah! The Torah is the chochmah of Hashem, and just like Hashem has no limits (Ein Sof), the Torah has no limits! When we learn it, we will find also that there is no limit to growing in Yiddishkeit! We can always find another part of our life that we can make better than before. Then we will feel very happy that Hashem gave us this chance to grow!

 
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TANYA

Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Tes

Now we are starting a new letter from the Alter Rebbe. This letter will help us appreciate how special the halachos of Torah are, since they help us do the mitzvos properly.

But first we will learn an explanation of what the Arizal says — that a neshama needs to keep coming back into this world (gilgul) in order to fulfill all of the 613 mitzvos that it is possible for the neshama to keep. The Alter Rebbe explains to us why the neshama needs to have all 613 mitzvos, because they are the “clothes” for all 613 parts of the neshama to appreciate the light of Hashem in Gan Eden.

Sometimes we need special “clothes” to appreciate things! The light of the sun is so bright that we need to use a special kind of sunglasses to look at it. We need warm clothes to be able to go outside and enjoy the snow. The same thing is true about being able to see the light of Hashem in Gan Eden! The light of Hashem is so strong that the neshama can only enjoy it if it has certain “clothes.”

When Moshe Rabbeinu was on Har Sinai to learn the Torah from Hashem, he had to go inside of a cloud. From there, he was able to see Hashem!

When the neshama is in Gan Eden, it needs special “clothes” to see Hashem too. Those “clothes” are the mitzvos we do in this world! If we are missing these mitzvos, Chas Veshalom, we will be missing what we need to be able to see the light of Hashem in Gan Eden!

 
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HAYOM YOM

Yud-Tes Mar-Cheshvan

Today is 30 days before the Yom Tov of Yud-Tes Kislev, the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus! Thirty days before a Yom Tov, we start learning about the Yom Tov. In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn something the Alter Rebbe told someone in Yechidus, about what Chassidus is.

Chassidus accomplished something very special. It used to be that if a Yid wanted to learn about the greatness of Hashem, he would have to learn Kabbalah. But by learning Kabbalah, a person can feel it with their neshama, but can’t really understand it! Chassidus helped us take these very Ruchniyus’dike things and really understand them, by giving us examples from things we know about.

And that’s what the Alter Rebbe told a Chossid in Yechidus — that “Chassidus is Shema Yisroel.” This idea is hinted to in the words “Shema Yisroel!”

The word “Shema” is the Roshei Teivos of a posuk — “Se’u Marom Eineichem, Ure’u Mi Bara Eileh.” “Lift up your eyes very high, and see Who created all of these things (the whole world).”

This is what Chassidus does! It helps us lift up our eyes to Marom (which is much higher than Shomayim, much higher than a person can understand), and still be able to understand it! Chassidus gives us mashalim through things we already understand, so we have a way to learn about Ruchnius’dike things that our Gashmius minds usually would not be able to understand. This way we can “see” that the Aibershter is the Creator of the whole world!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #120 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #216

In Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the mitzvah of Kilai HaKerem — not planting vegetables or grain in a vineyard, where grapes grow. Outside of Eretz Yisroel, it is asur from a gezeirah of the ChachomimMiderabanan.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: לֹא תִזְרַע כַּרְמְךָ כִּלְאָיִם

The details are explained in Mesechta Kilayim. We start learning the halachos in Perek Hey of today’s Rambam!

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Kela'im

In Rambam, we learn more about Kilayim.

Perek Gimmel: We aren’t allowed to plant different kinds of plants together. Does that mean we can’t plant purple carrots next to orange carrots? No! That’s okay because they are both carrots. In this perek, we learn what “different kinds” means. We also learn how close to each other they need to be in order to be called growing “together.” If it’s easy to see that they aren’t being planted together, like if there is a mechitzah, or they are in different fields, that’s not called kilayim.

Perek Daled: What do we need to do if we want to plant two kinds together in the same field? Sometimes they need to be far enough apart that they can’t join into one plant, and sometimes they need to LOOK like they are separate.

Perek Hey: In this perek and the next four perakim, we will learn about Kilei HaKerem. The Torah is very strict about not planting other things together with grapes! Even outside of Eretz Yisroel we need to be careful with this mitzvah. We learn about how long the plant needs to be there, and how much it needs to grow, for it to be asur.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Yud-Beis

In today’s Rambam, we learn about three of the melachos: Not to light a fire, not to put out a fire, and not to carry on Shabbos.

If a fire starts on Shabbos, we are not allowed to put it out ourselves unless it will be dangerous. For a small fire that isn’t dangerous, we are allowed to do something so the fire will burn out by itself, like by pouring water or juice AROUND the fire or putting plastic cups of water right next to the fire so it will put itself out.

Of course, for even a medium sized fire, or one that we think MIGHT be dangerous, we need to call the fire department RIGHT AWAY, even on Shabbos, because Hashem says that saving a person’s life is even more important than not doing a melacha!

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

In today’s Chumash, Shishi of Parshas Vayeira, we learned how Avraham Avinu set up a free hotel and restaurant in the middle of the desert! He used it like a Chabad House, to teach people about Hashem.

First he would give them free food, and told them that they shouldn’t pay him — they should thank Hashem, Who CREATED the food. But if they didn’t agree that Hashem created the food, Avraham became strict. He told them that then they should pay what it’s really worth — a lot of money! In the end, they realized that Avraham was right, and they started to believe in Hashem.

Chassidus explains that we learn an important lesson from Avraham in how we should act. Even if we want to be nice, we have to make sure that our being nice is for a good reason, not just because it makes us feel good! We see that Avraham was strict with his guests when he needed to be, even if that didn’t make him feel good.

Avraham wasn’t nice to all of his guests just because it made him feel happy to be nice. Avraham Avinu wanted to be nice so that more people would believe in Hashem.

When we walk down the street and smile and wave at people, it shouldn’t just be because it makes us feel good to make other people happy. We need to remember that it has a reason — to make a Kiddush Hashem.

See Kuntres Umaayan, maamar alef

 

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TEFILLAH

Davening With Moshiach

In Pesukei Dezimra, one of the pesukim that we say is “Yismach Yisroel Be’osav,” “The Yidden are happy with Hashem Who made them.”

If we look at the words carefully, there is also a deeper meaning hinted inside!

Yismach Yisroel — This means “Yisroel WILL be happy.” In the future, Yidden will have this simcha!

What is this simcha?

Be’osav — This word means with the ONES who created them, not the ONE who created them. It is talking about the Gashmius’dike world where everything thinks it is separate and has its own creator. When Moshiach comes, Yidden will celebrate because of the simcha Hashem has that this world was changed from a world of kelipah, which feels itself separate, into a world of Kedushah, where everything recognizes that there is one Hashem Who created it all!

We say it during davening nowadays, to show that even in the time of Golus we can also feel this simcha! We don’t have to wait until Moshiach comes, we can already live with the Geulah when we daven!

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Shabbos Light

The main mitzvah of Neiros Shabbos is for the mother of the house to light candles at the table where the family will eat the Shabbos meal. This brings Shalom Bayis and Oneg Shabbos!

But that’s not the WHOLE mitzvah!

The Chachomim taught that there should be light in the whole house, wherever people go on Shabbos!

Even though we don’t bentch licht in every room, we should make sure that there is a light on in every part of our homes. This keeps people from tripping and falling on things on Shabbos!

Even a bedroom that we like to keep dark should have a way to be lit up on Shabbos, for example with a light in a closet or hallway. This way there will be light if we need to see something.

See Kitzur Dinei Uminhagei Neiros Shabbos Kodesh, p. 13

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Daven With Moshiach

R’ Avraham Yitzchak Kahan ztz”l was known as the Toldos Aharon, a Chassidic Rebbe. He once came to the Rebbe for Yechidus, and spoke for a long time. One of the main things they spoke about was about a Chassidishe davening, and how important it is to learn Chassidus before davening.

One of the things the Rebbe told the Toldos Aharon was that during davening, a person can put himself in a different place! He can put his mind and heart into a place of Geulah and the time of Moshiach, even right now while we are in Golus!

By davening with the “Moshiach” inside of the davening, we can live Moshiach when we daven!

Then the Rebbe gave an example, which we learned today in Biur Tefillah!

See Kovetz “Lifnei Mi Ata Omed”

 
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