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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayeira - Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Avraham escorts his guests (the malochim). He finds out that Hashem wants to destroy Sodom, and davens to Hashem to save them.

Sarah was afraid to have a baby when she was so old, so she laughed. At first, she said “I didn’t laugh.” But Hashem said that she did.

The malach who had told Sarah the news was finished its job, and it left. The two malochim that were left looked and saw Sodom, where they had another job to do: Destroy the cities and rescue Lot. (Hashem wanted to destroy the cities, because the people there did many not-nice things — they even made it against the law to do nice things for other people, like giving tzedakah or having guests!)

Avraham saw that his guests (the malochim) were ready to go, and he went out with them to take them part of the way.

Hashem told Avraham about his plan to destroy Sodom, because after all, Sodom is part of Eretz Yisrael, which will belong to Avraham later. He told Avraham that since the people there were so wicked, he would have to stop them from doing more mean things to people.

Avraham davened to Hashem not to kill everyone in Sodom. “Hashem, maybe there are some good people there! In their zechus, You should save the cities! Maybe there are ten good people in each city — would You save them then?” Hashem said He would — but there were not 10 good people in each city.

Avraham tried again — what if Hashem is the tenth for each city? But Hashem said there weren’t 9 good people in each city either.

Avraham davened again — what if SOME cities have 10 good people? Would You save those cities? “Yes,” Hashem said — but there weren’t cities with 10 good people.

Avraham tried again and again, but there weren’t even 9 tzadikim in any of the cities. Avraham knew that the 8 good people in Noach’s time weren’t enough to save everyone, so he stopped asking Hashem to save them.

Hashem stopped speaking to Avraham, and Avraham went back home.

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TEHILLIM

66 - 68

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Samach-Vov, Samach-Zayin, and Samach-Ches.

In Kapitel Samech-Vov, it says “Hofach Yam LaYabasha” — Hashem made the water into dry land, during Kriyas Yam Suf.

Chassidus explains that this is like what will happen when Moshiach comes.

Usually, there is water that covers over the sea. During Kriyas Yam Suf, Hashem made it into dry land — and we could see everything that used to be hiding inside the sea!

Also when Moshiach comes, we’ll be able to see things that are hidden. The whole entire world will be able to see that Hashem creates it, and understand that we need to act the way Hashem tells us to!

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TANYA

Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

Today’s Tanya is a letter the Alter Rebbe wrote to Chassidim after their Rebbe, Reb Mendel Horodoker, passed away.

While he was alive, the Chassidim would rely on the Rebbe to give advice in ruchnius things, and advice in gashmius things. In this letter, the Alter Rebbe comforts them, telling them that these things continue even after he passes away.

But first, the Alter Rebbe tells us that we need to know that when a Chossid acts like his Rebbe taught him, then the Rebbe is alive in him, and through him to the world around him.

The Rebbe told chassidim to learn this Igeres Hakodesh on Yud Shevat. It helps us understand how a tzadik lives forever and the connection chassidim have with their Rebbe after histalkus.

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HAYOM YOM

Yud-Beis Mar-Cheshvan

We learned in a different Hayom Yom that the Alter Rebbe at first said very short pieces of Torah. In today’s Hayom Yom, these short pieces are called “verter.”

One of the Alter Rebbe’s short “verter” is on the posukShema Yisroel”:

Shema Yisrael — a Yid feels that
Havayeh Elokeinu — our koach (Elokeinu can also mean “our strength”) comes from the level of Hashem that is called Havayah, which is higher than nature, and that
Havayeh EchadHavayah is One.

(What the Alter Rebbe said here in just a few words was later explained much more in his other Chassidus, including what we learned in Tanya, in Shaar Hayichud Ve’haEmunah!)

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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #127 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #154

Today’s mitzvah is that we are not allowed to bring the Terumos and Maasros in the wrong ORDER! Here’s the right order:

1) Bikurim
2) Separate Terumah for the Kohen
3) Separate Maaser Rishon for the Levi
4) Separate Maaser Sheini to eat in Yerushalayim, or Maaser Ani on the third and sixth year of Shemitah

For example, let’s say that my wheat field ripened, and I set aside my bikurim. I harvest the field and separate the wheat kernels, piling them up carefully. Now my wheat is Tevel, and I need to bring the presents the Torah tells me to!

First I set aside 1/50th of the wheat for Terumah Gedolah. Then I take 1/10th of what is left, and put that aside for Maaser Rishon. I take 1/10th of what is left from that and set it aside for Maaser Sheini or Maaser Ani. I give the Terumah to a kohen, the Maaser Rishon to a Levi, and eat the Maaser Sheini in Yerushalayim, or give the Maaser Ani to the poor.

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RAMBAM

Hilchos Terumos

Perek Daled: We are learning more about the person that separates Terumah. If someone can’t do it himself, he can have someone else do it for him — this is called making a shliach. If someone doesn’t officially make a shliach, another person can’t separate the terumah for him. So his workers can’t just do it for him without him asking them to!

Perek Hey: Now we learn about what part of the food to use for Terumah. We are supposed to take from the BEST of our fields for Terumah! But if there are no kohanim around, it is better to take food that won’t get rotten before we can bring it to the kohen — like raisins, even if the grapes are better.

Perek Vov: In this perek, we start learning about who is not allowed to eat Terumah. It has many mitzvos, that we will IY”H learn over the next few days in Sefer Hamitzvos!

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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Biyas Hamikdash - Perek Ches

All together, there are 140 kinds of mumim which a kohen might have which would make it asur for him to work in the Beis Hamikdash. The Rambam goes through the rest of the kinds of mum.

One thing we can learn from this is how we can thank Hashem for the health He gives us in so many things we usually don’t even notice!

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INYANA D'YOMA

Taanis BaHaB

Today (Monday) is the last fast of Taanis BaHaB. “BaHaB” stands for Monday (beis), Thursday (hey), Monday (beis). There is a minhag brought in Shulchan Aruch to fast on Monday, Thursday and Monday in the month after Pesach and Sukkos, in case something not appropriate was done with the simcha of Yom Tov. (We first wait for the Shabbos after Rosh Chodesh before counting for BaHaB.)

In Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches, the Rebbe said a sicha on each day of BaHaB after Pesach, and explained why the minhag is that even Chassidim, who are very careful with mitzvos, don’t usually fast. The Rebbe said that the day should still be used to add in inyonim of Torah and mitzvos, because every fast day is an Eis Ratzon!

Many bochurim, out of love for the Rebbe, would try to copy things that the Rebbe would do. Some of the bochurim who knew that the Rebbe fasted BaHaB, would also copy the Rebbe and fast this taanis.

One of these bochurim was there as the Rebbe said this sicha, and heard that the Rebbe said Chassidim should not actually fast on these days. He was sadly thinking, “Now I will have to stop keeping BaHaB like the Rebbe does.”

As he was thinking this, the Rebbe said, “But those who already started keeping this fast should continue, and it will bring them brachos for health and good things.”

To this day, this bochur still fasts BaHaB like the Rebbe said to!

For the rest of us, we have a hora’ah from the Rebbe not to fast. But we still need to make sure to use the Eis Ratzon of this day, to add in giving tzedakah, and other inyonim of Yiddishkeit, more than usual!

See sichos of BaHaB, Toras Menachem Tof-Shin-Mem-Ches vol. 3, p. 257

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LEARNING FROM THE REBBE

Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

In today’s Chumash, Sheini of Parshas Vayeira, we learned how Avraham davened for the people of Sedom, asking Hashem to save them from their terrible punishment.

The word the Torah uses to say that Avraham came to daven is “Vayigash,” and he came close. Rashi explains that this word means that he was even ready to speak strong words to Hashem!

That doesn’t sound like Avraham Avinu! Avraham had lots of chesed, and enjoyed doing Hachnosas Orchim. How could Avraham be ready to speak in a strong way to Hashem?

The Rebbe teaches that Avraham Avinu was ready to do something hard for him in order to save another person. Even though his nature was to speak with chesed, he was ready to even demand that Hashem save the people of Sodom.

We can learn an important lesson from Avraham Avinu!

When it comes to saving another person, whether to save his body or to save his neshama, we need to do whatever we can! We should be ready to use any opportunities, even if it is against our nature.

Yitzy is a very shy boy. He has a few close friends, but is uncomfortable speaking in front of groups or in front of people he doesn’t know. One Monday, he goes shopping with his mother. When they get to the checkout line, Yitzy’s mother suddenly remembers that she forgot the eggs. The line is long, so she asks Yitzy to watch her cart while she runs back to get them. Yitzy is standing with the cart, when he sees the man behind him looking curiously at him. Yitzy wonders if that man might be Jewish, but he is very shy to ask. Then he remembers how Avraham was ready to do something that was the opposite of what he usually did to help another person! Yitzy smiles at the man and asks him if he is Jewish. The man answers eagerly that he is. By the time Yitzy’s mother comes back, he is having a whole conversation about wearing a yarmulka. Before they leave the store, they have already invited their new friend to join them for Shabbos! Yitzy is glad that he overcame his shyness in order to help another Yid become connected to Yiddishkeit.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Yud p. 55, Dvar Malchus Parshas Vayeira

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TEFILLAH

Vayevarech Dovid

The first half of Vayevarech Dovid is the words of Dovid Hamelech to the Yidden before he passed away. This was before the Beis Hamikdash was built, since it would only be built when Shlomo Hamelech was the king.

The second half of this paragraph, starting from the words “Vivarchu Sheim Kevodecha,” was written many years later. After the Churban of the first Beis Hamikdash, the Yidden were sent into Golus. Years passed, and they started to come back to Eretz Yisroel, hoping to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.

The Navi Nechemyah ben Chachalyah gathered together the Yidden. He told them to do a full teshuvah and return to Hashem with a full heart. He asked them to stand up and bentch Hashem, the Creator of the entire world.

Vecharos — One of the great things Hashem did was to make a bris with Avraham Avinu. Hashem chose his children to be His special nation, and took them out of Mitzrayim with great miracles!

These words of Nechemyah lead us into the next part of davening, where we describe those great miracles, especially of Kriyas Yam Suf.

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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Bechanuni Na Bezos

Sometimes a person wants to make conditions about their mitzvos. A person might think, “I will daven with kavana if Hashem makes me find my lost bicycle.”

We are not allowed to do this. It is called testing Hashem. Instead, we need to act in a way of “Tomim Tihiyeh Im Hashem Elokecha,” we do our mitzvos in a tmimus’dike way, without calculating what will happen afterwards. Not all of Hashem’s rewards happen right away or in a clear way, and we can’t make conditions for the mitzvos we do.

But there is one mitzvah that is different: Tzedakah!

For this mitzvah, Hashem says that we SHOULD test Him. We learn this from a posuk in Malachi, where Hashem says “Bechanuni Na Bezos,” “test me with this!” Hashem promises that when we give tzedakah, we WILL see clear brachos!

The Rebbe once wrote about this to a Yid who had given a big donation to tzedakah.

The Rebbe told him that he was happy to see that Hashem’s bracha did come quickly! Soon after giving this big donation, the Yid was zoche to the biggest bracha that parents can have — their oldest son got married and began to build a beautiful Yiddishe home.

Likutei Sichos vol 39 p. 294; See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deiah end of siman 247

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

Hard Times Close to Geulah

Even though we are so close to the Geulah, and the Rebbe says that Moshiach is right here, there are sad things that happen. It still feels like Golus, and it is very hard.

The Or Hachama, a pirush on the Zohar, talks about times like this. The Or Hachama says that even when the Geulah is ready from Hashem, there will still be hard things happening in the world. But there is something we can do about it!

The koach of Yiddishe kinderlach can take away these hard times. By kids learning Torah and doing mitzvos, we are able to get rid of the painful moments of Golus right before we will be able to see the Geulah — may it be NOW, mamosh!

See Pirush Or Hachama 9a, Sodos Hageulah, p. 135

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