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Parshas Lech Lecha - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Avraham Avinu does Hashem’s mitzvah to make a bris. Sarai gets a new name, Sarah, and they are promised that they will have a special son, Yitzchak!

Hashem promised Avraham that the Yidden will follow Hashem, and He will be their Hashem! He will give them the special land of Eretz Yisroel, and be especially close to the Yidden that live there.

And what does Avraham have to do to deserve this? To have a Bris Milah himself, and for every Jewish boy who is born.

Hashem then gave Sarai a new name: Sarah! (Hashem took a letter Yud away from her name — later He would give that Yud to Hoshea, and he would be called Yehoshua!)

Sarah will also become young again, and she will have a baby even though she is almost 90 years old! Avraham laughed, he was so happy! What a neis to have a baby when he is almost 100 years old!

Avraham told Hashem that he doesn’t even deserve such a neis — he would be happy if Yishmael would be a Yerei Shomayim. Hashem said that still, Avraham would have a son, and should name him Yitzchak. Only Yitzchak’s children will be Hashem’s special nation.

But Avraham shouldn’t feel bad for Yishmael — Hashem will give him brachos and he will have many many children.

Then Hashem finished speaking to Avraham, and the Shechinah went back up.

Avraham asked his friends, Aner, Eshkol and Mamrei, if he should do a bris. He wanted them to also have a part of it, so everyone would know that he is making this deal with Hashem! Mamrei was the only one who said it was a good idea to do anything for Hashem, Who made such nissim for Avraham!

Avraham gave himself a bris when he was 99, and Yishmael had one when he was 13. Hashem helped Avraham to do his own bris, since he was afraid his hands would shake. Avraham also gave a bris to everyone else in his house.



69 - 71

Today’s kapitelach are Samach-Tes, Ayin, and Ayin-Alef.

The first kapitel of today’s Tehillim is kapitel Samach-Tes. If you look through the kapitel, the beginning looks very sad. Dovid HaMelech is asking Hashem to please save him from everyone who wants to hurt him.

At the end, though, Dovid HaMelech is sure Hashem will help! He says that he will sing and praise Hashem, because He always listens to people who need His help! The skies and the seas will sing to Hashem when he rescues the Yidden — “Ki Elokim Yoshia Tzion” — “because Hashem will redeem Yerushalayim.”



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Zayin

A tzadik is more alive after his histalkus through the chayus his neshama gives to his Chassidim, and his tefillos for them in Shomayim!

The Zohar says that a tzadik is alive even more after his histalkus — “Ishtakach Bechulhu Almin Yatir Mibechayohi.” At that time, more chayus comes from his neshama to all of his Chassidim. Since this gets them to do more mitzvos and to serve Hashem with more chayus, the tzadik becomes more alive in this world through the mitzvos that they do!

But this isn’t only in Ruchnius things! After a tzadik’s histalkus, the brachos and help that a tzadik gives his chassidim in Gashmius things become stronger too! Like the Zohar says, if not for the tzadik’s davening in Shomayim, the world wouldn’t be able to exist for one moment.

This letter is the only one in the whole Tanya that has an additional explanation called a biur, which we will IY”H start to learn tomorrow!



Yud-Gimmel Mar-Cheshvan

The Baal Shem Tov used to teach Gemara, with a lot of meforshim. He would teitch the Gemara into Yiddish.

In the Gemara called Erchin it says about Lashon Hara that “Lishna Tlisa’i Katla Tlisa’i”, that Lashon Hara kills three people.

Usually we say that those three people are the one who says the Lashon Hara, the one who accepts the Lashon Hara, and the one who it’s about.

The Baal Shem Tov teitched it differently: He said that the three people are “The one who makes up the Lashon Hara, the one who says it, and the one who hears it.” The Lashon Hara kills these three in a Ruchnius way, which is even worse than killing b’Gashmius!

Chassidus teaches us that it’s not only wrong to SPEAK Loshon Hara, but that even to make it up, or just to think about it, can Chas Veshalom hurt our neshama. Even what we think has a strong koach to help or to hurt! (We learned about this in Igeres Hakodesh in Tanya, that when a not-good thought about someone pops into our mind, we should think about something else instead.)



Shiur #114 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #202, #203, and #204

Today, we learn 3 mitzvos about a Nazir:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #202) A Nazir can’t drink wine or any other drink that was made with grapes. He can’t even have wine vinegar!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Naso: וְכָל מִשְׁרַת עֲנָבִים לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #203) A Nazir can’t eat grapes

We learn this mitzvah from other words in the same posuk: וַעֲנָבִים לַחִים ... לֹא יֹאכֵל

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #204) A Nazir can’t eat raisins (because they are dried grapes!)

We also learn this mitzvah from the same posuk: וִיבֵשִׁים לֹא יֹאכֵל



Hilchos Nezirus

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about the Nazir.

Perek Gimmel: How long is a person a Nazir for? It depends — he is allowed to decide how long he wants to be a Nazir for. But if he doesn’t say how long, he is a Nazir for 30 days.

Perek Daled: At the end of being a Nazir, the Nazir needs to shave all of his hair and bring certain korbanos. When does he do these things if he made a promise to be a Nazir more than one time in a row? In this perek, the Rambam answers this question too!

Perek Hey: In this perek we learn about the three things that are Asur for a Nazir:

1) He is not allowed to eat anything that comes from grapes
2) He is not allowed to cut his hair
3) He is not allowed to make himself Tamei from a dead person



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Vov

In this perek, we learn that the Chachomim made it asur to tell a goy to do something for us on Shabbos, so that we won’t treat Shabbos lightly and come to do the melacha ourselves. There are some times we are allowed to ask a goy to do something, like if someone is even a little bit sick or if it is important for another mitzvah.

We are not allowed to have any benefit from melacha that was done on Shabbos when it is asur, even if it was done by a goy.




After the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe, there was a chossid who was feeling very alone. He missed seeing the Frierdiker Rebbe.

He wrote a letter to the Rebbe, asking what to do. The Rebbe told him what it says in the Igeres Hakodesh that we’re learning today in Tanya, that the chayus of a tzadik is even STRONGER after he passes away, but we can only feel it if our hiskashrus is strong!

How do we make our hiskashrus strong? By learning the Chassidus that the Rebbe teaches us and following the horaos the Rebbe told us to do. Then we can feel that he is alive even more than before.

See Igros Kodesh chelek Gimmel p. 352 and in many places


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Everyone Needs to Daven!

A person who is very busy with taking care of his community is called an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur. In halacha, the job of an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur is even more important than certain mitzvos! If someone is very busy with what his community needs, he doesn’t even need to daven.

(This is like the reason why women don’t have to keep certain mitzvos — because their job of Akeres Habayis is even more important.)

But the Rebbe says that even though an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur doesn’t HAVE to daven, he SHOULD — because it is important for him to do his job properly!

The job of an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur is to take care of many details. He has to speak to people, arrange things, and make sure everything gets done right. But his Yetzer Hara is also working hard! For example, an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur can sometimes get distracted and start worrying more about what people will say about him, than about what is best for his community.

That is why he needs to daven! When we daven, it makes us think about Hashem, and less about ourselves. Davening helps an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur — and every Yid — to make the right kinds of decisions all day!

See sicha Yud Alef Nisan 5732



Feet Together

During Shemoneh Esrei, when we stand before Hashem, we keep our feet together.

One reason is so that we will stand like malochim. When the posuk speaks about malochim, it says they have one “foot.”

Another reason is taught by the Beis Yosef, which he learned from his teacher, the Mahari Abuhav:

We stand with our feet together during Shemoneh Esrei to show that we are not going anywhere! We have no plans to take care of anything else, and we aren’t interested in doing anything except for speaking to Hashem!

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



Bris Bein Habesarim

In this week’s parsha, Hashem promises Avraham that his children will get the WHOLE Eretz Yisroel, all 10 lands.

But first, the Yidden will need to go through a Golus of 400 years — Golus Mitzrayim.

Really, we won’t get the WHOLE Eretz Yisroel until Moshiach comes. So why does Hashem’s promise only talk about the Geulah from Mitzrayim?

The Maharal brings from the Medrash that the Torah uses the word “vegam” (“and also”) to hint to us that there will be more Golus after that one. Golus Mitzrayim was the main Golus, and every other Golus comes from it. Hashem was telling Avraham about EVERY Golus that would happen, and promised that at the end we would leave even this last GolusBirchush Gadol,” with great riches!

Gevuros Hashem perek Tes, Yalkut Moshiach U’Geulah p. 259

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