Tuesday-Daily Chitas [Chumash, Tanya] & Rambam Summaries [4th Iyar 5783]

Tuesday, 4th Iyar 5783/April 25, 2023


Parshas Acharei Mos Kedoshim

Shelishi when connected to Kedoshim
  • Tell the Jewish people and their converts that if they bring an Olah or Shlamim offering outside the Temple, that man will be cut off from his people.


1. Prohibition against eating blood:

  • Any man of Israel who eats any blood is liable for excision, and I will cut him off from the Jewish people. The soul of all flesh is found in its blood, and it has been designated to be offered to the altar, to atone for your souls. Therefore, no man or convert shall eat blood.

2. The Mitzvah to cover blood:

  • Any Jew or convert who traps a wild animal [i.e. Chayah] or bird that may be eaten, is to have its blood covered with earth, as the soul of all flesh is found in its blood. Tell the Jewish people not to eat the blood of any flesh, as its soul is its blood, and one who consumes it will be cut off.

3. Tuma received through eating Niveila/Treifa bird:

  • One who eats a Niveila or Treifa [of a bird] becomes impure, and requires purification. He is to wash his garments and immerse in water and remains impure until evening. If he does not wash his clothing and does not immerse his flesh [and eats Kodshim or enters the Kodesh], he shall carry his sin.

4. Not to follow the ways of the gentiles:

  • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, tell the Jewish people: Do not follow the ways of the land of Egypt where you lived, or the ways of the land of the Canaanites where I will bring you. Do not follow their statutes. Follow my laws and decrees as I am Hashem your G-d. Follow them and you shall live.

5. The forbidden relations/Arayos:

  • One is not to come close to any [of the following] relatives, to reveal their nakedness [and engage in marital relations].
  • Do not reveal the Erva/nakedness of your father or mother [i.e. have intercourse].
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your father’s wife.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your sister, including a half sister.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your granddaughter.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your sister if she is your father’s wife’s daughter (half sister).
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your father’s sister.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your mother’s sister.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your father’s brother or his wife.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your daughter in-law.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your brother’s wife.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your mother and daughter or granddaughter.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of your wife’s sister.
  • Do not reveal the Erva of a Nida.
  • Do not sleep with another man’s wife.
  • Do not give your offspring to Moleich, do not desecrate the name of G-d.

Tanya Middle of Chapter 44

1. If the love does not feel real-it is real:

  • [What should one do if he tries the above contemplations to arouse a love for Hashem like a son to his father, but is unsuccessful in feeling a true feeling in his heart. Should this love be dismissed, or does even its imagination have some power. The Alter Rebbe answers as follows:] Even if one feels that the love aroused through his contemplation is seemingly a figment of his imagination, and not a true love, he should not become downed by this, as it is intrinsically true, as in truth every Jew contains a hidden love in his heart. [Furthermore, regarding the purpose of this love, it makes no difference if one actually feels it, or imagines that he feels it, as explained next.]


2. The purpose of the love-To perform Torah and Mitzvos:

  • The entire purpose of revealing this love is to motivate one to perform the actions of learning Torah and doing Mitzvos [for the proper reasons].
  • How the love motivates the fulfillment of mitzvos: Meaning, that as a result of having this love revealed he will learn Torah and fulfill Mitzvos in order to give gratification to Hashem, like a son serving his father. [Thus, even if his love is imaginative, so long as brings these results in his intent of his learning and Mitzvos, it has fulfilled its purpose.]
  • Hashem attaches the thoughts of love to the action: [Now, although the quality of this intent is lacking if in truth the love is merely imaginative, nevertheless] on this Chazal state that a good thought Hashem attaches to the action to become wings to make the good deed fly above. [Thus, although Torah and Mitzvos require a motivation of love and fear to make it soar upwards to G-d, which refers to a palpable love felt in the heart, nevertheless if one only manages to conceive a love in his mind, Hashem sees his good intent and turns it into the wings that would have been created through the emotional love.]


3. The pleasure Hashem gets from one’s Torah and Mitzvos:

  • Like the joy of a father whose son was redeemed from captivity: [Above, it was stated that the purpose of this love is so one serve Hashem with the intent of causing Him gratification. Now, what gratification does Hashem get from one’s service?] The gratification Hashem receives from one’s Divine service is similar to the joy of a king who greets his son who came to him after being liberated from captivity. [The G-dly soul of a Jew is, as explained above, an extension of Hashem, and akin to a son of G-d. When this Jew performs Torah and Mitzvos, it redeems the beloved son-the soul- from the concealment and spiritual captivity that it was found in within the physical world, body and animal soul. This causes Hashem much joy.]
  • The joy of being able to dwell below: Another gratification that Hashem receives through one’s Divine service is due to that He is now able to dwell below. [The entire reason for creation is because Hashem desired that mortal beings who face spiritual challenges invite Him to their world. Thus, when we serve Him with Torah and Mitzvos we invite Him to the world and fulfill this purpose, thus giving Him much gratification. Accordingly, the above-mentioned love of a son to a father which one is to contemplate and reveal, is to then be used to serve Hashem to cause Him gratification of seeing his son redeemed from captivity and giving Him a dwelling place below.]


4. How to make oneself conscious of the first love-the love for one’s life:

  • [All that was stated above regarding the second form of love of a son to his father, is equally true regarding the first form of love, the love for one’s life.] Also, the first form of love for Hashem who is one’s life is very easily attainable to bring it from its dormant state into one’s consciousness.
  • Verbalize and think of the love to arouse it: This is accomplished through habituating oneself to verbalize and think of this love, thus making the love be equally on his lips and heart.
  • Even if can’t arouse love simply imagining it suffices: Nonetheless, even if he is unable to accomplish an arousal of a true emotion of love in his heart, he is still able to serve Hashem, learn Torah and perform Mitzvos, for the sake of Heaven, through imagining this love in one’s mind, and Hashem will then attach this good thought to the action [as stated above.]


1. The laws in the Talmud are binding upon all Israel:

  • The above ability for a later court to reject the decrees of a previous court only applies regarding those laws, decrees, institutions, and customs, that were made after the writing of the Talmud. However, all the matters that are written of in the Babylonian Talmud are binding upon all the Jewish people and they are all required to follow it, and its laws are to be enforced in the community of every city and country.
  • Customs and decrees: This obligation applies to all of the customs that were followed by the sages of the Talmud as well as to all of the decrees and institutions that were passed in their times.
  • The reason the Talmud is binding: The reason that all the customs and decrees of Talmudic times are binding upon all Israel is because these matters have been accepted by all the Jewish people, and hence have become law.
  • The reason of power of the Talmudic sages: The Talmudic sages who made the above decrees and institutions and customs, and taught the detailed laws of the commands, included all of the Jewish sages, or majority of them, and they received the tradition regarding all of the fundamentals of Torah from the previous generations all the way up until Moshe.


2. The period of the Geonim and the state of knowledge in their time:

  • The name Geonim: The sages who expounded on the Torah in the post Talmudic era and were of great reputation of scholarship, are referred to as the Geonim.
  • Their locations: The Geonim were in Israel, Babylon, Spain, and France.
  • Their purpose to explain the intent of the Talmud: The purpose of the Geonim was to teach the nation the meaning of the Talmud through explaining its difficult statements and arguments, which are extremely deep and challenging to understand.
  • Their purpose to translate the Talmud from Aramaic: Likewise, they would translate the words of the Talmud to the masses. The Talmud was written in a mixture of Aramaic and other languages, which was the language that was spoken by the residents of Babylon in the era that the Talmud was written. Thus, residents of other countries who lacked knowledge of this language were unable to access Talmudic knowledge. Likewise, even in Babylon itself, in the generation of the Geonim people no longer understood the original language, unless they were taught it.
  • The books of the Geonim-Responsa’s: The Geonim compiled books which contained their responses to queries that they were forwarded relating to the meaning of certain difficult passages in the Talmud. In every city, the Gaon of that city was asked many questions regarding difficult Talmudic passages, and they would respond to them in accordance to their understanding and wisdom. This was then eventually published by the Geonim in order so it be available to the masses.
  • The books of the Geonim-Talmudic commentary: In addition to the above responsible, the Geonim of each generation also wrote books which contained explanations of the Talmud. Some would write regarding selected topics of Jewish law [as gleaned from the Talmud]. Others would clarify entire selected Talmudic chapters that were difficult in his days. Others would clarify an entire tractate or order of Talmud.
  • The books of the Geonim-Halachic literature: In addition to the above, they also compiled instructions of Jewish law relating to the subjects of Kashrus, and monetary law, in accordance to what they viewed necessary in their times for people to know, due to their inability to extract these laws from the depths of the Talmud.
  • This was the great work of God that all of the Geonim performed from the times of the publishing of the Talmud until today, which is the year 1108 from after the destruction of the temple, and is the year 4937 of creation.


3. The period of the Rambam and the state of knowledge in his time:

  • In this period, in which we are experiencing much persecution and challenges, the knowledge and wisdom of Torah has become closed and concealed from even amongst our scholars.
  • Lack of understanding of the works of the Geonim: Even those commentaries and laws and responses that were compiled by the Geonim, which were meant to clarify the difficulties of the Talmud, have now themselves become difficult to properly understand, with exception to a select few.
  • Lack of understanding of the Talmud: It goes without saying that people no longer understand the meanings of the passages of the Babylonian or Jerusalem Talmud, or the works of the Sifra, Sifri, and Tosefta.
  • Lack of ability to deduce Jewish law: In order to properly deduce Jewish law and become knowledgeable of the permitted and forbidden, it is imperative that one properly understand the above sources, which is only possible if one has a great breadth of knowledge and a spirit of wisdom, and a lot of time to invest in its study.


4. Mishneh Torah-What it contains and why it was written:

  • All the Torah laws: It is due to all the above that I, Moshe the son of Maimon, of Spain, have decided to take upon myself the great task of compiling a work that includes all of the laws of the Torah.
  • Relying on God: I relied on God for the success of this mission.
  • The sources of the compilation: The laws written in my book are based on my understanding of all the above books of literature relating to Jewish law from the times of Rabbeinu Hakadosh until today, including within it all of the decrees and institutions of the sages and prophets. All this has been written in accordance to the commentary of the Geonim, as written in the compilations that they wrote after the writing of the Talmud.
  • The laws of every mitzvah written clearly and concisely: I have written the laws of every single mitzvah of the Torah in a clear and concise manner in order so the practical aspects of the entire oral tradition be readily accessible to be understood by everyone without argument and dispute, irrelevant of their status of knowledge or age.
  • This is the only book needed to know the oral tradition: All in all, my compilation includes all the laws enacted from the times of Moshe until today, whether they be biblical, rabbinical, or due to custom, that a person needs to know, in order so that he will not need to revert to opening any other book in order to verify and clarify a law within Judaism.
  • The name Mishneh Torah: I have named my compilation by the name Mishneh Torah, being that it suffices for a person to first read the entire written Torah, and then read my work, and from it he will know all of the oral tradition, without needing to read any other book in between.


5. How it is organized:

  • Chapters and Halachos: I have organized the Mishneh Torah in accordance to topic, dividing each law into its own separate paragraph, and each topic into its own separate chapter. Every chapter is broken down into smaller subcategories of laws. The purpose of this organization is to assist in the memorization of the details of the laws.
  • Not organized according to the mitzvah’s: The book and its chapters are not organized in accordance to the number of mitzvah’s, but rather in accordance to the subject. Thus, there may be some chapters of laws which all surround the same single mitzvah, and some chapters which may include the details of many mitzvah’s, if the mitzvah’s all relate to each other. This will all be evident to the reader as he reads it.


6. The number of minutes was in the Torah-613:

  • The number of commands customarily known throughout the generations is 613, which includes 248 positive commands which corresponds to the limbs of a man’s body and 365 negative commands which corresponds to the days of the solar year. 

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