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Parshas Vayechi - Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn the brachos that Yaakov gives to Efrayim and Menasheh.

Yaakov is giving brachos to Yosef and his sons before he passes away. He switched his hands, putting the right hand on Efrayim (who was younger) during the first part of the bracha.

Yosef saw that Yaakov had put his right hand on Efrayim, the younger one! He didn’t think that was the right thing to do, so he lifted his father’s right hand to put it on Menasheh’s head, explaining that Menasheh was the oldest.

Yaakov said, “I know that Menasheh is the oldest! I even know that greatness will come from him, but Efrayim will be even GREATER!”

Rashi tells us that Yaakov was speaking with Ruach Hakodesh about Gideon and Yehoshua. Gideon, from Shevet Menasheh, would later save the Yidden in a war. But Yehoshua, from the family of Efrayim, would help the Yidden take over Eretz Yisroel, teach them Torah, and the whole world would know about him when the sun will stop in Givon! (Do you know the date this happened? It was on Gimmel Tammuz.)

Yaakov gave both of them brachos, saying that the Yidden will bentch their children to be like Efrayim and Menasheh, “Yesimcha Elokim K’Efrayim Veche’Menasheh.” He said Efrayim first, showing that in the order of the Shevatim, Efrayim comes before Menasheh. Efrayim would travel first in the Midbar, and would bring korbanos first when the Mishkan would start to be used.

Why do parents bentch children to be like Efrayim and Menashe? Because if you look through the Torah, you will see that from the beginning of Creation, all of the brothers that are mentioned have some kind of machlokes: Kayin and Hevel, Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaakov and Eisav, Yosef and the Shevatim. But Efrayim and Menasheh were the first to love each other without any machlokes, even though Efrayim was put before Menasheh! And the greatest nachas for parents is to see their children living happily together.

Yaakov then told Yosef, “I am going to pass away, but Hashem will be with you and bring you back to Eretz Yisroel. Since you are going to work hard to make sure I am buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, I am giving you a special place to be buried, in Shechem, which I bought from Chamor the Emori. I am also giving you the bechora, to have a double portion of shevatim from your children, just like I took the bechora from Eisav with my chochmah and tefillos.”



72 - 76

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Beis through Ayin-Vov.

In Kapitel Ayin-Gimmel (73), there is a posukMi Li Bashamayim Ve’imcha Lo Chofatzti Ba’aretz.” “Do I need Shomayim? And I don’t want what’s with You in the world.”

The Tzemach Tzedek said that the Alter Rebbe used to say that this posuk means that he doesn’t want what’s WITH Hashem, even the most special Ruchnius things like Gan Eden or Olam Haba. He just wanted Hashem Himself!

How does a person connect with Hashem Himself? By doing a mitzvah in this Gashmiyus world! The Chachomim say that one hour of teshuvah and Maasim Tovim in this world is better than the whole Olam Haba! In Olam Haba, neshamos enjoy the light of Hashem, but through a mitzvah in this world, the neshama connects with the ESSENCE of Hashem.

In today’s Geulah U’Moshiach, we will see how we learn from the Alter Rebbe’s Ahavas Hashem that we shouldn’t want even the most special things from Golus, we should ask Hashem to bring Moshiach now!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Beis

In today’s Tanya, we start to learn about the Beinoni.

What is a beinoni?

The word beinoni means “in the middle,” because the beinoni is right between a tzadik and a rasha. In a way the beinoni is just like a tzadik, because he makes sure that only the Nefesh Elokis is allowed to control what the body does! But the way the person really feels inside isn’t like a tzadik at all. In fact, he feels like a rasha! The Nefesh Habehamis has a lot to say! It constantly makes the beinoni feel that it wants or needs things (taavos), and makes him aware of feelings that can lead him to think, speak, or do something against what Hashem wants.

The beinoni will never LISTEN to what the Nefesh Habehamis is saying if it is against the Torah. He will never do — or even think — anything that would let the Nefesh Habehamis have control of his body. He can’t ever do an aveira!

There is even a way for the beinoni to make his love for Hashem much stronger, almost like a tzadik! It can become so strong that the Nefesh Habehamis will be overwhelmed and fall “asleep,” and it won’t even be able to come up with any feelings! This can only happen during special times, like the time of davening, when a powerful koach called Mochin Degadlus shines in Shomayim. The beinoni is able to use Shema (with the brachos before, which are a preparation for it) to make his love for Hashem strong enough to put his Nefesh Habehamis to sleep.

When the special koach of davening goes away, then the Nefesh Habehamis wakes up again, and again he can feel inside like a rasha.

So the beinoni is in the middle. He feels like a rasha, and acts like a tzadik. He is always fighting with the feelings of his Yetzer Hara inside, to keep his Nefesh Elokis in control of his body. In his behavior, he always wins and acts like a tzadik.

The Rebbe explains that it doesn’t mean that if we did an aveira we can never be a beinoni. It means that the way we are now, it’s impossible for us to do an aveira! We want to do what Hashem wants so much, that it feels now like we could never do an aveira.



Yud-Daled Teves

The Shpoler Zeide was a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch.

Once he visited the Alter Rebbe, and told him about when he saw the Baal Shem Tov. He was just 3 years old, and the Baal Shem Tov put his holy hand on the Shpoler Zeide’s heart. “Since then,” the Shpoler Zeide said, “I have always felt warm.”

We learn from this that whatever a tzadik does, and especially seeing and hearing him, leaves an impression on us forever.



Shiur #173 - Mitzvas Asei #91

We already learned the mitzvos of not LEAVING OVER any meat from a korban past the time we are supposed to eat it, and NOT EATING IT after that time. Today we learn another mitzvah about that kind of meat:

(Mitzvas Asei #91) If any meat was left over (Nosar) from a korban after the time we have to eat it, we need to burn it! It is also part of this mitzvah to burn Pigul, meat from a korban where the kohen PLANNED to eat it at the wrong time.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tzav: וְהַנּוֹתָר מִבְּשַׂר הַזָּבַח בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בָּאֵשׁ יִשָּׂרֵף

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Pesachim and in the end of Mesechta Temurah.



Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin

In today’s Rambam, we learn about kavanos that can make a Korban not good.

Perek Yud-Daled: For a kavana to make a korban not good, there are certain conditions: It only goes by the thought of the kohen who is bringing the korban, not the person who the korban is brought for. The kohen needs to be someone who is fit to do the avodah, the korban has to be fit to be brought as a korban, and the place where the korban is brought has to be fit as well.

Perek Tes-Vov: If the kohen had a thought that he is bringing a different korban (like if he thought he was bringing an Olah when he was bringing a Shelamim), the korban is still kosher to bring on the Mizbeiach, but the owners have to bring a new korban. But for a Korban Chatas and a Korban Pesach, these kinds of thoughts would actually make it posul, and it can’t even be brought on the Mizbeiach.

Perek Tes-Zayin: If the kohen thinks that he is going to bring it at the wrong time, it is called pigul. But that’s only if he did not mix in any other thought that makes it posul at the same time, like thinking that it’s a different korban or that he will eat it in a different place. (There are different halachos for a korban that is posul or a korban that is pigul.)



Hilchos Shofar V'Sukah V'Lulav - Perek Zayin

We learn about the Daled Minim, the Lulav, Esrog, Hadassim, and Aravos. We learn how to tie them together, how to hold them, and how to shake them. The Rambam says that a child who knows how to shake the lulav has a Mitzvah DeRabbanan to shake the Lulav, because of Chinuch.




We learn in this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayechi, that the best years of Yaakov’s life were in Mitzrayim. How could Mitzrayim be better than in Eretz Yisroel? The Rebbe explains that this was because Yehuda set up a yeshiva there to learn Torah! That way, even in Mitzrayim, even in Golus, his life was able to be very good.

We see from here that only through always learning Torah can we be living in Golus properly!

We will learn a letter from the Rebbe about how important it is to always be connected to Torah:

The Yetzer Hara came up with a plan called “vacation.” Unfortunately, even very frum Yidden accept it.

They think that whatever is true during the rest of the year is different during “vacation.”

This is the opposite of what the Torah tells us!

The posuk says that the Torah is our life and the length of our days. We can’t take a break from living! The Chachomim compare a Yid to a fish. Just like fish can’t leave the water, a Yid can’t survive without Torah and mitzvos.

Chas veshalom to think that during “vacation” or “break time” we don’t need to learn any more, or we need to learn less!

A Yid always needs to be connected to his source of life — the Torah.

See Shulchan Menachem vol. 5 p. 59, Igros Kodesh vol. 13 p. 302


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

Now that we have learned all of the Yud-Beis Pesukim, let’s see how they fit together!

The Yud-Beis Pesukim follow a pattern:

1) Two pesukim from Torah Shebichsav

2) Two Maamorei Chazal from Torah Shebaal Peh

3) Two lines from Chassidus

The Rebbe taught the first six pesukim according to this pattern on Rosh Chodesh Iyar, and then the next six pesukim according to the same pattern on Lag B’omer.

IY”H over the next few days, we will review the Yud-Beis Pesukim, in a different order. First we will go through the four pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, then the four from Torah Shebaal Peh, and finally the four from Chassidus.



Right Hand First

When we wash Netilas Yodayim, we first pour water over our right hand. To do this, we need to hold the kvort with our left hand.

Based on Kabbalah, we are ALWAYS careful to start with our right. So even with HOLDING the kvort, we first pick it up with our right hand, before passing it to our left.

That’s why we hold the kvort with our right hand when we fill it up with water. We only pass it to our left hand when we are ready to start washing our right hand first!

See Seder Netilas Yodayim L’Seudah, se’if hey

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



We Want Moshiach Now!

We learned in Tehillim, “Mi Li Bashomayim” — The Alter Rebbe says that we only want Hashem.

We are saying the same thing when we ask for Moshiach now!

It may seem that there are many good things in Golus, in Gashmius and even in Ruchnius. A person could ask Hashem for riches, or health, or happiness. He could ask Hashem to be able to learn a lot of Torah, or to daven with lots of kavana. All of these things could happen in Golus.

But we learn from the Alter Rebbe that this isn’t what we should want! Only when Moshiach comes will the etzem of Hashem be revealed. We say that these good things are not enough — we want the etzem Hashem to be revealed! We want Moshiach now!

See Parshas Tzav, Shabbos Hagadol 5745, Chassidim Ein Mishpacha #331

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