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Parshas Vayeishev - Shishi with Rashi

Potifar’s wife tries to get Yosef to do an aveira. When she finally catches him, he escapes! She is very angry and gets Yosef in big trouble. He gets thrown in jail.

Potifar’s wife used astrology (looking at the stars to know what will happen later), and saw in the stars that Yosef would have children from her family. She thought that meant her, but really in the end Yosef married her daughter!

Since she thought it had to happen, she told Yosef to act like he was married to her. But Yosef said no.

Potifar’s wife kept trying to get Yosef to do an aveira. But Yosef didn’t listen. He knew it was a big aveira to act like you’re married to someone else’s wife!

One day, the people in Mitzrayim had a goyishe holiday. Everyone went to the place they worshipped their idols, but Potifar’s wife had an idea — since nobody will be home, now is a good time to get Yosef to listen to her! So she pretended she was sick and didn’t go.

Yosef almost listened to her, but then he saw an image of his father Yaakov! He heard Yaakov say, like in a dream, “Yosef! Your name is supposed to be on the Kohen Gadol’s Urim Vetumim! If you do this aveira, your name won’t be on there, and instead your name will be written down next to a zonah!”

Yosef right away decided to run away from Potifar’s wife. She grabbed his clothes, but he just slipped out of them and ran outside!

Potifar’s wife was very angry that he said no to her. She decided to make up a story and use Yosef’s clothes to show that her story is true, and get Yosef in trouble. She She called the servants and said “Look! My husband brought us this person from far away and he wanted to act like he’s married to me! I screamed and he ran away, but I held on to his clothes!’

When Potifar came home, she told him the same thing. At first he didn’t believe her, but she found a good time to tell him again, until he believed her and got very angry at Yosef.

Potifar’s job for Paraoh was the top butcher, and also he was in charge of the jail. So he put Yosef in jail, and left him there. Everybody who heard about it talked in a not nice way about Yosef and what they said he did to Potifar’s wife.

Hashem was with Yosef, and the people in jail liked him, even the guards! The top guard put Yosef in charge of the prison, and Hashem helped him do everything well.



119 (first half)

Today’s Tehillim is the first half of Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes. There are eight pesukim for each letter of the Alef-Beis. Today we say from the letter Alef until the letter Lamed.

Dovid Hamelech speaks to Hashem saying, “Tov Li Toras Picha Me’Alfei Zahav VaChasef” — “Your Torah is more precious to me than even so much gold and silver!”

In the Chassidishe Parsha for this week, the first maamar for Parshas Vayeishev, the Alter Rebbe explains a deeper meaning of this posuk:

The posuk uses the words “Alfei Zahav Vachesef.” Each of these words also hints to something else!

Alfei (thousands) — this word is connected to the word “to learn” or “to get used to” (A’alefcha Chochma)

Zahav Vachasef (gold and silver) — in Kabbalah, gold is connected to Yirah, and silver is connected to Ahava

The place where the neshama learns and gets used to having Ahava and Yirah is in Gan Eden, very close to Hashem!

So in a deeper way, Dovid Hamelech was also saying, “Your Torah that I learn in this world is even more precious to me than the Ahava and Yirah I was used to having in Gan Eden!”

When the neshama is in Gan Eden, it has feelings of Ahava and Yirah in a very strong way, but the neshama loses that when it comes into the world. The neshama also has many problems to deal with here, that make things harder! Still, the chance that it has to learn Torah and do mitzvos in the world is so precious that it is worth it! Because the deepest connection to Hashem, even deeper than the connection it has in Gan Eden, is only through Torah and mitzvos kept in the Gashmius world.



Likutei Amarim Perek Gimmel

Hashem placed 10 special tools in a Yiddishe neshamasechel and midos — to help us do our Shlichus in the world.

Before we learn today’s Tanya, let’s review a bit about what we are learning here:

We learned in Hayom Yom right before Yud-Tes Kislev that the derech of Chassidus is “Hagbaras Hatzura Al Hachomer.” This means to make the neshama and the Ruchnius stronger than the guf and the Gashmius.

In Perek Alef, the Alter Rebbe taught us that we have a first nefesh, which gives chayus to the guf, and our wanting Gashmius things, and the not-good midos we have, come from it. This is what the neshama will work with, to bring kedusha into the guf and to make the Gashmius more Ruchnius’dik.

This might sound like a hard job, but we don’t need to worry! In Perek Beis, we learned that the neshama we have is very strong! It is a part of Hashem, a Chelek Eloka Mimaal Mamosh! Hashem also gives us a Rebbe who helps us connect our neshama back to where it comes from! With this koach, we will for sure be able to do our shlichus all the time.

Now in this perek, the Alter Rebbe tells us about the tools built into the neshama that will help us do our job! The tools are Sechel and Midos. Through using them, we can create feelings of Yirah and Ahava. As we will learn later in Tanya, Yirah and Ahava give us chayus and make it possible for us to do our shlichus ALL the time!

When Hashem created the world, Hashem ALSO used these tools! Hashem gave us the same tools that HE has, because our neshama is a part of Hashem!

As we will learn later, when we bring out the Ahava and Yirah that are hidden in the neshama, we make the neshama strong and able to do its shlichus in the best way! One of the main chances we have to do this is during davening. This is why Avodas HaTefillah is so important!



Chof-Hey Kislev

The Rebbe Rashab would light the menorah between Mincha and Maariv. In Shul we make sure that the menorah faces a certain way, but the Rebbe Rashab wasn’t careful with it at home.

Only after lighting all the flames, do we say Haneiros Halalu.

The Rebbe Rashab would sit near the lichtelach for a half hour, except on Erev Shabbos when he wouldn’t stay as long. He made sure the flames burned for at least 50 minutes every night.

Reminder: On Erev Shabbos Chanukah, we do things in this order: (1) Daven Mincha, (2) Light the Menorah, (3) Light Shabbos candles.



Shiur #155 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #75, #76, Asei #24, Lo Saasei #69, #70, #71

Today we learn 6 mitzvos for kohanim in the Beis Hamikdash:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #75) A kohen who is tamei is not allowed to do any Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְיִנָּזְרוּ מִקָּדְשֵׁי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא יְחַלְּלוּ אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #76) A kohen who already did all the steps to become Tahor, but still is supposed to wait until the night to become completely tahor (called a “Tevul Yom”), is also not allowed to do any Avodah until he becomes completely tahor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֹא יְחַלְּלוּ שֵׁם אֱלֹקֵיהֶם

3) (Mitzvas Asei #24) The kohanim need to wash their hands and feet (from the Kiyor) before they do their Avodah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Sisa: וְרָחֲצוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת יְדֵיהֶם וְאֶת רַגְלֵיהֶם בְּבֹאָם אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד

The details are explained in Mesechta Zevachim perek Beis.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #69) A kohen with a mum is not allowed to GO INTO parts of the Beis Hamikdash that are only for doing Avodah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: אַךְ אֶל הַפָּרֹכֶת לֹא יָבֹא וְאֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא יִגַּשׁ וְגוֹ׳

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #70) A kohen with a mum is not allowed to DO Avodah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרַב

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #71) If a kohen has a mum that will go away, he is also not allowed to do Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash until it does go away.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: כָל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרָב

The details are explained in Mesechta Bechoros perek Zayin.



Hilchos Biyas HaMikdash

In today's Rambam, we learn more about the kohanim and their Avodah.

Perek Hey: Before the Avodah, a kohen needs to make himself tahor by using the kiyor. One halacha is that the kohen needs to wash his hands and feet every morning, even if he was up all night doing his avodah.

Perek Vov: We start learning the halachos about a kohen who has a mum.

Perek Zayin: There are 15 things that could be wrong that count as a mum if they are in a person, and ALSO if they are in an animal.



Hilchos Shevisas Yom Tov - Perek Vov

In this perek, we learn about an Eruv Tavshilin.

We also learn about being happy on Yom Tov! What makes someone happy? The Rambam says that the way to make sure kids are happy on Yom Tov is to have nuts and candies! For women, they are happy with new clothes and jewelry. Men should eat meat and drink wine to be happy on Yom Tov.

But we need to be careful that our Simcha on Yom Tov is a Simchas Mitzvah, a simcha from doing a mitzvah, and not just Simcha of the stomach! By sharing our delicious Yom Tov food and drink with poor or lonely people, our Simchas Yom Tov will be a Simchas Mitzvah!



Cheder Tzivos Hashem

Chanukah is a very special time for children and for Chinuch.

The Rebbe said that children should light their menorahs by their bedrooms.

A kid’s bedroom isn’t just a place where they sleep — it is a Cheder Tzivos Hashem! It has a Chitas and a pushka, and we use the room to do mitzvos! We should light the menorah there, because it will fill the room with even more kedusha. And when we see the menorah burning there, it will make us feel even more excited to do mitzvos!

Parshas Vayeishev 5748, Hisvaaduyos p. 54


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Ve'al Hanisim

In davening, we praise Hashem for the things Hashem does for us, and ask for what we need.

On Chanukah, we add extra praises, for the miracle of Chanukah!

In Shemoneh Esrei, we add Ve’al Hanisim. We describe how the Greeks tried to force the Yidden to forget their Yiddishkeit. A small group of Yidden stood up to fight against the big and strong Greek army. Hashem made a neis and they won! The Yidden came back to the Beis Hamikdash and made it tahor again. They lit the menorah again in Hashem’s house, and made these 8 days into a special Yom Tov!

We also say Ve’al Hanisim in bentching, thanking Hashem for these tremendous nisim.



Erev Shabbos Chanukah

If we won’t be davening with a minyan later, it is best to daven Mincha BEFORE lighting the Menorah. So unless it is getting late or your minyan starts later, first we daven Mincha.

Then, we light the menorah, before the time of Shabbos candle lighting. Since we are lighting so early, we need to make sure that there is enough oil (or long enough candles) so the Menorah will stay burning for at least 50 minutes after the time of Shekiyah.

Then, we light our Shabbos candles.

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




It is written in seforim that the dreidel is connected to Moshiach, because the letters “Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Shin” are the same Gematria as the word Moshiach!

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