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Parshas Vayeitzei - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn about the beginning of Yaakov’s journey to Charan.

Yaakov left Be’er Sheva, on his way to Charan. Now that he was gone, the people in Be’er Sheva stopped acting as nicely!

Eisav sent his son, Elifaz, to kill Yaakov, since he was angry at him for getting the brachos. Elifaz caught up to Yaakov, but he had learned from his zaide, Yitzchak, and felt like he shouldn’t do what his father told him. He asked Yaakov what to do! Yaakov told him to take all of his money, because a poor person isn’t counted as being alive in some parts of Torah. Then he could tell his father that Yaakov was not alive.

Yaakov knew that Charan was a very not-good place. He wanted to make sure he was very strong in Ruchnius before he went, so he learned in the Yeshivah of Ever for 14 years.

Then, finally, he went on his way to Charan. When he got there, he realized that he had passed Har Hamoriah, where his father and grandfather had davened, and HE didn’t daven there! He turned around and went back towards Har Hamoriah. But Hashem moved it to Beis Keil, and so Yaakov didn’t even realize that he was already there! Hashem made it get dark early, so that Yaakov would sleep there.

Yaakov davened Maariv (he was the one who started this Tefillah!) and got ready to sleep. He put stones around his body to keep himself safe from wild animals. Then he took another stone to use as a pillow. Since ALL of the stones wanted to have the zechus of being a pillow for Yaakov Avinu’s head, Hashem made them into ONE stone!) Then Yaakov lay down to sleep. (This was the first time he was going to lie down to sleep in 14 years, since he had only taken naps in Yeshivah!)

Yaakov had a dream, where he saw a very tall ladder. The bottom was standing strong on the ground, but the top reached up to Shomayim! The malachim who had come with Yaakov until now were going up the ladder, and the malachim that were able to come with him out of Eretz Yisroel were coming down the ladder.

He saw that Hashem was standing over him. Hashem told him, “I am Hashem! I will give you the land you are sleeping on, for your children!” (Hashem folded the land of Eretz Yisroel under him, so Hashem was giving him the WHOLE Eretz Yisroel!) You will have many children coming from you! ‘Uforatzta’ — you will spread out all over, and everyone will bentch themselves that they want to be like you and like your children.

“Don’t be afraid of Esav or Lavan! I will take care of everything you need, and everything that I promised to Avraham’s children will be given to your children!”

Yaakov woke up from the dream. He realized that this was a very holy place to have such a dream! He said, “If I knew that this was a holy place, I wouldn’t have gone to sleep here! This must be Har Hamoriah, where our Tefillos go through to go up to Hashem.”

Yaakov woke up in the morning, and set up the stone he slept on as a Mizbeiach, putting oil on it, like we do for the keilim of the Beis Hamikdash. The place where he was used to be called “Luz.” But now, Yaakov said, it should be called Beis Keil, the house of Hashem!

Yaakov made a promise to Hashem: If Hashem would take care of him like He promised, keep him safe be’ruchnius, and bring him back in peace to his father’s home, then he would bring korbanos to Hashem on this mizbeiach, and give 10% of all he had for tzedakah.



35 - 38

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Lamed-Hey to Lamed-Ches.

In Kapitel Lamed-Vov in today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says “Divrei Fiv Aven Umirmah, Chadal Lehaskil Leheitiv” “the words of his mouth are bad and tricky, he doesn’t find a reason to do better.” This is talking about the Yetzer Hara, who tries to stop us from doing the right thing.

The Maggid of Mezritch explains this posuk. The Yetzer Hara doesn’t tell a person not to learn Torah, it doesn’t mind if we learn complicated parts of Torah to make other people be impressed! The Yetzer Hara will try to stop a person from learning parts of Torah that teach us how to be better (Lehaskil Leheitiv)! The Yetzer Hara doesn’t want us to learn things that will help us act like better Yidden.


Do you know how powerful the words of Tehillim are? They can save lives of Yidden in danger!

Once, the Rebbe Maharash was traveling. He stopped at the house of a chossid, and found the children at home by themselves. The Rebbe Maharash started to say Tehillim with them, and continued saying Tehillim when the mother came home. Then he got up to leave, but then came back and said, “Let’s say some more Tehillim,” and only afterwards left. The mother realized something might be wrong, and said some more Tehillim with her children.

None of them understood what happened until their father came home, very late. He was very worn out. He told them that he had been in a lot of danger! When he told them what happened, they realized that he was saved three times — at the times when they had been saying Tehillim. They understood that the Rebbe had come back to save him from the dangerous situation!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

Even though we were talking the whole time about how important it is to do a mitzvah with Gashmius, and not just to have kavana, there is one kind of learning and kavana that is part of the 613 mitzvos. It is just as special as a Gashmius mitzvah! That mitzvah is learning Seder Hishtalshelus which is explained in Chassidus, since it’s a mitzvah to know Hashem.

Seder Hishtalshelus explains the steps that the chayus of Hashem goes through in order to make this Gashmius world.

In fact, learning about this is even more special than all the other mitzvos! Doing mitzvos connects us to Hashem. By understanding Hashem, we will have much more chayus in doing ALL of the mitzvos!



Vov Kislev

Today we will learn how the Rebbe Rashab explains the inyan of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita.

Every person has a special Shlichus they need to do in the world. Before they finish their shlichus and their neshama goes back up to Hashem, a person should say a special Tefillah called Vidui to finish their shlichus right before they pass away.

In a smaller way, we do the same thing every day when we finish the shlichus of the day. Before we go to sleep, we say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah — it’s a special tefila that helps us finish the shlichus of the day. But the difference is, with Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita we know that even though we finished our shlichus for the day, we will have more chances to do shlichus again with Hashem’s help tomorrow!



Shiur #136 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #150, #151

Today we learn two more mitzvos about Maaser Sheini:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #150) It is asur for a person to eat Maaser Sheini when he is Tamei, or when the food is Tamei. If he was tamei, he needs to become Tahor. If the food was tamei, he needs to sell the food and buy different food with that money.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Savo: וְלֹא בִעַרְתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ בְּטָמֵא

The details are explained in the end of Mesechta Makos.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #151) An Onen, someone who has a close relative who passed away and wasn’t buried yet, is not allowed to eat from Maaser Sheini. (An onen is also not allowed to eat from any Korbanos.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Savo: לֹא אָכַלְתִּי בְאֹנִי מִמֶּנּוּ

The details are explained in Mesechta Pesachim perek Ches, and Mesechta Zevachim perek Beis.



Hilchos Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about Maaser Sheini.

Perek Beis: Maaser Sheini is specifically eaten in Yerushalayim. Once it is brought into Yerushalayim, we are not allowed to take it out, or trade it for money or other food (unless it became tamei).

Perek Gimmel: We need to treat Maaser Sheini with respect — for example, we are not allowed to make it tamei.

Perek Daled: If we live far away from Yerushalayim, the food might not be good by the time we get there! We learn how to trade the food for money, and then use the money to buy food in Yerushalayim later.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Chof-Ches

In this perek, we learn how to measure the Techum Shabbos of a city.



Hashem is Depending On Us

On Vov Kislev, the Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s tenoim were signed, saying that the chasuna will take place!

Nowadays we do the tenoim together with the chuppah, but then they did it like we do a lechaim now.


In today’s Chumash, we learn about Yaakov’s dream. In the dream, Yaakov sees Hashem standing over him, and giving him a bracha! The Torah uses the words, “Vehinei Hashem Nitzav Alav.”

The Alter Rebbe also used these words in Tanya, saying that Hashem is always watching us to make sure that we are behaving in the right way.

The Medrash explains the words of this posuk in Chumash. One of the explanations is that when it says that Hashem is “standing over” Yaakov, it means that Hashem was DEPENDING on him!

In Tanya also, the Alter Rebbe uses these words to show us that Hashem isn’t only LOOKING at what we do, but Hashem DEPENDS on us to do the right thing!

What does that mean?

Think about how the Rebbe chooses a shliach to go to a faraway country. There are many Yidden there who don’t know very much about Torah or mitzvos. They don’t have a shul to go to, and they don’t have kosher food to buy.

When the Rebbe sends the shliach there, the shliach has an important job to do!

The shliach can’t just decide that he doesn’t want to open a shul, or that he doesn’t want to bring kosher food to his country. The Rebbe is depending on him to do his shlichus and help the Yidden there! If he doesn’t do it, the shlichus won’t get done!

We are ALL shluchim of Hashem.

Hashem sends us to this world with an important shlichus! There are mitzvos we need to do, Torah we need to learn, and people we need to help.

Hashem is depending on us to do our shlichus!

When we say the posuk of Vehinei, we remember that Hashem is watching each one of us to make sure we do what we are supposed to, because He is DEPENDING on us to do our shlichus right.

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder vol. 5, p. 254 and Likutei Sichos chelek Hey, p. 294 ff


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Kabolas Ol

Saying Shema in the morning and at night is called being Mekabel Ol Malchus Shomayim, accepting Hashem as our king. That means that we realize that we aren’t free to do what we want, we have an achrayus, a shlichus to do.

What is the connection between that and Shema?

In Shema, we cover our eyes and say that Hashem is One, and there is nothing else. Since there is nothing except for Hashem, we understand that we should accept that Hashem is our King, and be ready to do WHATEVER Hashem wants us to.

We know that Hashem has a shlichus for us, and we are ready to do it with all of our kochos.



Women and Shema

The Torah tells us that women don’t need to do some mitzvos that need to be done at a certain time — “Mitzvos Asei Shehazman Grama.”

The mitzvah of saying Kriyas Shema is one of these mitzvos. It has a certain time, in the morning and at night. Women do not need to keep the mitzvah of saying Kriyas Shema.

But women DO need to have Kabolas Ol Malchus Shomayim!

The first posuk of Shema helps us to have this Kabolas Ol. So women DO need to say at least the first posuk of Shema, “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echod.”

Women also need to say Emes Veyatziv, which helps us do a different mitzvah — remembering Yetziyas Mitzrayim. They should say this whole section, until Go’al Yisroel, so that their Shemoneh Esrei will be connected to a bracha for the Geulah, called being “Somech Geulah L’Tefillah.”

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Ayin se’if Alef; article on Women & Tefillah

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



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

In this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayeitzei, we learn about Yaakov’s important shlichus. His parents sent him to Charan to get married. Yaakov asks Hashem to be with him and protect him in Charan, and that Hashem should bring him back to the home of his father! Hashem gives him this bracha, promising him that He will bring him back to his father’s home.

The shlichus of Yaakov Avinu is a hora’ah for OUR shlichus in the world — to make Hashem a Dira Betachtonim.

We get sent out to “Charan,” to different parts of the world that don’t look like they are full of kedusha, to make them a comfortable place for Hashem. Before we go out on our shlichus, we ask Hashem to be with us and protect us.

But why do we also ask Hashem to bring us back? Isn’t the main thing to be doing the shlichus well? Why does it matter whether or not we go back?

This is the lesson we learn from Yaakov: It is very important to do our shlichus well, but that’s not the only thing that Hashem wants. Hashem wants us to finish our job, so we can come back to Eretz Yisroel where we belong! Even if we are doing well in our shlichus in the world, we need to remember that the GOAL is to finish the job and come back to our home — to the world the way it is supposed to be, when Moshiach comes. Knowing this gives us chayus in our shlichus, to finish up the job and bring Moshiach now!

See Sefer Hasichos Parshas Vayeitzei 5748

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