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Parshas Vayechi - Shlishi with Rashi

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

Yaakov is giving brachos to Yosef’s 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 bentched Efrayim, the younger one, with his right hand! 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, which I took from Eisav with my chochmah and tefillos.”



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes.

In Kapitel Nun-Hey, Dovid Hamelech says “Erev VaVoker VeTzohorayim Osicha,” that he davens to Hashem in the night, the morning, and the afternoon.

The Rebbe explains why the posuk says Maariv before Shacharis and Mincha. This is because Dovid Hamelech is saying that the Maariv of the night before is the Tefillah which gives Chayus for the whole next day. So Maariv isn’t just finishing off the day before, it also gives chayus and starts off the next day!

When you say Shema at night, the same thing happens! It finishes off the day, but it also gives you chayus and koach for whatever will happen tomorrow!



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes

Now that we know where the Nefashos are in our bodies, the Alter Rebbe is going to tell us what happens with them:

The body is like a city which two kings are fighting over. Each one wants to be in charge, so everyone will say that THEY are the king and everyone needs to listen to whatever they say!

The two kings are the two nefashos. The Nefesh Elokis wants to be the only one in charge, so that the whole body will listen to it and only do mitzvos and good things — and that even the Nefesh Habehamis should listen to it! The Nefesh Habehamis wants the same thing! He wants to be the only one in charge of the body, so the body will only listen to it!

And they are always fighting!

The truth is that Hashem only gave us the “other king,” the Nefesh Habehamis, to make us strong. When you have to fight, you become stubborn and strong! Since that’s the job Hashem gave the Nefesh Habehamis, he really doesn’t want us to do the wrong thing — he WANTS to lose the war, because that’s why Hashem sent him!

It is written in Seforim that if a person is not sure if they did the right thing, they should see how they feel afterwards. If they’re happy, it means it was the right thing. The reason is that the Yetzer Hara is happy when you don’t listen to it!

So if you do the right thing, everyone is happy — the Yetzer Tov (because you did the right thing) and the Yetzer Hara (because you won over him)! If someone chas veshalom doesn’t do the right thing, nobody is happy — not the Yetzer Tov, and not even the Yetzer Hara.



Yud Teves

Today is a fast day. We say Selichos in Davening, and the long Avinu Malkeinu in Shacharis and Mincha.

When we daven Mincha on a fast day, we read the Torah. The haftorah for a fast day is from Yeshayahu. There is a posuk there that says, “Yaazov Rasha Darko, Ve’ish Avon Machshevosav.” This means, “A rasha should leave his path, and a person should leave the aveiros in his mind.”

The Tzemach Tzedek once explained this posuk to a chossid in Yechidus:

The word “avon”, which means an aveira, can be changed (by switching the nekudos) to say “oin,” which means strong. The Tzemach Tzedek said to the chossid, “If a person has very strong opinions, and isn’t ready to listen to other people, that is also something they need to do teshuva for. Because when people don’t listen to each other, it brings to the opposite of Ahavas Yisroel.”

So just like a rasha needs to stop what he is doing, a person needs to leave the “oin” (stubbornness) of what he thinks — not to always say “I think, I say so, I know.” Because if a person only thinks about their own opinions, it brings machlokes between people.



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 Shecheinim - Perek Hey

Perek Hey teaches us about people who share a courtyard. There are many halachos that teach us about privacy. For example, we can’t build a new window that faces the courtyard, because then we can look at our neighbors all the time and see what they are doing.



Asara BeTeves

On Asara B’Teves, in the time of the first Beis Hamikdash, Nevuchadnetzar’s armies camped around Yerushalayim, not letting anyone out or in — even to bring food. Less than three years later, on Tes Tamuz*, the army of Bavel broke into Yerushalayim, and on Tisha B’Av the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. That’s why adults fast today.

(*In the time of the second Beis Hamikdosh, the walls were broken on Shiva Asar B’Tamuz, so the fast was pushed off until then.)

The Gemara says that the reward that a person gets on a fast day is for the tzedakah that he gives, even more than the reward that we get for fasting! It is important to remember to give extra tzedakah, which is the minhag on a fast day.

We should also take some time during the fast to think about the reason for these fasts in general, and Asara B’Teves specifically, and make good hachlatos in our heart to be better in the future, so the reason for the fast will go away!

The Rebbe explains that one of the hidden messages of Asara B’Teves is Achdus. The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because Yidden didn’t have Ahavas Yisroel, so Hashem gave Nevuchadnetzar the idea to make a siege around Yerushalayim — forcing everyone to be together. This was a message to the Yidden, that they should learn to live together nicely, with Ahavas Yisroel!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the message then, but the potential was there to do teshuva and make a change.

In fact, there was a similar situation in the times of Chizkiyahu, which was much scarier! The army of Sancheriv, which was MUCH stronger than Nevuchadnetzar’s, and could have broken into the city right away, surrounded Yerushalayim.

But because of the tefillah of Chizkiyahu, the righteous king, Hashem made a big neis and took the Yidden out of danger! The Gemara even says that Hashem wanted to bring the Geulah sheleimah right then.

This shows us that even one Yid has the koach to change the situation of Golus, especially on a day like today, and bring the Geulah for all the Yidden!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof, p. 518; Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Hey, p. 267


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Asking for Moshiach on a Fast Day

Like we saw in today’s Hayom Yom, we add extra parts to davening on a fast day. We learned that we add Selichos and Avinu Malkeinu to our davening.

We also have Kriyas HaTorah on a fast day. We leinVayechal,” about the teshuvah for the Cheit Ha’eigel and the second Luchos. We lein a haftorah from Yeshaya, who was the Navi that spoke the most about the Geulah.

In Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis, the chazan says the paragraph of Aneinu, and in Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha, EVERYONE says Aneinu. We ask Hashem that on this special day of the taanis, Hashem should answer us (“Aneinu”) and fulfill our requests — especially to bring the Geulah!

Of course, we ask for the Geulah EVERY day. But on a fast day, which is a special time, we ask Hashem for the Geulah even more!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof p. 362, ha’ara 22



Fast Days

On a fast day that starts in the morning, you are allowed to eat until Alos Hashachar, when the fast begins. But if you go to sleep, you need to have in mind that you want to still be able to eat if you wake up early. Otherwise, it’s like the fast started when you went to sleep.

(If you usually drink something when you wake up, you are allowed to drink before Alos Hashachar even if you didn’t have it in mind.)

Children who understand what it means to be sad about Yerushalayim should be given only simple foods to eat, and not any treats, so that they also feel uncomfortable because of the fast.

On fast days, it is a minhag to give tzedakah before Mincha. Some people give the amount it would have cost them to eat that day. This way, even the food you DIDN’T eat becomes elevated to kedusha, through the money you gave to tzedakah!

See Halachos Uminhagei Chabad p. 126, 129

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



Yes, Moshiach CAN Come!

We shouldn’t worry that Moshiach can’t come since Yidden still have so many aveiros.

Hashem loves us the way we are! Hashem will first take us out of Golus, and then take away our aveiros.

(The Metzudas Dovid explains that we see this in the posukVehu Yifdeh Es Yisroel Mikol Avonosav,” which we say in Selichos today. The aveiros will not prevent the Geulah — Hashem will also redeem us from our aveiros!)

So Moshiach can come right now, and Hashem will take us out of Golus to the Geulah just the way we are!

See Sefer Hasichos 5751, vol. 1, p. 238

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