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Parshas Vayeitzei - Sheini with Rashi

Yaakov comes to Charan and wants to marry Rochel.

Since Hashem promised Yaakov in his dream that he would be safe, he went to Charan happily, knowing it would be good. On his way, he had to cross the Yarden river. Hashem made a neis and the river split so he could walk across easily!

When he reached Aram Naharayim, he saw a well, covered with a big rock. Near it were three flocks of sheep together with their shepherds, sitting and waiting. They were waiting for everyone else to get there so they could move the rock, since it was too heavy to do it without everyone helping.

Yaakov asked the shepherds if they knew Lavan, and they said yes. “How is he?” Yaakov asked. “He’s fine,” said the shepherds, “and as a matter of fact, here’s his daughter Rochel coming with his sheep!” (Lavan had Rochel take care of his sheep, since he didn’t have any sons to do it.)

Since Yaakov didn’t know that the rock was so heavy, he asked the shepherds why they were just waiting there instead of giving the sheep water and taking them home. They explained that they needed to wait for everyone to come. They were still talking to him when Rochel came with the sheep to the well.

When Yaakov saw her, he rolled the rock off the well all by himself, and gave water to his uncle Lavan’s sheep.

Yaakov kissed Rochel and cried, because he knew with Ruach Hakodesh that they would get married. But he also knew that they wouldn’t both be buried together in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, which made him cry. He was also cried because he didn’t have any presents to give to her. (Eisav’s son Elifaz had stolen everything from him on the way.)

Yaakov explained to Rochel that he was her cousin, and that he wanted to marry her. Rochel told him that her father was very tricky! Yaakov said he wasn’t worried — he could be as tricky as Lavan if he needed to be, but if Lavan would be honest, Yaakov would be honest too.

Rochel ran and told her father (her mother had already passed away). Lavan ran to meet him, hoping that Yaakov had a lot of money, like when Eliezer came to get Rivkah. Lavan hugged and kissed Yaakov, but not because he loved him or because he was happy to see him — really he just wanted to see if he was hiding any money. When he saw there wasn’t any money, he brought Yaakov home anyway. Yaakov explained that he was running away from Eisav, and that Elifaz had taken all of his money, but he didn’t tell Lavan yet that he wanted to marry Rochel.

Lavan said, “Since you have no money, you can only come here since you’re my nephew. You can stay here for a month if you work as my shepherd.” So Yaakov stayed a month and watched his sheep.

Lavan then asked Yaakov how to pay him. He said to Yaakov, “Just because we’re related, do you have to work for free?”

Yaakov had an idea of the payment he wanted ­— that Lavan should give him permission to marry Rochel!

To understand what is about to happen, the Torah tells us that Rochel had an older sister.

Lavan had twin daughters, Leah and Rochel. Everyone always thought that since Lavan has twin girls, and Yitzchak has twin boys, they would marry each other. So Leah (who was older) always thought she would have to marry Esav, the older twin, and she cried so much about it that her eyes were always red and swollen — but Rochel was beautiful.



23 - 28

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Chof-Gimmel to Chof-Ches.

In Kapitel Chof-Hey it says “Zechor Rachamecha Hashem Vachasadech Ki Me’olam Heimah” — “Hashem should remember His mercy and His kindness, because they are forever.”

The Mitteler Rebbe explains (in a maamar about Chanukah!) that the word “meiolam” (forever) also means “from the world.”

Which world?

When Hashem made the world, he made a special light that we can’t see today, because it is hidden until Moshiach will come. Because Yidden needed special kochos in the time of Chanukah, Hashem took this light and made it shine for Yidden in order to help them to do Teshuvah, come closer to Hashem, and win over their enemies who wanted to destroy them!

How did the Yidden deserve to use this light? The Mesiras Nefesh Yidden would have for Torah and mitzvos made Hashem want to shine the light of Moshiach in the world!

That’s what it means, “Hashem should remember His goodness and kindness from the world — that Hashem should make the special light which shined from the beginning of the Creation of the world, to help Yidden overcome the hardships of Golus.



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

Now we are going to learn about how special mitzvos are!

When we do a mitzvah there are two parts: There is DOING the mitzvah, and the KAVANA in the mitzvah.

The kavanah is something that we have in our mind, what we think about when we do the mitzvah. But when we take an esrog and hold it (for example), we become attached to Hashem in a stronger way than we can become with what we think.

When we have kavana, we are thinking about Elokus, but we can’t really understand it because a Gashmius’dike mind doesn’t really understand the mehus, what Ruchnius really is. But when we HOLD the mitzvah, like holding an esrog, we ARE holding on to the mehus of Elokus in that mitzvah!

Because even though the esrog is Gashmius too, Hashem doesn’t hide in Gashmius things that are used for mitzvos!

The Alter Rebbe says that this is also true when we LEARN the halachos about a Gashmius mitzvah, like the halachos of Esrog. We are also holding onto the mehus of Elokus!



Daled Kislev

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn about how chassidim wash Mayim Acharonim before bentching: We pour water over our fingertips, then pass our fingers over our lips while they are still wet.



Shiur #119 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #111, #215

Today we are learning the last perek in Sefer Hafla’ah, and starting a new Sefer in Rambam, called Sefer Zeraim! In this new sefer, we will learn all about the mitzvos of planting!

We learn one last mitzvah about Cherem (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #111): That a person is not allowed to change his mind about a field he made into Cherem. He cannot decide instead to redeem it by giving as much as it is worth, like he can if he promises his field to the Beis Hamikdash. If he gives his field in a way of plain Cherem, the actual field goes to the kohen and he can’t redeem it.

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Bechukosai: לֹא יִמָּכֵר וְלֹא יִגָּאֵל

(Mitzvas Lo Saasei #215): We also learn a mitzvah about Kilayim, mixing seeds: In Eretz Yisroel, we aren’t allowed to plant two kinds of seeds together.

We learn this mitzvah from Parshas Kedoshim: שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרַע כִּלְאָיִם

The details are explained in Mesechta Kilayim.



Hilchos Erchin V'Charamin - Hilchos Kela'im

In Rambam, we learn the rest of the halachos about Cherem.

Perek Ches: On Tes-Vov Adar (Shushan Purim), the Beis Din checks on the donations they got all year for the Beis Hamikdash and puts the money together with the Machtzis Hashekel they just collected, so it will be ready to use for all of the things the Beis Hamikdash needs. All of the things need to be sold, because the Beis Hamikdash only uses the money!

If someone wants to give this kind of present nowadays, what do we do with it?

The person isn’t allowed to use it — it is Cherem. He needs to put it away until he can give it to the Beis Hamikdash, or until it is ruined.

The Rambam tells us not to give away ALL of our money for tzedakah, only what we can afford. (In Tanya, in Igeres HaTeshuvah, the Alter Rebbe says that this is when everything is normal. For teshuvah, a person can give more, the same way a sick person would pay anything to become healthy.)

Mazel Tov! We just finished learning Sefer Hafla’ah! Now we start learning the next sefer, Sefer Zera’im, which begins with the halachos of Kilayim:

Perek Alef: We learn about two kinds of Kilayim, things we are not allowed to mix. There are Kilai Zeraim, different kinds of seeds or plants which are not allowed to be planted together, and Kilai Ilanos, different kinds of trees that are not allowed to be forced to grow into one tree.

The mitzvah of Kilai Zeraim is only in Eretz Yisrael, but Kilai Ilanos, forcing two kinds of trees to grow into one tree, is asur everywhere. But even though we can’t GROW those kind of trees, we ARE allowed to eat fruit that grew from them!

Perek Beis: What happens if someone realizes that his field was by mistake planted with different kinds of seeds? How can he fix it? There are many halachos about what to do!

Every year, the Beis Din reminds everyone to check their fields to make sure there is no Kilayim. On Tes-Vov Adar (like with Erkin), the Beis Din comes around to check everyone’s fields!



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Yud-Alef

In Perek Yud-Alef, we learn the halachos about selling things with conditions. For example, if someone said he will sell his house to his neighbor if he finds a new house in Yerushalayim before the summer. If the person finds a beautiful house in Yerushalayim, does his old house belong to his neighbor? The Rambam tells us that it only does if the neighbor FIRST made a kinyan on the old house, to show that they both really meant the deal! (If he makes the kinyan afterwards, it doesn’t count.)



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, making it comfortable for Hashem, 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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Birchos Kriyas Shema

Shema Yisroel…” When we say these words, we are saying that we understand that there is nothing aside for Hashem — Hashem is One! So we are ready to do whatever Hashem wants, and not let anything stop us!

But it’s not just enough to say the words. We need to really mean it!

The Chachomim helped us by giving us two brachos before Shema. They help us get ready to say Shema properly and mean what we say!

First, we say the bracha of Yotzer Ohr, about how Hashem created the world and about the malochim. Then, we say the bracha of Ahavas Olam, about how Hashem loves the Yidden, and we ask Hashem to help us learn Torah and do mitzvos.

How do those brachos help us have Kabolas Ol? We will see IY”H tomorrow!

See Tanya Perek Mem-Tes



Ahavas Yisroel

Most people do some many good things, but also some not-so-good things. It is a mitzvah to talk about the good things they do. It helps them to keep doing those things, and to want to do even more! It also makes Hashem happy to hear that Yidden are saying nice things about each other. When Hashem has nachas, He wants to give us more brachos!

To make sure that what we say ends up being good, there are halachos about saying nice things about others.

One halacha is that we should be careful that what we say won’t make other people say NOT nice things!

If we are with people who don’t like the person we want to praise, we shouldn’t say anything. By us saying something nice, those other people will want to start saying mean things about him.

Even if everyone we are talking to likes that person, we should be careful not to say too much. If we praise someone too much, people will usually start explaining why that person isn’t perfect, and will say not nice things about him.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 156 se’if Yud-Beis

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



A Sign of the Geulah

The Rebbe points out something amazing about nowadays:

Throughout all of the years of Yidden being in Golus, many countries had rules that made it hard to be a Yid, and especially to teach Yiddishkeit to others.

For the first time ever, almost everywhere in the world, Yidden are free to practice Yiddishkeit and share Yiddishkeit, without anyone stopping us!

Now it is just up to us, to use this special time to do as much as we can!

This is a very important preparation for the Geulah, when Moshiach will unite the world to know Hashem!

See sicha Parshas Vayigash, Sefer Hasichos 5752 p. 224

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