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Parshas Vayeitzei - Shishi with Rashi

Yaakov leaves Charan with his family. When Lavan finds out, he chases them and catches up with them. He is angry that they didn’t say that they are leaving, and that someone took his idols.

Since it was time to go, Yaakov started to travel back towards Eretz Yisroel, to his father Yitzchak. He took all of the animals and money that he had earned.

Lavan had gone off to shear his sheep (cut their hair), so he wasn’t home. Rochel took her father’s idols away, hoping he would stop serving Avodah Zarah. Yaakov didn’t tell Lavan he was going, and ran away with all of his family and his things.

Yaakov wanted it to be very clear why he left Eretz Yisroel to get married: In order to have children who would do Hashem’s job in this world! So he put his children in front, even though it is usually more respectful to let the parents go first.

Three days later, Lavan found out that Yaakov had run away. So he took his family and chased after him, catching up with him at Har Gilad. Hashem appeared to Lavan in a dream and told him not even to try to be nice to Yaakov, since Yaakov doesn’t trust him anymore.

Lavan was very upset at Yaakov: “You tricked me and ran away with my daughters like they are prisoners of war! Why didn’t you tell me you were going? I would have made you a goodbye party with music, and like this, you didn’t even give me a chance to kiss my grandchildren goodbye! That wasn’t nice!

“I would hurt you now, except that Hashem warned me to be careful what I say to you. But why did you run away like this? I knew you wanted to go home many times, but I told you why you should stay — you got very rich in my house. And why did you steal my idols?”

Yaakov answered Lavan in order: “I was afraid to tell you I was going because maybe you would take away Rochel and Leah. And to take your idols?! If anyone did it, they will die. Go see who took them and take them back!” (Yaakov didn’t know that Rochel took them, but because he said this, that’s one of the reasons Rochel passed away along the way.)

Lavan went first into Rochel’s tent, and then into Leah’s. Then he looked in Rochel’s tent again, but still didn’t find his idols. He looked in Bilhah and Zilpah’s tents, and then went back to Rochel’s tent again because he thought she might have taken them.

Really, Rochel had put the idols into the camel saddle (where you sit). She sat on them, so even though Lavan searched a lot, he didn’t find them. Rochel said sorry that she didn’t get off the camel, but she wasn’t feeling well.

Yaakov was angry with Lavan. “Why did you run after me? You didn’t find anything here that belongs to you! I never stole any animals from you when I was working for you, and if any animal got lost or hurt I paid for it! I worked all day and all night, in the hot sun and freezing cold, and couldn’t even sleep!

“I worked for you for 20 years — 7 years each for Rochel and Leah, and 6 years that I got paid for, and you kept changing your mind what I could get paid! If Hashem hadn’t helped me, you would have sent me away with no money at all! But Hashem saw I worked hard, and He told you last night to be careful what you say.”



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach are Samach through Samach-Hey.

In Chodesh Kislev, we are supposed to learn something from each of the Rebbeim. So every day, we are taking a posuk of Tehillim and explaining it according to one of the Rebbeim!

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says how his neshama wants to be close to Hashem, “Tzoma Lecha Nafshi!” He says that it’s like a mashal of a person who is thirsty for water in a place where there is none.

The Rebbe explains that when a person is VERY thirsty and doesn’t have any water, when he finally gets the water it tastes so delicious to him, much better than any other water!

The same thing is when the neshama feels like it’s not close to Hashem during Golus, and it’s really “thirsty” to feel close. Then, when it DOES learn Torah and do mitzvos and feel close to Hashem, it feels even better than ever!

That’s why Dovid Hamelech says in the next posuk, “Kein Bakodesh Chazisicha” — “If only I would see You like this bakodesh,” when I feel holy and I don’t feel far away! When Moshiach comes, we will all be able to see Hashem — halevai we will feel just as good as when we feel Hashem after feeling “thirsty” in the time of Golus!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

In Kuntres Acharon, the Alter Rebbe explains why he said certain things in Tanya, with a long pilpul. (We can see from here how exact everything in Tanya is, that the Alter Rebbe had a very long reason why he wrote something in a certain way!) In the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch there is also a Kuntres Acharon, where he explains why he said certain things in Shulchan Aruch with a long pilpul! (A pilpul is questions and answers and proofs, like in Gemara.)

Siman Daled of Kuntres Acharon is a long pilpul which includes an explanation of why doing a mitzvah or learning halachos of a mitzvah is greater than kavana and feeling close to Hashem.

The Alter Rebbe said that the halachos are special because they come from the Chochmah of Hashem. Today, the Alter Rebbe asks a question: Isn’t kavana and ruchniyus ALSO from Chochmah?

The answer is that yes, of course they are! But there are different levels of Chochmah, and different ways it is expressed.

The Alter Rebbe explains it with deep Chassidus that can be hard to understand without learning for a long time! For example, you need to know about the four Olamos, about the seven Sefiros, about the five levels of the Neshama, and how neshamos are different than malochim!

Here is one thing you will need to know for when you are ready to learn it: Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama are levels of the Neshama, but they are ALSO names for different levels in the Ruchniusdike Olamos.



Yud-Alef Kislev

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe shows us some corrections in the “Siddur Im Dach”.

“Siddur Im Dach” means “the siddur with Chassidus.” (Dach is Roshei Teivos for the words Divrei Elokim Chaim, the words of the living Aibershter, which refers to Torah in general and specifically to Chassidus.) Together with the words of davening, it has maamarim of the Alter Rebbe, which were written down by the Mitteler Rebbe. In many places, there is so much Chassidus that only a few words of davening fit on each page!

The siddur was published right after the Alter Rebbe’s histalkus, in the beginning of the Mitteler Rebbe’s nesius. The Siddur Im Dach was the first sefer of Chabad Chassidus published after the Tanya!



Shiur #141 - Mitzvas Asei #133, #143, #144

Today we learn 3 mitzvos about presents we give to the kohanim:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #133) Hafroshas Challah — whenever we make dough, we take a piece to give to the kohen. (We learn about this in today’s Rambam!)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shelach: רֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵכֶם חַלָּה תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Challah and Mesechta Orlah.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #143) We need to give the kohen 3 parts of every kosher animal we shecht — the front part of the leg (zro’a), the jaw (lechayayim), and one of the stomachs (the Keivah).

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַכֹּהֲנִים מֵאֵת הָעָם מֵאֵת זֹבְחֵי הַזֶּבַח אִם שׁוֹר אִם שֶׂה

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Yud.

3) (Mitzvas Asei #144) When we cut the hair of our sheep (shearing), we need to take the first part and give it to the kohen. This mitzvah is called Reishis Hageiz.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: וְרֵאשִׁית גֵּז צֹאנְךָ תִּתֶּן לוֹ

The details are explained in Mesechta Chulin perek Yud-Alef.



Hilchos Bikurim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more halachos about Hafroshas Challah — today’s first mitzvah!

Perek Vov: We need to take challah from dough that will be baked for people to eat. Dough that will just be boiled (like spaghetti) we DON’T need to take challah from. We learn that there needs to be enough flour (about 3 pounds), and they need to be the kinds of flour that we use to make hamotzi bread (wheat, barley, oats, spelt, rye).

Perek Zayin: What happens if we put a few small batches of dough together? Do we need to take challah from them? As long as we wouldn’t mind if they got a little bit mixed with each other, we can count them as one big batch of dough, and take challah from them if together they are the size of the shiur challah.

Perek Ches: Do we need to separate challah from flour? Usually we don’t, but if the flour all gets stuck together, we do.



Hilchos Eruvin - Perek Gimmel

Sometimes, when there are two courtyards next to each other, they can be joined together in one Eruv Chatzeiros. In this perek we learn about when this can or can’t be done.



Ahavas Yisroel

A bochur once came to the Rebbe in Yechidus and asked for an eitza to have Ahavas Yisroel. The Rebbe told him to learn the sichos of the Frierdiker Rebbe.

Here is part of one of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s sichos:

Chassidim used to say to each other, “In this piece of bread that Hashem gave me, there is a piece that belongs to you or another Yid. If I take it, it is stealing!”

There was a certain chossid that showed this by how he acted. This Chossid was a big Talmid Chochom — he knew the entire Gemara, with Rashi and Tosfos, by heart! His work was to do business in many faraway villages, and wherever he traveled, he was able to learn without having any seforim!

If his business went better than he expected and he made more money than usual, he would say that a letter from the Rebbe, asking for tzedakah, had come to his house! Or maybe there was a meshulach now in his town! This extra money must belong to them.

By these Chassidim, this is how they lived. Hashem gives something to me in order to help another Yid — and that is Ahavas Yisroel.

Sefer Hasichos Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Tes p. 338


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Lecha Dodi

In davening on Friday night, we sing the special niggun of Lecha Dodi.

Lecha Dodi was written by a mekubal, R’ Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz. He was also the brother-in-law and talmid of the great mekubal R’ Moshe Kordovero, the Ramak. (R’ Shlomo Halevi hinted to his name in this famous tefillah — can you find it?)

The chorus of Lecha Dodi says that we are going out to welcome Shabbos, the kallah.

Why do we call Shabbos a kallah?

The Medrash says that when Hashem was creating the world, Shabbos had a complaint! All of the days have partners, like a Chosson and KallahYom Rishon has Yom Sheini, Yom Shlishi has Yom Revi’i, and Yom Chamishi has Yom Shishi. But Shabbos is all alone!

Hashem told Shabbos that the Yidden will be its partner, its chosson!

At Har Sinai, Hashem reminded us about this: “Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos Lekadsho” — remember that Shabbos is your partner, you need to be mekadesh it, like a man is mekadesh his wife.

That is also the reason why some Yidden have the minhag to say Shir Hashirim before Shabbos, since Shir Hashirim speaks about Hashem and the Yidden with a mashal of a chosson and kallah.

See My Prayer by Rabbi Nissan Mindel



Tzedakah Before Licht Bentchen

It is a minhag to give tzedakah before we light Shabbos candles.


Licht bentchen is a special time when Hashem listens to the tefillos of the women and girls who are lighting Shabbos candles. We give tzedakah before to bring even more bracha in all the things we ask.

See Igros Kodesh vol. 14, p. 529

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



Shabbos and Moshiach

One of the things we say about Shabbos in Lecha Dodi is “Sof Maaseh Bemachshava Techilah,” Shabbos was the last part of creating the world, but it was Hashem’s first thought. Hashem wanted from the very beginning that Creation should finish with Shabbos!

The same thing is also true about the Geulah, which is also compared to Shabbos!

Even though the Geulah comes all the way at the end of the world’s time, it is Machshava Techilah — in Hashem’s “mind” first. Hashem planned from the very beginning that Shabbos would come at the end. Geulah is the reason why Hashem created the world!

This is something we can think about when we say or think in our minds the posuk of Bereishis.

Bereishis — In the beginning

Bara Elokim — When Hashem created

Eis Hashomayim — the heavens

Ve’eis Ha’aretz — and the earth.

This is the FIRST posuk in the Torah, and it is about the beginning of the creation of the world! It also reminds us of the purpose of it all — to bring the time of Moshiach, and encourages us to do all we can to bring Moshiach NOW!

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