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Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Yosef and Yaakov finally meet again. Yosef brings his brothers and father to Yaakov, and Yaakov gives Paraoh a bracha.

Yaakov’s whole family was coming down to Mitzrayim! Yaakov sent Yehudah to hurry ahead, to get things ready for everyone else. What’s the most important thing he needed to get ready? To set up a place to learn Torah, a yeshiva!

Finally, the whole family came to Goshen. Yosef came to meet them right away! In honor of seeing his father, Yosef set up his carriage by himself instead of having a servant do it.

When Yosef saw his father, he hugged him and cried for a long time. Yaakov did not do anything then, because he was in the middle of reading Shema and was not allowed to interrupt.

When he finished, Yaakov said to Yosef, “Now I can die happy, because I can see you and I know that you’re still alive.”

Yosef told his whole family that he would tell Paraoh that they are shepherds, and they have their sheep with them. He told them that if Paraoh would ask, they should also say they that they are shepherds. This way, Paraoh will have them live in Goshen, the best part of Mitzrayim, where there is plenty of grass for sheep to eat. Goshen isn’t so close to the big cities of Mitzrayim, and the Goyim won’t have to see them taking care of sheep to shecht later. This would bother the Mitzriyim, who used sheep as Avodah Zarah.

Yosef brought some of his brothers to Paraoh, and Paraoh did tell Yosef exactly what he had wanted, that his brothers should live in Goshen. Paraoh asked them to take care of his own (Paraoh’s) sheep too.

Yosef then brought his father Yaakov to Paraoh. Paraoh asked Yaakov how old he was, and Yaakov answered that he was 130 years old. But those were 130 HARD years, not happy years like his father’s and grandfather’s! Then Yaakov gave him a bracha that whenever Paraoh would come to the Nilus river, it would overflow and water the ground in Mitzrayim. This way, the hunger would be over!

When the Mitzriyim saw that the bracha of Yaakov, who believed in Hashem, is what made the Nilus overflow, they didn’t believe in the Nilus as an Avodah Zarah as much anymore.



35 - 38

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Lamed-Hey through Lamed-Ches.

In today’s Tehillim, we have the posukKol Atzmosai Tomarna Hashem Mi Chamocha.” “All of my bones say, who is like Hashem!” Our entire bodies praise Hashem!

We use all the parts of our bodies not only for doing mitzvos, but also for davening and learning. Every part of us thanks Hashem and says how special Hashem is. That’s one of the reasons we shuckle when we daven and learn Torah!



Likutei Amarim Perek Vov

In Perek Daled, where we talked about the levushim (Machshava, Dibur, and Maaseh — the things we think, say and do) of the neshama, we said that the thinking can be thinking words of Torah, saying can be saying words of Torah, and doing is doing mitzvos. So what are the levushim of the Nefesh Habehamis?

The Alter Rebbe says that the levushim of the Nefesh Habehamis aren’t always used just for aveiros, but ANYTHING that’s not specifically kedusha is automatically one of the levushim of the Nefesh Habehamis

Here’s why: Kedusha is something which is especially for Hashem.

If it’s something we’re doing for ourselves, even if it’s not an aveira, it’s not kedusha. Anything that’s not kedusha is called kelipah, and is done using the levushim of the Nefesh Habehamis.



Vov Teves

There is a posuk that says “Da es Elokei Avicha, Ve’avdo Belev Shaleim.” We need to know Hashem, and serve Hashem with a whole heart. How do we do this?

All of the Torah we learn, all of the Chassidus we learn, that helps us “know” Hashem, we need to use it in our avodah — it needs to make us better Yidden and Chassidim! We can’t just learn things and say “oh that’s interesting” and not do anything about it. The things we know need to help us be the way Hashem wants us to be.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #61

Today we started a new sefer and a new set of halachos in Rambam, about Shevuos, promises. Today’s mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #61) is that we are not allowed to break a promise we made using Hashem’s name — that’s called a Shevuas Bitui or Shevuas Sheker.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וְלֹא תִשָּׁבְעוּ בִשְׁמִי לַשָּׁקֶר

The details of how to keep this mitzvah are explained in the third perek of Mesechta Shevuos.



Hilchos Shevuos

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the four different kinds of promises (Shevuos) that a person might make and get punished for. Here are two of them:

1) Shvuas Bitui — A Shvuas Bitui is a false promise. One way a person makes a Shvuas Bitui is by promising not to do something he already did. Another way is if he promises not to do something, and then does it; or if he promises that he WILL do something and then he doesn’t.

2) Shvuas Shav — A Shvuas Shav is a meaningless promise. One type of Shvuas Shav is if someone makes a promise about something that everyone knows is not true (like if he promises that a tree is made of gold). Another kind of Shvuas Shav is a promise that everyone knows is true (like a promise that the sky is the sky).

It is also a Shvuas Shav to make a promise we can’t keep. For example, a promise not to do a mitzvah (we can’t make a promise like that!); or a promise that it’s impossible to keep (like saying we won’t sleep for 3 days).

We also learn what counts as a promise. One halacha is that if a person makes a mistake and says a promise, they are allowed to change their mind if they do it right away, and then it’s not counted as an aveira.



Hilchos Beis Habechira - Perek Daled

This perek has the measurements of the Heichal! It also tells us that when Shlomo Hamelech built the first Beis Hamikdash, he knew it would be destroyed. He had tunnels made underground to hide the Aron. Before the Churban, the king Yoshiyahu ordered that the Aron be hidden underground. We will take it out again for the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi!



Hey – Yud-Beis Teves

The first year after Hey Teves happened, there was singing and dancing and celebrating in 770 for a whole week, until Yud-Beis Teves — just like there’s Sheva Brachos after a Chasuna! Since then, even though the main Yom Tov is Hey Teves, we continue to relive and learn about what Hey Teves means to us until Yud-Beis Teves.

The Rebbe said that the true nitzachon of the sefarim is USING the sefarim! We should make more shiurim, with ourselves and with others, to learn them!

True kavod of sefarim is not that they should have a beautiful place on our bookshelf and that we are careful not to touch them, but that they should get used and worn out. Parents should remind their kids that it’s okay if their sefarim get used and ripped and worn out, and that when they need, their parents will be happy to get them new ones!

See Hamaaseh Hu Ha’ikar, compilation of horaos for Hey Teves, from sicha of Parshas Vayigash 5748 and others


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Growing in Our Tefillah

Do you have any clothes that are too small for you? What happened, did the clothes get smaller? No, you got bigger so you need bigger clothes to wear!

When we start learning about Tefillah, we start by learning about the peshat, the simple meaning of the words of davening and why we say them. This will help us have kavana when we daven!

But as we get older, our kochos in davening grow bigger! It won’t be enough anymore to just know about the peshat of davening. There are so many ways to understand the Tefillos — in ways of Peshat, Remez, Derush, Sod, and Chassidus!

As we grow, we need to make sure we grow in our Tefillah too, learning more so our davening will be on a higher level too.

For example, in Modeh Ani which we just learned about now, there are all of these way of understanding it. In Kuntres Inyana Shel Toras HaChassidus, the Rebbe shows us how Modeh Ani is learned in all of these ways, and how Chassidus adds to all of them!

See Yechidus with the Toldos Aharon Tof-Shin-Chof-Alef, printed in kovetz Lifnei Mi Ata Omeid p. 71



Water for Negel Vasser

After we use water for washing Negel Vasser in the morning, that water gets a Ruach Ra in it. We are careful to spill it out away from where people will be, because it is a kind of tumah that can hurt someone.

Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman daled, se’if tes

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



The Best Way to Spread Yiddishkeit

In the haftora of this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayigash, we read about the nevuah that all of Bnei Yisrael will become reunited under one king again! For many generations, since after Shlomo Hamelech was king, the Yidden were split up into two separate kingdoms. But when Moshiach comes, we will all again be ruled by just one Jewish king.

The posuk in the haftora says “Ve’avdi Dovid Melech Aleihem,” that Dovid Hamelech will rule over them. This is talking about Moshiach, who will be king over ALL of the Yidden.

Why is Moshiach called Dovid?

The Frierdiker Rebbe explains in a maamar that the name Dovid is a name of bittul. We see this in Tehillim, where Dovid Hamelech, even though he was the king, calls himself a poor man (oni v’evyon)!

Moshiach will also have this inyan of Dovid, of being humble. Moshiach will teach the greatest leaders of the Yidden, like the Avos and Moshe Rabbeinu! At the same time, he will teach the simplest Yidden Torah too.

The Rebbe talks about this in the last maamar edited by the Rebbe for Hey Teves (in 5752). The Rebbe reminds us that everything that will happen when Moshiach comes is dependent on the avodah we do now, in Golus. So to have this special inyan of Moshiach’s bittul, we need to do something differently now!

We can do this by spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus in a humble way. Even though when we teach other people, Hashem makes us smarter, that shouldn’t be the reason why we teach. We shouldn’t be thinking about what WE will get from spreading Yiddishkeit, we should think about how it will help the person we are teaching! Being humble in that way will make us deserve to have Moshiach, with his tremendous bittul.

The Rebbe explains, based on this week’s Chassidishe Parsha, that this was the Ruchnius’dike message of when Yehudah approached Yosef to ask him to let Binyamin go. Yehudah was asking Yosef not to think of what he would get, but to think of who would be helped by setting Binyamin free.

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