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Parshas Toldos - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Yaakov gets the brachos, and needs to run away when Eisav finds out.

Yaakov’s brachos: Yitzchak Avinu thought that Yaakov was really Eisav! He gave him ten brachos!

Some of the brachos are that he should have rain, so his food will grow well. He should rule other nations and other nations should not rule over him! People who curse him should be cursed, and people who give him brachos should get brachos too. We read these brachos at the beginning of Veyitein Lecha, that we say on Motzei Shabbos!

Eisav’s brachos: After getting the brachos, Yaakov left. Just then, Eisav came back with the food he prepared. He told Yitzchak to come eat, so he could get the brachos.

“Who are you?” Yitzchak asked.

“I am your oldest son, Eisav,” he answered.

When Yitzchak heard this, he was very confused. He also saw Gehennom opening in front of Eisav, and he started to shake! “So who brought me food before? I gave the brachos to him already! But I see he deserved the brachos, so he will keep them.”

Eisav was very upset! He screamed, “Give me a bracha too!”

“But I already gave your brachos to Yaakov — he came in a tricky way and I thought it was you.”

“So that’s why you called him Yaakov!” Eisav cried. “Yaakov can mean to trap — and he already trapped me twice! First, he took away the bechorah from me (the zechus and responsibility of being the oldest), and now he also took my bracha!”

Now Yitzchak saw that this wasn’t a mistake at all! Eisav sold his bechorah, so Yaakov really DID deserve to get the brachos for the oldest! He told Eisav that Yaakov had a bracha now to rule over him, but Eisav still cried that he wanted a bracha too.

Yitzchak gave Eisav a bracha that he would have rain so his plants will grow, even if he didn’t deserve it. And if he would see Yaakov’s children (the Yidden) doing aveiros, he would be allowed to rule over them until they do Teshuvah.

Yaakov runs away: Eisav was very angry at Yaakov! Because of Yaakov, he got a less special bracha! Eisav wanted to kill Yaakov, but he decided to wait until Yitzchak passed away, so he wouldn’t make his father upset.

Rivkah knew about Eisav’s plan through Ruach Hakodesh, and warned Yaakov to run away. She told him to go to Lavan’s house in Charan, and stay there until Eisav isn’t angry anymore. “I will send you a message when you can come home,” she told him. “Don’t try to fight Eisav, because then his children will try to kill you.”

Rivkah wanted Yaakov to have even more brachos. She told Yitzchak that she was worried that Yaakov would marry a Chiti girl like Eisav. So Yitzchak gave Yaakov a bracha to go find a wife from Rivkah’s family in Padan Aram, and that many children should come from him. He gave him many of the brachos that Hashem gave to Avraham Avinu, and a bracha that Eretz Yisrael will belong to HIS children, not Eisav’s!




In Chodesh Kislev we have a hora’ah from the Rebbe to add in learning from the Torah of the Chabad Rebbeim. We will IY”H try to explain a posuk of Tehillim every day with an explanation from one of the Rebbeim.

In Kapitel Hey Dovid Hamelech asks Hashem not to let the people who are saying not good things about him to Shaul to hurt him. In the end of the kapitel he says. “Ki Ata Tevorech Tzadik Hashem Katzina Ratzon Taatrenu.” “You bentch a tzadik and surround him happily, like a person surrounded by a shield to protect him in a war.”

The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya that there is a deeper meaning in the words Katzina Ratzon Taatrenu. Hashem surrounds a Yid with His ratzon, the Torah and mitzvos, like someone is surrounded with a shield during the time of a war.

How is a Yid surrounded with the Torah and mitzvos?

When we use our sechel to think Torah, the feelings of our heart to be excited to do mitzvos, and we act the way Hashem wants, then we are completely surrounded with the Torah and mitzvos, and it protects us like a shield in a war!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

It says in Kabbalah that learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and davening make sparks of Ruchnius that are hiding in Gashmius go up to kedusha. In today’s Tanya we see how davening is extra-special! Davening brings the koach of Ein Sof of Hashem into the world to make a change in the world because of what we asked in our Tefillah!

Hashem made the world work in a natural way. The way the world works can make someone get sick chas veshalom, or to chas veshalom not have parnasa, or have a problem in the family. Only the koach that Hashem uses to make the world can change those things — because Hashem MADE it, Hashem can CHANGE it!

Guess what? We bring THIS koach of Hashem in the world when we daven! When we daven, we can ask Hashem to change something in the way the world works!

Chana, the mother of Shmuel Hanavi, didn’t have children for many years. Penina would try to make her feel bad that she wasn’t special. She was very hurt and davened hard to Hashem. That caused Hashem to make a CHANGE in the nature of the world and she had a child — Shmuel Hanavi.

Everything that Hashem does in the world needs to come through the Avodah of a Yid.

What do we need to do so we can deserve to have this special koach when we daven? We need to do just what Hashem does! Hashem’s strongest koach is used to make a change in the world, and WE need to use OUR strongest koach to serve Hashem! When we give all of our chayus to do what Hashem wants — Bechol Me’odecha — Hashem acts the same way, and uses the strongest koach of Ein Sof to change things in the world so Yidden will have all the good things we need.



Alef Kislev

One of the things the Alter Rebbe wanted very much from his Chassidim was that they should spend a lot of time and energy in their davening, Avodas HaTefillah. One of the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidim was R’ Yekusiel Liepler.

R’ Yekusiel Liepler was a very chayus’dike Chossid. He would get so excited about davening that he would spend all day with it! There were even times that he would daven Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv one after another — there was no time to take a break between them! (Even longer than we would daven on Yom Kippur!)

One thing we can learn from this is how we as Chassidim need to be so excited about the shlichus that the Rebbe wants from each of us. We should be so “into it” that there shouldn’t be any time for anything else to get in the way!



Shiur #116 - Mitzvas Asei #93, #114

We learn one last mitzvah about a Nazir:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #93) When a person finishes his time of being a Nazir, he has to shave off his hair and bring korbanos.

The Rambam learns this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Naso: בְּיוֹם מְלֹאת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ

We also learn one mitzvah from the next set of halachos:

2) (Mitzvas Asei #114) If a person promises to give Hashem as much money as a certain person is worth, he needs to follow what it says in the Torah about how much money to give.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bechukosai: אִישׁ כִּי יַפְלִא נֶדֶר בְּעֶרְכְּךָ נְפָשֹׁת וגו׳



Hilchos Nezirus - Erchin V'Charamin

In Rambam, we finish learning about the Nazir:

Perek Tes: At the end of a person’s Nezirus, he has to bring certain korbanos. The money he uses to pay for them, and the animals that he brings, get a special kedusha! So if he paid too much money in the Beis Hamikdash for his korbanos, the money has kedusha and he can’t just get change back!

Perek Yud: This is the last perek about the halachos of a Nazir. We learn that there are three times a Nazir needs to shave his hair:

1) At the end of his NezirusTiglachas Tahara
2) If he became tomei in the middle, he shaves all of his hair when he becomes tahorTiglachas Tumah
3) When a person becomes tamei from Tzoraas

The Rambam tells us what happens if he has all three, or if he might have them — how does he need to shave his hair?

At the end of this perek, the Rambam tells us that a person who becomes a Nazir for the right reason is very special to Hashem!

We now start a new set of Halachos — Hilchos Erkin VaCharamin — when a person promises to make a donation to Hashem (to help pay for keeping the Beis Hamikdash running). We learn how to find out how much a person is worth, or a field, or other kinds of things. This is also a kind of Neder (promise) — which is what this Sefer of Rambam (Hafla’ah) is all about! This is a kind of promise called Nidrei Hekdesh.

Perek Alef: The Rambam discusses the kinds of people who can make a neder to give a donation to Hashem, to be used in the Beis Hamikdash. Goyim are allowed to give certain donations.

There is also another kind of neder where we figure out how much someone is worth depending on how much people would pay for him as a slave.



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Ches

In Perek Ches we learn a lot of halachos of when a person can or can’t change his mind after buying something.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is a very special Chassidishe Yom Tov! In the year Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches on Shemini Atzeres the Rebbe became very weak from an illness in the heart. Still the Rebbe did everything on Yom Tov just like he always did. (Doctors later said that they couldn’t believe how the Rebbe continued doing everything even with such pain!) For a few weeks the Rebbe had to rest in his room and chassidim were very worried that the Rebbe should be healthy.

On Rosh Chodesh Kislev, for the first time the Rebbe came out of his Yechidus room where he was resting and went home. Chassidim were so excited to see the Rebbe, that they made a special niggun and made the day into a Yom Tov! It is a day that we farbreng and think of how we can strengthen our hiskashrus to the Rebbe.


One of the things that doctors do sometimes is taking a blood test. They can use a little bit of blood to check what is happening inside of the person. They get the blood by putting a thin needle inside the person, and pulling out some blood using an empty tube.

The Rebbe wanted to teach a lesson in Avodas Hashem, so he asked one of his doctors about this. “What makes the blood come out: The poke of the needle, or the empty tube?”

The doctor answered that the poke of the needle makes the place for the blood to come out, but the empty tube is what pulls out the blood.

The Rebbe said, sometimes a Yid feels like he is empty inside, and not doing what he needs to do as a Yid. It is important to know that this is a special opportunity! When someone is empty, he can bring much more kedusha into himself!


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Kabolas Shabbos

In Maariv of Shabbos there are two parts: Kabolas Shabbos and Maariv.

In Kabolas Shabbos, we welcome Shabbos. This is how we do it:

First, we say six kapitelach of Tehillim, matching up to the six days of the week that just passed.

Then we say the paragraph of Ana B’Koach, which brings us up to a higher level in Ruchnius, since we are now going into Shabbos. Afterwards, we say three pieces in honor of Shabbos:

1) Lecha Dodi

2) Two kapitelach of Tehillim that speak about Shabbos

3) A piece of the Zohar, which speaks about the Ruchnius’dike inyan of Shabbos, what happens in Shomayim on Shabbos and down here as well.

With these Tefillos we are Mekabel Shabbos.



Bentching Licht with Shabbos Clothes

It is a very good minhag of women to put on their Shabbos clothes before bentching licht. It shows kavod for the Shabbos licht and for Shabbos itself, which starts right after lighting our candles!

But if someone is running late, it is better to bentch licht wearing weekday clothes, than to bentch licht very close to Shkiyah, which might chas veshalom possibly end up as Chillul Shabbos.

See Kitzur Dinei Uminhagei Neiros Shabbos Kodesh VeYom Tov by Rabbi N. Dubov, p. 11

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



What Did I Do?

Every day, in Shemoneh Esrei, we say “Es Tzemach Dovid Avdecha Meheira Satzmiach,” asking Hashem that Moshiach should come and save the Yidden. We also say, “Vesechezena Eineinu,” asking Hashem to bring us back to Yerushalayim.

If we think about what we are saying, we will realize how much we want Moshiach. We will ask ourselves, “What did I do today to make this happen? What did I do today to bring Moshiach?”

See Likutei Sichos 20 p. 384, Migolah L’Geulah p. 158

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