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Parshas Vayeishev - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we start learning about the story of how Yosef was sold as a slave and brought down to Mitzrayim.

So far we have learned from the beginning of Chumash Bereishis about the Creation of the world, and about the Avos — Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. Now we are ready to start learning about how Yaakov’s children went down to Mitzrayim, about the Golus in Mitzrayim, and finally coming out of Mitzrayim to get the Torah.

By now, all of the Shevatim were already born. There were the sons of Leah, the sons of Bilha and Zilpah, and Yosef and Binyamin who were the sons of Rochel. Leah’s sons felt like they were more important than the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, since Bilhah and Zilpah were maidservants.

When Yosef was 17 years old, he was a shepherd together with the other Shevatim. In some ways he acted not so mature (by making his hair look fancy), and in other ways he acted very mature, like spending time with the children of Bilha and Zilpah when they felt bad about how they were treated.

Yosef wasn’t so happy with the way Leah’s sons were acting. He told his father about the things he thought they were doing wrong, like not being so nice to Bilhah and Zilpah’s sons, and eating meat from an animal that wasn’t shechted. (They had reasons for the things they were doing, though.)

Yaakov loved Yosef more than the other Shevatim because he was born when Yaakov was old, and because he looked very much like him. Yaakov taught Yosef everything he learned from Shem and Ever, and he made him a beautiful coat to wear. The Shevatim were jealous when they saw it, and didn’t hide how they were feeling.

Yosef had a dream, that made the Shevatim even more jealous when he told them! He dreamed that they were all gathering wheat in the field, and their bundles of wheat bowed down to his. This made them hate Yosef even more, since it meant that he wanted to rule over them!

Yosef had another dream, and also told his brothers: That the sun, moon, and eleven stars (as a mashal for the Shevatim and his parents) all bowed down to him. Yosef told the story again for his father to hear, but Yaakov told him in front of his brothers that the dream didn’t make sense, because his mother had already passed away. He said this because he didn’t want them to be jealous, but really Yaakov waited and hoped that the dream would really come true.



83 - 87

Today’s kapitelach are Pey-Gimmel through Pey-Zayin.

Kapitel Pey-Hey is a kapitel said by the sons of Korach (and later put into the Tehillim by Dovid Hamelech) as a nevuah and tefillah for the long Golus that the Yidden would go through. In it, we ask Hashem that just like He took us out of Golus in the past, He should take us out of Golus again and bring us Moshiach!

In posuk Yud-Alef it says “Chesed Ve’emes Nifgashu, Tzedek Veshalom Nashaku.” “Chesed and Emes met, Tzedek and Shalom kissed.” Do you think that this is talking about a person called Chesed who met his friend Emes at the store, and a man named Tzedek who kissed his old friend Shalom?

The Medrash says that we ARE talking about people (but not with those names!). Chesed is Aharon, and Emes is Moshe.

Why is Aharon called Chesed and Moshe called Emes? Because Moshe Rabbeinu brought the Torah to the Yidden, which is Emes! And Aharon was Chesed, because he loved every Jew and brought them closer to Torah.

What happens when they meet?

It isn’t always so easy for a person to accept the truth of Torah. Like if you tell a Jewish kid that you met at the park that his chocolate bar isn’t kosher, and that it’s not good for his neshama to eat it, that’s emes! But that kid probably won’t want to listen to you so fast — he likes his chocolate bar!

But with chesed, you can show him that you have a kosher candy bar that is just as yummy. You can be his friend and show him that keeping kosher is really worth it.

That’s how chesed and emes meet — using chesed, we can help people understand the emes! That’s why Hashem asked Moshe AND Aharon to take the Yidden out of Golus. First they needed Aharon to help them be ready to learn Torah, and then Moshe Rabbeinu could give them the whole emes.



Kuntres Acharon Siman Ches

The Alter Rebbe heard that people who were rushing to get to work were being chazan, and weren’t letting people who wanted to daven slowly to be the chazan.

The Alter Rebbe was upset to hear this, and told the people that if they need to go to work, they can daven themselves and go to work on time, and the chazan will have them in mind. But since davening is so important, especially now right before Moshiach comes, the chazan needs to be someone who davens slowly so the people in the minyan can have time to have kavana during the whole davening.

Why is davening longer so much more important now? Because when we pick up little bits of Kedusha in the world, we need to bring them back to Hashem — that’s called “birurim.” We do that by davening. In the olden days, people had higher neshamos that were able to bring back the birurim very quickly, with just Shema! Nowadays, we need to work harder on our birurim, so we need longer to daven.



Yud-Zayin Kislev

Right now we’re a few days before Yud-Tes Kislev. During these days, the Rebbe tells us things about Chassidus Chabad that we need to know. Yesterday we learned how Chassidus teaches us about using Moach Shalit Al Halev. Today we learn how Chassidus helps every Yid to serve Hashem with his mind and heart.

1) Chassidus helps us to understand Elokus in our minds.

2) Chassidus helps our feelings match up to what we learned and understood in our minds.

Chassidus shows how every Yid can do this — everyone on their own level!

In today’s Tanya, we see how much it bothers the Alter Rebbe that the time of davening is not being treated properly, since this is the time that we can think about Chassidus and serve Hashem with our mind and heart.



Shiur #161 - Mitzvas Asei #89, Lo Saasei #145, #148

Today we learn 3 mitzvos about EATING korbanos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #89) It is a mitzvah for the kohanim to eat certain parts of the korbanos. Their eating it is part of the kapara for the person who brought the korban!

Part of this mitzvah is also that kohanim should eat Terumah and parts of korbanos which are called Kodshim Kalim, although eating those does not bring kapara.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tetzaveh: וְאָכְלוּ אֹתָם אֲשֶׁר כֻּפַּר בָּהֶם

The details of the mitzvah are explained in a few places in Mesechta Zevachim.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #145) It is asur to eat a Korban Chatas or a Korban Asham (called Kodshei Kodshim) outside of the Beis Hamikdash, and all other Korbanos (Kadashim Kalim) have to be eaten ONLY in Yerushalayim!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #148) Someone who is not a kohen is not allowed to eat from the korbanos that are Kodshei Kodshim.

We learn this mitzvah from the same posuk in Parshas Tetzaveh: וְזָר לֹא יֹאכַל כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הֵם



Hilchos Maaseh HaKorbanos

In today’s Rambam, we are learning about specific kinds of korbanos and how we bring them:

Perek Zayin: In this perek, we learn how to bring a Korban Chatas! There are two kinds — some are eaten, and some are just burned. The Korban Chatas that we burn is burned outside of Yerushalayim.

Perek Ches: If anything touches the blood of a Korban Chatas before the blood was sprinkled on the Mizbeiach, it needs to be washed. (This is the only kind of korban that we need to do this for!) Whatever pot we use to cook the meat of a Korban Chatas (the kind we eat) needs to be washed, or broken if it is made of clay.

Perek Tes: The Rambam teaches us the halachos about a Korban Asham and a Korban Shelamim. At the end of the perek, the Rambam also mentions the Korban Pesach!



Hilchos Temidin U'Musafin - Perek Zayin

We learn about the Rosh Chodesh and Pesach korbanos. For the Korban Omer, Erev Pesach, they would tie the barley into bundles while it was still growing, to make it easier to cut. After Yom Tov, everyone would come out to watch! Each of these questions was asked 3 times out loud to make sure everyone understood what was happening, and everyone would answer out loud together:

- Did the sun set? — YES!
- Is this a sickle? — YES!
- Is this a basket? — YES!
- If it was Shabbos: “Is it Shabbos?” — YES!
- Should I cut the barley? — CUT!

icon of clock


Lebn Mit Der Tzeit - Gashmius & Ruchnius

In today’s Chumash, we learned about two of Yosef’s dreams. One of them was about something from the earth (bundles of wheat), and the other dream was about something from Shomayim (the moon and stars). Still, both of these dreams were showing the same thing — that Yosef would rule over his brothers.

This teaches us how a Yid should live:

Both of Yosef’s dreams were saying the same thing, even though one was about Shomayim, and one was about Aretz. We also need to make sure that OUR Shomayim and OUR Aretz are saying the same thing! We need to make sure that the Aretz, which is the Gashmius in our life is saying the same thing as our Shomayim things, which is the Ruchnius in our life!

We do this by making sure that all of our Gashmius is there to be part of or help our Ruchnius.

For example, when we are playing games, eating, or going on trips, which are Gashmius things, we should remember that these things give us chayus and simcha to learn and do mitzvos happily, which is Ruchnius! This way, the Gashmius things that we do really do become part of Ruchnius! Then our Shomayim and our Aretz will both be saying the same thing, just like we learn in Yosef’s dreams.

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, parshas Vayeishev

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New Davening

Every morning, we daven Shacharis.

But every day we say the exact same words! If we’re just saying the same things, why do we need to do it every day?

Really, davening is something NEW every day!

Here is one of the reasons why:

Think about asking your mother for an extra snack for recess time. Imagine if she says, “But you had snack yesterday!”

Of course that’s silly! The snack you had yesterday won’t make you less hungry today.

Davening is the same way!

A main part of Tefillah is asking for our needs. We ask Hashem to give us the things we need to do our Avodas Hashem.

It is true we asked for things yesterday, but today we are asking for something NEW — the things we need today!

So even though the words we say every day in davening are the same, since we are davening for what we need, and we are asking for the new things we need today, our davening is really something new every single day.

See farbrengen Yud Kislev Tof-Shin-Mem



Davening for Gashmiyus

What should we be davening for? Since davening is Ruchnius, it makes sense to daven for Ruchnius things, like davening for Moshiach or that we should win over our Yetzer Hara. But is it okay to daven for small things or Gashmius things? Can we daven that we get pizza for lunch, that we should hit a home run, or that we should get a good grade on our Chidon test? Is it okay to daven that the dentist shouldn’t find a cavity in our teeth or that nobody should make fun of us?

Someone once asked the Rebbe if it is appropriate to spend a lot of time in davening, asking for all of the Gashmiyus’dike things he needs, and davening for health.

The Rebbe answered, “According to many Rishonim, if a person needs something, it is a Mitzvas Asei Min HaTorah — a mitzvah from the Torah — to daven to Hashem for it!”

So obviously, it is not only appropriate to daven for health and other things, but it is a MITZVAH to ask Hashem to help us in everything.

Whatever we need, in Gashmius or Ruchnius, is something we can and SHOULD ask Hashem for when we daven!

See Igros Kodesh chelek Yud-Tes, page 122

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



Getting Excited for Moshiach!

In today’s Chumash, Rishon of Parshas Vayeishev, we learn that when Yaakov Avinu heard Yosef’s dreams, he hoped that they would come true — “Ve’aviv Shamar Es Hadavar.”

But why was Yaakov hoping that these dreams would come true? At the time when the Shevatim would bow to Yosef, it would be in Mitzrayim, at the beginning of a long Golus! Why was Yaakov waiting for this Golus to start?

The Rebbe explains that Yaakov was already thinking about the Geulah! The first part of the Geulah is “Moshiach ben Yosef,” there has to be Malchus from the family of Yosef before we can have the final Moshiach, Moshiach ben Dovid. The Shaloh says that the Malchus of Yosef in Mitzrayim WAS the inyan of Moshiach ben Yosef. So by Yosef’s dream coming true, we were taking a very important step so that Moshiach would be able to come!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek 35 p. 161; Hamaor Shebetorah 474

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