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Parshas Mikeitz - Rishon with Rashi

Yosef was put in jail because of what happened with Potifar’s wife. After explaining the dreams of the butler and the baker in jail, Yosef asked the butler (who is in charge of the king’s drinks) to remember him so he might be set free, but he forgot, and Yosef stayed in jail for two more years.

At the end of the two years, Paraoh, the king of Mitzrayim, had a dream: He was standing by the Nilus (the big river in Mitzrayim) and saw seven healthy-looking cows come out of the river and start to eat grass nearby. Then seven very skinny cows came out of the river, and stood next to the healthy cows. The skinny cows ate up the healthy cows! Then Paraoh woke up.

He fell back asleep and had another dream: He saw a stalk of wheat with seven healthy ears of grain growing on it. Then seven dried-up ears of grain grew. The dried-up grain ate the healthy ones!

Paraoh woke up and realized that this kind of dream means something, and he needed to ask someone what it means.

All of Paraoh’s magicians and advisors tried to tell Paraoh what it means. At first they thought the dream must be talking about years with lots of food and years with no food, but you can’t have both at the same time, and the cows and grain were next to each other in the dream! So they told Paraoh things like “you will have 7 healthy daughters, and 7 other ones will pass away.” But Paraoh knew that couldn’t be true, because he is the king, and his dreams have to be important for the whole Mitzrayim.

The butler then said to Paraoh, “I did something wrong many years ago, along with the baker, and we were thrown into Potifar’s jail. When we were in jail, we both had dreams, and someone in jail explained what our dreams meant. And things happened exactly like he said they would!”

The butler didn’t want Paraoh to give Yosef an important job, so he said, “The person who explained our dreams isn’t a good person to be an officer for Paraoh — he is pretty young, he’s an Ivri who doesn’t speak Egyptian perfectly, and he is a slave of Potifar, the chief butcher.”

Paraoh sent someone to quickly go get Yosef! They cut his hair, gave him regular clothes, and brought him to Paraoh.



120 - 134

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Kuf-Chof to Kuf-Lamed-Daled.

In Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech gives us words to tell Hashem how we feel. It is like davening, where the Anshei Kneses Hagedolah gave us words to help us daven to Hashem.

Kapitel Kuf-Chof Dovid Hamelech speaks to Hashem on behalf of every Yid. In the end of the kapitel, he talks about the Golus that Yidden have among the nations. He says, “Ani Shalom, Vechi Adaber, Heima Lamilchama!” “I want shalom, but when I speak about that, it just makes the Goyim want to make Milchama, war!”

This also has a Ruchniyus meaning: Our neshama doesn’t want to be tested by Hashem, to see if it will look for taavos instead of doing what Hashem wants. It just wants to think about Torah and mitzvos! That’s why there is a halacha that we aren’t allowed to go in a place where there is something not tznius, or a road where there is Avodah Zarah. We don’t want to go looking for a war with the Yetzer Hara! That’s what it means, “Ani Shalom” — “I want peace.”

But Hashem makes the Yetzer Hara, and all of the not-good things in the world, to come bother us anyway, like in a real war! That’s what the posuk is saying — “Heima Lamilchama,” “they want war.”

Dovid Hamelech starts this kapitel with the word “Shir,” meaning a song. A person only sings when they are happy! Even though the Yetzer Hara is bothering us, Dovid Hamelech is still happy, because he knows Hashem is only testing us. When the neshama shows that it is strong and won’t let itself be convinced by the Yetzer Hara and the taavos of the world, the deepest kochos of the neshama will come out.

That gives a Yid a WONDERFUL reason to be happy and sing to Hashem!

See rally to Tzivos Hashem, Chanukah 5747



Likutei Amarim Perek Daled

In today’s Tanya, we learn that the “Levushim” ("clothes") of the neshama connect all of the other parts of the neshama to Hashem!

We learned that before the neshama comes into the body it needs to make a promise that it will be a tzadik and it won’t be a rasha. We know that it isn’t easy to keep this promise that we all made, because the first nefesh that comes into our body, the Nefesh Habehamis, is only interested in Gashmius and things it enjoys.

But Hashem also gives each person a neshama which will help us keep our promise. Even though the neshama is hidden, Hashem gives the neshama ways to come out of hiding in the body. First we learned that we can do this through connecting to a tzadik whose neshama doesn’t hide as much (hiskashrus). Then the Alter Rebbe taught us that by learning about the greatness of Hashem with the Chochma, Bina, and Daas of the Neshama (Sechel), it wakes up the feelings of the neshama (Midos) to want to be close to Hashem. We do this by learning Chassidus and davening B’Avodah.

Now in Perek Daled, the Alter Rebbe tells us about something that is even MORE powerful! Waking up the neshama’s feelings helps us WANT to be close to Hashem, but there is a way to ACTUALLY be close to Hashem! This is through Torah and mitzvos, which are called the Levushim of the neshama.

What are the Levushim of the neshama?

1) MaasehDoing all the mitzvos of the Torah that we are able to

2) DiburLearning with our speech all 613 mitzvos and their halachos (like we do in Sefer Hamitzvos and Rambam!)

3) MachshavahThinking as much Torah as we can, in all of the different parts of Torah

The Alter Rebbe tells us that the neshama has 613 parts. By doing the 613 mitzvos in Machshava, Dibur and Maaseh the best we can, we connect these 613 parts to Hashem!

The Levushim also help us connect the neshama-kochos of Sechel and Midos with Hashem!

Thinking Torah in Machshavah connects our Chochma, Bina and Daas (the Sechel of our neshama) to Hashem.

And when we do mitzvos in Dibur and Maaseh, we connect our Midos, the feelings we woke up of wanting to be close to Hashem, with actually being close to Hashem!

That’s how learning Torah and doing mitzvos connects every part of the neshama to Hashem!



Chof-Zayin Kislev

In today’s Hayom Yom, we will learn about the Alter Rebbe’s second arrest and Geulah.

We just celebrated Yud-Tes Kislev, when the Alter Rebbe was freed from prison.

A little less than two years later, people again told the government lies, and they took the Alter Rebbe to prison.

This time, the Alter Rebbe was held in a room in a government building, not in a jail cell. This building was called “Tainy Soviet.”

But the lies that were told were much worse! Instead of telling the government that the Alter Rebbe was a dangerous person to them, they said that CHASSIDUS was dangerous! They wanted the government to make learning Chassidus against the law!

Today, the 3rd licht of Chanukah, the Alter Rebbe came out of jail for the second time, in 5561!

(Besides for the great simcha it brought to the Alter Rebbe and to Chassidim when this happened, it made Chassidus much stronger than ever before!)



Shiur #157 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #94, #95, #96, #97, Asei #86

Today we learn five mitzvos that have to do with a mum on animals, which we are not allowed to bring as a korban on the Mizbeiach.

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #94) We are not allowed to burn parts of an animal with a mum on the Mizbeiach. (Yesterday we learned separate mitzvos for not setting it aside as a korban, not shechting it, and not sprinkling the blood of an animal with a mum. Today we learn a fourth mitzvah.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְאִשֶּׁה לֹא תִתְּנוּ מֵהֶם

The halachos about an animal with a mum are explained in Perek Vov of Mesechta Bechoros. The details about not bringing these animals on the mizbeiach are in different parts of Mesechta Zevachim and Temurah.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #95) Even if an animal has a mum that will go away (called “Mum Oveir”), we can’t bring it as a Korban until it is all better.

This mitzvah is in a posuk in Parshas Shoftim: לֹא תִזְבַּח לַה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ שׁוֹר וָשֶׂה אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #96) If a goy wants to be closer to Hashem, he can bring a korban. If the animal he brings has a mum, though, we are not allowed to accept it as a korban. We shouldn’t say that since he is not Jewish we can bring it even with a mum.

We learn this mitzvah from another posuk in Parshas Emor: וּמִיַּד בֶּן נֵכָר לֹא תַקְרִיבוּ אֶת לֶחֶם אֱלֹקֵיכֶם מִכָּל אֵלֶּה

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #97) If we have an animal that we decided will be a korban, we need to be very careful not to make a mum on it, because then we can’t bring it as a korban.

This mitzvah is also learned from a posuk in Parshas Emor: כָּל מוּם לֹא יִהְיֶה בּוֹ

The halachos about these last three mitzvos are also explained in Perek Vov of Mesechta Bechoros.

5) (Mitzvas Asei #86) If an animal that was supposed to be a korban DOES get a mum, what do we do? It is holy, so we can’t use it for just anything, but we can’t bring it as a korban anymore! So we can switch it for a different animal without a mum, and then the kedusha can switch from the first animal to the second animal. Then we can shecht the first animal if we want. This is the mitzvah of Pidyon Kodshim.

This mitzvah is learned from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: רַק בְּכָל אַוַּת נַפְשְׁךָ תִּזְבַּח וְאָכַלְתָּ בָשָׂר כְּבִרְכַּת ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ

The halachos about this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Bechoros and Temurah, and also in some places in Mesechta Chullin, Erchin, and Me’ilah.



Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach

In today's Rambam, we explain more of the mitzvos we are learning now:

Perek Beis: We learn more about different kinds of mumim in an animal. We also learn about some kinds of mumim that could go away, and the animal would be kosher for a korban afterwards!

Perek Gimmel: We learn from the pesukim in Torah about which animals are good for korbanos. Here are two examples: It has to be at least eight days old, and it can’t be an animal that is half of one kind and half of the other (kilayim)! (Like a half sheep, half goat)

Perek Daled: There are some kinds of animals that even if they have no mum, we shouldn’t bring as a korban. For example, an animal that was used for Avodah Zarah is asur to bring for a korban.



Hilchos Shevisas Yom Tov - Perek Ches

We learn about specific melachos that are asur or mutar on Chol Hamoed. We also learn about not doing melacha on Erev Yom Tov in the afternoon (just like on Erev Shabbos). This is even more strict on Erev Pesach, which is a time that korbanos were brought in the Beis Hamikdash.

Mazel Tov! We have now finished learning this set of halachos. Tomorrow we will start learning Hilchos Chometz U’Matzah.



Lighting a Yid's Menorah

After we light the menorah, we should listen to the things it teaches us. One very important thing our Menorah teaches us is about the shlichus each of us have to bring another Yid closer to Yiddishkeit.

When we look at the menorah after we light it, we will see the flames dancing happily. Really, inside of each of us we also have a flame! The Torah tells us that “Ner Hashem Nishmas Adam” — our neshama is like a flame of Hashem!

Our neshama-flame shines like our menorah when we keep it bright with Ner Mitzvah VeTorah Ohr — with the light of Torah and mitzvos.

But it’s not enough to just have our own flame shining bright. It is part of our shlichus to make sure that ANOTHER Yid’s neshama can also shine! When we bring another Yid closer to Yiddishkeit, and help him do another mitzvah, we are helping his neshama-flame to burn brightly like the candles in our menorah.

But, the Rebbe teaches us, that’s not the hardest part.

If you have your own menorah, or watched your Tatty set up his, you know that it is not so hard to actually LIGHT the Menorah. The harder part is to set it up, putting it in the right place, and filling it with the wicks and the oil and the shamosh, so it will be ready to light on Chanukah.

Before we help another Yid light up his neshama-flame, we also first have to do a harder job — to help make sure his “menorah” is ready to light.

How do we do that?

We need to go out and find the Yid. Maybe he lives on our block, or works in our school, or is even a relative. We need to go up to him and wish him a “Good morning!” or a “Good Shabbos!” or a “Happy Chanukah!” We can give him a smile, or a piece of chocolate Chanukah gelt!

Then, once made the connection, his “menorah” will be ready to light. He will start to think about his own Yiddishkeit! We can help him do a mitzvah, teach him some Torah, or he can even start doing a mitzvah on his own. This way, his neshama-flame will burn strong and bright, and light up the world!

See sicha of Parshas Mikeitz, Zos Chanukah 5747, Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Hey, p. 433


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Yogaati

A bochur once wrote the Rebbe a letter for his birthday, asking for a bracha.

The Rebbe first gave him a bracha for his birthday that he should grow as a Yerei Shomayim, a chossid, and a lamdan, and that he should bring much nachas to his teachers and his parents!.

Then the Rebbe added that the bochur should remember the words of the Chachomim, “Yogaati Umotzosi Taamin.” To become a chossid, yerei Shomayim, and lamdan, he will need to put in yegiyah — to work hard!

Of course that doesn’t mean to skip eating and sleeping, it is important for him to take care of his health!

But he does need to work on himself, to learn properly and with his full kochos, and that he should work on himself to act the way the Torah teaches. Then he can be sure that Hashem will help him — Umotzosi!

See Igros Kodesh, letter #1816



Women and Melacha on Chanukah

Women have a special minhag on Chanukah, because of one woman, Yehudis, who helped save the Yidden. During the time when the menorah needs to burn according to halacha (for a half hour after Tzeis Hakochavim), women don’t do melacha (like laundry or sewing)! Cooking and cleaning is not counted as melacha for this.

This way, they will focus on the neiros, which tell us the story of Chanukah, and not to get busy with other things.

It is our minhag (as we saw in Hayom Yom) that men also sit near the menorah during this time, to hear the message of the neiros.

See Shevach Hamoadim and Piskei Teshuvos

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



Moshiach Right Now!

In the end of today’s Chumash, Yosef Hatzadik was taken out of jail and brought to Paraoh. The posuk says “Vayeritzuhu,” that they RUSHED him out of the prison to bring him to Paraoh!

The Sforno points out that we see how the yeshuah of Hashem comes RIGHT AWAY! Yosef had been sitting in jail for years already, but the moment that the time came for him to go, he was quickly taken out!

We also see this with the Geulah from Mitzrayim. When the time came for the Yidden to leave, they were rushed away so quickly they didn’t have time to bake bread!

The Navi Malachi tells us that this will also happen when Moshiach comes! When it comes the time of the Geulah, Moshiach will come suddenly (Pisom), and take us out of Golus RIGHT AWAY!

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