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Parshas Toldos - Chamishi with Rashi

Avimelech came to Be’er Sheva to make peace with Yitzchak, since they had sent him away earlier and were afraid they would be punished.

Yitzchak & Avimelech make peace: Yitzchak agreed with Avimelech, Pichol, and his friends that they should make peace. He made a meal, and they ate and drank together. In the morning, they made a promise not to hurt each other, and Yitzchak sent them home.

On that day, Yitzchak’s servants came and told him that they had finally found water in the well they dug! He called the well Shiva, from the word Shevuah, promise (because of the promise they just made with Avimelech and his friends). That made them decide again that Be’er Sheva (“the well of the promise”) was a very good name for the place, so that’s the name it stayed.

Eisav’s wicked wives: When Eisav turned 40, he remembered that his father Yitzchak got married at 40 years old, and he decided to act like his father and get married too. He married two women: Oholivama and Ada, but he called them Yehudis and Basmas, to make Yitzchak think he was a tzadik.

(Yehudis means someone who knows — knowing that Avodah Zara is wrong, and Basmas means “spice woman” — she got that nickname because she burned spices for Avodah Zara, but Eisav said it was because she did nice things that people liked as much as sweet spices.)

These wives made Yitzchak and Rivkah sad because they had the chutzpah to do Avodah Zara in front of them.

23 years after Eisav got married, Yitzchak had gotten old. The smoke from Eisav’s wives’ Avodah Zarah spices made him not able to see as well, plus he couldn’t see as well from the tears of the malochim that cried by the Akeida. Hashem did this so he would end up giving the bracha to Yaakov.

Yitzchak wants to give his children a bracha: Yitzchak knew that Hashem promised that he would live a long life. Still, when he was 123, he thought that this might be what Hashem calls a long life, and he decided to make sure now to give his children a bracha before he passed away.

Even though Yitzchak saw that Eisav did a lot of bad things, he hoped that if he got a bracha, he would use all of his koach to serve Hashem. So Yitzchak called for Eisav, and told him that he was getting old. To give a proper bracha, he needed to see Eisav show he deserves a bracha. So he asked Eisav to sharpen his knife and catch and shecht an animal for Yitzchak to eat.

Yaakov gets Eisav’s bracha: Rivkah heard Yitzchak telling this to Eisav. When Eisav left to trap an animal (or steal one, if he couldn’t trap one), Rivkah told Yaakov what Yitzchak had said. She told Yaakov to go take two goats from Yitzchak’s flocks, since that’s how much Yitzchak gave her to use every day. Today she would use one goat for the Korban Pesach (since it was Erev Pesach) and cook the second one to give to Yitzchak, so he would bless Yaakov and not Eisav.

Yaakov was worried, and told his mother — “I am not hairy like Eisav, and if my father touches me he will know I am not Eisav! He will then know I am tricking him and might curse me instead of giving me a bracha!”

Rivkah told him not to worry, and just to listen. So he did, and Rivkah cooked the meat, and made bread. Then she took Eisav’s special hunting outfit and put it on Yaakov. (It used to belong to Nimrod, but Eisav killed Nimrod and stole the clothes. Eisav didn’t trust his wives not to steal from him, so he kept the outfit in Rivkah’s house.) She put hairy goat skin on his arms, and smooth goat skin on his neck.

Yaakov took the food and went in to Yitzchak. He said, “Tatty!” and Yitzchak said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Yaakov answered “It’s me! Eisav is your oldest.” (In Hebrew that sounds just like “It’s me, Eisav, your oldest.”) Yaakov said it like this because he didn’t want to lie.

“I did what you told me,” Yaakov said. Since he ALWAYS did what his father told him to do, that also wasn’t a lie. But Yitzchak still thought it was Eisav, who was telling him he went hunting like his father told him. “Please come eat, so you can give me the brachos!”

Yitzchak was surprised that Eisav came back so fast, but Yaakov said “Hashem helped me find the animal quickly!” That made Yitzchak very suspicious! That didn’t sound like how Eisav talks! He told Yaakov to come close so he could feel him and make sure he was Eisav. When Yitzchak touched Yaakov’s arm, it felt hairy from the goat skin! He said “Hakol Kol Yaakov — the way you talk is like Yaakov, Vehayadayim Yedei Eisav — but you feel like Eisav!”

Since it seemed like it was Eisav, Yitzchak got ready to give him a bracha. “You really are Eisav?” he asked. “Ani,” Yaakov answered, “me.” (Again he didn’t want to lie.)

“Please serve me the food, so I can give you the brachos.” Yaakov did what his father asked, and brought him the food and wine to drink.

Then Yitzchak asked his son to kiss him. Yaakov came close and kissed him, and a neis happened that the goat skins (which usually smell yucky) smelled like Gan Eden! He said, “since you smell like Gan Eden, which Hashem gave brachos to, it shows that YOU deserve to get brachos too.”




Today we finish the whole Tehillim! The last kapitelach are the “Hallelukahs” that we say in davening. In the kapitel which has the pesukim we say in Ashrei, there is a posuk that says, “Bechol Yom Avarcheka, Va’ahallela Shimcha LeOlam Va’ed” — “I will bless You every day and I will praise Your name forever.”

The Tzemach Tzedek (in Yehal Ohr, where he explains Tehillim) says that this is talking about bitachon. A Yid needs to have bitachon every day, that Hashem will give him whatever he needs for that day.

Beis Hillel would say that if you find a special food during the week, you don’t need to save it for Shabbos! He had bitachon that for sure Hashem would send something just as nice or nicer before Shabbos. We learn from Beis Hillel how our bitachon needs to be strong every day.

But Hashem doesn’t give Yidden things for free! We get what we deserve based on how we behave. That is what the posuk is is saying: “Bechol Yom Avarcheka” — when we bentch Hashem and have a new chayus every day to use all of the opportunities He gives us, then Hashem will also bentch US, with all of the things we need to do our Avodas Hashem properly for that day, and bring the world much closer to Moshiach!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Gimmel

In the first section of Tanya, we learned that the kavana that we have when we daven and learn goes into the words we say, and changes what happens to them. Depending on our kavana, the words can stay down here in the world, go up a little bit, or go up very high!

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe tells us that there is a difference between words of Torah without the right kavana, and words of Tefillah without the right kavana. The Alter Rebbe explains what happens to each of them, and why there is a difference.

One of the things the Alter Rebbe brings to help understand the differences is about the Torah and Tefillah of kids! The words of davening and learning of children is very special. Even when they don’t have the right kavanos, and are only learning because they don’t want to get in trouble, their words go up very high! Malochim take their words and bring them up all the way to the Olam of Atzilus, the highest of the Olamos, where the Torah and Tefillah of the greatest tzadikim go!



Lamed Cheshvan

Today there is no Hayom Yom! That’s because the year the Hayom Yom was written for (Tof-Shin-Daled) only had 29 days in Cheshvan.

In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, every month could be either 29 (chaser) or 30 (malei) days — depending on when we saw the new moon! But without a Sanhedrin, we can’t pasken when the new month should start. So Hillel Hanasi, from the Sanhedrin, set up a calendar pattern that will work until Moshiach comes.

In Hillel’s calendar, the months follow a pattern: Nissan has 30 days, Iyar has 29. Sivan has 30 days, Tammuz has 29. But there is an exception — Cheshvan and Kislev can sometimes be 29, and sometimes 30! There is another pattern of 19 years that tells us when they are long or short, and which years are leap years.



Shiur #115 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #205, #206, #208, #207

Today we learn more mitzvos about what a Nazir is not allowed to eat:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #205) A Nazir may not eat grape seeds.

We learn this from a mitzvah in Parshas Naso: מֵחַרְצַנִּים וְעַד זָג לֹא יֹאכֵל

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #206) A Nazir isn’t allowed to eat grape peels.

We learn this mitzvah from the same posuk in Parshas Naso: וְעַד זָג לֹא יֹאכֵל

We also learn 2 mitzvos about what a Nazir is not allowed to do:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #208) He is not allowed to become tamei. He can’t go on purpose into the same house as a person who passed away (Tumas Ohel).

This mitzvah is learned from another posuk in Parshas Naso: עַל נֶפֶשׁ מֵת לֹא יָבֹא

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #207) He is not allowed to make himself tamei from a person who passed away (Tumas Meis).

We learn this mitzvah from the next posuk in Parshas Naso: לְאָבִיו וּלְאִמּוֹ וגו׳ לֹא יִטַּמָּא



Hilchos Nezirus

In Rambam, we learn more halachos about what happens if a Nazir does something that is asur, and how his being a Nazir ends.

Perek Vov: If a Nazir does certain things he wasn’t supposed to, he messed up his time of Nezirus and needs to start again!

For example, If he drinks wine, he did something wrong, but he still stays a Nazir. If he cuts some of his hair, his Nezirus goes on “pause” for 30 days, and then he can count from where he left off. But if he becomes Tamei from Tumas Meis, he needs to shave his hair and bring the korbanos, and then start being a Nazir again from the beginning.

Perek Zayin: There are some times when a Nazir SHOULD do things that a Nazir usually is not allowed to do. Like if he got Tzoraas while he was a Nazir, he has a MITZVAH to cut his hair!

Perek Ches: We learn about the things the Nazir does to finish off his time of being a Nazir, like shaving his hair and bringing certain korbanos.



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Zayin

In this perek we learn that if a person pays for something but didn’t finish buying it with the details that the Torah says, he doesn’t need to take it in the end, but its not a Yiddishe way of acting. Beis Din says about him that Hashem Who punished goyim that acted not nice should also punish him for acting like them. (This is called getting a “Mi Shepara.”)




One Simchas Torah, the Rebbe farbrenged very strongly about how important Shlichus is, and that every Yid needs to be part of it.

The Rebbe said then two very special things:

1) The gematria of “Shliach” is almost the same as Moshiach, it is just 10 less. It teaches us that if a shliach uses all 10 kochos of his neshama (like we learned about in Tanya) to make his shlichus better, then he is bringing Moshiach!

2) The Rebbe used a posuk where Hashem says to test Him with tzedakah (“Bechonuni Na Bezos”), and you’ll see that Hashem will reward you. With shlichus too, the Rebbe said “Bechanuni Na Bezos,” every Yid who does shlichus work will be able to see clearly that he will get special brachos from Hashem!

See sicha Simchas Torah 5746


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Borchi Nafshi

One of the pieces we add to davening on Rosh Chodesh is Borchi Nafshi. This kapitel of Tehillim speaks about the amazing wonders of Hashem in the world He created!

One of the pesukim in Borchi Nafshi starts with the words “Asa Yareiach Lamoadim” — “Hashem created the moon for Yomim Tovim.”

This posuk is all about Rosh Chodesh! Hashem created the moon so that we would be able to know when the Yomim Tovim are, by fixing the time for Rosh Chodesh. When we know the day the new month starts, we know which day to celebrate each of the Yomim Tovim!

This is one of the reasons why we say Borchi Nafshi on Rosh Chodesh.



Learning Your Kapitel on Rosh Chodesh

There is a very old Minhag to learn one posuk from our Kapitel Tehillim every Rosh Chodesh. We learn the posuk with Rashi (and other Meforshim too, if we want!) We learn the pesukim in order, and try to finish learning the whole Kapitel by the end of the year.

If there are exactly 12 pesukim in your kapitel, then it’s easy to know how much to learn: If you learn one posuk each month, you will finish exactly at the end of the year! But if there are more than 12 pesukim, you should learn a few at a time to be able to finish, and if there are less than 12 pesukim, learn the same posuk again another month.

(You can find Tehillim in English, with Rashi, online on!)

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



Getting Ready for Moshiach

In the halachos about a Jewish king, the Rambam describes how we know that a person could be Moshiach.

This person has to come from the family of Dovid Hamelech, and be someone who:

1) Hogeh BaTorah Ve’osek Bamitzvos — Someone who is always learning Torah and is busy with mitzvos

2) Yakof Kol Yisrael — He convinces Yidden to follow the way of Torah and make Yiddishkeit stronger

3) Veyilchom Milchemes Hashem — He fights the wars of Hashem and makes the world around him ready to serve Hashem

The Rebbe teaches us that we should use these things as a lesson of how EVERY YID needs to get ready for Moshiach!

1) We should work on making ourselves better (“Avodah Im Atzmo”) — we should learn more Torah and do more mitzvos!

2) We should help other Yidden to do more mitzvos (“Avodah Im Hazulas)

3) We should also help convince the ENTIRE world to keep the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach!

See sicha of 13 Nisan 5745, Migola Ligeulah p. 308

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