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Parshas Vayechi - Rishon with Rashi

In last week’s parsha, we talked about how Yaakov and the Shevatim moved down to Mitzrayim. The way it is written in a Sefer Torah, this week’s parsha is different than any other parsha in the Chumash. If you look in a Tikun Korim, which shows how it looks in a Sefer Torah, you will see what the difference is. Can you find it? (Rashi gives two reasons why it is written this way!)

Yaakov Avinu lived in Mitzrayim for 17 years.

The Baal Haturim says that these 17 years were the best years of Yaakov’s life! We will see later in Hayom Yom that since Yehuda set up a Yeshiva before he came (where a Yid can learn and become close to Hashem), Yaakov could have the best years of his life even in a place like Mitzrayim.

Yaakov was 147 years old. Even though he wasn’t as old as Avraham or Yitzchak when they passed away, Yaakov was weak and realized he was going to pass away soon. He asked Yosef to come to talk to him, since Yosef was a very important person in Mitzrayim, who could help Yaakov with what he wanted.

Yaakov asked Yosef to make a shevuah (a promise on Hashem’s name) that he wouldn’t bury him in Mitzrayim. He had many reasons why he didn’t want to be buried there: He didn’t want to be buried in a place that would be full of the Makah of Kinim, he wanted to be right in Eretz Yisroel by Techiyas Hameisim, instead of needing to be rolled there when Moshiach comes, and he didn’t want the Mitzriyim to use him as an Avodah Zarah after he passes away!

Yosef promised, but at first he didn’t make a shevuah, because he didn’t think he needed to. But Yaakov knew that Paraoh might not want to let Yosef bury him in Eretz Yisroel, so he told Yosef he should make a shevuah, so he would be sure that Yosef would do what he asked. Yosef made the shevuah.

Doing a favor for someone after he passes away is called “Chesed Shel Emes,” true chesed, because he doesn’t expect to get any reward back from the person he is helping. Doing someone a favor without expecting to get paid back is the highest kind of chesed.

Yaakov bowed down to Yosef, to give him the koach to keep his shevuah. Yaakov bowed down towards the direction of the Shechinah, which was by the head of his bed since the Shechinah stays by sick people. Yaakov also bowed down to the Shechinah to thank Hashem that all of his children were tzadikim, even Yosef, who was a king of a non-Jewish land and had been trapped among goyim for so many years.

Efrayim, Yosef’s son, used to learn with his Zaidy, Yaakov. A while after Yosef’s shevuah, Efrayim saw that Yaakov was even more sick, and he told his father. Yosef took Menasheh (who was 25 years old) and Efrayim (who was 24) to get brachos before Yaakov passed away.

Efrayim told Yaakov that Yosef was here, and since Yosef was a very important person, Yaakov sat up with kavod, even though he was sick!

Yaakov told Yosef about a bracha Hashem gave him — that he would become a nation (meaning that Benyamin would be born) and a “Kehal Amim” (meaning one of the children would have TWO Shevatim). The bracha that one of Yaakov’s sons would become two Shevatim could have gone to Reuven, but because of something that he did, Yaakov said that it is going to Yosef. Menasheh and Efrayim would each become Shevatim with their own portion in Eretz Yisroel, but any later children of Yosef would not become Shevatim of their own.

Yaakov didn’t want Yosef to be upset about his mother Rochel not being buried in Me’aras Hamachpeila, and because of that he might not want to bring Yaakov there. He explained that she was buried near the road instead of in Me’aras Hamachpeila, because Hashem wanted her to be able to daven for the Yidden when they go into golus along that road.

When Yaakov was ready to give a bracha to Menasheh and Efrayim, suddenly his Ruach Hakodesh went away! He thought maybe Yosef’s children weren’t from a kosher marriage and that’s why. Yosef showed his father that he DID keep the mitzvah of getting married in a kosher way. He showed him the kesuba, so he would see that even though most people in Mitzrayim weren’t careful about this, Yosef was. The real reason why the Ruach Hakodesh left Yaakov was because in the future, there were going to be not-good kings coming from the families of both Menasheh and Efrayim. (Do you know who those kings are?)

Yosef davened that his father should get his Ruach Hakodesh back so he can give a bracha to Menasheh and Efrayim. Hashem did, and Yaakov asked Yosef to bring his sons to get a bracha.



66 - 68

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Samach-Vov, Samach-Zayin, and Samach-Ches.

In Kapitel Samach-Ches, Dovid Hamelech speaks about an amazing neis that would happen in the future.

Just two days ago, we had the fast of Asara B’Teves, remembering how Nevuchadnetzar and his army closed off Yerushalayim. But that wasn’t the only time Yerushalayim was closed off! The first time, Hashem made tremendous nisim! This shows us that if we are zoche, the siege of Yerushalayim, which we fasted for, does not have to be a sad thing — through our Teshuvah it can become a great Yom Tov.

Here’s what happened:

King Chizkiyahu was the 12th king from Malchei Yehudah. He was the son of the wicked King Achaz, but he didn’t copy his father at all! He had real Yiras Shomayim, and tried to make the Yidden into a holy nation again. He broke all of the Avodah Zara, fixed up the Beis Hamikdash, and asked all of the Yidden to come and celebrate there on the Yomim Tovim.

Once he took care of the Ruchnius of the Yidden, King Chizkiyahu also tried to take care of the Gashmius of the Yidden. He made the Yiddishe army strong, and they captured back many cities that had been taken away from Eretz Yisroel. They also scared the smaller nations that kept trying to bother the Yidden. But they still had to pay money to Ashur, the strongest country at that time, so that Ashur would leave the Yidden alone.

While the Yidden in Malchei Yehudah were doing much better now, the Yidden from Malchei Yisrael were taken away into Golus. The Yidden who lived under the Malchei Yehudah tried even harder to serve Hashem properly, realizing that this was the only thing that could keep them safe.

The Navi Yeshayahu told King Chizkiyahu that as long as the Yidden continued serving Hashem, nobody would be able to hurt them! He even told King Chizkiyahu that soon they would even be able to stop paying taxes to Ashur!

Even though that sounded impossible, King Chizkiyahu trusted in Hashem and got ready to fight with Ashur.

Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, was very strong. He captured many many countries, and mixed up all the people so it would be harder for them to join together and fight. Finally, he brought his army, with three generals, to fight against Yerushalayim. They surrounded Yerushalayim and closed it off, so that nobody could go out or come in.

One of the generals, Ravshakeh (who was a Yid that went away from Yiddishkeit) first yelled at the Yidden in Lashon Kodesh, trying to scare them so that they wouldn’t fight. He said that it didn’t make sense to trust in Hashem, because Sancheriv’s army was so strong and had captured all the other nations! He also did the opposite of blessing Hashem.

When King Chizkiyahu heard this, he tore his clothes to hear someone speaking so terribly about Hashem! He went to daven to Hashem in the Beis Hamikdash, asking Hashem to show Sancheriv that Hashem controls the world!

The Navi Yeshayahu told King Chizkiyahu not to worry. He wouldn’t even need to shoot one arrow at Sancheriv’s army! Hashem had given him a beautiful nevuah about winning over Ashur, and about the times of Moshiach!

Sure enough, that night a malach came and killed every single soldier in Sancheriv’s army.

When Sancheriv woke up in the morning and saw that he had no soldiers left, he turned around and went back to Ashur, leaving the Yidden alone.



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud

Today’s Tanya teaches us that there are many levels of a Tzadik She’aino Gamur, and we learn about the avodah of a Tzadik Gamur!

A Tzadik She’aino Gamur is a tzadik who doesn’t love Hashem completely, so he still has some Yetzer Hara left, even though it doesn’t really have a say.

There are many levels for this kind of tzadik. The Gemara says that 18,000 tzadikim come before Hashem every day!

But the Gemara tells us that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, “I saw the Bnei Aliyah, and they are very few.” The Bnei Aliyah are those who are a Tzadik Gamur, which is something very rare!

A Tzadik Gamur has the strongest love for Hashem possible, and not only does his Yetzer Hara not have a say, his Yetzer Hara is changed into kedushah!

A Tzadik Gamur also doesn’t learn Torah or do a mitzvah only because he wants to be connected to Hashem. He learns Torah and does mitzvos for Hashem’s sake, because this will make a Dira Betachtonim, it will make Hashem comfortable!

Even though this is something which is the level of a Tzadik Gamur, every Yid has a koach hidden in his neshama to serve Hashem in this way, at least a little bit. We should also try to do our mitzvos for Hashem’s sake! The Rebbe teaches us to do mitzvos with the kavana to bring Moshiach now — not just for the Ruchnius or Gashmius rewards we will get. We should do the mitzvos to bring Moshiach, to make Hashem a Dira Betachtonim!



Yud-Beis Teves

One year, the Rebbe Rashab was elected as gabbai of the Chevra Kadisha. There was a minhag in Lubavitch that the Simchas Torah after a gabbai was elected, they would make a parade and bring the new gabbai to shul under a chuppah. Here’s what happened that Simchas Torah:

The Rebbe Rashab said a maamar that starts with the words “Ein Hakadosh Baruch Hu Ba Betrunya.”

At the end of the Maamar, the Rebbe Rashab said: Even someone who is a big thinker and likes everything to make sense needs to do mitzvos not because it makes sense, but because Hashem says so. That’s because some parts of Torah might not make sense to him, and then he might end up just following whatever everyone else is doing.

In the time right before Moshiach comes, we need to do Torah and mitzvos because Hashem wants us to, and not only do things that make sense to us. Instead, we should do mitzvos with temimus and Emunah Peshuta!

Did you notice that the Hayom Yom of Hey Teves and Yud-Beis Teves — the first and last day of Didan Notzach (see Inyana D’Yoma of today) — both talk about doing mitzvos with temimus?



Shiur #171 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #131

(Mitzvas Lo Saasei #131) Yesterday, we learned that we can’t leave any part of the Korban after the time we are supposed to eat it. Today’s mitzvah is that we can’t EAT it after that time!

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



Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin

In today’s Rambam, we learn about when Korbanos might need to be brought again.

Perek Ches: If birds for Korbanos get mixed up, we need to know what to do.

Perek Tes: What if our birds for korbanos fly away, or fly to a different group of birds?

Perek Yud: What happens if someone brought birds for two kinds of korbanos, but the kohen brought them all on the Mizbeiach like one kind of korban — do they still count?



Hilchos Shofar V'Sukah V'Lulav - Perek Hey

This perek teaches us the halachos about sechach, the most important part of the sukkah. We learn what kosher sechach is, and what happens if non-kosher sechach got mixed into it!

One halacha in this perek is that you need to put on the sechach yourself. So if you see a haystack and you make a hole in it so you can crawl inside so that the sechach is already there, that’s not a kosher sukkah!



5-12 Teves

Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin (5747) was the year of the geulah of Hey Teves.

That year Chassidim celebrated with the Rebbe for a whole week, until today, Yud-Beis Teves.

Then the Rebbe said that the dancing for Hey Teves is over, and we need to get ready for Yud Shevat!

Every Chossid should get a mashpia, and for the month until Yud Shevat, they should talk to their mashpia every ten days to make sure they’re preparing properly for Yud Shevat.

See Sefer Hasichos 5747, vol. 1, p. 243


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Shema Yisroel

Shema Yisroel means “Listen, Yisroel.” This posuk comes from the Chumash.

In the Chumash, Moshe Rabbeinu is telling the Yidden to listen. “Listen Yidden! Hashem is our Aibershter, Hashem is one!”

But who are WE talking to? Who are WE telling to listen?

Chassidus teaches that we are speaking to our neshama, which is also called Yisroel.

Our neshama is stuck inside of our mind, in this Gashmius’dike body. We tell it, “Shema, Yisroel!” The word Shema also means to understand.

We are telling the neshama: “Understand, neshama! Hashem is our Aibershter!”

How can the neshama understand this? From the fact that the neshama is where it is — blown by Hashem into the body! That’s how it will understand that Hashem is our Aibershter!

And we tell our neshama more: “Understand also, that Hashem is only One — because everything in the world is one with Hashem!”

Sefer Halikutim Tzemach Tzedek os Kuf, p. 226



Netilas Yodayim

When we wash our hands before eating bread, it is very important to make sure that our entire hand is covered with water.

So besides for using a lot of water, we hold our hands pointing upwards a little bit. This helps make sure that the water can reach our fingertips, and between all of our fingers.

Seder Netilas Yodayim of the Alter Rebbe, se’if alef

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



Yes, Moshiach CAN Come!

We shouldn’t worry that Moshiach can’t come since Yidden still have so many aveiros.

Hashem loves us the way we are! Hashem will first take us out of Golus, and then take away our aveiros.

(The Metzudas Dovid explains that we see this in the posukVehu Yifdeh Es Yisroel Mikol Avonosav,” which we say in Selichos on a fast day. The aveiros will not prevent the Geulah — Hashem will also redeem us from our aveiros!)

So Moshiach can come right now, and Hashem will take us out of Golus to the Geulah just the way we are!

See Sefer Hasichos 5751, vol. 1, p. 238

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