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Parshas Vezos Habracha - Chamishi with Rashi

In Revi’i of Parshas Bereishis we learned the sad story of Kayin and Hevel. We also learned about Kayin’s children and grandchildren, until Lemech was born, the sixth generation from Kayin. Today the Torah tells us more about Lemech and his children, who were the seventh generation, and in tomorrow’s Chumash we will see the end of the story with Kayin.

By now, the people living in the world were not acting the way Hashem wanted.

In those days, the men would marry two women. One of them was to have children, and the other one was just to have a pretty wife. They were afraid that if she had children, she wouldn’t look as beautiful anymore! Lemech also married two women — one of them to have children (Adah), and the other one (Tzilah) to be beautiful.

Adah had two boys — Yaval and Yuval.

Yaval invented a new way of being a shepherd. He would bring his sheep around to wherever he could find good grass for the sheep to eat, and set up a tent there to live. When that grass was finished, he would take his tent and his sheep and move to another place. He also built places for Avodah Zarah.

Yuval invented playing musical instruments. He also played these instruments for Avodah Zarah.

Even though Lemech didn’t want Tzilah to have any children, she had children too. She had a son, Tuval-Kayin, who made tools and weapons like Kayin did. She also had a daughter, Naamah, who later became Noach’s wife.



113 - 118

The kapitelach in today’s Tehillim are the kapitelach that we say in Hallel! We have been saying Hallel every day of Sukkos and Simchas Torah, and now we get to say it for one more day!

The day after Yom Tov is called Isru Chag. The word “isru” means tied, connected. It is a day that connects the regular weekdays with the Yom Tov that just ended.

On Isru Chag, we bring some of the joy of Yom Tov into a regular day. We eat nicer food than usual to show that it is special, and we don’t fast.

The Gemara says that someone who eats and drinks more on the day after Yom Tov, connecting it to the Yom Tov, it is like he built a Mizbeiach and brought a korban!

We hint to this in a posuk of today’s Tehillim: “Isru Chag Ba’avosim Ad Karnos Hamizbeiach.” If you eat “avosim” (fatty food) on Isru Chag, it is like you brought a korban to the corners of the Mizbeiach.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Chof-Tes se’if yud-zayin



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Daled

Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us about not talking during davening:

Imagine that you are waiting for a long time to see someone special. Finally, he tells you that he will be coming to your house tomorrow! You will be so excited — you were waiting for so long!

Imagine that your special guest comes — but you don’t even go to talk to him. You decide that you need to go shopping, or you need to go play kugelach with your friend.

Wouldn’t that be a crazy way to act? You were waiting for so long, and now that your guest comes, you just waste your time and forget about how excited you were?! You should be spending time with him, not doing anything else — especially things that aren’t even important!

Hashem is like a king who is very special, and who we aren’t allowed to see all the time. We ask Hashem for Moshiach now, when we will see Him ALL the time! But even nowadays, we are very lucky that Hashem comes to “visit” us every day when we daven! When we pay attention to the words of davening, we can feel that Hashem is there with us!

If we waste that time and talk about other things, we are being foolish ourselves, and it is embarrassing for Hashem. He wants us to be happy with the time we spend with Him, and not to be busy with other things at the same time!

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe makes a Takana that NOBODY should speak at all during davening in Shul — from the very beginning until the end of the last Kaddish! If someone does speak (and it wasn’t by mistake or because they didn’t know) they need to ask Hashem to forgive them, in front of three people, for not acting the way they should!

When we are careful not to talk during davening, Hashem will give us lots of brachos!



Chof-Daled Tishrei

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us a little bit about a farbrengen.

First of all, a farbrengen is very important in the life of a Chossid! By being part of a farbrengen, it will bring us to have more Ahavas Yisroel.

How do farbrengens work? The Rebbe tells us how they should be set up:

Someone should be in charge of leading the farbrengen. He should talk about how we can become better Yidden and better Chassidim and fix up the way we behave! We should make times to learn Chassidus and make sure to really learn in those times!

The person who is leading the farbrengen shouldn’t feel like he is better than everyone else, and that he gets to tell them what to do. He should also be talking to HIMSELF, because he also needs to become better! If he is talking about something that he doesn’t have a problem with, he should still think about how he can do better in that thing at least in some way. That way, when he talks, everyone at the farbrengen will listen to him and want to do what he says.

He needs to be very careful not to embarrass anyone when he is talking! A Chassidishe farbrengen is ALWAYS in a way of Ahavas Yisroel and being careful about other people’s feelings.



Shiur #109 - Mitzvas Asei #94

Today’s mitzvah is that if we say we are going to do something, we have to do it!

We learn this from the words of a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ תִּשְׁמֹר וְעָשִׂיתָ

This means “The words of your mouth you should guard and keep.”

So if someone says he will give tzedakah, bring a korban, or makes a shevuah or a neder, he has a mitzvah to keep his word. (That’s why we are careful to say “bli neder,” so that we will not do this aveira.)

The halachos of this mitzvah are explained in Gemara: Mesechta Shevuos, Nedarim, Menachos, and Kinim.



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the first perakim of Hilchos Nedarim!

Perek Alef: There are two different kinds of Neder. One of them is deciding that something will be asur for you. For example, if someone makes a neder not to eat bananas, bananas become asur for him. The second kind is promising to give something to Hashem, like promising to bring a korban.

There are certain words that need to be used when making a neder.

Perek Beis: There are special halachos if someone makes a Neder for another person, and then that person answers amen. A person can also make a neder with a condition — he says he will only do it IF something happens. At the end of the perek, the Rambam explains that making something hefker (saying that it doesn’t belong to anyone right now) is like a Neder, and you can’t change your mind.

Perek Gimmel: the Rambam explains what is different about a Shevuah and a Neder, and the halachos that are different for each kind.



Hilchos Beis Habechirah - Perek Ches

The Rambam explains how the Leviim and the Kohanim guarded the Beis Hamikdash, and where they stood.



VeYaakov Halach Ledarko

There is a minhag in Chabad that after Simchas Torah, there is an announcement made in shul, “Veyaakov Halach Ledarko.” This is to remind everyone to take the special kochos we get during the Yomim Tovim of Tishrei, and carry them with us all year!

We have to think about the special things we got on Yom Tov — the stories we heard, the hisorerus we felt, the hachlatos we made, the good feelings we have for our families and the Yidden we spent Yom Tov with — and make sure that we keep them during the regular weekdays too!

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No More Worries

When we daven, we wake up the love for Hashem that is hiding inside. This helps take away our worries!

Even though Hashem wants us to take care of things, like parnasa, we don’t need to WORRY about them. When we daven, we are reminding ourselves that Hashem is in charge, so there is nothing for us to worry about.

In the Beis Hamikdash there was a fire that came down from Shomayim and burned up the animal. The same thing happens when we daven! Our davening is like a korban. Our love of Hashem, which is like the fire from Hashem, burns up all of our worries, which come from the animal inside of us, our Nefesh Habehamis!

See Maamar Ushe’avtem, Likutei Torah



Mashiv Haruach U'Morid Hageshem

On Musaf of Shemini Atzeres, we started saying Mashiv Haruach U’Morid Hageshem in Shemoneh Esrei.

If you make a mistake and say Morid Hatal instead of Mashiv Haruach, you don’t have to go back in Shmoneh Esrei. That’s because even though you didn’t mention rain, at least you mentioned dew (tal) which is also a source of bracha. A person would only have to go back if he didn’t say either one.

In fact, that is one of the reasons we say Morid Hatal in the summer — so that if a person wasn’t sure they praised Hashem for rain in the winter, at least we know that they said Morid Hatal — they praised Hashem for dew (tal) which is also a source of bracha!

Mashiv Haruach PRAISES Hashem for rain, but ASKING for rain is in a different bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, in the bracha of Bareich Aleinu. We don’t actually start to ask Hashem for rain in Bareich Aleinu until Zayin Cheshvan in Eretz Yisrael, and until the end of Tekufas Tishrei in the rest of the world. (Tekufos are seasons, which go according to the solar calendar. This year we will start to say Vesein Tal Umatar on Motzei Shabbos, the 5th of December, which is the night leading into Alef Teves.)

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Kuf-Yud-Daled, se’if Vov, and Halacha Newsletter by Badatz of Crown Heights, p. 103

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



Ruach of Moshiach

At the beginning of Parshas Bereishis, the Torah tells us that the Ruach Elokim was hovering in the world when it was first created. “Veruach Elokim Merachefes Al Pnei Hamayim.”

The Medrash tells us that this Ruach Elokim means the ruach of Moshiach! Starting from the very beginning of the world, the koach of Moshiach was already there. Since the goal for the world is to reach the time of Moshiach, Hashem prepared it for us right away!

Nowadays, when we learn Parshas Bereishis, we feel even more excited. We know that we are SO close to reaching the goal that Hashem created the world for!

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