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Parshas Vayigash - Chamishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn the names of Yaakov’s family who are going to live in Mitzrayim.

The Torah tells us the names of all of Yaakov’s children who came down to Mitzrayim. If you count everyone, you’ll find 66 people. When you also count Yosef and his two children, and Yocheved (who was born on the way into Mitzrayim) that makes 70 people. All of them believed in one Hashem, that is why they are called nefesh, a group with one soul.



49 - 54

Kapitel Mem-Tes is a lesson to everyone, especially about the “small” aveiros that people think aren’t a big deal.

One of the pesukim in this kapitel says “...Avon Akeivai Yesubeini” — “the aveiros of my heels surround me.” Dovid Hamelech is saying that a person should not only be worried that he’s not keeping the “big” mitzvos that are written in the Torah or taught by the Chachomim. He needs to think about the “small” mitzvos, which he might not be keeping as carefully.

The Rebbe teaches that when we say this posuk in Tehillim, we are referring to the Chassidishe minhagim — like saying Chitas or having Ahavas Yisroel for a Yid you never met. Even though we are careful about keeping Shabbos and davening, we might not be as careful with our “small” mitzvos. We need to make sure that we are keeping ALL of our mitzvos properly!



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes

We learn that the Nefesh Habehamis has its “home base” in the left side of the heart, while the Nefesh Elokis has its “home base” in the brain and the right side of the heart. From there, they can influence the whole body.

After talking about the two nefashos that a Yid has, their tools (Sechel and Midos), their clothes (Levushim) and what they do with them, in this perek the Alter Rebbe will speak about the war that is happening between these two nefashos in the guf of a Yid.

Even though these two nefashos are ruchnius (we can’t see them or touch them — we can’t even see them with an x-ray), they work inside of the body and make us act the way we do.

The “home” of the Nefesh Habehamis is in the LEFT side of a person’s heart, and the Nefesh Elokis has a “home” in a person’s mind and then in the RIGHT side of the heart.

(What are the two sides of the heart, the right and left side?

The heart’s job is to send chayus to every part of the body so it will be able to work! It sends blood filled with oxygen from the air we breathe, which the body uses for chayus.

The heart is hollow, with two main parts. The right side is the “empty” side, is for blood that is now empty of chayus and can’t do its job yet. Used blood is sent there from the rest of the body, to get filled up with chayus again! Then it is pumped into the second side, which spreads the blood which is now full of chayus to every part of the body.

The Nefesh Elokis is in the “empty” side that needs to get filled with oxygen, and the Nefesh Habehamis is in the “full” side.)

Here’s an example of how the Nefesh Habehamis works: A person sees or remembers something, or someone does something to them — and they get angry! That feeling of anger is from the Nefesh Habehamis, which “lives” in the heart. That feeling can then go to the mind to think about it, and then to the rest of the body. The person can make faces because of it, or say or do not nice things to show it, chas veshalom.

The Nefesh Elokis, though, has its “home” in the mind. It uses the tools of the mind — Chochma, Bina, and Daas — to think about the greateness of Hashem. From there, that thought goes to the heart, to make it feel in a certain way, like to make it feel a love for Hashem. Then it goes to the rest of the body, to make it act according to the way it feels.

IY”H in tomorrow’s shiur, the second half of this perek, we will see that these two nefashos aren’t just doing things on their own, but there is a big war going on between them! They both want to be the one to control the entire body.



Tes Teves

Our minhag in Aleinu is that we say “Sheheim Mishtachavim Lahevel Velarik” — that the goyim bow down to things that are really nothing. (Others have a minhag to say that they bow to nothing and DAVEN to Avodah Zarah that can’t help, but that’s not our minhag.) We also say Aleinu this way when we say it in the middle of Musaf on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Our minhag is to spit after we say these words, because when a person talks, it brings saliva into your mouth. We don’t want to swallow saliva that came from saying these words, so we spit it out.



Shiur #168 - Mitzvas Asei #161, Lo Saasei #140

Today we learn two mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #161) It is a mitzvah to count Sefiras Haomer. Even though the mitzvah is to count both the days and the weeks, that is a detail of the mitzvah and it is not counted as two separate mitzvos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #140) If an animal was supposed to be a korban, and then someone made it posul on purpose, or if it became posul after shechting it, we are not allowed to eat it.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: לֹא תֹאכַל כָּל תּוֹעֵבָה

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Bechoros.



Hilchos Temidin U'Musafin

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning about the Yom Tov korbanos:

Perek Tes: We learn about the korbanos of Rosh Hashana. We also learn about the order korbanos need to be brought in.

Perek Yud: In this perek we learn about the special korbanos of Yom Kippur and Sukkos. We also learn about the Nisuch Hamayim — the water that was poured on the Mizbeiach when the Korban Tomid was brought on Sukkos, along with the wine that was usually poured!

Now we start learning a new set of halachos, about what makes korbanos posul:

Perek Alef: One example of how a korban can become posul is if even a part of the animal was outside of the Azara when it was shechted.



Hilchos Shofar V'Sukah V'Lulav - Perek Beis

We learn about the mitzvah of blowing the shofar. The Rambam tells us that we don’t blow the Shofar on Shabbos, so that nobody will carry it outside on Shabbos by mistake.

Chassidus tells us that the REAL reason why we don’t blow the Shofar on Shabbos is that when Rosh Hashana is on Shabbos, the koach of Shabbos is so strong that we don’t NEED to hear the Shofar to get the koach of hearing the Shofar. The day of Shabbos itself does what the shofar usually does!



Hey – Yud-Beis Teves

We know the Yom Tov of Hey Teves is when it was decided that all of the seforim belong in 770! But do you know that there are still many seforim from the libraries of the Rebbeim that still didn’t come back? There are seforim from the libraries of the Rebbe Rashab and the Frierdiker Rebbe, with things that the other Rebbeim wrote by hand, and many other seforim and books!

The Rebbe told us that there is a way for us to help get these seforim to go free! There are many seforim in the seforim stores that are where they don’t belong. By us buying them (for ourselves or others) and putting them on the shelves and shtenders and tables in our houses, we can set those seforim free! And when we set THOSE seforim free, Hashem will also help the seforim in Russia to go free!

See sicha Parshas Vayigash 5752


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Vezeh

The eleventh posuk of the Yud-Beis Pesukim starts with the word Vezeh. This posuk comes from the Tanya, and it speaks about the very important shlichus each of us have!

Vezeh Kol Ha’adam — This is what a person’s life is all about!

Vesachlis Briyosav — It is the reason why he was created

Uvriyas Kol Ha’olamos — and the reason all of the worlds were created,

Elyonim Vesachtonim — from the highest Ruchnius worlds and everything in this Gashmius world:

Lihiyos Lo Dira Zu Besachtonim — In order to make this world a home for Hashem!

How do we make the world a home for Hashem?

By learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and sharing the light of Torah and mitzvos with other people!

There are so many things in the world, and many of them look important. But when we think about this posuk, we realize that there is only one thing that is important: Yiddishkeit!

Our Torah learning, doing mitzvos, sharing Yiddishkeit with other people — that is the most important shlichus there could be! That is the reason Hashem created us, and the reason for everything else Hashem created. There is nothing more important!

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder vol. 5 p. 260



Listening During Kriyas HaTorah

The very first and holiest sefer is a Sefer Torah!

In shul, on Monday, Thursday (today!), and Shabbos, we lein from the Torah.

The Shulchan Aruch says that while the Torah is being read, we should not speak, just pay attention to the Torah that is being read! Even if we are saying something important and holy, like words of Torah, we need to stop during Kriyas HaTorah.

The Rebbe Rashab once wrote an announcement (Moda’ah Rabbah), asking that all of the Chassidim be careful with this halacha! In the announcement, the Rebbe Rashab brought sources in halacha, Kabbalah, and other holy seforim, that show us the importance of listening quietly when the Torah is being read!

The Rebbe Rashab also said something beautiful about keeping this halacha: Of course, anyone who is quiet and listens with respect when the Torah is read, is keeping Hashem’s mitzvah. But also, the Torah itself goes up to Shomayim, and asks Hashem to act with Rachamim to that person and his family. It brings down brachos for the person in Ruchnius and in Gashmius!

See Moda’ah Rabbah, Igros Kodesh of Rebbe Rashab vol. 1, letter #67


There is a minhag not to learn Torah on Nittel Nacht, because there is a lot of kelipah in the world and we don’t want to give it any chayus. So tonight (Thursday night), starting from Shkiyah, we don’t learn any Torah (including Chitas), until Chatzos. Make sure to finish your shiurim before Shkiyah!

Nittel Nacht goes according to the goyishe calendar. In the Hayom Yom for Yud-Zayin Teves, we will see Nittel Nacht mentioned. The year the Hayom Yom was written, Nittel Nacht was the night of Yud-Zayin Teves.

Some bochurim loved to learn Torah so much that they couldn’t manage to stop during Nittel Nacht. The Rebbe Rashab said that he was not happy with these bochurim.

But there are plenty of good things that need to be taken care of that AREN’T learning Torah, and we shouldn’t waste the time!

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



The Best Way to Spread Yiddishkeit

In the haftora of this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayigash, we read about the nevuah that all of Bnei Yisrael will become reunited under one king again! For many generations, since after Shlomo Hamelech was king, the Yidden were split up into two separate kingdoms. But when Moshiach comes, we will all again be ruled by just one Jewish king.

The posuk in the haftora says “Ve’avdi Dovid Melech Aleihem,” that Dovid Hamelech will rule over them. This is talking about Moshiach, who will be king over ALL of the Yidden.

Why is Moshiach called Dovid?

The Frierdiker Rebbe explains in a maamar that the name Dovid is a name of bittul. We see this in Tehillim, where Dovid Hamelech, even though he was the king, calls himself a poor man (oni v’evyon) because of his bittul! He didn’t think of himself as great, even though he was the king of all of the Yidden.

When someone doesn’t think that he is special and important, he is ready to think about another person, and not just himself! That is one way of having bittul.

Moshiach will also have this inyan of Dovid, of being humble. Moshiach won’t feel that he is so important that he can only spend time with the biggest Talmidei Chachomim. Moshiach WILL teach the greatest leaders of the Yidden, like the Avos and Moshe Rabbeinu! But at the same time, he will teach the simplest Yidden Torah too.

In the last maamar edited by the Rebbe for Hey Teves (in 5752), the Rebbe speaks about this. The Rebbe explains that everything that will happen when Moshiach comes is because of the avodah we do now in Golus. To have this special inyan of Moshiach’s bittul, we need to do something in that way now!

So what should we do that is like the bittul of Dovid and Melech Hamoshiach?

We should teach Yiddishkeit and Chassidus in a humble way. Even though when we teach others, Hashem makes us smarter, that shouldn’t be the reason why we teach. We shouldn’t be thinking about what WE will get from spreading Yiddishkeit, we should think about how it will help the person we are teaching! Being humble in that way will make us ready for the time when MOSHIACH will teach Torah to every single Yid.

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