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Parshas Toldos - Rishon with Rashi

Now the Torah will tell us about the life of Yitzchak. We learn about the birth of Yitzchak’s two children, Yaakov and Eisav.

Yitzchak has children: Yitzchak was the main son of Avraham, since he was the one who continued Avraham’s shlichus of teaching about Hashem!

Yitzchak married Rivkah when he was 40, and Rivkah was three. She grew up in the house of a rasha, but she was a tzadeikes!

At first Rivkah was too young to have a baby, but even after she was old enough, she didn’t have children right away. After 10 years of waiting, they realized it was time to try harder. They decided to both daven very hard! Hashem answered Yitzchak’s tefillah (since he had a double zechus, from himself and from his father) and Rivkah became pregnant — with twins!

It wasn’t easy for Rivkah, because she didn’t know she was having twins. It seemed that her baby wanted two opposite things! She would feel the baby kicking when she passed by the Yeshivah of Shem and Ever, AND when she passed a place of Avodah Zarah! It bothered Rivkah so much, that she went to Shem and Ever to ask them what was happening.

Hashem made Shem understand that she had twins! He explained that they would always be fighting, since one was good and one was not, but the older one would always have to serve the younger one. Now that Rivkah understood what was happening, she felt much better.

Finally, the babies were born! First one baby was born, red all over and covered with hair! Because he already had so much hair, they called him Eisav, like “asui” — complete. Then the second baby was born, holding on to Eisav’s heel. Hashem named him Yaakov (from the word eikev, heel). He was born with a bris milah already!

Eisav sells the bechorah: Their zaidy Avraham spent a lot of time teaching Yaakov and Eisav — and it worked until they were 13. Both boys worked hard to serve Hashem, and Eisav didn’t listen to his Yetzer Hara. But then things changed: Yaakov learned Torah, but Eisav started listening to his Yetzer Hara in secret, and tricked his father into thinking that he was still acting good.

When Eisav turned 15, he was sick of pretending that he was good. He wanted to be able to act the way he wanted, without feeling like he needed to hide it anymore. Hashem made Avraham pass away early so he wouldn’t have to see him doing this. Yaakov was cooking lentils for his father, since it is a minhag for someone who is mourning to eat lentils. At that time, Eisav came in, tired from a long day of doing whatever his Yetzer Hara told him to. He told Yaakov to give him the red lentil soup.

Yaakov saw how Eisav was acting, and realized that Eisav didn’t deserve the special job of being the oldest son of Yitzchak. So he told Eisav he would have to trade the zechus of being the firstborn for soup. Eisav decided it was worth it, and he switched.

Yitzchak moves to Gerar: Now the Torah tells us more about Yitzchak’s life:

There was another hunger in Eretz Yisroel, so Yitzchak wanted to go to a place with more food. Hashem told him not to go down to Mitzrayim, since he became holy when he was brought as a korban during the Akeidah. Instead he should go live with Avimelech, in Gerar, which would later become a part of Eretz Yisroel.

Hashem promised Yitzchak many brachos in Avraham’s zechus!



135 - 139

Today’s shiur Tehillim is Kuf-Lamed-Hey to Kuf-Lamed-Tes.

Kapitel Kuf-Lamed-Tes is a very special kapitel. It teaches a person how to serve Hashem — there is no other kapitel that does this in such a special way!

One of the things that Dovid Hamelech says is about how Hashem created Adam HaRishon. Adam HaRishon says: “Achor VaKedem Tzartani” — “You created me last and first.”

What does that mean? How can Adam be created last AND first at the same time?!

The answer is that you can have two opposite things together if they are for different reasons! Adam Harishon is last in one way, but first in another way:

The Alter Rebbe explains in Likutei Torah that “Achor” (last) means that he is created on the LAST day of Creation, and he is the lowest madreigah, because he can do an aveira — going AGAINST what Hashem wants. Only a person has free choice and can do an aveira — so a person is like the LAST, the lowest thing.

But he is FIRST because he has a neshama, and nothing else that Hashem made has a neshama like a person does! And even his Guf is very special, too.

So that’s how Adam Harishon can be FIRST AND LAST at the same time!

Every Yid, just like Adam Harishon, has the choice to be the first or last in Creation with the choices that they make.



Kuntres Acharon Siman Beis

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe explains something written in a very deep Kabbalah sefer called Eitz Chayim, about the Ruchnius accomplishment of our mitzvos.

Our mitzvos are like someone cutting thorns from a vineyard (where grapes grow), so the thorns can’t scratch the grapes. That’s how mitzvos work — they cut out the Yetzer Hara from the Gashmiyus and only allow the mitzvos themselves to make the Gashmiyus holy! When we do this job, it makes Hashem want to be together with the Shechinah, which is called Yichud Kudsha Brich Hu Ushechintei, and to be with us in the world.

Only tzadikim have the special koach to bring the Shechina into the world even without using Gashmius, just by thinking about kedusha!



Chof-Ches Mar-Cheshvan

Every single little thing that happens to anything Hashem created, no matter what it is, gets its chayus to be that way through Hashem’s Hashgacha Protis.

And that’s not all! Not only does every little thing happen only because of Hashem’s Hashgacha Protis, but every single thing that happens is part of Hashem’s whole plan in creating the world! Only when all of these things happen together, is Hashem’s kavana in creating the world complete!

That is an incredible thing! We should think to ourselves: Even a little LEAF blowing from one place to another is with Hashgacha Protis, and part of Hashem’s whole plan for the world! If that’s how it is even with a leaf, of course it must be true of a person, and certainly of a Yid, Hashem’s special nation — that every thing that happens is because of Hashem’s Hashgacha Protis, and is important for Hashem’s whole plan in creating the world!



Shiur #129 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #135, #136

Today we learn two more mitzvos — that two more kinds of people are not allowed to eat from the holy Terumah:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #135) A man who didn’t have a bris is not allowed to eat Terumah. (Even though it doesn’t say this mitzvah clearly in the Torah, we understand it because the Torah uses the same kinds of words when it talks about the Korban Pesach, where it DOES say clearly that a person without a bris can’t eat it.)

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #136) A kohen who is tamei (like if he has Tzoraas) is not allowed to eat Terumah.



Hilchos Terumos

Perek Yud: What happens if a person ate Terumah by mistake when he wasn’t allowed to? Usually the halacha is that he has to pay back for what he ate, PLUS an extra fifth. We also learn about the halachos of what happens if someone stole Terumah.

Perek Yud-Alef: Terumah is holy, so we can’t just do whatever we want with it. We need to eat it or use it in a kavodike way. For example, we shouldn’t make a food into a drink.

Perek Yud-Beis: We are careful not to make the Terumah tamei. If it did become tomei, it has to be burned. If we’re not sure if it’s tomei or not, we have a problem! We can’t eat it in case it is tomei, but we can’t burn it because it wouldn’t be kavodik, in case it really isn’t tomei. So what do we do? We leave it alone until it becomes FOR SURE tomei, and then we burn it.

We also learn how the kohanim get their presents. They should go to the place where the produce is stored to get the terumah, but they don’t help pick it or gather it. Terumah should be given with kavod.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Chof-Alef

In today’s Rambam, we learn about not doing a sh’vus. A sh’vus is something which the Chachomim said is asur either because it is LIKE the way we do a melacha, or because it is something that might make someone forget and actually DO the melacha. Many of the things we don’t do on Shabbos are because of sh’vus.



Everyone Needs to Learn

When a chossid went into yechidus, he would usually bring a note, a tzetl. The Rebbe would take the tzetl and read through it, answering the questions inside.

But one bochur’s yechidus was a little different!

This bochur brought his tzetl with him as usual, and gave it to the Rebbe.

But even before the Rebbe opened the tzetl, he looked up at the bochur.

The Rebbe told him, whatever you become — whether you become a Rav, an Osek Betzorchei Tzibur, or a shliach — you need to be able to learn well, Niglah and Chassidus!

Only after telling him this did the Rebbe open the bochur’s note.


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It is written in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that a person should daven to Hashem to ask that his bitachon in Hashem should be strong.

Bitachon is very important, because when a Yid has proper bitachon, it is a keili to bring down only good things!

See Keser Shem Tov siman Kuf-Yud-Gimmel



Ahavas Yisroel in Halacha

The mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel, to love your fellow Jew as yourself, and do everything for him as much as you would do everything for yourself, is kept when we do many other mitzvos. For example, Bikur Cholim, we visit someone else when he is sick, just like we would want others to care about us when we are sick.

Besides for all of those other mitzvos, “Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha” is also a mitzvah for itself. It is described in Shulchan Aruch with two general things to be careful with:

1) Care about every other Yid’s kavod, just like you care about your own.
2) Care about every other Yid’s money, just like you care about your own.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Kuf-Nun-Vov se’if Hey

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



Achdus Before Geulah

When the Yidden camped around Har Sinai to get the Torah, they camped like one person, with one heart — “Ke’ish Echad, BeLeiv Echad.”

We learned in Tanya that Matan Torah was a taste of the way it will be in the times of the Geulah!

The Rambam tells that we will also have this kind of Achdus before Moshiach comes. One of the jobs of Moshiach is “Veyisaken Es Ha’olam Kulo Laavod Es Hashem Beyachad” — to make the whole world ready to serve Hashem TOGETHER!

Just as we got the Torah with true Achdus, we will have the Geulah with true Achdus!

See Migolah L’Geulah p. 312

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