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Chamishi with Rashi

Yaakov becomes rich from the sheep and goats that are born even though Lavan tries to trick him, and Hashem tells him to go back to Eretz Yisroel.

Lavan wanted Yaakov to stay so he could get more brachos in Yaakov’s zechus, but Yaakov didn’t want to.

So Yaakov said, “I worked very hard for you! You gave me just a few animals to watch. Now there are so many animals, because Hashem gave you brachos in my zechus.

“Until now, I worked only for you, and left my children to work THEMSELVES to have parnasa. But I want to make sure my children will be able to save money for later, so I can’t work anymore for free.”

Lavan asked what he should give Yaakov.

Yaakov said, “You don’t need to pay me anything! Let’s just make a deal that I can keep some of the sheep and goats. I will take the sheep and goats that are different colors than usual: Usually goats are black or brown, I’ll take the ones that have big or small spots. Usually sheep are plain white, so I’ll take the ones that are brown or black.

“If sheep look at black sheep, their baby sheep will a lot of times be black too. So take away all of the animals that are the kind that I will be keeping so the animals can’t look at them. Your sons will watch them.”

Yaakov made sticks with stripes or spots, and put them near the water. When the animals looked at the sticks, many of their babies were born with stripes and spots. (The Zohar teaches us that this is how Yaakov did the mitzvah of Tefillin b’ruchnius!)

When Lavan saw that many of the sheep and goats that were born would belong to Yaakov, he changed the rules so more of them would belong to him. But Yaakov just set things up differently, so with Hashem’s help, the right kinds of animals were born.

Yaakov became very rich from all of his sheep and goats, and sold some to buy maids, servants, camels, and donkeys. Lavan’s sons were jealous, and said that Yaakov was stealing from Lavan. Yaakov could see that Lavan wasn’t so happy with him.

Hashem told Yaakov to go back to Eretz Yisroel. So Yaakov called Rochel and Leah and told them: “I see that your father is not happy with me, that he thinks I stole from him. You know that Hashem helped me, and I worked very hard. Even though he changed his mind 100 times about what I should get paid, Hashem helped and the right kinds of animals were born.

“Hashem reminded me that I built a mizbeiach and promised to bring korbanos on it. Hashem told me that it’s time to go back to Eretz Yisroel.”

Rochel and Leah said, “Of course! After all, Lavan doesn’t really care about us, now that he has sons. Instead of giving you money when we got married, he made you work to get married to us! And then instead of paying you for your work, he only let you have the animals you worked for! The only thing that belongs to us and our children is the money Hashem earned for you. So do whatever Hashem wants you to.”



39 - 43

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Lamed-Tes through Mem-Gimmel.

In today’s tehillim there is a posuk that says, “Ach Betzelem Yis’halech Ish. “A person walks in the dark (because only Hashem knows the way things really are).

In a maamar,the Rebbe Rashab explains this posuk in another way! “Ach BeTzelem Yis’halech Ish” — a person goes with Tzelem, with a koach called “tzelem” that helps a Yid in his Avodas Hashem.

We all sometimes need a push to get us started in doing the right thing!

A thought can come into our mind and get us excited to do something good. This could be from a Bas Kol, a voice from Hashem that the neshama hears, that makes it really want to act the way Hashem wants. Even though we can’t hear it, our neshama does, and it puts thoughts into our head that can make us do teshuvah!

Every morning, when we wake up, Hashem puts a special koach in the air! It makes us excited about starting the day right and acting the way Hashem wants.

All this is part of the Tzelem that the posuk is talking about, the hidden koach that goes with a Yid and inspires him to do what’s right!



Kuntres Acharon

The Tanya is still talking about how special doing mitzvos is, even more than our feeling to Hashem (Ahava VeYirah). Today the Alter Rebbe tells us three more reasons why. Here is one of them:

Why does a person need to eat from plants and animals, even though they are not as ruchnius’dik as a person? Because inside of them are pieces of kedusha (nitzutzos) that are from an even higher place of ruchniyus than the neshama!

When we eat food with nitzutzos of kedusha, our neshama is able to use the gashmiyus of the food to make the neshama stronger, and to bring these pieces of kedusha that are hidden in gashmiyus close to Hashem.

That’s another reason why we need to do mitzvos with gashmiyus things: Because only they have this high ruchniyus koach inside of them, and only through the mitzvos can we bring them out of hiding and use them the way Hashem meant them to be!



Zayin Kislev

A Yid was put in the world to live like Hashem wants, to have Yiras Shomayim and midos tovos. But Hashem put gashmiyus into the world, and a Yid has a Yetzer Hara that can make him act differently. What do we do?

There are three ways to deal with it and they are different ways in Torah. Today we will see how special Chassidus is!

The first way is called mussar. It teaches how the gashmiyus is very dangerous and we need to stay away from it. When the gashmiyus is weakened then the ruchniyus can be strong.

The second way is called chakira. It teaches about how special ruchniyus is, and says that when we learn about ruchniyus, the gashmiyus won’t get in the way.

Chassidus, however, teaches us that BOTH the gashmiyus and the ruchniyus are special. They are both created by Hashem. Hashem made them both for one purpose — so that the world will be able to see and feel Hashem through the mitzvos that we do, especially when Moshiach comes.

That’s why Chassidus teaches that we need to have both in our Avodas Hashem. We need to learn and daven and feel ruchniyus, but it needs to make our guf and the gashmiyus also become more aidel so that the ruchniyus and kedusha can also be felt in them!



Mitzvas Asei #212

Today we learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #212) to have children.



Hilchos Ishus

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the things a wife has to do for her husband. One of them is that she’s not allowed to do NOTHING all day, even if she is very rich! That’s because when people do nothing, it usually makes them end up doing things that aren’t good…

She also has some special jobs to do for her husband, like pouring him drinks and getting his bed ready.



Hilchos Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i - Perek Yud-Alef

The year after we give Maaser Ani for the poor (the 4th and 7th year), we need to do Vidui Maaser. Vidui Maaser is telling Hashem formally that we gave all of the presents and maaser we needed to give. We can’t do this until we actually gave them to the poor, the kohanim, or the Beis Hamikdash — it’s not enough to just set them aside.

Mazel Tov! We have now finished learning this set of halachos!



Ahavas Yisroel

Yidden have a minhag that when they meet, one says “Shalom Aleichem,” and the other person answers, “Aleichem Shalom.”

It’s not just a pattern of talking, it means something very special!

But why do we do it that way? Why does the other person answer the opposite?

There is a joke that it’s because two Yidden can never agree on anything, but that’s not the real reason!

Every person has his own understanding and his own opinion. When we get together, we want to have Achdus! We want that two different people should be able to help each other become better.

So the first Yid says, “Shalom Aleichem!” “Let’s bring Shalom among the different opinions that we have!”

The other Yid doesn’t just repeat what the first person says. He shows that he really agrees, and says it in his own words too: “Aleichem Shalom!” “Yes, I also want that!”

See Likutei Diburim vol. 1 p. 3, Likutei Sichos vol. 25 Parshas Vayeitzei


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Go'al Yisroel

After Kriyas Shema, we say another bracha. This bracha starts with the words “Emes Veyatziv,” and finishes with the words “Go’al Yisroel.”

In this bracha, we repeat what we decided in Shema: That we are ready to have Ol Malchus Shomayim, to do whatever Hashem wants us to!

We finish the bracha of Emes V’Yatziv by praising Hashem for Yetziyas Mitzrayim. (This is why even women need to say this bracha, since women also have a mitzvah to speak about Yetziyas Mitzrayim.)



Tznius for Little Girls

At what age does a little girl have to start wearing Tznius’dike clothes and acting in a Tznius’dike way?

The Rebbe tells us that based on the Shulchan Aruch, a girl needs to dress and act in a tznius’dike way starting at age 3.

But it should be in a nice way, we don’t have to be mean about it!

See Likutei Sichos vol. 18 p. 448, translated in Beautiful Within

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



Chassidus in Our Times

There are two reasons why Chassidus was only revealed in OUR times, so close to the time of Moshiach. The first reason is because we need the koach of Chassidus to help us with this darkest time of Golus. The second reason is to give us a taste of the Geulah, when the world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem!

Really, ANY kind of Chassidus can give us koach to win over the darkness of Golus. It doesn’t have to be Chabad Chassidus. We see that ALL of the students of the Baal Shem Tov, before the time of Chabad, were able to bring light into the darkest times for the Yidden.

But to have a taste of the Geulah, we need Chassidus Chabad! The other kinds of Chassidus can save a Yid and help him overcome the dark times of Golus, but only the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidus helps us UNDERSTAND the knowledge of Hashem and be prepared for the Geulah!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek Lamed, sichas Yud-Tes Kislev

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