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Parshas Toldos - Chamishi with Rashi

Avimelech came to Be’er Sheva to make peace with Yitzchak, since they had sent him away earlier and were afraid they would be punished.

Yitzchak & Avimelech make peace: Yitzchak agreed with Avimelech, Pichol, and his friends that they should make peace. He made a meal, and they ate and drank together. In the morning, they made a promise not to hurt each other, and Yitzchak sent them home.

On that day, Yitzchak’s servants came and told him that they had finally found water in the well they dug! He called the well Shiva, from the word Shevuah, promise (because of the promise they just made with Avimelech and his friends). That made them decide again that Be’er Sheva (“the well of the promise”) was a very good name for the place, so that’s the name it stayed.

Eisav’s wicked wives: When Eisav turned 40, he remembered that his father Yitzchak got married at 40 years old, and he decided to act like his father and get married too. He married two women: Oholivama and Ada, but he called them Yehudis and Basmas, to make Yitzchak think he was a tzadik.

(Yehudis means someone who knows — knowing that Avodah Zara is wrong, and Basmas means “spice woman” — she got that nickname because she burned spices for Avodah Zara, but Eisav said it was because she did nice things that people liked as much as sweet spices.)

These wives made Yitzchak and Rivkah sad because they had the chutzpah to do Avodah Zara in front of them.

23 years after Eisav got married, Yitzchak had gotten old. The smoke from Eisav’s wives’ Avodah Zarah spices made him not able to see as well, plus he couldn’t see as well from the tears of the malochim that cried by the Akeida. Hashem did this so he would end up giving the bracha to Yaakov.

Yitzchak wants to give his children a bracha: Yitzchak knew that Hashem promised that he would live a long life. Still, when he was 123, he thought that this might be what Hashem calls a long life, and he decided to make sure now to give his children a bracha before he passed away.

Even though Yitzchak saw that Eisav did a lot of bad things, he hoped that if he got a bracha, he would use all of his koach to serve Hashem. So Yitzchak called for Eisav, and told him that he was getting old. To give a proper bracha, he needed to see Eisav show he deserves a bracha. So he asked Eisav to sharpen his knife and catch and shecht an animal for Yitzchak to eat.

Yaakov gets Eisav’s bracha: Rivkah heard Yitzchak telling this to Eisav. When Eisav left to trap an animal (or steal one, if he couldn’t trap one), Rivkah told Yaakov what Yitzchak had said. She told Yaakov to go take two goats from Yitzchak’s flocks, since that’s how much Yitzchak gave her to use every day. Today she would use one goat for the Korban Pesach (since it was Erev Pesach) and cook the second one to give to Yitzchak, so he would bless Yaakov and not Eisav.

Yaakov was worried, and told his mother — “I am not hairy like Eisav, and if my father touches me he will know I am not Eisav! He will then know I am tricking him and might curse me instead of giving me a bracha!”

Rivkah told him not to worry, and just to listen. So he did, and Rivkah cooked the meat, and made bread. Then she took Eisav’s special hunting outfit and put it on Yaakov. (It used to belong to Nimrod, but Eisav killed Nimrod and stole the clothes. Eisav didn’t trust his wives not to steal from him, so he kept the outfit in Rivkah’s house.) She put hairy goat skin on his arms, and smooth goat skin on his neck.

Yaakov took the food and went in to Yitzchak. He said, “Tatty!” and Yitzchak said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Yaakov answered “It’s me! Eisav is your oldest.” (In Hebrew that sounds just like “It’s me, Eisav, your oldest.”) Yaakov said it like this because he didn’t want to lie.

“I did what you told me,” Yaakov said. Since he ALWAYS did what his father told him to do, that also wasn’t a lie. But Yitzchak still thought it was Eisav, who was telling him he went hunting like his father told him. “Please come eat, so you can give me the brachos!”

Yitzchak was surprised that Eisav came back so fast, but Yaakov said “Hashem helped me find the animal quickly!” That made Yitzchak very suspicious! That didn’t sound like how Eisav talks! He told Yaakov to come close so he could feel him and make sure he was Eisav. When Yitzchak touched Yaakov’s arm, it felt hairy from the goat skin! He said “Hakol Kol Yaakov — the way you talk is like Yaakov, Vehayadayim Yedei Eisav — but you feel like Eisav!”

Since it seemed like it was Eisav, Yitzchak got ready to give him a bracha. “You really are Eisav?” he asked. “Ani,” Yaakov answered, “me.” (Again he didn’t want to lie.)

“Please serve me the food, so I can give you the brachos.” Yaakov did what his father asked, and brought him the food and wine to drink.

Then Yitzchak asked his son to kiss him. Yaakov came close and kissed him, and a neis happened that the goat skins (which usually smell yucky) smelled like Gan Eden! He said, “since you smell like Gan Eden, which Hashem gave brachos to, it shows that YOU deserve to get brachos too.”



18 - 22

Today’s kapitelach are Yud-Ches to Chof-Beis.

Because we are in Chodesh Kislev, we will learn a piece of Chassidus on today’s Tehillim:

One of the pesukim in today’s Tehillim is, “Ve’Ata Kadosh, Yosheiv Tehillos Yisroel.” “You, Hashem, the holy One, sits on a throne because of the praises of the Yidden.”

The Frierdiker Rebbe tells a story of the Baal Shem Tov about this posuk:

Before the Baal Shem Tov became known, he would travel around from village to village. He would ask the men, women, and children in the village how they were doing. The Yidden would answer things like, “Boruch Hashem, we are doing well,” or “The Aibershter should continue being kind to us,” or “The Ribono Shel Olam is good to us.”

The Baal Shem Tov enjoyed hearing all of these answers!

Once, the Baal Shem Tov came to a town where there was a very great Talmid Chochom, who was also a porush — he didn’t spend much time with Gashmius. The Baal Shem Tov, who was dressed like a simple person, also asked this porush how he was. The porush did not like to interrupt his learning, so at first, he ignored the Baal Shem Tov. When the Baal Shem Tov asked him again and again, the porush got annoyed and pointed to the door, wanting the Baal Shem Tov to leave!

The Baal Shem Tov asked him, “Why are you refusing to give Hashem parnasa? Why are you letting Hashem be hungry?”

The porush did not understand, so the Baal Shem Tov explained: “Hashem’s parnasa comes from the Yidden who praise Hashem! That is what the posuk in Tehillim is saying — Hashem sits on His throne because of the Yidden who praise Him.”

In the maamar, the Frierdiker Rebbe explains why this is: When Yidden praise Hashem for the Gashmius things that they have, they are giving Hashem what He needs — we make the world more aidel! Then Hashem gives us our parnasa — the Gashmius things that we need to have.

See Maamar Ve’Ata Kadosh, Sefer Hamaamarim Yiddish



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

The Alter Rebbe is explaining the importance of taking Gashmius things and making them holy, which we also accomplish through davening.

In today’s Tanya, one of things that the Alter Rebbe explains based on this is why Moshe Rabbeinu begged Hashem so much to be able to go into Eretz Yisrael. Why did he want it so much?

The Alter Rebbe explains that mitzvos are very special and close to Hashem. The way Hashem REALLY wants the mitzvos to be done is with gashmius, using things from this world.

There are certain mitzvos you can only do in Eretz Yisroel. If you’re not in Eretz Yisroel, you can keep them by learning about them. But Moshe Rabbeinu wasn’t happy with that. He wanted to do those mitzvos with gashmius, because he knew that’s the best way to do a mitzvah.



Gimmel Kislev

The Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid acted in different ways:

The Baal Shem Tov would travel a lot to many places, and the Maggid stayed in Mezritch. Not only did the people of Mezritch come to the Maggid, but people travelled from all over to come to him! They already had heard about Chassidus, since the Baal Shem Tov had made sure to spread Chassidus all over.

One of the things we can learn from this Hayom Yom is about the two different kinds of Shlichus we do: One way is like the Baal Shem Tov, to go out on mivtzoyim, and the second way is to make a beautiful and welcoming Beis Chabad so that people who have heard about it can come and make a special connection to Yiddishkeit.



Shiur #133 - Mitzvas Asei #127

Today we learn again the same mitzvah we learned yesterday: We need to take Maaser Rishon, 1/10th of the food that we grow, and give it to the Leviim. This mitzvah, along with the other presents from what we grow, is kept only in Eretz Yisroel.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Korach: כִּי אֶת מַעְשַׂר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ לַה׳ תְּרוּמָה

The details are explained in Mesechta Maasros.



Hilchos Maaser

Perek Zayin: One of the halachos we learn in this perek is that if we decide that certain fruits will be maaser, we aren’t allowed to switch it for different fruits.

Perek Ches: What happens if what was set aside for maaser got mixed up? One halacha is that if a person has 100 barrels of wine, and decided that one of them is maaser but forgot which one, he takes some of the wine from each of the barrels and mixes it together! Then he gives that wine for maaser.

Perek Tes: We learn about demai — food that we’re not sure if maaser was taken or not. If an Am Ha’aretz (someone who doesn’t know halacha) says that he took maaser, the food is demai, which means we aren’t sure that the maaser was actually taken right. There are many halachos of what to do with this demai.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Chof-Hey

Another way that Shabbos is different than the rest of the days of the week is that we don’t move things that are muktza, which means separated from use.

Some things are muktza because they are not allowed to be used on Shabbos, and other things are muktza because they are very expensive and we are always careful about touching them.

There are also things that are muktza because they are disgusting, and we are always careful not to touch them!



Chodesh Kislev

The month of Kislev is a Chassidishe Chodesh, a Chassidishe month! It is a Chassidishe Chodesh because there are so many special days in Kislev that are connected with Chassidus, learning Chassidus, and Hiskashrus. We already had 2 of them, and we are only in the beginning of the month!

The Rebbe tells us that we need to act differently all month, to show what kind of special month we are in!

How do we do that?

1) We learn extra Chassidus!

2) We join extra farbrengens!

See, for example, sichos of Chodesh Kislev 5749


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Kabolas Shabbos

In Maariv of Shabbos there are two parts: Kabolas Shabbos and Maariv.

In Kabolas Shabbos, we welcome Shabbos. This is how we do it:

First, we say six kapitelach of Tehillim, matching up to the six days of the week that just passed.

Then we say the paragraph of Ana B’Koach, which brings us up to a higher level in Ruchnius, since we are now going into Shabbos. Afterwards, we say three pieces in honor of Shabbos:

1) Lecha Dodi

2) Two kapitelach of Tehillim that speak about Shabbos

3) A piece of the Zohar, which speaks about the Ruchnius inyan of Shabbos, what happens in Shomayim on Shabbos and down here as well.

With these Tefillos we are Mekabel Shabbos.



Bentching Licht with Shabbos Clothes

It is a very good minhag of women to put on their Shabbos clothes before bentching licht. It shows kavod for the Shabbos licht and for Shabbos itself, which starts right after lighting our candles!

But if someone is running late, it is better to bentch licht wearing weekday clothes, than to bentch licht very close to Shkiyah, which might chas veshalom possibly end up as Chillul Shabbos.

See Kitzur Dinei Uminhagei Neiros Shabbos Kodesh VeYom Tov by Rabbi N. Dubov, p. 11

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



A Sign of Moshiach

It says in the Zohar that when we will come close to the days of Moshiach, we will see that even children will know about the hidden secrets of Torah.

This is one of the signs of Moshiach that we can see today! Even small kinderlach learn and understand Chassidus, the hidden secrets of the Torah!

See Zohar 118a

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