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Parshas Vayeishev - Shlishi with Rashi

The brothers throw Yosef into a pit, and sell him to merchants passing by. They show their father Yosef’s coat dipped in goat blood, and Yaakov mourns 22 years for Yosef.

Yesterday we learned that the brothers decided to throw Yosef into a hole in the ground instead of killing him, even though they thought he deserved it.

When Yosef came to his brothers in Shechem, they grabbed him right away! They took away his shirt and the special coat he got from his father. Then Shimon threw him into the hole. There was no water in the hole, but it was full of dangerous animals — snakes and scorpions!

Yosef cried that they should take him out, but they didn’t listen. Instead, they sat down to eat. Reuven was fasting, though, because he was still doing teshuvah for moving his father’s bed. He went home because it was his turn to take care of his father Yaakov.

While the rest of the brothers were eating, they saw a group of men from Yishmael coming on camels! Their camels had spices that they were going to sell in Mitzrayim. (Usually, people from Yishmael sold smelly oil and tar, but Hashem made them bring spices so Yosef wouldn’t have to smell yucky things!)

Yehuda said, “Why should we kill Yosef and have to pretend we didn’t do it? Let’s sell him to these Yishmael people.” The brothers agreed. 

In the meantime, another group of people came by also, from Midyan. The brothers pulled Yosef out of the hole and sold him to the Yishmaelim for 20 pieces of silver. The Yishmaelim then sold him right away to the Midyanim, who brought Yosef to Mitzrayim.

The next day, Reuven went back to the hole to save Yosef, but he saw that Yosef wasn’t inside! He was very very sad, and tore his clothes like a person does if R”L someone passes away. He went to his brothers and said “Yosef is gone! I wish there was somewhere to run away to — I don’t want to see how upset our father Yaakov will be. Also, he will think that it’s my fault.”

The brothers shechted a goat and dipped Yosef’s coat inside the blood, since goat blood looks just like blood from a person. They wanted Yaakov to think that an animal killed Yosef.

The brothers agreed not to tell anyone what really happened, unless they ALL wanted to tell, and unless they saw a sign from Hashem.

The brothers didn’t want to show Yaakov the coat themselves, so they sent someone else with the bloody coat. The man asked Yaakov, “Your sons found this coat, do you know whose it is?”

Yaakov knew it was Yosef’s coat, and cried. “Yosef was killed by a wild animal!” Yaakov mourned for Yosef for 22 years — until he met Yosef in Mitzrayim! (Hashem did this to Yaakov so he could make up for not having Kibbud Av Va’em for HIS parents for 22 years when he went to marry Rachel.) All of the Shevatim and the girls tried to make Yaakov feel better, but he stayed sad.

Hashem makes a person forget the pain after a person passes away so they can feel better, but since Yosef was still alive, he didn’t ever forget. That’s why he never felt better. Yaakov was also upset because he knew that it was his avodah to have 12 Shevatim, and if he did, he wouldn’t have anything left to fix in Gehennom after he passed away. Since he thought Yosef had been killed, he didn’t have 12 Shevatim anymore, and that would mean that he would need to fix things up by going into Gehennom.

When a person is sad, they can’t have Ruach Hakodesh, so Yaakov didn’t have Ruach Hakodesh for 22 years!

YITZCHAK knew through Ruach Hakodesh that Yosef was still alive. But since he saw that Yaakov didn’t know, he understood that Hashem didn’t want him to know, and he didn’t tell him. But since he saw that Yaakov was so sad, he cried also.

Meanwhile, the Midyanim sold Yosef to Potifar, who worked in the government of Mitzrayim.



90 - 96

Today’s kapitelach in Tehillim are Tzadik through Tzadik-Vov.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Tzadik-Daled, there is a posukAshrei Hagever Asher Teyasrenu Kah, UmiToras’cha Selamdenu.” “A person is fortunate if Hashem makes him suffer, and You teach him from Your Torah.”

Why is he fortunate? Because Hashem is showing him that he can be better than he is right now! How can he become better? He can try to figure out what he needs to fix, so now he can grow!

If a baby never got uncomfortable about just being able to crawl, would he ever learn how to walk or run? Really we are very fortunate when we start being uncomfortable about being how we are — this helps us to work hard to be much better and do much more!

But what should we do if we can’t figure out what to fix, but we STILL feel like something is wrong? The answer to this is in the end of the posuk: “UmiTorascha Selamdenu” — We should learn Torah! The Torah is the chochmah of Hashem, and just like Hashem has no limits (Ein Sof), the Torah has no limits! When we learn it, we will always find MORE things we could be doing, and find another part of our life that we can make better than before. Then we will feel very happy that Hashem gave us this chance to grow and to bring the Geulah!

From a sicha of the Rebbe



Likutei Amarim Shaar Blatt - Haskamos

Today we are starting the Sefer of Tanya from the very beginning!

We start with the Shaar Blatt. Usually the title page of a book is not so important, but not here — the Alter Rebbe wrote the Shaar Blatt himself! In the Shaar Blatt the Alter Rebbe gives two names for the Tanya, and tells us what the message of Tanya is.

The first name the Alter Rebbe gives the Tanya is “Likutei Amarim,” which means “a gathering of sayings.” The Alter Rebbe is very humble and says that the Tanya is just a collection of sayings, and that he got these sayings from his Rebbes (the Maggid of Mezritch and R’ Mendel of Horodok) and from Seforim (like the Maharal of Prague). Really we as Chassidim know that the Tanya is full of ideas that the Alter Rebbe is teaching us for the first time.

The second name is “Sefer Shel Beinonim,” the book of Beinonim. We will see later in Tanya that the Tanya is written for people who could work hard and become a beinoni.

The message of Tanya is that every Yid is able to serve Hashem with chayus, using his thinking, his talking, and his doing. And do you know what? The Alter Rebbe says that a posuk — one of the 12 pesukim! — says this message, and he says it in the Shaar Blatt! This is the posuk Ki Karov.

The whole Tanya explains this posuk! That’s why the Rebbe made this one of the pesukim, so from when we are very little we already know in short the whole message of Tanya, which teaches us how to become a chossid.

In today’s Tanya, we also have haskamos, which are letters from Rabbonim and Tzadikim, and the children of the Alter Rebbe, that tell everyone that it’s very important to learn the Tanya because it is very special. In the haskamos of the Alter Rebbe’s children, they also tell us how they put the Tanya into sections, and that no one is allowed to copy the Tanya without permission.



Yud-Tes Kislev

Chabad Minhag: The chazzan doesn’t wear a tallis when he’s davening mincha or maariv, not even on Shabbos or Yom Tov or Rosh Hashana.

Today is the Yartzeit of the Maggid of Mezritch (he passed away on Tuesday, Parshas Vayeishev 5533). His ohel is in Anipoli.

Today, the Alter Rebbe came out of (his first) jail, on Tuesday, Parshas Vayeishev 5559 (26 years after the Maggid passed away), close to shkiah.

The Alter Rebbe wrote in a letter: “On the third day of the week, when Hashem says twice “it was good” when Hashem made the world, on the yartzeit of the Maggid, I was reading Padah Beshalom — that Hashem set me free — in Tehillim, and they let me out of jail!” (The Alter Rebbe was saying the Tehillim the way it’s split up for the days of the week.)

Yud-Tes Kislev is a day we farbreng and make hachlatos to learn Torah and Chassidus, and to have Ahavas Yisroel! We also have a minhag to have everyone choose a Gemara to learn this year from “Chalukas HaShas” — that at least one person will learn each of the mesechtas of Shas! In Lubavitch, though, they had to do this on Chof-Daled Teves (the Alter Rebbe’s yartzeit) since there wasn’t time on Yud-Tes Kislev!



Shiur #134 - Mitzvas Asei #127

(Mitzvas Asei #127) Today we again review the same mitzvahMaaser Rishon, to take 1/10th of the food that we grow in our fields, and give it to the Leviim.



Hilchos Maaser

In today’s Rambam, we learn many halachos about demai — food that we’re not sure if maaser was separated from it.

Perek Yud: This perek teaches us about what kind of person can be trusted if they say they took maaser, so that their food won’t be demai. We also learn about what happens when someone we CAN trust gives demai to another person.

Perek Yud-Alef: We learn about selling demai.

Perek Yud-Beis: This perek has halachos about when we CAN trust an Am Ha’aretz. For example, even a simple Yid by nature will tell the truth on Shabbos. They are also afraid of eating dimua, food that has Terumas Maaser or Terumah mixed in. So if anyone, even an Am Ha’aretz, says about food on Shabbos that maaser was taken from it, or they tell us that something is not dimua, they can be trusted.



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Chof-Vov

Perek Chof-Vov teaches us about selling a city or a field. If you sell a field, you ARE including the fence around the field, and everything that is growing in it. But you aren’t including a wooden hut for a watchman or bundles of wheat. That is only sold if you make it clear that you are selling the field and everything inside!



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Yud-Tes Kislev is a farbrengen day!

There are actually THREE good times to make a farbrengen on Yud-Tes Kislev — the night of Yud-Tes Kislev, the night between Yud-Tes and Chof Kislev, and the night following Chof Kislev (Motzaei Chof Kislev).

Each farbrengen should be in a different way:

One time where you farbreng with yourself (spend some time thinking about what Yud-Tes Kislev means and how to make Chassidus a bigger part of your life), one time with your family, and a third one with your community, making hachlatos together to make your whole community a place of Chassidus!

Probably you are going to a big farbrengen, but that’s not enough! The Rebbe wanted there to be farbrengens in EVERY city!

See Sichas Parshas Vayishlach 5752


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Bittul Through Davening

The Alter Rebbe explains in Torah Ohr that every Yid has a bittul to Hashem. This bittul makes a Yid want to live according to Hashem’s Ratzon which we know from the Torah. Still, we don’t always feel this bittul.

We can “wake up” this bittul through davening! By saying Pesukei Dezimra, the brachos of Shema, and especially the parshios of Shema itself and Emes Veyatziv, we wake up our bittul. This way, we will have this strong bittul when we say Shemoneh Esrei.

IY”H, we will learn more about this over the next few days, including how these parts of davening help, and why we need this bittul.

See Torah Ohr Vayechi; maamar Yehuda Ata 5738, Likutei Sichos vol. 20 p. 347



Fleishige Keilim

If I have a pareve food that was cooked in a fleishige pot, do I become fleishig?

According to halacha, as long as there was no meat or grease from meat in the pot, even if the pot wasn’t so clean, the food won’t make you fleishig. It is fine to have milchigs right after eating from that pot.

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman 46, se’if yud

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



What Are YOU Doing?

Right before the beginning of Hayom Yom, the Rebbe put in a part of a letter from the Frierdiker Rebbe.

This letter was written at a time when many of the Yidden were suffering terribly in Golus. The Frierdiker Rebbe writes:

In this time of “Haras Olam,” the world is shaking! It is shaking because of the Chevlei Moshiach, the pain that comes right before Moshiach comes. Hashem set on fire the walls of Golus!

...Now it is the achrayus of every Jew, man and woman, old and young, to ask themselves this question:

What have I already done, and what am I doing now, to make the Chevlei Moshiach easier? What am I doing to be zocheh to the Geulah Sheleimah through Moshiach Tzidkeinu?

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