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Parshas Vayigash - Rishon with Rashi

We are learning about how Yaakov and his family ended up coming down to Mitzrayim. We learned about the second time the Shevatim came to get food, and how the ruler of Mitzrayim (who was really Yosef) wanted to keep Benyamin. In today’s Chumash, Yehuda is arguing with Yosef not to keep Benyamin. Today we see the first part of his argument, and we will see the rest in tomorrow’s Chumash.

Yehudah came to Yosef and said: “Please let me say something to you that might make you change your mind! Please don’t be angry, even though I’m going to say harsh words.

“Do you know that my great-grandmother, Sarah, was captured by a Paraoh before? He got punished just from that! Do you think Hashem won’t punish you for keeping Benyamin?”

Yehudah then reminded Yosef of how Benyamin came down to Mitzrayim: Yosef had told them that they need to bring Benyamin down to Mitzrayim so he can see him.

Yehudah continued, “It looks like you were never telling us the truth! You said that you just wanted to see Benyamin, and now I see you want to keep him!”

Yehudah described how Yaakov had been afraid to let Benyamin go. Yaakov had warned the Shevatim of the terrible pain it would cause him if anything happens to Benyamin!

IY”H in tomorrow’s Chumash, we will see the rest of Yehuda’s words.



29 - 34

Today’s kapitelach are Chof-Tes through Lamed-Daled.

In Kapitel Lamed-Daled, one of the pesukim starts with the words, “Sur MeRa Ve’asei Tov!”

Once at a farbrengen for a Chag Hageulah, like today, the Rebbe taught an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on this posuk:

When a person has the Yetzer Hara to do something not good, he is full of energy and chayus from the Yetzer Hara. This posuk tells us what to do with that energy.

Sur Me’Ra: The person should first turn away from the thing that they shouldn’t be doing.

Ve’Asei Tov: Then they should use that energy to do something good!

For example, let’s say that Shmerel is very angry at Berel. He is full of energy and wants to jump up and tell his whole bunk how awful Berel is! First, he should do Sur Me’Ra and stop himself from saying something not nice, which the Yetzer Hara wants him to do. Then he should do Asei Tov, and use that strong energy to tell the bunk a story about the Rebbe or do a mitzvah instead!

See farbrengen Yud-Beis Tammuz 5743, second sicha



Likutei Amarim Perek Zayin

We learned that there are two kinds of Gashmius that we know about and use: There are things from the Shalosh Kelios Hatmeios, things that Hashem created but doesn’t want us to use (if we used them it would be an aveira chas veshalom); and Kelipas Noga is something Hashem made which isn’t an aveira, and we can choose to use it for kedusha — for Hashem, or for kelipah — just for ourselves, not to help with Torah or mitzvos or Ahavas Yisroel.

Now let’s go back and talk about the treats we were talking about in yesterday’s Tanya, which are from Kelipas Noga and can be either brought up to kedusha or brought down to the Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios:

What happens if a person loves ice cream, and every time they pass by a freezer, they go and eat some more? Well, then the chayus from that ice cream goes into the Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios. Uh oh!

But the good news is that since it was Kelipas Noga before, if the person decides to do teshuva for just thinking about ice cream all the time, and start davening and learning Torah and doing mitzvos with the chayus from the ice cream, they can bring the Kelipas Noga back up to kedusha! (Even though the person did teshuvah, the time when it was Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios leaves a mark in the body. This mark needs to be cleaned off later with something called Chibut Hakever.)

But non-kosher food, because it was never Kelipas Noga, can’t go up to kedusha, even if someone did teshuva! Things that are non-kosher are called “asur, which also means tied-up — because they are tied to kelipah, and can almost never become kedusha. The only way it can become kedusha is to wait until after Moshiach comes, when there will be no more tumah in the world, or to do such a high level of teshuvah, called “Teshuvah MeAhava Rabbah,” that even aveiros can become like mitzvos!

Regular teshuvah is not able to take this chayus out of the kelipos, though, so we need to be very careful with anything that is not kosher.



Hey Teves

There are two main ways to serve Hashem: With our mind, or with our heart.

When we serve Hashem with our mind, we learn Torah, and understand how and why to do the mitzvos. The biggest Talmidei Chachomim serve Hashem in this way, and it is very special!

There is also another way, though. A person can be very simple, or have temimus (sincerity). They might not understand the words of davening, or why they are doing the mitzvos. But they serve Hashem with all of their heart, with the feeling of emunah!

One main difference between the two ways is that our mind is limited, but our heart is not!

Our minds can think about many deep and great things, but we can’t understand EVERYTHING. But the heart with the feeling of emunah has no limit! It can connect to Hashem in a very deep and strong way.

When Moshiach comes, he will show us how special it is to serve Hashem with our heart, even if we don’t understand! We will see how the simple Yidden who are serving Hashem with pure emunah are doing such a special avodah! We will realize how important it is to serve Hashem with our whole heart.



Shiur #164 - Mitzvas Asei #84, #85, Lo Saasei #90

Today we learn 3 mitzvos about bringing korbanos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #84) We are only allowed to bring Korbanos in the Beis Hamikdash.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: וְשָׁם תַּעֲשֶׂה כֹּל אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּךָּ

2) (Mitzvas Asei #85) If someone who lives outside of Eretz Yisroel promises to bring a korban, it is a mitzvah for him to bring it. He needs to bring his korban to the Beis Hamikdash even though Eretz Yisroel is very far away and it is very hard for him to get to Yerushalayim!

We learn this mitzvah from another posuk in Parshas Reeh: רַק קָדָשֶׁיךָ אֲשֶׁר יִהְיוּ לְךָ וּנְדָרֶיךָ תִּשָּׂא וּבָאתָ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #90) It is asur to shecht any animal that is supposed to be for a korban, outside of the Beis Hamikdash.

This mitzvah comes from a posuk in Parshas Acharei: אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט שׁוֹר אוֹ כֶשֶׂב אוֹ עֵז בַּמַּחֲנֶה אוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחָט מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְאֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא הֱבִיאוֹ לְהַקְרִיב קָרְבָּן לַה׳ לִפְנֵי מִשְׁכַּן ה׳ דָּם יֵחָשֵׁב לָאִישׁ הַהוּא דָּם שָׁפָךְ וְנִכְרַת

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Perek Yud-Gimmel of Mesechta Zevachim.



Hilchos Maaseh HaKorbanos

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about promises to bring korbanos, and about not bringing korbanos outside of the Beis Hamikdash.

Perek Tes-Zayin: Sometimes a person makes a promise to bring a certain kind of animal for a korban. What if he wants to (or needs) to change? There are times when we are allowed to do it differently than we said, but other times when we can’t! For example, if someone promises to bring a BIG animal, he can’t bring a little one. But if he says he will bring a little one, he CAN bring a big one.

Perek Yud-Zayin: We need to be careful to bring the korban just like we said — so if someone promises to bring flour in ONE container, he can’t bring it in two smaller containers. We also learn about how much wine or oil a person should bring if they promised to bring it as a present for Hashem: It needs to be at least the amount that would be brought as the Mincha or Nesech of a korban!

Perek Yud-Ches: It is a mitzvah not to bring a korban outside of the Beis Hamikdash.



Hilchos Chomeitz U'Matzah - Perek Zayin

In this perek we learn about the mitzvah of telling over the Yetziyas Mitzrayim on Pesach, leaning (haseiba), drinking four kosos, and the mitzvah of eating maror.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is Didan Notzach! The Rebbe announced that this day will be a “Yom Segulah Ve’eis Ratzon,” a day that will have special kedusha and kochos in it.

You surely have heard and read the story about Hey Teves many times. But “Hayamim Ha’eileh Nizkarim Ve’naasim,” “these days need to be retold and they happen again.” When we take time on this day to tell over what happened, the story happens again in Ruchnius. This gives us koach to learn lessons from Hey Teves and be a keili to receive the brachos from it!

The Rebbe brought a story from a Medrash about the inyan of Didan Notzach:

In the times of the Gemara, there was a group of Yidden that were living in a certain town. One day, a good Ruach (like a malach) came to an Amora in that town to tell him something: The Ruach said that it used to protect the river near the town, so nothing would happen to the Yidden there. But now there was a bad Ruach that was going to come at a certain time, and wanted to hurt the Yidden!

“So what should I do?” the Amora asked.

The Ruach answered, “Tell all of the people of the town to take the tools they use for building and digging, and come at the time of danger to the river. Start making loud noise and bang with your tools, and shout out ‘Didan Notzach! Victory is ours!’”

The Amora followed the advice of the Ruach, and all the people went to the river and banged with their tools, shouting Didan Notzach. After making all this noise, they saw a drop of blood on the water in the river! This was a sign that the bad Ruach had lost its chayus and that the Yidden were now safe.

The Rebbe explains the meaning of this Medrash: The two Ruchos are the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara doesn’t want us to think about the Aibershter, and to follow the horaos of the Nasi HaDor.

When we all go together with chayus and scream at our Yetzer Hara, “Didan Notzach!” “We are going to live the way the Torah teaches us and follow the Rebbe’s horaos!” then the Yetzer Hara will lose all of its koach, and the Yetzer Tov will win — Didan Notzach!

See Sicha Yud-Beis Teves Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Ve'ahavta

The tenth posuk in the Yud-Beis Pesukim is the posuk of Ve’ahavta.

Ve’ahavta Lereiacha Kamocha — You should love your friend like yourself!

Rabbi Akiva Omer — Rabbi Akiva says about this

Zeh Klal Gadol BaTorah — That it is a very important rule in the Torah!

This posuk speaks about the very special mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel!

The Rambam tells us that there are two main ways we keep this mitzvah: We should be as careful with our friend’s kavod as we are with our own kavod, and we should be as careful with our friend’s money as we are with our own money!

A person’s kavod is very important to them. We don’t like being embarrassed in front of other people, or when other people make us feel silly or left out. Part of the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel is to be careful about other people’s kavod too! We should be careful not to embarrass other people or make them feel left out.

A person’s money is also important to them. We don’t like if people ruin our things, or make us spend money that we worked hard to earn for no reason. Part of Ahavas Yisroel is being careful with other people’s money too! We should be careful with their toys and their books, and not make them spend money when they don’t want to.

Even though, as we learned before, this mitzvah includes all of the mitzvos Bein Adam Lechaveiro, the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch bring these two specific things which we learn from this mitzvah itself.

When we do that, we are following one of the lessons of this posuk!



Hanhagos for Hey Teves

We celebrate each Yom Tov with a special mitzvah. We celebrate Pesach with eating matzah, we celebrate Rosh Hashana by hearing the shofar, and we celebrate Chanukah by lighting the menorah. How do we celebrate Hey Teves?

The Rebbe taught us that on Hey Teves, we need to make sure that the seforim win!

How do we do that? By setting up times to learn Torah, especially learning together with others! We should especially try to add in learning things that help us act the way Hashem wants us to, like learning halachos in Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, and learning Chassidus. We should try to inspire others to do it too!

We also buy seforim to make our libraries bigger. It is VERY important for kids to buy seforim for their Cheder Tzivos Hashem. They should try to buy new seforim of the Rebbeim, and other holy seforim.

See sefer Halachos Uminhagei Chabad p. 124

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



Bayis Molei Seforim

One of the reasons we are very excited about Moshiach coming is having the third Beis Hamikdash!

By doing our avodah in Golus in a way of “building the Beis Hamikdash,” we will be doing our part to make it happen!

One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that our homes and our rooms (including children’s rooms) are like a Beis Hamikdash. We should make sure that they are used for Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chasadim. We should make sure our homes are a Bayis Molei Seforim, filled with holy seforim. Even if there is a room WITHOUT seforim, we should make sure that it is filled with the horaos of seforim, that we use it the way the Torah says it should be used!

Sefer Hasichos 5751 chelek alef, Hey Teves, p. 215

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