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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayigash - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Yosef and Yaakov finally meet again. Yosef brings his brothers and father to Yaakov, and Yaakov gives Paraoh a bracha.

Yaakov’s whole family was coming down to Mitzrayim! Yaakov sent Yehudah to hurry ahead, to get things ready for everyone else. What’s the most important thing he needed to get ready? To set up a place to learn Torah, a yeshiva!

Finally, the whole family came to Goshen. Yosef came to meet them right away! In honor of seeing his father, Yosef set up his carriage by himself instead of having a servant do it.

When Yosef saw his father, he hugged him and cried for a long time. Yaakov did not do anything then, because he was in the middle of reading Shema and was not allowed to interrupt.

When he finished, Yaakov said to Yosef, “Now I can die happy, because I can see you and I know that you’re still alive.”

Yosef told his whole family that he would tell Paraoh that they are shepherds, and they have their sheep with them. He told them that if Paraoh would ask, they should also say they that they are shepherds. This way, Paraoh will have them live in Goshen, the best part of Mitzrayim, where there is plenty of grass for sheep to eat. Goshen isn’t so close to the big cities of Mitzrayim, and the Goyim won’t have to see them taking care of sheep to shecht later. This would bother the Mitzriyim, who used sheep as Avodah Zarah.

Yosef brought some of his brothers to Paraoh, and Paraoh did tell Yosef exactly what he had wanted, that his brothers should live in Goshen. Paraoh asked them to take care of his own (Paraoh’s) sheep too.

Yosef then brought his father Yaakov to Paraoh. Paraoh asked Yaakov how old he was, and Yaakov answered that he was 130 years old. But those were 130 HARD years, not happy years like his father’s and grandfather’s! Then Yaakov gave him a bracha that whenever Paraoh would come to the Nilus river, it would overflow and water the ground in Mitzrayim. This way, the hunger would be over!

When the Mitzriyim saw that the bracha of Yaakov, who believed in Hashem, is what made the Nilus overflow, they didn’t believe in the Nilus as an Avodah Zarah as much anymore.

 
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TEHILLIM

55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes.

In Kapitel Nun-Hey, Dovid Hamelech says “Erev VaVoker VeTzohorayim Osicha,” that he davens to Hashem in the night, the morning, and the afternoon.

The Rebbe explains why the posuk says Maariv before Shacharis and Mincha. This is because Dovid Hamelech is saying that the Maariv of the night before is the Tefillah which gives Chayus for the whole next day. So Maariv isn’t just finishing off the day before, it also gives chayus and starts off the next day!

When you say Shema at night, the same thing happens! It finishes off the day, but it also gives you chayus and koach for whatever will happen tomorrow!

 
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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Tes

Now that we know where the Nefashos are in our bodies, the Alter Rebbe is going to tell us what happens with them:

The body is like a city which two kings are fighting over. Each one wants to be in charge, so everyone will say that THEY are the king and everyone needs to listen to whatever they say!

The two kings are the two nefashos. The Nefesh Elokis wants to be the only one in charge, so that the whole body will listen to it and only do mitzvos and good things — and that even the Nefesh Habehamis should listen to it! The Nefesh Habehamis wants the same thing! He wants to be the only one in charge of the body, so the body will only listen to it!

And they are always fighting!

The truth is that Hashem only gave us the “other king,” the Nefesh Habehamis, to make us strong. When you have to fight, you become stubborn and strong! Since that’s the job Hashem gave the Nefesh Habehamis, he really doesn’t want us to do the wrong thing — he WANTS to lose the war, because that’s why Hashem sent him!

It is written in Seforim that if a person is not sure if they did the right thing, they should see how they feel afterwards. If they’re happy, it means it was the right thing. The reason is that the Yetzer Hara is happy when you don’t listen to it!

So if you do the right thing, everyone is happy — the Yetzer Tov (because you did the right thing) and the Yetzer Hara (because you won over him)! If someone chas veshalom doesn’t do the right thing, nobody is happy — not the Yetzer Tov, and not even the Yetzer Hara.

 
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HAYOM YOM

Yud Teves

Today is a fast day. We say Selichos in Davening, and the long Avinu Malkeinu.

When we daven Mincha on a fast day, we read the Torah. The haftorah for a fast day is from Yeshayahu. There is a posuk there that says, “Yaazov Rasha Darko, Ve’ish Avon Machshevosav.” This means, “A rasha should leave his path, and a person should leave the aveiros in his mind.”

The Tzemach Tzedek once explained this posuk to a chossid in Yechidus:

The word “avon”, which means an aveira, can be changed (by switching the nekudos) to say “oin,” which means strong. The Tzemach Tzedek said to the chossid, “If a person has very strong opinions, and isn’t ready to listen to other people, that is also something they need to do teshuva for. Because when people don’t listen to each other, it brings to the opposite of Ahavas Yisroel.”

So just like a rasha needs to stop what he is doing, a person needs to leave the “oin” (stubbornness) of what he thinks — not to always say “I think, I say so, I know.” Because if a person only thinks about their own opinions, it brings machlokes between people.

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #169 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #132

(Mitzvas Lo Saasei #132) If a kohen was thinking the wrong thing when he brought a korban, like if he planned to bring it on the Mizbeiach or eat it after the time he is allowed to, the korban becomes “Pigul.”

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tetzaveh: לֹא יֹאכַל כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הֵם

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Temidin U'Musafin - Pesulei HaMukdashin

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about what can make a Korban Posul:

Perek Beis: The blood of a korban needs to be sprinkled on the Mizbeiach in a certain way. If it is done wrong, it can make the Korban posul.

Perek Gimmel: What happens if a korban that became posul was brought onto the Mizbeiach, or it was put into the keilim of the Beis Hamikdash? Sometimes, once it is already on the Mizbeiach or in the keilim, we need to bring up the korban even though it is posul.

Perek Daled: We learn what happens to a Chatas and an Asham that can’t be brought as korbanos.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Shofar V'Sukah V'Lulav - Perek Gimmel

In this perek we finish learning the halachos of the shofar. We learn how to blow the shofar, including about the three kinds of sounds, Tekiyah, Shevarim, and Teruah.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Asara BeTeves

On Asara B’Teves, in the time of the first Beis Hamikdash, Nevuchadnetzar’s armies camped around Yerushalayim, not letting anyone out or in — even to bring food. Less than three years later, on Tes Tamuz*, the army of Bavel broke into Yerushalayim, and on Tisha B’Av the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. That’s why adults fast today.

(*In the time of the second Beis Hamikdosh, the walls were broken on Shiva Asar B’Tamuz, so the fast was pushed off until then.)

The Gemara says that the reward that a person gets on a fast day is for the tzedakah that he gives, even more than the reward that we get for fasting! It is important to remember to give extra tzedakah, which is the minhag on a fast day.

We should also take some time during the fast to think about the reason for these fasts in general, and Asara B’Teves specifically, and make good hachlatos in our heart to be better in the future, so the reason for the fast will go away!

The Rebbe explains that one of the hidden messages of Asara B’Teves is Achdus. The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because Yidden didn’t have Ahavas Yisroel, so Hashem gave Nevuchadnetzar the idea to make a siege around Yerushalayim — forcing everyone to be together. This was a message to the Yidden, that they should learn to live together nicely, with Ahavas Yisroel!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the message then, but the potential was there to do teshuva and make a change.

In fact, there was a similar situation in the times of Chizkiyahu, which was much scarier! The army of Sancheriv, which was MUCH stronger than Nevuchadnetzar’s, and could have broken into the city right away, surrounded Yerushalayim.

But because of the tefillah of Chizkiyahu, the righteous king, Hashem made a big neis and took the Yidden out of danger! The Gemara even says that Hashem wanted to bring the Geulah sheleimah right then.

This shows us that even one Yid has the koach to change the situation of Golus, especially on a day like today, and bring the Geulah for all the Yidden!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof, p. 518; Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Hey, p. 267

 

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TEFILLAH

Torah Tziva

In the beginning of our siddur, there is a page with davening for young children. This is a short davening, with just Modeh Ani, Al Netilas Yodayim, Torah Tziva, the bracha on tzitzis (for boys), and Shema until Uvisharecha.

Why is the posuk Torah Tziva in davening?

The Gemara teaches that when a child starts to learn how to talk, we teach him the pesukim of Torah Tziva and Shema. These two pesukim are the first ones we should make sure kids know!

The Rebbe put these pesukim first in the Twelve Pesukim, and we see that they are also in the davening for young children!

Why is the posuk of Torah Tziva so important?

This posuk tells us that the Torah, which was commanded to us through Moshe Rabbeinu belongs to every Yid! The posuk says that it is “Morasha Kehillas Yaaakov,” a yerusha for Bnei Yisroel. A yerusha is something you get automatically, just for being! You don’t have to be a certain age, you don’t have to deserve it, or even know how to use it! The Torah is OUR yerusha, it belongs to each of us, no matter how old we are, just because we are Yidden!

The first thing we need to know, at the beginning of our chinuch, is that the Torah, which connects us to Hashem, belongs to every Yid from the day he is born!

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Fasting on Erev Shabbos

The only fast we keep on Erev Shabbos is Asara B’Teves, when it falls on Friday, like this year. Usually we try not to fast on Erev Shabbos, because it isn’t kavod for Shabbos.

The Chachomim say that if Asara B’Teves was on Shabbos (even though that can’t happen with our calendar), we might have to fast even on Shabbos!

One of the reasons why Asara B’Teves is such an important fast is that it was the very beginning of the Churban. When we work on a problem while it is still small, it is much easier to fix! If we had worked on our Ahavas Yisroel then, maybe the Churban would not have had to happen. So in one way, this is one of the most important fast days for the Beis Hamikdash.

Even though it is Erev Shabbos, we still keep most of the minhagim for a fast day.

On fast days, it is a minhag to give tzedakah before Mincha. Some people give the amount it would have cost them to eat that day. This way, even the food you DIDN’T eat becomes elevated to kedusha, through the money you gave to tzedakah!

Usually, in Mincha on a fast day we say the long Avinu Malkeinu. But since we don’t say Tachanun on Erev Shabbos, we do not say Avinu Malkeinu in Mincha this year.

We need to be careful not to break the fast early, and only make Kiddush when it is already night. But once it is already night, we should try to make Kiddush right away so that we aren’t fasting on Shabbos.

See Halacha Newsletter by Badatz of Crown Heights

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

 
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GEULAH U'MOSHIACH

Fast Days When Moshiach Comes

One of the sections of halacha in Rambam is called Hilchos Taaniyos, the halachos of the fast days. At the end of this section, the Rambam tells us that when Moshiach comes, the fasts are going to go away — instead they will become days of Sason and Simcha, joy and happiness!

There is an important reason why the Rambam tells us the halacha.

One of the basic rules of Torah is that Torah lasts forever. So how can the fasts, which are a part of Torah, go away?

That’s why the Rambam tells us here that the Torah planned the fast days to be this way from the beginning! While we are in Golus they will be days of fasting, and when Moshiach comes they will be Yomim Tovim!

So when the fasts go away, it isn’t that part of the Torah is going away, it is just that the fasts are turning into happy days like the Torah planned them to be from the beginning!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof p. 353, ha’arah 17

 
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