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Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Paraoh makes Yosef second to the king. He starts collecting food for the hunger, and has two sons, Menasheh and Efrayim.

Paraoh said to Yosef, “Just like you said, we need a very smart person to be in charge of the food. Since Hashem made YOU know about this and nobody else, that means that there is nobody as smart as you! I am making you in charge of saving the food. Everyone will have to listen to you, and even though I am still the king, you can do anything just like a king.” (Paraoh ignored what the butler said, that Yosef wouldn’t be a good person to have a job for the king.) He gave Yosef his ring, and fancy clothes, and a special necklace that shows he is a big officer. 

Paraoh had Yosef ride through the city in one of the royal carriages, telling everyone to bend their knees in front of Yosef. He said to Yosef in front of everyone: “I am Paraoh, and I am in charge. I am making a decree that nobody can even hold weapons or ride on a horse without your permission!”

Paraoh gave Yosef the name “Tzofnas Paneiach,” which means “the one who explains hidden things” (because he explained the dream that nobody understood) and gave him Osnas, Potifera’s daughter, to marry. (Potifera is the name the Torah now uses for Potifar.) Yosef was now 30 years old, and he went all around Mitzrayim to save food for the hunger years, when nothing will grow.

During the seven years when there was a lot of food, people brought grain to the storehouses where they would keep all of it. They took some of the earth from the places where it grew, to help keep it from going bad. There was so much grain, more than could be counted!

Yosef had two sons before the hunger years started. One son was called Menasheh, which means “makes you forget.” Hashem made Yosef forget the hard years he went through, and he wanted to thank Hashem for that! He also chose this name to help him remember that he is a Yid, because being so great can chas veshalom make a person easily forget. The second son was called Efrayim, because Hashem made him grow in Mitzrayim.



119 (second half)

Today’s Tehillim is the second half of Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes.

Today we are saying the second half of the longest Kapitel in the whole Tehillim! The last posuk says, “To’isi KeSeh Oved, Bakeish Avdecha, Ki Mitzvosecha Lo Shochochti.” “I got lost like a stray sheep, please Hashem, find me, because I didn’t forget Your mitzvos!”

Why did Dovid Hamelech say that Hashem should find him because he didn’t FORGET His mitzvos — why didn’t he say because he was DOING all of the mitzvos?

We can find the answer in the posuk! Dovid Hamelech is saying this posuk for all of the Yidden, how we feel during Golus. We ask Hashem to remember us. We can’t say that we are DOING all the mitzvos of Hashem, because we can’t keep so many of them without a Beis Hamikdash and without living in Eretz Yisroel. But we REMEMBER them!

Most of the day we are busy doing everyday things, and not only doing mitzvos. But even when we are doing “regular” things, we are still thinking about mitzvos, and how we are connected to Hashem. One way we do this is by learning Rambam and Sefer Hamitzvos, so every year we have remembered all of the 613 mitzvos!

When we do this, “Bakeish Avdecha” — Hashem will find us, and bring the Geulah!



Likutei Amarim Perek Beis

Yesterday we talked about the first nefesh in a Yid. Today we are going to talk about the second nefesh. The second nefesh, the Alter Rebbe tells us, is a Chelek Elokah Mimaal Mamosh — a part of Hashem! 

The first person who got this neshama was Adam Harishon, and later on it was passed on just to Yidden.

The posuk says that Hashem “blew” this neshama into Adam. This example of blowing shows that the neshama comes from a place very deep inside. You know that you can talk for a long time and not get tired, but if you try to blow for just a minute you can get all tired! That’s because blowing comes from much deeper inside.

Yidden are also called Hashem’s children, which shows that they are so close to Him. 

EVERYTHING really comes from Hashem, but that chayus of Hashem is much more hidden. The way Hashem creates the world is compared to how a person talks. But Yidden have a neshama that Hashem “blows” into us from deep inside.

There are many different levels in neshamos, like the neshamos of the Avos and Moshe Rabbeinu, and the neshamos of our time right before Moshiach comes, which are much smaller neshamos. Still, every single neshama comes from the deepest part of Hashem! To come into a body, the neshama goes through different stops, and it can be hard to recognize where the neshama is originally from.

That’s why Hashem gives us a mitzvah called “Ledavka Bo” — to stay connected to Hashem. The Gemara explains that this means that we should be connected to the Talmidei Chachomim, and through that will be connected to Hashem. Tzadikim and leaders of the generation have neshamos that don’t go through as many stops before they come into a body, so their neshamos are closer to Hashem! So for a regular neshama to stay connected when it’s in a Gashmius’dike body, it needs to have hiskashrus to the tzadik of his generation. By following the horaos of the tzadik, every neshama is able to be connected closely to the deepest part of Hashem.

In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe is going to teach us the “long short way” of serving Hashem. To follow this way, we need to make our neshama strong so that it controls the body and can feel love and fear of Hashem. We see that the first step to make sure our neshama is strong is to know that we need to have hiskashrus to the Rebbe of our generation! That is the foundation that will make sure we are successful in the derech of Avodas Hashem that the Tanya teaches us.

The Alter Rebbe adds at the end of this perek that even though this neshama comes straight from Hashem, the kedusha that the parents have makes a difference to the “clothes” the neshama has — how aidel the neshama will feel in this world.



Chof-Vov Kislev

Chassidishe Minhagim for Shabbos Chanukah: We have farbrengens because it is Shabbos Mevorchim. In the year the Hayom Yom was written, Vesein Tal Umatar was started Motzei Shabbos Chanukah. We light the menorah after Havdalah, before we say V’yitein Lecha. In Shul, first we light the menorah, and then we say Havdalah.

On Shabbos Mevorchim, Chassidim should come to shul early to say the whole Tehillim. Then, study a maamar for about an hour, in a way that everyone can understand, and after that daven. The time of the farbrengen is different depending on where you live — whatever is best for your place.

With a minyan, after saying each book of Tehillim on Shabbos Mevorchim, an avel (mourner) or a person who has yartzeit says Kaddish.



Mitzvas Asei #150, #151, #152, Lo Saasei #172, #174

Today we learn many of mitzvos about eating Kosher!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #150) We have a mitzvah to check to make sure a bird is a kosher kind before we eat it!

2) (Mitzvas Asei #151) We have a mitzvah to check to make sure a grasshopper is a kosher kind before we eat it.

3) (Mitzvas Asei #152) We have a mitzvah to check and make sure fish are kosher kinds before eating them.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #172) We are not allowed to eat a non-kosher animal.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #174) We are not allowed to eat a non-kosher bird.



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

Today’s Rambam teaches us many halachos about kosher animals! We learn about bugs in food or water, about food that comes from a non-kosher animal, and an animal that was sick or hurt before it was shechted (treifa), or an animal that died without being shechted (neveila).

Usually, food that comes from a non-kosher animal is not kosher. So milk from a non-kosher animal is not kosher, and eggs from a non-kosher bird aren’t kosher.

But here’s one thing that comes from a non-kosher animal that we CAN eat: Honey! The Rambam explains that really the honey doesn’t come FROM the bees — the bees collect herbs or pollen from flowers and store it for later by making it into honey.



Hilchos Shemitah VeYovel - Perek Zayin

We are allowed to gather food that grew by itself during Shemitah to eat during Shemitah. But once that kind of food stops growing, we aren’t allowed to have it in our house anymore! So once the grapes are all finished for the year, and there are no more grapes in the vineyards, we can’t have them at home either. We need to do “Biur” (like Biur Chometz!) of all of that food! On the day of biur, we can try to give out whatever Shemitah grapes or raisins we have left for people to eat that day, and whatever is left needs to be burned.




Are you a soldier in Tzivos Hashem? Did you know that it’s like being in a real army?

In a real army, soldiers have a general who gives orders. In a time of war, the general figures out the best way to win the war. He gives an order every day to make sure that the army does an important piece of his plan, to make sure they will win! That’s the “order of the day,” the special task that needs to be done to win the war.

In our army, Tzivos Hashem, we have an “Order of the Day” too! Our general, the Rebbe, tells us that our order for each day is the lessons we learn from the daily shiurim, Chitas and Sefer Hamitzvos. When we learn the shiurim, we will figure out the special order for today, which will help us win the war against the Yetzer Hara and bring Moshiach!

In the army, some days there will be special missions too! Sometimes the soldiers will do a surprise attack, or will need to fight extra hard because the enemy is coming closer.

In our army, we also have special missions! Sometimes it is a mission about a Yom Tov, or because of something serious that happens in the world. Our special missions are very important!

At the rallies for the Yomim Tovim, the Rebbe often told the soldiers of Tzivos Hashem about their special mission.

From a sicha on the 5th night of Chanukah, 5747


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Part of the mitzvah of Chanukah is to praise and thank Hashem, Hallel and Hoda’ah. We praise Hashem by saying the whole Hallel every day of Chanukah, and we thank Hashem by adding Ve’al Hanisim in Shemoneh Esrei.

In Hallel, we praise Hashem that He runs the world exactly the way He wants, even when it is “against the rules!” The world usually works with the rules of teva (nature), but Hashem doesn’t HAVE TO use them! When Hashem wants to, “Hahofchi Hatzur Agam Mayim” — He can change a rock into a fountain of water! We say, “Veilokeinu Bashamayim Kol Asher Chofeitz Asa” — Hashem runs the world however He wants to, no matter how nature says it is supposed to work.

The neis of Chanukah happened just like that! Hashem didn’t listen to any of the rules of teva. Hashem made the small Yiddishe army win over the gigantic Greek army, and made a small bottle of oil burn for 8 days!



Tzedakah on Chanukah

The Meforshim in the Shulchan Aruch talk about giving tzedakah on Chanukah. They say that on Chanukah, we need to give EXTRA tzedakah. But we don’t only give extra MONEY to tzedakah, we also need to give extra tzedakah from OURSELVES, from our time and our energy!

The Rebbe tells us that a very important way to give tzedakah from ourselves is to do extra mivtzoyim. This way, we are also giving Ruchnius’dike tzedakah to others in honor of Chanukah!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek Hey, sicha of Chanukah and in Hosafos

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




It is written in seforim that the dreidel is connected to Moshiach, because the letters “Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Shin” are the same Gematria as the word Moshiach!

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