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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayechi - Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, the last shevet gets his bracha, and all of the shevatim are also included in everyone else’s brachos! Yaakov Avinu passes away and is buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah.

Now Yaakov gives a bracha to the last shevet, Benyamin. His bracha is that he should be like a wolf, who grabs its food. One reason for this bracha is that the mizbeiach of the Beis Hamikdosh will be in Benyamin’s part of Eretz Yisroel. The mizbeiach will “eat” all of the korbanos, like a wolf grabs its food!

Even though it looks like Reuven, Shimon, and Levi didn’t get brachos, really they ALL got brachos. In fact, they all got the same brachos, but each shevet got one special bracha that they got a lot of.

Yaakov knew he was going to pass away. He asked his sons to bury him in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, with the other Avos and Leah Imeinu. Only the Shevatim and their children should help, not any Mitzriyim.

Yaakov told them to carry his Aron the same way the Yidden will camp around the Mishkan. Levi shouldn’t help, because his family will carry the Aron in the Mishkan, and Yosef shouldn’t either because it’s not right for the second to the king to do it. Menasheh and Efrayim will help carry it instead.

Then Yaakov lay down, and his neshama left his body. But the Torah doesn’t say that Yaakov passed away! Since Yaakov’s whole life was to raise his children to go in the way of Hashem, as long as his children are still going in the way of Hashem, his neshama is still alive in this world! It is doing its job through his children who are alive in this world, and living in the way that he taught! 

Yosef saw that his father’s holy Guf had finished its job in the world, and he cried. He went to Paraoh and told him that he made a shvuah to bury Yaakov in Eretz Yisroel. Paraoh really wanted to keep Yaakov’s body in Mitzrayim for an Avodah Zarah, but he knew that he couldn’t tell Yosef to break his promise. If he did, Yosef might break a promise that HE made to Paraoh, and tell everyone that Paraoh didn’t know Lashon Kodesh!

Many people joined Yaakov’s levayah. When the kings of Canaan heard that the Shevatim were coming, they came out to make a war. But when they came, they saw Yosef’s crown on top of Yaakov’s Aron. Instead of fighting, they put their crowns there too, out of respect.

When the Shevatim got to Chevron, they buried Yaakov in Me’aras Hamachpeila, and then they all went back to Mitzrayim.

The shevatim were worried that Yosef wouldn’t be as nice to them anymore after Yaakov passed away. They weren’t sure he forgave them yet for selling him. They told Yosef that Yaakov asked him to forgive them. Even though it wasn’t really true, they said it so there would be shalom in the family.

Yosef answered that Hashem WANTED his brothers to sell him, so he could take care of them! They shouldn’t be worried, Hashem doesn’t want any of them to be hurt.

 
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TEHILLIM

69 - 71

Today’s kapitelach are Samach-Tes, Ayin, and Ayin-Alef.

One of the pesukim in Kapitel Samech-Tes is “Va’ani Sefilosi Lecha Hashem Eis Ratzon.” We say this posuk every day in (can you guess?) Mah Tovu.

There is another place we say this posuk as well — before we take the Torah out on Shabbos at Mincha time. The posuk means that when we daven it’s a very special time. The reason why we say it by Mincha on Shabbos is because that’s ALSO a very special time, the most special time of the whole Shabbos!

 
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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Alef

In today’s Tanya, the entire Perek Yud-Alef, we learn about a Rasha.

Yesterday we learned that a Tzadik takes control of himself and the Yetzer Hara has no say.

Today we learn that the opposite can happen Chas Veshalom if a person lets his Yetzer Hara behave however it wants: It can end up controlling the person, and the Yetzer Tov won’t be able to say anything. This is what the Alter Rebbe calls a Rasha.

By some people the Yetzer Hara can take control only once in a while, or only with a certain aveira. For other people, the Yetzer Hara can be in control more often, and with more aveiros.

We said that with a Tzadik She’aino Gamur, even though the Yetzer Tov is in charge there could still be some Yetzer Hara left inside. Even though it is there, it does not have a say. That’s also called a Tzadik Vera Lo, which means that he is a tzadik, but there is still something bad inside.

With a Rasha the opposite is possible. Even though the Yetzer Hara is in charge, the Yetzer Tov is still inside. It can make the person think and feel good things, even if it’s not strong enough to keep the person from doing the wrong thing. This is a Rasha VeTov Lo.

That’s why a person feels bad after he does an aveira. The good that’s inside of him is making him feel like he acted in the wrong way.

A Rasha VeRa Lo is someone who got so used to doing the wrong thing that the Yetzer Hara pushed the Yetzer Tov out. He can’t feel the good inside of him anymore, and won’t even feel bad for doing the aveira.

That’s the opposite of the Tzadik VeTov Lo, where the Yetzer Tov pushed the Yetzer Hara out completely, so he won’t feel anything bad inside.

But there is one very important difference between a Tzadik VeTov Lo and a Rasha VeRa Lo: The tzadik pushed the Yetzer Hara out completely, but the rasha can never lose his neshama and the chayus of Hashem that is there! It is just that he can’t feel it, and so it stays in a way called makif until he does teshuvah.

That’s why the Chachomim say that when ten Yidden come together, the Shechinah is there. This is true even if they are resha’im, because of the makif chayus that is always there in EVERY Yid.

So what does a person do if his Yetzer Tov isn’t strong enough? What if he’s so used to doing something he shouldn’t be doing, that he can’t control himself? One thing he can do is to get help from someone else to help his Yetzer Tov become stronger, so he will be able to choose to do the right thing again! (Like we learned in Hayom Yom, when two people talk together to become stronger in their Avodas Hashem, there are two Yetzer Tovs fighting against one Yetzer Hara.)

 
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HAYOM YOM

Yud-Gimmel Teves

When we act the way Chassidus teaches, sometimes we don’t even need to work very hard to bring Yidden closer to Yiddishkeit!

If you put a lantern outside in the dark, people will gather around, because they like to be around light. If you are a “lantern” shining with Torah and Chassidus, people will want to come closer to you too! They will want to become closer to Yiddishkeit when they see how you act.

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #158 - Mitzvas Asei #60, Lo Saasei #100, #98, Asei #62, Lo Saasei #99

Today we learn five mitzvos that are all talking about what we SHOULD bring and what we CAN’T bring as a korban to Hashem.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #60) The first mitzvah is that a korban has to be a certain age to be a korban. Do you know how old? It has to be at least eight days old (like a baby for his bris)!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְהָיָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תַּחַת אִמּוֹ וּמִיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי וָהָלְאָה יֵרָצֶה לְקָרְבַּן

The details are explained in Sifra, and in the end of Mesechta Zevachim.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #100) The second mitzvah is not to bring an animal that was used for certain aveiros. Sometimes when people wanted to act in a non-tzniusdike way, they would pay someone else to help them. If someone used an animal to pay for this kind of aveira, it can’t be brought on the Mizbeiach — it’s not kovodik to bring it in front of Hashem.

This mitzvah comes from a posuk in Parshas Ki Seitzei: וּמִיַּד בֶּן נֵכָר לֹא תַקְרִיבוּ

The details of the mitzvah are explained in Perek Vov of Mesechta Temurah.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #98) The third mitzvah is that we are not allowed to bring HONEY or CHOMETZ with a korban. All of the korbanos in the Beis Hamikdash, even the ones with flour cakes, were Kosher L’Pesach (except for one on Shavuos, that we’ll IY”H learn in a different mitzvah)!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vayikra, that you might know because we say it in Korbanos every morning! כִּי כָל שְׂאֹר וְכָל דְּבַשׁ לֹא תַקְטִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ אִשֶּׁה לַה׳

4) (Mitzvas Asei #62) It is a mitzvah to bring salt with every korban. (There was a pile of salt on the ramp of the Mizbeiach for this!)

This mitzvah comes from another posuk in Parshas Vayikra: עַל כָּל קָרְבָּנְךָ תַּקְרִיב מֶלַח

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Sifra, and in a few places in Mesechta Menachos.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #99) It is a mitzvas Lo Saasei that we are not allowed to bring a korban WITHOUT salt.

We learn this mitzvah from different words in the same posuk from Parshas Vayikra: וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּית מֶלַח בְּרִית אֱלֹקֶיךָ

The details are explained in Perek Zayin of Mesechta Zevachim.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach

In today's Rambam, we learn halachos that explain these mitzvos.

Perek Hey: We learn about today’s mitzvah of not bringing a korban with honey or Chometz, and other kinds of things we can’t use for korbanos — like using stolen wood for the fire on the Mizbeiach. We also learn about using salt with the Korban.

Perek Vov: We learn that not only can the ANIMAL not have a mum, but ALL of the things on the Mizbeiach need to be good and not ruined! That means that the wood, the oil, the wine, and all of the other things we use can not be rotten or broken.

Perek Zayin: The Rambam teaches us that it’s not enough just to find an animal without a mum, we need to find the BEST one for Hashem. In fact, ALL of the mitzvos we do for Hashem should be with the best! The shul should look nicer than our house, and we should give poor people from our BEST food and clothes!

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Shecheinim - Perek Ches

We are learning about how to be a good neighbor according to Torah.

Perek Ches teaches us about when a person can build something that reaches out over his neighbor’s yard, like a porch. If his neighbor knew about it and didn’t stop him, the neighbor can’t change his mind later. But building a sukkah doesn’t prove anything, unless it stays up for a whole month after Sukkos, because everyone knows that a sukkah isn’t meant to stay!

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

New Maamar

In Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin, the year when we got the good news of Hey Teves, the Chassidim were still dancing for a whole week! The Shabbos afterwards, Parshas Vayechi, the Rebbe spoke about what we need to learn from Hey Teves.

The Rebbe said that what happened was a nisayon, a test. But the word nisayon is also connected to the word neis! Not only does neis mean a miracle, it means elevation, to bring something higher. The main thing we have from what happened on Hey Teves is that it brought us to a higher level in spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus. THAT is the main thing!

Then the Rebbe said that something practical we need to take from this is that when a new sefer, or maamar, or kuntres is printed, EVERYONE needs to learn it! We shouldn’t say that someone else will learn it, we should feel like it was printed for US!

One of the new publications for this week, Parshas Vayechi 5780, is a new maamar of the Alter Rebbe! It was printed in other versions, but this is the first time it is being printed the way the Mitteler Rebbe wrote it.

This was a maamar said on Friday night, Parshas Vayechi, Tof-Kuf-Samach-Hey. It is based on the words of the Zohar, and explains what happens on Shabbos in Ruchnius, especially what happens in Ruchnius when we eat the Shabbos seudos! Every Shabbos, we get brachos for the next week. The way we bring down these brachos is by tasting and eating the Shabbos meals!

See Maamar Bezohar Ichlu Reiyim

 

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TEFILLAH

Baruch Sheim

The words of Shema come from the Torah. But in the Torah, it says, “Shema Yisroel... Hashem Echod. Ve’ahavta Eis Hashem Elokecha.” Why do we add “Baruch Sheim” after the first line of Shema?

Before Yaakov Avinu was nistalek, he wanted to tell his children when Moshiach would come. But the Shechinah left him, because Hashem didn’t want him to tell them. Yaakov Avinu was worried that maybe the Shechinah left because some of his children didn’t believe in Hashem properly!

All of his children answered, “Shema Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echod!” “Listen our father Yisroel, we all believe that Hashem is our Aibershter, and Hashem is only One!”

Yaakov Avinu was so happy to hear this! He praised Hashem, saying, “Boruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso Le’olam Va’ed!” “May Hashem’s holy Name be blessed forever!”

Because of this, it became a minhag for Yidden to add the praise of Yaakov Avinu after we say Shema.

See Rambam, Hilchos Tefillah and Rashi, Parshas Vayechi

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Netilas Yodayim

After we wash our hands well, so that the water covers our entire hands, we lift our hands up, as high as our heart, and make the bracha.

By Netilas Yodayim in the morning, we lift our hands up separately, and as high as our peyos. But when we are washing Netilas Yodayim for bread, we lift them up together, and only as high as our heart.

We should hold a little bit of the water from washing in our hands, which we will use when rubbing our hands together, called “shifshuf.” We will IY”H learn more about Shifshuf later.

See Seder Netilas Yodayim L’Seudah se’if daled

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

Chazak, Chazak, Venischazek!

This week is also called Shabbos Chazak!

Why?

Because this week, Parshas Vayechi, we finish a whole sefer of Chumash, Chumash Bereishis! In shul, when we finish leining the parsha, we all say, “Chazak, Chazak, Venis’chazek!” “Be strong, be strong, and you will be made strong!”

Learning a part of Torah, especially a whole Chumash, gives us strength and koach to go on, because of the lessons we learned from it.

The Torah isn’t just stories about things that happened a long time ago. The Torah is “nitzchis,” it is forever — the things we learn about in Torah are always happening in a Ruchnius’dike way!

When we learn Torah, we also need to listen to the Ruchnius message of what the Torah is telling us, to give us koach in our lives today.

Now that we are finishing Chumash Bereishis, we should take time to think about the koach we got from this sefer:

Throughout Chumash Bereishis, we see that Hashem is making promises — Hashem promises the Avos, starting from the Bris Bein Habesarim to Avraham Avinu, that the Yidden will get Eretz Yisroel. We see the promises and brachos given to the Shevatim, and the promise Yosef Hatzadik gives the Yidden, that Hashem will not forget them and will take them out of the Golus of Mitzrayim.

These promises were not just for then, they are promises to us today also! Now we are also in Golus, but Hashem’s promise did not change! Hashem promises that He will take us out of Golus and bring us back to Eretz Yisroel.

This is even more important to think about now, since the Rebbe tells us how close we are to the Geulah! Even though things might be hard, Hashem promises to remember us and take us out of Golus to the Geulah Sheleimah!

Based on farbrengen Parshas Vayechi 5747

 
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