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Revi'i with Rashi

Eisav meets Yaakov’s family, and wants to go along with him. Yaakov knows he’ll change his mind, so he tells him no — they’ll meet at Har Seir (when Moshiach comes). Eisav does change his mind, but his army runs away because they are scared to fight Yaakov! Yaakov comes to Shechem, which is in Eretz Yisroel. He builds a mizbeiach to say thank you to Hashem.

All of Yaakov’s wives and children came forward and bowed to Eisav. Yosef went in front of his mother Rochel and stood up tall to block Eisav from seeing her, because he was afraid he would want to marry her since she was so beautiful. Because of this, Hashem rewarded him by making him great in Mitzrayim!

Eisav asked Yaakov, “Why did you send all of those people with presents? And why did you send the people (really malochim) who fought with me?”

Yaakov didn’t answer the second question, since it might make Eisav upset. He only answered about the presents: “I wanted you to be happy with me.”

Eisav said, “But I’m already very rich — I have more than I need. I don’t really need your money. You can keep your presents. You can also keep the bechorah you bought, you deserve it.”

Yaakov told Eisav to keep the presents. “Please keep them, I feel like I owe you something, because looking at you reminds me of the face of the malach that I fought with!” (Yaakov wanted Eisav to know that he was strong enough to win over a malach, so Eisav shouldn’t try to fight with him!) “I also owe you a present because you forgave me for taking the bechorah. I want you to have the presents. Don’t worry, Hashem is good to me and I have as much as I need.”

Eisav said, “Let’s go together now! I can go slower so I can come with you.”

But Yaakov knew that Eisav might change his mind about being nice, so he said, “I don’t want to bother you. I need to go VERY slow, because I have little kids and baby animals that might get sick if I try to make them travel too fast. So you go ahead, and later when I catch up, we’ll meet at Har Seir.” (Yaakov knew with Ruach Hakodesh that this would only happen when Moshiach comes.)

Eisav said he could leave some of his servants to go along with Yaakov, but Yaakov said that he didn’t want him to.

While Eisav was on his way to Seir, he changed his mind and wanted to fight Yaakov after all! But all of the 400 men with him were scared. They remembered how they tried to fight with the malochim that brought the presents, and they decided to run away. So Eisav didn’t have an army left to fight with!

Yaakov continued going and came to a new place. He lived there for a year and a half. For the summers he built sukkahs to live in, and for the winter he made stronger houses. So he called this place Sukkos.

Then Yaakov came to Shechem, which is in Canaan (which would later become Eretz Yisroel). The king of Shechem was called Chamor, and his son was called Shechem.

Even though he didn’t want to live there, Yaakov paid 100 coins for a little piece of Shechem because he loved Eretz Yisroel so much.

Yaakov was so thankful to Hashem for so many things! Hashem saved him from Lavan and from Eisav, made him rich, made his leg feel all better from when the malach hurt him, and didn’t let him forget any of the Torah he learned — even when he was working for Lavan! So he built a mizbeiach there, and called it “Keil Elokei Yisroel.”



69 - 71

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

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech asks Hashem “Al Tashlicheini Le’eis Ziknah!” “Don’t throw me on the side when I get old!” (This means, “Hashem please still take care of me when I am old,” and don’t throw me on the side like we do when we are finished using something.)

In a maamar, the Tzemach Tzedek brings an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov:

Dovid Hamelech is saying in this posuk that Hashem should never throw us into a time when the TORAH we learn feels old! When we learn Torah, we have to feel like it is new every day, and be excited to learn it just like we got it for the first time on Har Sinai!

The Rebbe explains why it says “Al Tashlicheini,” “don’t throw me” (instead of “don’t BRING me to that kind of time”):

In the world, time makes a very big difference. Something that happened yesterday isn’t as important anymore, and tomorrow didn’t happen yet! But for Hashem, and for Torah, things are the same no matter WHEN they happened. So the truth is that Hashem really IS giving us the Torah again every time we learn it!

We ask Hashem not to throw us into the worldly feeling, where we have restrictions like time. Instead, Hashem should let us feel higher than the limits of the world, so we can feel excited by the Torah every time we learn it — just like it’s new!



Kuntres Acharon

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe is answering a question: When we learn about halachos that are impossible to ever do, how does that help the world become more Ruchnius’dik?

All of the halachos and details of Torah talk about things that have kedusha and kelipah all mixed together. When we learn a halacha about something practical, even if we didn’t actually do it, it’s like we cleaned that part of the world, throwing away the kelipah part! That’s a special job for the neshama, which it does when it learns the halachos in the Torah.

But when we learn about a halacha that is NOT practical, then there is no part of the world to get cleaned from kelipah! So how does that make the world more Ruchnius’dik?

In Shomayim, there are kelipos that match with every halacha that speaks about something asur. When we learn halachos about impossible things, we are still able to clean away those kelipos in Shomayim.

The kelipos in Shomayim also affect the world. By learning the halachos that are connected to them, and separating them from the kedushah, it helps make the world more Ruchnius’dik!

When Moshiach comes, the world won’t have any kelipah mixed inside anymore — it will be ALL kedusha! Then we won’t need to learn halachos in order to separate the kedusha from the kelipah, we will learn them only to bring more kedusha into the world.



Yud-Gimmel Kislev

The Rebbe Rashab said:

Chassidus Meshaneh Es Hametzius, Umegaleh Es Hamehus.” Chassidus changes the way a person thinks, feels and acts, and shows us what we have inside — our neshama.

Chassidus changes what we do, but it doesn’t change who we are. It SHOWS us who we are — a neshama!

The neshama is a piece of Hashem, so just like we have no idea how special Hashem is, we also can’t imagine how precious a Neshama is!

Hashem made the neshama in a way that we can’t see how special the neshama is. Chassidus helps us understand how special it is, by teaching us that the neshama is really a part of Hashem. Chassidus shows us how to use the hidden chayus that is in our neshama to serve Hashem properly!



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #356, #216

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos we again learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #356) that if a husband and wife decide that they can’t be married anymore, they can change their minds unless the woman gets married to someone else in between. Once she gets married to another person, she can never get married to her first husband again.

We also learn another mitzvah today (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #216): If a man passes away before he had children, his brother needs to marry the man’s wife (unless he does Chalitzah, which we’ll learn about later IY”H). This is called Yibum. The details of this mitzvah are explained in Gemara, Mesechta Yevamos.



Hilchos Girushin - Yibum V'Chalitzah

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last perek of Hilchos Geirushin, and the first two perakim of Yibum V’Chalitzah.

In the last perek of Hilchos Gerushin, we learn about an agunah — a woman who THINKS her husband passed away, but we’re not sure. Like if a man was on a ship that sunk, we don’t know for sure what happened to him — maybe he was able to swim to an island somewhere.

An agunah is not allowed to get married to anyone else. Of course this is very sad for her.

In the time of the Tzemach Tzedek, there were unfortunately many agunos. The Tzemach Tzedek used to work very hard to find a way in halacha for agunos to be able to get married again! We see this through many answers in the seforim of halacha that the Tzemach Tzedek wrote.



Hilchos Bikurim - Perek Vov

Hafroshas Challah: We need to take challah from dough that will be baked for people to eat. Dough that will just be boiled (like spaghetti) we DON’T need to take challah from. We learn that there needs to be enough flour (about 3 pounds), and they need to be the kinds of flour that we use to make hamotzi bread (wheat, barley, oats, spelt, rye).



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today something very special happened.

We all know the story of Hey Teves. Part of the story is that there was an argument in a court to see who the seforim in Rebbe’s library belong to. The argument was to see if a Rebbe is just like any regular person, or if the Rebbe is special, and the Rebbe’s seforim are there for everyone to benefit from.

Whenever there is an argument in court, both sides need to come in and tell the judge what they think. Of course, the Chassidim didn’t think that it would be kavodik to make the Rebbe come to court!

When they explained it to the judge, he gave special permission not to make the Rebbe come, and not even to ask the Rebbe any questions! That’s something that doesn’t EVER happen!

The day the judge gave that special permission was today — Yud-Gimmel Kislev! Chassidim make it a special day, when even the government gives kavod to the Rebbe!

The special kavod to the Rebbe is because he is a shliach of Hashem, to help the Yidden in Gashmius and Ruchnius, and show them how to serve Hashem. If the goyim need to show kavod to the Rebbe, then certainly WE ourselves need to, by acting the way the Rebbe teaches us, and show the world how a chossid of the Rebbe acts!


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Shema and Shemoneh Esrei

In some places, Chassidus says that the main part of davening is Kriyas Shema and the rest is an explanation of it.

But in other places, it says that the main part of davening is Shemoneh Esrei, and the rest of davening is just a hachana for it.

The Rebbe explains how they are BOTH true!

There are two parts of us that come to daven: Our Nefesh Habehamis, and our Nefesh Elokis. What we try to do during davening is to start to want what Hashem wants!

For our Nefesh Elokis, wanting Ruchnius is easy. But that’s not all Hashem wants us to do. Hashem wants us to use its kochos IN THE WORLD, with Gashmius! During davening, the Nefesh Elokis needs to want to use the Gashmius, like Hashem wants. So for the Nefesh Elokis, the main part of davening is Shemoneh Esrei, where we ask Hashem for all of the Gashmius’dike things we need to do to be able to fulfill our shlichus in the world.

For our Nefesh Habehamis, wanting Gashmius is easy. But that’s not all Hashem wants! It needs to want to become close to Hashem, too! So for the Nefesh Habehamis, the main part of davening is Shema. In Shema, we think about how there is nothing except for Hashem, that we love Hashem, and that we are ready to even have Mesiras Nefesh to do what Hashem wants from us.

So, for the Nefesh Habehamis (and the Guf), the main part of davening is Kriyas Shema. For the Nefesh Elokis (the neshama), the main part of the davening is Shemoneh Esrei.

Reshimos Kuf-Nun-Ches



Kavana in Davening

We should try to have kavana during the whole davening, but there are some parts of davening where we need to be extra careful to have kavana. Here are two of them:

- The first line of Shema
- The very first bracha in Shmoneh Esrei

It used to be that people would have to say Shemoneh Esrei AGAIN if they didn’t say it with kavana, but nowadays we don’t, because we might not have the right kavana then either...

What kavana should we have during the rest of davening? We should try to think of what the words mean. If we can’t think about the meaning of the words, we should at least think about things that make us feel humble and focused on how we are davening to the Aibershter.

We should also get used to having kavana at least in the end of each paragraph of Shmoneh Esrei (like “Baruch Ata Hashem Shomeia Tefillah”).

There are two special things about the end of the brachos:

1) There are 113 words in all of those brachos, and when Chana davened to Hashem to have a baby, she said 113 words!

2) The 113 words in the brachos also hint to the word “Leiv,” heart, because the word “Leiv” (heart) is said 113 times in the Torah. This reminds us to daven with our heart!

See Shulchan Aruch, Hilchos Tefillah, siman 98 and 101

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



Why We Need Chassidus Nowadays (Part One)

Why do we have Chassidus nowadays, when the great Yidden who lived a long time ago didn’t have it?

One of the reasons that Chassidus was revealed davka now is because we need it more now! The Frierdiker Rebbe gives a mashal for Chassidus of coals. Coals bring light and warmth.

Chassidus gives us the koach to overcome the darkness of Golus and win over the Yetzer Hara. It helps us live with warmth and chayus in doing mitzvos!

For Chassidus to be proper “coals” for us, we need to make time to learn Chassidus, especially before davening! Then the Chassidus will make it light for us (so that the darkness of the Yetzer Hara can’t bother us), and warm for us (so that we have chayus to live the way a Yid should)!

IY”H in tomorrow’s shiur we will see another mashal and inyan in learning Chassidus, which will show us that we need more than just a regular time — but we should learn Chassidus always, as much as we can!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof, Yud-Tes Kislev

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