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Parshas Mikeitz - 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.



140 - 150

Usually, the months of the year go in a pattern, called “Kesidran.” First we have a month with 30 days, then the next month has 29. Nissan has 30 days, Iyar has 29, and so on. But there are two months that don’t always fit the pattern, Cheshvan and Kislev. They can have 29 OR 30 days.

This year, Kislev has only 29 days. So we also need to say the Tehillim for Yom Lamed today, and we finish the entire Tehillim. We will also need to learn TWO pieces of Tanya, for Yom Chof-Tes and for Yom Lamed!

You might already know the second half of today’s Yom of Tehillim by heart! It’s Ashrei and the paragraphs that start with Hallelukah, which is the main part of Pesukei Dezimra in davening.

These paragraphs are explained in the first sefer of Chassidus to be printed after the Tanya!

After the Tanya, the first sefer of Chabad Chassidus printed was the Siddur Im Dach. This is a siddur which has maamarim of the Alter Rebbe printed together with the siddur. It was put together by the Mitteler Rebbe, and is sometimes called the Mitteler Rebbe’s siddur.

The maamarim on these kapitelach in Pesukei Dezimra are very special! Usually a maamar explains one posuk according to Chassidus. But these maamarim explain EVERY posuk of these kapitelach according to Chassidus!

Even though the maamarim were said separately, one posuk at a time, they were put together in the siddur. This helps us understand ALL of the pesukim in the main part of Pesukei Dezimra according to Chassidus!

See maamar Vayishlach 5743 and 5747



Likutei Amarim Perek Daled - Hey

We learned that Hashem gave the neshama the Levushim, which it can use for learning Torah and doing mitzvos, which connect a Yid, together with all of his kochos, with Hashem!

This helps us understand the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos, which tells us how important it is to grab every chance to do a mitzvah: The Mishnah says that one chance to do a mitzvah in this world is better than EVERYTHING a neshama can get in Olam Haba!

We now understand this Mishnah, because we know how a mitzvah makes us one with Hashem, and a mitzvah can only be done here, in Olam Hazeh!

But aren’t the mitzvos all in Gashmius? How can we say it’s so close to Hashem?

It’s true that the mitzvos are wearing “clothes” of Gashmius, but that doesn’t make a difference! We can understand why with a mashal:

Let’s say someone wants to hug another person. It doesn’t matter if that person is wearing a shirt, or a coat, or a sweater! The main thing is the hug, it doesn’t matter how many layers that person is wearing. You won’t say, “I just hugged my friend’s sweater!” You know that you hugged your friend!

When we do a mitzvah, it’s like a hug with Hashem! The gashmius things we use to do the mitzvah are like Hashem’s “clothes.” So even though Hashem is “wearing” all of these “clothes,” when we do mitzvos, we are still hugging Hashem!

And not only that, Hashem is hugging us too! (We know this from a posuk, “Viyemincha Techabkeini” — Hashem’s right hand, which Chassidus teaches means Torah, hugs us!)

Now we will learn more about the special connection we have with Hashem through learning Torah, in perek Hey: 

When we have two different things, there are a lot of ways to put them together. Like if we take friends, we can put them together in the same room, or they can hold hands. Or with two different toys, we can tape them together, tie them together, or glue them together.

But the way our Gashmiyus mind becomes connected to Hashem when we understand something in Torah is an amazing connection, that we can’t compare anything to. It is called a Yichud Nifla, that they are so connected they become like one thing!

We learn Hashem’s Torah using our gashmius’dike mind, and the Torah talks about gashmius’dike things. When we are learning Torah and understand something, our gashmius’dike mind becomes one with Hashem’s Torah in such a strong and amazing way!

While we are learning something, we are so busy trying to understand it, that we can’t think about anything else. When we understand it, it becomes part of how we think! Since the understanding of Torah is Hashem’s Chochmah, that means that Hashem becomes a part of us! This is really a Yichud Nifla, an incredible connection!

This is what is so special about our connection with Hashem through learning Torah.

The Rebbe tells us that learning a lot of Torah makes a person’s sechel better, since it starts to think according to Torah!

We see something like this with practicing. After you practice your lines for a play a lot, you will be able to say them automatically!

The same way, when a person gets used to learning and understanding Torah, his mind starts to automatically think that way. Then a person’s sechel becomes a Torah’dike sechel!



Chof-Tes Kislev

We learned yesterday about the “Latkes Ovent” which the Rebbeim made. The Rebbe learns from there that it is important to make gatherings for children, and to speak there about the nissim of Chanukah! In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn (in very short) about the neis of Chanukah.

The Yidden in the time of the Greeks did many aveiros. They spent a lot of time with the Greeks, learning all about how they did things, not keeping Shabbos or Yom Tov, not eating kosher, and not keeping Taharas Hamishpacha.

The punishment for this was that Hashem made the Beis Hamikdash become full of tumah and idols, and many Yidden died or became slaves.

But because the Yidden did teshuvah and had Mesiras Nefesh, Hashem made the neis of Chanukah!

Today’s Hayom Yom was a summary of the story of Chanukah, which the Frierdiker Rebbe said during a Purim Farbrengen in Tof-Shin-Alef, where he spoke at length about the stories of Purim and Chanukah, and horaos we learn from them. You can see the longer version of the story, in the words of the Frierdiker Rebbe, here (translated into English; see sections 2–5)



Shiur #159 - Mitzvas Asei #63, Lo Saasei #146, Asei #64

Today we are starting a new set of halachos, about how to bring korbanos. We learn three mitzvos about this:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #63) When we bring the Korban Olah, we need to follow the rules the Torah teaches of how to bring this kind of korban properly!

This mitzvah comes from the words of the psukim in Parshas Vayikra: אָדָם כִּי יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַה׳ וְגוֹ׳ אִם עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ מִן הַבָּקָר

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #146)We are not allowed to eat any of the Korban Olah — all of it gets burned on the Mizbeiach. This mitzvah also includes me’ilah, not using anything that belongs to the Beis Hamikdash.

We learn this mitzah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְגוֹ׳ כָל נְדָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּדֹּר

3) (Mitzvas Asei #64) When we bring a Korban Chatas (a korban that we bring for an aveira), we need to follow all of the halachos of how to bring it right.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Tzav: זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַחַטָּאת וְגוֹ׳



Hilchos Maaseh HaKorbanos

In today's Rambam, we start to learn about how to bring korbanos!

Perek Alef: We learn some general rules about Korbanos — which kinds of animals we are allowed to bring, and which Korbanos are brought by individual people and which are brought by all of the Yidden together, as a tzibur.

Perek Beis: The Rambam teaches us about the Nesech (wine) and Mincha (flour and oil) that we bring along with each Korban. We learn how much we bring for each kind of Korban.

Perek Gimmel: This perek teaches us about people bringing a Korban together, and about doing the mitzvah of Smicha. Smicha is when the person bringing the korban puts his hands on it and says before Hashem the things he did wrong, called Vidui. If someone brings a Korban Shelamim, he doesn’t say Vidui, he only speaks about the greatness of Hashem!



Hilchos Chomeitz U'Matzah - Perek Beis

Today we learn halachos about Bedikas Chometz.

One interesting halacha is that if a person sees a mouse go into his house with a piece of chometz, and then he sees crumbs on the floor, he needs to look through the whole house until he finds the chometz. This is because we say that the mouse probably put the piece of chometz down somewhere, and didn’t eat it, since mice don’t leave crumbs when they eat!

But if you see a baby go into the house with chometz, and you find crumbs, you can say that the baby probably already ate the chometz, and these are the crumbs from it — because babies do leave crumbs! So then, you wouldn’t need to check the whole house again.




Today is a Hillel day of Chanukah!

Did you know that Hillel and Shamai had a machlokes about how to light the Menorah? Shamai said that we should start with 8 candles on the first night, and light one less each night, until we light one the last night. Hillel said we should do it the way we do it nowadays — start with one and light one more each night.

So let’s see:





1 candle

8 candles


2 candles

7 candles


3 candles

6 candles


4 candles

5 candles


5 candles

4 candles


6 candles

3 candles


7 candles

2 candles


8 candles

1 candle

The first night that Hillel says to light MORE candles than Shamai is the FIFTH night! That’s today!

Shamai teaches us about being strict in Torah things. We should look at things that aren’t right and try to stop them — Sur MeRa

Hillel teaches us about looking for GOOD things, and trying to do them more — Asei Tov.

That’s the lesson from today, to look for ways to always be doing more good things, and in a way of Maalin Bakodesh, adding more every day!

See rally 5th night of Chanukah 5746


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Ve'ahavta

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

The words come from a Medrash (Sifra, also called Toras Kohanim) that explains a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim, “Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha,” “you should love your friend like you love yourself.”

The Medrash says on this posuk, that Rabbi Akiva calls this posuk a “klal gadol” of the Torah!

What is a “Klal Gadol”?

It means a rule that is so important, that if you miss it, you missed the whole thing!

Imagine if someone tells you that he made a big Chanukah party for all of his friends. There were donuts, and latkes, and chocolate gelt. “And what kind of Menorah did you light?” you ask. “Oh, we didn’t light the menorah at all. We had lots of other Chanukah things.” Oy vey, you’ll be thinking. He missed the whole point! How can you have Chanukah without a menorah?

The Torah is so beautiful and so precious! It helps us all the time, in everything we do. But if we don’t have Ahavas Yisroel, if we don’t care about another Yid, and just keep the Torah for ourselves, we don’t have Torah at all! Rabbi Akiva tells us that you can’t have Torah without having Ahavas Yisroel!



Ve'al Hanisim in Davening and Bentching

What is the neis of Chanukah?

There are actually TWO main nissim: That the oil in the menorah lasted for eight days, and that the Yidden won the war against the Greeks!

The main neis that the Chachomim set up the Yom Tov for is the neis of the oil. That’s why the main mitzvah of Chanukah is lighting the menorah.

But we also thank Hashem for the other neis, that the Yidden won the war! We do this when we say Ve’al Hanisim, which thanks Hashem for making the small Yiddishe army win against the big Greek army.

We say Ve’al Hanisim in Shemoneh Esrei, and in bentching.

If we forget to say it, as long as we haven’t said Hashem’s name in the end of the bracha (in Shemoneh Esrei, “Hatov Shimcha” and in bentchingAl Ha’aretz Ve’al Hamazon”), we go back and say from Ve’al Hanisim again.

In bentching, we have another chance! If we remember in time, there is a special Horachaman that we can say before Horachaman Hu Yezakeinu (where we add Horachamans for Shabbos and Yom Tov), and then say the paragraph of Bimei Matisyahu. (In our siddurim, this Horachaman is printed in small letters before Ve’al Hanisim.)

But if we only remember when we are finished, even though it is important, we don’t bentch or daven Shemoneh Esrei again.

See Shevach Hamoadim, Hilchos Chanukah, siman tes

For a full review of the halachos of Chanukah, see the Halacha Day by Day by the Badatz of Crown Heights or the Halacha Newsletter by Rabbi Lesches

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



Our Chanukah Mission

At a rally for children on Chanukah, the Rebbe told the children about our special Chanukah mission!

Our big mission is getting ready for the Geulah, and the third Beis Hamikdash. One of the ways we do this is to make sure our own homes and rooms are a Beis Chabad, a little Beis Hamikdash! So every house, and every person’s room should be a place of Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chasadim. We should have a siddur, a Chumash, a pushka, and whatever else we need to use that room to do mitzvos!

Every community needs a Beis Chabad too, and it’s the job of everyone in the community to help make sure that there is one!

So here’s our special mission for Chanukah:

Every child needs to go to their parents and ask them, with Devarim Hayotzim Min Halev (sincerely), for Chanukah gelt for their Cheder Tzivos Hashem! We should use this Chanukah gelt to buy a siddur, a Chitas, a pushka, negel vasser, or whatever else we need to make our room a little Beis Hamikdash.

Of course, when children ask their parents for such an important thing, the parents will also want to do it! And through the children, the rest of the house will also become a Beis Chabad the way it should be!

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

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