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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayeitzei - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, more of the Shevatim are born. Yaakov finishes his 14 years of working for Lavan, and wants to go home.

Reuven was taking a walk in the fields, at the time of year when all of the wheat was ready to cut. He found some flowers there that didn’t belong to anyone, and knew they were a special flower that can help someone have a baby. He knew his mother wanted another baby, so he brought them home to her.

Rochel saw that Reuven was giving Leah the flowers, and asked Leah if she could have them, since she wanted a baby very much. Leah said, “Yaakov likes you so much, it’s like you took him away from me! Now you want my flowers too?”

Rochel said, “Let’s make a deal. Even though it’s my turn for Yaakov to spend the night with me, you can take my turn if you give me the flowers.” Leah agreed.

When Hashem saw how hard Leah was trying to have more children for Yaakov, He made her able to have another baby. She had another set of boy and girl twins. Since she felt like it was a reward (sechar) for having Yaakov marry Zilpah, she called him Yissachar.

Then she had another set of twins, and called the boy Zevulun, since she said that Yaakov would for sure now decide that she is the most important wife, and live (zevul) most of the time with her. Because if there are only 12 shevatim, and she already had 6 of them, that means that she had half of the shevatim by herself!

Then Leah realized she was going to have another baby. She davened that the baby be a girl, because she knew that most of the shevatim were already born, and now there were only 2 left to be born. If Leah would have another boy, it would mean that Rochel would only have one baby boy — even less than Bilhah and Zilpah. Hashem made a neis, and the baby changed to be a girl. Leah named the baby Dina (judgment), since she judged herself and decided she didn’t want Rochel to be embarrassed.

Then Hashem remembered that Rochel had given Leah the signs so SHE wouldn’t be embarrassed. Hashem also saw that Rochel was afraid Yaakov wouldn’t want to stay married to her if she doesn’t have any children, and then maybe Esav will want to marry her! Hashem listened to her tefilos and made her able to have children.

Rochel had twins. She felt that now Hashem didn’t want her to feel embarrassed or be afraid she would have to marry Eisav. She named the boy Yosef, which means to add more, asking Hashem to also give her another boy, the last of the shevatim. Yosef was born with a bris milah already.

Now Yaakov was finished working his 14 years for Lavan!

When the fourteen years were over, Rivkah sent her nurse Devorah to Padan Aram, to tell Yaakov that Esav wasn’t so angry anymore, and he could come home. At first Yaakov was afraid! But he felt that since Yosef, such a special baby, had just been born, in his zechus he didn’t need to worry. So he told Lavan that he wanted to go back to Canaan with his family, since he did his job well.

Lavan said, “I wish you would stay! I learned through tamei magic that I finally had baby boys because you lived here.” (Before he only had girls, which was why Rochel had been taking care of the sheep at the beginning of the parsha. During the years that Yaakov was working for him, he had boys too.)

 
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TEHILLIM

35 - 38

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Lamed-Hey to Lamed-Ches.

In Kapitel Lamed-Vov in today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says “Divrei Fiv Aven Umirmah, Chadal Lehaskil Leheitiv” “the words of his mouth are bad and tricky, he doesn’t find a reason to do better.” This is talking about the Yetzer Hara, who tries to stop us from doing the right thing.

The Maggid of Mezritch explains this posuk. The Yetzer Hara doesn’t tell a person not to learn Torah, it doesn’t mind if we learn complicated parts of Gemara with meforshim — then everyone will be so impressed! The Yetzer Hara will try to stop a person from learning Chassidus or halacha, parts of Torah that teach us how to be better (Lehaskil Leheitiv)! The Yetzer Hara doesn’t want us to learn things that will help us act like better Yidden.

~

Do you know how powerful the words of Tehillim are? They can save lives of Yidden in danger!

Once, the Rebbe Maharash was traveling. He stopped at the house of a chosid, and found the children at home by themselves. The Rebbe Maharash started to say Tehillim with them, and continued saying Tehillim when the mother came home. Then he got up to leave, but then came back and said, “Let’s say some more Tehillim,” and only afterwards left. The mother realized something might be wrong, and said some more Tehillim with her children.

None of them understood what happened until their father came home, very late. He was very worn out. He told them that he had been in a lot of danger! When he told them what happened, they realized that he was saved three times — at the times when they had been saying Tehillim. They understood that the Rebbe had come back to save him from the dangerous situation!

 
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TANYA

Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

The Tanya is still talking about how special it is to do mitzvos, even more than our feeling to Hashem (Ahava VeYirah). Today the Alter Rebbe tells us three more reasons why. Here is one of them:

Why does a person need to eat from plants and animals, even though they are not as ruchnius’dik as a person? Because inside of them are pieces of kedusha (nitzutzos) that are from an even higher place of ruchniyus than the neshama!

When we eat food with nitzutzos of kedusha, our neshama is able to use the gashmiyus of the food to make the neshama stronger, and to bring these pieces of kedusha that are hidden in gashmiyus close to Hashem.

That’s another reason why we need to do mitzvos with gashmiyus things: Because only they have this high ruchniyus koach inside of them, and only through the mitzvos can we bring them out of hiding and use them the way Hashem meant them to be!

 
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HAYOM YOM

Vov Kislev

Today we will learn how the Rebbe Rashab explains the inyan of Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita.

Every person has a special Shlichus they need to do in the world. Before they finish their shlichus and their neshama goes back up to Hashem, a person should say a special Tefillah called Vidui to finish their shlichus right before they pass away.

In a smaller way, we do the same thing every day when we finish the shlichus of the day. Before we go to sleep, we say Kriyas Shema She’al Hamitah — it’s a special tefila that helps us finish the shlichus of the day. But the difference is, with Kriyas Shema She’al Hamita we know that even though we finished our shlichus for the day, we will have more chances to do shlichus again with Hashem’s help tomorrow!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #121 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #217, #218

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn two mitzvos about not mixing ANIMALS together:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #217) We aren’t allowed to make two different kinds of animals get married to each other, like a cow with a sheep.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #218) We are not allowed to make two different kinds of animals shlep a plow or a wagon together.

We learn the halachos of these two mitzvos in tomorrow’s Rambam.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Kela'im

In Rambam, we finish learning about Kilai HaKerem, not growing any other kind of plant together with grapes.

Perek Vov: We learn how much of the grapes become asur if they are planted close to vegetables. We also learn about mavrich, when a person makes the grapevine go underground and come up in a different place. Can we plant something else in that in-between space?

Perek Zayin: We learn what is considered a Kerem (vineyard) according to halacha, and what is considered just a single vine, which is less strict than a full Kerem.

Perek Ches: There are two ways to grow grapes: Letting the vines grow on the ground, or draping the vines over a wall, a fence, or an arch. Letting them grow on the ground is the regular way we grow grapes. When the vines are hanging over something else, called Aris, there are different halachos.

We also learn that the halachos are a little different outside of Eretz Yisroel.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Yud-Gimmel

Perek Yud-Gimmel teaches us what happens if someone trades or sells something for more than it is really worth. That is called ona’ah.

If a person is honest, and says how much each thing is really worth, then it is never called ona’ah, since both people agreed to the deal KNOWING that it might not look fair.

 
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INYANA D'YOMA

Ahavas Yisroel

On Vov Kislev, the Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s tenoim were signed, saying that the chasuna will take place!

Nowadays we do the tenoim together with the chuppah, but then they did it like we do a lechaim now.

~

We will learn a vort from the Baal Shem Tov about Ahavas Yisroel:

It says in the posuk that when Hashem created Adam Harishon, Hashem said, “It is not good for a person to be alone. I will make him an Eizer Kenegdo, a helper.”

The Baal Shem Tov explains, if a person was alone, he could make a mistake and think that he is perfect. So Hashem helps him by giving him another person. By seeing the chisaron in the other person, he will know that he also has a similar chisaron in himself.

See Keser Shem Tov siman 302, Chasidim Ein Mishpacha gilyon vov

 

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TEFILLAH

Kavana in Shema

Chassidus explains what we should think about when we say Shema. Here is one of these kavanos:

We first cover our eyes and say that Hashem is One, and there is nothing else. By covering our eyes, we are able to think about what is REALLY true, instead of what LOOKS like is true. The world might look like it is something separate from kedusha, but really the whole world IS the chayus of Hashem!

Since there is nothing except for Hashem, then the only thing that matters is what Hashem wants! When we know this, we will be ready to do WHATEVER Hashem wants us to, no matter what. We will be ready to have Mesiras Nefesh for Hashem!

By saying Shema, we will be able to ignore whatever the world tells us we “need” to do. We DON’T need to eat treif food — even if they say it is healthier. We DON’T need to work on Shabbos — even if they think we will lose money. We DON’T need to be sneaky — even if they say that we won’t have hatzlacha otherwise.

We know that what matters is what Hashem wants, and we are ready to do every one of His mitzvos!

See footnotes in Reshimos Kuf-Nun-Ches

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Women and Shema

The Torah tells us that women don’t need to do some mitzvos that need to be done at a certain time — “Mitzvos Shehazman Grama.”

The mitzvah of saying Kriyas Shema is one of these mitzvos. It has a certain time, in the morning and at night. Women do not need to keep the mitzvah of saying Kriyas Shema.

But women DO need to have Kabolas Ol Malchus Shomayim!

The first posuk of Shema helps us to have this Kabolas Ol. So women DO need to say at least the first posuk of Shema, “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echod.”

Women also need to say Emes Veyatziv, which helps us do a different mitzvah — remembering Yetziyas Mitzrayim. They should say this whole section, until Go’al Yisroel, so that their Shemoneh Esrei will be connected to a bracha for the Geulah, called being “Somech Geulah L’Tefillah.”

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Ayin se’if Alef; article on Women & Tefillah

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

Hard Times Close to Geulah

Even though we are so close to the Geulah, and the Rebbe says that Moshiach is right here, there are sad things that happen. It still feels like Golus, and it is very hard.

The Or Hachama, a pirush on the Zohar, talks about times like this. The Or Hachama says that even when the Geulah is ready from Hashem, there will still be hard things happening in the world.

But there is something we can do about it!

The koach of Yiddishe kinderlach can take away these hard times. By kids learning Torah and doing mitzvos, we are able to get rid of the painful moments of Golus right before we will be able to see the Geulah — may it be NOW, mamosh!

See Pirush Or Hachama 9a, Sodos Hageulah, p. 135

 
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