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Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the end of Yosef’s life. He passes away, and his Aron stays with the Yidden in Mitzrayim. Before he passes away, Yosef tells the Yidden that Hashem will take them out of Mitzrayim!

The Shevatim were worried that maybe Yosef would be mean to them, now that Yaakov passed away. “Don’t worry,” Yosef told his brothers, “I will take care of you and make sure you have food.” Still, Yosef didn’t have as many family parties as he used to while Yaakov was alive. When the Mitzriyim saw that, they stopped treating the Shevatim as nicely. Now the Shevatim realized that soon the Yidden would become slaves, like Hashem told Avraham.

Yosef lived in Mitzrayim his whole life, 110 years. He was able to learn even with his great-grandchildren before he passed away!

Yosef told his brothers that he would pass away, but that Hashem will remember them and take them out of Mitzrayim. Hashem will bring them to the land promised to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov — Eretz Yisroel.

Before he passed away, Yosef asked his brothers to make sure the Yidden take his Aron along when Hashem takes them out of Mitzrayim. Until that happened, the Aron of Yosef stayed with the Yidden in Mitzrayim!

Chazak, Chazak, Venis’chazek! We have just finished learning the entire Chumash Bereishis!



72 - 76

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Beis through Ayin-Vov.

In Kapitel Ayin-Gimmel (73), there is a posukMi Li Bashamayim Ve’imcha Lo Chofatzti Ba’aretz.” “Do I need Shomayim? And I don’t want what’s with You in the world.”

The Tzemach Tzedek said that the Alter Rebbe used to say that this posuk means that he doesn’t want what’s WITH Hashem, like Gan Eden or Olam Haba. He just wanted Hashem Himself!

How does a person connect with Hashem Himself? By doing a mitzvah in this Gashmiyus world! The Chachomim say that one hour of teshuvah and Maasim Tovim in this world is better than the whole Olam Haba! In Olam Haba, neshamos enjoy the light of Hashem, but through a mitzvah in this world, the neshama connects with the ESSENCE of Hashem.



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes

Inside of each of us, there are two “kings” trying to get us to let them be the ruler over our body.

The Nefesh Elokis wants us to use all of our kochos to learning Torah and acting the way Hashem wants us to. The Nefesh Elokis wants us to enjoy it so much that even our Nefesh Habehamis will like it too!

The Nefesh Habehamis wants us to just think about what is good or yummy or fun for our body, and not to think about Hashem.

The truth is that Hashem only gave us the “other king,” the Nefesh Habehamis, for us to win over it. Since that’s the job of the Nefesh Habehamis, it really DOESN’T want us to do the wrong thing. The Nefesh Habehamis really WANTS to lose the war, because that’s why Hashem sent him!

It says in sefarim that if a person is not sure if they did the right thing, they should see how they feel afterwards. If they’re happy, it means it was the right thing. The reason is that the Yetzer Hara is happy when you don’t listen to it!

So if you do the right thing, everyone is happy — the Yetzer Tov (because you did the right thing) and the Yetzer Hara (because you won over him)! If someone chas veshalom doesn’t do the right thing, nobody is happy — not the Yetzer Tov, and not even the Yetzer Hara.



Yud-Daled Teves

The Shpoler Zeide was a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch.

Once he visited the Alter Rebbe, and told him about when he saw the Baal Shem Tov. He was just 3 years old, and the Baal Shem Tov put his holy hand on the Shpoler Zeide’s heart. “Since then,” the Shpoler Zeide said, “I have always felt warm.”

We learn from this that whatever a tzadik does, and especially seeing and hearing him, leaves an impression on us forever.



Mitzvas Asei #95, #92, Lo Saasei #209

Today’s mitzvah is the same as yesterday’s (Mitzvas Asei #95) — that if a Yid makes a promise and changes his mind, he needs to go to a Rav or Beis Din to do that.

We also learn two more mitzvos, from the next set of halachos in Rambam, halachos about a Nazir.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #92) A Nazir has a mitzvah to let his hair grow. Like we will see in the next mitzvah, it is asur for a Nazir to cut his hair. In this Mitzvas Asei, we learn that it’s not enough for him not to cut it, the Nazir needs to make sure he is letting his hair grow. So, for example, he isn’t allowed to rub cream on his head that keeps hair from growing.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #209) A Nazir is not allowed to cut off his hair — not even one single hair!

These mitzvos are explained in Gemara, in Mesechta Nazir.



Hilchos Nedarim - Hilchos Nezirus

Perek Yud-Gimmel: (This is the last perek of Hilchos Nedarim.) We learn about HOW we take away a promise. At the end of the perek, the Rambam tells us when it’s a GOOD thing to make a neder. A neder can actually help us in our Avodas Hashem!

For example, if someone eats way too much, and not in an aidel way, he can make a promise not to eat any meat for one or two years. If someone drinks too much wine, he can make a neder to only drink wine on Shabbos and Yom Tov for a few years, or he can promise never to get drunk.

Still, we should be careful not to make too many nedarim, so that we don’t forget how serious a neder is in halacha. Nowadays, when we make a hachlata, we should always say that it is bli neder. Even though we are very serious about keeping our hachlata, we want to be extra careful to not ever end up chas veshalom not keeping a neder.

Now we start the next set of halachos, about a SPECIFIC kind of promise — if someone promises to become a Nazir!

Perek Alef: There are things that are asur if someone becomes a Nazir — cutting his hair or eating things made with grapes. A person doesn’t have to say “I will become a nazir” to become one — he can say things like “I will grow my hair” while thinking that he wants to be a Nazir.

Perek Beis: We learn more about a Nazir’s promise: What happens if he takes it by mistake, or because someone forces him, or because of a reason that ends up not being true? In many cases, he is not a Nazir.

One interesting halacha is that a person STAYS a Nazir until they bring their korbanos, and that a Nazir needs to be in Eretz Yisroel. So if someone makes a promise to be a Nazir nowadays, he has to move to Eretz Yisroel and stay a Nazir until the Beis Hamikdash is built and he can bring his korbanos.



Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Daled

The kohanim also had important jobs! We learn about how they were chosen for the special Avodah of Korbanos, and how all Yidden need to give them special Kavod. That’s why they get the first aliyah and other special things — even nowadays!

We also learn how the Mishmaros were set up — which groups of Kohanim worked on which days — and how EVERYONE could work during the Yomim Tovim. We learn about choosing a Kohen Gadol, and who will replace him after he passes away. We also learn how there are eight levels of Kohanim, to make sure everything works smoothly. The higher levels of kohanim are in charge of the lower levels.




The Yetzer Hara came up with a plan called “vacation.” Unfortunately, even very frum Yidden accept it.

They think that whatever is true during the rest of the year is different during “vacation.”

This is the opposite of what the Torah tells us!

The posuk says that the Torah is our life and the length of our days. We can’t take a break from living! The Chachomim compare a Yid to a fish. Just like fish can’t leave the water, a Yid can’t survive without Torah and mitzvos.

Chas veshalom to think that during “vacation” or “break time” we don’t need to learn any more, or we need to learn less!

A Yid always needs to be connected to his source of life — the Torah.

See Shulchan Menachem vol. 5 p. 59, Igros Kodesh vol. 13 p. 302


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Today we are learning the last part of the Tefillah Layeladim, the short davening for young children.

In the first line of Shema, we speak to our neshama. We tell it to understand that it comes from Hashem, and that Hashem is One.

Then, we say Ve’ahavta. We say that the neshama should LOVE Hashem. How do we love Hashem?

We can learn from the way a person acts when he loves something. If a person loves to have money, or a certain kind of food, he is always looking for ways to get it!

To show our love for Hashem, we should be looking for ways to become closer to Hashem, and ways to bring Hashem into our lives.

We can become close to Hashem by doing what we say in Ve’ahavta, by speaking words of Torah (“Vedibarta Bam”), by putting on Tefillin (“Uk’shartem Le’os”), and by doing other mitzvos!

Sefer Halikutim Tzemach Tzedek os Kuf, p. 226



Right Hand First

When we wash Netilas Yodayim, we first pour water over our right hand. To do this, we need to hold the kvort with our left hand.

Based on Kabbalah, we are ALWAYS careful to start with our right. So even with HOLDING the kvort, we first pick it up with our right hand, before passing it to our left.

That’s why we hold the kvort with our right hand when we fill it up with water. We only pass it to our left hand when we are ready to start washing our right hand first!

See Seder Netilas Yodayim L’Seudah, se’if hey

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



We Want Moshiach Now!

We learned in Tehillim, “Mi Li Bashomayim” — The Alter Rebbe says that we only want Hashem.

We are saying the same thing when we ask for Moshiach now!

It may seem that there are many good things in Golus, in Gashmius and even in Ruchnius. A person could ask Hashem for riches, or health, or happiness. He could ask Hashem to be able to learn a lot of Torah, or to daven with lots of kavana. All of these things could happen in Golus.

But we learn from the Alter Rebbe that this isn’t what we should want! Only when Moshiach comes will the etzem of Hashem be revealed. We say that these good things are not enough — we want the etzem Hashem to be revealed! We want Moshiach now!

See Parshas Tzav, Shabbos Hagadol 5745, Chassidim Ein Mishpacha #331

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