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Parshas Vayechi - Chamishi with Rashi

Yaakov is giving brachos to the Shevatim before he passes away. In today’s Chumash, Gad, Asher, Naftali, and Yosef get brachos.

Yaakov gives Gad his bracha. His Shevet will be very strong — they will go fight and win, and none of them will get hurt! (That’s exactly what happened when the Yidden came into Eretz Yisroel!)

Asher’s bracha is that the place he gets in Eretz Yisroel will grow a lot of olives, and the olive oil will be used to make food for kings!

Naftali gets a special bracha, that he will be like a deer. The fruit that grows in his part of Eretz Yisroel will grow as fast as a deer can run, and the soldiers from his Shevet will run to fight as quickly as a deer! The people of Naftoli will thank Hashem for their bracha.

Yaakov tells Yosef that he is very handsome. Since he made sure to block Esav from seeing his mother Rochel, he became a very important person in Mitzrayim — second to the king!

Yosef gets a bracha, that his family will have many children, like a grapevine is full of grapes. Each of his sons (Menashe and Efrayim) will grow to be a shevet as big as the other Shevatim, and they won’t get an Ayin Hara!

Yaakov reminds Yosef that his brothers weren’t nice to him, and neither was Potifera and his wife. But still, his dreams came true, because he trusted in Hashem. He became second to the king, and took care of the whole family in Mitzrayim.

Yaakov said to Yosef, “Since — with Hashem’s help — you didn’t listen to Potifera’s wife and do an aveira, Hashem will help you and make sure there is water for your fields, and that you give birth to healthy children.

“Hashem gave me (Yaakov) even more brachos than the other Avos! Avraham and Yitzchak got a bracha only for Eretz Yisroel, but like my mother wanted, I got a bracha to spread out all over. These brachos should go to Yosef.”



79 - 82

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Tes to Pey-Beis.

In Kapitel Pey (80) Dovid Hamelech says, “Gefen Mimitzrayim Tasia, Tegaresh Goyim Vati’ta’eha” — “You took a vine out of Mitzrayim, You pushed out the goyim and planted it.” This is talking about the Yidden, who are compared to a vine. Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim and “planted” us in Eretz Yisroel.

The Frierdiker Rebbe said a maamar on this posuk, which the Rebbe later explained (http://chabad.org/1878854). The Chachomim say that we only dig up a vine to plant it somewhere where it will grow even better! Similarly, Hashem only puts a Yid in a new place because there he can have even more hatzlacha.

That’s how it was when Hashem took the Yidden out of Mitzrayim and brought them to Eretz Yisroel, and that’s also how it is whenever Hashem puts us with Hashgacha Protis in a new place! It is so we will have hatzlacha in bringing Yiddishkeit to our new place, like a vine that makes wine that brings happiness to everyone around!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Beis

In todya’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe explains how a beinoni is different than a tzadik.

We learned that the beinoni doesn’t do any aveiros, and when he davens his Nefesh Habehamis can’t even come up with ideas to make him do the wrong thing! So why is he called a Beinoni, which means in between? We said that a beinoni is between a tzadik and a rasha, but it sounds like a beinoni is just like a tzadik!

The Alter Rebbe explains that even though the neshama’s love for Hashem can make the Nefesh Habehamis go to sleep, it’s not pushing it away at all — it’s still there, just as strong. After davening, it wakes up and goes right back to what it was doing before.

The Beinoni has a hidden love for Hashem all the time, which helps him control his behavior. However, it’s not the strong feeling he has during davening which puts his Nefesh Habehamis to sleep. The Ahavas Hashem he has all day can only stop him from doing aveiros, but it can’t stop his Nefesh Habehamis from sending not good thoughts into his mind!

That’s why a beinoni is different than a tzadik. With a tzadik, the Nefesh Habehamis is pushed out of the body (or changed into a Yetzer Tov!). The beinoni, however, can only put his Nefesh Habehamis to sleep at certain times (like during davening). For the rest of the time, he needs to use the special koach Hashem gives him (Moach Shalit Al Halev) to always be in control!



Tes-Zayin Teves

It can be hard for a neshama to feel ruchnius. The world is full of so much kelipah and narishkeit!

In a Yechidus, the Tzemach Tzedek told a chossid named Reb Hendel about 3 different parts of Torah that can help his neshama:

1) When the neshama wants to feel more connected to Hashem, learn Zohar, because Zohar makes the neshama feel elevated!

2) When the neshama wants to get excited about Hashem and His mitzvos, learn Midrash, because it wakes up the heart!

3) When the neshama feels like it got “dirty” from the kelipah in the world, say Tehillim with tears, and that will wash and clean the grobkeit of the guf.



Shiur #175 - Mitzvas Asei #49

(Mitzvas Asei #49) Today's mitzvah is that we have to do ALL of the Avodah of Yom Kippur! Even though there are lots of details that are done as part of the Avodah, they are all really part of this one mitzvah.

The whole mitzvah is explained in its own MesechtaMesechta Yoma.



Hilchos Avodas Yom HaKipurim

In today's Rambam, we start a new section — we start to learn about the Avodah of Yom Kippur!

Perek Alef teaches us how the Kohen Gadol gets ready for Yom Kippur.

Perek Beis explains how he made himself tahor and about the Vidui — using Hashem’s special name!

Perek Gimmel explains how the goat for Azazel worked.

These perakim are all very interesting to read through. Reading it with all of the details can make you feel like you are watching it happen in the Beis Hamikdash!



Hilchos Shekalim - Perek Alef

In today’s Rambam, we start to learn halachos about giving the Machatzis Hashekel. We learn that we should give half of whatever the money of the time is, so today we could give a half dollar. But whatever it is, it can’t be worth less than the half shekel that the Torah tells us about!

Women and children don’t need to give the Machatzis Hashekel, but they are allowed to. If a father starts giving every year for his young child, he shouldn’t stop! He should give every year until the child is old enough to give the Machatzis Hashekel by himself.



Giving Tzedakah Like a Chossid

There is a story told about the Baal Shem Tov, that he used to give a lot of tzedakah — more than he could afford.

In Usha (one of the places where there was a big yeshiva in the time of the Gemara), there was a takana made that you shouldn’t be mevazvez (spend freely) more than 1/5th of your wealth on tzedakah.

The Baal Shem Tov was asked, how can you give more than the amount the Chachomim told you to?

The Baal Shem Tov answered, “Mevazvez also comes from the word ‘biza,’ the spoils of a war. With a person who has to fight with himself to give and it’s like a war for him, he shouldn’t give more than a chomeish, 1/5th.

“But if someone enjoys giving, why is tzedakah different than any other pleasure, where a person can spend as much as he wants or needs?”

The Rebbe adds to this story, that this is even more true when we remember Hashem’s promise, that we can test Him with tzedakah. This will bring even more simcha and taanug into our giving, and we can give as much tzedakah as we want!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef, p. 169


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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We are reviewing the Yud-Beis Pesukim, in a different order. We are going in the order of the parts of Torah that these pesukim are taken from — Torah Shebichsav, Torah Shebaal Peh, and Tanya.

Before we review the actual pesukim, we need to first review the purpose of them.

Why were these pesukim specifically chosen, and why do we need to know them by heart?

Torah is not just a wisdom or knowledge for our mind. Torah is Chayeinu, our life! Torah is not just for when we have a sefer that we can learn from and think about. Even when we don’t have a sefer, like when we are eating, drinking, walking, playing or lying in bed, we also need to live withthe Torah!

In order to do that, we need to know the words of Torah Baal Peh, so we can live with them all the time.

We need to know certain pieces of the Torah which have a message that is very clear and easy to understand.

To make it possible for children as well to live with the horaos of Torah, the Rebbe chose these pesukim which have very clear messages that also children can understand and live with. The Rebbe wanted us to learn them by heart, so that we will live with them even when we’re eating or playing. We should even know them well enough to discuss them with our friends, so that they will also be able to live with the lessons of Torah that we already learned!

See sicha Rosh Chodesh Iyar Tof-Shin-Lamed-Vov



Netilas Yodayim

Before we eat any amount of bread, even just a little bit, we need to do Netilas Yodayim, wash our hands.

But we only make the bracha Al Netilas Yodayim if we plan to eat at least a kebeitzah of bread. A kebeitzah means the size of an egg, which the Chachomim teach is the size of two olives — kezayis. The way we measure nowadays, this is about two ounces, which is usually the size of one or two slices of bread.

Seder Netilas Yodayim L’seudah, se’if Yud-Ches

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



Why Do We Want Moshiach?

Do we want Moshiach because then candy will grow on trees? Or because the weather will always be nice?

Even though there will be many fun and exciting things that will happen when Moshiach comes, the Rambam tells us that the Chachomim and Neviim didn’t want Moshiach for these kinds of reasons.

They didn’t want Moshiach because then the Yidden will be in charge, or so that the Goyim will respect the Yidden. They weren’t excited about Moshiach because then we can eat and drink and be happy.

Why did they want Moshiach?

Because then we will be able to learn Torah and its wisdom without anything bothering us!

See Rambam Hilchos Melachim Perek Yud-Beis, halacha Daled

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