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Shishi with Rashi

Yaakov leaves Charan with his family. When Lavan finds out, he chases them and catches up with them. He is angry that they didn’t say that they are leaving, and that someone took his idols.

Since it was time to go, Yaakov started to travel back towards Eretz Yisroel, to his father Yitzchak. He took all of the animals and money that he had earned.

Lavan had gone off to shear his sheep (cut their hair), so he wasn’t home. Rochel took her father’s idols away, hoping he would stop serving Avodah Zarah. Yaakov didn’t tell Lavan he was going, and ran away with all of his family and his things.

Yaakov wanted it to be very clear why he left Eretz Yisroel to get married: In order to have children who would do Hashem’s job in this world! So he put his children in front, even though it is usually more respectful to let the parents go first.

Three days later, Lavan found out that Yaakov had run away. So he took his family and chased after him, catching up with him at Har Gilad. Hashem appeared to Lavan in a dream and told him not even to try to be nice to Yaakov, since Yaakov doesn’t trust him anymore.

Lavan was very upset at Yaakov: “You tricked me and ran away with my daughters like they are prisoners of war! Why didn’t you tell me you were going? I would have made you a goodbye party with music, and like this, you didn’t even give me a chance to kiss my grandchildren goodbye! That wasn’t nice!

“I would hurt you now, except that Hashem warned me to be careful what I say to you. But why did you run away like this? I knew you wanted to go home many times, but I told you why you should stay — you got very rich in my house. And why did you steal my idols?”

Yaakov answered Lavan in order: “I was afraid to tell you I was going because maybe you would take away Rochel and Leah. And to take your idols?! If anyone did it, they will die. Go see who took them and take them back!” (Yaakov didn’t know that Rochel took them, but because he said this, that’s one of the reasons Rochel passed away along the way.)

Lavan went first into Rochel’s tent, and then into Leah’s. Then he looked in Rochel’s tent again, but still didn’t find his idols. He looked in Bilhah and Zilpah’s tents, and then went back to Rochel’s tent again because he thought she might have taken them.

Really, Rochel had put the idols into the camel saddle (where you sit). She sat on them, so even though Lavan searched a lot, he didn’t find them. Rochel said sorry that she didn’t get off the camel, but she wasn’t feeling well.

Yaakov was angry with Lavan. “Why did you run after me? You didn’t find anything here that belongs to you! I never stole any animals from you when I was working for you, and if any animal got lost or hurt I paid for it! I worked all day and all night, in the hot sun and freezing cold, and couldn’t even sleep!

“I worked for you for 20 years — 7 years each for Rochel and Leah, and 6 years that I got paid for, and you kept changing your mind what I could get paid! If Hashem hadn’t helped me, you would have sent me away with no money at all! But Hashem saw I worked hard, and He told you last night to be careful what you say.”



44 - 48

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Mem-Daled to Mem-Ches.

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says, “Shim’i Bas Ure’i Vehati Ozneich, Veshichechi Ameich Ubais Avich” — “Listen, daughter and watch, and give an ear: forget your people and your father’s house.”

In a maamar, the Friediker Rebbe brings a Medrash that says that Dovid Hamelech is saying four things in this posuk:

First of all, a Yid needs to listen and see (“Shim’i Bas Ure’i”) — to figure out the way to live like a Yid should. Second, “Vehati Ozneich” — give your ear to learn Torah.

The second part is the things we should forget: “Shichechi Ameich” — forget the nations you live with! Don’t live like the Goyim, because you are a Yid. “Ubais Ovich” — forget the house of your father, Avraham’s father — don’t do Avodah Zarah like he did!

The Friediker Rebbe explains in the maamar how this Medrash teaches us lessons in our Avodas Hashem, how we can become more aidel by learning and davening with kavana.



Kuntres Acharon

In this section of Kuntres Acharon, the Alter Rebbe is telling us a lot about how special DOING a mitzvah is. Kavana is very important, but isn’t the main thing! (This is explaining in a much more detailed way what was mentioned earlier in the first part of Tanya, Likutei Amarim.)

When a person has kavana, HE wants to become closer to Hashem. But when a person does a mitzvah, he wants to bring HASHEM closer to himself and to the world. Of course Hashem wants a neshama to be close to Him, but that’s not the main goal! If it was, the neshama could have stayed in Gan Eden, where it’s VERY close to Hashem. The reason Hashem sent the neshama into the world is to make Hashem able to be felt here, and that happens only when we do mitzvos!

The best way is to DO the mitzvah, WITH kavana — because then you have both things! But the main part is doing it, and bringing Hashem’s Shechinah into the world.



Ches Kislev

How do we keep ourselves always excited about the mitzvos we do? Today the Rebbe gives us the answer: We need to think about something that will keep us always inspired.

What is that?

Hashem is so kind to us! Think of the greatness of Hashem, the great world He created with everything that’s in it. Think about all of the ruchniyus we can’t even see, and the Torah and tzadikim Hashem gave to the world. We can understand that Hashem is so great!

And what about a person? Hashem created us too, but we aren’t that special. A person doesn’t just have a neshama that always feels Hashem, he also has a guf that doesn’t always act in such a good way. It only lives for a while and it is very gashmiyus. When we think of things like that we realize that we are very small.

Then think about how Hashem gave such small people like us such a SPECIAL opportunity to bring Him nachas by acting the way we should, and that we have the koach to bring Moshiach and fulfill Hashem’s purpose in creating the world! That should keep us excited all the time to act the way a Yid should!



Mitzvas Asei #212

Today’s Sefer Hamitzvos is the same as yesterday’s (Mitzvas Asei #212): That a man has a mitzvah to have children.



Hilchos Ishus

In today’s Rambam, the last three perakim of Hilchos Ishus, we learn about a woman who doesn’t listen to her husband when he tells her not to spend time by herself with a certain man. She is called a Sotah, and has to drink bitter water that tests her to see if she did something wrong. We will learn all the halachos about this IY”H in Hilchos Sotah, later in Rambam.

Yidden are like Hashem’s wife. Hashem gave us mitzvos, and doesn’t want us to act in a different way. We need to make sure we keep the Torah and mitzvos so that we can get all of the brachos from Hashem!



Hilchos Bikurim - Perek Alef

Today we start learning Hilchos Bikurim!

There are 24 presents that belong to the kohanim. Eight of these presents can only be eaten by the kohanim in the Beis Hamikdash, and five others can only be eaten inside Yerushalayim! In these perakim, we will learn halachos about these presents that we didn’t learn about already in other parts of the Rambam.



Tanya Baal Peh

R’ Mendel Futerfas A”H was a well-known mashpia.

Once, R’ Mendel asked a respected chossid what had happened in his yechidus. The chossid answered that he had asked how he can be mekushar to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe told this man that he should learn Tanya Baal Peh and review it when he is walking in the street. “This way,” the Rebbe told him, “you will be mekushar to me, because I also review Tanya when I am walking in the street.”

See Sefer R’ Mendel, p. 108; Osios Eisan introduction, p. 23


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Lecha Dodi

In davening on Friday night, we sing the special niggun of Lecha Dodi.

Lecha Dodi was written by a mekubal, R’ Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz. He was also the brother-in-law and talmid of the great mekubal R’ Moshe Kordovero, the Ramak. (R’ Shlomo Halevi hinted to his name in this famous tefillah — can you find it?)

The chorus of Lecha Dodi says that we are going out to welcome Shabbos, the kallah.

Why do we call Shabbos a kallah?

The Medrash says that when Hashem was creating the world, Shabbos had a complaint! All of the days have partners, like a Chosson and KallahYom Rishon has Yom Sheini, Yom Shlishi has Yom Revi’i, and Yom Chamishi has Yom Shishi. But Shabbos is all alone!

Hashem told Shabbos that the Yidden will be its partner, its chosson!

At Har Sinai, Hashem reminded us about this: “Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos Lekadsho” — remember that Shabbos is your partner, you need to be mekadesh it, like a man is mekadesh his wife.

That is also the reason why some Yidden have the minhag to say Shir Hashirim before Shabbos, since Shir Hashirim speaks about Hashem and the Yidden with a mashal of a chosson and kallah.

See My Prayer by Rabbi Nissan Mindel



Tzedakah Before Licht Bentchen

It is a minhag to give tzedakah before we light Shabbos candles.


Licht bentchen is a special time when Hashem listens to the tefillos of the women and girls who are lighting Shabbos candles. We give tzedakah before to bring even more bracha in all the things we ask.

See Igros Kodesh vol. 14, p. 529

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



Shabbos and Moshiach

One of the things we say about Shabbos in Lecha Dodi is “Sof Maaseh Bemachshava Techilah,” Shabbos was the last part of creating the world, but it was Hashem’s first thought. Hashem wanted from the very beginning that Creation should finish with Shabbos!

The same thing is also true about the Geulah, which is also compared to Shabbos!

Even though the Geulah comes all the way at the end of the world’s time, it is Machshava Techilah — in Hashem’s “mind” first. Hashem planned from the very beginning that Shabbos would come at the end. Geulah is the reason why Hashem created the world!

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