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CHUMASH

Revi'i with Rashi

We learned before that the shepherds of the Pelishtim in Gerar kept fighting with Yitzchak over his wells. In today’s Chumash, we learn how Avimelech comes to Yitzchak to renew his promise to have peace with him.

Yitzchak went to live in Be’er Sheva.

Hashem appeared to him that night and said, “I am Hashem. Don’t worry about all the fighting, I am with you! I will give you a bracha to have many children coming from you, in Avraham’s zechus.”

Yitzchak built a mizbeiach there to thank Hashem. He set up his tent, and his servants tried to dig another well, but didn’t find water right away.

In the meantime, Avimelech came from Gerar together with his friends and Fichol his general. Yitzchak asked, “Why are you coming here? You hate me, and sent me away!”

They answered, “We see that Hashem is with you, like with your father. We want you to keep your father’s promise not to bother us, just like we didn’t hurt you when we told you to leave.”

 
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TEHILLIM

140 - 144

In the back of our Tehillim, Ohel Yosef Yitzchok, there are many letters printed, with some stories that teach us how special saying Tehillim is. Here is one of those stories:

In the time of the Baal Shem Tov, there was once a gezeira that Chas Veshalom something not good would happen to a Yiddishe town. The Baal Shem Tov’s neshama went to Shomayim and saw that there was nothing that could be done to change the gezeira. But right before his Neshama came back, he saw a very great light in one place in Gan Eden. When he asked what it was, he was told that that light is from a Yid in a village that says Tehillim five times every day while he works.

The Baal Shem Tov traveled to the Yid and asked him: If he knew that with his Olam Haba he could save a Yiddishe village, would he do it? He answered, “If I have such an Olam Haba, for sure I would” — and the gezeira was changed. This is one story of very many that show us how precious saying Tehillim is to Hashem.

 
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TANYA

Kuntres Acharon

Does what we think when we daven really matter or is the main thing just to say the words?

One time the Alter Rebbe came into a Yeshiva that refused to learn Chassidus or spend time on the avodah of davening, and said, “It’s filled with Torah!” Chassidim didn’t understand why the Alter Rebbe was saying this special praise about the Yeshivah, if the Alter Rebbe taught that we need to learn chassidus in order to learn Torah properly.

The Alter Rebbe explained that what we think goes inside the words of our davening and learning. When we learn and daven because we love Hashem and want to act the way He wants, malachim hug and kiss those words and bring them to Hashem! But if we are thinking instead about how we want everyone to think we are so special because of how we learn, or we think about silly things in the middle of davening, then those words get “stuck” and can’t go up to Hashem.

That Yeshivah WAS full of Torah — it was full of the Torah of people who didn’t have Ahava and Yirah, so the words of Torah were stuck down in the Yeshivah instead of going up to Hashem.

So what should someone do if they realize that they were davening with the wrong thoughts, and now their davening is “stuck?” We will IY”H see tomorrow!

 
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HAYOM YOM

Chof-Tes Mar-Cheshvan

The year the Hayom Yom was written, today was Shabbos Mevorchim Kislev! The Rebbe reminds us to say the whole Tehillim before davening, and that today is a day for farbrengen.

The Frierdiker Rebbe made a takana that we should say the day’s kapitelach of Tehillim every day with a minyan after davening, and to say the whole Tehillim on Shabbos Mevorchim. Today we learn what the Frierdiker Rebbe said about this takana.

Saying Tehillim is very special — so special that we really cant even KNOW what special things it accomplishes and how much nachas Hashem has from it!

But one thing we do know: By keeping this takana, Hashem will bentch us with health and good parnasa and nachas from our families, and that it will bring good things in Gashmiyus and Ruchniyus for all Yidden!

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Mitzvas Asei #59, Hilchos Megillah V'Chanukah Perek Alef - Beis

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn the same mitzvah again (Mitzvas Asei #59): That we blow trumpets at certain times. We blow them when we bring the special korbanos of Yom Tov, a happy time. We also blow them in a sad time — when we are davening to Hashem because hard things are happening. They can remind us that it’s from Hashem, and we have to do teshuvah.

Since there is no mitzvah for the next set of halachos (Megillah V’Chanukah), we learn these perakim of Rambam inside.

Today we learn the first two perakim of Hilchos Megillah V’Chanukah inside, as part of Sefer Hamitzvos, along with those who learn three perakim of Rambam every day.

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Taaniyos - Megillah V'Chanukah

In today’s Rambam, we are finishing the halachos about fasts.

There are five fasts each year because of sad things that happened to the Yidden:

1) Tzom Gedaliah (Gimmel Tishrei) — when Gedaliah was killed. He was the governor of the Yidden, and they hoped he would help them live in Eretz Yisroel. When he was killed, the Yidden realized they were REALLY in Golus.

2) Asara B’Teves — When Nevuchadnetzar blocked anyone from going out or coming into Yerushalayim.

3) Shiva-Asar B’Tammuz — 5 sad things happened: The luchos were broken, the Yidden couldn’t bring korbanos anymore (in the first Beis Hamikdash), the walls of Yerushalayim were broken (in the time of the Second Beis Hamikdash), Apostomos the rasha burned a Torah, and he also put an idol in the (second) Beis Hamikdash.

4) Tisha B’Av — 5 sad things happened: The Yidden in the Midbar were told they wouldn’t get to go into Eretz Yisroel, the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed (both), a city called Beitar was captured and everyone was killed (including Bar Kochva, who many Chachomim said could be Moshiach), and the rasha Turnus Rufus plowed the ground of the Beis Hamikdash (this is something the Navi said would happen).

The Yidden also took the minhag of fasting one more fast:

5) Taanis Esther (Yud-Gimmel Adar) — we fast Erev Purim to remember how all of the Yidden fasted in the time of the gezeira of Haman.

We don’t blow the trumpets on any of these fasts.

What happens if these fast days are on Shabbos? We fast after Shabbos instead — except for Taanis Esther, because if we fasted after Shabbos, we would be fasting on Purim! Instead, we fast on the Thursday before (because it’s not kavodik for Shabbos for us to fast on Friday). If the other fasts are on Friday, though, we fast on Friday. (This hardly ever happens because of how our calendar is set up.)

The Rambam tells us the halachos of Av and Tisha B’Av, which is the only one of these fasts that we fast also at night. We also learn about “Zecher LeChurban,” things we do to remember that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed.

But don’t worry, at the end of Rambam we learn something very happy! The same Navi that hints to all of these fasts also reminds us that they will all be very happy days when Moshiach comes!

~

We also start learning the halachos about Purim today, in a new set of halachos!

Even though there are mitzvos for Purim and Chanukah, they are mitzvos from the Chachomim, and not mitzvos that are said in the Torah.

The mitzvah of Purim is to hear the Megillah. The Rambam tells us how to make sure to do the mitzvah right. One thing the Rambam says is that we should make sure kids get used to hearing the Megillah too!

We also learn the other mitzvos of Purim: the Seudah, Shalach Manos, and Matanos L’Evyonim.

The Rambam says that when Moshiach comes we won’t need to learn the Neviim and Kesuvim anymore. (In another place, it explains that this is because we’ll be able to see it all from the Chumash.) Still, we will always need to learn Megillas Esther!

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i

We learn more about Maaser Sheini: We need to treat Maaser Sheini with respect — for example, we are not allowed to make it tamei.

 
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DARKEI HACHASSIDUS

Hiskashrus

Torah teaches that after the histalkus of a tzadik, when we can’t see him with our Gashmiyus eyes, he is still there asking Hashem for brachos and giving koach to Yidden in gashmiyus and ruchniyus.

This is the truth of the way it is, but for us to feel it and receive it, we need to do our part! By learning the Rebbe’s maamorim, sichos, and letters, and thinking about the lessons that we can take from them to live that way, a chossid can live in a way that will make those brachos alive in our daily life.

 

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TEFILLAH

Vayevarech Dovid

The first part of Vayevarech Dovid is the words Dovid Hamelech said to the Yidden before he passed away. They are pesukim from the sefer Divrei Hayamim.

After telling the Yidden that the Beis Hamikdash would be built by his son Shlomo Hamelech, Dovid Hamelech praised Hashem.

The expressions of praise we give Hashem in Yishtabach are based on the praises that Dovid Hamelech used in these pesukim, the pesukim that follow, and in Az Yashir. This is one of the reasons why we say Vayevarech Dovid before finishing Pesukei Dezimra.

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Tzedakah

Before we daven, we give tzedakah. It is important to give to others before we ask Hashem for our own needs in Shemoneh Esrei, and it brings a strong chayus into our tefillah! The tzedakah we give before we start is good for our davening.

In addition to giving tzedakah before davening, there is also another time during davening when there is a minhag to give tzedakah. The Arizal teaches (and it is brought in Shulchan Aruch) that the best time to fulfill the mitzvah of giving tzedakah is while we are standing and saying Vayevarech Dovid. When we say the words “Ve’ata Moshel Bakol,” that Hashem rules over everything, it is a special time to give tzedakah. We should have kavana that by giving tzedakah we are taking the Shechinah out of its Golus so that Hashem can rule over everything in a revealed way.

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

Shlichus

Nowadays, we have a very special avodah: To get ready for Moshiach!

How do we get ready for Moshiach?

The Rebbe tells us that the best way to prepare for Moshiach is to start practicing now! We should do things now like we will do them when Moshiach comes.

When Moshiach comes, the whole world will recognize Hashem! Everyone and everything will realize that Hashem is the true King of the entire world, and that everything is part of Him.

So to prepare for Moshiach, we should start now — helping everyone recognize Hashem! How do we do that?

We work hard to spread Yiddishkeit! We do more and more mitzvos, and help others to do them too. We teach people Torah and make a Kiddush Hashem!

This way, the world will be getting ready for the time when EVERY Yid is doing mitzvos all the time and the whole world will recognize Hashem!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Gimmel, p. 487

 
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