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Parshas Mikeitz - Shvi'i with Rashi

We continue learn what happens with the Shevatim’s second trip to Mitzrayim, when they bring Benyamin along. We learn how Yosef tries to make Benyamin stay.

Yosef asked Binyomin about his family: “I know your family has a few different mothers, do you have another brother from the same mother?”

Benyamin answered, “Yes, but I don’t know where he is.”

“Do you have any children?” Yosef asked.

“Yes, I have ten sons: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Na’aman, Eichi, Rosh, Mupim, Chupim, and Ard.” When Yosef asked what those names mean, Benyamin explained how each one of them was about his missing brother, Yosef. (For example, Chupim was because Yosef and Benyamin weren’t at each other’s chuppahs.)

Yosef was so sad when he heard that, he went out of the room and cried. When he came back, he had the servants serve the meal. (Yosef, his brothers, and the Mitzriyim eating with them all ate separately, so none of them would see what the other people are eating! The Egyptians couldn’t see Yosef eating an animal they worship, and Yosef didn’t want his brothers to see that he was eating food Egyptians don’t eat, and they might figure out that he’s Jewish.)

Yosef pretended that his cup was magic, and told each of his brothers where to sit, having them sit oldest to youngest, all of each mother’s children together. The Shevatim were amazed, because they didn’t know how he could know all of this!

After everyone got their food, Yosef said “Benyamin didn’t come here because he wanted to, so he deserves more food.” When Osnas saw that Yosef gave Benyamin more food, she sent him more food too, and then Menasheh and Efrayim did the same! So Benyamin had FIVE times as much as anyone else!

Even though the Shevatim (and Yosef too) didn’t drink wine since they sold Yosef, they all did this time and they got drunk. After the meal was over, Yosef sent his head servant to fill up his brothers’ bags with food, and to put their money on top. He also had this servant hide his “magic” cup in Benyamin’s bag.

In the morning, the Shevatim started to go back to Eretz Yisrael. They didn’t go very far, when Yosef said to his head servant, “Go run after them, and when you catch them, ask them why they did not nice things to me when I was so good to them to steal my “magic” cup!”

He ran after them, and said what Yosef asked. The brothers said, “Chas veshalom! You saw that we wanted to give you back the money that we found in our bags, that shows we are honest! How could we steal from his house?! Whoever took it should die, and the rest of us would be ready to be slaves if really one of us took it!”

The head servant said, “Really you’re right, but I’ll be nice — only the one I find it with will be a slave, the rest of you can go home.” He searched through everyone’s bags, oldest to youngest, and the cup was found in Benyamin’s bag.

The brothers all ripped their clothes from sadness, put their bags back onto their donkeys (they were strong enough to each do it themselves) and went back to Mitzrayim. They tried to think of how they could fight the Mitzriyim.

When Yehudah and his brothers came to Yosef’s house, he was there waiting for them, and they bowed down in front of him. 

Yosef said, “What did you try to do to me? You want to take away my koach by taking my cup? I am a very smart man, that’s why I’m second to the king — I can figure out who took my cup even without using magic!”

Yehudah said, “What can we say? We didn’t do it, but it looks like Hashem is punishing us for an aveira we did a long time ago (selling Yosef). So here we are, as slaves.” (Yehudah thought that maybe THIS is what Hashem told Avraham, that they will need to be slaves in a different land.)

But Yosef said, “I wouldn’t do such a thing! Only the one who had the cup in his sack will be my slave, the rest of you can go home.” When Yehudah heard that Yosef only wanted Benyamin as a slave, he understood that this wasn’t what Hashem told Avraham, and he was ready to do whatever he needed to do to make sure Yosef wouldn’t keep Benyamin.



145 - 150

Today we are finishing the entire Sefer Tehillim!

You might already know today’s whole Yom of Tehillim by heart! It’s Ashrei and the paragraphs that start with Hallelukah, which is the main part of Pesukei Dezimra in davening.

These paragraphs are explained in the first sefer of Chassidus to be printed after the Tanya!

After the Tanya, the first sefer of Chabad Chassidus printed was the Siddur Im Dach. This is a siddur which has maamarim of the Alter Rebbe printed together with the siddur. It was put together by the Mitteler Rebbe, and is sometimes called the Mitteler Rebbe’s siddur.

The maamarim on these kapitelach in Pesukei Dezimra are very special! Usually a maamar explains one posuk according to Chassidus. But these maamarim explain EVERY posuk of these kapitelach according to Chassidus!

Even though the maamarim were said separately, one posuk at a time, they were put together in the siddur. This helps us understand ALL of the pesukim in the main part of Pesukei Dezimra according to Chassidus!

See maamar Vayishlach 5743 and 5747



Likutei Amarim Perek Hey

So far we learned about the special kochos Hashem gives to us to stay connected to Hashem and be able to have hatzlacha in our Shlichus in the world. We learned about the neshama we have, the tzadikim and Rebbeim who can help us, the Torah and mitzvos we have. Today we will see that the Torah is an EXTRA-special way to keep us connected with Hashem here in this world!

When we have two different things, there are a lot of ways to put them together. Like if we take friends, we can put them together in the same room, or they can hold hands. Or with two different toys, we can tape them together, tie them together, or glue them together.

But the way our Gashmiyus mind becomes connected to Hashem when we understand something in Torah is an amazing connection, that we can’t compare anything to. It is called a Yichud Nifla, that they are so connected they become like one thing!

We learn Hashem’s Torah using our gashmius’dike mind, and the Torah talks about gashmius’dike things. When we are learning Torah and understand something, our gashmius’dike mind becomes one with Hashem’s Torah in such a strong and amazing way!

While we are learning something, we are so busy trying to understand it, that we can’t think about anything else. When we understand it, it becomes part of how we think! Since the understanding of Torah is Hashem’s Chochmah, that means that Hashem becomes a part of us! This is really a Yichud Nifla, an incredible connection!

This is what is so special about our connection with Hashem through learning Torah.

The Rebbe tells us that learning a lot of Torah makes a person’s sechel better, since it starts to think according to Torah!

We see something like this with practicing. After you practice your lines for a play a lot, you will be able to say them automatically!

The same way, when a person gets used to learning and understanding Torah, his mind starts to automatically think that way. Then a person’s sechel becomes a Torah’dike sechel!



Lamed Kislev

Today there is no Hayom Yom! That’s because the year Tof-Shin-Gimmel, when the Hayom Yom was written, only had 29 days in Kislev.

In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, every month could be either 29 (chaser) or 30 (malei) days — depending on when we saw the new moon! But without a Sanhedrin, we can’t pasken when the new month should start. So Hillel Hanasi, from the Sanhedrin (a later Hillel, not the Hillel from Hillel and Shammai), set up a calendar pattern that will work until Moshiach comes, when we will be able to set the day of Rosh Chodesh by looking for the new moon.

In Hillel’s calendar, the months follow a pattern: Nissan has 30 days, Iyar has 29. Sivan has 30 days, Tammuz has 29. But there is an exception — Cheshvan and Kislev can sometimes be 29, and sometimes 30! There is another pattern of 19 years that tells us when Cheshvan and Kislev are long or short, and which years are leap years. This year Cheshvan and Kislev both have 30 days.



Shiur #145 - Mitzvas Asei #140, #136, #137, Lo Saasei #224, #225, #226

Today we learn SIX mitzvos about Yovel! Yovel is the 50th year — after we had 7 Shemitah years!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #140) It is a mitzvah to count the years until Yovel — after every 7 Shemitah years, it is Yovel! This is a mitzvah for the Sanhedrin. Just like every Yid counts the days of Sefiras Ha’omer, the Sanhedrin counts 49 years, and the 50th year is Yovel.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְסָפַרְתָּ לְךָ שֶׁבַע שַׁבְּתֹת שָׁנִים וְגוֹ׳

2) (Mitzvas Asei #136) We need to make the Yovel year holy, like Shemitah — not planting and working the land, and making the food that grows hefker.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּם אֵת שְׁנַת הַחֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה

3) (Mitzvas Asei #137) We blow the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Yovel year, to show that all Jewish slaves need to go free.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְהַעֲבַרְתָּ שׁוֹפַר תְּרוּעָה בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִעִי בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ בְּיוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים תַּעֲבִירוּ שׁוֹפָר בְּכָל אַרְצְכֶם ... וּקְרָאתֶם דְּרוֹר בָּאָרֶץ לְכָל ישְׁבֶיהָ

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #224) We are not allowed to work in the fields during Yovel.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: לֹא תִזְרָעוּ

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #225) We aren’t allowed to harvest food that grew by itself during Yovel.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְלֹא תִקְצְרוּ אֶת סְפִיחֶיהָ

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #226) We are not allowed to harvest fruit that grew during Yovel.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְלֹא תִבְצְרוּ אֶת נְזִרֶיהָ



Hilchos Shemitah VeYovel

In today’s Rambam, we learn many halachos about Kedushas Shevi’is, the kedusha of food that grew during Shemitah.

Perek Vov: Food that grows during Shemitah is holy! We are not allowed to sell it like we sell regular fruits and vegetables. We can only sell a little bit of it at a time (like enough to eat for one day), and the money we get for selling it becomes holy too! We can only use the money to buy food to eat. Once we buy the food, the money loses its kedusha, and the food we bought gets Kedushas Shvi’is.

Perek Zayin: We are allowed to gather food that grew by itself during Shemitah to eat during Shemitah. But once that kind of food stops growing, we aren’t allowed to have it in our house anymore! So once the grapes are all finished for the year, and there are no more grapes in the vineyards, we can’t have them at home either. We need to do “Biur” (like Biur Chometz!) of all of that food! On the day of biur, we can try to give out whatever Shemitah grapes or raisins we have left for people to eat that day, and whatever is left needs to be burned.

Perek Ches: We need to be careful not to help a person do an aveira by helping them do something asur during Shemitah. For example, a person is not allowed to sell a plow to someone that we know might use it during Shemitah.



Hilchos Zechiya U'Matana - Perek Zayin

In Perek Zayin, we learn about Shushvinus: In the olden days, when a person wanted to get married, his friends would all give him money. Then, he would have to give THEM money when they were ready to get married. Since this was like a loan, not like a real present, in some cases they would be able to demand the money back through the Beis Din.



Making Days Good

The Rebbe started something very special: “Kolel Zekeinim,” and “Chochmas Noshim,” where people could learn Torah and have shiurim at an older age. They would come to the Rebbe every so often and hear a sicha just for them!

The Rebbe started these special programs because people send their parents to nursing homes and only visit them once in a while. They don’t realize how special older people are, and how when they get older, they know so much more!

One Chanukah, the Rebbe gave a sicha to the older Yidden in Kolel Zekeinim and Chochmas Noshim. He spoke about when people meet each other. When they wish each other, “Good morning!” or “Have a good day!” they are making each other’s days into GOOD days!

That’s even more true about Chanukah, which is a already a Yom Tov, a good day! So when we get together, we need to make sure to say nice things to each other and make each day of Chanukah into a VERY good day!


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Ve'al Hanisim

What is the neis of Chanukah?

There are actually TWO main nissim: That the oil in the menorah lasted for eight days, and that the Yidden won the war against the Greeks!

The main neis that the Chachomim set up the Yom Tov for is the neis of the oil. That’s why the main mitzvah of Chanukah is lighting the menorah.

But we also thank Hashem for the other neis, that the Yidden won the war! We do this when we say Ve’al Hanisim, which thanks Hashem for making the small Yiddishe army win against the big Greek army.



Shabbos Chanukah

Chanukah is a special time for giving tzedakah. Even on Shabbos there are ways we can add in tzedakah! We can have Yidden eat at our homes. In a way, that is even better tzedakah! Because then they don’t need to get money and then buy and make the food, but they have it right away! We can also learn Torah with others and give good advice to help someone.

Here is the order of lighting the Menorah on Motzei Shabbos at home:

1) We make or hear Havdalah.

3) We light the menorah.

4) We say Veyitein Lecha, AFTER lighting.

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



Our Chanukah Mission

At a rally for children on Chanukah, the Rebbe told the children about our special Chanukah mission!

Our big mission is getting ready for the Geulah, and the third Beis Hamikdash. One of the ways we do this is to make sure our own homes and rooms are a Beis Chabad, a little Beis Hamikdash! So every house, and every person’s room should be a place of Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chasadim. We should have a siddur, a Chumash, a pushka, and whatever else we need to use that room to do mitzvos!

Every community needs a Beis Chabad too, and it’s the job of everyone in the community to help make sure that there is one!

So here’s our special mission for Chanukah:

Every child needs to go to their parents and ask them, with Devarim Hayotzim Min Halev (sincerely), for Chanukah gelt for their Cheder Tzivos Hashem! We should use this Chanukah gelt to buy a siddur, a Chitas, a pushka, negel vasser, or whatever else we need to make our room a little Beis Hamikdash.

Of course, when children ask their parents for such an important thing, the parents will also want to do it! And through the children, the rest of the house will also become a Beis Chabad the way it should be!

From a sicha on the 5th night of Chanukah, 5747

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