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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayigash - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Yaakov Avinu starts traveling down to Mitzrayim.

Yaakov said, “I am so happy! Yosef is alive! Let me go see him before I pass away!”

Yaakov thought he might pass away in Mitzrayim, so he prepared a place to be buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah before going. He paid Eisav with big piles of gold and silver that he earned from Lavan, so that Eisav would not fight over this place.

Yaakov packed up everything and took the whole family out of Chevron. They stopped at Be’er Sheva and Yaakov gave a korban to Hashem.

Be’er Sheva was the last city he stopped in before leaving Eretz Yisroel, and Yaakov was worried about leaving this holy land.

Hashem came to him in a dream and said in a loving way, “Yaakov! Yaakov!” Yaakov said, “Here I am.”

Hashem said, “Don’t be afraid to go to Mitzrayim, because that’s where you will really become a big nation. I will come down with you to Mitzrayim, and make sure that you are buried in Eretz Yisroel.”

Yaakov and his wives and children went down to Mitzrayim in the wagons. They brought all of the animals and the things that they had from Canaan. All of Yaakov’s children and grandchildren came.

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TEHILLIM

23 - 28

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Chof-Gimmel through Chof-Ches.

The pesukim in Kapitel Chof-Daled talk about the time when Shlomo Hamelech went to bring the Aron into the Kodesh Hakodoshim in the Beis Hamikdash. He asked the gates to open up, “Se’u She’arim Rosheichem.” These words are said twice in this kapitel.

The Metzudas Dovid, who explains the meaning of pesukim in Nach, says that there is also a hint here to the future: The two times it says “Se’u She’arim Rosheichem” hint to the two times when the Shechina rested and will rest in the Beis Hamikdash in its full glory — the first Beis Hamikdosh, and in the third Beis Hamikdosh!

The Gemara says that the second Beis Hamikdash was missing 5 things, and the Shechinah was not there with the same strength as with the first Beis Hamikdash. But in the third Beis Hamikdash, the Shechinah will rest in its full glory, and the end of this kapitel is hinting to that time.

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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Hey

Chassidus brings us chayus in learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and serving Hashem. In this Perek the Alter Rebbe will give us a special chayus in KNOWING Torah — Yediyas HaTorah. Becoming KNOWLEDGEABLE in Torah has something that is even more special than all of the other mitzvos, including the mitzvah of SAYING words of Torah:

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 new, our gashmius’dike mind becomes united with Hashem’s Torah in such a strong and amazing way!

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!

When we first start to learn something new in Torah, for example a halacha, the inyan “surrounds” our mind. We only understand the general idea, but we don’t totally “get it” yet. We don’t really understand it properly.

When we learn it again and really understand it, the Torah then is inside our mind, and our mind “surrounds” and “holds” the inyan in Torah. That means that when we learn and understand Torah, first our mind is surrounded by the Chochmah of Hashem, and later our mind also surrounds it! This is a Yichud Nifla, an incredible connection with Hashem, Who is one with His Chochma.

We only get this maalah when we LEARN and UNDERSTAND Torah, so it is a good idea to make sure we understand what we are learning in Chitas!

The Mishna says: “Learning Torah is equal to all of the mitzvos!” Why is this?

Torah and mitzvos are like food and clothes. Torah is called food and bread. Just like food goes into a person and gives him chayus so he can live, when we learn and understand Torah, it becomes part of us and gives us life. The Zohar says that Mitzvos are clothes for the neshama in Gan Eden, and Torah is the food.

What’s the difference between food and clothes? Food goes inside a person, and clothes go around a person from outside. So mitzvos are like Hashem SURROUNDING us like clothes, and Torah is like food, like Hashem is INSIDE of us. Since learning Torah is also a mitzvah, it is like food AND clothes!

Because knowing Torah has BOTH of these maalos, it is counted as greater than all of the mitzvos!

There’s a story about one of the Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe. After he learned this Perek in Tanya, the chossid stayed up all night learning Torah. He was so excited to have this incredible maalah that he wanted to learn more and more!

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HAYOM YOM

Daled Teves

There is a halacha every week to be “Maavir Sedrah.” This means to go over the parsha so that you know what is being leined in Shul. You’re first supposed to do it in Chumash, and then with a translation so you understand it.

The Shulchan Aruch says to say the pesukim twice, and Targum Onkelos one time. Targum Onkelos is a translation into Aramaic that is printed in the Chumash. This Targum was chosen as a special translation that should be used, because the Torah also has in it words written in this language.

The Chabad Rebbeim would do it this way: They would start Thursday night, and do one or two Aliyos, say each posuk twice, and then the Targum, and then go to the next posuk. On Friday afternoon (after Chatzos) when we prepare for Shabbos, they would start over from the beginning, say the whole parsha this way, and then say the Haftorah.

Shabbos morning, before davening, they would say the last Aliyah in this way again.

Sometimes, there are two haftoras — like if it’s Rosh Chodesh or Erev Rosh Chodesh, we read a special haftorah. On such a Shabbos, the Rebbeim would do both. The first one, for the Parshas Hashavua, they would say Erev Shabbos, and the special haftorah for the day they would say on Shabbos morning.

Today’s Hayom Yom has TWO parts. There are only five places in Hayom Yom that have this, and they are all written for days that were Shabbos in the year the Hayom Yom was printed! Maybe the Rebbe is teaching us that on Shabbos we have to add more to our learning of Torah and Chassidus. Here is the second section of today’s Hayom Yom:

Every night a part of our neshama goes up to Hashem to get chayus for the next day (as is written in the Zohar). If a person learns very hard during the day or davens with tremendous kavana, sometimes a person could dream about the things that they learned! This could be a dream about Gemara or Chassidus! The neshama can even learn NEW things in the dream! The reason why it had this special dream is because of the effort it put into davening and learning during the day.

(The year the Hayom Yom was written, today was Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz, which speaks about dreams.)

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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #178 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #114

Today we learn another mitzvah about not using animals that are supposed to be korbanos: We are not allowed to cut the hair of an animal, like we usually do to get wool, if it is going to be a korban.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: וְלֹא תָגֹז בְּכוֹר צֹאנֶךָ

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Bechoros.

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RAMBAM

Hilchos Me'ilah

In today's Rambam, we learn more halachos about Me’ilah, a person who uses or benefits from hekdesh, something that belongs to the Beis Hamikdash.

Perek Hey: In this perek we finish learning about which kinds of things are counted as me’ilah, specifically things that were given as a donation to the Beis Hamikdash. One of the halachos in this perek is if it is called me’ilah when a person uses a korban brought by a goy. (Of course we can NEVER take something that doesn’t belong to us! But here we are talking about a separate aveira that needs an extra special kind of teshuva, for taking something from the Beis Hamikdash.)

Perek Vov: This perek teaches what the person needs to be doing with it for it to be counted as the aveira of me’ilah. If it is something that becomes worth less when it is used, if it becomes worth at least a perutah less, it is called me’ilah.

Perek Zayin: We learn what happens if someone makes a shliach to use the thing that is hekdesh, or has someone else watch it without telling him that it is hekdesh and can’t be used. The Rambam gives many cases and says in each example who would need to do this teshuva of paying back for what was used plus an extra fifth and bringing a korban.

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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin - Perek Tes-Vov

If the kohen had a thought that he is bringing a different korban (like if he thought he was bringing an Olah when he was bringing a Shelamim), the korban is still kosher to bring on the Mizbeiach, but the owners have to bring a new korban. But for a Korban Chatas and a Korban Pesach, these kinds of thoughts would actually make it posul, and it can’t even be brought on the Mizbeiach.

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INYANA D'YOMA

Hey Teves

In the weeks after the nitzachon of Hey Teves, the Rebbe spoke about how this whole story was just a nisayon. A nisayon is a kind of challenge that Hashem gives you to bring out the kochos that are hiding inside.

The Medrash says that when Avraham Avinu was on his way to do the Akeidah, his hardest test, the Satan tried to stop him. First the Satan tried to convince Avraham and Yitzchak not to go, but they didn’t listen to him. So the Satan turned into a river blocking their path, so they couldn’t go any further. Avraham kept on going, until the water reached his neck. Then he turned to Hashem asking for help to cross this deep river and do what Hashem wanted to! All of a sudden, the river dried up completely and disappeared, and Avraham and Yitzchak were able to go to Har Hamoriah for the Akeidah.

This wasn’t a real river. It was just part of the nisayon, so that Avraham would use deeper kochos to ask Hashem for help and pass the test.

The things that happened to make the nisayon are not important. They are like the water — they aren’t really there and will disappear when we pass the nisayon!

Because of this, the Rebbe said that talking about the details of the nisayon won’t help anything! It will just confuse you and be a Yetzer Hara.

The Rebbe said that instead we should talk about the new kochos and peulos that came from Hey Teves! The chayus needs to be in learning the seforim, Niglah and Chassidus, and that when a new sefer or Kuntres or maamar comes out, EVERYONE needs to be excited to learn it! Everyone needs to realize that the reason it was published is for ME to learn it and live with it!

In the sichos that the Rebbe said during the nisayon, and after the nitzachon that followed, the Rebbe taught us many special things which we know and appreciate today only because of this story.

One of them was that we were given a much clearer understanding of what a Rebbe is. The Rebbe explained how a Rebbe’s inyan as Nasi continues forever, and that a Rebbe is together with his Chassidim even after his histalkus.

There were also new peulos that the Rebbe began, like publishing more maamarim and sichos, starting new Chabad Houses, and expanding the work of Chabad to a completely new level, which we are all able to see today!

See sichos of Hey Teves and Vayechi 5747, Yud-Beis Tamuz 5745, Vayikra 5747, Zos Chanukah 5746

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TEFILLAH

Modeh Ani

We say Modeh Ani first thing in the morning, not Elokai Neshama like they said in the times of the Gemara. The reason we usually hear is because we are not able to say Hashem’s name right away when we wake up, since we are not as holy as Yidden were in the times of the Gemara.

But in a way, Modeh Ani is HIGHER than Elokai Neshama!

All of the names of Hashem show us certain special things about Hashem, but when we speak directly TO Hashem we are speaking to the Etzem of Hashem! In Modeh Ani we are able to speak to Hashem Himself, higher than any names!

One of the reasons we say Modeh Ani nowadays is because during this hard Golus, we need the extra koach of speaking straight to the Etzem of Hashem first thing in the morning.

See Kuntres Inyana Shel Toras Hachassidus, os Yud-Alef

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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Checking Mezuzos in Times of Hardship

According to halacha, we check our mezuzos every 3 and a half years, but it is our minhag to try our best to check them EVERY year, especially during the month of Elul.

It is also brought in Seforim that if someone is going through a hard time, it is also appropriate to check the mezuzos again. Since the mezuzah is our protection, we want to make sure our protection is strong.

See “Mezuzah, Divine Protection and Blessing” p. 77

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

Stand Strong to Bring Moshiach

In this week’s parsha, we learn about how Yehudah went to speak to Yosef. He knew what was the right thing to do, and he told it to Yosef in a very strong way.

We can learn from Yehudah what we need to do to bring the Geulah! (Dovid Hamelech and Moshiach COME from Yehudah!)

We need to deal with the world in a strong way. We need to be proud that we are Yidden, and know that Hashem created the whole world for us to do mitzvos! When we are strong about what we know is true, it will bring the Geulah.

See Sefer Hasichos 5752, chelek alef p. 226

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