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Shishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Yaakov gets the brachos, and needs to run away when Eisav finds out.

Yaakov’s brachos: Yitzchak Avinu thought that Yaakov was really Eisav! He gave him ten brachos!

Some of the brachos are that he should have rain, so his food will grow well. He should rule other nations and other nations should not rule over him! People who curse him should be cursed, and people who give him brachos should get brachos too. We read these brachos at the beginning of Veyitein Lecha, that we say on Motzei Shabbos!

Eisav’s brachos: After getting the brachos, Yaakov left. Just then, Eisav came back with the food he prepared. He told Yitzchak to come eat, so he could get the brachos.

“Who are you?” Yitzchak asked.

“I am your oldest son, Eisav,” he answered.

When Yitzchak heard this, he was very confused. He also saw Gehennom opening in front of Eisav, and he started to shake! “So who brought me food before? I gave the brachos to him already! But I see he deserved the brachos, so he will keep them.”

Eisav was very upset! He screamed, “Give me a bracha too!”

“But I already gave your brachos to Yaakov — he came in a tricky way and I thought it was you.”

“So that’s why you called him Yaakov!” Eisav cried. “Yaakov can mean to trap — and he already trapped me twice! First, he took away the bechorah from me (the zechus and responsibility of being the oldest), and now he also took my bracha!”

Now Yitzchak saw that this wasn’t a mistake at all! Eisav sold his bechorah, so Yaakov really DID deserve to get the brachos for the oldest! He told Eisav that Yaakov had a bracha now to rule over him, but Eisav still cried that he wanted a bracha too.

Yitzchak gave Eisav a bracha that he would have rain so his plants will grow, even if he didn’t deserve it. And if he would see Yaakov’s children (the Yidden) doing aveiros, he would be allowed to rule over them until they do Teshuvah.

Yaakov runs away: Eisav was very angry at Yaakov! Because of Yaakov, he got a less special bracha! Eisav wanted to kill Yaakov, but he decided to wait until Yitzchak passed away, so he wouldn’t make his father upset.

Rivkah knew about Eisav’s plan through Ruach Hakodesh, and warned Yaakov to run away. She told him to go to Lavan’s house in Charan, and stay there until Eisav isn’t angry anymore. “I will send you a message when you can come home,” she told him. “Don’t try to fight Eisav, because then his children will try to kill you.”

Rivkah wanted Yaakov to have even more brachos. She told Yitzchak that she was worried that Yaakov would marry a Chiti girl like Eisav. So Yitzchak gave Yaakov a bracha to go find a wife from Rivkah’s family in Padan Aram, and that many children should come from him. He gave him many of the brachos that Hashem gave to Avraham Avinu, and a bracha that Eretz Yisrael will belong to HIS children, not Eisav’s!



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In Chodesh Kislev we have a hora’ah from the Rebbe to add in learning from the Torah of the Chabad Rebbeim. We will IY”H try to explain a posuk of Tehillim every day with an explanation from one of the Rebbeim.

In Kapitel Hey Dovid Hamelech asks Hashem not to let the people who are saying not good things about him to Shaul to hurt him. In the end of the kapitel he says. “Ki Ata Tevorech Tzadik Hashem Katzina Ratzon Taatrenu.” “You bentch a tzadik and surround him happily, like a person surrounded by a shield to protect him in a war.”

The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya that there is a deeper meaning in the words Katzina Ratzon Taatrenu. Hashem surrounds a Yid with His ratzon, the Torah and mitzvos, like someone is surrounded with a shield during the time of a war.

How is a Yid surrounded with the Torah and mitzvos?

When we use our sechel to think Torah, the feelings of our heart to be excited to do mitzvos, and we act the way Hashem wants, then we are completely surrounded with the Torah and mitzvos, and it protects us like a shield in a war!



Kuntres Acharon

In the first section of Tanya, we learned that the kavana that we have when we daven and learn goes into the words we say, and changes what happens to them. Depending on our kavana, the words can stay down here in the world, go up a little bit, or go up very high!

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe tells us that there is a difference between words of Torah without the right kavana, and words of Tefillah without the right kavana. The Alter Rebbe explains what happens to each of them, and why there is a difference.

One of the things the Alter Rebbe brings to help understand the differences is about the Torah and Tefillah of kids! The words of davening and learning of children is very special. Even when they don’t have the right kavanos, and are only learning because they don’t want to get in trouble, their words go up very high! Malochim take their words and bring them up all the way to the Olam of Atzilus, the highest of the Olamos, where the Torah and Tefillah of the greatest tzadikim go!



Alef Kislev

One of the things the Alter Rebbe wanted very much from his Chassidim was that they should spend a lot of time and energy in their davening, Avodas HaTefillah. One of the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidim was R’ Yekusiel Liepler.

R’ Yekusiel Liepler was a very chayus’dike Chossid. He would get so excited about davening that he would spend all day with it! There were even times that he would daven Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv one after another — there was no time to take a break between them! (Even longer than we would daven on Yom Kippur!)

One thing we can learn from this is how we as Chassidim need to be so excited about the shlichus that the Rebbe wants from each of us. We should be so “into it” that there shouldn’t be any time for anything else to get in the way!



Mitzvas Asei #213

In Sefer Hamitzvos, we again learn the mitzvah (Mitzvas Asei #213) of getting married according to Torah! This is called Kiddushin. One of the ways we do Kiddushin is for the Chosson to give the Kallah something worth at least a perutah, and says that she is his wife. That’s called “Kiddushei Kesef.” Another way is that he writes down on a paper that she is his wife, and she accepts it from him in order to get married. That’s called “Kiddushei Shtar.”



Hilchos Ishus

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Beis, Gimmel, and Daled, we learn the halachos of the mitzvah in today’s Sefer Hamitzvos.

There are many different ways to tell a woman that she is married to him. For example, a man can say to a woman, “You are my wife,” when he gives her something worth at least a perutah. But if he says, “With this I am your husband,” they are not married.

The Rambam also tells us that someone else can be sent as a shliach to do the Kiddushin, for example sending someone to bring money to the kallah and say that she will become the wife of the man who sent him. Still, it is better for the chosson to do it by himself.

Before we do many mitzvos, we say a bracha. Before the mitzvah of Kiddushin, we also say a special bracha. (This bracha is the first bracha that is said under the chuppah, in the Rambam’s nusach, “Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vehivdilanu Min Ha’arayos...” )



Hilchos Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i - Perek Hey

Today we learn about being podeh Maaser Sheini, changing it for money. Usually when we are podeh the Maaser Sheini we need to pay an extra fifth. One of the things we learn in this perek is when we need to add that extra fifth AND when we don’t.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is a very special Chassidishe Yom Tov! In the year Tof-Shin-Lamed-Ches on Shemini Atzeres the Rebbe became very weak from an illness in the heart. Still the Rebbe did everything on Yom Tov just like he always did. (Doctors later said that they couldn’t believe how the Rebbe continued doing everything even with such pain!) For a few weeks the Rebbe had to rest in his room and chassidim were very worried that the Rebbe should be healthy.

On Rosh Chodesh Kislev, for the first time the Rebbe came out of his Yechidus room where he was resting and went home. Chassidim were so excited to see the Rebbe, that they made a special niggun and made the day into a Yom Tov! It is a day that we farbreng and think of how we can strengthen our hiskashrus to the Rebbe.


One of the things that doctors do sometimes is taking a blood test. They can use a little bit of blood to check what is happening inside of the person. They get the blood by putting a thin needle inside the person, and pulling out some blood using an empty tube.

The Rebbe wanted to teach a lesson in Avodas Hashem, so he asked one of his doctors about this. “What makes the blood come out: The poke of the needle, or the empty tube?”

The doctor answered that the poke of the needle makes the place for the blood to come out, but the empty tube is what pulls out the blood.

The Rebbe said, sometimes a Yid feels like he is empty inside, and not doing what he needs to do as a Yid. It is important to know that this is a special opportunity! When someone is empty, he can bring much more kedusha into himself!


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Kabolas Shabbos

In Maariv of Shabbos there are two parts: Kabolas Shabbos and Maariv.

In Kabolas Shabbos, we welcome Shabbos. This is how we do it:

First, we say six kapitelach of Tehillim, matching up to the six days of the week that just passed.

Then we say the paragraph of Ana B’Koach, which brings us up to a higher level in Ruchnius, since we are now going into Shabbos. Afterwards, we say three pieces in honor of Shabbos:

1) Lecha Dodi

2) Two kapitelach of Tehillim that speak about Shabbos

3) A piece of the Zohar, which speaks about the Ruchnius’dike inyan of Shabbos, what happens in Shomayim on Shabbos and down here as well.

With these Tefillos we are Mekabel Shabbos.



Bentching Licht with Shabbos Clothes

It is a very good minhag of women to put on their Shabbos clothes before bentching licht. It shows kavod for the Shabbos licht and for Shabbos itself, which starts right after lighting our candles!

But if someone is running late, it is better to bentch licht wearing weekday clothes, than to bentch licht very close to Shkiyah, which might chas veshalom possibly end up as Chillul Shabbos.

See Kitzur Dinei Uminhagei Neiros Shabbos Kodesh VeYom Tov by Rabbi N. Dubov, p. 11

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



Getting Ready for Moshiach

In the halachos about a Jewish king, the Rambam describes how we know that a person could be Moshiach.

This person has to come from the family of Dovid Hamelech, and be someone who:

1) Hogeh BaTorah Ve’osek Bamitzvos — Someone who is always learning Torah and is busy with mitzvos

2) Yakof Kol Yisrael — He convinces Yidden to follow the way of Torah and make Yiddishkeit stronger

3) Veyilchom Milchemes Hashem — He fights the wars of Hashem and makes the world around him ready to serve Hashem

The Rebbe teaches us that we should use these things as a lesson of how EVERY YID needs to get ready for Moshiach!

1) We should work on making ourselves better (“Avodah Im Atzmo”) — we should learn more Torah and do more mitzvos!

2) We should help other Yidden to do more mitzvos (“Avodah Im Hazulas)

3) We should also help convince the ENTIRE world to keep the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach!

See sicha of 13 Nisan 5745, Migola Ligeulah p. 308

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