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Chamishi with Rashi

Avimelech came to Be’er Sheva to make peace with Yitzchak, since they had sent him away earlier and were afraid they would be punished.

Yitzchak & Avimelech make peace: Yitzchak agreed with Avimelech, Pichol, and his friends that they should make peace. He made a meal, and they ate and drank together. In the morning, they made a promise not to hurt each other, and Yitzchak sent them home.

On that day, Yitzchak’s servants came and told him that they had finally found water in the well they dug! He called the well Shiva, from the word Shevuah, promise (because of the promise they just made with Avimelech and his friends). That made them decide again that Be’er Sheva (“the well of the promise”) was a very good name for the place, so that’s the name it stayed.

Eisav’s wicked wives: When Eisav turned 40, he remembered that his father Yitzchak got married at 40 years old, and he decided to act like his father and get married too. He married two women: Oholivama and Ada, but he called them Yehudis and Basmas, to make Yitzchak think he was a tzadik.

(Yehudis means someone who knows — knowing that Avodah Zara is wrong, and Basmas means “spice woman” — she got that nickname because she burned spices for Avodah Zara, but Eisav said it was because she did nice things that people liked as much as sweet spices.)

These wives made Yitzchak and Rivkah sad because they had the chutzpah to do Avodah Zara in front of them.

23 years after Eisav got married, Yitzchak had gotten old. The smoke from Eisav’s wives’ Avodah Zarah spices made him not able to see as well, plus he couldn’t see as well from the tears of the malochim that cried by the Akeida. Hashem did this so he would end up giving the bracha to Yaakov.

Yitzchak wants to give his children a bracha: Yitzchak knew that Hashem promised that he would live a long life. Still, when he was 123, he thought that this might be what Hashem calls a long life, and he decided to make sure now to give his children a bracha before he passed away.

Even though Yitzchak saw that Eisav did a lot of bad things, he hoped that if he got a bracha, he would use all of his koach to serve Hashem. So Yitzchak called for Eisav, and told him that he was getting old. To give a proper bracha, he needed to see Eisav show he deserves a bracha. So he asked Eisav to sharpen his knife and catch and shecht an animal for Yitzchak to eat.

Yaakov gets Eisav’s bracha: Rivkah heard Yitzchak telling this to Eisav. When Eisav left to trap an animal (or steal one, if he couldn’t trap one), Rivkah told Yaakov what Yitzchak had said. She told Yaakov to go take two goats from Yitzchak’s flocks, since that’s how much Yitzchak gave her to use every day. Today she would use one goat for the Korban Pesach (since it was Erev Pesach) and cook the second one to give to Yitzchak, so he would bless Yaakov and not Eisav.

Yaakov was worried, and told his mother — “I am not hairy like Eisav, and if my father touches me he will know I am not Eisav! He will then know I am tricking him and might curse me instead of giving me a bracha!”

Rivkah told him not to worry, and just to listen. So he did, and Rivkah cooked the meat, and made bread. Then she took Eisav’s special hunting outfit and put it on Yaakov. (It used to belong to Nimrod, but Eisav killed Nimrod and stole the clothes. Eisav didn’t trust his wives not to steal from him, so he kept the outfit in Rivkah’s house.) She put hairy goat skin on his arms, and smooth goat skin on his neck.

Yaakov took the food and went in to Yitzchak. He said, “Tatty!” and Yitzchak said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Yaakov answered “It’s me! Eisav is your oldest.” (In Hebrew that sounds just like “It’s me, Eisav, your oldest.”) Yaakov said it like this because he didn’t want to lie.

“I did what you told me,” Yaakov said. Since he ALWAYS did what his father told him to do, that also wasn’t a lie. But Yitzchak still thought it was Eisav, who was telling him he went hunting like his father told him. “Please come eat, so you can give me the brachos!”

Yitzchak was surprised that Eisav came back so fast, but Yaakov said “Hashem helped me find the animal quickly!” That made Yitzchak very suspicious! That didn’t sound like how Eisav talks! He told Yaakov to come close so he could feel him and make sure he was Eisav. When Yitzchak touched Yaakov’s arm, it felt hairy from the goat skin! He said “Hakol Kol Yaakov — the way you talk is like Yaakov, Vehayadayim Yedei Eisav — but you feel like Eisav!”

Since it seemed like it was Eisav, Yitzchak got ready to give him a bracha. “You really are Eisav?” he asked. “Ani,” Yaakov answered, “me.” (Again he didn’t want to lie.)

“Please serve me the food, so I can give you the brachos.” Yaakov did what his father asked, and brought him the food and wine to drink.

Then Yitzchak asked his son to kiss him. Yaakov came close and kissed him, and a neis happened that the goat skins (which usually smell yucky) smelled like Gan Eden! He said, “since you smell like Gan Eden, which Hashem gave brachos to, it shows that YOU deserve to get brachos too.”



145 - 150

Today we finish the whole Tehillim! The last kapitelach are the “Hallelukahs” that we say in davening. In the kapitel which has the pesukim we say in Ashrei, there is a posuk that says, “Bechol Yom Avarcheka, Va’ahallela Shimcha LeOlam Va’ed” — “I will bless You every day and I will praise Your name forever.”

The Tzemach Tzedek (in Yehal Ohr, where he explains Tehillim) says that this is talking about bitachon. A Yid needs to have bitachon every day, that Hashem will give him whatever he needs for that day.

Beis Hillel would say that if you find a special food during the week, you don’t need to save it for Shabbos! He had bitachon that for sure Hashem would send something just as nice or nicer before Shabbos. We learn from Beis Hillel how our bitachon needs to be strong every day.

But Hashem doesn’t give Yidden things for free! We get what we deserve based on how we behave. That is what the posuk is is saying: “Bechol Yom Avarcheka” — when we bentch Hashem and have a new chayus every day to use all of the opportunities He gives us, then Hashem will also bentch US, with all of the things we need to do our Avodas Hashem properly for that day, and bring the world much closer to Moshiach!



Kuntres Acharon

What should someone do if they realize that they were davening with the wrong thoughts?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that Hashem makes a special deal with us! If we have kavana at least in one little piece of davening every day, Hashem will put all those little pieces together. That way, after a year, you will have davened every part with kavana, and Hashem will count it as if you had that kavana every single day of the year!

Many chassidim would make a “kneitch” in their Siddur, folding down a corner to remember which part of davening they had kavana in, to make sure they would daven each part with kavana at least once!



Lamed Mar-Cheshvan

Today there is no Hayom Yom! That’s because the year the Hayom Yom was written for (Tof-Shin-Daled) only had 29 days in Cheshvan.

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, set up a calendar pattern that will work until Moshiach comes.

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 they are long or short, and which years are leap years.

This year is a Shana Me’uberes, a leap year, with two Adars. Also, Cheshvan and Kislev both have 30 days this year, making it the LONGEST year there could be! (385 days long)

The year Tof-Shin-Mem-Daled (5744) was also a long year. In many farbrengens, the Rebbe spoke about how it’s a very special year: Not only do we have an extra month (another Adar) to do more mitzvos during the year, we also have extra days — we have the most opportunities to do our shlichus of strengthening Yiddishkeit and bringing the Geulah!



Hilchos Megillah V'Chanukah Perek Gimmel - Daled, Mitzvas Asei #213

Because there are no mitzvos for this set of halachos, we learn the perakim of Hilchos Megillah V’Chanukah in Rambam, even if we usually just say Sefer Hamitzvos!

We also 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 Megillah V'Chanukah - Hilchos Ishus

In today’s Rambam, we learn about Chanukah! Even though lighting the menorah and hearing the Megillah are mitzvos, since they are mitzvos from the Chachomim, they don’t count as part of the 613 mitzvos.

One of the things we learn is about saying Hallel on Chanukah. Did you know that there are 18 days a year when we say the whole Hallel? (8 days of Sukkos, 8 days of Chanukah, first day of Pesach, and Shavuos.) Outside of Eretz Yisroel, we say the whole Hallel 21 days — can you figure out why? (Saying Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is a minhag, and that’s why we don’t say the whole Hallel.)

We learn many halachos about lighting the Menorah. Here is one very important halacha: If someone only has enough money to do one mitzvah — lighting the Menorah or lighting Shabbos candles, he should get the Shabbos candles!

Why? Because the most important thing is to have Shalom Bayis, which is what Shabbos candle lighting is about!

Now we finished a whole Sefer of the Rambam, Zemanim! We are starting the next sefer, called Noshim (women). It talks about getting married.

Some of the halachos are about which people aren’t allowed to get married to each other. One halacha is that a Kohen Gadol can’t get married to anyone who was married before.



Hilchos Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i - Perek Daled

If we live far away from Yerushalayim, the food might not be good by the time we get there! We learn how to trade the food for money, and then use the money to buy food in Yerushalayim later.




One Simchas Torah, the Rebbe farbrenged very strongly about how important Shlichus is, and that every Yid needs to be part of it.

The Rebbe said then two very special things:

1) The gematria of “Shliach” is almost the same as Moshiach, it is just 10 less. It teaches us that if a shliach uses all 10 kochos of his neshama (like we learned about in Tanya) to make his shlichus better, then he is bringing Moshiach!

2) The Rebbe used a posuk where Hashem says to test Him with tzedakah (“Bechonuni Na Bezos”), and you’ll see that Hashem will reward you. With shlichus too, the Rebbe said “Bechanuni Na Bezos,” every Yid who does shlichus work will be able to see clearly that he will get special brachos from Hashem!

See sicha Simchas Torah 5746


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Borchi Nafshi

One of the pieces we add to davening on Rosh Chodesh is Borchi Nafshi. This kapitel of Tehillim speaks about the amazing wonders of Hashem in the world He created!

One of the pesukim in Borchi Nafshi starts with the words “Asa Yareiach Lamoadim” — “Hashem created the moon for Yomim Tovim.”

This posuk is all about Rosh Chodesh! Hashem created the moon so that we would be able to know when the Yomim Tovim are, by fixing the time for Rosh Chodesh. When we know the day the new month starts, we know which day to celebrate each of the Yomim Tovim!

This is one of the reasons why we say Borchi Nafshi on Rosh Chodesh.



Learning Your Kapitel on Rosh Chodesh

There is an old minhag that on every Rosh Chodesh, we learn one posuk with Rashi (and other explanations) from your kapitel Tehillim. If your kapitel has less than 12 pesukim (or less than 13 in a leap year), you can learn the same pesukim over again. If your kapitel is long, learn a few pesukim every Rosh Chodesh.

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



Bringing Moshiach

In the Mishna, it talks about remembering Yetziyas Mitzrayim. It says, “Kol Yemei Chayecha Lehovi Limos Hamoshiach,” “All the days of your life, including the days of Moshiach.” Even when Moshiach comes, we will need to talk about Yetziyas Mitzrayim in davening.

The Frierdiker Rebbe tells us a deeper meaning:

The Mishna didn’t say “Lerabos Yemos Hamoshiach,” which is usually how you would say “including the days of Moshiach” in the language of the Mishnah. Instead the Mishnah uses the words, “Lehovi Liyemos Hamoshiach,” which also means, “to BRING the days of Moshiach.”

According to this, the Mishnah has two lessons for us:

1) “Kol Yemei Chayecha,” everything during your life, “Lehovi Liyemos Hamoshiach,” brings us to think about the times of Moshiach. Whatever we see or use makes us think, how will we use this when Moshiach comes?

2) “Kol Yemei Chayecha,” all of the days of your life ARE “Lehovi Liyemos Hamoshiach.” Our whole lives, we have one main goal: To bring Moshiach!

See Sefer Hasichos Tof-Shin-Gimmel p. 73, Migolah L’geulah p. 128

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