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Parshas Vayishlach - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we hear about the people who used to live in Seir, until Eisav pushed them out. We also hear about all of the eight kings of Edom (Eisav), even though they were from other places, and not really from the land of Edom!

Before Yaakov and Eisav were born, Sheim told Rivkah that when one would be strong, the other would be weak. So the Torah tells us all of the kings that ruled from Eisav, before the Yiddishe kings.

In Nach where it speaks about the Yiddishe kings, it says that from then on, there were no more kings of Edom. And after the last Yiddishe king, it says that again there were kings from Eisav’s family.

In Yalkut Levi Yitzchak, a sefer with the Torah of the Rebbe’s father, there are many explanations from Kabbalah about the eight kings from Eisav’s family and what each of them represent.



79 - 82

Today’s shiur of Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Tes through Pey-Beis.

Kapitel Pey-Alef was a kapitel that was said in the Beis Hamikdash on Rosh Hashana!

It mentions that you should blow the shofar: “Tiku Bachodesh Shofar, Bakeseh Leyom Chageinu,” and in the next posuk, “Ki Chok L’Yisroel Hu, Mishpot Leilokei Yaakov.” “You should blow a shofar on the new month, on the day that is decided as our Yom Tov; because it is a decree for Bnei Yisroel, a ruling of Hashem, the G-d of Yaakov.”

The Gemara learns from this posuk that between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, a person is judged for all of the brachos they will get for the coming year.

There are also other opinions in the Gemara, that a person isn’t just judged on Rosh Hashana, but he is judged every day! According to one opinion, we are judged every HOUR! The Chachomim tell us about a tzadik called R’ Yeiva Sava, that even when the food was on the table in front of him, he would daven to Hashem that He should give him food!

The Rebbe Rashab explains in Kuntres Umaayon that really all of these things are true. There is a general chayus that is decided for a person between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, but every day it is decided how that chayus should come to the person. It’s like having money in the bank: Will you use it for something good, something not so good, or will it just sit in the bank until later?

How is this judgment decided? Based on how we behave!

So the Rebbe Rashab makes sure we know this, so that we don’t do anything silly like not having Kibbud Av Va’eim because we want to have fun, or davening super-fast so we can go play outside. We will get MORE brachos if we do the mitzvah right, and in the end we’ll have more fun too if we do what Hashem wants!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Zayin

In today’s Tanya, the Alter Rebbe talks about the mitzvah of tzedakah. One of the special things about tzedakah is that it is able to bring the light of Hashem from our minds, into our hearts.

Really this is something that is very hard to do, but when we give tzedakah to someone else who can’t get the money themselves, Hashem helps us do something WE can’t do by ourselves!



Tes-Zayin Kislev

In today’s Hayom Yom, we see that one of the main things Chassidus teaches us is how to control our behavior based on what we learn.

What we think about can stop us from feeling a certain way! For example, if we are in a silly mood and are playing around in the classroom, that means our heart wants to have fun! But if the principal walks in, we will stop right away, because we understand it’s not good for the principal to see us acting silly.

That is one way of “Moach Shalit Al Halev.”

Another way of having Moach Shalit Al Halev is to think about something to help us want it. For example, if someone thinks about all of the fun things he will get to do in camp, he will get excited and want to go! He was able to make himself feel a certain way by thinking!

Chassidus teaches us to use this koach in Avodas Hashem! Here are some ways to use it:

Let’s say that we want something that Hashem doesn’t want (like if we see a candy that belongs to someone else, or want to say something not true) — we can stop ourselves from feeling that way by remembering that Hashem is there watching everything we do!

We can also use our mind to make ourselves feel a certain way, like to think about how being connected to Yiddishkeit is the best way of living there could be! That will make us feel more connected to Yiddishkeit, and want to always act the way Yiddishkeit teaches us!



Shiur #131 - Mitzvas Asei #127

Now we have started learning a new set of halachos in Rambam, about Maaser.

(Mitzvas Asei #127) Today we learn the mitzvah of Maaser Rishon. We need to take 1/10th of the food that grows in our fields and give it to the Leviim.



Hilchos Maaser

In today’s Rambam, we learn the first three perakim about Maaser Rishon, which goes to the Leviim.

One halacha is that Maaser is not as holy as Terumah, it is called “chulin.” It doesn’t have kedusha in it the way Terumah does.

Another interesting halacha is that even though Maaser Rishon is given to the Leviim, there was a time when it was given to the kohanim! Ezra Hasofer, who brought many Yidden back to Eretz Yisroel right after the second Beis Hamikdash was built, was upset that the Leviim did not come! So he gave them a knas (like a punishment), he made a takanah that Maaser Rishon would go to the Kohanim instead of to the Leviim for a period of time.



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Chof-Gimmel

Perek Chof-Gimmel teaches us more about selling something that isn’t there yet. We learn that it is different if a person sells someone the CHANCE to grow things in their field — that IS fine to sell. That is because what he is selling is the right to use the field, which IS there!



Sheva Brachos

We are still in the days of the Sheva Brachos after the Rebbe’s chasunah. (Yud-Tes Kislev will be the fifth day of Sheva Brachos!)

This special chasuna was the first step in the Rebbe working together with the Friediker Rebbe, and later becoming the next Rebbe — the Nasi of Dor Hashvi’i.

At the chasuna, during the Kabolas Ponim, the Friediker Rebbe said a maamar. Before starting the maamar, he gave a short but amazing introduction. He said that he would include an inyan of Torah from each of the Rebbeim, and through this each of the Rebbeim would be invited to the chasuna. (The Friediker Rebbe also included R’ Boruch Sholom, the oldest son of the Tzemach Tzedek, who is the Rebbe’s great-grandfather.)

The Friediker Rebbe said the first half of this maamar during the Kabolas Ponim, and the second half during the seudah of the chasunah. The maamar speaks about the avodah of Avraham Avinu, how he had Mesirus Nefesh to spread the knowledge of Hashem to the whole world! It also explains how important it is to have bittul and Yiras Shomayim before we start learning Torah.

The Friediker Rebbe said another two maamarim connected to the chasuna. One was said the night before the chasuna (at a special seudah for the chosson, called the “choson mohl”), and the other one was said the Shabbos after the chasunah. In these maamarim, the Friediker Rebbe mentioned the concept of “Kol Hashvi’in Chavivin” (the seventh is special), and how the seventh one brings the Shechinah down to earth.

These maamarim were very special to the Rebbe! When the Rebbe became Rebbe on Yud Shevat, his very first maamar of Bosi Legani discusses many of the same inyonim. There were also many later maamarim that were based on these maamarim of the Friediker Rebbe. And on Yud-Zayin Kislev (tomorrow!) in Tof-Shin-Nun-Beis, the Rebbe actually gave out a copy of these four maamarim, in a kuntres called Kuntres Drushei Chasunah, to men, women, and children!


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Mincha of Shabbos

In Mincha of Shabbos, we say “Uva Letziyon.” During the week, we say this after Shmoneh Esrei in Shacharis, but because Shabbos davening is so long already, the Chachomim moved it to Mincha.

We also read the Torah before Shemoneh Esrei. Ezra from the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah made this takana because there are some Yidden who aren’t so interested to come hear the Torah being read on Monday and Thursday in Shul. Since they come to Shul on Shabbos, he said that we should make another Torah reading at Mincha for them.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Reish-Tzadik-Beis




After Shmoneh Esrei in Mincha of Shabbos, on a day of the month that there would be Tachanun if it was a weekday, we say three pesukim that remind us of three Tzadikim that passed away during the time of Mincha on Shabbos: Yosef Moshe and Dovid. This is the paragraph of Tzidkas’cha.

It is a little bit like we are mourning for them, so we don’t make a shiur during that time, but we say Pirkei Avos or Tehillim. The Rebbe told us of a minhag of his father R’ Levi Yitzchak, that he would say Kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes at that time.

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



Problems With Goyim

When the Rambam writes what will happen in the times of the Geulah, the Rambam writes that first Moshiach will fight the wars of Hashem and win; afterwards he will build the Beis Hamikdash; and then he will gather the Yidden — Kibbutz Galuyos.

We see that even before we have a Beis Hamikdash, we will already not have any problems with the goyim around us!

The truth is that this is possible even in Golus. The nations of the world can be afraid of the Yidden, and not want to bother us. The Medrash tells us how this can happen: K’SheHaKol Kol Yaakov BeBatei Knesios U’beBatei Midrashos, Ein Yedei Esav Sholtos. “When there is a voice of Yaakov learning and davening in the shuls and Yeshivos, then Eisav won’t be able to bother Yidden!”

Maamar Asara B’Teves 5738, Likutei Sichos vol. 20, p. 350

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