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Revi'i with Rashi

Yaakov wanted to tell his sons when Moshiach will come, but Hashem didn’t let. Instead, Yaakov told his sons what they did wrong, and the brachos their shevatim will have later. In today’s Chumash, we have the brachos of Reuven through Dan.

Yaakov called his sons together to tell them when the final Geulah will come. Even though he had a good reason to do this, Hashem didn’t want the Yidden to know, so Hashem didn’t let him tell the Shevatim. Instead, Yaakov decided to say something else to each one of the Shevatim:

Reuven, even though you are the firstborn, you won’t get to keep the zechus of being the oldest, because you once got angry and did something you shouldn’t have done. The zechus of having TWO shevatim will go to Yosef, the zechus of being kohanim will go to Levi, and the zechus of having kings will go to Yehuda.

Shimon and Levi, you worked together for not good things — like killing the people of Shechem, and selling Yosef. Fighting is for Esav, not for children of Yaakov! So you will be separated: Levi won’t be counted as one of the Shevatim, and he won’t get a piece of Eretz Yisroel. The Kohanim and Leviim will have to live in different places around the country, and get money for their job only in the Beis Hamikdosh. Shevet Shimon will be spread out in different places, being sofrim and teachers.”

Yehuda was afraid Yaakov would also say what he did wrong with Tamar, but Yaakov said, “Yehuda, your brothers will all talk about how special you are! The Yiddishe kings (like Dovid and Shlomo Hamelech) will come from your family, and later the people who lead the Yidden in Golus, like the Sanhedrin, and even Moshiach!

“This is because you had a lot of Ahavas Yisroel, saving Yosef from being killed and Tamar from being killed — even though it was embarrassing! A king needs to take good care of everyone they rule over.

Zevulun will live near the water, and their ships will buy and sell things. Part of the money they get will pay for the Talmidei Chachomim of Shevet Yissachar to be able to learn Torah!

Yissachar will be strong and able to learn a lot of Torah! They will work hard in their learning and it will help all of the Yidden.

Dan will take revenge on the enemies of the Yidden, especially when Shimshon will knock down a building and kill many Pelishtim who were making trouble for the Yidden.” Yaakov knew that Shimshon would need Hashem’s help, so he asked for it now! “Lishuas’cha Kivisi Hashem” — “Hashem, I am waiting for you to save!”



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Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Samach through Samach-Hey.

In Kapitel Samach-Daled, Dovid Hamelech davens for Daniel to be saved when he is thrown into the lions’ den. Of course, Daniel (who came from the family of Dovid) wasn’t even born yet, but Dovid Hamelech saw with Ruach Hakodesh that Daniel would need these tefillos!

The story happened after the Churban of the first Beis Hamikdash, in the times of King Daryavesh of Persia, soon after he took over Bavel. Since King Daryavesh knew that Daniel was very smart, he wanted to make him in charge of the whole kingdom of Bavel! When the other officers found out about this, they got very jealous. They decided to make a plan that would force the king to kill Daniel.

So they told King Daryavesh to make a new decree: Nobody would be allowed to daven or ask for anything, except from the king, for one month. Anyone who was caught davening, to Hashem or to an Avodah Zarah, would be thrown into a cage with hungry lions! They knew that Daniel would never listen to such a decree.

Of course, Daniel ignored this new decree. He went to daven, three times a day, like he always did.

The officers were very excited when they caught him, and told King Daryavesh that Daniel had to be punished. The king was not very happy about this, but he was forced to follow the decree that he had made. He told Daniel, “May Hashem, Who you always daven to, save you!”

And Hashem did! Even though the lions were very hungry, they didn’t touch Daniel all night. In the morning, King Daryavesh came to the lions’ den. He called out to Daniel, asking if Hashem had been able to save him. Daniel told the king that Hashem had sent malochim to keep the lions’ mouths closed, and he wasn’t hurt at all!

When the king saw this neis, he decided to instead throw those officers into the lions’ den, and Daniel was saved.

We know one of the reasons why Daniel was saved: Because of the tefillos of Dovid Hamelech, which were said many many years before, in today’s Tehillim, Kapitel Samach-Daled!



Likutei Amarim Perek Ches

Today’s Tanya is the entire Perek Ches! In a Shana Me’uberes, a leap year, once a week we get an extra-long Tanya. (In the first year that the Tanya was set up for (Tof-Shin-Gimmel and Tof-Shin-Daled, the year the Hayom Yom was made), this long piece was for Shabbos, and this year it comes out on Wednesday).

The Alter Rebbe is teaching us about the things the Yetzer Hara wants to do, in Maaseh, Dibur, and Machshava. The Alter Rebbe also tells us the punishments for them, so we realize how serious they are and be very careful.

Things the Yetzer Hara likes to do (Maaseh): Sometimes the Yetzer Hara wants to do something asur, like eating a food that is not kosher. This is called a “Goyishe Yetzer Hara.”

Other times, the Yetzer Hara wants to do something that is mutar, like eating kosher candy. This is called a “Yiddishe Yetzer Hara.”

But why is that a Yetzer Hara?

Really, every Gashmius’dike thing that a person uses, including food, needs to be used for kedusha! If a person uses it to serve Hashem, this thing becomes kedusha, and if he uses it for any other reason, it remains kelipah. The Yetzer Hara, even the Yiddishe Yetzer Hara, just wants the person to use things because it LIKES them, not to help do mitzvos better. If a person listens to his “Yiddishe Yetzer hara” by mistake, he can fix the mistake by using the chayus from what he did for kedusha by davening or doing mitzvos.

The Alter Rebbe mentions the story of Rabbeinu Hakadosh (R’ Yehuda HaNasi, who wrote the Mishna). Before he passed away, he picked up his hands to Shomayim and said to Hashem that he didn’t enjoy anything in this world, even from his little pinky finger! Even though he was very rich and had lots of fancy food in his house all the time, everything he did was for the sake of Hashem.

By Rabbeinu Hakadosh, this avodah was perfect! By the Alter Rebbe telling us this, it gives us koach to try to act like him as much as we can, using everything to serve Hashem, and not for any other reason.

Things the Yetzer Hara likes to talk about (Dibur): A person might want to talk about interesting things. Even though there is nothing asur about them, if there is no good reason to say them, they can make the neshama tomei. This is called Devarim Beteilim. Or a person might want to say something that is actually wrong, like Lashon Hara. This is called Diburim Asurim. Or, for a man, wasting any time from learning Torah is an aveira called Bittul Torah. Each of these can hurt the neshama!

Things the Yetzer Hara likes think about (Machshava): It can feel very exciting to learn math and science and history (Chochmas Ha’umos). But if a person uses his mind to understand things that are NOT from Torah for no good reason, he is making his sechel tomei!

It is even worse than saying Devarim Beteilim, because when a person says Devorim Beteilim, he’s makes the MIDOS (feelings) tomei. But learning things that aren’t Torah for no good reason makes the SECHEL (the mind, which is higher than midos) tomei!

In Russia, there were times when the government tried to make decrees that the Jewish children need to learn Limudei Chol (secular studies) in the schools, and the Rebbeim fought with mesiras nefesh against it.

In America, the Rebbe also encouraged that a Cheder be opened where ONLY Limudei Kodesh would be taught. This is Oholei Torah, and there are also other chadorim like that in other places. In some places, they need to learn Limudei Chol for certain reasons. In those places, the Rebbe wanted it to be clear that the MAIN thing is learning the Torah, and the Limudei Chol should be only as much as needed, and should be used to help us in kedusha.

Some great tzadikim, like the Rambam and Ramban, were able to use the Goyishe Chochma they knew to help their Torah learning or for parnasa. They are an example of how to use Limudei Chol for Torah and Avodas Hashem.



Yud-Alef Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn about Taharas Ha’Avir.

Did you ever walk on the sidewalk when a bus passes by? Sometimes it leaves a big cloud of smoke and it’s hard to breathe! You might even start coughing! That’s because with all of the smoke from the bus, the air isn’t good to breathe.

People need air to live. When the air is good, people can be healthy. Air that is dirty or polluted can chas veshalom make people sick. If you have dirty air in your house, you can open a window or turn on an air filter to clean the air.

In the world, there is also a ruchnius kind of air. When the “air” is full of Torah and mitzvos, people can be healthy, good Yidden. In a place where people don’t know about Hashem, the air is not good, and neshamos can get sick.

The first thing to do is to clean the air.

How do we clean the ruchnius air? Using words of Torah. When you walk down the street, or go shopping, or on a subway, you can say words of Torah baal peh. This will clean the air. Everyone should memorize some Torah so we can clean the air wherever we go!

What Torah do YOU know Baal Peh? Do you know the pesukim? The Rebbe’s kapitel? Tanya? Mishnayos?



Mitzvas Asei #94

Today’s mitzvah in Sefer Hamitzvos is the same as yesterday’s, Mitzvas Asei Tzadik-Daled.

If a person makes a neder, a promise to do something, it is a mitzvah to keep his word and do it. (Tomorrow we will learn the Mitzvas Lo Saasei of this mitzvah, that it is asur to NOT keep a promise.)

There are two pesukim in the Torah that teach us about this mitzvah. One is in Parshas Ki Seitzei, where the posuk says “Motza Sefasecha Tishmor Ve’asisa,” “The words of your mouth you should guard and keep.” The other is from Parshas Matos, where it says “Kechol Hayotzei Mipiv Yaaseh,” “He should do everything as he said he would.”

The details of the mitzvah are explained in many places in Mesechta Shevuos, Nedarim, at the end of Mesechta Menachos and in Mesechta Kinim. The Rambam organizes all of these halachos from Mishnayos and Gemara in these perakim in Rambam.



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Daled, Hey and Vov, we are learning more of the halachos of Nedarim, promises.

One halacha is that even if someone makes a neder that he won’t get anything from a friend, his friend still may be allowed to teach him Torah, give him medicine, or do Bikur Cholim, which are mitzvos!



Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Alef

Today we learn the first perek of Hilchos Klei Hamikdash — about the keilim that are IN the Beis Hamikdash!

We learn how the Shemen Hamishcha was made, and how it is used. The keilim in the Beis Hamikdash were different than in the Mishkan — they became holy just by being used and didn’t need the Shemen Hamishcha to be smeared on them. The Rambam also tells us some halachos about these keilim and their kedusha, like what happens if they are broken.



Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

The Rebbe said this in a sicha a week and a half after the Nitzachon of Hey Teves:

Usually, the Torah finishes things with a good or happy inyan. But at the end of this week’s parsha, which is the end of the whole Chumash Bereishis, the Torah ends off with something very sad! Here, the last thing the Torah says is that Yosef lived for 110 years, and then they put Yosef in an Aron in Mitzrayim.

Of course that is what happened, but is that the best way to finish the whole Chumash Bereishis?

The Rebbe tells us that really it IS the most important thing to tell us at the end of this Chumash!

The whole Chumash Bereishis tells us about the things that happened to our Avos. Not only do we learn lessons from the things our Avos did, but we get kochos from them for when similar things happen to us! We need to use these kochos when we are in Golus, like the Golus we learn about in Chumash Shemos.

That’s why the last thing we learn, before Golus Mitzrayim starts in the next Chumash, is that Yosef’s Aron stayed with the Yidden in Mitzrayim. The Torah is telling us that when we are in Golus, having the “Aron of Yosef” with us is a tremendous help to get through the Golus!

In our last Golus too, we see that the Ohel of all of the Rebbeim stayed with us! Many Tzadikim were buried in Eretz Yisroel, but the Rebbeim stayed with their Chassidim, where they were. We know that whenever we need a bracha (in Gashmius or in Ruchnius), we always have a place to turn to get the koach we need. We can go to “the Aron of Yosef,” the Ohel of the Rebbe which is with us in Golus, and that will give us encouragement to get through the Golus and bring Moshiach now!

See Farbrengen Vayechi 5747


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Right now, we are learning the short davening for young children which is printed in the beginning of our siddur. This davening is Modeh Ani, Al Netilas Yodayim, Torah Tziva, the bracha on Tzitzis for boys, and then Shema until Uvisharecha.

We learned that Torah Tziva is the first posuk we teach a child as soon as he starts to learn how to talk. The second posuk that we teach is Shema Yisroel. It is also the second posuk in the Yud-Beis Pesukim! The posuk of Shema is very important, and it is also part of the davening for small children.

When we say Shema, we are telling ourselves that we know and believe that Hashem, who made everything in the entire world, also takes care of everything in it and watches over us with Hashgacha Protis! We remind ourselves that Hashem Echod, that every single thing in the heavens and the earth is a part of Hashem and is not anything of its own!



Netilas Yodayim

Over the next few days, we will learn some of the halachos of how to wash our hands properly before Hamotzi:

One halacha is that we need to use A LOT of water for Netilas Yodayim, to make sure that it reaches every part of our hands. R’ Chisda said that he used a lot of water, and because of this he received a lot of bracha!

(There are also halachos about exactly how to hold our hands, to make sure the water can reach every part of our hands properly.)

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



Fast Days When Moshiach Comes

One of the sections of halacha in Rambam is called Hilchos Taaniyos, the halachos of the fast days. At the end of this section, the Rambam tells us that when Moshiach comes, the fasts are going to go away — instead they will become days of Sason and Simcha, joy and happiness!

There is an important reason why the Rambam tells us the halacha.

One of the basic rules of Torah is that Torah lasts forever. So how can the fasts, which are a part of Torah, go away?

That’s why the Rambam tells us here that the Torah planned the fast days to be this way from the beginning! While we are in Golus they will be days of fasting, and when Moshiach comes they will be Yomim Tovim!

So when the fasts go away, it isn’t that part of the Torah is going away, it is just that the fasts are turning into happy days like the Torah planned them to be from the beginning!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof p. 353, ha’arah 17

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