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CHUMASH

Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we start learning about the story of how Yosef was sold as a slave and brought down to Mitzrayim.

So far we have learned from the beginning of Chumash Bereishis about the Creation of the world, and about the Avos — Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. Now we are ready to start learning about how Yaakov’s children went down to Mitzrayim, about the Golus in Mitzrayim, and finally coming out of Mitzrayim to get the Torah.

By now, all of the Shevatim were already born. There were the sons of Leah, the sons of Bilha and Zilpah, and Yosef and Binyamin who were the sons of Rochel. Leah’s sons felt like they were more important than the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, since Bilhah and Zilpah were maidservants.

When Yosef was 17 years old, he was a shepherd together with the other Shevatim. In some ways he acted not so mature (by making his hair look fancy), and in other ways he acted very mature, like spending time with the children of Bilha and Zilpah when they felt bad about how they were treated.

Yosef wasn’t so happy with the way Leah’s sons were acting. He told his father about the things he thought they were doing wrong, like not being so nice to Bilhah and Zilpah’s sons, and eating meat from an animal that wasn’t shechted. (They had reasons for the things they were doing, though.)

Yaakov loved Yosef more than the other Shevatim because he was born when Yaakov was old, and because he looked very much like him. Yaakov taught Yosef everything he learned from Shem and Ever, and he made him a beautiful coat to wear. The Shevatim were jealous when they saw it, and didn’t hide how they were feeling.

Yosef had a dream, that made the Shevatim even more jealous when he told them! He dreamed that they were all gathering wheat in the field, and their bundles of wheat bowed down to his. This made them hate Yosef even more, since it meant that he wanted to rule over them!

Yosef had another dream, and also told his brothers: That the sun, moon, and eleven stars (as a mashal for the Shevatim and his parents) all bowed down to him. Yosef told the story again for his father to hear, but Yaakov told him in front of his brothers that the dream didn’t make sense, because his mother had already passed away. He said this because he didn’t want them to be jealous, but really Yaakov waited and hoped that the dream would really come true.

 
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TEHILLIM

83 - 87

Today’s kapitelach are Pey-Gimmel through Pey-Zayin.

Kapitel Pey-Hey is a kapitel said by the sons of Korach (and later put into the Tehillim by Dovid Hamelech) as a nevuah and tefillah for the long Golus that the Yidden would go through. In it, we ask Hashem that just like He took us out of Golus in the past, He should take us out of Golus again and bring us Moshiach!

In posuk Yud-Alef it says “Chesed Ve’emes Nifgashu, Tzedek Veshalom Nashaku.” “Chesed and Emes met, Tzedek and Shalom kissed.” Do you think that this is talking about a person called Chesed who met his friend Emes at the store, and a man named Tzedek who kissed his old friend Shalom?

The Medrash says that we ARE talking about people (but not with those names!). Chesed is Aharon, and Emes is Moshe.

Why is Aharon called Chesed and Moshe called Emes? Because Moshe Rabbeinu brought the Torah to the Yidden, which is Emes! And Aharon was Chesed, because he loved every Jew and brought them closer to Torah.

What happens when they meet?

It isn’t always so easy for a person to accept the truth of Torah. Like if you tell a Jewish kid that you met at the park that his chocolate bar isn’t kosher, and that it’s not good for his neshama to eat it, that’s emes! But that kid probably won’t want to listen to you so fast — he likes his chocolate bar!

But with chesed, you can show him that you have a kosher candy bar that is just as yummy. You can be his friend and show him that keeping kosher is really worth it.

That’s how chesed and emes meet — using chesed, we can help people understand the emes! That’s why Hashem asked Moshe AND Aharon to take the Yidden out of Golus. First they needed Aharon to help them be ready to learn Torah, and then Moshe Rabbeinu could give them the whole emes.

 
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TANYA

Kuntres Acharon

The Alter Rebbe heard that people who were rushing to get to work were being chazan, and weren’t letting people who wanted to daven slowly to be the chazan.

The Alter Rebbe was upset to hear this, and told the people that if they need to go to work, they can daven themselves and go to work on time, and the chazan will have them in mind. But since davening is so important, especially now right before Moshiach comes, the chazan needs to be someone who davens slowly so the people in the minyan can have time to have kavana during the whole davening.

Why is davening longer so much more important now? Because when we pick up little bits of Kedusha in the world, we need to bring them back to Hashem — that’s called “birurim.” We do that by davening. In the olden days, people had higher neshamos that were able to bring back the birurim very quickly, with just Shema! Nowadays, we need to work harder on our birurim, so we need longer to daven.

 
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HAYOM YOM

Yud-Zayin Kislev

Right now we’re a few days before Yud-Tes Kislev. During these days, the Rebbe tells us things about Chassidus Chabad that we need to know. Yesterday we learned how Chassidus teaches us about using Moach Shalit Al Halev. Today we learn how Chassidus helps every Yid to serve Hashem with his mind and heart.

1) Chassidus helps us to understand Elokus in our minds. (For example, Chassidus teaches the way Hashem hid Himself more and more to create the world, using mashalim from how we relate to other people.)

2) Chassidus helps our feelings to match up to what we understand about Hashem. (For example, understanding how the whole world was created because of Hashem’s love for a Yid so that he will do a mitzvah, makes us feel that we love Hashem and want to use all of our kochos to do what Hashem wants!)

3) Chassidus shows how every kind of person can do this — everyone on his own level! (For example, the Tanya teaches many ways to wake up our feelings of love for Hashem, so that every kind of person can find a way that works for him!)

(In today’s Tanya, we see how much it bothers the Alter Rebbe that the time of davening is not being treated properly, since this is the time that we can think about Chassidus and serve Hashem with our mind and heart.)

 
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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Mitzvas Asei #223, Lo Saasei #104

Today we learn two mitzvos about a Sotah.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #223) If a woman who is already married is suspected of acting that she is married to someone else, after her husband told her to stay away from that other man, she is called a Sotah. We need to follow the halachos in the Torah to prove if she did this aveira or not.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #104) One of the korbanos that a sotah needs to bring is called a Korban Mincha, which is a korban of flour. Usually we mix oil with this kind of korban, but we are NOT allowed to mix oil with the Korban Mincha of a sotah!

 
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RAMBAM

Hilchos Sotah

In today’s Rambam, Perakim Alef, Beis, and Gimmel, we learn when a woman doesn’t have to drink the sotah water, even if she was acting like a sotah. For example, her husband has to be able to hear and speak, otherwise she doesn’t have to drink it.

The Rambam teaches us exactly how the sotah is tested to find out if she did an aveira or not. She is brought into the Beis Hamikdash and her clothes are ripped so she won’t look beautiful. Dust and bitter wood are put into a bowl of water, and a paper that has certain words (including Hashem’s name) written on it is dipped into the water and the letters are rubbed off into the water.

The woman has to drink this bitter water, and if she did the aveira, she will die. If she didn’t do the aveira, Hashem rewards her for how embarrassing the mitzvah of sotah is, and she gets brachos for health and children.

 
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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Bikurim - Perek Yud

We give the kohen part of the wool of a sheep the first time we cut its hair, called Reishis HaGeiz. This mitzvah makes sure that the kohanim will have wool to make clothes!

 
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DARKEI HACHASSIDUS

Lebn Mit Der Tzeit - Gashmius & Ruchnius

In today’s Chumash, we learned about two of Yosef’s dreams. One of them was about something from the earth (bundles of wheat), and the other dream was about something from Shomayim (the moon and stars). Both of these dreams were showing the same thing.

This teaches us something very important about how a Yid should live: We need to make sure that our earthly things (our Gashmius) goes together with our Shomayim things (our Ruchnius)!

We do this by making sure that all of our Gashmius is there to be part of or help our Ruchnius.

For example, when we are playing games, eating, or going on trips, we should remember that these things help give us koach to daven or do mitzvos properly. This way, our Gashmius really does become part of our Ruchnius!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Gimmel, parshas Vayeishev

 

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TEFILLAH

Ve'ahavta

In the first line of Shema, we speak to our neshama. We tell it to understand that it comes from Hashem, and that Hashem is One.

Then, we say Ve’ahavta. We say that the neshama should LOVE Hashem.

How do we love Hashem?

We can learn from the way a person acts when he loves something. If a person loves to have money, or a certain kind of food, he is always looking for ways to get it!

To show our love for Hashem, we should be looking for ways to become closer to Hashem, and ways to bring Hashem into our lives.

We can become close to Hashem by doing what we say in Ve’ahavta, by speaking words of Torah (“Vedibarta Bam”), by putting on Tefillin (“Uk’shartem Osam”), and by doing other mitzvos!

Sefer Halikutim Tzemach Tzedek os Kuf, p. 226

 
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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Teshuvah With Simcha

Shortly after the Rebbe became Nosi, someone asked the Rebbe a question: “If it says in Tanya that we should say Tikun Chatzos for teshuvah at least once a week, why aren’t people doing it?”

The Rebbe answered that Tikun Chatzos is for Yechidei Segulah, but not for everybody. The rest of us fulfill the inyan of Tikun Chatzos by learning Chassidus, especially on Thursday night!

In a maamar, the Rebbe tells us that since we are so close to the Geulah, now our main learning of Chassidus should be not so much to think about the Golus our aveiros caused. Instead, we should do teshuvah in a way of simcha, to have more chayus in learning Torah and davening and living the way a Yid should!

Also, when we say Tehillim, it shouldn’t be with a broken heart the way Yidden used to say it, but we should say Tehillim with simcha and bitachon, knowing that things WILL be good!

See Maamar Margela Bepumei 5746

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

Getting Excited for Moshiach!

In today’s Chumash, Rishon of Parshas Vayeishev, we learn that when Yaakov Avinu heard Yosef’s dreams, he hoped that they would come true — “Ve’aviv Shamar Es Hadavar.”

But why was Yaakov hoping that these dreams would come true? At the time when the Shevatim would bow to Yosef, it would be in Mitzrayim, at the beginning of a long Golus! Why was Yaakov waiting for this Golus to start?

The Rebbe explains that Yaakov was already thinking about the Geulah! The first part of the Geulah is “Moshiach ben Yosef,” there has to be Malchus from the family of Yosef before we can have the final Moshiach, Moshiach ben Dovid. The Shaloh says that the Malchus of Yosef in Mitzrayim WAS the inyan of Moshiach ben Yosef. So by Yosef’s dream coming true, we were taking a very important step so that Moshiach would be able to come!

See Likutei Sichos Chelek 35 p. 161; Hamaor Shebetorah 474

 
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