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Parshas Vayeitzei - Shishi with Rashi

Yaakov leaves Charan with his family. When Lavan finds out, he chases them and catches up with them. He is angry that they didn’t say that they are leaving, and that someone took his idols.

Since it was time to go, Yaakov started to travel back towards Eretz Yisroel, to his father Yitzchak. He took all of the animals and money that he had earned.

Lavan had gone off to shear his sheep (cut their hair), so he wasn’t home. Rochel took her father’s idols away, hoping he would stop serving Avodah Zarah. Yaakov didn’t tell Lavan he was going, and ran away with all of his family and his things.

Yaakov wanted it to be very clear why he left Eretz Yisroel to get married: In order to have children who would do Hashem’s job in this world! So he put his children in front, even though it is usually more respectful to let the parents go first.

Three days later, Lavan found out that Yaakov had run away. So he took his family and chased after him, catching up with him at Har Gilad. Hashem appeared to Lavan in a dream and told him not even to try to be nice to Yaakov, since Yaakov doesn’t trust him anymore.

Lavan was very upset at Yaakov: “You tricked me and ran away with my daughters like they are prisoners of war! Why didn’t you tell me you were going? I would have made you a goodbye party with music, and like this, you didn’t even give me a chance to kiss my grandchildren goodbye! That wasn’t nice!

“I would hurt you now, except that Hashem warned me to be careful what I say to you. But why did you run away like this? I knew you wanted to go home many times, but I told you why you should stay — you got very rich in my house. And why did you steal my idols?”

Yaakov answered Lavan in order: “I was afraid to tell you I was going because maybe you would take away Rochel and Leah. And to take your idols?! If anyone did it, they will die. Go see who took them and take them back!” (Yaakov didn’t know that Rochel took them, but because he said this, that’s one of the reasons Rochel passed away along the way.)

Lavan went first into Rochel’s tent, and then into Leah’s. Then he looked in Rochel’s tent again, but still didn’t find his idols. He looked in Bilhah and Zilpah’s tents, and then went back to Rochel’s tent again because he thought she might have taken them.

Really, Rochel had put the idols into the camel saddle (where you sit). She sat on them, so even though Lavan searched a lot, he didn’t find them. Rochel said sorry that she didn’t get off the camel, but she wasn’t feeling well.

Yaakov was angry with Lavan. “Why did you run after me? You didn’t find anything here that belongs to you! I never stole any animals from you when I was working for you, and if any animal got lost or hurt I paid for it! I worked all day and all night, in the hot sun and freezing cold, and couldn’t even sleep!

“I worked for you for 20 years — 7 years each for Rochel and Leah, and 6 years that I got paid for, and you kept changing your mind what I could get paid! If Hashem hadn’t helped me, you would have sent me away with no money at all! But Hashem saw I worked hard, and He told you last night to be careful what you say.”



44 - 48

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Mem-Daled to Mem-Ches.

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says, “Shim’i Bas Ure’i Vehati Ozneich, Veshichechi Ameich Ubais Avich” — “Listen, daughter and watch, and give an ear: forget your people and your father’s house.”

In a maamar, the Friediker Rebbe brings a Medrash that says that Dovid Hamelech is saying four things in this posuk:

First of all, a Yid needs to listen and see (“Shim’i Bas Ure’i”) — to figure out the way to live like a Yid should. Second, “Vehati Ozneich” — give your ear to learn Torah.

The second part is the things we should forget: “Shichechi Ameich” — forget the nations you live with! Don’t live like the Goyim, because you are a Yid. “Ubais Ovich” — forget the house of your father, Avraham’s father — don’t do Avodah Zarah like he did!

The Friediker Rebbe explains in the maamar how this Medrash teaches us lessons in our Avodas Hashem, how we can become more aidel by learning and davening with kavana.



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

The Alter Rebbe explains to us today how a gashmiyus mitzvah can accomplish the great things that it does. He gives us a mashal from how a tree grows.

How does a tree grow? There is a tiny seed that is planted in the ground. Hashem put a koach in the ground to make things grow. A seed can’t do that by itself — if you put the seed on the floor, a tree won’t grow. This strong koach is only in the earth. But a seed is able to get this koach in the ground to start working and make things grow.

The same is true of mitzvos. A mitzvah is like a seed. It is tiny — the koach of Hashem can’t even be seen! But like the seed, it has the koach to cause that Hashem will become revealed in all the ruchniyus worlds! In the zechus of our mitzvos, we will also see it in THIS world very soon, when Moshiach comes!



Ches Kislev

How do we keep ourselves always excited about the mitzvos we do? Today the Rebbe gives us the answer: We need to think about something that will keep us always inspired.

What is that?

Hashem is so kind to us! Think of the greatness of Hashem, the great world He created with everything that’s in it. Think about all of the ruchniyus we can’t even see, and the Torah and tzadikim Hashem gave to the world. We can understand that Hashem is so great!

And what about a person? Hashem created us too, but we aren’t that special. A person doesn’t just have a neshama that always feels Hashem, he also has a guf that doesn’t always act in such a good way. It only lives for a while and it is very gashmiyus. When we think of things like that we realize that we are very small.

Then think about how Hashem gave such small people like us such a SPECIAL opportunity to bring Him nachas by acting the way we should, and that we have the koach to bring Moshiach and fulfill Hashem’s purpose in creating the world! That should keep us excited all the time to act the way a Yid should!



Shiur #123 - Mitzvas Asei #121, #123, Lo Saasei #211, 212

Today’s mitzvos are about leaving parts of our fields for the poor.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #121) If stalks of wheat fall on the ground when we are gathering the wheat, we need to leave them for the poor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #211) It is asur for the owner of the field to take the leket!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט

3) (Mitzvas Asei #123) If we find some clusters of grapes that aren’t as good (like if they don’t have as many grapes as usual), we need to leave them for the poor.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #212) The owner of the vineyard is not allowed to take these olelos.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תְעוֹלֵל



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn about Pe’ah, and also the mitzvos of today’s Sefer Hamitzvos (plus one more mitzvah)! The first two perakim today are about Pe’ah, then we learn about Leket, Peret, and Olelos in the last perek.

Perek Beis: Pe’ah means leaving the corner of our fields for the poor. There are five conditions a field needs to have to be chayav in the mitzvah of Pe’ah:

1) It has to be a field of food (not like flax or cotton)
2) It has to grow from the ground (not like mushrooms)
3) It has to be guarded (to show that it belongs to someone) — not hefker
4) It has to all become ripe at the same time (not like figs, that all get ripe at different times)
5) It has to be something that can be stored for a long time, or dried and then stored (not like most vegetables)

Perek Gimmel: We learn how to do the mitzvah of Pe’ah in more than one field, or a field that is split up in a way that makes it become like two fields.

Perek Daled: When one or two stalks fall down when we are harvesting, they belong to the poor people — that’s Leket. But if they fell down because a person who was harvesting hurt himself, they don’t belong to the poor. We learn what happens if leket gets mixed up with the rest of that person’s grain.

Peret means one or two grapes that fall off the clusters when we are harvesting the grapes. They belong to the poor people. We are not allowed to put a basket under the vine to catch any grapes that fall, because that is stealing from the poor!

Finally we learn about Olelos. The Rambam says that they are called Olelos because an olel means a baby — and these grape clusters are still like babies, since they never grew up properly into big clusters of grapes. They need to be left for the poor — even if the WHOLE vineyard is full of them!



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Tes-Vov

This perek teaches us about “Mekach To’us” — when someone can say “I wouldn’t have bought this if I knew about this problem!” For example, if you knew that the bike seat is wobbly and sometimes falls off, you might have bought a different bike instead. You can go and get your money back from the person who sold it to you!



Tanya Baal Peh

R’ Mendel Futerfas A”H was a well-known mashpia.

Once, R’ Mendel asked a respected chossid what had happened in his yechidus. The chossid answered that he had asked how he can be mekushar to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe told this man that he should learn Tanya Baal Peh and review it when he is walking in the street. “This way,” the Rebbe told him, “you will be mekushar to me, because I also review Tanya when I am walking in the street.”

See Sefer R’ Mendel, p. 108; Osios Eisan introduction, p. 23


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Lecha Dodi

In davening on Friday night, we sing the special niggun of Lecha Dodi.

Lecha Dodi was written by a mekubal, R’ Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz. He was also the brother-in-law and talmid of the great mekubal R’ Moshe Kordovero, the Ramak. (R’ Shlomo Halevi hinted to his name in this famous tefillah — can you find it?)

The chorus of Lecha Dodi says that we are going out to welcome Shabbos, the kallah.

Why do we call Shabbos a kallah?

The Medrash says that when Hashem was creating the world, Shabbos had a complaint! All of the days have partners, like a Chosson and KallahYom Rishon has Yom Sheini, Yom Shlishi has Yom Revi’i, and Yom Chamishi has Yom Shishi. But Shabbos is all alone!

Hashem told Shabbos that the Yidden will be its partner, its chosson!

At Har Sinai, Hashem reminded us about this: “Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos Lekadsho” — remember that Shabbos is your partner, you need to be mekadesh it, like a man is mekadesh his wife.

That is also the reason why some Yidden have the minhag to say Shir Hashirim before Shabbos, since Shir Hashirim speaks about Hashem and the Yidden with a mashal of a chosson and kallah.

See My Prayer by Rabbi Nissan Mindel



Tzedakah Before Licht Bentchen

It is a minhag to give tzedakah before we light Shabbos candles.


Licht bentchen is a special time when Hashem listens to the tefillos of the women and girls who are lighting Shabbos candles. We give tzedakah before to bring even more bracha in all the things we ask.

See Igros Kodesh vol. 14, p. 529

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



Shabbos and Moshiach

One of the things we say about Shabbos in Lecha Dodi is “Sof Maaseh Bemachshava Techilah,” Shabbos was the last part of creating the world, but it was Hashem’s first thought. Hashem wanted from the very beginning that Creation should finish with Shabbos!

The same thing is also true about the Geulah, which is also compared to Shabbos!

Even though the Geulah comes all the way at the end of the world’s time, it is Machshava Techilah — in Hashem’s “mind” first. Hashem planned from the very beginning that Shabbos would come at the end. Geulah is the reason why Hashem created the world!

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