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Parshas Vayigash - Sheini with Rashi

Yehuda is arguing with the ruler of Mitzrayim, who is really Yosef, telling him that he shouldn’t keep Benyamin.

Yehudah continued his argument: He said, “If we go back and my father sees that we didn’t bring Binyamin, he will die, and we will be the ones who caused it to happen!

“I personally promised to make sure Benyamin comes home, and if he doesn’t, I won’t be with my father in Olam Hazeh or Olam Haba!

“So please, let me be your servant, instead of Benyamin. I will do a better job than him anyhow! Just please, don’t make me go back without Benyamin — I don’t want to see what would happen to my father.”

When Yosef heard that, he was sure that his brothers had all done teshuvah, and knew that now was the time to tell them who he was. But he didn’t want them to be embarrassed, so he told all of the servants to go out of the room. Yosef started to cry so loudly that everyone could hear — even the people in the other room!

Yosef said to his brothers, in Lashon Kodesh, “I am Yosef. You thought I died because you couldn’t find me. Really, I was alive the whole time! Our father Yaakov was sad for all of these years, because Hashem only makes a person forget someone who passed away! It’s a neis that he is still alive if he was crying so long!”

The brothers were so embarrassed they didn’t answer. They moved away because they were so ashamed.

Yosef then said in a softer voice, “Please come close and see that I am a Yid too. I am Yosef your brother, that you sold to be a slave in Mitzrayim. But don’t feel bad about it, because it is HASHEM Who wanted me to be here so I could give you food. The hunger has already lasted for two years, but there are still five years left! Hashem sent me here to make sure you have food.”



10 - 17

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Yud through Yud-Zayin.

In Kapitel Tes-Zayin, there is a posuk that says “Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid,” “I place Hashem before me all the time.”

In the first paragraph of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, it says that remembering this is very important in serving Hashem. When we know that Hashem is always watching us, we will behave very differently.

When someone important is watching, you are much more careful with how you act! When we remember that Hashem is watching us all the time, it will help us act the way we should.

This is also the meaning of the sixth posuk of the twelve Pesukim, “Vehinei.” This posuk reminds us that Hashem is always watching us to make sure we are acting properly. When we think about how Hashem is looking at everything we do, we will make sure we are acting the way we should.

This is also called Yirah Tata’ah, the lower level of Yiras Shomayim. This is the first step of Avodas Hashem, and what makes our Avodas Hashem strong! No matter what happens, if we know Hashem is watching, it will keep us behaving the way Hashem wants us to.



Likutei Amarim Perek Daled

We learned that the levushim (our thinking, saying, and doing) have something more special than the kochos of our neshama, the sechel and midos, because Torah and mitzvos are done with the levushim.

But how does that make sense? The sechel and midos are the main part of our neshama, and our neshama is a “Chelek Eloka Mimaal Mamosh,” a piece of Hashem! So isn’t the sechel and midos of our neshama a part of Hashem just as much as the Torah and mitzvos that we do with our levushim?

The Alter Rebbe explains that we’re not talking about which one is higher, we are just looking at how they are in the world. When the neshama comes down to the world, it goes for a long trip that hides more and more kedusha from it. But when Torah comes down to the world, it doesn’t change!

The Alter Rebbe uses a mashal to understand this: Torah is like water. When water comes down (like a waterfall or rain) the water didn’t change! When the Torah comes down into the world, it doesn’t change at all. So even though the Torah and mitzvos talk about Gashmius things, and our Sefer Torah is written with Gashmius ink, it has the same kedusha and Elokus, that Hashem is letting us feel in this Gashmius’dike world!

And when the neshama uses its levushim to do these Torah and mitzvos, it unites with Hashem! This shows us the special koach our levushim have.



Beis Teves

In “Ve’al Hanisim” we say what the Yevanim wanted to do: To make the Yidden forget Hashem’s Torah and Hashem’s mitzvos.

The Medrash tells us that the Yevanim told the Yidden to “Write on the horns of the ox that you have no part of Hashem.” They were fighting against our connection to Hashem!

The Yevanim had no problem with the Yidden learning Torah or doing mitzvos that make sense. But they didn’t want it to be HASHEM’s Torah or HASHEM’s mitzvos — they didn’t want the Yidden’s Torah and mitzvos to bring them a special closeness to Hashem.



Shiur #176 - Mitzvas Asei #49, #118

Today we learn the same mitzvah as yesterday again: (Mitzvas Asei #49) This is a mitzvah with a lot of details — we need to do the WHOLE Avodah of Yom Kippur, exactly like it says in the Torah!

We also learn a new mitzvah (from the new section in Rambam, Hilchos Me’ilah):

(Mitzvas Asei #118) If someone ate from a korban or Terumah, he needs to return the amount that he ate, plus an extra fifth.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Vayikra: וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר חָטָא מִן הַקֹּדֶשׁ יְשַׁלֵּם וְאֶת חֲמִישִׁתוֹ יוֹסֵף עָלָיו

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Me’ilah and Mesechta Terumos.



Hilchos Avodas Yom HaKipurim - Me'ilah

In today's Rambam, we learn more about the special Avodah of Yom Kippur. Then we start a NEW section in Rambam, about Me’ilah — what to do if we use something that was set aside for Hashem, which is not allowed.

Perek Daled: Now the Rambam tells us the seder of the day of Yom Kippur.

Perek Hey: We learn what happens if the Avodah was done in the wrong order, or if something wasn’t done exactly like it says in the Torah.

Perek Alef: In the first perek of Hilchos Me’ilah, the Rambam explains what me’ilah is: using something that was set aside for Hashem, which we are not allowed to do. One of the things the Rambam talks about is using the wool of an animal that is hekdesh, and when this is considered Me’ilah.



Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin - Perek Yud-Gimmel

What the kohen is thinking about when he shechts the korban is very important! There are certain thoughts that can make the Korban not good (like we learned earlier in Sefer Hamitzvos).

icon of clock


Zos Chanukah

Today is the last day of Chanukah, also called “Zos Chanukah.”

The words “Zos Chanukah” mean “this is Chanukah.” Why do we call it that?

One reason is that the Kriyas HaTorah for the last day of Chanukah starts with the words, “Zos Chanukas Hamizbeiach.”

But there is also another reason!

One of the mitzvos of Chanukah is to light a menorah to remember the neis of the oil in the Beis Hamikdash that lasted for eight days. We only do this mitzvah completely when we actually light all eight lights.

According to Beis Hillel, the day we do this is on the last day of Chanukah, Zos Chanukah! That’s why THIS is Chanukah, because this is the day we actually DO the mitzvah!

This teaches us an important lesson about bringing Moshiach!

We can get rid of the darkness of Golus by learning lot of Torah (which is compared to a candle) and doing many mitzvos (which are compared to light). We need to make sure to actually LEARN the Torah and DO the mitzvos, and when we actually have so much of the Torah and mitzvos light, the darkness of Golus will turn into the light of Geulah!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Hey, sicha Zos Chanukah

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Modeh Ani

Why do we say Modeh Ani in the morning?

We are thanking Hashem for giving us back our neshama!

The Gemara says that we are not allowed to enjoy anything in the world without first saying a bracha to thank Hashem for it. The first and most important thing we enjoy all day is getting back our neshama and being alive again!

Of course we can’t thank Hashem BEFORE we start to enjoy it, like with other things, because we aren’t awake yet! But as soon as we wake up, we thank Hashem right away for the gift of life.

That is why we say Modeh Ani.

See Kuntres Inyana Shel Toras HaChassidus, os yud



Zos Chanukah

Today is Zos Chanukah.

Zos Chanukah is the last day of Chanukah. Parents need to chap arein and give their kids Chanukah gelt!

The Rebbe says that even if the kids already got Chanukah gelt, the parents should give more! Since their kids bring them lots of Chassidishe nachas, and IY”H will bring them even more Chassidishe nachas from the Chinuch they are getting, the kids DESERVE to get more Chanukah gelt!

At the end of Chanukah, we also farbreng about what we learned from Chanukah, so that we can use these kochos throughout the year!

See Hisvaaduyos 5750, chelek beis, p. 92; Halachos Uminhagei Chabad p.117

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



Zos Chanukah

Today is the last day of Chanukah, the eighth day, called Zos Chanukah.

Chassidus explains that the number eight is a very special number. Hashem created the world in seven days, so the number seven means the regular way the world works. But eight means HIGHER than that!

When Moshiach comes, there will be a lot of things with the number eight. One of them is that Dovid Hamelech’s harp which used to have seven strings will now have eight strings, to play a special Moshiach song! This will show that the time of Moshiach is completely different than the way the world is today.

On the eighth day of Chanukah we are reminded of the special time we are in now — right before Moshiach comes!

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