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Parshas Vayeitzei - Shlishi with Rashi

Yaakov gets married to Leah, Rochel, Bilhah and Zilpah. Eight of the twelve shevatim are born!

Yaakov wants to marry Rochel: Yaakov Avinu saw that Rochel was very special, and he wanted to marry her. So he asked Lavan if he could marry Rochel instead of getting paid for the work he did. He offered to work even for SEVEN YEARS — the amount of time his mother had told him to work for Lavan.

Since Yaakov knew that Lavan was a sneaky person, he tried to be extra-careful so he wouldn’t get tricked. He told Lavan EXACTLY who he wanted to marry, so that Lavan couldn’t pretend he didn’t understand: Rochel (not someone else), Lavan’s daughter (not a different Rochel), and the younger one (so he shouldn’t switch their names)! Yaakov also gave Rochel secret signs so he would know it’s her, in case Lavan would still try to trick him.

Yaakov worked very hard for seven years, but it felt like the time went by very quickly since he was so excited to have such a special kallah! Then Yaakov asked Lavan if he can marry Rochel already, since he had to go home, and he was already 84 years old.

Lavan tricks Yaakov into marrying Leah: Lavan made a big chasunah. But instead of bringing Rochel to get married, Lavan brought Leah. He kept her covered during the chasunah, so Yaakov wouldn’t realize. Even though Leah was older, Lavan gave her the younger maid, Zilpah, to make it harder to figure out his trick.

Rochel knew that Leah would be very embarrassed if Yaakov found out right away. So she had Mesiras Nefesh and told Leah the secret signs. Since she knew the signs, Yaakov thought she was Rochel and married her. But in the morning, Yaakov realized that it was Leah, and asked Lavan why he tricked him!

Lavan didn’t feel sorry! He said, “Well, it’s not nice for the younger sister to get married before the older one. So you had to marry Leah first, and only then you can marry Rochel also. After Sheva Brachos, you can marry Rochel, but then you’ll have to stay here and work for seven more years.”

Yaakov agreed, and married Rochel also. Lavan gave Rochel a maid, Bilhah.

Yaakov kept the whole Torah, even before Matan Torah. Even though the Torah teaches that it’s asur to marry two sisters, Yaakov married Rochel even though he was already married to Leah. That is because before Matan Torah, keeping the mitzvos was a chumra, something extra that he didn’t NEED to do. But hurting another person is an aveira always, even before the Torah was given! We learn a lesson from Yaakov Avinu that even if we want to be extra strict with our Yiddishkeit, we need to make sure that we won’t be hurting someone else. (Likutei Sichos chelek He, Parshas Vayeitzei)

Yaakov worked for seven more years, just as hard as he had worked before, even though Lavan had tricked him.

Leah has children: Hashem saw that Yaakov thought Rochel was more special, and that Leah felt bad. Hashem made a neis and let Leah have children, while Rochel still couldn’t.

Leah had a baby boy, along with a twin sister. At first she was afraid since Avraham’s oldest child and Yitzchak’s oldest child had become resha’im, that Chas Veshalom this baby might be a rasha too! But she saw with Ruach Hakodesh that this baby would be very special, so she called him Reuven (Re’u means “see”, bein means “between” — see the difference between my oldest and Yitzchak’s oldest!). “Also,” she said, “Hashem has seen (re’u) that I feel bad that Yaakov loves Rochel more than me, so Hashem gave me a special son so Yaakov will love me too.”

Then Leah had triplets, two girls and a boy, whom she named Shimon. She called him this because “Hashem heard (shama) that I felt that I was not loved as much, and gave me this baby.”

Then Leah had another set of twins, a boy and a girl! The boy she named Levi, because it means “attached.” Since now she had her three Shevatim, Yaakov would be attached to her! (She knew with Ruach Hakodesh that there were supposed to be 12 Shevatim from four wives, and thought that each of them would have three.)

AGAIN Leah had twins, a boy and a girl. She called the boy Yehudah, since she wanted to thank (odeh) Hashem for giving her more than three Shevatim! Then she stopped having children.

Rochel asks Yaakov to daven for children: Rochel was jealous of the good things Leah must have done to deserve to have children. She told Yaakov that without children, her life would not be worth living. She asked him to daven for her, just like Yitzchak davened for Rivkah. Yaakov was upset, because it wasn’t the same kind of thing! When Yitzchak Avinu davened, he didn’t have any children yet, and so he knew it was at least partly his fault. But Yaakov HAD children, only Rochel didn’t — so it seems that Hashem only was stopping HER from having children!

Rochel said, “So daven like Avraham davened for Sarah, even though he already had children with Hagar.”

Yaakov answered, “But Sarah TOLD Avraham to marry Hagar, hoping that in that zechus she would have children.”

Rochel said, “If that’s the problem, you can marry my maid Bilhah, and I hope that in this zechus I will deserve to have a baby too.”

Bilhah has children: Yaakov married Bilhah, and she had twins, a boy and a girl. Rochel said that Hashem had judged her for good, and named Bilhah’s son Dan (judged).

Bilhah had another set of twins, and Rochel called this boy Naftali, since she begged Hashem (niftalti) to have as many children as Leah.

Zilpah has children: Leah realized that she was not having any children, and since Rochel had told Yaakov to marry Bilhah, she did the same thing, and told Yaakov to marry Zilpah.

Zilpah also had a twin boy and girl. Leah said, this is good mazal (gad)! and called him Gad. Gad was born with a bris milah already.

Zilpah had another twin boy and girl, and Leah said that since people would say good things about her (ishru)because of this, she would call him Asher.



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.

According to Rashi, this posuk is speaking to the Yidden. It says, “Listen daughter (the Yidden are called daughter), look and pay attention: Forget the nation you come from (the goyim you grew up with) and your father’s house (the house of Terach, who served Avodah Zarah).”

The Frierdiker Rebbe explains this posuk in a maamar!

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 Frierdiker 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.

See Sefer Maamarim Tof-Shin-Hey



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

In this section of Kuntres Acharon, the Alter Rebbe is telling us a lot about how special DOING a mitzvah is. Kavana is very important, but isn’t the main thing! (This is explaining in a much more detailed way what was mentioned earlier in the first part of Tanya, Likutei Amarim.)

When a person has kavana, HE wants to become closer to Hashem. But when a person does a mitzvah, he wants to bring HASHEM closer to himself and to the world. Of course Hashem wants a neshama to be close to Him, but that’s not the main goal! If it was, the neshama could have stayed in Gan Eden, where it’s VERY close to Hashem. The reason Hashem sent the neshama into the world is to make Hashem able to be felt here, and that happens only when we do mitzvos!

The best way is to DO the mitzvah, WITH kavana — because then you have both things! But the main part is doing it, and bringing Hashem’s Shechinah into the world.



Ches Kislev

The neshama of a Yid comes from Shomayim to do a special shlichus in this world. When we do our shlichus, it brings a special Nachas Ruach to Hashem!

Just think: Hashem did such a big chesed for us! He made that a person like us, who is so small, can bring a Nachas Ruach to Hashem, Who is so great!

Thinking about this will help us do our shlichus with chayus and excitement.



Shiur #138 - Mitzvas Asei #119

(Mitzvas Asei #119) We learned before about the mitzvah of Orlah, that we are not allowed to eat the fruit of a tree for the first 3 years that it grows. For the fourth year, there is another mitzvah, called Neta Reva’i! The fruit that grows in the fourth year is holy, like Maaser Sheini, and it needs to be brought to Yerushalayim and eaten there by its owners.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: כָּל פִּרְיוֹ קֹדֶשׁ הִלּוּלִים לַה׳

The details are explained in the last perek of Mesechta Maaser Sheini.



Hilchos Maaser Sheini VeNeta Reva'i

In today’s Rambam, we finish learning about Maaser Sheini, and start learning about Neta Reva’i, which has a lot of the same halachos.

Perek Ches: Some things DON’T have the kedusha of Maaser Sheini, like the shells of nuts or the container that the wine came in. We also learn about how to use the money to buy food in Yerushalayim.

Perek Tes: Today’s mitzvah is Neta Reva’i. The Rambam tells us how to figure out how old a tree is, so we will know when to keep this mitzvah. We also learn which parts of a tree are NOT Neta Reva’i, like the leaves.

Perek Yud: The dinim of what kinds of trees need Orlah and Neta Reva’i are the same. We learn many halachos of Orlah that are the same with Neta Reva’i.



Hilchos Shabbos - Perek Lamed

In this perek, we learn about how to show kavod to Shabbos, and how to have Oneg Shabbos. One thing we do is that EVERYONE helps for Shabbos! The big tzadikim in the times of the Gemara used to help with the cooking, the cleaning, or the shopping, to show kavod to Shabbos.



Tanya Baal Peh

The Torah is “Chayeinu V’Orech Yameinu,” our whole life.

This isn’t only talking about while we are learning Torah or doing certain mitzvos, but the Torah is ALWAYS our life!

One of the ways that we make sure the Torah is always with us is by knowing parts of Torah Baal Peh!

As the Alter Rebbe explains, that helps us ALL the time, even if we are not thinking about them! Since we know them by heart, they are always in our minds, together with us.

Knowing these words of Torah will also help us when we don’t have a sefer with us, like when we are walking down the street or eating or lying in bed. We will be able to think about these words, and fill our minds up with kedusha so that not-good thoughts can’t come in!

And, of course, we will also always have words of Torah to share with others.

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.”

One of the Rebbe’s Mivtzoyim campaigns is called Mivtza Chinuch. This means teaching Torah!

The Rebbe explained that the mivtza isn’t only to teach Torah to OTHER people, it is also to give OURSELVES Chinuch, to learn Torah ourselves! And of course, this mivtza isn’t only for adults, it is for kids too!

As part of Mivtza Chinuch, the Rebbe wanted kids to make sure to also know words of Torah by heart. The Rebbe started by teaching 12 very important pesukim that kids should learn Baal Peh! This way, they will always be able to think about them — even when eating or drinking or playing — and be able to share words of Torah with their friends.

See Sefer R’ Mendel, p. 108; Osios Eisan introduction, p. 23; Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder vol. 5 p. 244 ff.


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After we say the first line of Shema, we say the posuk of Baruch Sheim.

Chassidus explains that these two pesukim each tell us something very different!

In fact, Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah is based on understanding what the Zohar says about these two pesukim! The Zohar says that the first line of Shema is called Yichudah Ila’ah, the way Hashem sees the world, that everything is Elokus. Baruch Sheim is called Yichudah Tata’ah, the way that Hashem makes us see the world, that it looks separate but we know it is really one with Hashem!




When we say Shema, we pause between each two words, so that the meaning of the posuk won’t get mixed up! It should sound like:

Shema Yisroel — Listen Yisroel!

Hashem Elokeinu — Hashem is our Aibershter,

Hashem Echod — Hashem is One.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 61, se’if 14

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



Little Mitzvos, Big Kochos!

Our one mitzvah has the power to bring the Geulah! That is what the Rambam paskens in Hilchos Teshuvah.

But how is this possible? How can just one little person, with their one little mitzvah, make a HUGE difference for the whole world? One thing compared to the whole world is like less than one drop of water in the whole ocean!

The Rebbe teaches that when we do a mitzvah with the kavana to bring Moshiach, we are using the piece of Moshiach that is inside of ourselves! With the Moshiach koach, the mitzvah we are doing is full of tremendous koach — it can change the world and bring the Geulah!

Sefer Hasichos 5747, vol. 1, p. 240 ha’ara 123

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