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Parshas Vayigash - Chamishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn the names of Yaakov’s family who are going to live in Mitzrayim.

The Torah tells us the names of all of Yaakov’s children who came down to Mitzrayim. If you count everyone, you’ll find 66 people. When you also count Yosef and his two children, and Yocheved (who was born on the way into Mitzrayim) that makes 70 people. All of them believed in one Hashem, that is why they are called nefesh, a group with one soul.



29 - 34

Today’s kapitelach are Chof-Tes through Lamed-Daled.

In Kapitel Lamed-Daled, one of the pesukim starts with the words, “Sur MeRa Ve’asei Tov!”

Once at a farbrengen for a Chag Hageulah, like today, the Rebbe taught an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov on this posuk:

When a person has the Yetzer Hara to do something not good, he is full of energy and chayus from the Yetzer Hara. This posuk tells us what to do with that energy.

Sur Me’Ra: The person should first turn away from the thing that they shouldn’t be doing.

Ve’Asei Tov: Then they should use that energy to do something good!

For example, let’s say that Shmerel is very angry at Berel. He is full of energy and wants to jump up and tell his whole bunk how awful Berel is! First, he should do Sur Me’Ra and stop himself from saying something not nice, which the Yetzer Hara wants him to do. Then he should do Asei Tov, and use that strong energy to tell the bunk a story about the Rebbe or do a mitzvah instead!

See farbrengen Yud-Beis Tammuz 5743, second sicha



Likutei Amarim Perek Vov

The name of the Tanya, as we know, is Sefer Shel Beinonim. It shows a Yid that he CAN serve Hashem properly and be a beinoni!

To learn how to serve Hashem, you first need to understand what your neshama is. First we said that every Yid has two nefashos: The nefesh habehamis (which is made of four yesodos — like water and earth), and the Nefesh Elokis (which we said has ten kochos — ten Neshama-tools, and 3 levushim to use those tools). We also know the Nefesh Habehamis as the Yetzer Hara, and the Nefesh Elokis as the Yetzer Tov.

Now the Alter Rebbe will go back to the first nefesh, and explain that this nefesh ALSO has ten tools and three levushim

(This makes sense, since there is a posuk that “Zeh Le’umas Zeh Asa Elokim” — everything in kedusha has a matching thing in kelipah, so we will have to choose to do what Hashem wants, and Hashem will give us a reward. If there is nothing hard about doing kedusha, there will be no reason to get a reward! If you look around the world, you will see a lot of things that give us a lot of help in kedusha — but can also be used for very strong kelipah. Also inside each of us, if there is a koach in kedusha, you will find a matching one in kelipah.)

Just like the Nefesh Elokis has sechel and midos, the Nefesh Habehamis also has sechel and midos. The Nefesh Habehamis does not think about the greatness of Hashem, and is not interested in understanding the Aibershter’s Torah. It doesn’t want to be connected to Hashem and is not excited about doing mitzvos. The Nefesh Habehamis is only interested in thinking about what is good for itself and gets excited about Gashmius. Its midos are selfish and follow its sechel, which thinks about Gashmius and the importance of the things it wants for itself.

For example, when a person is young, he is excited about toys. If someone takes them away, he gets angry! When he gets older, he wants a nice house and a lot of money. If someone threatens to take it away from him, he will get angry and upset. When a person is even older, he might just want people to respect him. If someone is not giving him kavod, he will be very bothered!

This is because the midos of the Nefesh Habehamis follow its sechel, and whatever a person thinks is important at that time is what he will feel strongly about.

The Nefesh Elokis shows its sechel and midos through the levushim, by thinking, speaking, and doing what Hashem wants. It thinks words of Torah, says nice things to friends, and does mitzvos.

The Nefesh Habehamis also shows it sechel and midos through the levushim. ANYTHING that the person thinks, speaks or does that is not done specifically to serve Hashem, comes from the kochos of the Nefesh Habehamis.

We will learn later that our mission is to train the Nefesh Habehamis to understand that it is GOOD for it to use its kochos to serve Hashem! That’s what it means to love Hashem “Bechol Levavcha,” with the two parts of our heart, our Nefesh Elokis AND our Nefesh Habehamis.



Hey Teves

There are two main ways to serve Hashem: With our mind, or with our heart.

When we serve Hashem with our mind, we learn Torah, and understand how and why to do the mitzvos. The biggest Talmidei Chachomim serve Hashem in this way, and it is very special!

There is also another way, though. A person can be very simple, or have temimus (sincerity). They might not understand the words of davening, or why they are doing the mitzvos. But they serve Hashem with all of their heart, with the feeling of emunah!

One main difference between the two ways is that our mind is limited, but our heart is not!

Our minds can think about many deep and great things, but we can’t understand EVERYTHING. But the heart with the feeling of emunah has no limit! It can connect to Hashem in a very deep and strong way.

When Moshiach comes, he will show us how special it is to serve Hashem with our heart, even if we don’t understand! We will see how the simple Yidden who are serving Hashem with pure emunah are doing such a special avodah! We will realize how important it is to serve Hashem with our whole heart.



Shiur #179 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #114, Asei #55, Lo Saasei #115, #116

Today we review the mitzvah of yesterday:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #114) We are not allowed to cut the hair of a sheep that is meant for a Korban.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: וְלֹא תָגֹז בְּכוֹר צֹאנֶךָ

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Bechoros.

We also learn 3 mitzvos about the Korban Pesach, since we are starting those halachos today!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #55) It is a mitzvah for every Yid to bring (or be part of a group that brings) a Korban Pesach on Erev Pesach.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bo: וְשָׁחֲטוּ אֹתוֹ כֹּל קְהַל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Mesechta Pesachim.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #115) We can’t bring the Korban Pesach if we have chometz in our house!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: לֹא תִזְבַּח עַל חָמֵץ דַּם זִבְחִי

The details of this mitzvah are explained in Perek Hey of Mesechta Pesachim.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #116) The fat of the korban needs to be burned on the Mizbeiach before the next day. We are not allowed to leave it overnight. If it is left, it becomes nosar and is not allowed to be burned on the Mizbeiach anymore.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Mishpatim: וְלֹא יָלִין חֵלֶב חַגִּי עַד בֹּקֶר



Hilchos Me'ilah - Korban Pesach

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last Perek of Me’ilah — which is also the last perek of the entire Sefer Avodah!

Perek Ches: We learn about people who are working using Hekdesh, like farmers, builders, or Kohanim. We learn that even these people also need to be careful with Me’ilah!

The Rambam finishes by reminding us that we need to do mitzvos carefully, even if they are chukimmitzvos we don’t understand!

With that halacha, we finished the eighth Sefer in Rambam! Now we are going to start the NINTH sefer, called Sefer Korbanos. This sefer will talk about specific Korbanos.

The first set of halachos is about the Korban Pesach. In 10 perakim, the Rambam will teach us about the 16 mitzvos connected to the Korban Pesach! Only four of them are Mitzvos Asei, things we need to do. All the rest are Lo Saasei — things we have to be careful NOT to do. We will IY”H learn them all in Sefer Hamitzvos.

Perek Alef: In this perek, we learn the answers to the questions “What? Where? When? How?” about the Korban Pesach. (The Rambam usually doesn’t teach us the details of the WHY, which is explained in other places in Torah.)

Perek Beis: Now we learn WHO — who brings the Korban Pesach, and about eating it together as a group.



Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin - Perek Tes-Zayin

If the kohen thinks that he is going to bring it at the wrong time, it is called pigul. But that’s only if he did not mix in any other thought that makes it posul at the same time, like thinking that it’s a different korban or that he will eat it in a different place. (There are different halachos for a korban that is posul or a korban that is pigul.)

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Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today is the Yom Tov of Didan Notzach! The Rebbe announced that this day will be a “Yom Segulah Ve’eis Ratzon,” a day that will have special opportunities and kochos in it.

You surely have heard and read the story about Hey Teves many times. But “Hayamim Ha’eileh Nizkarim Ve’naasim,” “these days are retold and they happen again.” When we take time on this day to tell over what happened, the story happens again in Ruchnius. This gives us koach to keep the lessons we learn from Hey Teves!

The Rebbe brought a story from a Medrash about the inyan of Didan Notzach:

In the times of the Gemara, there was a group of Yidden that were living in a certain town. One day, a good Ruach (like a malach) came to an Amora in that town to tell him something: The Ruach used to protect the river near the town, so nothing would happen to the Yidden there. But now there was a bad Ruach that was going to come at a certain time, and wanted to hurt the Yidden!

“So what should I do?” the Amora asked.

The Ruach answered, “Tell all of the people of the town to take the tools they use for building and digging, and come at the time of danger to the river. Start making loud noise and bang with your tools, and shout out ‘Didan Notzach!’”

The Amora followed the advice of the Ruach, and all the people went to the river and banged with their tools, shouting Didan Notzach. After making all this noise, they saw a drop of blood on the water in the river! This was a sign that the bad Ruach had lost its chayus and that the Yidden were now safe.

The Rebbe explains the meaning of this Medrash: The two Ruchos are the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara doesn’t want us to think about the Aibershter, and to follow the horaos of the Nasi HaDor.

When we all go together with chayus and scream at our Yetzer Hara, “Didan Notzach!” “We are going to live the way the Torah teaches us and follow the Rebbe’s horaos!” then the Yetzer Hara will lose all of its koach, and the Yetzer Tov will win — Didan Notzach!

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Modeh Ani

We say Modeh Ani first thing in the morning to thank Hashem for giving us back our neshama.

The Alter Rebbe teaches that by being careful to say Modeh Ani first thing in the morning, we make sure that the first thing we think about is Hashem! We remember that Hashem is with us, and that helps us get up with zerizus to serve Hashem all day!

So even though in Modeh Ani we thank Hashem for our neshama, it also helps make sure that we can do avodah of the whole day with zerizus and chayus.

See Kuntres Inyana Shel Toras Hachassidus, os Tes



Hanhagos for Hey Teves

We celebrate each Yom Tov with a special mitzvah. We celebrate Pesach with eating matzah, we celebrate Rosh Hashana by hearing the shofar, and we celebrate Chanukah by lighting the menorah. How do we celebrate Hey Teves?

The Rebbe taught us that on Hey Teves, we need to make sure that the seforim win!

How do we do that? By setting up times to learn Torah, especially learning together with others! We should especially try to add in learning things that help us act the way Hashem wants us to, like learning halachos in Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, and learning Chassidus. We should try to inspire others to do it too!

We also buy seforim to make our libraries bigger. It is VERY important for kids to buy seforim for their Cheder Tzivos Hashem. They should try to buy new seforim of the Rebbeim, and other holy seforim.

See sefer Halachos Uminhagei Chabad p. 124

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



Bayis Molei Seforim

One of the reasons we are very excited about Moshiach coming is having the third Beis Hamikdash!

By doing our avodah in Golus in a way of “building the Beis Hamikdash,” we will be doing our part to make it happen!

One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that our homes and our rooms (including children’s rooms) are like a Beis Hamikdash. We should make sure that they are used for Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chasadim. We should make sure our homes are a Bayis Molei Seforim, filled with holy seforim. Even if there is a room WITHOUT seforim, we should make sure that it is filled with the horaos of seforim, that we use it the way the Torah says it should be used!

Sefer Hasichos 5751 chelek alef, Hey Teves, p. 215

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