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CHUMASH

Parshas Vayigash - Rishon with Rashi

We are learning about how Yaakov and his family ended up coming down to Mitzrayim. We learned about the second time the Shevatim came to get food, and how the ruler of Mitzrayim (who was really Yosef) wanted to keep Benyamin. In today’s Chumash, Yehuda is arguing with Yosef not to keep Benyamin. Today we see the first part of his argument, and we will see the rest in tomorrow’s Chumash.

Yehudah came to Yosef and said: “Please let me say something to you that might make you change your mind! Please don’t be angry, even though I’m going to say harsh words.

“Do you know that my great-grandmother, Sarah, was captured by a Paraoh before? He got punished just from that! Do you think Hashem won’t punish you for keeping Benyamin?”

Yehudah then reminded Yosef of how Benyamin came down to Mitzrayim: Yosef had told them that they need to bring Benyamin down to Mitzrayim so he can see him.

Yehudah continued, “It looks like you were never telling us the truth! You said that you just wanted to see Benyamin, and now I see you want to keep him!”

Yehudah described how Yaakov had been afraid to let Benyamin go. Yaakov had warned the Shevatim of the terrible pain it would cause him if anything happens to Benyamin!

IY”H in tomorrow’s Chumash, we will see the rest of Yehuda’s words.

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TEHILLIM

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Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Alef through Tes.

Today, we are starting Sefer Tehillim again from the very beginning! IY”H we will finish the whole thing before Rosh Chodesh Shevat!

Kapitel Alef talks about how a person should behave in order to have hatzlacha from Hashem. By making sure that we are involved in Torah and not narishkeit, we get lots of brachos!

In this kapitel, we say a very interesting posuk: “Ki Im BeSoras Hashem Cheftzo, UveSoraso Yehege Yomam VaLayla.” “HASHEM’S Torah is all he wants, and he is busy with HIS Torah all day and night.”

How come it first says HASHEM’S Torah, and then it says HIS Torah (that it belongs to the person learning it)?

We will soon learn in Tanya that when a person is learning a part of Torah for the first time, it feels like it’s something that’s not part of him. But when he learns it again and again, he starts to understand it better. When he finally “gets it,” the Torah becomes part of him, like food that we eat, which becomes a part of us and gives us chayus.

So at first it feels like we’re learning Hashem’s Torah, but once we understand it, it feels like OUR Torah!

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TANYA

Likutei Amarim Perek Daled

As we learned, our neshama has special tools to stay connected to Hashem even after if comes into a body. Using these tools will keep our neshama strong, so we can keep our promise to Hashem, to try to be like a beinoni.

The main part of the neshama is Sechel and Midos, what it understands and feels. Even before the neshama comes into a body, it knows about the greatness of Hashem (Sechel) and feels closeness to Hashem (Midos).

Then, even after the neshama comes into the body, it can still bring out those Sechel and Midos! There are special times when this happens, like during davening, or when a person thinks about things that the neshama knows about Hashem! That wakes up the Sechel and Midos of the neshama.

When the neshama is in the body, it has “Levushim,” “clothes” that it can put on or take off. These “clothes” are what make the neshama able to do something with the Sechel and the Midos! The neshama can use what it knows about Hashem’s greatness, and the feelings of wanting to be close to Hashem, to ACTUALLY come close to Hashem through learning Torah and doing mitzvos! The Levushim are the Machshava (thinking), Dibur (speaking) and Maaseh (doing) — the kochos we use to do all of the mitzvos of the Torah!

So what is greater? The Neshama itself, or what the neshama DOES? What do you think?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that what the neshama DOES is greater!

We might think that the neshama must be greater! Mitzvos are not really a part of the neshama itself, and we do them with Gashmius things.

But that’s not true! Our neshama is a part of Hashem, but it becomes a little bit separate, especially when the neshama comes into a body. Torah and mitzvos are one with Hashem even when they are in Gashmius! So by using the levushim of our neshama (Machshava, Dibur, and Maaseh) for Torah and mitzvos, we can become connected to Hashem in an even stronger way than with the sechel and midos of the neshama itself!

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HAYOM YOM

Alef Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe tells us a few hanhagos we do when it comes to Hallel.

1) When we daven in Shul, on a day when we don’t say the whole Hallel, only the chazan says the bracha when we say “half Hallel.” It is our minhag that if we daven without a minyan, we DO say the brachos at the beginning and the end of Hallel, even on days when we don’t say the whole Hallel (like Rosh Chodesh, which is today — except that today we say the WHOLE Hallel because it’s also Chanukah)!

(In a farbrengen, the Rebbe told us that the minhag of chassidim is that we make a bracha, quietly, even when we say half Hallel WITH a minyan! See Sichos Kodesh 5741, vol. 4, p. 322)

2) We also don’t say the word “Al” in the last paragraph that starts Yehalelucha. (In our siddur, it’s written in parentheses.)

3) We don’t wear Tefillin during Musaf. So we put them all on and take them off before Davening Musaf. In a different HaYom Yom, the Rebbe tells us that there are certain things we are supposed to learn while wearing Tefillin. Even though we take off the Tefillin on Rosh Chodesh before Musaf, we still learn those things AFTER davening, even without wearing the Tefillin.

(The reason why we don’t wear Tefillin during Musaf is because we don’t want to make the malochim feel bad. In Musaf, we say “Keser Yitnu Lecha Malochim,” that the malochim give Hashem a crown. If we’re wearing OUR crown of Tefillin when we say this, the malochim might feel bad.)

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SEFER HAMITZVOS

Shiur #175 - Mitzvas Asei #49

(Mitzvas Asei #49) Today's mitzvah is that we have to do ALL of the Avodah of Yom Kippur! Even though there are lots of details that are done as part of the Avodah, they are all really part of this one mitzvah.

The whole mitzvah is explained in its own MesechtaMesechta Yoma.

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RAMBAM

Hilchos Avodas Yom HaKipurim

In today's Rambam, we start a new section — we start to learn about the Avodah of Yom Kippur!

Perek Alef teaches us how the Kohen Gadol gets ready for Yom Kippur.

Perek Beis explains how he made himself tahor and about the Vidui — using Hashem’s special name!

Perek Gimmel explains how the goat for Azazel worked.

These perakim are all very interesting to read through. Reading it with all of the details can make us feel like we are watching it happen in the Beis Hamikdash!

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RAMBAM PEREK ECHOD

Hilchos Pesulei HaMukdashin - Perek Yud-Beis

This perek talks about what can make the korban for Shavuos (Shtei Halechem), Lechem Hapanim, or Korban Todah posul.

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INYANA D'YOMA

Zos Chanukah

Tonight and tomorrow is Zos Chanukah!

There is a sefer called the Shaloh written by Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz. He writes that if a person isn’t able to learn for whatever reason, there is a shortcut he can use! He can say the names of the Chumashim, Parshiyos, and Mesechtas, then it will be considered as if he is learning them!

There are many maamorim from the Rebbeim about Chanukah and even special maamorim for the last day of Chanukah, called Zos Chanukah. Even if we don’t have enough time to learn the maamorim themselves, we can at least know about them and say the names of the maamorim, and that is also something good!

There is a maamar from the Alter Rebbe that speaks about how special the last day of Chanukah is. It starts with the words “Havaya Li BeOzrai VaAni Ereh BeSonai,” “Hashem helps me and I will see that my enemies will go away.” The Tzemach Tzedek also talks about the last day of Chanukah in a maamar that starts with the words “Boruch She’Asa Nissim.”

There is also a maamar from the Rebbe on Zos Chanukah, 5738 (which was a Seudas Hoda’ah for the neis of Rosh Chodesh Kislev) which starts with the words, “Mitzvasa MiSheTishkeh HaChama.”

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TEFILLAH

Vesein Tal Umatar

Today (starting from Maariv last night) we start to say Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha in davening.

We started saying Mashiv Haruach already on Sukkos. Mashiv Haruach is in the part of Shemoneh Esrei that praises Hashem, and this is praising Hashem for His koach of bringing rain. We start to say it when the rainy season starts in Eretz Yisroel, which is Sukkos time.

But we don’t start ASKING for rain right away — first we want the Yidden to have time to get home from the Beis Hamikdash. That’s why in Eretz Yisroel, we start asking for rain, with Vesein Tal U’matar, on Zayin Cheshvan, which is enough time for the farthest person to get home.

But we only ask for rain when we need it! In different places, that is at different times.

In Bavel, they didn’t need rain until later, so they didn’t start asking for it until two months after the Tishrei season started. Nowadays, the halacha is that everyone outside of Eretz Yisroel starts asking for rain at the time they did in Bavel.

The seasons, or Tekufos, are based on the solar cycle, which is 365 days and 6 hours long. Tekufas Tishrei usually starts on October 4 on the English calendar, which is also based on the solar cycle. That’s why we start saying Vesein Tal Umatar on December 4th. (See Chabad.org/2060070 to understand why it’s sometimes on the 5th.)

The mitzvah of davening is to ask for the things we need, so it is very important not to miss the things the Chachomim told us we need to ask for! Rain especially is very important, because all of our food grows only because of rain.

If the time we need to ask for rain starts, and we didn’t ask, we missed the point of davening, and we need to daven Shmoneh Esrei again!

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HALACHOS HATZRICHOS

Forgetting Vesein Tal U'matar

If we daven without asking for rain during the time of rain, our tefillah doesn’t count, and we need to daven Shemoneh Esrei again!

So what happens if we are in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei and we realize we said Vesein Bracha instead by mistake?

We usually ask for rain during the bracha of Bareich Aleinu. If we remember before we say Hashem’s name in the bracha at the end, we just go back to that part of the bracha, saying Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha and continuing from there.

If we realized after saying Hashem’s name in the bracha of Bareich Aleinu, but before starting the next bracha, we can just say the words “Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha” and go on to the next bracha.

If we already started the next bracha of Teka Beshofar, and then realize we didn’t say Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha, we should continue davening! There is still another place where we can ask for anything we need — in the bracha of Shomeia Tefillah. The place to ask for the rain in this bracha is after the words “Umilfanecha Malkeinu Reikam Al Teshiveinu.”

But if we already said Baruch Ata Hashem in the end of the bracha, then like with Bareich Aleinu, we can say the words “Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha” right after the end of the bracha and then continue with Retzei.

After that, there is no other good place to ask for rain. So if we only remember after starting Retzei, as long as we haven’t finished davening Shemoneh Esrei yet, we go back to Bareich Aleinu and say it properly this time, and then continue from there.

But once we start the second Yihiyu Leratzon near the end of Shemoneh Esrei, it is counted as if we finished davening already. If we realize then, or after Shemoneh Esrei completely, we need to go back to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei and daven again.

In the Southern Hemisphere (like South America, South Africa, and Australia), there are opinions that say that we ask for rain according to the local seasons, which are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. So if someone who lives there forgot to say Vesein Tal Umatar, they rely on those opinions and don’t go back and repeat Shemoneh Esrei if they already said Retzei.

For more details, see the Halacha sheet prepared by the Beis Din of Crown Heights, Laws and Customs by Rabbi Lesches

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

An Exciting Avodah

In Golus, the world can look very messy. There are many times when it is hard to do mitzvos, there are lots of taavos all around us, and many sad or uncomfortable things.

It isn’t always easy to ignore those challenges and do what we are supposed to anyway.

Chassidus teaches us that all of these problems come from the Kelipah and Sitra Achara that Hashem put into the world. And hiding inside of that Kelipah and Sitra Achara are sparks of kedusha!

Our job is to find and fix up those sparks of kedusha, so that the world can become a comfortable place for Hashem, a Dira Betachtonim. We do this by making sure that our Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim are strong, and by helping Yidden who got stuck in kelipah and taavos, or grew up that way, to come closer to Yiddishkeit. By doing this, we are making the world ready for Moshiach!

When we realize that the hardships were PUT THERE just for us to overcome them, it won’t be HARD to do our avodah, it will be EXCITING! We will know that every time we see something hard in the world, it is because Hashem wants us to find the kedusha inside of that kelipah! We will be so excited to do our part in bringing the Geulah!

See Maamar Zos Chanukah 5738

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