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Parshas Vayigash - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn how Yaakov Avinu starts traveling down to Mitzrayim.

Yaakov said, “I am so happy! Yosef is alive! Let me go see him before I pass away!”

Yaakov thought he might pass away in Mitzrayim, so he prepared a place to be buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah before going. Then he packed up everything and took the whole family out of Chevron. They stopped at Be’er Sheva and Yaakov gave a korban to Hashem.

Now that there were almost 70 people in his family, Yaakov felt that maybe now he is already a big nation! He remembered that Hashem promised Avraham to be a big nation in Eretz Yisroel, and he felt bad to leave Eretz Yisroel. 

So Hashem came to him in a dream and said in a loving way, “Yaakov! Yaakov!” Yaakov said, “Here I am.”

Hashem said, “Don’t be afraid to go to Mitzrayim, because that’s where you will REALLY become a big nation. I told Avraham he can only have children in Eretz Yisroel, but you can grow in another place. I will come down with you to Mitzrayim, and make sure that you are buried in Eretz Yisroel.”

Yaakov and his wives and children went down to Mitzrayim in the wagons. They brought all of the animals from Canaan, and Yaakov also brought along Atzei Shitim (acacia wood) to plant in Mitzrayim, so it will be ready for the Mishkan when the Yidden go out of Mitzrayim. All of Yaakov’s children and grandchildren came.



23 - 28

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Chof-Gimmel through Chof-Ches.

The pesukim in Kapitel Chof-Daled talk about the time when Shlomo Hamelech went to bring the Aron into the Kodesh Hakodoshim in the Beis Hamikdash. He asked the gates to open up, “Se’u She’arim Rosheichem.” These words are said twice in this kapitel.

The Metzudas Dovid, who explains the meaning of pesukim in Nach, says that there is also a hint here to the future: The two times it says “Se’u She’arim Rosheichem” hint to the two times when the Shechina rested and will rest in the Beis Hamikdash in its full glory — the first Beis Hamikdosh, and in the third Beis Hamikdosh!

The Gemara says that the second Beis Hamikdash was missing 5 things, and the Shechinah was not there with the same strength as with the first Beis Hamikdash. But in the third Beis Hamikdash, the Shechinah will rest in its full glory, and the end of this kapitel is hinting to that time.



Likutei Amarim Perek Zayin

There is a second kind of Kelipah called Kelipas Noga, which if used Lesheim Shomayim can become Kedusha, and if not, become the Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios.

In the end of the last Perek, we said that anything which is not kedusha is called Kelipah. But there are two kinds of Kelipos. Yesterday we talked about the Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios, which is non-kosher things and aveiros.

Today we are learning about the other kind of Kelipah, Kelipas Noga. This kind of kelipa is anything which is kosher or allowed, that doesn’t have any aveiros in it.

Kelipas Noga is in between Kedusha and the Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios we talked about yesterday. It is in between, because sometimes it can become real kelipah, but other times it can be made into Kedusha!

Here is an example of the two ways: It doesn’t say anywhere in Torah that you can’t have Slurpees! So we know it must be Kelipas Noga.

Now if a person wants the Slurpee but not especially to help them serve Hashem, it goes down to the Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios. It can’t go up to Kedusha because Kedusha is ONLY something done for Hashem. 

But let’s say they get a Slurpee in honor of Hey Teves, and they’re enjoying it by their Farbrengen, and it’s giving them a lot of chayus and helping them make good hachlatos — THAT Slurpee becomes Kedusha!

One more example:

Saying silly things and telling jokes isn’t an aveira, so it must be Kelipas Noga.

If you’re being silly just because you’re bored, it can’t become Kedusha, because you’re not doing it for Hashem.

But if you see your friend is sad, and you make some funny jokes so they’ll laugh, it becomes Kedusha, because you made jokes for Hashem’s mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel!

(Did you know that the Gemara talks about two jokers who used to make people happy? The Torah says that they have a special place in Olam Haba.

One famous Chossid who used all of his jokes for Kedusha was R’ Shmuel Munkes. Once Chassidim saw him in front of the Rebbe’s house, hanging upside down from a tree! They asked him, “What are you doing?!?” R’ Shmuel Munkes answered, “In front of a shoemaker’s house he hangs a shoe so people know what he makes. In front of the fish store you’ll see a fish hanging, so people will know what he sells. In front of the baker’s house you’ll see bread so you’ll know what he makes. So I decided to hang in front of the Rebbe’s house — so everyone will know that the Rebbe makes Chassidim!”

He did it in a funny way, because he knew that was the best way to teach Chassidim something in a way they will always remember.)



Daled Teves

There is a halacha every week to be “Maavir Sedrah.” This means to go over the parsha so that you know what is being leined in Shul. You’re first supposed to do it in Chumash, and then with a translation so you understand it.

The Shulchan Aruch says to say the pesukim twice, and Targum Onkelos one time. Targum Onkelos is a translation into Aramaic that is printed in the Chumash. This Targum was chosen as a special translation that should be used, because the Torah also has in it words written in this language.

The Chabad Rebbeim would do it this way: They would start Thursday night, and do one or two Aliyos, say each posuk twice, and then the Targum, and then go to the next posuk. On Friday afternoon (after Chatzos) when we prepare for Shabbos, they would start over from the beginning, say the whole parsha this way, and then say the Haftorah.

Shabbos morning, before davening, they would say the last Aliyah in this way again.

Sometimes, there are two haftoras — like if it’s Rosh Chodesh or Erev Rosh Chodesh, we read a special haftorah. On such a Shabbos, the Rebbeim would do both. The first one, for the Parshas Hashavua, they would say Erev Shabbos, and the special haftorah for the day they would say on Shabbos morning.

Today’s Hayom Yom has TWO parts. There are only five places in Hayom Yom that have this, and they are all written for days that were Shabbos in the year the Hayom Yom was printed! Maybe the Rebbe is teaching us that on Shabbos we have to add more to our learning of Torah and Chassidus. Here is the second section of today’s Hayom Yom:

Every night a part of our neshama goes up to Hashem to get chayus for the next day (as is written in the Zohar). If a person learns very hard during the day or davens with tremendous kavana, sometimes a person could dream about the things that they learned! This could be a dream about Gemara or Chassidus! The neshama can even learn NEW things in the dream! The reason why it had this special dream is because of the effort it put into davening and learning during the day.

(The year the Hayom Yom was written, today was Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz, which speaks about dreams.)



Shiur #149 - Mitzvas Asei #21

(Mitzvas Asei #21) Today’s mitzvah is to have yirah for the place of the Beis Hamikdash — “Umikdashi Tira’u!”

There are certain things we do to show our yirah. For example, we don’t go onto the Har Habayis with our walking stick or our shoes, or use it as a shortcut. It is also the reason we are not allowed to sit in the Azarah.

This mitzvah is also for nowadays, when there is no Beis Hamikdash standing.

We also need to remember that our yirah is not of the building, but of Hashem Who told us to build it!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ



Hilchos Beis HaBechirah

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about the place of the Beis Hamikdash:

Perek Hey: The Rambam teaches us about the Har Habayis, the Ezras Noshim, and the Ezras Yisroel.

Perek Vov: The Beis Hamikdash was on a mountain, and some parts of the Beis Hamikdash were higher up. We also learn how the Sanhedrin was able to expand the Kedusha of the Beis Hamikdash and of Yerushalayim to a place that didn’t have it before.

Perek Zayin: We learn about showing yirah to the Beis Hamikdash, which is today’s mitzvah. We also learn about the 10 levels of Kedusha in Eretz Yisroel — starting with the walled cities of Eretz Yisroel, and all the way up to the Kodesh HaKodoshim as the highest level.



Hilchos Zechiya U'Matana - Perek Yud-Alef

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about a present from a person who is very sick (a “Shechiv MeRa”).

In Perek Yud-Alef the Rambam tells us what to do when the words of the Shechiv Mera aren’t so clear. Like if he says, “give this money to Tuvia,” what do we do if two people called Tuvia come and ask for the money? (If one of them is a Talmid Chochom, we say that probably the Shechiv Mera meant him, or if one of them is his friend we say it is probably him.)



Hey Teves

In the weeks after the nitzachon of Hey Teves, the Rebbe spoke about how this whole story was just a nisayon. A nisayon is a kind of challenge that Hashem gives you to bring out the kochos that are hiding inside.

The Medrash says that when Avraham Avinu was on his way to do the Akeidah, his hardest test, the Satan tried to stop him. First the Satan tried to convince Avraham and Yitzchak not to go, but they didn’t listen to him. So the Satan turned into a river blocking their path, so they couldn’t go any further. Avraham kept on going, until the water reached his neck. Then he turned to Hashem asking for help to cross this deep river and do what Hashem wanted to! All of a sudden, the river dried up completely and disappeared, and Avraham and Yitzchak were able to go to Har Hamoriah for the Akeidah.

This wasn’t a real river. It was just part of the nisayon, so that Avraham would use deeper kochos to ask Hashem for help and pass the test.

The things that happened to make the nisayon are not important. They are like the water — they aren’t really there and will disappear when we pass the nisayon!

Because of this, the Rebbe said that talking about the details of the nisayon won’t help anything! It will just confuse you and be a Yetzer Hara.

The Rebbe said that instead we should talk about the new kochos and peulos that came from Hey Teves! The chayus needs to be in learning the seforim, Niglah and Chassidus, and that when a new sefer or Kuntres or maamar comes out, EVERYONE needs to be excited to learn it! Everyone needs to realize that the reason it was published is for ME to learn it and live with it!

In the sichos that the Rebbe said during the nisayon, and after the nitzachon that followed, the Rebbe taught us many special things which we know and appreciate today only because of this story.

One of them was that we were given a much clearer understanding of what a Rebbe is. The Rebbe explained how a Rebbe’s inyan as Nasi continues forever, and that a Rebbe is together with his Chassidim even after his histalkus.

There were also new peulos that the Rebbe began, like publishing more maamarim and sichos, starting new Chabad Houses, and expanding the work of Chabad to a completely new level, which we are all able to see today!

See sichos of Hey Teves and Vayechi 5747, Yud-Beis Tamuz 5745, Vayikra 5747, Zos Chanukah 5746


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Modeh Ani

We say Modeh Ani first thing in the morning, not Elokai Neshama like they said in the times of the Gemara. The reason we usually hear is because we are not able to say Hashem’s name right away when we wake up, since we are not as holy as Yidden were in the times of the Gemara.

But in a way, Modeh Ani is HIGHER than Elokai Neshama!

All of the names of Hashem show us certain special things about Hashem, but when we speak directly TO Hashem we are speaking to the Etzem of Hashem! In Modeh Ani we are able to speak to Hashem Himself, higher than any names!

One of the reasons we say Modeh Ani nowadays is because during this hard Golus, we need the extra koach of speaking straight to the Etzem of Hashem first thing in the morning.

See Kuntres Inyana Shel Toras Hachassidus, os Yud-Alef



Checking Mezuzos in Times of Hardship

According to halacha, we check our mezuzos every 3 and a half years, but it is our minhag to try our best to check them EVERY year, especially during the month of Elul.

It is also brought in Seforim that if someone is going through a hard time, it is also appropriate to check the mezuzos again. Since the mezuzah is our protection, we want to make sure our protection is strong.

See “Mezuzah, Divine Protection and Blessing” p. 77

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



Stand Strong to Bring Moshiach

In this week’s parsha, we learn about how Yehudah went to speak to Yosef. He knew what was the right thing to do, and he told it to Yosef in a very strong way.

We can learn from Yehudah what we need to do to bring the Geulah! (Dovid Hamelech and Moshiach COME from Yehudah!)

We need to deal with the world in a strong way. We need to be proud that we are Yidden, and know that Hashem created the whole world for us to do mitzvos! When we are strong about what we know is true, it will bring the Geulah.

See Sefer Hasichos 5752, chelek alef p. 226

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