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Parshas Vayishlach - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Yaakov Avinu prepares to meet Eisav again. He sends messengers to speak to Eisav. But Eisav was still angry, so Yaakov needs to get ready to deal with him.

Now that Yaakov made peace and finished dealing with Lavan, he had to think about dealing with Eisav! He hoped that if he sent a nice message Eisav won’t be angry at him.

Yaakov decided to send messengers to speak to Eisav. He sent malochim that looked like people, so Eisav couldn’t hurt them. Yaakov told the malochim to tell Eisav: “Don’t be upset about the bracha that I will rule over you! For that bracha to come true, I have to first be a big leader — and instead, I’ve just been staying with Lavan for the past 20 years! I couldn’t even come home for all this time because I was busy working for Lavan! Still, I’ve kept all of the mitzvos and didn’t become a rasha like him.

“Remember how our father gave me a bracha that my land will grow wonderful fruit? I don’t have ANY land! All I have are animals and servants. So it looks like the bracha won’t come true while we are alive at all. So I’m sending you this message to say, let’s live in peace!”

But when the malochim came back from giving the message, they said that Eisav didn’t look like a brother who was ready to forgive. He was still a very angry and dangerous Eisav! When he heard that Yaakov was coming, Eisav took 400 soldiers and was coming to attack him.

Yaakov was afraid that Hashem might let Eisav kill him, and he was also upset that he might have to kill other people to save himself. So he got ready in three ways:

1) He got ready for a war. He split up into two parts: One part with all of the animals and servants, and one part with just his family. This way, even if Eisav captures his possessions, his family will stay safe.

2) Then Yaakov davened. He said to Hashem, “You promised to protect me, and told me to go back to Eretz Yisroel.

“But Hashem,” Yaakov said, “I am afraid that I might have done an aveira, and now I don’t deserve for you to keep Your promise! You already gave me so many brachos, I don’t deserve any more! I came to Charan with nothing, but now I have a big family and lots of wealth!

“So instead of in MY zechus, please keep Your promise to protect me and my family in the zechus of my fathers! Save me from Eisav, who wants to kill us, and keep Your promise that I will become a great nation.”

We will IY”H see the third way he prepared in tomorrow’s Chumash.



69 - 71

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Samach-Tes, Ayin, and Ayin-Alef.

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech asks Hashem “Al Tashlicheini Le’eis Ziknah!” “Don’t throw me on the side when I get old!” (This means, “Hashem please still take care of me when I am old,” and don’t throw me on the side like we do when we are finished using something.)

In a maamar, the Tzemach Tzedek brings an explanation from the Baal Shem Tov:

Dovid Hamelech is saying in this posuk that Hashem should never throw us into a time when the TORAH we learn feels old! When we learn Torah, we have to feel like it is new every day, and be excited to learn it just like we got it for the first time on Har Sinai!

The Rebbe explains why it says “Al Tashlicheini,” “don’t throw me” (instead of “don’t BRING me to that kind of time”):

In the world, time makes a very big difference. Something that happened yesterday isn’t as important anymore, and tomorrow didn’t happen yet! But for Hashem, and for Torah, things are the same no matter WHEN they happened. So the truth is that Hashem really IS giving us the Torah again every time we learn it!

We ask Hashem not to throw us into the worldly feeling, where we have restrictions like time. Instead, Hashem should let us feel higher than the limits of the world, so we can feel excited by the Torah every time we learn it — just like it’s new!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Hey

All of the halachos and details of Torah talk about things that have kedusha and kelipah mixed together. When we learn a halacha about something practical, even if we didn’t actually do it, it’s like we cleaned that part of the world, throwing away the kelipah part! This is called Birur Hanitzutzos, and it’s a special job for the neshama.

But when we learn about a halacha that is NOT practical, then there is no part of the world to get cleaned from kelipah! So how are we doing our job?

In Shomayim, there are kelipos that match with every halacha that speaks about something asur. When we learn halachos about impossible things, we are still able to clean away those kelipos in Shomayim. This is also part of Birur Hanitzutzos!

When Moshiach comes, the world won’t have any kelipah mixed inside anymore — it will be ALL kedusha, and there won’t be any kelipos in Shomayim either! Then we won’t need to learn halachos in order to separate kedusha from kelipah, we will learn them only to connect our neshama with Hashem.



Yud-Gimmel Kislev

The Rebbe Rashab said:

Chassidus Meshaneh Es Hametzius, Umegaleh Es Hamehus.” Chassidus changes the way a person thinks, feels and acts, and shows us what we have inside — our neshama.

Chassidus changes what we do, but it doesn’t change who we are. It SHOWS us who we are — a neshama!

The neshama is a piece of Hashem, so just like we have no idea how special Hashem is, we also can’t imagine how precious a Neshama is!

Hashem made the neshama in a way that we can’t see how special the neshama is. Chassidus helps us understand how special it is, by teaching us that the neshama is really a part of Hashem. Chassidus shows us how to use the hidden chayus that is in our neshama to serve Hashem properly!



Shiur #143 - Mitzvas Asei #82, #135, Lo Saasei #220, #221, #222

Today we learn 5 mitzvos: One more about presents of the kohanim, and then four about Shemitah — the new set of halachos we are learning.

1) (Mitzvas Asei #82) If someone doesn’t want to give the kohen his firstborn donkey (Peter Chamor) then the donkey needs to be killed. (We learn about this mitzvah in today’s first perek of Rambam.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Sisa: וְאִם לֹא תִפְדֶּה וַעֲרַפְתּוֹ

The details are explained in Mesechta Bechoros.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #135) We need to let the land rest from farm work during Shemitah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Sisa: בֶּחָרִישׁ וּבַקָּצִיר תִּשְׁבֹּת

The details are explained in Mesechta Shevi’is.

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #220) We can’t plant during Shemitah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע

The details are explained in Mesechta Shevi’is.

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #221) We can’t work on our trees during Shemitah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר

The details are explained in Mesechta Shevi’is.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #222) We are not allowed to gather what grew in the field by itself (sefichim) during Shemitah. We can eat from it, but we can’t go gather it like we do during other years.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Behar: אֵת סְפִיחַ קְצִירְךָ לֹא תִקְצוֹר

The details are explained in Mesechta Shevi’is.



Hilchos Bikurim - Shemitah VeYovel

Perek Yud-Beis: We learn about the mitzvah of Peter Chamor, redeeming a firstborn donkey. We aren’t allowed to just give the donkey to a kohen, we need to trade it for a sheep or for money, and give THAT to a kohen.

Now we start learning Hilchos Shemitah:

Perek Alef: We are not allowed to do any kind of work that helps things grow during Shemitah. We are allowed to do things to keep trees from dying, but not to help them grow better.

Perek Beis: We even need to be careful not to do things that LOOK like we are working in our fields during Shemitah.

Some kinds of garbage can help fields grow! Peels and seeds and eggshells turn into a kind of fertilizer called compost. We aren’t allowed to put those kinds of garbage into our fields during Shemitah. We are allowed to make a big pile of compost, though, since you can see that a big pile of compost won’t help your field unless you spread it around!



Hilchos Eruvin - Perek Hey

In today’s Rambam we learn about something called “Shitufei Mevuos.” This means a “partnership for a street.” Cities used to have many streets called a “Mavui.” Each Mavui had a few courtyards, called Chatzeiros, and each Chatzer had a few houses inside. The Rambam teaches us how all of the families living on the same Mavui could make themselves partners so they could carry within their own street.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Today something very special happened.

We all know the story of Hey Teves. Part of the story is that there was an argument in a court to see who the seforim in Rebbe’s library belong to. The argument was to see if a Rebbe is just like any regular person, or if the Rebbe is special, and the Rebbe’s seforim are there for everyone to benefit from.

Whenever there is an argument in court, both sides need to come in and tell the judge what they think. Of course, the Chassidim didn’t think that it would be kavodik to make the Rebbe come to court!

When they explained it to the judge, he gave special permission not to make the Rebbe come, and not even to ask the Rebbe any questions! That’s something that doesn’t EVER happen!

The day the judge gave that special permission was today — Yud-Gimmel Kislev! Chassidim make it a special day, when even the government gives kavod to the Rebbe!

The special kavod to the Rebbe is because he is a shliach of Hashem, to help the Yidden in Gashmius and Ruchnius, and show them how to serve Hashem. If the goyim need to show kavod to the Rebbe, then certainly WE ourselves need to, by acting the way the Rebbe teaches us, and show the world how a chossid of the Rebbe acts!


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The first posuk of the Torah tells us that the whole world is made by Hashem.

Bereishis Bara Elokim — In the beginning when Hashem created

Es Hashomayim — the heavens

V’Es Ha’aretz — and the earth.

Of course this doesn’t mean JUST the sky and the ground. The Chachomim tell us that the word “Es” is hinting to everything inside of them! So the posuk is telling us:

Bereishis Bara Elokim — In the beginning when Hashem created

Es Hashomayim — ALL of the heavens and everything inside

V’Es Ha’aretz — and the WHOLE ENTIRE earth with everything inside.

When we realize that the whole world was created by Hashem, we will make sure to do everything the way Hashem says!

We will make sure to eat the way Hashem tells us to (only kosher food, and with a bracha), to play the way Hashem tells us to (in a nice way, and with Ahavas Yisroel), and even sleep the way Hashem tells us to (with Shema and Negel Vasser)!

We will want to do things the way Hashem wants us to, because we know that this whole wonderful world was made by Hashem!

See Der Rebbe Redt Tzu Kinder vol. 5, p 286



Not Making Interruptions in Shema

Imagine that you are davening in your room, when your younger brother comes in holding your Chitas, and asks you if he can use it. You are happy to share your Chitas, but you are in the middle of saying Shema! Are you allowed to nod your head to let him know it’s okay?

When we are saying the first paragraph of Shema, we should not make any interruptions.

Of course we know that we shouldn’t TALK in the middle, but we are not even allowed to hint things to someone else! We can’t wink to someone, or mouth something to them without making any noise, or point to things.

We might have something very important to let someone know, or someone might have a question for us that we want to answer right away. Still, we need to wait until we finish the first paragraph of Shema. In the beginning of this paragraph, we are accepting Hashem as our King (Kabolas Ol Malchus Shomayim), and we need to show that we take this very seriously!

(The only time we ARE allowed to make a motion during this part of Shema is if we need to stop something from bothering our kavana. For example, if our brother keeps asking us again and again and we can’t pay attention to what we are saying, we can point to our siddur or make a motion to let him know he should wait.)

In the rest of the paragraphs of Shema, we ARE allowed to nod or wink if we need to tell someone something that’s important for a mitzvah.

The Gemara gives an example of a teacher who was saying Vehaya Im Shamoa, the second paragraph of Shema, when one of his students was reviewing a Mishna. The student made a mistake and said “Zechariah ben Kefutal,” instead of “Zechariah ben Kevutal.” The teacher made a motion to him that he should read it the right way, with a Veis instead of a Fey. Since it was for the mitzvah of learning Torah, he was allowed to signal to him that he should read it again.

See Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch siman Samach-Gimmel, se’if Zayin; Piskei Teshuvos

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



Why We Need Chassidus Nowadays (Part One)

Why do we have Chassidus nowadays, when the great Yidden who lived a long time ago didn’t have it?

One of the reasons that Chassidus was revealed davka now is because we need it more now! The Frierdiker Rebbe gives a mashal for Chassidus of coals. Coals bring light and warmth.

Chassidus gives us the koach to overcome the darkness of Golus and win over the Yetzer Hara. It helps us live with warmth and chayus in doing mitzvos!

For Chassidus to be proper “coals” for us, we need to make time to learn Chassidus, especially before davening! Then the Chassidus will make it light for us (so that the darkness of the Yetzer Hara can’t bother us), and warm for us (so that we have chayus to live the way a Yid should)!

IY”H in tomorrow’s shiur we will see another mashal and inyan in learning Chassidus, which will show us that we need more than just a regular time — but we should learn Chassidus always, as much as we can!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof, Yud-Tes Kislev

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