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Parshas Vayeitzei - Chamishi with Rashi

Yaakov becomes rich from the sheep and goats that are born even though Lavan tries to trick him, and Hashem tells him to go back to Eretz Yisroel.

Lavan wanted Yaakov to stay so he could get more brachos in Yaakov’s zechus, but Yaakov didn’t want to.

So Yaakov said, “I worked very hard for you! You gave me just a few animals to watch. Now there are so many animals, because Hashem gave you brachos in my zechus.

“Until now, I worked only for you, and left my children to work THEMSELVES to have parnasa. But I want to make sure my children will be able to save money for later, so I can’t work anymore for free.”

Lavan asked what he should give Yaakov.

Yaakov said, “You don’t need to pay me anything! Let’s just make a deal that I can keep some of the sheep and goats. I will take the sheep and goats that are different colors than usual: Usually goats are black or brown, I’ll take the ones that have big or small spots. Usually sheep are plain white, so I’ll take the ones that are brown or black.

“If sheep look at black sheep, their baby sheep will a lot of times be black too. So take away all of the animals that are the kind that I will be keeping so the animals can’t look at them. Your sons will watch them.”

Yaakov made sticks with stripes or spots, and put them near the water. When the animals looked at the sticks, many of their babies were born with stripes and spots. (The Zohar teaches us that this is how Yaakov did the mitzvah of Tefillin b’ruchnius!)

When Lavan saw that many of the sheep and goats that were born would belong to Yaakov, he changed the rules so more of them would belong to him. But Yaakov just set things up differently, so with Hashem’s help, the right kinds of animals were born.

Yaakov became very rich from all of his sheep and goats, and sold some to buy maids, servants, camels, and donkeys. Lavan’s sons were jealous, and said that Yaakov was stealing from Lavan. Yaakov could see that Lavan wasn’t so happy with him.

Hashem told Yaakov to go back to Eretz Yisroel. So Yaakov called Rochel and Leah and told them: “I see that your father is not happy with me, that he thinks I stole from him. You know that Hashem helped me, and I worked very hard. Even though he changed his mind 100 times about what I should get paid, Hashem helped and the right kinds of animals were born.

“Hashem reminded me that I built a mizbeiach and promised to bring korbanos on it. Hashem told me that it’s time to go back to Eretz Yisroel.”

Rochel and Leah said, “Of course! After all, Lavan doesn’t really care about us, now that he has sons. Instead of giving you money when we got married, he made you work to get married to us! And then instead of paying you for your work, he only let you have the animals you worked for! The only thing that belongs to us and our children is the money Hashem earned for you. So do whatever Hashem wants you to.”



55- 59

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Nun-Hey through Nun-Tes.

There are many ways to split up the Tehillim. It is split up into five seforim, like the five Chumashim. It is also divided up into seven parts, for each day of the week. When we say Chitas every day, we say it the way it is split up for each day of the month.

In times of trouble, the Rebbeim would say MORE Tehillim than usual. They would also say the Tehillim the way it is split up for the days of the week.

The Alter Rebbe and the Frierdiker Rebbe were both freed from jail on a Tuesday. Because they were in jail, they were saying the Tehillim for Tuesday the way it is split up for the week. In that section, there is Kapitel Nun-Hey, that has Padah Beshalom Nafshi (Hashem set my neshama free in peace). At the time they were let out of jail, they were saying this posuk!

The Mitteler Rebbe, whose Chag Hageulah is today, ALSO said this posuk when he was coming out of jail, even though he wasn’t set free on Tuesday. His Geulah was on Yud Kislev, and the first kapitel for Yom Yud (today) has the words Padah Beshalom Nafshi!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

We’ve been learning in Tanya about how important and special it is to DO a Mitzvah. The kavana and love we feel for Hashem is also important, but there is much more that happens by DOING the mitzvah. This is both when we DO a mitzvah or even just LEARN HOW to do the mitzvah!

But what about learning halachos about things that don’t ever really happen? Is that also like doing a mitzvah?

Today the Alter Rebbe tells us that halachos are the chochma of Hashem. It doesn’t matter if the halacha is about something that will happen or not — it is still Hashem’s chochma!

But we can’t get these special kochos just from having kavana and feeling close to Hashem — we need to actually do them.



Yud Kislev

Today is a very special Chassidishe Yom Tov! It is the Chag Hageulah of the Mitteler Rebbe!

On Chol Hamoed Sukkos in the year Tof-Kuf-Pey-Zayin, the Rebbe and the Chassidim found out that someone told not good things about the Mitteler Rebbe to the government. A few days after Simchas Torah, (the day after Shabbos Bereishis, Sunday 28 Tishrei) the police came to Lubavitch to take the Rebbe to jail.

On the way, they stopped in Dobromysl and Lyozna, where the Mitteler Rebbe said maamorim! Then they took the Mitteler Rebbe to Vitebsk, where they kept him in jail. He stayed in jail until Sunday, Parshas VayishlachYud Kislev (today)!



Shiur #140 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #148, Asei #132

Today we learn 2 mitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Asei #132) When a person brings his Bikurim to the Beis Hamikdash, he needs to do “Mikra Bikurim.”

The person says the pesukim at the beginning of Parshas Ki Savo that thank Hashem for all He has done for us — how Hashem saved us since the time of Yaakov Avinu, from the suffering in Mitzrayim, all the way until Hashem brought us to the goodness of Eretz Yisroel. We ask Hashem that His bracha should continue!

(These pesukim are part of what we say in Maggid on the night of Pesach!)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Ki Savo: וְעָנִיתָ וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה׳ אֱלֹקֶיךָ אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי

The details are explained in Mesechta Bikurim and perek Zayin of Mesechta Sotah.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #149) It is asur for a kohen to eat the Bikurim that were brought to the Beis Hamikdash out of Yerushalayim.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְגוֹ׳ וּתְרוּמַת יָדֶךָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Makos.



Hilchos Bikurim

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about Bikurim, and then start learning about Hafroshas Challah.

Perek Gimmel: There are seven things we need to do the mitzvah of Bikurim properly:

1) Bring the bikurim to Yerushalayim
2) in a container,
3) say a special paragraph telling Hashem we brought them
4) and bring a Korban Shelamim
5) with singing,
6) then wave the bikurim around (like a Lulav — called Hanofas HaBikurim)
7) and stay overnight in Yerushalayim.

Perek Daled: But there are times when someone DOESN’T need to do all seven of these things — for example, a woman doesn’t say the special paragraph (there are some words in it that only make sense for a man to say!).

Perek Hey: Now we start to learn about Hafroshas Challah. Even though really this mitzvah only needs to be kept in Eretz Yisroel, we do it nowadays all over the world, so we won’t forget about the mitzvah!



Hilchos Eruvin - Perek Beis

We learn what kinds of things can ruin an Eruv Chatzeiros, like if one person doesn’t participate by giving some food to show that they are living together in this space.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

After the histalkus of the Alter Rebbe, the Mitteler Rebbe was in Krementchug. After he became Rebbe, he decided to move to Lubavitch. It is a minhag that Chassidim give the Rebbe money, called maamad. Before the move to Lubavitch, the Chassidim gave an extra-large amount of maamad.

Instead of using it for himself, when he got to Lubavitch, the Mitteler Rebbe decided to give this money to tzedakah. He set up a group of three people to give it out to the poor. He wrote a letter to a relative to tell him how he was able to give so much money (3,000 or 4,000 rubles) to Yidden in Eretz Yisroel!

Many years later, this man’s son found the letter. He was very upset at the Mitteler Rebbe because he felt insulted about something that happened. He very carefully changed the numbers in the letter to say 103,000 or 104,000 rubles! Then he showed the letter to the government. He explained to them that the Mitteler Rebbe must be planning to rebel against the government! That must be why he collected so much money. He was sending money to the Turkish government (who ruled Eretz Yisroel then). He also said that the size of the Mitteler Rebbe’s shul was like the size of the Beis Hamikdash, so it must be that he wanted to be king!

Even when they took him to jail, they treated the Mitteler Rebbe with kavod. They let him say maamorim on his way to jail. A few weeks later, they told the Mitteler Rebbe that they decided he didn’t do anything wrong, and were letting him go free — on Yud Kislev.

Similar to what we know about Yud-Tes Kislev, when the Mitteler Rebbe was in jail, it was because there was a kitrug in Shomayim against the Mitteler Rebbe’s Chassidus. When he was freed from jail, it was because in Shomayim too, it was decided that the Mitteler Rebbe’s Chassidus should be spread! That is why the day of Yud Kislev is the Mitteler Rebbe’s Chag Hageulah.

The Mitteler Rebbe lived one more year after that, and was nistalek the next year on Tes Kislev, when he was 54.

At first, the Chag Hageulah was not celebrated so much because the histalkus of the Mitteler Rebbe happened the next year. But now, we celebrate it as a big Yom Tov!


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Smichus Geulah L'Tefillah

In the bracha after Kriyas Shema, we speak about the Geulah of the Yidden from Mitzrayim. The bracha ends with the words “Go’al Yisroel.”

The Chachomim teach us that we shouldn’t do anything between saying this bracha and starting Shemoneh Esrei! We should be “Somech Geulah L’Tefillah,” connect talking about Geulah with the main part of Tefillah, Shemoneh Esrei.

Why is it important to daven Shemoneh Esrei RIGHT after talking about Geulah, without any interruptions?

The Gemara brings a mashal to help us understand:

A great king was sitting in his palace, when he heard a knock at the door of his private room. The guard announced that it was his good friend coming to visit! The king was happy to hear this. He was looking forward to spending time with his friend. The king went to the door, to greet his guest and invite him inside.

But when he opened the door, he saw his friend busy with something else! The king was disappointed. He went back inside and started taking care of other things for his kingdom.

When we praise Hashem for taking us out of Mitzrayim, that is like knocking on Hashem’s door! It makes Hashem want to invite us inside and hear what we need.

When Hashem is feeling close to us, that is the time to daven Shemoneh Esrei! We shouldn’t get busy with anything else. Right when we knock on the door with Go’al Yisroel, we should come right in and ask Hashem for our needs in Shemoneh Esrei.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 111 se’if 2



Amen After Go'al Yisroel

We are not allowed to make any interruptions between the bracha of Go’al Yisroel and Shemoneh Esrei.

But what should you do when you are in shul, and the Chazan says the bracha of Go’al Yisroel? Don’t you have to answer Amen?

According to many poskim, it is not a problem to answer Amen. It is counted as part of the bracha!

Still, it is best to follow the halacha in a way that EVERYONE agrees it is not a problem. So the best thing to do is to finish off the bracha of Go’al Yisroel together with the Chazan! Since we don’t answer Amen to our own brachos, we don’t have to worry about saying Amen. This way, EVERYONE agrees that we are not making a hefsek.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 66 se’if 9

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




The Rebbe began teaching the Yud-Beis Pesukim on Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Tof-Shin-Lamed-Vov. At that time, the Rebbe taught the first six pesukim. Then, a few weeks later, on Lag B’Omer, the Rebbe taught a second set of six pesukim!

As the Rebbe explained, these pesukim are for kids to always have a word of Torah in their mind. These short pesukim and sayings of Chachomim (Maamorei Razal) have important lessons for us to know, and we will be able to think about them all the time, even when we are doing other things! We will also be able to share these lessons with our friends.

The first posuk that the Rebbe taught on Lag B’Omer is the posuk of Bereishis. This is the first posuk of the entire Torah! It tells us that Hashem created the heavens and the earth and everything inside them.

Bereishis — In the beginning

Bara Elokim — When Hashem created

Es Hashomayim — the heavens

V’Es Ha’aretz — and the earth.

This posuk has a very important lesson for us! When we look around at the world, we see a lot of things that aren’t the way they should be. There are sicknesses, scary animals, and people who don’t behave right. We might feel afraid of the world!

But this posuk tells us that we should remember that HASHEM made this world! And when Hashem made it, He gave us the shlichus to fix it! With the koach of the Torah that Hashem gave us, we are able to change things in the world, and even in Shomayim, to bring down new brachos into the world!

This will bring the Geulah for ourselves and the world around us. And when we finish this shlichus, we will have the final and complete Geulah, the Geulah Ho’amitis Vehashleimah, for the whole world!

See sicha Lag B’Omer Tof-Shin-Lamed-Vov

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