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Parshas Vayechi - Revi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we start to learn the words Yaakov says to the Shevatim before he passes away.

Yaakov called his sons together to tell them when the final Geulah will come. But Hashem didn’t want the Yidden to know, so Hashem took away his Ruach Hakodesh about this. But Yaakov still had his Ruach Hakodesh in other things, and he decided to say something else to each one of the Shevatim:

Reuven, even though you are the firstborn, some of the things that are supposed to be given to the oldest will not be given to you, because of a certain thing you did with anger. Yosef will become the shevet which will be counted as two shevatim, the Kehunah will go to Shevet Levi, and the Yiddishe kings will come from Shevet Yehuda.

Shimon and Levi, you worked together for not good things — like killing the people of Shechem, and selling Yosef. Fighting is for Esav, not for children of Yaakov! So you will be separated and spread out: Levi will not be counted together with the other Shevatim, and he won’t get a piece of Eretz Yisroel. Shevet Shimon will be spread out in different places, being beggars, sofrim and teachers in many different parts of the land. The Kohanim and Leviim will have to live in different places around the country, and go to collect the presents given to them by Yidden all over.”

Yehuda was afraid Yaakov would also say what he did wrong, but Yaakov said, “Yehuda, your brothers will all talk about how special you are! The Yiddishe kings (like Dovid Hamelech and Shlomo Hamelech) will come from your family, and later the people who lead the Yidden in Golus, like the Sanhedrin, and even Moshiach!

“This is because you had a lot of Ahavas Yisroel, saving Yosef and Tamar from being killed!

Zevulun will live near the water, and their ships will buy and sell things. Part of the money they get will pay for the Talmidei Chachomim of Shevet Yissachar to be able to learn Torah!

Yissachar will be strong and able to learn a lot of Torah! They will work hard in their learning and it will help all of the Yidden.

Dan will take revenge on the enemies of the Yidden!” Yaakov was speaking with Ruach Hakodesh about Shimshon who in the future will knock down a building and kill many Pelishtim who were making trouble for the Yidden. Yaakov knew that Shimshon would need Hashem’s help, so he asked for it now! “Lishuas’cha Kivisi Hashem” — “Hashem, I am waiting for your yeshuah!”



60 - 65

Today’s Tehillim is kapitelach Samach through Samach-Hey.

In Kapitel Samach-Daled, Dovid Hamelech davens for Daniel to be saved when he is thrown into the lions’ den. Of course, Daniel (who came from the family of Dovid) wasn’t even born yet, but Dovid Hamelech saw with Ruach Hakodesh that Daniel would need these tefillos!

The story happened after the Churban of the first Beis Hamikdash, in the times of King Daryavesh of Persia, soon after he took over Bavel. Since King Daryavesh knew that Daniel was very smart, he wanted to make him in charge of the whole kingdom of Bavel! When the other officers found out about this, they got very jealous. They decided to make a plan that would force the king to kill Daniel.

So they told King Daryavesh to make a new decree: Nobody would be allowed to daven or ask for anything, except from the king, for one month. Anyone who was caught davening, to Hashem or to an Avodah Zarah, would be thrown into a cage with hungry lions! They knew that Daniel would never listen to such a decree.

Of course, Daniel ignored this new decree. He went to daven, three times a day, like he always did.

The officers were very excited when they caught him, and told King Daryavesh that Daniel had to be punished. The king was not very happy about this, but he was forced to follow the decree that he had made. He told Daniel, “May Hashem, Who you always daven to, save you!”

And Hashem did! Even though the lions were very hungry, they didn’t touch Daniel all night. In the morning, King Daryavesh came to the lions’ den. He called out to Daniel, asking if Hashem had been able to save him. Daniel told the king that Hashem had sent malochim to keep the lions’ mouths closed, and he wasn’t hurt at all!

When the king saw this neis, he decided to instead throw those officers into the lions’ den, and Daniel was saved.

We know one of the reasons why Daniel was saved: Because of the tefillos of Dovid Hamelech, which were said many many years before, in today’s Tehillim, Kapitel Samach-Daled!



Likutei Amarim Perek Ches

Today’s Tanya is the entire Perek Ches! In a Shana Me’uberes, a leap year, once a week we get an extra-long Tanya. (In the first year that the Tanya was set up for — Tof-Shin-Gimmel and Tof-Shin-Daled, the year the Hayom Yom was made — this long piece was for Shabbos, and this year it comes out on Wednesday).

The Alter Rebbe is teaching us about the things the Yetzer Hara wants to do, in Maaseh, Dibur, and Machshava. The Alter Rebbe also tells us the punishments for them, so we realize how serious they are and be very careful.

Things the Yetzer Hara likes to do (Maaseh): Sometimes the Yetzer Hara wants us to do something asur, like eating non-kosher food. “Asur” means tied, and things that are asur are tied to kelipah and can’t become part of Kedusha! Even if we didn’t know it is not kosher, or if we ate it in order to serve Hashem, it still stays kelipah.

Wanting to do something asur is called a “Goyishe Yetzer Hara.”

Other times, the Yetzer Hara wants to do something that is mutar, like eating kosher candy. This is called a “Yiddishe Yetzer Hara.”

Is it really a Yetzer Hara to eat kosher candy?

It depends! If it is to serve Hashem better, the chayus from the candy becomes kedusha. But if a person eats candy just because they like it, or for any other reason, it stays kelipah.

Still, these kinds of things are called “mutar,” which also means untied, because they can be changed to kedusha later. If a person listens to their “Yiddishe Yetzer Hara” by mistake, they can fix the mistake by using the chayus from what they ate to serve Hashem.

The Alter Rebbe mentions the story of Rabbeinu Hakadosh (R’ Yehuda HaNasi, who wrote the Mishna). Before he passed away, he picked up his hands to Shomayim and said to Hashem that he didn’t enjoy anything in this world, even from his little pinky finger! Even though he was very rich and had lots of fancy food in his house all the time, everything he did was for the sake of Hashem.

By Rabbeinu Hakadosh, this avodah was perfect! By the Alter Rebbe telling us this, it gives us koach to try to act like him as much as we can, using everything to serve Hashem, and not for any other reason.

Things the Yetzer Hara likes to talk about (Dibur): A person might want to talk about interesting things. Even though there is nothing asur about them, if there is no good reason to say them, they also can make the neshama tomei. This is called Devarim Beteilim. Or a person might want to say something that is actually wrong, like Lashon Hara. This is called Diburim Asurim. For a man who has a mitzvah to learn Torah all the time, wasting any time from learning Torah is an aveira called Bittul Torah. Each of these can hurt the neshama!

Things the Yetzer Hara likes think about (Machshava): It can feel very exciting to watch science videos (Chochmas Ha’umos). But if a person uses their mind to understand things that are NOT from Torah for no good reason, they are also making his sechel tomei!

It is even worse than saying Devarim Beteilim, because when a person says Devorim Beteilim, they are only making their MIDOS (feelings) tomei. But learning things that aren’t Torah for no good reason makes the SECHEL (the mind, which is higher than midos) tomei!

In Russia, there were times when the government tried to make decrees that the Jewish children need to learn Limudei Chol (secular studies) in the schools, and the Rebbeim fought with mesiras nefesh against it.

In America, the Rebbe also encouraged that a Cheder be opened — Oholei Torah — where ONLY Limudei Kodesh would be taught. There are also other chadorim like that in other places. In some places, they need to learn Limudei Chol for certain reasons. In those places, the Rebbe wanted it to be clear that the MAIN thing is learning Torah, and the Limudei Chol should be only as much as needed, and should be used to help us in kedusha.

It is only permitted to learn Goyishe Chochma to help us have a good parnasa or to understand the Torah better.

Some great tzadikim, like the Rambam and Ramban, are examples of Yidden who used the Goyishe Chochma in order to serve Hashem.



Yud-Alef Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn about Taharas Ha’Avir.

Did you ever walk on the sidewalk when a bus passes by? Sometimes it leaves a big cloud of smoke and it’s hard to breathe! You might even start coughing! That’s because with all of the smoke from the bus, the air isn’t good to breathe.

People need air to live. When the air is good, people can be healthy. Air that is dirty or polluted can chas veshalom make people sick. If we have dirty air in our house, we can open a window or turn on an air filter to clean the air.

In the world, there is also a ruchnius kind of air. When the “air” is full of Torah and mitzvos, people can be healthy, good Yidden. In a place where people don’t know about Hashem, the air is not good, and neshamos can get sick.

The first thing to do is to clean the air.

How do we clean the ruchnius air? Using words of Torah. When we walk down the street, or go shopping, or on a subway, we can say words of Torah baal peh. This will clean the air. Everyone should memorize some Torah so we can clean the air wherever we go!

What Torah do YOU know Baal Peh? Do you know the pesukim? Tanya? Mishnayos?



Shiur #185 - Mitzvas Asei #78

Today’s mitzvah is to give Maaser from our animals! This is called Maaser Beheimah.

The tenth one from our animals is special — it is a present for Hashem! We are supposed to take it to Yerushalayim, and bring it for a Korban. Then we eat the meat of the Korban in Yerushalayim.

Really, we should keep this mitzvah nowadays, even without a Beis Hamikdash. We can still set aside our tenth animal and not eat it unless it gets a mum, like we learned before with a bechor. But the Chachomim were afraid that people wouldn’t wait until it got a mum, and would shecht and eat the animal even without a mum, while it still should be a korban. It is a very serious aveira (chiyuv Kareis), to shecht a korban outside the Beis Hamikdash (Shechitas Kodshim Bachutz). So the Chachomim said that we should not keep the mitzvah of maaser at all nowadays. We will have to wait to keep this mitzvah until the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Bechukosai: וְכָל מַעְשַׂר בָּקָר וָצֹאן כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹר תַּחַת הַשָּׁבֶט הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה קֹּדֶשׁ לַה׳



Hilchos Bechoros

In today’s Rambam, we learn more about the Bechor, and about giving Maaser from our animals!

Perek Hey: What happens when we’re not sure which animal is really the bechor? The Rambam tells us what the halacha is in different kinds of cases!

Perek Vov: In this perek, we learn about giving Maaser from our animals.

Perek Zayin: Here’s how we figure out which animal is really maaser: We need to put all the baby sheep into one place, and put the mother sheep outside. We let them go out to their mother, one animal at a time, and count the tenth one. Every tenth one we mark with paint, and that one will be the present for Hashem.



Hilchos Avodas Yom HaKipurim - Perek Beis

The Rambam explains how the Kohen Gadol made himself tahor and about the Vidui on Yom Kippur — using Hashem’s special name!

icon of clock


Lebn Mit Der Tzeit

The Rebbe said this in a sicha a week and a half after the Nitzachon of Hey Teves:

Usually, the Torah finishes things with a good or happy inyan. But at the end of this week’s parsha, which is the end of the whole Chumash Bereishis, the Torah ends off with something very sad! Here, the last thing the Torah says is that Yosef lived for 110 years, and then they put Yosef in an Aron in Mitzrayim.

Of course that is what happened, but is that the best way to finish the whole Chumash Bereishis?

The Rebbe tells us that really it IS the most important thing to tell us at the end of this Chumash!

The whole Chumash Bereishis tells us about the things that happened to our Avos. Not only do we learn lessons from the things our Avos did, but we get kochos from them for when similar things happen to us! We need to use these kochos when we are in Golus, like the Golus we learn about in Chumash Shemos.

That’s why the last thing we learn, before Golus Mitzrayim starts in the next Chumash, is that Yosef’s Aron stayed with the Yidden in Mitzrayim. The Torah is telling us that when we are in Golus, having the “Aron of Yosef” with us is a tremendous help and koach to get through the Golus!

Besides for all of the kochos we have from the rest of Chumash Bereishis, the things we learn from Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the last and very important thing which we have is that we have “Yosef” with us.

In our last Golus too, we see that the Ohel of all of the Rebbeim stayed with us! Many Tzadikim were buried in Eretz Yisroel, but the Rebbeim stayed with their Chassidim, where they were. We know that whenever we need a bracha (in Gashmius or in Ruchnius), we always have a place to turn to get the koach we need. We can go to “the Aron of Yosef,” the Ohel of the Rebbe which is with us in Golus, and that will give us encouragement to get through the Golus and bring Moshiach now!

See Farbrengen Vayechi 5747

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Right now, we are learning the short davening for young children which is printed in the beginning of our siddur. This davening is Modeh Ani, Al Netilas Yodayim, Torah Tziva, the bracha on Tzitzis for boys, and then Shema until Uvisharecha.

We learned that Torah Tziva is the first posuk we teach a child as soon as he starts to learn how to talk. The second posuk that we teach is Shema Yisroel. It is also the second posuk in the Yud-Beis Pesukim! The posuk of Shema is very important, and it is also part of the davening for small children.

When we say Shema, we are telling ourselves that we know and believe that Hashem, who made everything in the entire world, also takes care of everything in it and watches over us with Hashgacha Protis! We remind ourselves that Hashem Echod, that every single thing in the heavens and the earth is a part of Hashem and is not anything of its own!



Netilas Yodayim

Over the next few days, we will learn some of the halachos of how to wash our hands properly before Hamotzi:

One halacha is that we need to use A LOT of water for Netilas Yodayim, to make sure that it reaches every part of our hands. R’ Chisda said that he used a lot of water, and because of this he received a lot of bracha!

(There are also halachos about exactly how to hold our hands, to make sure the water can reach every part of our hands properly.)

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



Modeh Ani

There are many ways to learn Torah! One of the ways is called “remez,” a hint. Even when Torah is talking about one thing, it can sometimes hint to something else too!

When we learn about Modeh Ani in a way of Remez, we see that it hints to Techiyas Hameisim!


The Gemara teaches us that when a person sleeps, it is a small part (60th) of death. So when Hashem gives us back our neshama, it is a little bit like Techiyas Hameisim, when Hashem will make people who passed away become alive again!

When we learn Modeh Ani this way, it helps us have another kavana in the words: We say, “Shehechezarta Bi Nishmasi,” because You gave me back my neshama, “Raba Emunasecha,” we see that Your emunah is great — we can rely on Hashem to also give back every Yid’s neshama in the time of Techiyas Hameisim!

See Kuntres Inyana Shel Toras Hachassidus, os yud

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