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Parshas Vayechi - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we learn about the end of Yosef’s life. He passes away, and his Aron stays with the Yidden in Mitzrayim. Before he passes away, Yosef tells the Yidden that Hashem will take them out of Mitzrayim!

The Shevatim were worried that maybe Yosef would be mean to them, now that Yaakov passed away. “Don’t worry,” Yosef told his brothers, “I will take care of you and make sure you have food.” Still, Yosef didn’t have as many family parties as he used to while Yaakov was alive. When the Mitzriyim saw that, they stopped treating the Shevatim as nicely. Now the Shevatim realized that soon the Yidden would become slaves, like Hashem told Avraham.

Yosef lived in Mitzrayim his whole life, 110 years. He was able to learn even with his great-grandchildren before he passed away!

Yosef told his brothers that he would pass away, but that Hashem will remember them and take them out of Mitzrayim. Hashem will bring them to the land promised to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov — Eretz Yisroel.

Before he passed away, Yosef asked his brothers to make sure the Yidden take his Aron along when Hashem takes them out of Mitzrayim. Until that happened, the Aron of Yosef stayed with the Yidden in Mitzrayim!

Chazak, Chazak, Venis’chazek! We have just finished learning the entire Chumash Bereishis!



88 - 89

Today’s kapitelach are Pey-Ches and Pey-Tes.

One of the things it talks about in Kapitel Pey-Tes (89) is how Hashem gave the melucha (being kings) to Dovid Hamelech and his children. “Zaro Leolam Yihiyeh, Vechiso Kashemesh Negdi” — “His children will be forever, and his throne like the sun before me.”

Moshiach (Melech Hamoshiach) comes from Dovid Hamelech, so Hashem’s promise to Dovid Hamelech really does go forever! Melech HaMoshiach comes from the family of Dovid!



Likutei Amarim Perek Yud-Gimmel

In today’s Tanya, we learn that Hashem gives a special koach to the Yetzer Tov to win, even when the Yetzer Hara seems very strong! We also learn that it’s important to remember that we have a Yetzer Hara inside, and not to let our guard down.

In Perek Alef of Tanya, we say that for the Beinoni, “Zeh VeZeh Shoftan” — “this one and this one judge him.” What does that mean?

The Alter Rebbe explains that inside of us, we have a kind of court! In court, there are two judges, who are supposed to decide the way things should be. Each judge is allowed to say what they think, but they can’t decide on their own.

What if the two judges DON’T agree? They need a third party, who will decide which judge is right.

That’s what goes on inside of us! The Yetzer Hara says “I think I want to say something not nice to someone!” The Yetzer Tov says, “I don’t agree.” So who will decide?

There is a posuk in Tehillim that tells us who decides — “Ki Yaamod Limin Evyon, Lehoshia Mishoftei Nafshoi” — “Hashem stands at the right side (the Nefesh Elokis side!) of the poor man, to save him from those that judge his neshama.”

HASHEM decides who is right! And who do you think Hashem says we should listen to? The Yetzer Tov, of course!

We need Hashem’s help every time, because the Nefesh Habehamis can be very strong — and it gets stronger just by using it for the Gashmius’dike things we do on a regular basis! But Hashem can help us win over the Nefesh Habehamis in our “court” every time!

The Tanya begins with the words a neshama is told before it comes into a body, that it should be a tzadik and not a rasha. And even if the whole world tells you that you are a tzadik, you should see yourself as a rasha. One of the questions we asked is, if we see ourselves as a rasha, won’t that make us sad and keep us from serving Hashem joyfully?

Now that we know what a beinoni is, the Alter Rebbe gives us the answer to the question!

It doesn’t say that a Yid should think that he IS a rasha, it says that a Yid should think he’s “KeRasha” — like a rasha! A beinoni isn’t like a tzadik who doesn’t have a Yetzer Hara, a beinoni HAS a Yetzer Hara just like a rasha does — it’s just that he doesn’t listen to it.

That’s why part of the neshama’s promise before coming into the world is, that even if the whole world tells you that you are tzaddik, because you are doing so many good things, you still need to look at yourself like you are a Rasha. Remember that you have a Yetzer Hara inside just like a Rasha does, and only by working to fight with it all the time, you will be able to continue acting like a tzaddik.



Yud-Ches Teves

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learn how to be full of life, even in Golus!

Like this year, in the year the Hayom Yom was written, today was Shabbos Parshas Vayechi.

First we learn a minhag about Kriyas HaTorah: The person who gets the last Aliyah of the Chumash says Chazak Chazak Venis’chazek together with the rest of the minyan.

We also learn a minhag about Shabbos davening: In Maariv of Motzei Shabbos, we say the posukOrech Yomim” two times — but not when we say this posuk in Shacharis on Shabbos. (Do you know where we say this posuk?)


When the Tzemach Tzedek was a boy, his teacher taught him, according to the pirush of the Baal Haturim, that Yaakov lived the best years of his life when he was in Mitzrayim. The Tzemach Tzedek couldn’t understand how living in a kelipah-filled place like Mitzrayim could be the best part, and he asked his zeideh, the Alter Rebbe.

The Alter Rebbe answered him that Yaakov was able to live his best years in Mitzrayim because he first sent Yehudah to set up a yeshiva there. The words of the posuk that teach us this (Lehoros Lefanav Goshna) can also be explained that “when we learn Torah (lehoros) we come close (goshna) to Hashem!”

Yaakov had the Torah, which is called a Torah of life, in Mitzrayim. Learning Torah brings a Yid closer to Hashem than anything else! Because he had Torah in Mitzrayim, he was able to have Vayechi — a life, and the best part of his life — in Mitzrayim.

That’s also how we are able to be full of life, even in Golus: With the koach of Torah which connects us to Hashem!



Shiur #177 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #113

Today's mitzvah is that we can’t work with an animal that is supposed to be a korban. So if someone decides that his cow will be a korban, he is not allowed to use it to plow his field while he is waiting to bring it to the Beis Hamikdash!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: לֹא תַעֲבֹד בִּבְכֹר שׁוֹרֶךָ

Even though this posuk is talking about a bechor, the Chachomim learn that the same is true with any other kind of korban.



Hilchos Me'ilah

In today’s Rambam, we are learning more about the halachos of me’ilah. Me’ilah means enjoying for ourselves something that belongs to Hashem. If a person does me’ilah, he needs to pay the worth of what he benefited from plus an extra fifth, and bring a korban.

Perek Beis: In this perek we learn at what point the isur of me’ilah starts for different kinds of korbanos.

Perek Gimmel: This perek teaches us about me’ilah from korbanos that either die or become posul — which is only Miderabanan.

Perek Daled: This perek talks about me’ilah from money that was set aside or something that was promised to be used for a korban.



Hilchos Shekalim - Perek Gimmel

We learn more halachos about the Machatzis Hashekel. Every person needs to give a half-shekel coin. Because everyone needs one, the half shekel coin becomes worth MORE than a half shekel! So if a person needs to get change to give the Machatzis Hashekel, he adds a little bit more, called a Kalbon.

We also learn what happens if the person bringing the half shekels loses them on the way to the Beis Hamikdash!



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 to get through the Golus!

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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Modeh Ani

A person should get used to saying Modeh Ani right away when he wakes up. After he finishes saying Modeh Ani, he should get up b’zerizus, quickly, to go serve Hashem!

Even though we really need to start our day with zerizus, we shouldn’t jump right out of bed. It isn’t healthy to go from lying down to standing up too suddenly. We take a few seconds first to say Modeh Ani while sitting or lying down, and only then do we quickly get up to do our Avodas Hashem.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman alef, se’if vov



Checking Pockets

The melacha of Hotza’ah (carrying) has many details! One of the very practical things about this melacha is what the Gemara says in Mesechta Shabbos, and is also brought in halacha:

In a beraisa, R’ Chananya says that a person needs to check the pockets of his clothes before Shabbos, to make sure that nothing is inside. This way he won’t accidentally walk outside with things in his pockets, which is the melacha of hotza’ah. R’ Yosef says about this, “Hilchesa Rabsa LeShabbata,” how great is this halacha, which keeps a person from doing an aveira on Shabbos!

See Shabbos 12a and the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, Hilchos Shabbos 252:20

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




Nowadays, we have a very special avodah: To get ready for Moshiach!

How do we get ready for Moshiach?

The Rebbe tells us that the best way to prepare for Moshiach is to start practicing now! We should do things now like we will do them when Moshiach comes.

When Moshiach comes, the whole world will recognize Hashem! Everyone and everything will realize that Hashem is the true King of the entire world, and that everything is part of Him.

So to prepare for Moshiach, we should start now — helping everyone recognize Hashem! How do we do that?

We work hard to spread Yiddishkeit! We do more and more mitzvos, and help others to do them too. We teach people Torah and make a Kiddush Hashem!

This way, the world will be getting ready for the time when EVERY Yid is doing mitzvos all the time and the whole world will recognize Hashem!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Gimmel, p. 487

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