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Parshas Vayishlach - Shvi'i with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, we hear about the people who used to live in Seir, until Eisav pushed them out. We also hear about all of the eight kings of Edom which is Eisav (even though they were from other places, and not really from the land of Edom)!

Before Yaakov and Eisav were born, Sheim told Rivkah that when one would be strong, the other would be weak. So the Torah tells us all of the kings that ruled from Eisav, before the Yiddishe kings from Yaakov.

In Nach where it speaks about the Yiddishe kings, it says that from then on, there were no more kings of Edom. And after the last Yiddishe king, it says that again there were kings from Eisav’s family.

In Yalkut Levi Yitzchak, a sefer with the Torah of the Rebbe’s father, there are many explanations from Kabbalah about the eight kings from Eisav’s family and what each of them represent.



90 - 96

Today’s kapitelach in Tehillim are Tzadik through Tzadik-Vov.

In today’s Tehillim, in Kapitel Tzadik-Daled, there is a posukAshrei Hagever Asher Teyasrenu Kah, UmiToras’cha Selamdenu.” “A person is fortunate if Hashem makes him suffer, and You teach him from Your Torah.”

Why is he fortunate? Because Hashem is showing him that he can be better than he is right now! How can he become better? He can try to figure out what he needs to fix, so now he can grow!

If a baby never got uncomfortable about just being able to crawl, would he ever learn how to walk or run? Really we are very fortunate when we start being uncomfortable about being how we are — this helps us to work hard to be much better and do much more!

But what should we do if we can’t figure out what to fix, but we STILL feel like something is wrong? The answer to this is in the end of the posuk: “UmiTorascha Selamdenu” — We should learn Torah! The Torah is the chochmah of Hashem, and just like Hashem has no limits (Ein Sof), the Torah has no limits! When we learn it, we will always find MORE things we could be doing, and find another part of our life that we can make better than before. Then we will feel very happy that Hashem gave us this chance to grow and to bring the Geulah!

From a sicha of the Rebbe



Shaar Blatt - Haskamos

Today we are starting the Sefer of Tanya from the very beginning!

We start with the Shaar Blatt. Usually the title page of a book is not so important, but not here — the Alter Rebbe wrote the Shaar Blatt himself! In the Shaar Blatt the Alter Rebbe gives two names for the Tanya, and tells us what the message of Tanya is.

The first name the Alter Rebbe gives the Tanya is “Likutei Amarim,” which means “a gathering of sayings.” The Alter Rebbe is very humble and says that the Tanya is just a collection of sayings, and that he got these sayings from his Rebbes (the Maggid of Mezritch and R’ Mendel of Horodok) and from Seforim (like the Maharal of Prague).

The second name is “Sefer Shel Beinonim,” the book of Beinonim. We will see later in Tanya that the Tanya is written for people who could work hard and become a beinoni.

The message of Tanya is that every Yid is able to serve Hashem with chayus, using his thinking, his talking, and his doing. And do you know what? The Alter Rebbe says that a posuk — one of the 12 pesukim! — says this message, and he says it in the Shaar Blatt! This is the posuk Ki Karov.

The whole Tanya explains this posuk! That’s why the Rebbe made this one of the pesukim, so from when we are very little we already know in short the whole message of Tanya, which teaches us how to become a chossid.

In today’s Tanya, we also have haskamos, which are letters from Rabbonim and Tzadikim, and the children of the Alter Rebbe, that tell everyone that it’s very important to learn the Tanya because it is very special. In the haskamos of the Alter Rebbe’s children, they also tell us how they put the Tanya into sections, and that no one is allowed to copy the Tanya without permission.



Yud-Tes Kislev

Chabad Minhag: The chazzan doesn’t wear a tallis when he’s davening mincha or maariv, not even on Shabbos or Yom Tov or Rosh Hashana.

Today is the Yartzeit of the Maggid of Mezritch (he passed away on Tuesday, Parshas Vayeishev 5533). His ohel is in Anipoli.

Today, the Alter Rebbe came out of (his first) jail, on Tuesday, Parshas Vayeishev 5559 (26 years after the Maggid passed away), close to shkiah.

The Alter Rebbe wrote in a letter: “On the third day of the week, when Hashem says twice “it was good” when Hashem made the world, on the yartzeit of the Maggid, I was reading Padah Beshalom — that Hashem set me free — in Tehillim, and they let me out of jail!” (The Alter Rebbe was saying the Tehillim the way it’s split up for the days of the week.)

Yud-Tes Kislev is a day we farbreng and make hachlatos to learn Torah and Chassidus, and to have Ahavas Yisroel! We also have a minhag to have everyone choose a Gemara to learn this year from “Chalukas HaShas” — that at least one person will learn each of the mesechtas of Shas! In Lubavitch, though, they had to do this on Chof-Daled Teves (the Alter Rebbe’s yartzeit) since there wasn’t time on Yud-Tes Kislev!



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 Shevisas Asor - Perek Gimmel

Today we learn the last perek of halachos about Yom Kippur. This perek teaches us about the rest of the inuyim of Yom Kippur. We learn about not washing ourselves or wearing leather shoes. The Rambam says that kids shouldn’t wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur, even though they are allowed to eat and drink.



Chassidishe Yom Tov

Yud-Tes Kislev is a farbrengen day!

There are actually THREE good times to make a farbrengen on Yud-Tes Kislev — the night of Yud-Tes Kislev, the night between Yud-Tes and Chof Kislev, and the night following Chof Kislev (Motzaei Chof Kislev).

Each farbrengen should be in a different way:

One time where you farbreng with yourself (spend some time thinking about what Yud-Tes Kislev means and how to make Chassidus a bigger part of your life), one time with your family, and a third one with your community, making hachlatos together to make your whole community a place of Chassidus!

See Sichas Parshas Vayishlach 5752


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Vesein Tal Umatar

Tonight (starting from Maariv on Motzei Shabbos, December 5th) we start to say Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha in the bracha of Bareich Aleinu (the 9th bracha of Shemoneh Esrei).

We started saying Mashiv Haruach already on Sukkos. Mashiv Haruach is in the part of Shmoneh Esrei that praises Hashem, and this is praising Hashem for His koach of bringing rain (the 2nd bracha). We start to say it when the rainy season starts in Eretz Yisroel, which is Sukkos time.

But we don’t start ASKING for rain right away — first we want the Yidden to have time to get home from the Beis Hamikdash. That’s why in Eretz Yisroel, we start asking for rain, with Vesein Tal Umatar, on Zayin Cheshvan, which is enough time for the farthest person to get home.

But we only ask for rain when we need it! In different places, that is at different times.

In Bavel, they didn’t need rain until later, so they didn’t start asking for it until two months after the Tishrei season (Tekufas Tishrei) started. Nowadays, the halacha is that everyone outside of Eretz Yisroel starts asking for rain at the time they did in Bavel.

The seasons, or Tekufos, are based on the solar cycle, which is 365 days and 6 hours long. Tekufas Tishrei usually starts on October 4 on the English calendar, which is also based on the solar cycle. That’s why we start saying Vesein Tal Umatar on December 4th. (This year, it is on December 5th; see Chabad.org/2060070 to understand why.)

The mitzvah of davening is to ask for the things we need, so it is very important not to miss the things the Chachomim told us we need to ask for! Rain especially is very important, because all of our food grows only because of rain.

If the time we need to ask for rain starts, and we didn’t ask, we missed the point of davening, and we need to daven Shmoneh Esrei again!



Milchigs and Fleishigs On the Same Table

Let’s say it’s Shabbos morning. If your brother is eating a leftover piece of deli roll, and you’re having cereal and milk, you need to put something called a “Heker” on the table. The heker will remind you not to sneak a taste of your brother’s food!

One heker that Shulchan Aruch teaches us is for one person to eat on a tablecloth, and the other person not to. Another heker can be putting something between you that you usually don’t put on the table, like maybe your Chitas!

See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch siman Mem-Vov

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



What Are YOU Doing?

Right before the beginning of Hayom Yom, the Rebbe put in a part of a letter from the Frierdiker Rebbe.

This letter was written at a time when many of the Yidden were suffering terribly in Golus. The Frierdiker Rebbe writes:

In this time of “Haras Olam,” the world is shaking! It is shaking because of the Chevlei Moshiach, the pain that comes right before Moshiach comes. Hashem set on fire the walls of Golus!

...Now it is the achrayus of every Jew, man and woman, old and young, to ask themselves this question:

What have I already done, and what am I doing now, to make the Chevlei Moshiach easier? What am I doing to be zocheh to the Geulah Sheleimah through Moshiach Tzidkeinu?

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