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Parshas Vayechi - Shlishi with Rashi

In today’s Chumash we learn the brachos that Yaakov gives to Efrayim and Menasheh.

Yaakov is giving brachos to Yosef and his sons before he passes away. He switched his hands, putting the right hand on Efrayim (who was younger) during the first part of the bracha.

Yosef saw that Yaakov had put his right hand on Efrayim, the younger one! He didn’t think that was the right thing to do, so he lifted his father’s right hand to put it on Menasheh’s head, explaining that Menasheh was the oldest.

Yaakov said, “I know that Menasheh is the oldest! I even know that greatness will come from him, but Efrayim will be even GREATER!”

Rashi tells us that Yaakov was speaking with Ruach Hakodesh about Gideon and Yehoshua. Gideon, from Shevet Menasheh, would later save the Yidden in a war. But Yehoshua, from the family of Efrayim, would help the Yidden take over Eretz Yisroel, teach them Torah, and the whole world would know about him when the sun will stop in Givon! That’s why Yaakov bentched Efrayim with his right hand, because he would be greater.

Yaakov gave both of them brachos, saying that the Yidden will bentch their children to be like Efrayim and Menasheh, “Yesimcha Elokim K’Efrayim Veche’Menasheh.” He said Efrayim first, showing that in the order of the Shevatim, Efrayim comes before Menasheh. Efrayim would travel first in the Midbar, and would bring korbanos first when the Mishkan would start to be used.

Why do parents bentch children to be like Efrayim and Menashe? Because if you look through the Torah, you will see that from the beginning of Creation, all of the brothers that are mentioned have some kind of machlokes: Kayin and Hevel, Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaakov and Eisav, Yosef and the Shevatim. But Efrayim and Menasheh were the first to love each other without any machlokes, even though Efrayim was put before Menasheh! And the greatest nachas for parents is to see their children living happily together.

Yaakov then told Yosef, “I am going to pass away, but Hashem will be with you and bring you back to Eretz Yisroel. Since you are going to work hard to make sure I am buried in Me’aras Hamachpeilah, I am giving you a special place to be buried, in Shechem, which I bought from Chamor the Emori. I am also giving you the bechora, to have a double portion of shevatim from your children, just like I took the bechora from Eisav with my chochmah and tefillos.”



55- 59

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Nun-Hey to Nun-Tes.

In Kapitel Nun-Hey, Dovid Hamelech says “Erev VaVoker VeTzohorayim Osicha,” that he davens to Hashem in the night, the morning, and the afternoon.

Why does the posuk say Maariv before Shacharis and Mincha? Dovid Hamelech is saying that the Maariv of the night before is the Tefillah which gives Chayus for the whole next day. So Maariv isn’t just finishing off the day before, it also gives chayus and starts off the next day!

When you say Shema at night, the same thing happens! It finishes off the day, but it also gives you chayus and koach for whatever will happen tomorrow!



Likutei Amarim Perek Zayin

What happens if a person gets married to a goy Chas Veshalom? This is a very sad thing. Hashem put every Yid in this world as a half of a neshama. Only by getting married do you become a whole Yiddishe neshama.

If a person Chas Veshalom decides to get “married” to a person who is not Jewish, they will only have a half of a neshama for their whole life!

The Torah tells us how happy a person is when they become a whole neshama: They get brachos, and happiness, and goodness. But if a person decides to only have a half neshama, that is very very sad!

One of the things we learn in today’s Tanya is that if a person gets “married” to someone who is not Jewish, that is an aveira and comes from Shalosh Kelipos Hatmeios.



Yud Teves

Today is a fast day. We say Selichos in Davening, and the long Avinu Malkeinu in Shacharis and Mincha.

When we daven Mincha on a fast day, we read the Torah. The haftorah for a fast day is from Yeshayahu. There is a posuk there that says, “Yaazov Rasha Darko, Ve’ish Avon Machshevosav.” This means, “A rasha should leave his path, and a person should leave the aveiros in his mind.”

The Tzemach Tzedek once explained this posuk to a chossid in Yechidus:

The word “avon”, which means an aveira, can be changed (by switching the nekudos) to say “oin,” which means strong. The Tzemach Tzedek said to the chossid, “If a person has very strong opinions, and isn’t ready to listen to other people, that is also something they need to do teshuva for. Because when people don’t listen to each other, it brings to the opposite of Ahavas Yisroel.”

So just like a rasha needs to stop what he is doing, a person needs to leave the “oin” (stubbornness) of what he thinks — not to always say “I think, I say so, I know.” Because if a person only thinks about their own opinions, it brings machlokes between people.



Shiur #184 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #144, #108

Today we learn two mitzvos about firstborn animals (bechor):

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #144) The bechor has to be brought as a Korban, and the meat belongs to the Kohen. This mitzvah has two parts: Someone who is not a kohen can’t eat the bechor. The second part of the mitzvah is that if the bechor was brought as a korban, the kohen is not allowed to eat it outside of Yerushalayim. (This mitzvah is only kept when the bechor doesn’t have a mum, and it can be brought as a korban.)

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Reeh: לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְכוּ׳ וּבְכֹרֹת בְּקָרְךָ

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #108) We are not allowed to be podeh (redeem) a bechor for money or for another animal. The bechor itself needs to be given to the kohen and brought as a korban. In the time of the Beis Hamikdash we are allowed to sell it if it has a mum, and nowadays we can sell it even without a mum.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Korach: אַךְ בְּכוֹר שׁוֹר אוֹ בְכוֹר כֶּשֶׂב אוֹ בְכוֹר עֵז לֹא תִפְדֶּה קֹדֶשׁ הֵם



Hilchos Bechoros

In today’s Rambam, we learn about the mitzvah of bechor!

Perek Beis: We learn about a bechor that has a mum. One of the things we learn about is what kinds of mum make a Bechor not good for a korban. If the bechor has one of these kinds of mum, the kohen is allowed to eat it also outside of Yerushalayim.

Perek Gimmel: Now we learn about how the bechor is checked for a mum that would make it not good for a korban. A kohen can’t decide for his OWN bechor! We also learn about using the wool that fell off of the bechor.

Perek Daled: The Rambam teaches us when an animal is patur from being a bechor, like if it belongs to a Yid and a goy together, and when it’s a sofek — where we are not sure it is a bechor.



Hilchos Avodas Yom HaKipurim - Perek Alef

This perek teaches us how the Kohen Gadol gets ready for Yom Kippur.

icon of clock


Asara BeTeves

On Asara B’Teves, in the time of the first Beis Hamikdash, Nevuchadnetzar’s armies camped around Yerushalayim, not letting anyone out or in — even to bring food. Less than three years later, on Tes Tamuz*, the army of Bavel broke into Yerushalayim, and on Tisha B’Av the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. That’s why adults fast today.

(*In the time of the second Beis Hamikdosh, the walls were broken on Shiva Asar B’Tamuz, so the fast was pushed off until then.)

The Gemara says that the reward that a person gets on a fast day is for the tzedakah that he gives, even more than the reward that we get for fasting! It is important to remember to give extra tzedakah, which is the minhag on a fast day.

We should also take some time during the fast to think about the reason for these fasts in general, and Asara B’Teves specifically, and make good hachlatos in our heart to be better in the future, so the reason for the fast will go away!

The Rebbe explains that one of the hidden messages of Asara B’Teves is Achdus. The Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because Yidden didn’t have Ahavas Yisroel, so Hashem gave Nevuchadnetzar the idea to make a siege around Yerushalayim — forcing everyone to be together. This was a message to the Yidden, that they should learn to live together nicely, with Ahavas Yisroel!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the message then, but the potential was there to do teshuva and make a change.

We know that Teshuvah can change things, even in very dangerous times! In fact, there was a similar situation in the times of Chizkiyahu, which was much scarier! The army of Sancheriv, which was MUCH stronger than Nevuchadnetzar’s, and could have broken into the city right away, surrounded Yerushalayim.

But because of the tefillah of Chizkiyahu, the righteous king, Hashem made a big neis and took the Yidden out of danger! The Gemara even says that Hashem wanted to bring the Geulah sheleimah right then.

This shows us that even one Yid has the koach to change the situation of Golus, especially on a day like today, and bring the Geulah for all the Yidden!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof, p. 518; Likutei Sichos chelek Chof-Hey, p. 267

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Asking for Moshiach on a Fast Day

Like we saw in today’s Hayom Yom, we add extra parts to davening on a fast day. We learned that we add Selichos and Avinu Malkeinu to our davening.

We also have Kriyas HaTorah on a fast day. We leinVayechal,” about the teshuvah for the Cheit Ha’eigel and the second Luchos. We lein a haftorah from Yeshaya, who was the Navi that spoke the most about the Geulah.

In Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis, the chazan says the paragraph of Aneinu, and in Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha, EVERYONE says Aneinu. We ask Hashem that on this special day of the taanis, Hashem should answer us (“Aneinu”) and fulfill our requests — especially to bring the Geulah!

Of course, we ask for the Geulah EVERY day. But on a fast day, which is a special time, we ask Hashem for the Geulah even more!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Chof p. 362, ha’ara 22



Fast Days

On a fast day that starts in the morning, you are allowed to eat until Alos Hashachar, when the fast begins. But if you go to sleep, you need to have in mind that you want to still be able to eat if you wake up early. Otherwise, it’s like the fast started when you went to sleep.

(If you usually drink something when you wake up, you are allowed to drink before Alos Hashachar even if you didn’t have it in mind.)

Children who understand what it means to be sad about Yerushalayim should be given only simple foods to eat, and not any treats, so that they also feel uncomfortable because of the fast.

On fast days, it is a minhag to give tzedakah before Mincha. Some people give the amount it would have cost them to eat that day. This way, even the food you DIDN’T eat becomes elevated to kedusha, through the money you gave to tzedakah!

See Halachos Uminhagei Chabad p. 126, 129

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



Yes, Moshiach CAN Come!

We shouldn’t worry that Moshiach can’t come since Yidden still have so many aveiros.

Hashem loves us the way we are! Hashem will first take us out of Golus, and then take away our aveiros.

(The Metzudas Dovid explains that we see this in the posukVehu Yifdeh Es Yisroel Mikol Avonosav,” which we say in Selichos today. The aveiros will not prevent the Geulah — Hashem will also redeem us from our aveiros!)

So Moshiach can come right now, and Hashem will take us out of Golus to the Geulah just the way we are!

See Sefer Hasichos 5751, vol. 1, p. 238

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