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Shvi'i with Rashi

Yosef hears that Benyamin named all of his children because of him, and he cries. He pretends to use a “magic” cup to have the brothers sit in the right order. After the meal, he has the cup hidden in Benyamin’s bag, and the brothers go on their way. Then Yosef sends someone to catch up with them and find the cup! The brothers are ready to do anything to make sure that Benyamin can go home with them.

Yosef asked Binyomin about his family: “I know your family has a few different mothers, do you have another brother from the same mother?”

Benyamin answered, “Yes, but I don’t know where he is.”

“Do you have any children?” Yosef asked.

“Yes, I have ten sons: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Na’aman, Eichi, Rosh, Mupim, Chupim, and Ard.” When Yosef asked what those names mean, Benyamin explained how each one of them was about his missing brother, Yosef. (For example, Chupim was because Yosef and Benyamin weren’t at each other’s chuppahs.)

Yosef was so sad when he heard that, he went out of the room and cried. When he came back, he had the servants serve the meal. (Yosef, his brothers, and the Mitzriyim eating with them all ate separately, so none of them would see what the other people are eating! The Egyptians couldn’t see Yosef eating an animal they worship, and Yosef didn’t want his brothers to see that he was eating food Egyptians don’t eat, and they might figure out that he’s Jewish.)

Yosef pretended that his cup was magic, and told each of his brothers where to sit, having them sit oldest to youngest, all of each mother’s children together. The Shevatim were amazed, because they didn’t know how he could know all of this!

After everyone got their food, Yosef said “Benyamin didn’t come here because he wanted to, so he deserves more food.” When Osnas saw that Yosef gave Benyamin more food, she sent him more food too, and then Menasheh and Efrayim did the same! So Benyamin had FIVE times as much as anyone else!

Even though the Shevatim (and Yosef too) didn’t drink wine since they sold Yosef, they all did this time and they got drunk. After the meal was over, Yosef sent his head servant to fill up his brothers’ bags with food, and to put their money on top. He also had this servant hide his “magic” cup in Benyamin’s bag.

In the morning, the Shevatim started to go back to Eretz Yisrael. They didn’t go very far, when Yosef said to his head servant, “Go run after them, and when you catch them, ask them why they did not nice things to me when I was so good to them to steal my “magic” cup!”

He ran after them, and said what Yosef asked. The brothers said, “Chas veshalom! You saw that we wanted to give you back the money that we found in our bags, that shows we are honest! How could we steal from his house?! Whoever took it should die, and the rest of us would be ready to be slaves if really one of us took it!”

The head servant said, “Really you’re right, but I’ll be nice — only the one I find it with will be a slave, the rest of you can go home.” He searched through everyone’s bags, oldest to youngest, and the cup was found in Benyamin’s bag.

The brothers all ripped their clothes from sadness, put their bags back onto their donkeys (they were strong enough to each do it themselves) and went back to Mitzrayim. They tried to think of how they could fight the Mitzriyim.

When Yehudah and his brothers came to Yosef’s house, he was there waiting for them, and they bowed down in front of him. 

Yosef said, “What did you try to do to me? You want to take away my koach by taking my cup? I am a very smart man, that’s why I’m second to the king — I can figure out who took my cup even without using magic!”

Yehudah said, “What can we say? We didn’t do it, but it looks like Hashem is punishing us for an aveira we did a long time ago (selling Yosef). So here we are, as slaves.” (Yehudah thought that maybe THIS is what Hashem told Avraham, that they will need to be slaves in a different land.)

But Yosef said, “I wouldn’t do such a thing! Only the one who had the cup in his sack will be my slave, the rest of you can go home.” When Yehudah heard that Yosef only wanted Benyamin as a slave, he understood that this wasn’t what Hashem told Avraham, and he was ready to do whatever he needed to do to make sure Yosef wouldn’t keep Benyamin.



145 - 150

Today we are finishing the entire Sefer Tehillim!

You might already know today’s whole Yom of Tehillim by heart! It’s Ashrei and the paragraphs that start with Hallelukah, which is the main part of Pesukei Dezimra in davening.



Likutei Amarim Perek Daled

In yesterday’s Tanya we learned that learning Torah and doing mitzvos with our Machshava , Dibur and Maaseh, the Levushim (“clothes”) of the neshama, are able to connect all 613 parts of the neshama to Hashem.

In today’s Tanya we learn about how learning Torah and doing mitzvos specifically connects the ten kochos of the neshama to Hashem.

The Levushim connect our ten Ruchnius kochos of Sechel and Midos (that we learned about in Perek Gimmel) with Hashem. Thinking Torah connects our Sechel to Hashem, and when we do mitzvos properly, it connects our Midos with Hashem!

That’s because to do mitzvos properly, we need to use our midos, Ahava and Yirah! They make us WANT to be close to Hashem by doing mitzvos, and make us afraid to become separate from Hashem, by doing the opposite.



Lamed Kislev

Today there is no Hayom Yom! That’s because the year Tof-Shin-Gimmel, when the Hayom Yom was written, only had 29 days in Kislev.

In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, every month could be either 29 (chaser) or 30 (malei) days — depending on when we saw the new moon! But without a Sanhedrin, we can’t pasken when the new month should start. So Hillel Hanasi, from the Sanhedrin (a later Hillel, not the Hillel from Hillel and Shammai), set up a calendar pattern that will work until Moshiach comes, when we will be able to set the day of Rosh Chodesh by looking for the new moon.

In Hillel’s calendar, the months follow a pattern: Nissan has 30 days, Iyar has 29. Sivan has 30 days, Tammuz has 29. But there is an exception — Cheshvan and Kislev can sometimes be 29, and sometimes 30! There is another pattern of 19 years that tells us when Cheshvan and Kislev are long or short, and which years are leap years. This year Cheshvan and Kislev both have 30 days.



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #187, #186, #189, #190, #191, #192

Today we learn more mitzvos about what we are not allowed to eat:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #187) We are not allowed to eat milk and meat together (basar b’chalav).

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #186) We are not allowed to cook milk and meat together (even if we aren’t going to eat it).

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #189) We are not allowed to eat bread (Lechem) from new grain of that year, until the day that the Korban Omer is brought on 16 Nissan. The new grain is called “Chodosh.”

4) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #190) There is a separate mitzvah not to eat roasted grain (Koli) from chodosh.

5) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #191) There is a separate mitzvah not to eat fresh grain (Karmel) from chodosh.

6) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #192) We are not allowed to eat fruit from a tree for the first three years it grows (Orlah).



Hilchos Maachalos Asuros

In today’s Rambam, perakim Yud-Daled, Tes-Vov, and Tes-Zayin, we learn about when a person is chayav to be punished by the Beis Din for eating asur food. Just like at the Seder we eat a certain amount of matzah in a certain amount of time, a person only gets punished if he eats a certain amount of food in a certain amount of time.

We also learn about when a food is botul and is considered as if it’s not there. Let’s say you have a big pot of chicken soup cooking on the stove, when your baby brother comes into the kitchen. He takes his bottle of milk and throws it on the floor. It opens, and the milk splashes all over the kitchen! Is it still okay to eat the chicken soup, since some milk splashed inside? The answer is yes, because it is botul. There is SO MUCH chicken soup, and SO LITTLE milk that it doesn’t make the food non-kosher.

There are many halachos about bittul. Some kinds of food can NEVER become botul, and sometimes you need as much as 200 times more of the kosher food than the non-kosher food!



Hilchos Shemitah VeYovel - Perek Yud-Alef

In this perek, we learn about fields in Eretz Yisroel: Even when we sell them, they go back to the person who sold them during Yovel. This is called Sedei Achuzah.



Making Days Good

The Rebbe started something very special: “Kolel Zekeinim,” and “Chochmas Noshim,” where people could learn Torah and have shiurim at an older age. They would come to the Rebbe every so often and hear a sicha just for them!

The Rebbe started these special programs because people send their parents to nursing homes and only visit them once in a while. They don’t realize how special older people are, and how when they get older, they know so much more!

One Chanukah, the Rebbe gave a sicha to the older Yidden in Kolel Zekeinim and Chochmas Noshim. He spoke about when people meet each other. When they wish each other, “Good morning!” or “Have a good day!” they are making each other’s days into GOOD days!

That’s even more true about Chanukah, which is a already a Yom Tov, a good day! So when we get together, we need to make sure to say nice things to each other and make each day of Chanukah into a VERY good day!


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Ve'al Hanisim

What is the neis of Chanukah?

There are actually TWO main nissim: That the oil in the menorah lasted for eight days, and that the Yidden won the war against the Greeks!

The main neis that the Chachomim set up the Yom Tov for is the neis of the oil. That’s why the main mitzvah of Chanukah is lighting the menorah.

But we also thank Hashem for the other neis, that the Yidden won the war! We do this when we say Ve’al Hanisim, which thanks Hashem for making the small Yiddishe army win against the big Greek army.



Shabbos Chanukah

Chanukah is a special time for giving tzedakah. Even on Shabbos there are ways we can add in tzedakah! We can have Yidden eat at our homes. In a way, that is even better tzedakah! Because then they don’t need to get money and then buy and make the food, but they have it right away! We can also learn Torah with others and give good advice to help someone.

Here is the order of lighting the Menorah on Motzei Shabbos at home:

1) We make or hear Havdalah.

3) We light the menorah.

4) We say Veyitein Lecha, AFTER lighting.

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



Our Chanukah Mission

At a rally for children on Chanukah, the Rebbe told the children about our special Chanukah mission!

Our big mission is getting ready for the Geulah, and the third Beis Hamikdash. One of the ways we do this is to make sure our own homes and rooms are a Beis Chabad, a little Beis Hamikdash! So every house, and every person’s room should be a place of Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chasadim. We should have a siddur, a Chumash, a pushka, and whatever else we need to use that room to do mitzvos!

Every community needs a Beis Chabad too, and it’s the job of everyone in the community to help make sure that there is one!

So here’s our special mission for Chanukah:

Every child needs to go to their parents and ask them, with Devarim Hayotzim Min Halev (sincerely), for Chanukah gelt for their Cheder Tzivos Hashem! We should use this Chanukah gelt to buy a siddur, a Chitas, a pushka, negel vasser, or whatever else we need to make our room a little Beis Hamikdash.

Of course, when children ask their parents for such an important thing, the parents will also want to do it! And through the children, the rest of the house will also become a Beis Chabad the way it should be!

From a sicha on the 5th night of Chanukah, 5747

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