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Parshas Vayishlach - Rishon with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Yaakov Avinu prepares to meet Eisav again. He sends messengers to speak to Eisav. But Eisav was still angry, so Yaakov needs to get ready to deal with him.

Now that Yaakov made peace and finished dealing with Lavan, he had to think about dealing with Eisav! He hoped that if he sent a nice message Eisav won’t be angry at him.

Yaakov decided to send messengers to speak to Eisav. He sent malochim that looked like people, so Eisav couldn’t hurt them. Yaakov told the malochim to tell Eisav: “Don’t be upset about the bracha that I will rule over you! For that bracha to come true, I have to first be a big leader — and instead, I’ve just been staying with Lavan for the past 20 years! I couldn’t even come home for all this time because I was busy working for Lavan! Still, I’ve kept all of the mitzvos and didn’t become a rasha like him.

“Remember how our father gave me a bracha that my land will grow wonderful fruit? I don’t have ANY land! All I have are animals and servants. So it looks like the bracha won’t come true while we are alive at all. So I’m sending you this message to say, let’s live in peace!”

But when the malochim came back from giving the message, they said that Eisav didn’t look like a brother who was ready to forgive. He was still a very angry and dangerous Eisav! When he heard that Yaakov was coming, Eisav took 400 soldiers and was coming to attack him.

Yaakov was afraid that Hashem might let Eisav kill him, and he was also upset that he might have to kill other people to save himself. So he got ready in three ways:

1) He got ready for a war. He split up into two parts: One part with all of the animals and servants, and one part with just his family. This way, even if Eisav captures his possessions, his family will stay safe.

2) Then Yaakov davened. He said to Hashem, “You promised to protect me, and told me to go back to Eretz Yisroel.

“But Hashem,” Yaakov said, “I am afraid that I might have done an aveira, and now I don’t deserve for you to keep Your promise! You already gave me so many brachos, I don’t deserve any more! I came to Charan with nothing, but now I have a big family and lots of wealth!

“So instead of in MY zechus, please keep Your promise to protect me and my family in the zechus of my fathers! Save me from Eisav, who wants to kill us, and keep Your promise that I will become a great nation.”

We will IY”H see the third way he prepared in tomorrow’s Chumash.



55- 59

Today’s kapitelach of Tehillim are Nun-Hey through Nun-Tes.

There are many ways to split up the Tehillim. It is split up into five seforim, like the five Chumashim. It is also divided up into seven parts, for each day of the week. When we say Chitas every day, we say it the way it is split up for each day of the month.

In times of trouble, the Rebbeim would say MORE Tehillim than usual. They would also say the Tehillim the way it is split up for the days of the week.

The Alter Rebbe and the Friediker Rebbe were both freed from jail on a Tuesday. Because they were in jail, they were saying the Tehillim for Tuesday the way it is split up for the week. In that section, there is Kapitel Nun-Hey, that has Padah Beshalom Nafshi (Hashem set my neshama free in peace). At the time they were let out of jail, they were saying this posuk!

The Mitteler Rebbe, whose Chag Hageulah is today, ALSO said this posuk when he was coming out of jail, even though he wasn’t set free on Tuesday. His Geulah was on Yud Kislev, and the first kapitel for Yom Yud (today) has the words Padah Beshalom Nafshi!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Daled

The part of Tanya we are learning now is called Kuntres Acharon. Did you know that there is a Kuntres Acharon in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch too? At first that Kuntres Acharon in Shulchan Aruch was put at the end, like in Tanya, but later it was included with the halachos.

In the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, he writes halachos with reasons so we can understand them. The reason for the Kuntres Acharon in Shulchan Aruch is to bring proofs from the Gemara for why the Alter Rebbe paskens the halachos the way he does.

In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe also “paskens” on how to serve Hashem, not just with our body, but with our neshama. The Kuntres Acharon in Tanya is there for the same reason as the one in Shulchan Aruch: To bring proofs from the Zohar and the writings of the Arizal for the things that are written in Tanya.

One of the things that the Alter Rebbe taught us in the first chelek of Tanya is about doing mitzvos with kavanah. Even though it is important to have the kavana, the FIRST thing we need to make sure of is that we are actually DOING the mitzvah! Having kavanah without doing the mitzvah is not enough.

That’s because the reason for the neshama coming into the world is to make a difference in this Gashmius’dike world. The neshama can make a difference by doing mitzvos using Gashmius, or learning the halachos of the Gashmius’dike mitzvos.

Here, the Alter Rebbe is explaining more about this, according to Kabbalah.



Yud Kislev

Today is a very special Chassidishe Yom Tov! It is the Chag Hageulah of the Mitteler Rebbe!

On Chol Hamoed Sukkos in the year Tof-Kuf-Pey-Zayin, the Rebbe and the Chassidim found out that someone told not good things about the Mitteler Rebbe to the government. A few days after Simchas Torah, (the day after Shabbos Bereishis, Sunday 28 Tishrei) the police came to Lubavitch to take the Rebbe to jail.

On the way, they stopped in Dobromysl and Lyozna, where the Mitteler Rebbe said maamorim! Then they took the Mitteler Rebbe to Vitebsk, where they kept him in jail. He stayed in jail until Sunday, Parshas VayishlachYud Kislev (today)!



Shiur #125 - Mitzvas Asei #130, #195, Lo Saasei #232

Today in Sefer Hamitzvos, we have three mitzvos about Tzedakah!

1) (Mitzvas Asei #130) On the 3rd and 6th years from Shemitah, we give Maaser Animaaser to poor people, instead of Maaser Sheini, which is brought during the other years and eaten in Yerushalayim.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Re’eh: מִקְצֵה שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים תּוֹצִיא אֶת כָּל מַעְשַׂר תְּבוּאָתְךָ וגו׳

2) (Mitzvas Asei #195) It is a mitzvah to give tzedakah to poor people. It is our job to take care of them and make sure they have what they need. Even a poor person has a mitzvah to give at least a little bit of tzedakah to others!

We learn this mitzvah from many pesukim in the Torah. One of them is also in Parshas Re’eh: פָתֹחַ תִּפְתַּח אֶת יָדְךָ

3) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #232) We are not allowed to ignore poor people and not help them when we really can.

We also learn this mitzvah in Parshas Re’eh: לֹא תְאַמֵּץ אֶת לְבָבְךָ וְלֹא תִקְפֹּץ אֶת יָדְךָ מֵאָחִיךָ הָאֶבְיוֹן



Hilchos Matnos Aniyim

In today’s Rambam, we learn the last three Perakim of Matnos Aniyim. Now we are learning about Tzedakah!

Perek Ches: We learn that saying that we will give Tzedakah is like making a neder, and we need to keep it. We also learn about a Goy giving Tzedakah, and finally about the great mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim, helping a Yid come out of jail. The Rambam says that there is no bigger mitzvah than this one!

Perek Tes: We learn that every city should have a Gabbai who is in charge of giving out Tzedakah to people who need. Everyone in the city should give money to this Gabbai for him to give out to the poor.

Perek Yud: This is a very important perek to know the details of! It is a good idea to learn it inside and pay attention to the details.

The Rambam tells us how special it is to give, and that even when we can’t give, we should try to make the poor person feel good. Also, helping other people to give Tzedakah is even BETTER than giving yourself!

The Rambam also teaches us about:
- 8 levels of Tzedakah
- giving Tzedakah before davening
- not taking Tzedakah unless someone really needs to.

We need to trust in Hashem Who will make sure we have everything we need!



Hilchos Mechirah - Perek Yud-Zayin

Perek Yud-Zayin explains when the Torah says a sale wasn’t fair, and we can give back what we bought and get our money back. When we sell something, we need to make sure to tell the truth about what it is and how good it is!



Chassidishe Yom Tov

After the histalkus of the Alter Rebbe, the Mitteler Rebbe was in Krementchug. After he became Rebbe, he decided to move to Lubavitch. It is a minhag that Chassidim give the Rebbe money, called maamad. Before the move to Lubavitch, the Chassidim gave an extra-large amount of maamad.

Instead of using it for himself, when he got to Lubavitch, the Mitteler Rebbe decided to give this money to tzedakah. He set up a group of three people to give it out to the poor. He wrote a letter to a relative to tell him how he was able to give so much money (3,000 or 4,000 rubles) to Yidden in Eretz Yisroel!

Many years later, this man’s son found the letter. He was very upset at the Mitteler Rebbe because he felt insulted about something that happened. He very carefully changed the numbers in the letter to say 103,000 or 104,000 rubles! Then he showed the letter to the government. He explained to them that the Mitteler Rebbe must be planning to rebel against the government! That must be why he collected so much money. He was sending money to the Turkish government (who ruled Eretz Yisroel then). He also said that the size of the Mitteler Rebbe’s shul was like the size of the Beis Hamikdash, so it must be that he wanted to be king!

Even when they took him to jail, they treated the Mitteler Rebbe with kavod. They let him say maamorim on his way to jail. A few weeks later, they told the Mitteler Rebbe that they decided he didn’t do anything wrong, and were letting him go free — on Yud Kislev.

Similar to what we know about Yud-Tes Kislev, when the Mitteler Rebbe was in jail, it was because there was a kitrug in Shomayim against the Mitteler Rebbe’s Chassidus. When he was freed from jail, it was because in Shomayim too, it was decided that the Mitteler Rebbe’s Chassidus should be spread! That is why the day of Yud Kislev is the Mitteler Rebbe’s Chag Hageulah.

The Mitteler Rebbe lived one more year after that, and was nistalek the next year on Tes Kislev, when he was 54.

At first, the Chag Hageulah was not celebrated so much because the histalkus of the Mitteler Rebbe happened the next year. But now, we celebrate it as a big Yom Tov!


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Boruch Sheim

The words of Shema come from the Torah. But in the Torah, it says, “Shema Yisroel… Hashem Echod. Ve’ahavta Eis Hashem Elokecha.” Why do we add “Baruch Sheim” after the first line of Shema?

Before Yaakov Avinu was nistalek, he wanted to tell his children when Moshiach would come. But the Shechinah left him, because Hashem didn’t want him to tell them. Yaakov Avinu was worried that maybe the Shechinah left because some of his children didn’t believe in Hashem properly!

All of his children answered, “Shema Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echod!” “Listen our father Yisroel, we all believe that Hashem is our Aibershter, and Hashem is only One!”

Yaakov Avinu was so happy to hear this! He praised Hashem, saying, “Boruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso Le’olam Va’ed!” “May Hashem’s holy Name be blessed forever!”

Because of this, it became a minhag for Yidden to add the praise of Yaakov Avinu after we say Shema.



Boruch Sheim

It is a minhag to add the words “Baruch Sheim” after the first line of Shema, like we learned from Yaakov Avinu.

But why do we say this line quietly?

In Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe explains that we want to show that it is different than the other parts of Shema. The other parts come directly from the Torah, and we don’t want it to look like Baruch Sheim is also a posuk in Torah. But we can’t skip Baruch Sheim, since it is the words of one of our Avos!

So we say Baruch Sheim quietly, to show that it is different, but still very important!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 61 se’if 13

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



Bring Moshiach Now!

A chossid once wrote to the Rebbe that he had made a hachlata to spread more Chassidus at a certain time.

In the answer to his letter, the Rebbe wrote that he was very happy about this hachlata. There was only one problem: Why was the chossid pushing off his hachlata to spread the Chassidus later?

Moshiach is SO close, and the only thing that Moshiach is waiting for is for us to finish “Lichsheyafutzu Maayanosecha Chutza,” to finish spreading Chassidus.

By spreading Chassidus sooner, we can bring the Geulah faster. And every minute we bring Moshiach faster is a very big deal! One minute of Golus is one minute of terrible pain for Yidden. And one extra minute of Geulah is a minute of more joy and pleasure than anyone can imagine!

See Likutei Sichos chelek 23 p. 450

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