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Sheini with Rashi

In today’s Chumash, Yaakov finishes preparing to meet Eisav, by sending him a present. He crosses the river Yabok, but forgets some jars on the other side. When he goes back to get them, he fights with Eisav’s malach and gets hurt. The malach tells Yaakov that he will get another name — Yisrael!

Yaakov sends a present to Eisav: We learned in yesterday’s Chumash that Yaakov had three ways to get ready for meeting Eisav: He would get ready in case Eisav wanted to fight, he would daven to Hashem, and he would give Eisav a big present so he wouldn’t be angry.

Now, in the morning, Yaakov did the third thing, to send a present. After first giving maaser, he picked out what to give Eisav: First he picked out special jewels. Then he chose animals — boys and girls, so they would have new baby animals. (200 girl goats and 20 boy goats, 200 sheep and 20 rams, 30 girl camels with their babies and 30 boy camels, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 girl donkeys and 10 boy donkeys. That’s more than 600 animals!)

Yaakov told his servants to go one at a time, and each of them should bring a few of the presents, so that he will feel like he is just getting more and more presents! They should tell Eisav that they are a present for him, from Yaakov, and that Yaakov is on his way. Yaakov also sent malochim along. These malochim attacked Eisav’s servants (who were going to fight), but stopped when the servants said that they work for Yaakov’s brother.

Yaakov crosses the Yabok: That night, Yaakov took his wives, his 11 sons, and all of the girls, and crossed the Yabok River. He hid Dina in a box so Eisav wouldn’t want to get married to her. (Yaakov was punished for this, because Dina was such a tzadeikes, if she had married Eisav she would have helped him do teshuva.)

Yaakov fights with a malach: Yaakov brought everyone across the river and then brought all of their things across. Then he went back to get some small things (pachim ketanim) that got left by mistake.

When he was all by himself on the other side of the Yabok, the malach that takes care of Eisav pretended he was a person and fought with Yaakov until the morning. The malach saw he couldn’t win, and touched Yaakov’s hip, and it moved out of its place.

Then the malach asked Yaakov to let him go so he could go sing to Hashem, which he was allowed to do once a day. But Yaakov said he wouldn’t let go right away. He wanted the malach to first give him a bracha that he really does deserve the brachos that Yitzchak gave him.

Yaakov will get a new name: The malach asked, “What is your name?” and Yaakov answered, “Yaakov.” The malach said, “Soon Hashem will give you another name. Your name won’t just be Yaakov, you will be called Yisrael, which means an important person, and also ‘fought with Hashem’ — because you fought with me, a malach of Hashem, and with Eisav and Lavan, and won what belongs to you. This new name shows that you deserve the brachos. When Hashem gives you this name, I will give you the bracha.”

Yaakov asked for the malach’s name, but the malach said that his name changes depending on what his shlichus is. Yaakov wanted to get the bracha from the malach right away, before he met Eisav, and didn’t want to wait until he gets his new name. So the malach blessed Yaakov right there, and then Yaakov let him go.



60 - 65

Today’s kapitelach are Samach through Samach-Hey.

In Chodesh Kislev, we are supposed to learn something from each of the Rebbeim. So every day, we are taking a posuk of Tehillim and explaining it according to one of the Rebbeim!

In today’s Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says how his neshama wants to be close to Hashem, “Tzoma Lecha Nafshi!” He says that it’s like a mashal of a person who is thirsty for water in a place where there is none.

The Rebbe explains that when a person is VERY thirsty and doesn’t have any water, when he finally gets the water it tastes so delicious to him, much better than any other water!

The same thing is when the neshama feels like it’s not close to Hashem, and it’s really “thirsty” to feel close.Then, when it DOES learn Torah and do mitzvos and feel close to Hashem, it feels even better than ever!

That’s why Dovid Hamelech says in the next posuk, “Kein Bakodesh Chazisicha” — “If only I would see You like this bakodesh,” when I feel holy and I don’t feel far away! When Moshiach comes, we will all be able to see Hashem — halevai we will feel just as good as when we feel Hashem after feeling “thirsty” in the time of Golus!



Kuntres Acharon

In Kuntres Acharon, the Alter Rebbe explains why he said certain things in Tanya, with a long pilpul. (We can see from here how exact everything in Tanya is, that the Alter Rebbe had a very long reason why he wrote something in a certain way!) In the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch there is also a Kuntres Acharon, where he explains why he said certain things in Shulchan Aruch with a long pilpul! (A pilpul is questions and answers and proofs, like in Gemara.)

Siman Daled of Kuntres Acharon is a long pilpul which includes an explanation of why doing a mitzvah or learning halachos of a mitzvah is greater than kavana and feeling close to Hashem.

The Alter Rebbe said that the halachos are special because they come from the Chochmah of Hashem. Today, the Alter Rebbe asks a question: Isn’t kavana and ruchniyus ALSO from Chochmah?

The answer is that yes, of course they are! But there are different levels of Chochmah, and different ways it is expressed.

The Alter Rebbe explains it with deep Chassidus that can be hard to understand without learning for a long time! For example, you need to know about the four Olamos, about the seven Sefiros, about the five levels of the Neshama, and how neshamos are different than malochim!

Here is one thing you will need to know for when you are ready to learn it: Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama are levels of the Neshama, but they are ALSO names for different levels in the Ruchniusdike Olamos.



Yud-Alef Kislev

In today’s Hayom Yom, the Rebbe shows us some corrections in the “Siddur Im Dach”.

“Siddur Im Dach” means “the siddur with Chassidus.” (Dach is Roshei Teivos for the words Divrei Elokim Chaim, the words of the living Aibershter, which refers to Torah in general and specifically to Chassidus.) Together with the words of davening, it has maamarim of the Alter Rebbe, which were written down by the Mitteler Rebbe. In many places, there is so much Chassidus that only a few words of davening fit on each page!

The siddur was published right after the Alter Rebbe’s histalkus, in the beginning of the Mitteler Rebbe’s nesius. The Siddur Im Dach was the first sefer of Chabad Chassidus published after the Tanya!



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #356

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos we learn (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #356) that if a husband and wife decide that they can’t be married anymore, they can change their minds unless the woman gets married to someone else in between. Once she gets married to another person, she can never get married to her first husband again.



Hilchos Girushin

In today’s Rambam we learn the halachos of a get with conditions.

We also learn more halachos about shlichus — if the husband made someone a shliach to bring the get. The shliach needs to do everything exactly the way he was told. Only if he follows his instructions is the shlichus a good shlichus.



Hilchos Bikurim - Perek Daled

Yesterday we learned the seven things that we need to do as part of bringing Bikurim. But there are times when someone DOESN’T need to do all seven of these things — for example, a woman doesn’t say the special paragraph (there are some words in it that only make sense for a man to say!).



Ahavas Yisroel

A bochur once came to the Rebbe in Yechidus and asked for an eitza to have Ahavas Yisroel. The Rebbe told him to learn the sichos of the Frierdiker Rebbe.

Here is part of one of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s sichos:

Chassidim used to say to each other, “In this piece of bread that Hashem gave me, there is a piece that belongs to you or another Yid. If I take it, it is stealing!”

There was a certain chossid that showed this by how he acted. This Chossid was a big Talmid Chochom — he knew the entire Gemara, with Rashi and Tosfos, by heart! His work was to do business in many faraway villages, and wherever he traveled, he was able to learn without having any seforim!

If his business went better than he expected and he made more money than usual, he would say that a letter from the Rebbe, asking for tzedakah, had come to his house! Or maybe there was a meshulach now in his town! This extra money must belong to them.

By these Chassidim, this is how they lived. Hashem gives something to me in order to help another Yid — and that is Ahavas Yisroel.

Sefer Hasichos Tof-Reish-Tzadik-Tes p. 338


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After we say the first line of Shema, we say the posuk of Baruch Sheim.

Chassidus explains that these two pesukim each tell us something very different!

In fact, the whole Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah is based on understanding what the Zohar says about these two pesukim! The Zohar says that the first line of Shema is called Yichudah Ila’ah, one of the ways we understand the Oneness of Hashem in the world. Baruch Sheim is called Yichudah Tata’ah, a different way of understanding the Oneness of Hashem in the world. In Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah, we learn what this means.




When we say Shema, we pause between each two words, so it sounds like:

Shema Yisroel — Listen Yisroel!

Hashem Elokeinu — Hashem is our Aibishter,

Hashem Echod — Hashem is One.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 61, se’if 14

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



Living in a Moshiach'dike Way

In the Torah Ohr this week, Parshas Vayishlach, the Alter Rebbe explains that when Yaakov sent malochim to tell Eisav that he was coming, he told him that “Im Lavan Garti” — “I lived with Lavan, and there, I kept all of the mitzvos and did everything I needed to do to get ready for the Geulah.”

All of the messages he sent to Eisav were telling him that Yaakov did his part, and now he wants to use Eisav’s kochos, so they will be ready for the Geulah too.

When the Malochim came back with the message that Eisav was coming with 400 men and wants to hurt him, he realized that Eisav wasn’t ready for Moshiach yet. That’s why Yaakov told him that he will have to wait for Moshiach until he is ready.

A lesson the Rebbe tells us we can learn from this is that even if we feel like the world around us isn’t acting in a Moshiach’dike way, it shouldn’t stop us from living ourselves that way! Parshas Vayishlach always comes close to Yud-Tes Kislev, because Chassidus is what helps us to live in a Moshiach’dike way, which will also bring Geulah to the whole world!

So how do we live in a Moshiach’dike way?

Yaakov said to Eisav, “Im Lavan Garti,” “I lived with Lavan.” Garti can mean two things: The simple meaning is “I lived (gar)” which means living in a temporary way. But this word also hints to something more. Garti is the same letters as Taryag, the 613 mitzvos!

Both explanations are connected: Only because Yaakov realized that the Gashmius he was dealing with at Lavan’s house was temporary, was he able to focus on what’s really important — keeping all of the mitzvos and using the Gashmius for Ruchnius. This is what he was telling Eisav, that this is how he prepared for the Geulah.

The same is true for each of us: The way to prepare for the Geulah is to realize that the Gashmius we have is “garti,” it’s temporary — it is there just so we can use it to keep all of the mitzvos (Taryag) the way Hashem wants. This way, we can make the Gashmius a keili for Ruchnius and be prepared for the Geulah!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef, Parshas Vayishlach

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