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Chamishi with Rashi

Yaakov is giving brachos to the Shevatim before he passes away. In today’s Chumash, Gad, Asher, Naftali, and Yosef get brachos.

Yaakov gives Gad his bracha. His Shevet will be very strong — they will go fight and win, and none of them will get hurt! (That’s exactly what happened when the Yidden came into Eretz Yisroel!)

Asher’s bracha is that the place he gets in Eretz Yisroel will grow a lot of olives, and the olive oil will be used to make food for kings!

Naftali gets a special bracha, that he will be like a deer. The fruit that grows in his part of Eretz Yisroel will grow as fast as a deer can run, and the soldiers from his Shevet will run to fight as quickly as a deer! The people of Naftoli will thank Hashem for their bracha.

Yaakov tells Yosef that he is very handsome. Since he made sure to block Esav from seeing his mother Rochel, he became a very important person in Mitzrayim — second to the king!

Yosef gets a bracha, that his family will have many children, like a grapevine is full of grapes. Each of his sons (Menashe and Efrayim) will grow to be a shevet as big as the other Shevatim, and they won’t get an Ayin Hara!

Yaakov reminds Yosef that his brothers weren’t nice to him, and neither was Potifera and his wife. But still, his dreams came true, because he trusted in Hashem. He became second to the king, and took care of the whole family in Mitzrayim.

Yaakov said to Yosef, “Since — with Hashem’s help — you didn’t listen to Potifera’s wife and do an aveira, Hashem will help you and make sure there is water for your fields, and that you give birth to healthy children.

“Hashem gave me (Yaakov) even more brachos than the other Avos! Avraham and Yitzchak got a bracha only for Eretz Yisroel, but like my mother wanted,  I got a bracha to spread out all over. These brachos should go to Yosef.”



66 - 68

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Samach-Vov, Samach-Zayin, and Samach-Ches.

In Kapitel Samach-Ches, Dovid Hamelech speaks about an amazing neis that would happen in the future.

Just two days ago, we had the fast of Asara B’Teves, remembering how Nevuchadnetzar and his army closed off Yerushalayim. But that wasn’t the only time Yerushalayim was closed off! The first time, Hashem made tremendous nisim! This shows us that if we are zoche, the siege of Yerushalayim, which we fasted for, does not have to be a sad thing — through our Teshuvah it can become a great Yom Tov.

Here’s what happened:

King Chizkiyahu was the 12th king from Malchei Yehudah. He was the son of the wicked King Achaz, but he didn’t copy his father at all! He had real Yiras Shomayim, and tried to make the Yidden into a holy nation again. He broke all of the Avodah Zara, fixed up the Beis Hamikdash, and asked all of the Yidden to come and celebrate there on the Yomim Tovim.

Once he took care of the Ruchnius of the Yidden, King Chizkiyahu also tried to take care of the Gashmius of the Yidden. He made the Yiddishe army strong, and they captured back many cities that had been taken away from Eretz Yisroel. They also scared the smaller nations that kept trying to bother the Yidden. But they still had to pay money to Ashur, the strongest country at that time, so that Ashur would leave the Yidden alone.

While the Yidden in Malchei Yehudah were doing much better now, the Yidden from Malchei Yisrael were taken away into Golus. The Yidden who lived under the Malchei Yehudah tried even harder to serve Hashem properly, realizing that this was the only thing that could keep them safe.

The Navi Yeshayahu told King Chizkiyahu that as long as the Yidden continued serving Hashem, nobody would be able to hurt them! He even told King Chizkiyahu that soon they would even be able to stop paying taxes to Ashur!

Even though that sounded impossible, King Chizkiyahu trusted in Hashem and got ready to fight with Ashur.

Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, was very strong. He captured many many countries, and mixed up all the people so it would be harder for them to join together and fight. Finally, he brought his army, with three generals, to fight against Yerushalayim. They surrounded Yerushalayim and closed it off, so that nobody could go out or come in.

One of the generals, Ravshakeh (who was a Yid that went away from Yiddishkeit) first yelled at the Yidden in Lashon Kodesh, trying to scare them so that they wouldn’t fight. He said that it didn’t make sense to trust in Hashem, because Sancheriv’s army was so strong and had captured all the other nations! He also did the opposite of blessing Hashem.

When King Chizkiyahu heard this, he tore his clothes to hear someone speaking so terribly about Hashem! He went to daven to Hashem in the Beis Hamikdash, asking Hashem to show Sancheriv that Hashem controls the world!

The Navi Yeshayahu told King Chizkiyahu not to worry. He wouldn’t even need to shoot one arrow at Sancheriv’s army! Hashem had given him a beautiful nevuah about winning over Ashur, and about the times of Moshiach!

Sure enough, that night a malach came and killed every single soldier in Sancheriv’s army.

When Sancheriv woke up in the morning and saw that he had no soldiers left, he turned around and went back to Ashur, leaving the Yidden alone.



Likutei Amarim Perek Tes

In short: We learn that the Nefesh Habehamis has its “home” in the left side of the heart, while Nefesh Elokis has its “home” in the brain and the right side of the heart. From there, they can influence the whole body.

The Alter Rebbe taught us that a person has two nefashos, a Nefesh Elokis, and a Nefesh Habehamis.

To do their job, they each have tools — 10 kochos of sechel (understanding) and midos (feeling). These kochos are all inside, and we can’t see them! We can see them in action only when they use their levushim — the koach to make us think, talk, and act (machshava, dibur, and maaseh) in their own way — the Nefesh Elokis in Torah and mitzvos, and the Nefesh Habehamis in Gashmius with no purpose to serve Hashem.

Today the Alter Rebbe teaches us how this works:

Even though these two nefashos are ruchnius (we can’t see them or touch them — even with an x-ray), they work inside of us! They are part of the blood, which brings ruchnius’dike AND gashmius’dike chayus to every single part of the body.

The Nefesh Habehamis has a “home” in the left side of a person’s heart, and the Nefesh Elokis has a “home” in a person’s mind and then in the right side of the heart.

(The heart is hollow. It has two main parts: One side is full of blood that already went around the body and now needs more oxygen (the Alter Rebbe calls this side “empty” of blood). From there it gets oxygen from our lungs and is pumped to the other side, which spreads that chayus’dike blood all over the body.

The Nefesh Habehamis is in the side that’s full of oxygen-full blood. The Nefesh Elokis is in the “empty” side.)

Here’s an example of how the Nefesh Habehamis works:

Let’s say someone took one of your things without asking first. You might start to feel angry! That feeling of anger is from the Nefesh Habehamis, who “lives” in the heart and comes up with different feelings. Now the Nefesh Habehamis can try to send that angry feeling all over your body: It can send it to your mind, so you can think about how angry you are or try to think of ways to get him back. Then you might decide to use that angry koach it sent to your face, and make a mean face. Or you might use the koach it sent to your hands, and try to hurt him chas veshalom!

The Nefesh Elokis, though, has a “home” in the mind. It uses the sechel tools of the mind — Chochma, Bina, and Daas — first. If the Nefesh Elokis comes up with an idea about how great Hashem is, we can use it in our mind, by thinking more about all of the things Hashem does. Then it can also send that chayus all over our body — even to our heart! That can make us have good feelings, like loving Hashem and loving another Yid, whose neshama is a part of Hashem!



Yud-Beis Teves

One year, the Rebbe Rashab was elected as gabbai of the Chevra Kadisha. There was a minhag in Lubavitch that the Simchas Torah after a gabbai was elected, they would make a parade and bring the new gabbai to shul under a chuppah. Here’s what happened that Simchas Torah:

The Rebbe Rashab said a maamar that starts with the words “Ein Hakadosh Baruch Hu Ba Betrunya.”

At the end of the Maamar, the Rebbe Rashab said: Even someone who is a big thinker and likes everything to make sense needs to do mitzvos not because it makes sense, but because Hashem says so. That’s because some parts of Torah might not make sense to him, and then he might end up just following whatever everyone else is doing.

In the time right before Moshiach comes, we need to do Torah and mitzvos because Hashem wants us to, and not only do things that make sense to us. Instead, we should do mitzvos with temimus and Emunah Peshuta!

Did you notice that the Hayom Yom of Hey Teves and Yud-Beis Teves — the first and last day of Didan Notzach (see Darkei Hachassidus of today) — both talk about doing mitzvos with temimus?



Mitzvas Lo Saasei #157

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos, we learn that it is asur to NOT do something we said we would.

We learn this from a posuk in Parshas Matos: לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ כְּכָל הַיֹּצֵא מִפִּיו יַעֲשֶׂה

So if a person said that all cookies are asur for him, or if he said he would give $50 to tzedakah, or buy a raffle ticket for the school — it’s an aveira to eat the cookies, or not give the tzedakah, or not buy the raffle ticket!

You can learn more about this mitzvah in Mesechta Nedarim, or in these perakim of Rambam!



Hilchos Nedarim

In today’s Rambam, we are learning more halachos about Nedarim (a kind of promise).

Perek Zayin: What happens if someone makes a neder not to get ANYTHING from someone? What is he not allowed to take from this person, and what are the times when he can?

Perek Ches: We learn that the halacha is based on what was happening and what the person was thinking when he made the Neder, and not just what he says!

Perek Tes: Depending on what words a person uses, the neder might mean different things. Like if a person would say that grapes are asur for him, would that also include grape juice and wine?



Hilchos Klei Hamikdash - Perek Beis

Now we learn about making the Ketores, and about the mitzvah that the Aron needs to be carried and not transported in a wagon.



5-12 Teves

Tof-Shin-Mem-Zayin (5747) was the year of the geulah of Hey Teves.

That year Chassidim celebrated with the Rebbe for a whole week, until today, Yud-Beis Teves.

Then the Rebbe said that the dancing for Hey Teves is over, and we need to get ready for Yud Shevat!

Every Chossid should get a mashpia, and for the month until Yud Shevat, they should talk to their mashpia every ten days to make sure they’re preparing properly for Yud Shevat.

So today we need to start getting ready for Yud Shevat! The best way to start is to make sure we have a mashpia to report to about the good things we are adding in our Torah learning and Ahavas Yisroel in honor of this special day!

See Sefer Hasichos 5747, vol. 1, p. 243


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Shema Yisroel

Shema Yisroel means “Listen, Yisroel.” This posuk comes from the Chumash.

In the Chumash, Moshe Rabbeinu is telling the Yidden to listen. “Listen Yidden! Hashem is our Aibershter, Hashem is one!”

But who are WE talking to? Who are WE telling to listen?

Chassidus teaches that we are speaking to our neshama, which is also called Yisroel. We tell it, “Shema, Yisroel!” “Neshama, you need to understand!” (Shema can also mean to understand.) “Hashem is our Aibershter and our chayus, and Hashem is One — there is nothing aside for Hashem!”

Sefer Halikutim Tzemach Tzedek os Kuf, p. 226



Netilas Yodayim

When we wash our hands before eating bread, it is very important to make sure that our entire hand is covered with water.

So besides for using a lot of water, we hold our hands pointing upwards a little bit. This helps make sure that the water can reach our fingertips, and between all of our fingers.

Seder Netilas Yodayim of the Alter Rebbe, se’if alef

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



What Will the World Be Like?

Nowadays when we do a mitzvah, we need to remember to do it, remember the halachos, overcome our Yetzer Hara, and ignore what the world says about it.

When Moshiach comes, it will be much easier, it will come naturally! Everything in the world will remind us to do the mitzvos right, there will be no Yetzer Hara, and the goyim will help us to serve Hashem!

Migolah L’Geulah p. 223

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