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Parshas Vayishlach - Shlishi with Rashi

Yaakov was hurt fighting with the malach, so Hashem makes the sun rise early to help him feel better. Yaakov meets Eisav, who is so impressed with the kavod Yaakov shows him that he changes his mind and doesn’t fight! He hugs and kisses his brother instead.

Yaakov names the place where he fought with a malach: Yaakov called that place by the Yabok River by a name “Peniel”, because it means “Hashem’s face,” since he saw Hashem face to face (through a malach) and stayed alive!

Yaakov’s hip: Hashem made the sun come up early so it would help Yaakov’s hip feel better. (He didn’t have a refuah sheleima, though, for another year and a half.) That’s why we don’t eat a certain part of an animal, called the “Gid HaNosheh (sciatic nerve)” — because that’s the part of Yaakov’s hip that Eisav’s malach moved out of place.

Yaakov sees Eisav coming: Now Yaakov looked up and saw Eisav coming, with 400 people! So he went and set up his family in a way that if Eisav attacked them, the shevatim and Imahos would be in the back.

Yaakov went ahead in case Eisav would start to fight. He bowed down seven times as he came closer.

Eisav changes his mind about fighting: Eisav was so impressed that Yaakov honored him so much that he changed his mind about fighting with him, and ran over to him to hug him and kiss him.

Then Eisav looked up and saw Yaakov’s wives and children. “Who are these people?” he asked.

Yaakov answered, “These are the wives and children Hashem gave to me with His chesed!”



77 - 78

Today’s shiur Tehillim is kapitelach Ayin-Zayin and Ayin-Ches.

In today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Nachisa Katzon Amecha BeYad Moshe VeAharon,” “You led Your nation like sheep, in the hands of Moshe and Aharon.”

Why does Dovid Hamelech say that Hashem led the Yidden with Moshe AND Aharon? Wasn’t MOSHE RABBEINU the Rebbe of the Yidden then? Why does Hashem say that Moshe AND Aharon were the leaders?

The Tzemach Tzedek explains this:

Hashem gave Yidden the Torah. He wants Yidden to live exactly like the Torah tells us. But Yidden aren’t born automatically living that way! Just like we need our parents to help us grow to be good Yidden, the Yidden also needed help when they left Mitzrayim. Yidden were just “born” from a hard Golus and became Hashem’s nation. All of the sudden, Hashem gave them a Torah that had so many instructions! How could they be ready to do it all right away?

But Hashem didn’t expect them to do it all right away! Hashem gave them a leader with one Neshama that was split into two people, and both of them worked together to help the Yidden.

Moshe Rabbeinu had the shlichus to teach Yidden the proper way to live, whether they were ready for it or not. He told them the way things need to really be! Aharon’s shlichus was the other half of the job — to help Yidden be the way Hashem wants. He needed to take each Yid by the hand and help them become closer to the Torah. He showed each one what they were ready to start doing now, and what they should get ready to start later. He helped each individual Yid to become the best he could.

In later times, these two halves of neshama came together in one Yiddishe leader. There is a posuk in Tehillim that says that this started in the times of Shmuel Hanavi, and the Rebbe teaches that with the Chabad Rebbeim it was the same way. They teach — in their maamorim and sichos and by showing us an example — the truth of how Hashem wants us to live, and then — through Yechidus and Igros and by sending Shluchim — helps each person grow to be the best Yid he can be!



Kuntres Acharon Siman Vov

Yesterday we learned how the Torah is so special, that a tiny detail of a mitzvah can bring the chayus of Hashem into the world!

Dovid Hamelech went through a lot of tzaros in his life. He had many enemies who didn’t want him to be king. They chased him and tried to hurt him, and it was very hard for him!

But there was one thing he tried to think about to make himself happy. He shares it with us later in Tehillim! “Zemiros Hayu Li Chukecha Bevais Megurai” — “Your mitzvos were like songs for me!” Dovid Hamelech thought about what we just learned, how important every detail of Torah is, and thinking about it made him so happy!

Later in Dovid’s life, when things became better, and they were bringing the Aron back from the Pelishtim to the city of Dovid, Dovid Hamelech forgot a halacha, and because of that something not good happened.

Hashem told Dovid Hamelech, “Do you know why this happened? Because your praise of the Torah was only that the Torah is what makes the world get its chayus. That’s the chitzonius, just one part, and not the most important part either!

“Instead, you should have praised the Torah for being Hashem’s special treasure and “food” for the neshamos! That’s like pnimius of Torah, the main part. Because you were thinking only about the chitzonius of Torah, you were able to forget a part of Torah! Forgetting comes from the chitzonius of a person — we don’t forget things that are very important to us.”

This siman in Kuntres Acharon shows us how precious the Torah is! This gives us chayus to make sure to never miss an opportunity to learn Torah, and that we should learn Torah in a way that we will LIVE according to the Torah we learn!



Tes-Vov Kislev

The Rebbe shows us a correction in Torah Ohr for this week’s parsha.

The Alter Rebbe (whose Chag Hageulah is in a few days!) told the Mitteler Rebbe (whose Chag Hageulah was a few days ago!) something very important that the Baal Shem Tov taught:

We need to have Mesirus Nefesh, to be ready to do ANYTHING for Ahavas Yisroel for another Yid — even one that we never met or never saw!



Shiur #220 - Mitzvas Asei #97

Today’s mitzvah is the same as yesterday’s — (Mitzvas Asei #97) which is the mitzvah of Tumas Sheretz. There are eight kinds of Sheratzim which are written in the Torah, and they make other things tomei. This mitzvah is to follow all of the halachos about becoming tomei from a sheretz.



Hilchos Shaar Avos HaTumos

Perek Tes: This perek tells us about two gezeiros the Chachomim made. One of them is called Mayim She’uvim, that washing our body with non-Mikvah water makes a person tomei. The Chachomim made this gezeira because people used to go to the mikvah in caves, where the water was dirty. They would wash off the dirt using clean water afterwards. Some people started to think that the clean water WAS the mikvah, and didn’t go to the mikvah properly. So the Chachomim made a gezeira that non-mikvah water makes a person tomei.

Another gezeira that the Chachomim made was that the Torah scrolls that people learned from should make terumah tomei, and even someone who touches the scrolls should become tomei. This sounds like a funny kind of gezeira to make, but it was to keep the scrolls safe! People used to keep their terumah next to Torah scrolls, because they are both holy! But mice would come to nibble on the terumah, and they would rip the Sifrei Torah! The Chachomim made this gezeira so people would stop keeping their Terumah near the Torah scrolls, and the scrolls would stay safe and not get torn.

Perek Yud: The Rambam explains the tumah of a “Tvul Yom”(someone who went to the mikvah, but won’t be Tahor until night), and about different levels of Tumah for a person, keilim, and for food and drink.

Perek Yud-Alef: We learn about three levels of kedusha in foods. There is chulin, which is regular food without any kedusha, Terumah, and Kodesh, like korbanos. We learn about the different levels of tumah in these different kinds of food.



Hilchos Ishus - Perek Yud-Daled

In today’s Rambam, we learn many halachos about what a husband has to do for his wife. He has to pay for a doctor if chas veshalom she gets sick, and if she gets put into jail he has to pay money to take her out of jail.

icon of clock


Ahavas Yisroel

In today’s Hayom Yom, we learned about having Mesirus Nefesh for Ahavas Yisroel, for a Yid we never even saw!

In the letter of the Frierdiker Rebbe where this Hayom Yom is taken from, we can see more about this:

R’ Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev was well known for always being Melamed Zechus on another Yid. Whenever he saw a Yid doing something wrong, he would find a reason to show how the Yid is really so special, or that he didn’t know, or that he didn’t do something wrong at all!

For example, the Berdichever once saw the wagon drivers of Berdichev working on their wagons while they davened, since they were in such a big rush. He said, “Look, Hashem! The Yidden are so special! Even when they are working, they are davening to You!”

The Alter Rebbe also told the Mitteler Rebbe, before telling him what we learned in today’s Hayom Yom:

From this tremendous way of being Melamed Zechus, Hashem built a special palace (Heichal) in Shomayim! Every time a Yid is Melamed Zechus on another, and says a kapitel Tehillim because he feels bad for him, Hashem brings him into this Heichal of Zechus. Both the one who was Melamed Zechus and the Yid he was Melamed Zechus on are helped with everything they need!

See Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, chelek Hey, p. 88–89

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Kavana in Shema

Chassidus explains what we should think about when we say Shema. Here is one of these kavanos:

We first cover our eyes and say that Hashem is One, and there is nothing else. By covering our eyes, we are able to think about what is REALLY true, instead of what LOOKS like is true. The world might look like it is something separate from kedusha, but really the whole world IS the chayus of Hashem!

Since there is nothing except for Hashem, then the only thing that matters is what Hashem wants! When we know this, we will be ready to do WHATEVER Hashem wants us to, no matter what. We will be ready to have Mesiras Nefesh for Hashem!

By saying Shema, we will be able to ignore whatever the world tells us we “need” to do. We DON’T need to eat treif food — even if they say it is healthier. We DON’T need to work on Shabbos — even if they think we will lose money. We DON’T need to be sneaky — even if they say that we won’t have hatzlacha otherwise.

We know that what matters is what Hashem wants, and we are ready to do every one of His mitzvos!

See footnotes in Reshimos Kuf-Nun-Ches




When we daven Shemoneh Esrei, we are not supposed to even hold something except for a siddur, because it will distract us from having kavana.

There are also halachos like this with bentching!

When we bentch, we shouldn’t do any kind of work, even something easy that we don’t need to concentrate for, like clearing off our plates or sweeping off crumbs. Doing that makes it look like we don’t care so much about the bracha. Of course, we shouldn’t do something that we DO need to think about, even something holy, like listening to a shiur or a Dvar Torah! We need to be able to have proper kavana when we are bentching.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman 96, and siman 183 se’if yud-daled

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



Why We Need Chassidus Today

Chassidus is so special! It helps us understand the deepest secrets of Torah, and gives us a special chayus to serve Hashem in a much better way!

But if Chassidus is so special and important, how come the great Chachomim and Tzadikim from all times didn’t have it? Why didn’t Hashem give Chassidus to the Yidden a long time ago?

We learned that there are two reasons why Hashem gave Chassidus just in OUR time:

1) Because the Golus is so dark and so hard now, we need the extra koach of Chassidus to be able to handle it!

2) Because we are so close to the Geulah now, we are getting a little taste of it now, through the things we learn in Chassidus!

The Rebbe teaches us that both of these reasons are actually connected. It is our taste of Geulah that helps us handle the darkness of Golus.

What will happen in the time of Geulah?

In Golus, there are many things that cause pain and darkness. But deep inside, in their etzem, they are really the chayus of Hashem, just very very hidden.

In the time of the Geulah, the etzem of everything will be clear to see! We will see how the etzem of EVERYTHING is the chayus of Hashem, and all of the darkness and pain that make Golus so hard will turn into happiness and light!

And our Chassidus now is a taste of Geulah! That’s why Chassidus can give us the koach to handle the darkness of Golus, until the time of Geulah when we will be able to see how the darkness of Golus will be turned into light!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Tes-Vov, p. 288

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