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Parshas Vayishlach - 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 during Golus, 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 Siman Daled

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: Aren’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!



Shiur #201 - Mitzvas Asei #107

Today’s mitzvah is the same one as yesterday:

(Mitzvas Asei #107) When a neshama leaves a body, the body becomes Tomei. Someone who touches or is in the same house as the body gets some of this Tumah too, called Tumas Meis. Today’s mitzvah is to follow all of the halachos about this tumah!



Hilchos Tumas Meis

In today’s Rambam (Perakim Chof-Alef, Chof-Beis, and Chof-Gimmel) we learn more about how a keili can keep things inside of it from becoming tamei from Tumas Meis.

But only a keili that isn’t tomei itself can keep things inside of it from becoming tamei.

There is a difference, though, between all other keilim and a keili made out of clay:

Other keilim can be used as an Ohel, a tent, to keep things underneath from becoming tamei. But a keili made of clay can’t be used as an Ohel. If it is turned upside down, things underneath or inside of it DO become tamei. Only if it is actually SEALED closed can a clay keili keep things inside of it from becoming tomei.



Hilchos She'eilah U'Pikadon - Perek Hey

This perek teaches us what happens if something gets robbed from us while we are watching it for another person.

icon of clock


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, must have 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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Yud-Beis Pesukim - Review

We are going to review the Yud-Beis Pesukim, but in a different order!

The Rebbe taught the Yud-Beis Pesukim as part of Mivtza Chinuch. The Rebbe wanted us to know and understand them well, because they have lessons that are very important for our own Chinuch and to share with others! Every Yid, even young children, needs to know these messages. We should learn the pesukim by heart and understand what they mean so we can think about them wherever we are and whenever we can.

The pesukim come from the three main parts of Torah — Torah Shebichsav, Torah Shebaal Peh, and Chassidus. Today we are going to start reviewing the pesukim from the first part of Torah, Torah Shebichsav.

Very young children already knew the first two pesukim since the times of the Gemara! The Chachomim taught us that as soon as a child begins to speak, we teach them Torah Tziva and Shema.

Let’s review some of the lessons they teach us:

Torah Tziva — The message of Torah Tziva is how precious and special Torah is! Every Yid, no matter who, inherits the entire Torah! We need to know that every part of Torah belongs to us, and we just need to take this special treasure and use it.

Shema — The posuk of Shema teaches us that Hashem is in charge of the world. Even though the world looks gigantic, and sometimes even scary, it is all botul to Hashem. Hashem created the world, and takes care of every detail of the world with Hashgacha Protis.

IY”H in our next shiur, we will review the next two pesukim from Torah Shebichsav, Bereishis and Veshinantam. We will see how they are really a continuation of these first two pesukim!



Forgetting Vesein Tal Umatar

We just started saying Vesein Tal Umatar again in Maariv last night.

If we daven without asking for rain during the time of rain, our tefillah doesn’t count, and we need to daven Shemoneh Esrei again!

So what happens if we are in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei and we realize we said Vesein Bracha instead by mistake?

We usually ask for rain during the bracha of Bareich Aleinu. If we remember before we say Hashem’s name in the bracha at the end, we just go back to that part of the bracha, saying Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha and continuing from there.

If we realized after saying Hashem’s name in the bracha of Bareich Aleinu, but before starting the next bracha, we can just say the words “Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha” and go on to the next bracha.

If we already started the next bracha of Teka Beshofar, and then realize we didn’t say Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha, we should continue davening! There is still another place where we can ask for anything we need — in the bracha of Shomeia Tefillah. The place to ask for the rain in this bracha is after the words “Umilfanecha Malkeinu Reikam Al Teshiveinu.”

But if we already said Baruch Ata Hashem in the end of the bracha, then like with Bareich Aleinu, we can say the words “Vesein Tal Umatar Livracha” right after the end of the bracha and then continue with Retzei.

After that, there is no other good place to ask for rain. So if we only remember after starting Retzei, as long as we haven’t finished davening Shemoneh Esrei yet, we go back to Bareich Aleinu and say it properly this time, and then continue from there.

But once we start the second Yihiyu Leratzon near the end of Shemoneh Esrei, it is counted as if we finished davening already. If we realize then, or after Shemoneh Esrei completely, we need to go back to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei and daven again.

In the Southern Hemisphere (like South America, South Africa, and Australia), there are opinions that say that we ask for rain according to the local seasons, which are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. So if someone who lives there forgot to say Vesein Tal Umatar, they rely on those opinions and don’t go back and repeat Shemoneh Esrei if they already said Retzei.

For more details, see the Halacha sheet prepared by the Beis Din of Crown Heights

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 is not ready for the Geulah, 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 way of Geulah ourselves, which will also bring Geulah for the whole world!

See Likutei Sichos chelek Alef, Parshas Vayishlach

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