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Parshas Vezos Habracha - Shlishi with Rashi

Moshe is asking Hashem for certain brachos for the Shevatim on the day he will pass away. Now he gives the bracha to Yosef:

Yosef: Moshe gives Shevet Yosef TEN brachos! The first eight brachos are for their part of Eretz Yisroel, that it should grow the best food. In fact, Yosef’s portion of Eretz Yisroel was the best for growing things of the entire land!

The last two brachos are for the great tzadikim who will come from Shevet Yosef, who will win over the goyim who live in Eretz Yisroel and conquer the land. This will happen first through Yehoshua (who comes from Efrayim) and for Gideon (who comes from Menashe) who will have tremendous hatzlacha in fighting the enemies of the Yidden in Eretz Yisroel in later times.



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Today’s Kapitelach of Tehillim were the Rebbe’s Kapitel in the early “Mems” (1980’s), and every Kapitel has a niggun!

One of the niggunim is “Roeh Yisroel Haazinah.” Hashem is like our shepherd, taking such good care of us. We ask Hashem, please listen to our tefillos!



Igeres Hakodesh Siman Chof-Beis

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe encourages Chassidim to daven the way a Chossid should! (We will see more letters about this later in Igeres Hakodesh too!)

The words the Alter Rebbe uses show us how important it is. He asks Chassidim to be “Akshanim” (stubborn) — to make sure do daven all the words out loud (except Shemoneh Esrei), even if the Yetzer Hara tries to tell them not to or if people laugh at them!

When we are “stubborn” in the way we serve Hashem, Hashem will also be “stubborn” to give us brachos in all of the things we need and want.

The Alter Rebbe also begs Chassidim to work on making sure they have a lot of Ahavas Yisroel.

Of course everyone has things they aren’t doing right and need to change or fix, but it’s not our job to fix everyone else’s problems! We need to do what the Chachomim say and be humble in front of everyone. Everyone has something special, something they are good at. Even if we don’t see it, the Chachomim said so and we need to believe them! This will help us have more Achdus.

It is also important to be careful not just not to SAY Lashon Hara but even not to THINK it. Thinking is something we do deep inside, so it’s “closer” to the Neshama. It can even be worse to think than to talk!

We need to be VERY careful with how we think about other people. Then we will have Ahavas Yisroel and shalom.

When the Alter Rebbe asks chassidim to work hard to make shalom, he calls chassidim “my loved ones, brothers and friends.” Chassidim explain that when someone works to strengthen his ahavas Yisroel with other chassidim he becomes close to the Alter Rebbe, like a good friend!



Tes-Zayin Tishrei

On the second night of Sukkos, in kiddush first we say Shehecheyanu, and THEN Leisheiv Basukah (the first night was the opposite order).

The Tzemach Tzedek said:

The Alter Rebbe had a farbrengen in the year Tof-Kuf-Samach-Tes. He said a maamar that starts with the words “Ushe’avtem Mayim” that is now printed in Likutei Torah. It was the SIXTH time that the Alter Rebbe said this maamar!

The Gemara says that Tzadikim used to get special hisorerus (inspiration) from Simchas Beis Hashoeiva. Yonah Hanavi got a hisorerus for Nevuah!

The Tzemach Tzedek said that from hearing this maamar that talks about Simchas Beis Hashoeva, Chassidim got a hisorerus too — a hisorerus about Moshiach, which is the reason Hashem made the whole world!



Shiur #71 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #355

In today’s Sefer Hamitzvos we learn (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #355) that a person is not allowed to do things that show he is married to a woman without first doing the mitzvah of Kiddushin, getting married according to Torah.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Ki Seitzei: לֹא תִהְיֶה קְדֵשָׁה מִבְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל

The details are explained in Mesechta Kesubos and Kiddushin.



Hilchos Ishus

We learned that Kiddushin (getting married according to Torah) can be by the man giving something to the woman.

Perek Hey: In this perek, we learn about what a person can use to do Kiddushin.

One halacha is that we can’t use something asur for Kiddushin, like something stolen, or like Basar B’Chalav, milk and meat mixed together.

Perek Vov: The Rambam tells us halachos about conditions that are made at the time of Kiddushin. There are four things that need to happen when a condition is made:

1) The condition has to say what happens both if the condition is met, and if the condition is not met.
2) First he has to say the positive — if it happens, there is Kiddushin, and if not, there is not Kiddushin.
3) The condition has to be said before the action — say the condition before giving the ring or shtar.
4) The condition has to be something that is possible. If the condition is impossible, they are married right away, because it must have been a joke!

For example, the chosson might say, “I am giving you this ring to marry you, if my father agrees — if he doesn’t, we won’t be married.” This is the right way to make a condition, and the halacha is that if his father agrees, they are married.

Perek Zayin: This perek teaches us more conditions and tricky cases where we might not be sure if someone is really married. In the end of the perek, we learn that once the Kiddushin happened, even if they change their minds right away, they are still married!



Hilchos Gezeilah V'Aveidah - Perek Beis

We learn more of the halachos about how a robber pays back what he robbed.

This perek explains what happens if the thing that was stolen changed after it was stolen, like if the robber stole a cow and it got bigger and fatter, or he stole raw stones and polished them into shining gems. Sometimes we say he needs to give it back, and other times he pays the owner back instead.



Simchas Beis Hashoevah

Imagine you were in the Beis Hamikdash on Sukkos. With korbanos, we always pour wine on the Mizbeiach (called Nesachim). But on Sukkos, we also pour WATER on the Mizbeiach!

The Yidden were so excited to do this special mitzvah, that they danced all night long! The kohanim lit huge torches so it wouldn’t be dark, and Yidden would dance and Tzadikim would juggle while the Leviim played happy songs on their instruments!

The women would watch from upstairs in the Ezras Noshim (because it was very crowded downstairs, and it wouldn’t be Tznius if they were squashed in together with the men!).

Nowadays, even though there is no Beis Hamikdash, we still can do part of this mitzvah — to dance and be happy just like the Yidden did then!

Chassidim used to farbreng all night until they got so excited they would get up and dance! The Rebbe said that nowadays, EVERYONE needs to be happy, and we shouldn’t only wait for the simcha that comes from talking about Chassidus — we should go right away and dance in the streets to bring simcha to everyone!

We shouldn’t only do this in big cities, but we should bring the simcha of Yom Tov to Yidden EVERYWHERE!


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Amidah for Shalosh Regalim, Part 3

The Shemoneh Esrei for the Shalosh Regalim is different than the rest of the year. The middle brachos are special paragraphs just for these Yomim Tovim.

First we say a bracha that Hashem chose the Yidden, and then we speak about the Yom Tov Hashem gave us!

Then we ask Hashem to give us the special bracha of this Yom Tov, “Vehasi’einu.” We ask that we should be able to feel and appreciate the kedusha and the kochos of this day, so they will become a part of us and help us do our avodah the entire year.

Like in the tefillos on Shabbos, we continue by asking Hashem to make us holy with His mitzvos, to give us a part of His Torah, make us happy by saving us, and help us do our avodah with emes!

We finish off by praising Hashem for making Yidden and the Yomim Tovim both holy: Mekadeish Yisroel Vehazmanim.



Sukkah Kavana

When we do a mitzvah, it is important to have kavana! But the kavana is usually a separate thing, not part of the actual mitzvah. But for some mitzvos, we aren’t doing the mitzvah properly unless we have kavana!

The mitzvah of eating in the sukkah is one of the mitzvos that NEED to have kavana.

What kavana do we need to have?

We should think about how we are sitting in the sukkah to do a mitzvah from Hashem, to sit in a sukkah which reminds us of how Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim and protected us with the Ananei Hakavod.

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Tof-Reish-Chof-Hey

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




Our guests for today are Yitzchak Avinu and the Maggid.

One of the things we can learn from Yitzchak Avinu is how we can live with Moshiach! The name of Yitzchak means to laugh. When Yitzchak was born, it brought joy to Avraham Avinu and to everyone around him!

The name Yitzchak has a Yud at the beginning, meaning “he WILL laugh” — it is talking about something in the future. That is because the REAL laughing, and the REAL joy, will be when Moshiach comes!

But already, when Yitzchak was born, Yitzchak was already bringing joy. We can learn from this how to live with Moshiach. Even though the MAIN joy of Moshiach hasn’t come yet, we can already have a taste of it now!

See Sefer Maayanei Hayeshuah

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