1. In keeping with the verse “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings you established strength,” (1) children were asked, in the Purim farbrengen, to add to their efforts in Torah study and giving charity, so that their deeds may bring about the completion of the verse: “To destroy your enemies and foes”. (1)
The additional study of Torah and gifts of charity (particularly when done by children) have a unique relevancy and connection to the holiday of Purim(2).
Purim and the Messianic redemption share certain parallels (3). Regarding the future redemption,232 the Prophet Isaiah proclaims, “Zion will be redeemed by judgment and its captives (will be released) by tzedakah.” (4) (The term judgment is interpreted to specifically refer to Torah study as the Targum translates the term “the first Judgment” as the first Halachah.233) Therefore it is fitting to urge an increase in these activities on Purim.
Similarly, the stress on the children’s efforts is appropriate for the Purim holiday. The Talmud relates (5) how Mordechai’s action of assembling 22,000 Jewish children, and teaching them Torah (the Laws of the Omer offering), was responsible for the annulment of Haman’s decree. For it was the voice of these young children, which, like the bleating of young goats, aroused G-d’s mercy.
Likewise, the children’s gifts to charity, the second of the above-mentioned activities, is fundamentally related to Purim, and exemplified in the Mitzvah of ‘Matanos L’Evyonim’ (giving presents to the poor). (The priority of Matanos L’Evyonim, Maimonides writes (6), is greater than the other Purim Mitzvos, Shalach Manos (presenting gifts of food to friends), and Seudos Purim (Purim feast), even though the latter have important effects which include drawing people closer to each other.
Although Matanos L’Evyonim is a Mitzvah for adults, and fulfilled by children only as training,234 still there is an added quality in children’s gifts which surpasses those of an adult’s:
An important aspect of giving Tzedakah is, that it be done with joy and pleasure: (7) When children of pre-Bar Mitzvah age are stimulated to give charity, they respond with an unaffected naturalness and innocence. They are excited when they help someone. Their giving is filled with real joy and pleasure.
(Just as the Talmud praises the Torah study of young children as “a voice unblemished by sin”, (8) similarly, their giving to charity allows for a pure expression of their natural feelings.)
For these reasons, it was especially appropriate to stress the children’s efforts, in learning Torah and giving Charity, during the Purim farbrengen. At that time, the idea of setting up free-loan funds among children was suggested. Likewise, it was stressed (and in part, efforts were made to see it accomplished), that every child acquire a Siddur of his own.
(In the Siddur, there are verses from the written Torah, and the statements of our Sages, which the children could recite within the context of prayer, and outside of it.)
Likewise, every child should have his own personal Tzedakah Pushka (charity box). When the child will himself determine which charitable cause, or poor man, should receive the pushka’s contents, (and he will become personally involved by other similar means), the principle of giving to others from his own money will become “engraved on his soul” and will never depart from him.
2. Until now, children have done so in an individual manner. Now, as an addition, all children should join together in combined activity through establishment of the free-loan funds.
Even though Halachically, the concept of combined activities as a minyan is applicable only regarding adults and not children, nevertheless, the combined efforts can be seen in the Mitzvos of publicizing the Purim miracle. There is clearly a noticeable difference in effect, when the banging and noisemaking which wipes out Haman’s name is done by only a few children or by many children. The more children involved, the more thoroughly and completely is Haman’s name wiped out.235
Similarly, regarding Tzedakah, when the children will combine in mutual effort, through establishment of free-loan funds, then the tzedakah will be given in a more complete fashion.
The particulars of how to establish the free-loan funds, i.e., whether each class should make a separate fund, or the entire school should be combined in one fund, etc., were intentionally omitted in order to allow the idea to be adapted to the individual situation of each school and its students.
As the Talmud says, “Each person thinks differently”, (15) the students of each school have their own particularities and so do administrations.
For that reason, it is necessary to adopt the Chinuch that a child receives according to his personal situation, as Proverbs explains, “Educate the child according to his way” (16) (The verse’s purpose is not only to explain the necessity for a general adaptation of mature instruction to a child, as opposed to an adult, but also, to specify that the education has to be “according to his way”, i.e., individualized and adjusted to meet the particular child’s needs.
However, there are some general guidelines which will ensure the order and continuity of the project and stimulate the children’s day to day behavior.
In order to stimulate the children’s feelings that it is their project, the children should elect (from among themselves) officers to manage the free-loan fund. One child should be chosen to collect the funds through dues and donations, another to distribute them, and a third to keep the accounts.
Likewise, to involve more children in a leadership role as well as in a participatory capacity, the officer’s term should be limited (to one month, or a few months), so that other children can in turn assume responsibilities.
Though the children should themselves control the project, nevertheless, they should be aware of their teacher’s availability and ask him for advice on how best to coordinate the project.
Similarly, the teachers (without disturbing the children’s sense of responsibility), should check on the project’s progress and find out if there is a need for changes or new ideas. They should use their understanding of how this type of project should be run to make it more successful, more interesting, and more directed to its true purpose.
Furthermore, if there are children who do not know about the idea yet, rather than wait for them to ask, it is of extreme importance (especially for their teachers) to arouse them, and fill them with enthusiasm for the project, and help them to arrange the details so that the project becomes a reality.
3. It goes without saying that those who are after Bar and Bas Mitzvah age should also add to their Torah study and gifts to Tzedakah. However, as explained above (and elaborated on in greater detail in the Maamar “Vikibail Hayihudim” of the Previous Rebbe (17) ), it is the Torah study of young children which possesses a unique quality. Through it, “you established strength”, which will cause “the destruction of enemies and foes”.
Because of this difference between pre Bar-Mitzvah and post Bar-Mitzvah years, while not to minimize the importance of setting up free-loan funds in classes after Bar-Mitzvah, nevertheless, the free-loan fund for pre Bar-Mitzvah age children should be separate. This separation will in itself add to the strength and the excitement of the project.
And may it be G-d’s will that this project be accepted by everyone (since this isn’t an original idea, but rather an adaptation of concepts stated in the Talmud, its commentaries, Mussar, and Chassidus, and since many people have already done so, independent of these suggestions. (And may they continue to do so independently.)
As explained previously about Tzedakah (and likewise about the future redemption which will come through the merit of Tzedakah), it doesn’t matter whether you give independently or because you were told; what is important is that you give. Similarly, what is important is that the free-loan funds be established.)
And from these children, we will create G-d’s army; about which their teachers can truly and honestly proclaim “see the products of our efforts”, and together we will go to greet Mashiach Tzidkeinu, speedily in our times.
4. As mentioned previously, it is customary during a Purim Farbrengen to discuss a point of Talmudic study, and explain its connection to concepts discussed in Chassidus.
In Likkutei Torah, in the Maamar ViEcholtem Echol (18) (the Maamar with which the Rebbe began the Farbrengen), there is a lengthy discussion about the spiritual nature of the Minchas Chavitin (an offering which is brought they the Kohain Gadol (High Priest) every day, and by all Priests, on the day of their initiation into the Priesthood). Through this discussion, a number of questions which are debated at great length by Talmudic commentators, have been clarified (as can be seen in the following explanation).
The Mishnah states, (19) ‘The Chavitin offering (brought in the morning and in the evening) could not be brought in halves; rather an entire Iseron (a Talmudic measure) was brought, half of which was offered in the morning and half in the evening.’
Afterwards the Mishnah continues, “What happens if a Kohain Gadol would bring half of the Chavitin in the morning and then die? If another priest has not yet been appointed to take his place: Who would be responsible for the Chavitin in the afternoon? Rabbi Shimeon says, “the entire Jewish people” (i.e., it is brought from the monies collected for Terumas HaLishka), Rabbi Yehudah says the Kohain Gadol’s heirs are responsible.”
This difference is reflected in the Halachic decision of the Rambam in his codification, Yad HaChazaka (20). In the laws referring to collection of monies he declares, “If the Kohain Gadol dies and another has not yet been named, the Chavitin is brought from the collected monies.” However, in the laws concerning the daily offerings (21) he writes, “If the Kohain Gadol dies in the morning, and a replacement has not been designated, his heirs bring an entire Iseron for his atonement and offer it as Chavitin.”
The commentaries (22) on the Rambam mention this seeming contradiction. Likewise an additional difficulty arises: When the Rambam, in the laws concerning the charity offering (21), places the responsibility on the heirs, he adds the words ‘for his atonement’, though there is no obvious source for that addition.
5. The above can be understood through the explanation of another difficulty. — According to the opinion that the heirs should bring the Korban, would this apply, only in the case when there are sons among the heirs who themselves are priests, and can bring the Chavitin236 (as seeming evident from the wording of the verse (23), “the priest who is anointed in his place from among his sons shall offer it”); or even if there are no priests among his heirs would the remaining heirs still bring the Chavitin?237
Superficially, from the fact that the phrase “from his sons” is stated in the verse, it would seem to imply the former opinion. However, going a step deeper, the very fact that the Gemara does not use the words of the verse “his sons”, but instead, utilizes the term, ‘his heirs’, would imply the latter opinion, that any heir may bring the Chavitin.
Regardless of whether he is a Kohain who himself once brought a Chavitin (on his initiation day), or a Challel, a Levi, or even a Yisrael (who never brought the Chavitin), since he is the Kohain Gadol’s heir, he is responsible for bringing the Chavitin.
However, this very fact that the heir brings the Chavitin, regardless of his status, requires explanation. If he is not a priest, how in fact, can he bring a Chavitin?
Rab Yosef Rosen, the Rogatchover Gaon, explains (24) that even though the heirs bring the Korban, nevertheless, the Chavitin is not considered theirs, rather it is the Kohain Gadol’s. They are merely responsible for the bringing of the Chavitin. The Baalus (the Hebrew term implying ownership) of this Chavitin is not theirs but the Kohain Gadol’s. Therefore, even though they are themselves unfit to bring a Korban, since the question of fitness revolves around the owner, in this case, the Kohain Gadol, who is fit, the Chavitin may be brought.
6. This explanation can resolve another problem. The Halachah (25) is, that during the period of mourning, one cannot offer his Korbanos (sacrifices) because Korbanos can only be brought, according to the Talmud (26), when a person feels well and whole, and not while he is experiencing the sense of loss, which is natural to the state of mourning.
This Halachah presents a new problem in the case under discussion. Since the heirs are in a state of mourning, how can they bring the Chavitin?
However, this question can be resolved by applying the concept quote above, from the Rogatchover Gaon. Since the Chavitin that the heirs offer is not considered theirs, but rather the Kohain Gadol’s, their state of mourning is irrelevant. The Torah required the Kohain Gadol to bring a Chavitin as an atonement (for him).
Likewise, it is stipulated, that if he should pass away, his Chavitin should be brought by his heirs, regardless of their state of mourning.
Based on the logic above, we can understand the reason for the Rambam’s addition, “for his atonement”. With these words, he accentuates and brings to light, the fact that even though the heirs are bringing the Chavitin, nevertheless, it is not their Chavitin, but the Kohain Gadol’s — “for his atonement”. Therefore, regardless of their fitness for priesthood or their state of mourning, the heirs may bring the offering.
7. A similar concept can be understood from the explanations of the Maamar in Likkutei Torah mentioned above. The maamar explains, that in the initiation ceremony of the Kohain Gadol he is anointed with “oil that anoints the holy”, i.e., that through this ceremony, energy is drawn down from a source higher than “holy” (or, in Kabbalistic terms, the level of Chochmah (wisdom) ) and it infuses Chochmah with that energy.
The Chavitin offered on the day of initiation, and subsequently twice daily, functions as an intermediary, channeling the high spiritual energies generated on the day of initiation into the realm of day to day activity. It is called Minchas Tamid (literally a ‘constant offering’ (because it is brought every day) but in this context better translated as a time-transcendent offering because through it these energies are constantly being drawn down.)
Only a Kohain Gadol, whose own spiritual level, likewise, goes beyond the limitations of time, can offer a Chavitin daily. For he alone has the potential to evoke the constant expression of the spiritual energies. (An ordinary priest, though he approaches these levels on the day of his initiation, cannot maintain them constantly. For him — time is change, implying a fluctuation in spiritual level.)
This explanation reinforces the question asked above: How can the Kohain Gadol’s heirs (since they do not possess the spiritual energies of the Kohain Gadol, for they are subject to the limitations of time) bring the Chavitin offering, should the Kohain Gadol pass away?
Now, according to the Rogatchover’s principle mentioned above, i.e., (that the Chavitin brought by the heirs is not their own but the Kohain Gadol’s (implying that they are tapping an energy source unbounded by the limitations of time) ), the acceptability of their offering becomes comprehensible.
8. The development of this concept makes us aware of the connection between the revealed Torah (the Talmud and its commentaries) and the inner secrets of Torah (Chassidus). We come to the realization that the revealed Torah can be compared to the body, and Chassidus, its soul.
The metaphor is not a superficial one, but rather it is exact, in all of its particulars. Through study of the relationship between body and soul, we can draw conclusions regarding the relationship between the revealed Torah and Chassidus.
Among them: the body affects the soul, to the extent that the soul feels pain when the body is harmed, and likewise the body reacts to the revelations of the soul’s energy.238 In a similar manner the revealed Torah and Chassidus are interrelated and affect one another.
The case discussed above may serve as an example. From the explanation in Chassidus, describing the sublime quality of the Kohen Gadol’s Chavitin offering (that it is time-transcendent, infusing the higher energies aroused at the time of initiation into everyday experience) it becomes evident that only a Kohen Gadol could bring such an offering.
(And his heirs, though in fact they bring the Chavitin, are not the owners, rather the Chavitin is the Kohain Gadol’s — and it belongs to that level of spirituality which transcends time and change.)
This conclusion, based on the awareness of the greatness of the Kohain Gadol’s offering as explained in Chassidus, serves to clarify the many questions and difficulties that arose in the Talmudic discussion mentioned before.
9. May it be G-d’s will, inasmuch as we find ourselves in a situation where the Kohain Gadol has passed away (and only during Techias Hamaisim (the period of resurrection) will the Chavitin again actually be offered) that his heirs, i.e., the Jewish people as a whole239 will spiritually and physically carry out the service of the Chavitin offering.
This spiritual fulfillment of the service will bring about the physical performance, when after the resurrection of the dead, Aharon, the high priest, will bring a Chavitin offering, a time-transcendent offering, in the time-transcendent Temple: the third Temple which will be built by Mashiach speedily in our days.
Afterwards the Rebbe Shlita concluded the Farbrengen by requesting the following niggunim to be sung — UTZU EITZA, HOSHIA ES AMECHA, PROWS TEISHEIV, and UFORATZTO.
Then the Rebbe Shlita led the bentsching and then distributed Kos Shel Berachah to all the assembled.
1. Psalms 8:3.
2. Tractate Megillah 6b.
3. Shmos Rabba ch. 15, par. 11.
4. Yeshayahu 1:27.
5. Esther Rabba ch. 9, par. 4.
6. Rambam, Laws of Megillah, end. ch.2.
7. Rambam, Laws of Charity, ch. 10, law 4.
8. Tractate Shabbos 119b.
9. Sifri and Rashi on Devarim 24:19.
10. Tanya ch. 37 (p. 48b)
11. Tasaphos ‘Nifsal’, Tractate Menachos 20b.
12. Megillas Esther 3:2.
13. Ibid., 9:28.
14. Tractate Megillah 7:2.
15. Tractate Berachos 58a.
16. (Proverbs) Mishle 22:6.
17. Sefer HaMaamarim 5711, p. 180.
18. Likkutei Torah 7a.
19. Tractate Menachos 50b.
20. Ch. 4 law 4.
21. Ch. 3 law 2.
22. Keseph Mishneh, Lechem Mishneh, other, ibid.
23. Vayikra 6:15.
24. Tzophnath Paneach laws of Shekalim ch. 4 law 4.
25. Tractate Moed Katan 15b.
26. Tractate Zevachim 99b.
27. Talmud Yerushalmi, Tractate Shabbos, ch. 8, Halachah 1.
28. Tractate Berachos 26b.
29. Ibid., 20b, also Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim ch. 106, law 2.,