1. This gathering is taking place during Sefiras HaOmer, in the month of Iyar. Hence. the lesson to be learned must be derived from the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer as it is fulfilled in the month of Iyar. The distinctiveness of Iyar compared to the other months of the year is that every day of this month (both weekdays and Shabbos) is associated with a special mitzvah — Sefiras HaOmer. There are some mitzvos associated with a particular day, others with a whole week — but Sefiras HaOmer is the only mitzvah associated with an entire month (Iyar).
Although this mitzvah applies equally to every day of the month, nevertheless, every day we increase in the fulfillment of this mitzvah — “ascend in holiness.” Thus the lesson from the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer in the month of Iyar is that every Jewish child (and adult) must endeavor to rise ever higher in the fulfillment of mitzvos. In addition to the mitzvos performed in the past, one must try to find extra mitzvos to perform. And Torah promises that “If you seek, you will find” — proper effort will be rewarded with success.
A simple example. Torah study: In addition to the studies in school, a child should try to devote some of his free time to learn extra Torah. Likewise in the fulfillment of mitzvos: In addition to the regular mitzvos performed every day (saying blessings etc.), one should try to do extra mitzvos. For example, to give an extra penny to tzedakah, an extra good deed to help a fellow Jew, etc.
The above has particular relevance to Tzivos Hashem. Since you children have the merit to be in Tzivos Hashem, you must conduct yourselves accordingly. Just as a soldier tries to please his superior, so too every “soldier” in Tzivos Hashem must try to please G-d, the Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem. This is done through increasing, from one’s own good will, in one’s Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvos, over and above that minimum which must be done.
Moreover, the goal of Tzivos Hashem is to defeat the Yetzer (Evil Inclination). When one succeeds to increase in Torah and mitzvos despite the Yetzer’s effort to distract him, this expresses victory over the Yetzer. And victory today makes tomorrow’s battle and victory easier.
G-d pays measure for measure. When we increase in Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvos, G-d increases in His blessings to all of you, and to your parents who reared and educated you in the way of Torah, and to your teachers and counselors who educated you in this way. Through this, G-d also increases in His blessings to the Jewish people in general, the people who merited to raise Tzivos Hashem. When all of the above is done with enthusiasm, joy and a good heart, Tzivos Hashem is strengthened — and a strong army makes it easier to engage in Torah study and mitzvos.
Through the above we bring closer the exodus of Jews from exile. For when each Jewish child is freed from the servitude of the Yetzer — as shown by the increase in Torah and mitzvos — this hastens the exodus from the literal exile for all Jews. And we merit the coming of our righteous Mashiach speedily in our days — Now.
2. There are additional lessons to be learned from the specific day of the month of Iyar on which this gathering is being held — the 6th of Iyar, Thursday of parshas Acharei-Kedoshim. In the Torah reading of this day, we find the verse “You shall love your fellow as yourself,” which Rabbi Akiva said is “A great principle in the Torah.” Thus the lesson from this is that each and every one must try more in the fulfillment of the mitzvah “love your fellow as yourself.”
This has special relevance to the days of Sefiras HaOmer. During Sefiras HaOmer, the students of Rabbi Akiva were struck by a plague, for they did not give the proper honor due to each other. This teaches us how important it is to love, honor and respect a fellow Jew. And certainly each one of us wishes to fulfill the dictates of Rabbi Akiva, one of which was that “You shall love your fellow as yourself is a great principle in the Torah.”
However, a question arises: How is it possible for a child, of pre Bar/Bas Mitzvah age, to do all the above — to increase in Torah and mitzvos? Isn’t it a very difficult task? The answer to this comes from the beginning of the daily portion of Tehillim (35:1): “Fight, Hashem, my adversaries, battle my attackers.” G-d is together with every member of Tzivos Hashem, and helps him in his battle with the Yetzer. Knowing this, a child is sure that he will be victorious, and will be successful in fulfilling all good resolutions he has undertaken. The end of today’s portion of Tehillim (38:23) states: “Hasten to my assistance, O my L-rd, my Salvation.” The victory against the Yetzer comes quickly, since G-d helps him in his battle.
Through conduct in the above manner, we merit an increase in G-d’s blessings, including the main blessing of the exodus of Jews from their individual exile (the Yetzer), and the exodus of Jewry from the general exile — and quickly.
3. In addition to the lessons and service to G-d applicable to this day in particular, there are also matters which serve as a preparation to the forthcoming days — to ensure that one’s conduct then will be of the highest level. Today, the sixth of Iyar, is the beginning of the days of preparation for the sixth of Sivan, the festival of Shavuos, the “Season of the Giving of our Torah.” Thirty days before a festival we begin its preparations, and the sixth of Iyar is thirty days before Shavuos. Hence, today Tzivos Hashem must begin making preparations for the “Season of the Giving of our Torah.” This festival is one of the most important matters for Tzivos Hashem, since their goal is to learn the Torah and fulfill the mitzvos which were given then. And when the preparations are proper, then, when the “Season of the Giving of our Torah” comes, each of you will say “We will do and we will listen,” and will undertake to learn Torah and fulfill mitzvos the whole year, with great enthusiasm, joy, and good heart.