1. This gathering is associated with Purim. Because people were busy with the special mitzvos of Purim — reading the Megillah, mishloach monos, matonos l’evyonim,1’evyonim, the Purim meal, etc. — there was no time to hold it then, and is therefore being held now.
The general lesson from Purim is that the Jews, although “the smallest of all the nations,” and to spread out and dispersed between the peoples,” stood firm in their Judaism, as the Megillah tells us: “Mordechai (and all Jews) did not bend the knee or bow down.” It was this conduct which brought about the Jewish victory. Not only did the Jews not fear the surrounding nations, but “the fear of the Jews fell upon them.” Non-Jews, observing the firm stance of Jews in their Judaism, respected and honored the Jews.
This is particularly relevant to Jewish children, Tzivos Hashem. Haman’s decree fell first on the children, as stated, “from the young” and then “until the old.” More clearly, the Midrash states that Haman said: “I will first raise my hand against these young children.”
Haman’s decree was annulled when Mordechai gathered together the Jewish children, and together they prayed to G-d and studied Torah. The Midrash relates that when Haman once met, Jewish children in the street, he asked them what verse they had learned. One child answered that he had learned the verse “Do not fear sudden terror;” another answered “Contrive a scheme, but it will be foiled;” the third answered “To your” old age I (G-d) am with you.” This shows us that Jewish children in the time of Mordechai stood firm in their Judaism, and thereby caused Haman’s decree to come to naught.
So too in our days: Just as then Haman hated that Jews — “the people of Mordechai” — did “not bend the knee or bow down,” so today the Yetzer (the Evil Inclination) — Haman’s representative hates that Jews remain staunch in their religion. The Yetzer therefore tries to confuse Jewish children, and tells them: Since Jews are “dispersed among the nations,” they cannot be specially united, and cannot act in a special manner — to bless and thank G-d before eating, to ascertain the kashrus of the food, etc.
But Jewish children are unaffected by the Yetzer’s arguments. As in Mordechai’s times, they all gather around Jews who teach them Torah and pray with them. Then the Yetzer sees there is no hope, defeat is certain, he can do nothing with JewishJ’6wish children — and therefore leaves them alone.
The lesson, then, from Purim to all Jews and particularly children, is that they must conduct themselves as befits the “people of Mordechai.” They must firmly take hold of the “Torah of Moshe,” which was given as a heritage to all Jews — “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Ya’akov.” In addition to such personal conduct, children, consonant to the command “love your fellow as yourself,” should try to influence their friends to also act as children already in the ranks of Tzivos Hashem.
This is done with the greatest joy, stemming from having the merit to be part of the “Jewish people,” the “people of Mordechai” — and from meriting to be soldiers in Tzivos Hashem, the army whose Commander-In-Chief (G-d) is constantly with every soldier — “G-d stands over him ... and searches the mind and heart [to see] if he serves Him properly.”
In this fashion Tzivos Hashem fulfill their mission of making a dwelling place for G-d in this world, which means to ensure that everyone knows G-d is Creator of heaven and earth, and that his permanent abode is in this world. This knowledge prompts all people to conduct themselves as befitting being in the place where G-d dwells.
Through this we hasten the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach, when, because G-d’s ownership of the earth will be evident, all peoples will serve Him.
2. In addition to the above lesson from Purim, there is an additional lesson to be learned from (a)(d) the day of the week on which this gathering is being held — Tuesday — the 16th of Adar; (b) the daily portion of Chumash and (c) the daily portion of Tehillim.
(a) Every day of the week corresponds to a day of the week of creation. Thus Tuesday corresponds to the third day of creation. Torah tells us that on the third day of creation, G-d said “it was good” twice, meaning “good for heaven and good for creatures.” This teaches us that every child, besides acting in a manner of “good for heaven” fulfilling Torah and mitzvos, must also act in a manner of “good for creatures” — to act properly to other people: “You shall love your fellow as yourself.” This is expressed in helping a fellow soldier of Tzivos Hashem fulfill his mission.
(b) Today’s portion of Chumash is the third section of parshas Sissa, where we learn the verse (Shemos 33:16) “1 have found favor in Your eyes ... and IT and Your people are distinguished from all the peoples upon the face of the earth.” Although there are many nations in the world, the Jewish people are separate and distinct. As noted before, when a Jew wishes to drink even a little water, he first makes the blessing “Blessed are You ... by whose word all things came to be.” Only after acknowledging that everything in the heaven and earth (“all things”) were created by G-d, does a Jew drink or eat.
The lesson from this verse, then, is all Jews must know that even though they are “dispersed and spread out among the nations,” they are nevertheless “distinguished from all the peoples upon the face of the earth.” It is the mission of Tzivos Hashem to explain this to any Jew who does not know it. Through this, a Jew can be sure that “I have found favor in Your eyes” — in the eyes of the Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem.
(c) The portion of Tehillim recited today, the 16th of Adar, gives the answer to the Yetzer’s arguments that Jews cannot properly fulfill Torah and mitzvos because they are a minority dispersed among the nations. Psalm 81, verse 11 states: “I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Although thousands of years have passed since the exodus, we must constantly remember that G-d brought us out, as stated: “In every generation and every day a person is obligated to view himself as if he personally went out of Egypt.”
We therefore have no reason to be affected by the exile. G-d is always with us, that same G-d Who brought us up from Egypt, and redeems Jews from exile. Moreover, the verse states “I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you up from Egypt,” meaning the redemption from Egypt was also an elevation for us.
The verse continues: “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” When Jewish children open wide their mouths in prayer and Torah study, G-d promises that “I will fill it” — He fulfills the children’s, and all Israel’s, requests, in all necessities, as the psalm concludes: “He fed him with the finest of wheat, and I will satisfy you with honey from the rock.”
This year, Pesach is Tuesday, the same day as today’s gathering, which emphasizes that the preparations for Pesach — the Pesach campaign — must already begin from Purim.
In practical terms: Simultaneously with the fulfillment of the directives derived from Purim, the proper preparations to Pesach must be made. And because Pesach is the “season of our liberation,” these preparations should be made in a manner of freedom — freedom from the Yetzer, who has been utterly vanquished. We can, therefore, engage in service to G-d — prayer, Torah study, and mitzvos — with ease, joy, and a good heart.
Through this we hasten the true and complete redemption, when we will eat of the Pesach sacrifice in the third Bais Hamikdosh, together with our righteous Moshiach, Moshe, Aharon, Mordechai and Esther.