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Publisher’s Foreword

Shabbos Parshas Tzav
Parshas Zachor
13th Day of Adar II, 5744

Esther — Week of the Jewish Woman

Purim, 5744

Yechidus
Eve of 17th of Adar II, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Shemini
Parshas Parah
20th Day of Adar II, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Tazria
Parshas HaChodesh
27th Day of Adar II, 5744

The Letter Sent Out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
for Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5744

The Letter Sent Out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
for the 11th Day of Nissan, 5744

11th Day of Nissan, 5744
82nd Birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Shabbos Parshas Acharei
Shabbos HaGodol
12th Day of Nissan, 5744

Tzivos Hashem
18th Day of Nissan, 5744

Acharon Shel Pesach
22nd Day of Nissan, 5744

Unity Through Rambam

Yechidus
Eve of 25th of Nissan, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Kedoshim
Mevorchim Chodesh Iyar
26th Day of Nissan, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Emor
3rd Day of Iyar, 5744

Pesach Sheni, 5744

Supplement
The Letter Sent Out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
for Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan, 5744

Sichos In English
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 20 — Adar II-Iyar, 5744


Yechidus
Eve of 17th of Adar II, 5744


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  Purim, 5744Shabbos Parshas Shemini
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20th Day of Adar II, 5744
 

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1. Some people may suppose that because the format of “Yechidus” has changed — receiving everyone together instead of individually — something is lacking. However, the reverse is true: Just as all G-d’s actions in the world are only to make things better, so too a group format lends added distinction to the Yechidus. When many people are in Yechidus together, the distinction of a “congregation” is present — “the splendor of the king is in a multitude of people.” Also, the place in which the group Yechidus is being held is one in which Jews gather to pray, learn Torah, give tzedakah and hold celebrations — thereby effecting salvation and success for them, their families and their surroundings.

All of the above ensures that the words spoken and heard here will work their effect in the loftiest fashion.

The distinction accruing to having everyone together in the Yechidus is emphasized especially now, the period after Purim and the Purim farbrengen. Purim’s theme is that even when Jews are in exile, “spread out and scattered among the nations,” they are still “one people,” bound up with the “one Torah” and the “one G-d.” This theme is stressed at the farbrengen (of Purim), when Jews are gathered together, similar to the time of Purim, when Esther told Mordechai, “Go, gather together all the Jews.”

Each Jew, even as an individual, never loses his identity. Bound to G-d through Torah and mitzvos, his is an eternal existence; he is an “entire world,” similar to Adam, the first man, who was created single to teach that every Jew is an “entire world.” When, however, many Jews gather together extra distinction accrues, adding to the “splendor of the king.”

Since we are now in the period after Purim, we shall speak of subjects mentioned at the Purim farbrengen: Something in Nigleh (the revealed aspect of Torah), something in Chassidus, and something about Tzedakah.

Nigleh

We said at the Purim farbrengen that the Purim campaign, while it began before Purim, also extends to after Purim, to the extent that it affects the whole year.

This concurs with the Alter Rebbe’s ruling in Shulchan Aruch (Hilchos Pesach, Orach Chayim 429:1): “The early sages enacted ... that the preachers should begin to expound the laws of the festival thirty days before the festival; that is, from Purim and onwards they should expound the Pesach laws.” The fact that on Purim itself we begin expounding the laws of Pesach emphasizes the connection between the Purim campaign and the days following Purim.

A question may be raised on this ruling of the Alter Rebbe: The reason we began to expound the laws of Pesach thirty days before Pesach is “to remind the people about the festival, that they should not forget to prepare animals kosher for the sacrifice; and they will have time [to do so] during all the thirty days.” However, the laws of Pesach include the laws of the Pesach sacrifice, which was offered on the fourteenth of Nissan. (Also, it includes the laws of searching for chametz on the eve of the fourteenth). Thus “thirty days” beforehand should really start on the thirteenth of Adar, just as we start to expound the laws of Shavuos, which are relevant to the 6th of Sivan, on the fifth of Iyar; and the laws of Sukkos, which are relevant to the fifteenth of Tishrei, on the 14th of Elul.

Chassidus

The Purim maamar said this year, beginning with the words “That night sleep eluded the king,” was based on the maamar recited by the previous Rebbe in 5700. We added two points not said by the Previous Rebbe:

    1) We explained in the maamar that although during sleep (in a dream) there are emotions and intellectual powers, will and delight, the state of these soul-powers cannot be compared to when a person is awake. In the maamar said by the previous Rebbe in 5700, no mention is made of will and delight during sleep (dream).

    2) We explained that even in a dream, a person cannot visualize “an elephant going through the eye of a needle.” In the maamar of 5700, the previous Rebbe says explicitly that in a dream there can be the idea of “an elephant going through the eye of a needle.”

The explanation

    1) Of the attributes of the soul, the emotions and the intellect are inner attributes, permeating the soul (“pnimi”) while will and delight “surround” the soul (“makkif”). Because the maamar is concerned with the difference between the states of sleep and wakefulness in regard to the greatness of Jews — and Jews are on the level of “pnimiyus” — the maamar of 5700 talks only of the soul’s attributes which are “pnimi,” and not of will and delight. However, because will and delight can be present in a dream, we mentioned these attributes in this year’s maamar so that no one should think they were omitted because they cannot be present in a dream.

    2) The Talmud (Berachos 55b) states that “A man is never shown in a dream ... an elephant going through the eye of a needle.” However, in the maamar of 5740 it states that in a dream one can see “an elephant going through the eye of a needle,” for there are two ways in which visions occur in a dream. The Talmud talks of what a man is “shown in a dream” — i.e. what can appear in a dream solely because of the very idea of a dream and in such, elephants don’t go through eyes of needles. Another sort of dream is that which results from a person’s thoughts during the day: if he thinks of “an elephant going through the eye of a needle” during the day, it is possible he will dream of it.

In the maamar of 5700, it talks of dreams that result from a person’s thoughts during the day — “Whoever has engaged in Torah and divine service intensively, merits that during sleep he grasps great concepts in Torah and good middos.” Thus, when talking of the possibility of synthesizing two opposites in a dream, the previous Rebbe draws a parable to a dream resulting from a person’s thoughts during the day — an elephant going through the eye of a needle.

Tzedakah

As mentioned earlier, we shall also talk about tzedakah. We noted that from Purim we begin to expound the laws of Pesach. The idea of tzedakah associated with Pesach — money for the poor with which to buy matzos — also starts from Purim: the Pesach Campaign, which includes making sure everyone has matzah for Pesach.

May it be G-d’s will that through undertaking resolutions to engage in the above matters, the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach will come — even before Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and certainly before Pesach. Then one will see the fulfillment of the promise (Devarim 10:4), “There shall not be any more poor among you,” and we will have fulfilled the obligation to give tzedakah to the poor for matzah through the resolutions now undertaken.

May it be G-d’s will that all the matters of Purim extend throughout the year, for you, amidst all Israel. The theme of Purim is that “They fulfilled what they had already undertaken”; it stresses also the theme of great joy, transcending all limits. Thus throughout the year you should increase in Torah study and fulfillment of virtues, with joy and a good heart.

We shall conclude with blessings for a successful trip for each of you — when you will travel and how you will travel: in a successful, Jewish and Chassidic manner. You will surely deliver a message of good tidings from here to your place of residence; and may you find everything there whole and in perfect order.

This “wholeness” may be divided into three general categories:

“Wholeness of the people”: This means that all Jews, throughout their lives, during their youth and their elder years, are whole in Torah and mitzvos. It also means the “whole people” literally — all Jews are present, “with our youth and with our elders. with our sons and with our daughters.

“Wholeness of the Torah”: This means Jews “keep what they had already undertaken” at Matan Torah.

“Wholeness of the land:” With Mashiach’s imminent coming all Jews will be in Eretz Yisrael, “the land which the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are continually upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” The land will then be whole, and moreover, “The L-rd your G-d will broaden your borders.”

I shall participate in the aforementioned concept of tzedakah by giving each of you a dollar to be given to tzedakah in your place of residence. May it be G-d’s will that since this very giving is the beginning of the deed of tzedakah, it hasten the beginning of the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach.

* * *
Some have asked (or are thinking of asking) about coming here for Yud-Aleph Nissan (11th of Nissan). I have already said last year that those who wish to provide true satisfaction should, instead of coming, give half of the amount that would have otherwise gone on travel expenses to tzedakah, and the other half should be used to onh:~nes] Ps h

Each person should celebrate Yud-Aleph Nissan in his own place of residence. Because a person is where his thoughts are, when each person will think of all other Jews, all will be united together. Then, “as one man with one heart,” we shall go to welcome our righteous Mashiach, speedily in our days.

2. May the Al-mighty bless each and every one of you, and all of you together amidst all Israel, with success in all your matters, material and spiritual — success which comes from Purim, in the manner of “light and joy, gladness and honor.” Particularly, may all the preparations for the wedding, the wedding itself, and life after the wedding (may it be for good and long years) be such that the marriage be an everlasting edifice, built upon the foundations of Torah and mitzvos as they are rooted in and illuminated by Chassidus, the “true wisdom.”

Through your undertaking good resolutions even before the wedding — including, and especially, the resolution to make one’s home a “meeting place for sages,” and certainly the resolution to fulfill the first mitzvah in Torah, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it,” to be blessed with sons and daughters occupied in Torah and mitzvos — then, “The Holy One, blessed be He, unites a good thought to the deed.” This is particularly so according to the Alter Rebbe’s interpretation of this saying, which is that G-d gives a person everything that is necessary to ensure that the “good thought” is translated into actual deed, and in material and spiritual abundance.

It will be especially so when you increase (in actual deed) in observance of Torah and mitzvos before the wedding; certainly on the wedding day itself and in the following seven days of celebration; and afterwards, to carry out the command, “They shall go from strength to strength,” for long and good years.

* * *
Consonant to the accepted Jewish custom in some places the groom and bride should give tzedakah on the morning of their wedding day, or at least before the wedding. Their parents and relatives should do likewise.

Because these tzedakahs are done in connection with the wedding, they add to G-d’s blessings for everything associated with the wedding: First of all, that the preparation for the wedding be according to G-d’s desire; and, because G-d is “the essence of good,” His desire is that all the blessings flow “from His full, open, holy and generous hand.” Similarly, that the wedding itself be in a good and auspicious hour, with joy and a good heart, in an ever-increasing manner.

* * *
The joy of the groom and bride is comparable to the joy of Matan Torah, as adduced from the Gemara (Berachos 6b) which relates the greatness of participating in the joy of a groom and bride. This participation applies both to those actually present at the wedding and even to those who are not; moreover, even those who do not know of the wedding, their souls (which is the principal component of a Jew) do know of and do participate (with all the fervor and gladness and light which the soul possesses) in the joy of this wedding.

As my participation in a Jewish celebration in general, and in the joy of a groom and bride in particular, I shall give each of you a dollar to be given (or its equivalent) to tzedakah on the wedding day in the merit of the groom and bride. This shall further add to G-d’s blessings to the groom and bride, to their families, and to all Israel.

Then, very soon we shall see the fulfillment of the promise, “There shall be heard in the cities of Yehudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a bride and the sound of a groom.” And then we shall merit the celebration of the marriage of the Holy One, blessed be He, to the people of Israel — as stated in the Midrash (Shmos Rabbah 15:31), that at Matan Torah Jewry was betrothed to G-d, and the marriage will take place in the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach, may it be speedily in our days.

3. May the Al-mighty bless, with all the blessing associated with and stemming from a Bar Mitzvah, each of the Bar Mitzvah celebrants together with their parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents, amidst all Israel.

On this day the Bar Mitzvah celebrant becomes an adult in all respects, and G-d grants him the abilities necessary to fulfill Torah and mitzvos “You shall walk in My statutes and you shall keep My mitzvos and you shall do them” (Bechukosai 26:3) — through which all the blessings enumerated in the parshah (of Bechukosai) are drawn down for him and the whole family.

This extends to the main blessing — “I shall give peace in the land” (ibid, verse 6), as Rashi comments, “Peace is equal to everything.” And it further extends to the blessing at the conclusion of the parshah, “I shall lead you forth upright,” meaning, we prepare for the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach by standing proudly and with heads held high (“upright”) concerning anything to do with Judaism, even while still in exile (when “we are still servants of Achashverosh”). This is the type of conduct which befits “Mordechai’s people,” “who did not bend the knee nor bow down.”

It is specifically conduct like this which brings “honor and greatness” to the Jewish people, even in the eyes of “the peoples of the earth,” and effects “light and gladness, joy and honor” both literally, and (principally) in all those things which our Sages in the tractate Megillah (16b) and other places expounded on this verse in the exoteric part of Torah and also in the esoteric-based interpretations.

* * *
As customary, each of you will surely give tzedakah on the day of your Bar Mitzvah. If it is Shabbos, you should give tzedakah on the previous day (Sunday). [Those of you who are already Bar Mitzvah have surely done so.

In addition, each of you on the day of your Bar Mitzvah (which, the Zohar states, is similar to one’s wedding day, from which we see that a Bar Mitzvah is a most joyous event) should learn the fourteenth psalm of Tehillim — the book composed by King Dovid, the “Sweet Singer of Israel.” You should do so, for the fourteenth psalm corresponds to the number of years of your life [i.e., a Bar Mitzvah celebrant enters his fourteenth year].

The parents, brothers and sisters of the Bar Mitzvah celebrant would do well to also give tzedakah on this day in the merit of the Bar Mitzvah celebrant. All these tzedakahs, given because of the Bar Mitzvah, will surely combine together for the merit of the Bar Mitzvah celebrant.

Through this the blessings granted will be increased, which in general are blessings for children, life and ample sustenance for each one in his right time. These blessings begin with that appropriate for the day of the Bar Mitzvah success in Torah study, both nigleh and Chassidus, with life and fervor; and success in observance of mitzvos in the best possible way, since you now have become obligated (moreso — have the merit) to observe mitzvos, and in an ever-increasing manner.

Also, each of you should become a “lamp to illuminate,” meaning that through you, the “lamp which is mitzvos and Torah which is light” should increase in your home, and, consonant to the command “You shall love your fellow as yourself,” which is a “great principle in Torah,” effect the same in regard to your acquaintances and friends.

* * *
As my participation in the joy of a Jewish family and home that their son has reached the age of mitzvos — which is also a joyous event for all Israel — I will give each of you a dollar (each of you serving as my emissary in a mitzvah) to be given to tzedakah on the day of the Bar Mitzvah. (If the Bar Mitzvah is on Shabbos, to be given on either the preceding or following day.)

Our Sages have spoken of the loftiness of tzedakah, as the Gemara [both Bavli (Baba Basrah 9a) and Yerushalmi (Peah 1:1)] states, that tzedakah is equal to all the mitzvos, and “brings near the redemption.” Hence, through increasing in the mitzvah of tzedakah (even when giving one penny), the redemption is hastened and comes in greater revelation — may it be speedily in our days, with joy and a good heart.


  Purim, 5744Shabbos Parshas Shemini
Parshas Parah
20th Day of Adar II, 5744
 
  
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