1. At every gathering of Jews and especially at a rally of children of Tzivos Hashem, who fulfill G-d’s commandments, as all soldiers of a real army should, with sincerity, faithfully and completely, we must first relate to the main participants, the members of Tzivos Hashem, who are the boys and girls, below the age of bar-mitzvah and bas-mitzvah. These children have the merit of having conducted themselves properly in all their activities. The teachers and parents also have the privilege to be here and to gain the advantages which are to be had when Jewish children gather together to increase even more and more in their dedication to G-d and His mitzvos. They are participating because they have trained their children to follow Tzivos Hashem faithfully and for this the parents too, have a special merit.
Certainly from now on they will also increase in their teaching and training just as the children will add and improve in their proper actions and good conduct. This will cause that G-d will increase His blessings in all aspects and especially in the above, to go from strength to strength. We learn this from Chanukah and the Chanukah candles, that each day we add and increase those things connected to “a candle is a mitzvah and Torah is light,” for the Chanukah candle is a mitzvah candle which illuminates the path of a Jew and shows him how to conduct his life, in all aspects, by the light of Torah.
We also understand, primarily at a rally of Tzivos Hashem, that as in any proper army, proper conduct is based on rules, for it doesn’t just happen accidentally, that an army conducts itself correctly, but rather, it follows a set of directives. When the soldiers gather together, or when one wakes up in the morning, he looks for the command of the day — the “Order of the Day.” Where does he look? In the book of the rules of the army.
For each day, and certainly on special days he looks for the special mission of the members of the army, connected to that day. Our book of rules, which is the Torah, gives directive and teaching how to conduct yourselves. So let us look at the Torah, at the laws of Chanukah to see what special mission and teaching there is for this day, above every other day.
In this case you don’t even have to look to the Shulchan Aruch — Code of Jewish Laws — because you just saw, and you answered amen, and participated in:
- the kindling of the menorah,
- [also, since it is Chanukah,] today more candles were Lit than the previous days;
- additionally, it was done with a blessing, to show joy and thanksgiving, to bless G-d for the opportunity and the mission.
G-d took each of you and each and every Jew into His army and gives you the ability to do His mitzvos and missions. for this you must thank G-d.
In the days of Chanukah the special mission and order of the day is to light candles, and since Torah is light, the mission is to make more light, for which the Commander-In-Chief, Master of the universe, gives each of you the power, by giving you His Torah and mitzvos. So the clear directive of this mitzvah is: Your mission all year is to create light, like a mitzvah candle, and you get the power from Chanukah, and you must illuminate everything around you with Yiddishkeit. This must be done in such a way that not only the one who lit the candles sees the light, but also those who answered, “Blessed be He and blessed be His Name” and “amen,” and even those who entered later on and only saw the shining lights — they must all know, that a Jew made more light in the world.
As you said earlier in the twelve Torah passages: “The Jews should rejoice in their Maker,” a Jew is happy that G-d gave him a mission to make light, this causes, “May the L-rd find delight in His works,” that G-d is happy that His army, His agents, did their mission and made the world brighter. This also made “a dwelling place for G-d in the lower worlds.”
This is also the basic philosophy of Tzivos Hashem, that Jewish children should always be involved in Torah and Yiddishkeit and should influence more children, boys to boys and girls to girls, to be involved-in Torah and mitzvos and to come to such rallies. All this should be done with excitement and a love for your fellow Jew. As you said: “‘Love your fellow as yourself,’ Rabbi Akiva said, “This is a great rule of Torah.”‘ This brings more joy to G-d and He adds more blessing for us.
You said: “For G-d stands over him, and the whole earth is full of His glory and He searches his mind and heart (to see) if he is serving Him as is fitting.” G-d doesn’t devote His attention to the rest of the world, rather He “watches your heart” and He sees and rejoices when you serve Him.
Take this lesson to heart and it will influence your entire year, and it will permeate your daily life with the light of Torah and mitzvos. This is also expressed in the way you start the day with: “I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.” Then during the day you certainly conduct yourselves properly, as members of Tzivos Hashem and at the end of the day when you say the evening prayer you end with the words: “Indeed, the righteous will extol Your Name; the upright will dwell in Your presence.” This includes the request of G-d that you and all Jews should be righteous: “Your nation are all righteous,” and will “extol your Name,” in the Beis HaMikdash soon to be built by Mashiach at the time of the true redemption.
And each of you will go with G-d and with Mashiach to our Holy Land, “which the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are always upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year” and to Yerushalayim and there to the Temple Mount and into the Beis HaMikdash and we will merit very speedily to see Aharon the Kohen Gadol light the menorah and see the light spread all over the world.
2. You recited earlier the verse: “In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth.” On many occasions it has been explained that this verse also includes everything in the heavens and on the earth. G-d created them all and shows them to you and tells you that you have a connection with them. Since Torah is the rule book of the order of the day, the relationship of Tzivos Hashem to the details of heaven and the details of earth must be made clear. And especially, how you can use everything in the service of G-d.
What details of this rally make it different from previous rallies? From these details there will be a specific lesson for each and everyone of you in Tzivos Hashem.
Don’t think that your mission is too difficult. If G-d Rave it to you in the Torah, then as you said earlier: “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov.” It is an inheritance for each of you, so you will be capable of the details of the mission and therefore you must do it. “Your nation are all righteous” and as such, certainly you will do it.
The difference of this Chanukah rally from others in the past is that this year the rally is held after we have kindled eight candles. This is the last kindling of this year — until next year, with the help of G-d — so this year the rally is on the last day. This fact will provide you with your special mission. In addition we will look to the Torah portion of today, which is the third section of Vayigash and also learn something from the fact that today is Tuesday. Certainly you all Learn the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos and from that too we will take a lesson. And since the creation of heaven and earth connected you to all aspects of heaven and earth, your mission will involve both. And you will certainly fulfill it with joy, as you said: “The Jews should rejoice in their Maker,” because G-d gives you this mission. You should also see to it that others also do it. And then all the year will be illuminated from Chanukah.
What clear directive do we learn from the eight candles? Since you learn Torah you know that this is the highest number of candles we light, as it is the last day of Chanukah of this year. By accepting this mitzvah, to light the greatest number of candles this year, you are given the power today so that tomorrow you will not have to light again; even though tomorrow you also need the light of mitzvah and Torah. When you light the eight candles you take the power for the whole year. By having done the mitzvah properly, increasing each day and reaching eight candles you take the strength, light, excitement, enthusiasm and Yiddishkeit. So that by lighting today you don’t have to light again this year. You made so much light, you got so much power that it lasts to tomorrow and the day after, until next Chanukah. By deciding to drive out the darkness of the yetzer hora, by saying “go away darkness,” with the highest number of candles, there is no need to do it again after today. It becomes so strong that, “... it is in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” You will think, and speak, and act! It becomes “Very close to you,” so that you are permeated with the light of Yiddishkeit, for you have lit all the candles and your further service of G-d becomes easier. This makes brightness in hon~ron and onrth
Additionally, with the power of the blessing which you recite on the candles, you connect the worldly things, such as giving charity or eating kosher or saying a blessing before and after eating, with heavenly things. Both heavenly and worldly things are connected.
This then is a clear directive to each and every one of you, and you are given the power to fulfill it and to be victorious. As we say in the prayer of AL Hanissim, that the “guardians of Your Torah” were victorious over all things that were evil, and as the “yetzer hora” is the successor of the “wicked kingdom” you too will be successful against the yetzer hora, just as they “kindled lights in Your holy courtyards ... to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.”
Another special aspect of this rally is that it occurs on a Tuesday of which the Torah says twice the term “ki tov” — “that it is good,” and about which the Talmud explains “good to heaven and Rood to creatures.” The children of Tzivos Hashem must learn from this to influence other children, boys to boys and girls to girls, to fulfill this double responsibility of being good to heaven and good to people. Good to heaven includes all aspects of Torah and mitzvos, and good to people means all material things, including also things like eating. Before you eat you must check if the food is kosher and then say the proper blessing before and after eating. To love your fellow Jew as yourself, is the aspect of being good to people, to show other children how a Jewish child of Tzivos Hashem must conduct himself. So, on Tuesday, we take this lesson of double good and apply to it the rule of the mitzvah candle and Torah light.
Also from today’s Torah portion we have a very important lesson.
Sometimes the yetzer hora comes to a child and tries to confuse and confound him, so he says, “You are a small child in exile, run by Pharaoh of Egypt, how can you make the world light with the Torah light and the mitzvah candle?”
So we read about Yosef, that even though he was in Egypt, it was not because he had to be in exile, but rather that he could provide sustenance for his family later. G-d knew there would be a famine so G-d made the “cure before the ailment” and sent Yosef the son of Yaakov into Egypt to support Yaakov and his family in the years of famine and to help the whole world last through the hunger, by sending food to all countries of the world, where the famine was very bad. This is why a Jew goes into exile.
Because there are Jews in the diaspora, your mission from G-d now, in the year 5745, is to feed the Jewish child who is hungry for food of Yiddishkeit. G-d prepared this years ago when you received the proper education through your parents and teachers and are therefore able to satiate other children with the food of Torah and mitzvos. You will influence the children around you, in your neighborhood and they will tell their relatives in other cities to follow Torah. So you will illuminate the world with Torah light and mitzvah candles and you will prepare “food” for all Jewish children and for all Jewish parents and for all Jews. This will make them ready to quickly leave exile with Mashiach.
Another directive comes through clearly here, for boys and girls who study Torah. When Yosef sent the wagons to bring his father, our sages explain that he sent a sign to Yaakov that he Remembered what they-had studied together just before Yosef left him. When Yaakov heard this it accomplished that: “The spirit of their father Yaakov was then revived.” It gave Yaakov new life when he heard that after 22 years, Yosef still remembered what he had learned in Torah, although Yosef had been in Egypt and had been occupied with many other things.
See! Learn Torah now enthusiastically and with much force so that it becomes engraved in your mind, and years later when you meet another Jew you will say to him, “We learned together this portion of Torah on that day.”
There is yet another lesson to be learned from, “The spirit of Yaakov was revived.” When Yaakov, in Gan Eden, sees a Jewish child in the diaspora, after tens of years, who still remembers what he had learned, this gives more life to Yaakov in Gan Eden to come to G-d and influence G-d to give us His blessing. See how important it is to infilloneo nhi ldren to overcome their hunger by studying Torah, for in that way you will quicken the redemption at the hands of Mashiach.
Now let us see the portion of Rambam in his Book of the Commandments. The portion set for today discusses the mitzvah of “mikveh.” Of course here it is only in short, but in the Code of Maimonides it is explained at greater length.
The purpose of mikveh in exile among the gentiles, or among the ignorant, is that it could happen that we might be affected by false and harmful philosophies, thoughts which are not connected to the good which is Torah. Mikveh teaches you that when you immerse yourselves in the mikveh of 40 selah, corresponding to the Torah which was given in 40 days, you immerse your head, and heart, and hands and—feet — the entire person in the “waters of purifying knowledge,” pure and clean Torah. You then become “tahor” — spiritually pure — and you may enter the Beis HaMikdash.
In short, this is the order of the day, when you come together after lighting eight candles, on the Tuesday which has the double good, and when we learn in the Torah portion about a child who remembers his learning after 22 years, having gone into exile to provide food and sustenance. From this you learn that you have to bring life in your house and neighborhood and the whole Jewish nation. And you have to illuminate the world with the Torah light and mitzvah candles so that soon we will leave the exile of Egypt” with our youth and elders, with our sons and daughters ...,” with the true redemption through our righteous Mashiach.
3. As we do at every rally after davening Minchah and reciting the 12 Torah passages, we will conclude with giving charity and then we will have the three pillars on which the world will stand firm. For when a Jew is strong in his study of Torah and service of prayer, including also mitzvos, and specifically tzedakah, then the world stands firm and does not shake. To that you will add and increase Torah and mitzvos and make more light, by taking the power of Chanukah from your homes and illuminating all the world to drive away the darkness.
G-d will also be beaming, for it will accomplish a state of: “... the L-rd found delight in His works” when you make light, starting with your soul, the “candle” of G-d, then adding the mitzvah candle to illuminate your home, all around you and the Jewish nation. So that Mashiach will come, now! For the world will be flooded with the light e Yiddishkeit and it—will nullify the darkness of exile and reveal the redemption. Tzedakah also brings the redemption closer, sooner and faster.
Therefore through your leaders I will give each of you four coins: one to give to a charity connected with Chanukah, the second for a tzedakah connected with Jewish education, the third to be given as an additional charity which we learn from the candles of Chanukah and the fourth you may use as you like. By virtue of your merits I will also give four coins to your counselors and all the adults.
Since it is now later than usual we will also daven Maariv and we will say AL Hanissim for the eighth day. In Minchah the AL Hanissim we said was still for the seventh day. But the eighth day of Chanukah is esoterically associated with the “fiddle of eight strings” which will play in the Third Beis HaMikdash. So we will show our joy by singing “Sheyeboneh Beis HaMikdash,” also “We Want Mashiach Now,” and before that we will say, “Indeed the righteous....”
May it be the will of G-d that we will merit all together to the “quickened” coming Of Mashiach, and he will lead us to our Holy Land, to Yerushalayim the Holy City, to the Temple Mount and the Third Beis HaMikdash very speedily in our days.