There are two aspects to this Shabbos:
a. Things relating to this Shabbos itself.
b. Things relating to preparing for Lag B'Omer which follows this Shabbos.
Since these two aspects coincide there must be an inner connection between them. This association is not only relevant to this year, but also most years, being that Lag B'Omer frequently occurs in the week of Parshas Emor.
We will try to explain the connection between Parshas Emor and Lag B'Omer. Although there are an infinite amount of points in Parshas Emor we will concern ourselves only with the beginning of the Parshah.
Rashi comments on the beginning of the Parshah:
"The repetition of "say" (amar) and "you should say" (ve'amarta) comes to warn (lezahir) the adults concerning the youth."
This means to say that adults should be concerned with the education of the youth. The inference of the verse is that the education should be in a way of shining (zahir) and illuminating. The children should become excited by what they learn. In addition, through adults occupying themselves with the youth, they themselves will become illuminated.
Another lesson is also learned from the same verse, as Rashi explains in tractate Berachos (6a):
"When you do one good thing in the world, I also will do a good thing for you in the world."
This means to say that when Jews, (children of Hashem), do Torah and mitzvos in the physical world, Hashem (adult), correspondingly brings good into the world. This also brings praise to Hashem, and Hashem in turn praises Israel. Similarly when adults teach children to walk in their ways, the children bring praise to their parents, and the children are in turn praised.
All this is also connected with Lag B'Omer, the day of the passing away of Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai. As we see that this day is connected with the education of children. There is a custom on this day to take children out into the fields and tell them stories concerning the Rashbi, and to give them candies. We also see that adults go out to the fields, as the Mitteler Rebbe and also the AriZal used to do.
We could ask a question at this point. The great importance of the learning of children is well known. Why are we interrupting their learning to go out to a field? Even though we tell them stories it seems that this is incomparable with their learning Torah in the Yeshiva!
This will be explained by quoting a verse from Tehillim (119:126): "It is a time to act for Hashem, they have made void Your Torah."
Also as Rashi explains in a Mishnah at the end of Berachos:
"At times we nullify the learning of Torah in order to do something for Hashem."
When a time comes to do, we need to stop the learning of Torah, because of the great advantage in doing. An example of this is as the Yerushalmi (Yevamos 12:1) says: "A custom nullifies a halachah."
A minhag that involves action is in the category of "to do for Hashem," therefore we stop learning Torah in order to do it. So too, concerning the customs of Lag B'Omer. We stop children from learning Torah because of the great positive effect it has on their learning, in addition to the illumination and light that is brought about.
In addition, the service of the Rashbi himself was to illuminate. He wrote the Zohar which is connected with the word zahir, (illumination). Therefore, when children participate in the special customs on this day in the Rashbi's honor it is a segulah for them.
The above is also connected with the coming of Moshiach. It is written in the Zohar that the Rashbi and Moshe Rabbeinu are connected. Moshe received the whole Torah, and was called the Raya Mehemna, the faithful shepherd. There is also a part of the Zohar called Raya Mehemna. Here it is explained at length the connection between the Zohar, which was written by the Rashbi, and the redemption. Similarly, the Rashbi also revealed Torah just as Moshe did.
This is also connected to the learning of children. As stated in Shabbos (119b), "don't touch My anointed (Moshichi) ones." Here we see that children are compared to Moshiach just as the Zohar is.
We can also understand how adults are also affected. As it says in the end of Malachi, "And turn the hearts of the fathers through the children." The children will turn their parents' hearts to Torah.
Women especially have an essential part in the education of the children. They in particular are the ones who prepare the children for Lag B'Omer.
We need to relate the above to action. As it is written in Pirkei Avos, "The action is the main thing." This Shabbos gives the blessings and ability to spread Chassidus. This fact is emphasized by the Rashbi himself. Even though the Rashbi was totally involved in Torah, nevertheless, when he came out of the cave the first thing he said was, "Where is there something that needs to be repaired (Shabbos 33b)." The Rashbi had reached a tremendously high level by being in the cave. Nevertheless, the first act he did when he came out was to look for something to fix in the physical world. From this we can realize the great importance of affecting the world around the person in general, and other people in particular.
If we would truly want it we could effect the coming of Moshiach now. Then we could celebrate the holiday of Lag B'Omer with the Rashbi himself. As it says in the Zohar that tzaddikim will be the first to rise, which will occur immediately after the coming of Moshiach. In addition, the Bais HaMikdash also will have to be built immediately. In order for this to occur we will have to personally ask Moshe and Aharon, who already had the Bais HaMikdash in their days, how to build it.
To effect the coming of Moshiach in spiritual terms it is not enough to purify the emotions alone, but also the intellect has to be elevated. This was helped through the revelation of Chassidus Chabad which brought the Zohar down to levels of comprehension. This was accomplished through the Alter Rebbe (chochmah), the Mitteler Rebbe (binah), and the Tzemach Tzedek (daas). The three pillars of the world. Similarly the following Rebbes, until the Rebbe of our generation.
The above should bring about actual action in the learning of Torah and the spreading of Chassidus, and believing in Moshiach. This should all be done quickly and now.
In addition to what we spoke about above we need to explain the connection between Lag B'Omer and parshas Behar. As the Alter Rebbe said that we need to live with the times, i.e. the portion of the week. In the beginning of Behar it says:
"When you enter into the land you should leave it fallow, (a Shemittah year.)"
The known question is, a Shemittah year must come after six years of planting, etc., why should there be a Shemittah year immediately after they enter Israel? The answer being that immediately upon their entering the holy land they have to know that their main goal is to realize that the land belongs to Hashem. Then even in a non-Shemittah year they will realize that their whole goal in working the six regular years is to prepare for the Shemittah year. In other words, to always realize that everything belongs to Hashem.
In the Zohar it says that a talmud chocham is called Shabbos. The difference between Shabbos and the six days of the week is that, during the week one is involved in the physical world, whereas on Shabbos one is involved only in things of holiness, i.e., Torah and mitzvos. Since a talmud chocham even during the week is only involved in Torah matters, (he is continually thinking about Hashem), he therefore is called Shabbos.
In this way, we will understand the connection of Lag B'Omer to parshas Behar. The Rashbi was on the level that his whole being was involved in Torah. Therefore he is like the Shemittah year which is a time of being totally involved in Torah.
In the same way, children are not involved in worldly matters like making a living. Therefore they can spend the whole day learning Torah. As a result, we see that they also are comparable to Shabbos. We see that even though a child doesn't have to make a living, still, he realizes that he can't walk around wasting time. As it says in Shabbos (77b), "Hashem didn't make even one thing that doesn't have a reason for being created." It is a certainty that this applies to a human being, who has a very important purpose to fulfill in this world. Any normal person wouldn't do anything without a goal or purpose involved. Because of this, a child should use all his time being involved in matters of holiness. As it says in Iyov (5:7), "Man was created to work."
In general this also applies to all of Israel. Compared to the other nations of the world, Jews are called Shabbos. They should always be connected with holiness and Hashem. Even during the week, the things that Jews are involved in should be permeated with holiness. This should be even more true of those whose whole time is involved in learning. They should be separated from the corporeality of the physical world.
Children should be taught to relate to the physical world in this way, making their rooms, (tables, beds, and objects in general), into a Tzivos Hashem room, a Bais Chabad. It should be a place of Torah, Tefillah, and Gemilus Chassidim. The physical should be converted into a holy use. In this way the children will also be able to affect the adults. As we see in actuality that when a child tells something to his parents he gets very excited. When he tells them about how he made his room into a place of Torah, they too will do the same in the house in general. The child will make a strong enough impression on the parents to motivate them to carry out the idea.
Concerning the matter of entering the land of Israel at the time of the redemption, we won't have to conquer the land like the first time. Rather the entering of the land will be in a peaceful way, and immediately. We also won't need "six years of planting." The laws of nature will change, since the order of things will be in a way of miracles. As it says in Shabbos (30b) that "A woman will give birth every day." The Tzemach Tzedek explained that it won't take nine months, but since a gestation period is required, a period of nine hours will be needed. Whereas regarding delicacies, being that this preparatory period is not needed, we won't have to wait nine hours or even nine seconds, rather they will be immediately available.
This also relates to the Rashbi. He was on such a high level that to him the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash didn't exist, he saw only the future redemption. Each individual should also be permeated with Torah and holiness to such an extent, living on the level of miracles.
It is known the story concerning the tzitzis of the Baal Shem Tov that they would shake as though they were alive. This concerned an inanimate object, nevertheless, they were permeated with holiness to such an extent that they moved as though they had life. This is a lesson for every person: the mitzvos that they do should be permeated with life, and excitement. In this way they will merit all the blessings mentioned in the parshah.
It says in Berachos (9a): "In a time of need we should rely on the Rashbi." This means to say that when we find ourselves in a time of need, the golus, we should rely on the Rashbi. This is not done through prayers etc., but to rely on him personally. It is a certainty that we will go out of exile in the merit of the Rashbi.
The general aspect of Torah is that it is "not in the heavens" (B. Metzia 59b). Rather it was given to be used in this physical world. Through the Torah Hashem is revealed in the world. As is known, Hashem wants a dwelling place specifically in this world. Since Torah is called "house" (Likkutei Torah, Vaes'chanan 10), which is something established and permanent, so too the revelation of Hashem which it brings down is permanent.
Similarly, the learning of Torah has to be in a set and permanent way. Learning Torah should be a person's main goal and worldly matters should be secondary. Even concerning someone who is involved in making a living, during the set times he has to learn Torah he should be totally concentrating on the Torah being learned, and not be distracted by his financial responsibilities etc..
Learning in this way effects the entire home to become a house of Torah, a house full of Jewish books. Not just a bookcase of books, or a table that Torah is learned upon, but the entire house becomes full of Torah. This is because the persons entire will and thoughts revolve around the study of Torah. This is the center of his life that everything else revolves around.
Regarding the known story (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 10 pg. 105) concerning the chassid Reb Binyomin Kletzker, once when he was involved in totaling up his financial ledger when he reached the sum total he wrote "There is nothing besides Him!" This being the true total of everything.
It is understood that this chassid didn't write this in order to show how great a chassid he was, or as a joke, rather since his thoughts were always on Hashem, and that there is nothing besides Him, this expressed itself as a matter of course also in his writing. When it came to writing the sum total of everything it came into his mind that the true sum total of everything is Hashem. He couldn't write the sum total is a number since it isn't the true sum total of everything.
Similarly, concerning the story of a chassid that was asked by another chassid how is it possible to mix G-dly matters of Chassidus in the middle of business? He answered very matter-of-factly, that this is not such a difficult question. If in the middle of prayer thoughts about business can enter, then it is a certainty that in the middle of work thoughts of G-dliness can enter. It is even more so since business is only a temporary thing, whereas making a dwelling place for Hashem is an eternal matter.
In connection with the above, now is the time to mention again concerning opening new Bais Chabad's and places of Torah and Tefillah. Through them holiness and Judaism is brought down and established in a permanent way. Even though this takes the gathering of money, this should be, as was mentioned above, in a manner of "There is nothing besides Hashem." There shouldn't be the gathering of money and the forgetting about Hashem, G-d forbid.
Our brothers behind the Iron Curtain have for many years not been allowed to be involved in anything concerning Judaism, through persecution and laws. This has gone on for a very long time. It has reached to such an extent that the majority of Jews there have not even seen a Sefer Torah. This means to say that, not only are they not allowed to learn Torah, but that they cannot even look at what a Sefer Torah is!
It is a certainty that they had no possibility to learn Torah in the most complete manner, one of which being the association with colleagues that help each other to learn. As it is stated in Pirkei Avos (6:6), that one of the conditions to be successful in learning Torah is the association with colleagues. Similarly they were lacking in other matters conducive to learning Torah in the best way.
In spite of the many obstacles, many Jews have nonetheless started the learning of Torah and the doing of mitzvos. There is no greater sanctification of the name of G-d than this. Their self-sacrifice and sanctification of G-d's name is totally beyond that of Jews who live in free countries.
This level of self-sacrifice shows the uniqueness of the Jews living in these countries, and the special abilities that were given them from Hashem. Therefore they were given a greater test since they have been given the abilities to past the test. Others have not been given such a test since they have not been given such energies.
Therefore, when these Jews finally are able to leave from behind the Iron Curtain whatever is done for them doesn't begin to reach to what one is obligated to do for them, relating to both physical and spiritual needs. Immediately upon leaving from a place of oppression a boy should be given a tallis katon. A girl should immediately be given Shabbos candles in order that she can do the mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles in an open way. She now doesn't have to hide and worry that because of her, her parents who taught her will be sent to Siberia.
On the other hand, it is easy to imagine the result if their leaving is met with a cold reception. Even if an effort is made to help these Jews, but it isn't done with the total effort that is required, the results will also be lacking.
In particular this applies to those that have been given the merit from above to help these Jews. They should realize the merit that they have, and put forth as much effort as is required.
In some cases it is required to set aside the learning of Torah to help these Jews. We see the Rashbi himself stopped learning in order to make a Sukkah and Lulav, (Yerushalmi, Berachos 1:2). He didn't stop just do the mitzvah itself, rather he stopped to do even the making of the Sukkah and Lulav because that was the mitzvah that was required to do at that time. Similarly in our case, it is necessary to set other things aside in order to be involved in the saving of Jews which is required now.
All efforts should be made to raise money and to do all other things that are required. There should also be built a new neighborhood for these Jews in Israel.
The saying of the Rashbi "There are three crowns – the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of kingship; but the crown of a good name surpasses them all," is not understood.
It is explained in many places, (Likkutei Torah, Sukkos pg. 83a), that the crown of a good name is connected with the doing of mitzvos. This is why the crown of a good name is higher than the rest, higher even than the crown of Torah, because "great is the learning of Torah because it leads to action, (Kiddushin 40b)."
It would seem that since the Rashbi's whole life was Torah, as it says "Torah was his craft, (occupation)," how could the Rashbi emphasize the crown of a good name over that of Torah?
This will be understood by prefacing with the explanation of "Torah was his craft." The craft of a craftsman is not his total being, rather the craftsman is just involved in the craft. An example being a craftsman who works with precious jewels and pearls. The precious jewels are not his entire existence, it is only that his craft involves precious jewels.
Similarly in our case, even though the main involvement of the Rashbi was with the learning Torah, nevertheless, his essence was involved in his connection and unification with Hashem. Therefore, since this connection is made through the doing of mitzvos, (the word mitzvah itself meaning connection and unification), the Rashbi emphasized the advantage of the crown of a good name over all other crowns.
In addition, we see the text mentions three crowns and not four. This implies that the "crown of a good name" is not a crown apart from the other crowns, rather, it is "above the others." This means to say that the fruition of the doing of mitzvos follows after, and is based upon, the achievement of the other three crowns.
Now we can understand why on Lag B'Omer we take children away from learning Torah in order to fulfill the customs associated with the day. This action is what is demanded at this particular time.
Lag B'Omer, 5747
On Lag B'Omer, the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita, spoke to the thousands of children assembled for the Lag B'Omer Parade. From the reviewing stand in front of 770 Eastern Parkway, his address was carried live over international satellite T.V. and it was seen by tens of thousands of people on five continents.
The Rebbe spoke of the pure and precious blessing which emanates from the hearts and souls of young Jewish children and how Lag B'Omer provides an opportune time to fulfill the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisrael. The omer teaches us the importance of preparing for Mattan Torah and the concept of combining all our previous activities to prepare for a momentous event. G-d rejoices when His will is done on earth. We must also be joyous that we can make G-d happy.
Once again the Rebbe stressed the importance of influencing the Nations of the world to observe the Seven Noachide Laws, emphasizing that it would guarantee peace and prosperity on earth.
Since the President of the United States recently issued a proclamation urging all people to observe the Seven Noachide Principles it is now easier for every individual to motivate more non-Jews to follow the universal Laws given to all mankind. This conduct will lead to the coveted blessings of peace for all the world.
Let us begin with blessings. Torah teaches us to address every gathering of Jews with words of benediction and good wishes for all the assembled, and as Torah blessings emanate from the inner heart, our blessing will emanate from the depths of the hearts of young and old.
The blessings which you children will proclaim are very precious, for they come from the pure hearts of small Jewish children, and they are spoken with "a breath in which there is no sin." (Shabbos 119b) Small children are connected to Torah and Yiddishkeit with all their energy and this strength is not dissipated by involvement in worldly matters such as earning a living, involvement in business, or careers. Being free of all these matters, small children may be immersed all day in Torah study, observance of mitzvos and good actions; the way Jewish children should always conduct themselves.
Jewish boys are referred to as the "sons of Avraham, Yitzchok and Ya'akov" and Jewish girls are seen as the "daughters of Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah." With the power of our sacred ancestors, the blessings expressed by the children certainly well up from the inner depth and richness of their hearts. When Jews extend these sincere blessings to one another, then presently, the Holy One, Blessed be He, also adds His multiple blessings from His full, open, holy, abundant and overflowing hand.
G-d's blessings serve to strengthen and enliven the conduct of the Jewish children in all areas of Yiddishkeit with material and spiritual health so that the parents, grandparents and educators will derive much more nachas – satisfaction – from the children and they will become more involved in further educating the children in good health and prosperity.
All of this is greatly enhanced when many children gather together. One of the most important commandments of the Torah is to love your neighbor as yourself. Rabbi Akiva said this is an important principle of Torah and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai carried on the teachings of Rabbi Akiva. On Lag B'Omer we celebrate the Hilulo – Yahrzeit and holiday of Rashbi and when many children gather on Lag B'Omer the opportunity to show love for every Jew is very great.
This Ahavas Yisrael should influence all areas of a Jewish child's activities in Torah and mitzvos, and by setting a good example it will influence other Jewish children to make strong resolutions to practice their religion, beginning with showing love to their friends – boys to boys and girls to girls and continuing with other mitzvos throughout the coming year.
This good conduct on the part of the children will also influence their parents and educators to increase their educational efforts, with affection, and these parents will also tell their friends about these good occurrences and influence other parents and educators to do likewise. All this will engender greater blessing from the Holy One, Blessed be He.
What special lesson do we draw from the 33rd day of the Omer to enhance the good conduct of Jewish children?
Torah illuminates our life and as we seek a lesson for the young children, at same time we are reminded of the rule that the elders must admonish the young and by doing so, the hearts of the fathers are turned back to G-d through their children.
On the subject of counting the days of the Omer our sages tell us that it constitutes a period of preparation for Shavuos, the Season of the Giving of Our Torah. When the Jewish people were liberated by Moshe and marched out of Egypt they knew that their goal was to "Serve G-d on this mountain" – so they counted the days, anxiously and impatiently, waiting for Mattan Torah. We commemorate this longing for Torah each year when we count the days of the Omer between Pesach and Shavuos, once again expressing our impatient longing to receive the Torah.
Torah is the most precious of G-d's creations, so much so that it is referred to as the "sequestered treasure." It was this treasure which G-d gave to the Jewish people openly and completely – "He chose us from among the nations of the world and gave us His Torah." (Siddur) It is this Torah which is the inheritance of every Jew: "The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Ya'akov." (Devorim 33:4) This inheritance is the possession of every Jew who can study, comprehend and even be creative in Torah.
When a child begins to speak we teach him words of Torah. While he was still in the cradle his bed was festooned with verses of Torah and the lullabies which were sung to the child extolled the value of Torah, "it is the best merchandise," more precious than all the treasures of heaven and earth. It was for this precious gift that the Jews counted the days which served as a preparation for Mattan Torah and each day they rose to a higher level and increased their longing for Torah.
The formula of the Counting of the Omer is cumulative, each day adds to the Divine service of the previous days, and all together they raise the person higher and closer to Torah. On the second day we count "two days of the Omer," and on the 33rd day we count "thirty-three days of the Omer." All the days have been added together in preparation for receiving the Torah.
This is the clear lesson which we must draw from this gathering in the Omer period. These Sefirah days teach us to count and await the time when we will receive the Torah anew, with new strength and enthusiasm. The preparation phase should be highlighted by firm commitment and decisions in Torah and mitzvos, each day adding more good resolutions upon previous commitments, so that on the 33rd day we have all the accomplishments of the previous 32 days, and then continue to grown and advance until the day of the giving of the Torah.
Certainly, all of you will attend Synagogue on Shavuos when the Ten Commandments will be read and you will listen carefully to the blessings and answer Amen and then follow the Torah reading.
From the Sefirah days we learn that we must always count, advance and grow in all areas of Torah and mitzvos – for everyday we have the opportunity to receive the Torah as new. This growth will also bring greater blessings from G-d. As the Torah tells us: "If you follow My laws and are careful to keep My commandments," (Vayikra 26:3) then we will receive all the blessings enumerated in the following verses. Lag B'Omer introduces an added source of inspiration because it is the special day of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
It could happen that when a child learns this lesson of Sefirah he will ask: "How can I accomplish this formidable task, it seems to be too difficult a responsibility, especially in the time of exile."
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai answers just that question when he teaches us:
See how precious are the Jewish people before the Holy One, Blessed be He,...to every place where they were exiled the Shechinah went with them...they were exiled to Edom and the Shechinah went with them. (Megillah 29a)
In the darkest diaspora G-d is with every Jewish child – He dwells with him everyday and every moment.
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. (Tanya ch. 41)
It is clear that since G-d is always with every Jewish child (in golus) He certainly gives every child the ability to serve G-d properly, which includes growth and improvement even in the darkest golus. He also has the power to do this with happiness and gladness. Knowing how close G-d is to him, despite the natural distance, the child is encouraged and happy. His joy is manifold when he recalls the aphorism we just recited in the 12 verses and sayings of our sages:
The Jews should rejoice in their Maker. Every Jew should share in G-d's joy, who rejoices and is happy in His dwelling in this world. (Tanya ch. 33)
This means that G-d is happy with the world He made and Jews should be doubly happy for this. On this day the Rashbi also asked us to be more happy. When a person is happy he can accomplish a lot more than usual, so that from this day we go forward with rich optimism, certain of growth and accomplishment in Torah and mitzvos, with great happiness, and then G-d will bestow all His blessings upon us.
When Jews serve G-d with joy it increases G-d's joy. When a Jew rejoices that G-d is with him then G-d in even happier with His people. And through His people G-d is also happy with all His creations – the heavens, the earth and all their host which are blessed and continue to exist in the merit of "the breath of small children in which there is no sin." The Universe will then be blessed with the supreme blessing of peace which includes all other blessings – and engenders all other blessings, brilliantly and openly.
The Talmudic adage: "The world endures only for the sake of...school children" (Shabbos 119b) conveys to us the important principle that the conduct and condition of young Jewish school children has a vital effect on the world, and in their merit the world is the beneficiary of G-d's blessings. At the same time their influence may be felt on all the nations of the world.
The Rambam (Maimonides) clearly rules in the Laws of Kings that every Jew has the responsibility to influence the gentile nations of the world to accept and observe the universal commandments given to them by G-d. The Divine ordinances given to mankind are known as the Seven Noachide Laws, which are really seven broad, legal principles that include many specific laws wherewith to govern human society. Even the gentile nations must realize and recognize that these laws were commanded by G-d in the Torah and taught to the world by Moshe our teacher. (Laws of Kings 8:10-11)
The underlying theme of these seven principles is to effect the realization of the Divine will for the world: "He formed it to be inhabited." (Yeshayahu 45:18) And the inhabitants of the world must create a social order that provides the framework for a peaceful and tranquil existence. The goal of existence is "peace in the land," peace among nations, peace among individuals, which is the state of existence we will have when Moshiach will come. Then, "there will be no famine, and no war, no jealousy and no rivalry," as well as no distress of any form.
In a broader sense the peace will also encompass the relationship of G-d and His creations, all peoples and all living beings, all flora and all fauna. This peacefulness will blossom into joyousness when G-d sees how His creations fulfill His various desires and recognize Him as Creator of the world. This condition is indicative of the future state when:
Then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the L-rd to serve Him with one consent. (Tzephaniah 3:9)
This year's gathering on Lag B'Omer which occurs in the week that we read in the Torah: "I will grant peace in the land," (Vayikra 26:6) places greater emphasis on our duty to influence and motivate the non-Jewish world to fulfill the Seven Noachide Principles with all their details.
Learn from these children!
These Jewish children have assembled here and are rejoicing and practicing the mitzvah of loving their fellow Jews. These children say no falsehoods and covet not what others have, in fact they relentlessly do whatever they can in the realm of kindness and charity to all who are near them.
Certainly this ideal living example will move the gentile leaders who see and hear them to refrain from falsehood, thievery and to practice charity. They will certainly be imbued with a spirit of kindness and then automatically famine and wars will disappear from the face of the earth.
Along with the command, G-d bestows the power to perform – so that this dream can truly become a reality.
Not long ago the President of the United States issued a much heralded proclamation which gave special attention to the Seven Noachide Laws.
In the Presidential proclamation (issued on Education Day, 1987) the President underscored the vital importance of the Seven Noachide Laws. He stressed that our duty to perform these rules comes from G-d's command and that the principles of independence of the United States rest strongly on the premise of exercizing G-d's will on earth.
In addition to the citizens of America the President also urged all the leaders of the nations of the world to beseech their citizens to observe the laws of Noach – for their own benefit, so that they should enjoy peace, prosperity and serenity. Now that the President has raised this subject it should be easier for every individual to encourage others to do them.
May G-d grant that the President's appeal should be heeded here at home and abroad, and hopefully the leaders of the sovereign states of the world will turn to their people and urge them to observe the laws of Noach in all their varied details.
In addition to these lessons of Sefirah and Lag B'Omer the wise students will find more to learn from and will grow in wisdom, understanding and knowledge and then be more diligent in observing mitzvos. As a result of which they will receive even greater blessings listed in the Torah, culminating with the blessing, "I will lead you forth with your heads held high," staunchly, enthusiastically and joyfully – having studied Torah and having encouraged others to follow G-d's ways. All this is an increasingly radiant way.
The true light and brilliance will radiate when "The L-rd shall be to you an everlasting light." (Yeshayahu 60:19) For all will pay homage to G-d and He will illuminate the world, since everyone will fulfill his/her G-dly obligations.
It is our custom to incorporate the mitzvah of tzedakah – charity – into our gatherings, for charity indicates G-d's infinite benevolence. He created all beings and all that we receive from the Holy One, Blessed be He, is analogous to a pauper who is patronized by a prince.
Yet, G-d has given us the initiative, and the charity we receive from G-d does not demean us rather it uplifts us for it comes from the Holy One, Blessed be He, and is received by Jews who are rich with Torah and mitzvos, and most of all, G-d gave us the opportunity to draw down His benevolence by practicing charity ourselves.
It therefore makes sense to include tzedakah in our program today – I will give each of you a coin for charity and you should add another coin of your own for charity.
This action will engender G-d's blessing upon each and everyone of you, upon all Jews and upon all mankind, in an infinite and pleasant manner. Ultimately your tzedakah will bring the ultimate tzedakah, the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach, and when all mitzvos are observed with zealousness then the redemption will come quickly. And then the peace will be all-encompassing.
This points to the Torah dictum: The purpose of the creation of every Jew and of all the worlds is to make a dwelling place for G-d in this world. (Tanya ch. 33)
"And kingship will be the L-rd's." May it be speedily and truly in our days, Amen, so may it be.