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Publishers Foreword

15th Day of Shevat, 5745
Rosh Hashanah for Trees

Eve of 17th of Shevat, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Yisro
18th Day of Shevat, 5745

A Coin of Fire

Shabbos Parshas Mishpotim
Parshas Shekalim
25th Day of Shevat, 5745

Eve of the 7th of Adar, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Tetzaveh
Parshas Zachor
9th Day of Adar, 5745

Mesiras Nefesh / Russian Jewry

Study of Rambam One Chapter Daily

Tzivos Hashem
12th Day of Adar, 5745

Taanis Esther
13th Day of Adar, 5745

Purim, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Ki Sissa
16th Day of Adar, 5745

Eve of l9th of Adar, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei
Parshas Parah
23rd Day of Adar, 5745

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Vayikra
Parshas HaChodesh
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Tzav
Shabbos HaGadol
8th Day of Nissan, 5745

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
11th Day of Nissan, 5745

Sichos In English
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 25 Shevat-Nissan, 5745

Eve of 17th of Shevat, 5745

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  15th Day of Shevat, 5745
Rosh Hashanah for Trees
Shabbos Parshas Yisro
18th Day of Shevat, 5745

1. We have all gathered at this period, first and foremost in connection with the Hillula day (anniversary of passing) of the previous Rebbe, the Nasi of our generation.

Many have traveled great distances, some from across the sea, to be together on the auspicious day and to make good resolutions.

The blessings connected with this auspicious day are also augmented by joining together with many other Jews.

And hopefully, these resolutions and blessings will continue to inspire and invigorate everyone, until the coming Hillula, which will bring with it the increased blessing and light of a new year.

Another theme for those who have gathered here, is the special day of the 15th of Shvat, which is the New Year for Trees. Being on the 15th of the Hebrew month, when the moon is in its full phase, it represents the unity of the Jewish people, who are compared to the moon.

Finally, this particular gathering is taking place Thursday night, in the synagogue, where the previous Rebbe lived and worked during the last ten years of his life on this world.

We can learn from the convergence of these three occurrences a directive for our Divine service. which is the purpose of our creation.

In a previous farbrengen we explained the lesson to be garnered from the name Yosef Yitzchok. From Yosef we learn to bring another son to G-d, by changing an other into a son, or by rising to the level of becoming another son. The name Yitzchok taught us to bring Jews to joy. The fusion of the two names also had a lesson for us. Namely, that in the role of mentor Yosef one should proceed with happiness, enthusiasm and genuine warmth, and in the role of Yitzchok, the harbinger of joy to every Jew on every level, one must strive, at the same time, to raise everyone to a higher level, to make another son.

The Torah portion of today has a relationship to all these matters and its message brings strength to all these activities.

According to the Midrash, ... when G-d created the world He decreed: the heavens are the heavens of the L-rd; but the earth He has given to the children of men. Yet when He was about to give the Torah, He rescinded the first decree and said: Those who are below shall ascend to those on high, while those who are on high shall descend to those that are below, and will begin, as it is said: And the L-rd came down on Mount Sinai. (Shmos Rabbah 12:3)

Thus from todays portion we learn that just as at Matan Torah, G-d was the one who began to bring the spiritual to the material, similarly, G-d begins by giving us His blessings. The Divine blessing of long life, children and sustenance brings us to the condition of, our mouth filled with laughter. The blessing from above includes a blessing for success in our Divine service and joy in our work, which includes the power of overcoming all obstacles in the way of our Divine responsibility.

What lesson do we take from the 15th of Shvat? The New Year for Trees brings to mind the idea of continual growth. for trees are always growing, they go, from strength to strength.

This personifies the personality of the previous Rebbe, especially during the last 10 years of his life, when he was not restricted, and he motivated and urged others to continually grow.

The tree also indicates the idea of unity, for just as the leaves are needed to protect the fruit and help the fruit to grow, so too the unlearned, ignorant Jews protect and support the sages. Only when all aspects are present and functioning can we call it a living vine or tree.

The other aspect of the 15th of the month is the full phase of the moon which brings the Divine service of the 10th of Shvat to a fuller dimension. All this has the added theme of Rosh HaShanah (being the New Year for Trees) which gives it the power to be drawn into the entire year.

These themes coming together on the eve of the sixth day [this night], reminds us, that every Friday is in the model of the sixth day of creation, of which the Torah says, that everything was very good.

The sixth day also has a special connection with the theme of Mashiach and redemption. According to the Ramban, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, in his commentary on Torah:

The six days of creation represent the time span of the world, which will be six thousand years. And the sixth day, the day man was created, corresponds to the sixth millennium, in which Mashiach the son of Dovid comes.

Thus, in the last epoch of the sixth millennium, the time of preparation for Mashiach arrives, just as on Friday, in the afternoon, the time of preparation for Shabbos arrives.

So every Friday reminds us of the footsteps of Mashiach. Now when someone, even a simple average person, is reminded, that soon, soon, he will merit to greet Mashiach what joy, what enthusiasm, what radiance, will be evoked. He will rush to polish the buttons on his uniform and make sure that they are perfect in order to greet Mashiach.

May it be the will of Hashem that everyone will increase his involvement in all these activities, so that tomorrow, on the day of Shabbos, we will merit the day that is completely good. This aspect of the redemption should begin in the sixth day very soon and quickly, so that we shall go to greet our righteous Mashiach, with our children and elders, our sons and daughters true Jewish unity.

The Shechinah will also be redeemed and the glory of G-d will be revealed.

Our Divine service will then be complete and we will all arrive with joy and gladness of heart in our Holy Land: ... the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are on it at all times, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.

There we will go to Yerushalayim the Holy City, the city of the great king. The Sanctuary, which Your Hands, O L-rd, have established.

And there we will perform Your commandments on a much loftier plane than ever before, in the Third Beis HaMikdash, which will be built quickly.

I will also give each of you a dollar, to be given to tzedakah when you return to your homes. Preferably the money should be given for a purpose of Jewish education which effects the true meaning of the seedling planted by G-d of which G-d is proud.

And then we will attain the ultimate revelation of Matan Torah, when we will study Torah from Mashiach himself! And then the promises will be fulfilled: The glory of G-d will be revealed and all flesh will see together. The kingdom will be to the L-rd. And all the nations will know that You alone, whose name is the L-rd, are the most high over all the earth. (Tehillim 83:19) Truly quickly, with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach.

2. May the Holy One Blessed be He, bless each and every one of the bar-mitzvah and bas-mitzvah celebrants and grant them success, together with their parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters and all their relatives, among the community of Israel.

The celebration of a bar-mitzvah brings great joy to all those associated with it in the physical world, and also in the spiritual world, for the Holy One, Blessed be He.

Since joy pierces all restrictions, it certainly will effect an increase in the benevolence of G-d to each and every Jew. Especially for those bar-mitzvah and bas-mitzvah celebrants and their parents, who educated them and raised them to good deeds and Torah. For this was a mission that they fulfilled, by caring for the Jewish children which G-d placed in their care, to educate them to good deeds and Torah. And when the time comes may they merit to lead them to the wedding canopy with joy and gladness of heart.

All of the aspects of blessings and success which relate to these special days (as elaborated on in the general Yechidus), are also included in this blessing: the 10th of Shvat, the 15th of Shvat New Year for Trees when the moon is full, and the sixth day of the week when G-d saw that all he had made was very Rood.

It is appropriate to reveal the very good of each bar-mitzvah boy and bas-mitzvah girl. By becoming responsible to perform the mitzvos the boy or girl receives the vessel with which to receive the blessing of G-d. As it says: If you will follow My statutes and observe My commandments then G-d will bestow upon you all of the blessings listed there, including the promise, and I will lead you upright the true and complete redemption, through our righteous Mashiach.

The general theme of bar-mitzvah is appropriately connected with the Chumash portion of today, the sixth section part of Yisro.

The content of todays Torah section is the story of Matan Torah the giving of the Ten Commandments in which are included (symbolically) all the mitzvos of the Torah.

Rashi mentions this in his commentary on Shmos 24:12:

All the six hundred and thirteen commandments are implicitly contained in the Ten Commandments [and may therefore be regarded as having been written on the tablets]. Rabbi Saadia specified in the Azharos, which he has composed, those commandments which may be associated with each of the Ten Commandments.

Included in this are also the Seven Rabbinic mitzvos, hinted at by the number of letters in the Ten Commandments 620 613 plus seven. Similarly all the themes of Torah are included in the Ten Commandments even, innovations introduced by the scholars, were also included.

The revelation at Sinai the giving of the Torah imposed the obligation on every Jew to observe all aspects of Torah and mitzvos. In a sense, Matan Torah was the bar-mitzvah of the Jewish nation and of each individual Jew, including all Jews, to the end of time, since all Jewish souls were present when the Ten Commandments were spoken. This theme is revealed by each individual at the time of bar-mitzvah when he actually assumes the responsibility of observing Torah and mitzvos; sort of his personal Matan Torah.

Chassidus explains that the concept of Matan Torah recurs in every generation, every day and each moment. as it says:

And the L-rd spoke all these words, saying, which means: speak and say all the words which were said to Moshe at Sinai ... to pay attention to the fact that it was the actual word of G-d which was told to Moshe. Just as there it was with fear and awe etc., so too here ... whenever anyone studies Torah at any time it is the word of G-d spoken to Moshe at Sinai ... and as if he had received the Torah today from Sinai. (Torah Ohr, Yisro, 67b)

Now on this day, when we read this section of the Torah about Matan Torah, we must live with this lesson.

When bar-mitzvah boys gather on this day in which the Torah tells of Matan Torah, and they enter the ranks of responsible Jews, how intense is the experience of acceptance! It brings additional strength, enthusiasm and radiance in the Divine service of Torah study and mitzvah observance to each and every bar-mitzvah or bas-mitzvah celebrant. Also to their parents, who raised and educated them, and all their relatives, as also an increased blessing for success in all their needs, especially in Torah and Yiddishkeit.

It will be fitting that all of the bar-mitzvah celebrants shall observe the custom of contributing to tzedakah on their birthday [or if it falls on Shabbos then on Friday and Sunday]. Similarly they should study chapter 14 of Tehillim, the book of the sweet singer of Yisrael Dovid the King Mnqh i S svh

It is also proper that the parents, brothers and sisters should contribute to tzedakah in merit of the hslr_mi t7vrh

My participation in the celebration of the joyous occasion of the bar-mitzvah, will be to give each of you one dollar bill, on the condition that you will give it to tzedakah and add something of your own.

Being that the mitzvah of tzedakah is equal to all the mitzvos, this will add strength and success to the future observance of all aspects of Torah and mitzvos, and it will also bring an increase in the blessings of the Holy One, Blessed be He: For righteousness is Yours. And especially, it will bring the main blessing: Tzedakah is great because it brings closer the redemption, through our righteous Mashiach.

Then the theme of bar-mitzvah will reach its perfection, for then the observance of all mitzvos will be perfect, as explained in Chassidus. As the Sifrei says that our observance of mitzvos, now makes points to lead to the ultimate observance of mitzvos at the time of the approaching redemption.

Our actions done with joy bring this even closer, as well as the great and true joy, when we will see the true redemption.

And all together, our youth and elders ... sons and daughters, will proceed to our Holy Land: ... the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are on it at all times, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year ..., there to Yerushalayim the city of the great King: ... the Sanctuary which Your hands, O L-rd, have established.

With joy and gladness of heart.

3. May G-d grant that all the preparations for your weddings, and the weddings, seven days of celebration and your future married life shall be in a manner of an everlasting edifice, with long life and good years. May all this be with much success, revealed, intense, and radiant with the true and inner illumination of Torah and especially the teachings of Chassidus.

Specifically, that the groom and bride, their parents and relatives will resolve, even before the wedding, to increase all aspects of Torah and mitzvos.

The directive that, If you follow My statutes and are careful to keep My commandments, creates a vessel to draw down the all embracing blessings of the Holy One, Blessed be He, in all aspects, especially the everlasting edifice.

You should follow the custom that on the wedding day the groom, bride, parents and relatives should contribute to tzedakah in addition to the increase in all matters pertaining to the wedding day, such as prayers etc.

On the day of the chuppah one is forgiven for all past shortcomings, which adds blessing and success in all matters.

Since the Torah of truth establishes that on the wedding day and the subsequent seven days of feasting, the groom and bride are compared to a king and queen, this forms a preparation for the renewal of the Jewish Kingdom of Dovid, the King Mashiach, in reality, for all to see.

The general theme of marriage is especially associated with todays Torah section, the sixth portion of Yisro.

Todays Torah section speaks of Matan Torah, the giving of the Ten Commandments, comprised of 620 letters, corresponding to the 613 Scriptural mitzvos and the seven Rabbinic mitzvos, with all their details and ramifications.

The theme of Matan Torah recurs whenever a person studies Torah, and certainly when the daily Torah portion includes the story of Matan Torah.

The Midrash tells us that Torah and Israel are likened to a groom and bride, and Matan Torah was like the wedding of Torah and Israel, creating an everlasting edifice for the Torah is eternal.

We may interpret this Midrash in two ways. We can say that Torah is the groom and Israel is the bride, i.e. that Torah bestows and Israel receives, since Torah is our life and the length of our days. The union of Torah and the Jews then produces offspring. The offspring of the righteous are their good deeds.

Or we may say that Israel was the groom and Torah was the bride for the Jews bestow and draw more life into Torah. By study, we expound and innovate in the Torah

An example of this would be that the holy books in ones home cry out to him to open them and study them, again and again to the point that they will have to be replaced because of wear and tear.

This is connected to the custom that the bride presents her fiancee with the gift of a Shas [complete Talmud], and among Chassidim, also Chassidic works. The purpose of course being, that he should study!

Consequently, the theme of marriage must be related to the marriage of Israel and Torah, by establishing the home in a way that it will be illuminated with, Mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light, which will illuminate the home and the environment.

The groom and also the bride should increase their Torah study, both Scriptural and Oral Torah. For, ... also women are obligated to study and to know the laws that pertain to them. Especially those laws connected with marriage and family purity, which is mainly dependent on the women. Thus, the observance, care, taharah and holiness depend on them and they will encourage also their husbands.

There should also be an increase in prayer, which has a special connection with women, whose sense of emotion is developed to a greater degree than by men. Prayer is the service of the heart and therefore women can apply themselves to prayer with greater intensity and strength.

Similarly there should be an increase in tzedakah, especially on the wedding day. They should take a percentage of their money, with which they could have bought the necessities of life, and donate it to tzedakah, in that way giving their soul life to G-d. Those coins of tzedakah will become coins of fire which will radiate and illuminate their home with the light of Torah and mitzvos. All this shall be done enthusiastically, fervently, and brilliantly, with the fire of Yiddishkeit and Chassidus.

This will add to the success of the wedding, week of celebration and the eternal edifice. It will also speed the future redemption, when we will attain the complete marriage of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and the congregation of Israel. As the Midrash says, that this world is the engagement and the world to come will be the marriage. Then all aspects of joy will reach fulfillment for the promise will be fulfilled: Let there speedily 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 groom and the sound of a bride.

My participation will be to present each of you with a dollar bill so that you may give it, or its substitute, for tzedakah, on the wedding day in merit of the groom and bride.

With your good resolutions reached now, may the blessings and reward for your good actions later, be given to you now. So may it be for each and everyone among all Israel and very speedily may we merit the fulfillment of the promise: Let there be speedily 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 groom and the sound of a bride.

  15th Day of Shevat, 5745
Rosh Hashanah for Trees
Shabbos Parshas Yisro
18th Day of Shevat, 5745
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