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Shabbos Parshas Behar-Bechukosai

The Address to the International Convention of N'shei uBnos Chabad

Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar

Shavuos & Shabbos Parshas Naso, 5750

Yechidus

Shabbos Parshas Behaalos'cha

To the Graduating Class of Bais Rivkah and the Girls who will be Serving as Counselors in Summer Camps

Shabbos Parshas Shelach

Shabbos Parshas Korach

Shabbos Parshas Chukas

Shabbos Parshas Balak

Yechidus

17th Day of Tammuz, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Pinchas

25th of Tammuz, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Matos-Masei

Shabbos Parshas Devarim, Shabbos Chazon

Shabbos Parshas Va'eschanan, Shabbos Nachamu

Shabbos Parshas Eikev

Tzivos Hashem, Day Camps

Shabbos Parshas Re'eh

Shabbos Parshas Shoftim

To the Campers of Emunah

   7th Day of Elul, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei

Shabbos Parshas Ki Savo

N'shei uBnos Chabad

Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech

The Blessing Delivered by the Rebbe Shlita upon Receiving the Pan Klali

Sichos In English
Volume 45

To the Campers of Emunah
7th Day of Elul, 5750
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  4th Day of Elul, 575011th Day of Elul, 5750  

1

This gathering is being held in the month of Elul, the month of stocktaking in which we review our conduct in the previous year. This should motivate us to increase the unique service of the month of Elul, the month of mercy when the King -- G-d, King of kings -- is found in the field.

This leads to the month of Tishrei, a month "rich in festivals." In particular, this year is unique because Rosh HaShanah (and similarly, the holidays of Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres, and Simchas Torah) fall on Thursday and Friday and immediately thereafter, we proceed to Shabbos. Thus, three straight days are characterized by a festive atmosphere. Furthermore, the three consecutive days strengthen and reinforce this pattern of behavior, granting it the status of a chazakah.[270]

This is particularly relevant to Jewish women and children (including even those of a very young age) who will light candles three times consecutively to usher in these Shabbasos and festivals. Indeed, the young children are the first to light these candles -- kindling them even before their mothers. Thus, they illuminate their homes with the light of mitzvah and then, recite the blessing, thanking G-d for giving them such a mitzvah.

The above is particularly relevant this year, ", "a year of miracles," which will take us into ", a year when "I will show you wonders." G-d promises that the coming year will be characterized by even greater miracles than the present year and those wonders will be revealed to us.

This receives greater emphasis when the King goes out to the field where His people, the Jewish people, and, in particular, Jewish children are found. The prophet expresses G-d's love for each Jew, quoting Him as saying, "Israel is a youth and I love him." G-d loves every Jew like a father loves his only son. Since G-d is the Creator of the heaven and the earth, this love permeates through the entire creation.

Similarly, a Jew's love for G-d must permeate through every aspect of his behavior, even those which are involved with material things. For example, by reciting a blessing before eating or by reciting the Shema,[271] we show how our love for G-d has permeated even these basic human activities. Similarly, this love must be expressed in every aspect of our thought, speech, and action. We must think only about G-d and express this thought in our every day conduct.

The above is particularly relevant to girls who have spent a summer in Camp Emunah and thus, will illuminate their homes with the light of faith which was strengthened there. Our Sages relate that "Chabakuk came and based [the totality of Torah and mitzvos] on faith." Similarly, your experience in Camp Emunah should reinforce your fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos in the entire year to come.

2

It is customary to connect these gatherings with a lesson from the weekly Torah portion. This week's portion, Parshas Ki Seitzei, contains a lesson which is uniquely relevant to Jewish children.

This portion begins: "When you go out to war on your enemies... you shall take captives." On the surface, the expression, "on your enemies," is problematic. Seemingly, the Torah should have stated, "with your enemies," or "against your enemies." By using the word "on," however, the Torah teaches us that we are above our enemies.

Each Jew, and in particular, Jewish children, should know that although we are still in exile and are, "the smallest among the nations," we still have the power not to be intimidated by non-Jews. Although one lives in a city, in a neighborhood, and perhaps, in a building, where most of the inhabitants are gentiles, one need not be influenced by them.

On the contrary, we should live with them in peace for "all [the Torah's] ways are peace," but yet be cognizant that "[the Jews'] faith is different from all other nations." Therefore, if a gentile asks a Jew why he does not partake of his food, the Jew should explain the following to him:

Each creation has a mission of its own. For example, in the human body, the head and the heart, the hands and the feet, all perform different functions. Similarly, G-d has charged gentiles with one set of mitzvos (the seven universal laws commanded to Noach and his descendants) and Jews with another set of mitzvos (the Torah's 613 mitzvos).[272]

When a Jewish child sees a gentile eating non-kosher food and observes that it contributes to his health, his yetzer hora -- who is the Jew's true enemy -- will try to convince the child that this food will be good for him as well.[273] Indeed, the yetzer hora will try to convince the child that he is his true friend. After all, G-d created him and placed him in the child's heart. Therefore, it appears obvious that he is "a good inclination." This is the ultimate of evil: to make another person do evil and yet appear as if one is seeking his welfare.

And so the child will ask his parents and teachers: From where will he derive the power to defeat the yetzer hora and show him that he is an enemy, not a friend? Furthermore, the yetzer hora is the first to take possession of his heart. He does not understand: Why did G-d create the yetzer hora in the first place?

This week's portion provides an answer to these questions, teaching a Jew that although G-d wants a Jewish child to confront the yetzer hora, G-d grants him an advantage. Each Jew is "on," i.e., above, "your enemies." Just as in an actual war, the force which is in a higher position has an advantage, similarly, in the conflict with the yetzer hora, a Jew must know that there is no reason to feel intimidated. He is above his enemy.

This grants him the power to continue his service of G-d, filling every moment of his day with Torah and mitzvos, without at all being affected by the yetzer hora. Furthermore, the above mentioned verse states that "you shall take captives." This can be interpreted to mean that a Jew has the potential to redeem the captives which were taken previously by the yetzer hora. For example, in the previous month, the month of Av -- which is not characterized by the same unique potentials as the month of Elul -- the Beis HaMikdash was taken captive by the gentiles.[274] Because we are "above our enemies," we have the power to redeem our captives and bring the Beis HaMikdash back to the Jews.

3

It is customary to conclude these gatherings with the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah. May this serve as a preparation for the redeeming of the captives described above.

Each of you will be given three coins -- a chazakah as above -- two to do with as you desire, and one which you are being given to act as agents in giving Tzedakah. May this strengthen your fulfillment of the totality of Torah and mitzvos, including the mitzvah of "waiting for him (Moshiach), each day, that he will come." Our longing for Moshiach will hasten his coming. When he sees that Jewish children, their parents, and their teachers desire him to come, he will come sooner.

It is customary to conclude such gatherings with singing the niggun, Sheyibaneh Beis HaMikdash. Since most of those in attendance are girls and women, a slight change will be made and the chazan alone will sing the niggun. Afterwards, everyone should answer, "Amen. May it be G-d's will."

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Chazakah is associated with the word chazak which means strong. It is a halachic term referring to an accepted presumption that is based on the repetition of a series of events three consecutive times.

  2. (Back to text) The Shema contains the command to "Love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might."

  3. (Back to text) The non-Jews should try to assist the Jews in their performance of the mitzvos and similarly, the Jews should instruct the gentiles in their performance of their mitzvos as the Rambam (Hilchos Melochim 8:8) states.

  4. (Back to text) The yetzer hora does this because this is the mission with which G-d has charged it: to provide a challenge for the Jew in his service of G-d.

  5. (Back to text) The gentiles were given the power to accomplish this by G-d. Nevertheless, they possess a certain measure of importance because they were "the axe" which G-d used to accomplish this purpose.


  4th Day of Elul, 575011th Day of Elul, 5750  
  
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