1. The Previous Rebbe taught: “One should open with the word of the king.” This particularly applies when many Jews assemble together. Our Sages taught that the Divine Presence rests on any assemblage of ten. Surely, that applies when many more than ten people come together for then “the glory of the king comes among a multitude of people.”

“Who are our kings? our Rabbis.” Accordingly, it is proper to open with the words of one of our Rabbis, the Tzemach Tzedek, who shares a particular connection to the present occasion, for today is his birthday.

Our Sages taught: “The righteous resemble their Creator.” Just as G‑d enclothed His entire essence in the Torah, the teachings of “the righteous” contain their essence. This is particularly true when the teaching has been publicized and, how much more, if it has been printed, for as the Tzemach Tzedek taught, there is an eternal quality to the printed word.

This teaching is also associated with the present day, the day on which the Tzemach Tzedek was born, the eve of Rosh Hashanah. As the latter expression implies, the essence of that day is associated with preparation for Rosh Hashanah. Thus, the teaching of the Tzemach Tzedek’s chosen must express the nature of the day, its preparation for Rosh Hashanah.

In our Rosh Hashanah prayers, we say, “Through all generations, proclaim the kingship of G‑d.” This relates to expression and revelation in the world within the realm of time, and, thus, within the realm of space.

This verse also emphasizes the concept of unity. Though there are many generations, and thus many situations, they are all united by a central element, the proclamation of G‑d’s kingship.

Based on the above, it is possible to explain a concept relevant to the verses of Malchiyos recited on Rosh Hashanah. The mishnah states that ten verses should be recited in each of the blessings, Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros. The Talmud notes that in the latter instances there are ten verses, but questions why in Malchiyos, on the surface, only nine verse are recited. The Talmud replies that the verse, Shema Yisrael, even though it does not explicitly mention G‑d’s kingship, expresses that concept.

On the surface this reply is difficult to comprehend: Ten verses are required since the number ten reflects a state of completeness. If so, why weren’t ten verses chosen which explicitly mention the quality of kingship. Among the answers to that question is that the choice of the verse, Shema, teaches that the ultimate intent and most perfect expression of G‑d’s kingship is oneness, “G‑d is One.”

The word Echad is made up of three letters which allude to the expression of G‑d’s oneness throughout the world. The Alef stands for Alufo shel Olam — “the L‑rd of the world.” The Ches, numerically equivalent to eight, refers to the seven heavens and our physical world. The daled, numerically equivalent to four, refers to the four directions of our world. Their combination in a single word demonstrates how all existence — signified in the Ches and the Daled — are totally nullified and are united to the Alef — “the L‑rd of the world.”

Similarly, in regard to the aspect of kingship of Rosh Hashanah: The expression of all potential qualities reveals the ultimate expression of kingship — G‑d’s oneness.

This quality of oneness was expressed in the Tzemach Tzedek’s teachings. The Tzemach Tzedek combined the teachings of Chassidus (Pnimiyus HaTorah) and those of Nigleh (the exoteric, legal tradition). Though all the Chabad Rebbeim revealed this quality, the Tzemach Tzedek stands out as the most striking example of this method of instruction.

The above is also connected with a dimension of Rosh Hashanah. The expression of G‑d’s kingship on Rosh Hashanah is also related to the quality of pleasure. Indeed, the very word shofar is related to the instruction shipru ma’asaichem, implying adding beauty and pleasure to our performance of Torah and mitzvos. Similarly, on Rosh Hashanah, we are commanded to eat foods which generate pleasure. [This is particularly true in the present year when Rosh Hashanah falls on the Shabbos, a day of pleasure.]

In regard to Torah, we find the aspect of pleasure associated with Pnimiyus HaTorah (the inner teachings of Torah). For example, that study is referred to with the expression “strolling in the orchard.”

The combination of Nigleh and Chassidus described above is only found in the Tzemach Tzedek’s Chassidic teachings and not in his teachings in Nigleh. This is because Pnimiyus HaTorah expresses truths in a more revealed and apparent manner than Nigleh. Accordingly, it is here that the oneness of Torah described above is expressed.

Thus, it is appropriate to begin with a maamar of the Tzemach Tzedek’s which describes the service of Rosh Hashanah. (The maamar based on the Tzemach Tzedek’s teachings in Or HaTorah is not translated here.)

2. It is well known that on the Tzemach Tzedek’s birthday, the Alter Rebbe recited a maamar whose contents formed the basis of the first three chapters of Tanya and began with the quote: “[The soul] is given an oath....” This is appropriate to the Tzemach Tzedek’s birth for the time when the soul is given the oath is directly before its emergence into the world.

The Tzemach Tzedek also explains that the expression Mashbian — “given an oath” — can also be read as Masbian — “made full.” The soul is granted an entire range of spiritual potentials including the quality of pleasure so that it can accomplish its mission in this physical world. Indeed, were it not for this oath, there is the possibility that the soul would act in a undesirable manner. Thus, we see two opposites: the highest spiritual potentials and a situation of challenge in our physical world. This is the intent of the oath the soul is given; to serve G‑d in this world, within the realm of deed and action.

This concept is alluded to on the title page of the Tanya where the Alter Rebbe writes that the text is based on the verse: “it is very close to you, in your mouth and heart to do it.” This alludes to the three means of expression, thought — “your heart” — speech — “your mouth” — and deed — “to do it.” [In a larger sense, these three expressions are related to the worlds: Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, and are also reflected in the three blessings of Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros.]

These first three chapters of Tanya which were recited on the Tzemach Tzedek’s birthday describe the G‑dly soul, “the second soul in Israel which is veritably a part of G‑d from above as it is written: `and he blew into his nostrils a living soul.’” The latter verse relates to Rosh Hashanah for it describes the creation of Adam, the first man, which occurred on that day.

Adam’s service was to reveal the oneness of G‑d in the world. Therefore, immediately after his creation, he called to all the other creations, “Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow down... before the L‑rd, our Maker.”

Each Jew is endowed with a similar potential as implied by our Sages’ comment: “You are called Adam — man.” The Shiloh explains that the term Adam comes from the word Adameh, “resemble.” Jews are called “man” because they resemble the “spiritual man,” the image of man in the world of Atzilus. Surely, they also reflect the powers possessed by Adam, the first man.

[Our Sages also expressed this concept explaining that the creation of man differed from that of all other animals. The others were created male and female together, while man was created alone. Why? to teach us that each Jewish soul is “an entire world.” Thus, his mission is to reveal the oneness of G‑d in the world, to make a dwelling place for G‑d in the lower worlds.

The potential for this service comes from the oath the soul is given and, as mentioned above, the service must be revealed in our three vehicles of expression, thought, speech, and deed. Thus, it will generate an effect throughout the three worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.

This threefold service is also related to the description of the souls as “a part of G‑d.” In Iggeres HaTeshuvah, the Alter Rebbe explains that this concept is related to the verse, “His nation are a part of the L‑rd, Jacob is the rope of His inheritance.” Rashi explains that the above verse refers to a rope made by intertwining three cords.

The above is also related to the service of each individual every day for the return of the soul in the morning reflects in microcosm, the creation of man and thus, the concept of the oath given the soul described above.

In this context, we can understand the unique aspect of the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the day on which we make an account of our service throughout the entire previous year.

[The latter concept can be explained as follows: The month of Elul is designated as a month of taking stock of one’s service in the entire previous year. In particular, the final twelve days of the year beginning from Chai Elul, are designated as days of repentance for each of the twelve months of the year. In that context, the eve of Rosh Hashanah is associated with Elul and thus, reflects a stock-taking for the entire year. This year that concept is given additional emphasis for this is a leap year and on this day, we take stock of our service for thirteen months.]

Simultaneously, the eve of Rosh Hashanah also serves as a day of preparation for the new year to come. May it be G‑d’s will that we carry out this service in the proper manner. We are given greater potential to do so by gathering together in a synagogue and a house of study — so that the services of Torah and prayer both contribute to the quality of unity.

Also, we are assisted by the influence of the Nesi’im in particular, the Tzemach Tzedek whose birthday is celebrated today. A Nasi, like Moses, stands “between G‑d and the Jewish people,” not to serve as an intermediary, but rather, to allow for the possibility of connection. Through him, the Jews and G‑d become a single entity. Furthermore, since as Rashi teaches, “the Nasi represents the entire people,” this will have an effect on the entire Jewish nation and strengthen their unity with G‑d and thus, hasten the day when G‑d’s kingship will be revealed throughout the world with the complete and ultimate redemption. May it be speedily in our days.

3. The daily portion of the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah contains a law which has an intrinsic connection to Rosh Hashanah: It mentions how the Torah orders a person to remove his utensils from a house before the house is declared leprous. In this way, these articles will not become ritually impure.

The impurity that comes from leprosy has a severity greater than all the other types of ritual impurity. A person who is so affected is required to live “alone, outside the camp where he lives.” This reflects his own low spiritual standing. Similarly, the appearance of such impurity on a house is a reflection of his low spiritual state to the extent that “a stone from the wall will call out.”

Nevertheless, despite the person’s low spiritual level, the Torah allows special leniency so that his utensils will not become ritually impure. Furthermore, for which utensils was this leniency granted? In his commentary on the Torah, Rashi explains that this leniency was granted not for his metal or wooden utensils for they can be purified by immersion in a mikveh. Rather, the leniency was directed at one’s earthenware utensils which cannot be purified in that manner. Thus, we see how the Torah makes special considerations about even the least valuable of a Jew’s material possessions.

This concept is associated with Rosh Hashanah for the judgment of that day concerns a Jew’s material affairs. Therefore, it effects the totality of the material world which was brought into being “for the sake of the Jews.”

The importance of a Jew’s material affairs is also related to the mitzvah of tzedakah. G‑d created money and material concerns so that a Jew can use them in the service of G‑d and particularly, for the mitzvah of tzedakah.

When a Jew accepts “the yoke of G‑d’s kingship” by reciting the Shema, he proclaims the mitzvah of loving G‑d, “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” Our Sages interpreted the latter phrase to mean “with all your money.” Alternatively, in every situation, one must love Him, i.e., a commitment of Mesirus Nefesh. The two interpretations are interrelated since a person can use his money to purchase his life necessities; by giving the money as tzedakah, he is giving “his life” to G‑d, i.e., it is an act of Mesirus Nefesh.

This is also related to the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgment when spiritual advocates both for and against the Jewish people present their cases. Thus, there is the possibility that if someone will file a charge against a Jew, the Torah teaches that the priest must have the house emptied. Therefore, when a Jew sees that the Torah gives special provisions for saving his utensils, he will surely consider saving himself and correcting his situation. This, in turn, will nullify any opposing forces and to quote the Tur, even on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jews will dress in white and wrap themselves in white for they can rest secure that they will prevail in the judgment.

This is particularly true when on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Jews join together in a Chassidic farbrengen. Such an occasion arouses great pleasure in the spiritual realms, extending to G‑d’s essence itself. Thus, it is the proper preparation for the arousal of pleasure generated by the blowing of the shofar.

The above is also relevant to the coming of Mashiach. The Talmud states: “What are the signs [of Mashiach]? He is sitting among the poor who suffer from illness.” Rashi explains: “They suffer from leprosy and he is also leprous. The Talmud continues describing how all the others would wash out their wounds all at once. However, the Mashiach would wash out his wounds one by one, so that if he would be called upon to redeem the Jewish people, they would not have to wait the time it takes for him to bind up two wounds.

This further emphasizes how one must be eager for the redemption to come for, like the redemption from Egypt, G‑d will not hold back the Jews for a split second. The redemption is also related to the stress on the importance of a Jew’s material possessions mentioned above for our prophets have emphasized how the Jews will proceed to the redemption “together with their gold and silver.” It is also related to the Tzemach Tzedek’s birthday for our Sages relate that Tzemach is the Mashiach’s name.

The farbrengen will be concluded with distributing dollars to be given to tzedakah. Also, a collection will be made as the Magbis of Rosh Hashanah eve. Anyone who desires should contribute and write his name to be recalled at the previous Rebbe’s grave site. This is particularly relevant during the days of Selichos when we begin those prayers with the statement, “G‑d, tzedakah is Yours.” May this hasten the revelation of G‑d’s tzedakah in bringing the Messianic redemption even before Rosh Hashanah.

Before giving tzedakah, we should sing three niggunim, a melody of the Tzemach Tzedek, a melody of the Alter Rebbe, and a melody of the Mitteler Rebbe and may this hasten the time when we dance together to the celebrations of Sukkos and Simchas Torah and proceed to the eternal joy of the Messianic redemption.

4. The Alter Rebbe writes that, at the close of the sixth year, before Rosh Hashanah of the seventh year, everyone who fears G‑d should take upon himself the stringency of making a Pruzbul. At present, this practice should be carried out by all. Particularly, “since it is a matter that does not involve any loss and it is easy to gather together three proper individuals and tell them: `Behold, I transfer to you all the debts owed to me so that I can collect them whenever I desire.’”

This practice should be done immediately after the release of vows which is carried out on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. May this cause G‑d to nullify the debts which we owe Him and to give us everything as charity and not as a loan.

May we proceed from receiving the king in the field in the month of Elul to accepting the yoke of His kingdom on Rosh Hashanah and, the deed which is most essential, the true and complete redemption led by Mashiach. May, with happiness and joy, we dance to greet Mashiach.