1. The 12th and 13th of Tammuz are the days associated with the redemption of the Previous Rebbe, and the 12th is also his birthday. Since tonight joins these two days together, we should begin this gathering with Torah from the Previous Rebbe, in particular that which he said in connection with his redemption.

The Previous Rebbe wanted that his Torah should be learned and clearly understood; that it should increase the learners’ capability; and that it should be publicized to others. He wanted Torah to become permanently engraved in one’s mind and soul, and that it lead one to make good resolutions regarding practical action.

This was the goal of the recent reprinting of the discourses of the 12-13th of Tammuz — to encourage people to learn them. We will therefore begin by mentioning these discourses. The first one, Havayah Li B’ozri,” was said on the 12th of Tammuz in 5687 (1927) and the second, “Boruch HaGomel,” on the 13th, and their openings speak of redemption and of the idea of a birthday. And since they are the first discourses, they “include” all those that follow just as the “head” of something includes the entire “body.” Certainly everyone will learn these discourses on their own, as well as those which precede and follow them.

One of the reasons this collection of discourses is so special is because it was said after the redemption. This bears resemblance to the Chassidus which was taught by the Alter Rebbe after his release from imprisonment in Petersburg on the 19th of Kislev. The Alter Rebbe was a great leader and spread much Chassidus even before his incarceration. But, as is well known, after the 19th of Kislev his Chassidus developed to the extent that, in the words of the Rebbe Rashab, the true “spreading of the wellsprings” began only after that time. The same degree of growth applies to the redemption of the 12-13th of Tammuz, and therefore the discourses said immediately after his release are uniquely special.

The abovementioned applies to the 12-13th of Tammuz every year. The special quality of this year is that it is the 60th year since the original redemption. We see the significance of the number 60 in Jewish law in the laws of kashrus. When some non-kosher food, either liquid or solid, accidentally falls into a vessel of kosher food, the mixture is kosher only if there is 60 times more of the kosher.

As the Rambam says, the majority of the laws of the Torah contain lessons which help us behave in a better way, and the same applies to this case. The lesson is that even when there is something negative, it is considered not to exist once there are 60 positive things to outweigh it. And even if it is “liquid” — i.e. was done with enthusiasm and his entire being — it nevertheless becomes nullified once there are 60 positive things to outweigh it. The same applies in the 60th year from the redemption, which has the power to nullify anything negative which might have existed.

The comparison seems a bit questionable at first glance, since here we have only one year, not 60 together. The 60 parts of kosher food will nullify the one only when they are all together!

In reality, however, one has all 60 years together. One is not allowed to forget any Torah which he has learned, and therefore has the cumulative benefit of all his Torah knowledge. In the same way, the additional blessings and capabilities we draw from the Previous Rebbe are not lost, and have accumulated over the last 60 years to now be at our command.

Another detail of the laws of “nullification” is that something which has special status can never be nullified, even if there is 60 times more of the kosher substance. Examples of this are a “davar she’b’minyan (something which is sold by number rather than weight, such as eggs) and a “davar hara’ui l’hiskaved” (something fit for a meal).

The lesson to be derived from this is that when a person has the negative trait of arrogance, it is not nullified even when there are 60 times more positive aspects. The reason for this is that G‑d says, “He and I cannot exist together” simultaneously. An arrogant person feels a sense of self-importance, and considers himself to be an independent existence. This is the same idea as idolatry — that there is an existence other than that of G‑d. It therefore follows that G‑d’s presence will not dwell where there is arrogance.

This is particularly important at the present time, when there is an unprecedented lack of ahavas Yisrael. Such actions constitute a direct war against the Previous Rebbe, who worked tirelessly for the spread of ahavas Yisrael and Jewish unity.... One must meditate on the fact that this is the 60th year from the redemption, and brings with it the ability to nullify all negative influences. When this is explained to the one’s who are making the problem, certainly they will immediately do complete teshuvah and mend their ways.

The question arises, however, how is it possible that specifically during such a special time — 60 years from the redemption — there could be such offensive actions which contradict any sense of ahavas Yisrael?

The answer to this question, as well as all other questions, can be found clearly in the Torah. We once mentioned (see Sicha of Purim, 5747) that according to the signs given in the Gemara, we are right before the revelation of Mashiach, and therefore the words of Daniel (12:10) apply: “Many things will be clarified, refined and purified.” Included in this is that many negative traits which were previously concealed will come out into the open. In fact, even traits he was unaware existed within himself, or was unaware they were bad will be openly revealed.

The reason this is necessary is because everything must be purified before Mashiach’s coming. And unless it is revealed, its purification is impossible. Therefore, shortly before his arrival, when the process must be completed, evil has become revealed in order to facilitate its purification. And since this evil has come out into the open, obviously G‑d gives the individual extra strength to accomplish its transformation. It is therefore within his power to descend from his haughty stance and begin to purify those areas in need of improvement and correction. It would normally be possible for this process to be achieved gradually. But now Mashiach is about to arrive, and everything must be speedily completed.

But one might ask, the accelerated purification of evil would seem to constitute an unwarranted d’chikas haketz (“pushing the end”). We see in Jewish history that there were leaders who had the ability to do so and nevertheless refrained. Their reasoning seems obvious, since if the redemption comes too soon, not all holy sparks will be fully purified. This is reflected in the words of the Mitteler Rebbe that if the redemption comes b’itah (in the regular time), then all sparks will be purified; but if it comes achishenah (before the regular time, i.e. d’chikas haketz), then some sparks will be left behind.

In our times, however, this concern does not apply. According to the Gemara, “All the deadlines have past” (kalu kol ha’kitzin), including the regular time (b’itah) — in fact the first b’itah, the second b’itah, the third b’itah, etc. Therefore, there is no worry about d’chikas haketz, and certainly no sparks will be left behind.

May it be G‑d’s will that there be the fulfillment of the verse from the portion of the 12th of Tammuz (Num. 23:21), “G‑d does not look at wrongdoing in Yaakov, and He sees no vice in Yisrael.” This means that in spite of the existence of what the Torah itself calls “wrongdoing” and “vice,” G‑d nevertheless pays no attention to it.

Furthermore, it should reach the state described in the portion of the 13th of Tammuz (Num. 24:5), “How goodly are your tents, O Yaakov, your dwelling places, O Yisrael!” Even a non-Jew, and even someone as wicked as Bilaam can see only good among the Jews, since there is no longer any strife or disagreement. This passage is so important that it was even made part of our daily prayer service.

The lesson from this for every Jew is that we should fulfill the mitzvah of “cleaving to G‑d,” by imitating His ways as well as we can. In this case, we should not see “wrongdoing” or “vice” in another Jew; and if it seems to be there, it is either a mistake, or that the other person is acting as a “mirror,” reflecting the fault that is really present in the observer. Furthermore, even if the “wrongdoing” or “vice” really does exist, it is only coming out in the open so that it can be purified, as mentioned above.

May it be G‑d’s will that these words be taken literally — not as hinting to something else, etc. — and that there be ahavas Yisrael and achdus Yisrael in actuality. Through this we will merit the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash and the permanent redemption. This is also connected with the number 60, since the vessel used for the meal offerings held 60 esronim. And when a person works on making himself a “pure vessel,” then G‑d “fills” him with a measure of “60 esronim,” which nullifies all negative traits. And they will be not only nullified, but transformed to good, as the Rambam writes that in the days of Mashiach all fasts will be transformed to days of joy.

There is an additional lesson to be derived from the chapter of Psalms corresponding to the years of the Previous Rebbe. Last year’s chapter, 107, spoke of the four categories of people who are delivered from danger, and how they must praise G‑d publicly — “Let him give thanks to G‑d, and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man.”

In this year’s chapter, 108, King David continues (verse 7), “In order that Your beloved ones be protected, redeem them with Your right hand and answer me.” This stresses that the redemption comes in an awesome way (“with Your right hand”); that it comes to every single Jew; and that every Jew is considered to be the “beloved” of G‑d. And this should be revealed to the entire world, as written in the same chapter (verse 4), “I will praise G‑d among the nations, and sing to Him among the peoples,” with the coming of Mashiach.

2. Since the beginning of the month, we have spoken many times about making chassidic gatherings during Tammuz — beginning with Shabbos Mevarchim, and continuing to the two days of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz and the days of the 12th-13th of Tammuz. This request made a bit of an impression, but not to the extent that it should have. And although, “There’s no point in complaining about the past,” it’s well known that the Previous Rebbe said, “It’s never too late” (nitoh kein farfallen). Therefore, the next few days should be used out for such gatherings — beginning with tonight; then Shabbos, which is the culmination of everything which occurred during the week, including the 12th-13th of Tammuz; Motzaei Shabbos, the 15th of the month, when the moon is full; and the day following.

It should be pointed out that the 15th of Tammuz is also the yahrzeit of the Or HaChayim HaKadosh. There is a well-known account from reliable sources that if the Or HaChayim had actually met the Baal Shem Tov, that Mashiach would have come at that time.

There should be great joy at these gatherings, but one should not violate the Previous Rebbe’s prohibition against becoming intoxicated. The joy should come from simchah shel mitzvah (“joy of the mitzvah”) — in particular from learning Torah, which “gladdens the heart.” And if one insists on drinking wine beyond all limitations, he should learn extra Chassidus, which is called the “wine” of Torah, and throw himself into it without any limitations.

We shall conclude with the customary distribution of dollars to make everyone an emissary to give charity, and one should add on to the amount on one’s own. Beforehand, we should sing a niggun connected with ahavas Yisrael, “Hinei Ma Tov”; then the niggun “She’yiboneh Beis HaMikdash”; and then the niggun which was song on the very first 12th-13th of Tammuz, “N’yet N’yet Nikavo”; and finally, the niggun “U’foratzta,” which is associated with tremendous joy.

May it be G‑d’s will that from these niggunim we go singing and dancing to the Tenth Song, which will be with the coming of Mashiach. It is alluded to in the Song which was sung when the Jewish people crossed the Sea, Az Yashir. Our Sages point out that the word Yashir is in future tense, referring to the Tenth Song of the Messianic Age. May we see this immediately with the coming of Mashiach.