1. Our Rabbis taught, “Begin with blessing.” This is particularly appropriate at the present time, in the days that follow (and continue) the celebration of Yud-Tes Kislev. This is especially true since this year, Yud-Tes Kislev falls on the same day as it did originally, a Tuesday, the day on which the expression “And G‑d saw that it was good” is repeated twice.

The above is enhanced by the unique nature of the present year, a leap year, which is described as “a perfect year.” This implies that every aspect of the year possesses a dimension of perfection. This “perfection” is amplified by the fact that this year, both the months of Cheshvan and Kislev are complete, possessing thirty days. Thus this year has 385 days, the largest number of days possible. (Needless to say, this does not mean that it is merely quantitatively greater than other years. Rather the intent is that it is qualitatively greater, and this uniqueness is reflected even in quantity.)

Also, it is a year in which we hope — and are assured — that G‑d will fulfill the heartfelt wishes of the entire Jewish people and bring the true and ultimate Redemption. This wish is all that more relevant when many Jews gather together, for then the Divine Presence rests among them.1 This in turn enhances their power to bring about change.

Moreover, the above is also enhanced by the unique nature of the present year, “a year imbued with wonders,” and indeed, “wonders in all things.” The latter term relates to the threefold expression of blessing associated with our Patriarchs, bakol mikol kol. This relates to every Jew, for every Jew is their spiritual heir. Without looking at his or her individual circumstances or service, each Jew receives all these blessings, for an inheritance is given to an heir regardless of his individual status.2

These blessings will be brought to fruition when “the righteous will dwell in Your Presence.” The latter term refers to Eretz Yisrael, “the land upon which the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are from the beginning of the year until the end of the year,” and more particularly, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of the L‑rd, established by Your hands.”

In the spiritual realms, the Beis HaMikdash is already in its place. And in the very near future, it will descend to the material world in the ultimate Redemption, led by Mashiach. This will be made possible by the preparations of “the Era of Mashiach,” the time period in which we are presently found. “All the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have already passed;” to borrow an expression of the Previous Rebbe, we have “polished the buttons,” and all the service necessary has been completed. All that is necessary to do is open our eyes and we can see that the Redemption is already here.

All the elements of the feast of Redemption, the Leviathan, the Wild Ox, and the age wine, are already here. Everything is ready. We can proceed to the table and sit down. And thus, we can proceed to the era when to quote the Rambam, “the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d.”

The above will be enhanced by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah and by the influence of Yud-Tes Kislev, a day associated with the verse, “He redeemed my soul in peace.” There is a unique connection between that verse and the present time, for we are in the 89th year (in the process of advancing to the 90th year, shnas hatzaddik), and 89 is numerically equivalent to the word padeh, (פדה), the first Hebrew word in the above verse.

The verse continues, “For the many were with me.” This implies that as the Jews are dispersed and scattered, “many,” they are “with me,” united with David Malkah Meshicha, the anointed king.

May it be G‑d’s will that there be an increase in all the above. This should begin with an increase in the three vectors of service, Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness and should begin immediately, directly after this gathering. And it should, in the spirit of Chanukah, continue to grow and advance adding light in all matters associated with “the lamp of mitzvah and the light of the Torah.”

Moreover, these increases should be “at the outside of the entrance to one’s home,” i.e., the light produced should illuminate not only one’s home, but also the world at large in a manner of pirsumei nisa, thus publicizing the Chanukah miracle. And all of this should be in a manner of mehadrin min hamehadrin, “those who perform mitzvos in the most beautiful and precise manner possible.”3 This will be enhanced by the study of the laws of Chanukah and the communication of those laws to others.

And these activities will hasten the coming of the ultimate redemption when our gathering will be joined by Jews throughout the world and we will proceed together with the entire Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash. All the Jews dispersed throughout the world at large will gather together in our Holy Land. And the unity that exists among them will be reflected by the unity between the Jews and G‑d established through the medium of the Torah.4

This will be enhanced by the positive influence of Yud-Tes Kislev; an influence that grows from year to year. And it will be amplified by your gifts to tzedakah which will surely continue to grow and increase.

Yechidus to Bar and Bas Mitzvah Youth and Their Parents

2. In addition to the blessings mentioned above, which are relevant to the entire Jewish people, you are worthy of special blessing for you have now accepted the yoke of mitzvos. There is a connection between the above and Yud-Tes Kislev. This connection receives greater emphasis this year for Yud-Tes Kislev was celebrated on Tuesday, the day on which the Alter Rebbe was redeemed.

Herein, we see a connection to the verse “for the many were with me,” which is included in the psalms associated with Tuesday. This verse teaches that all Jews — regardless of where they live — are fused together in bonds of unity. For through the Torah, the Jews become a single entity, united with G‑d. This is particularly relevant to you who are now accepting the yoke of the Torah and its mitzvos independently.

The above will be enhanced by associating your Bar and Bas Mitzvah with additional gifts to tzedakah in a manner which will continue to increase as reflected in the manner in which the Chanukah lights are kindled.

Similarly, this will be enhanced by the unique nature of the present year, “a year imbued with wonders.” May you proceed from your Bar Mitzvah to many other celebrations, e.g., weddings and the redemption of the firstborn. And this will herald the time when G‑d will redeem His firstborn, the Jewish people, from the exile and bring them to Eretz Yisrael. May this not be delayed another moment and may we see how G‑d redeems with peace the entire Jewish people in the immediate future.

Yechidus to Grooms and Brides

3. In addition to the blessings mentioned above, you are worthy of special blessings, for you are setting out to build a Jewish home, an eternal structure based on the Torah and its mitzvos. This will hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy “Speedily it will be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, the voice of happiness and the voice of rejoicing.”

Because you are setting out to build a Jewish home, you will be granted an abundance of blessings and happiness. This is reflected in the mitzvah in which a groom “must remain free for his home for the first year.” In this year, there should be no disturbances or difficulties. The happiness and revealed good that is generated will continue throughout the couple’s lives. Included in this will be the ultimate happiness experienced by the Jewish people in the Era of the Redemption.

The above is enhanced by the influence of the present month, a month of mazal. Similarly, your happiness will be increased by giving to tzedakah in connection with the wedding. This reflects how the happiness of the wedding is not individual in nature, but rather is associated with the entire Jewish people.

This will lead to the ultimate joy, the marriage between the Jewish people and G‑d that will be consummated in the Era of the Redemption. This will be an “eternal structure,” a redemption that is not followed by exile.5 This unity will be realized in the wondrous unity achieved through Torah study.6 “The new [dimensions of the] Torah will emerge from Me,” and through this study, the Jews will achieve a revealed bond with G‑d. May this take place in the immediate future.