1. Among Jews, it is customary to “begin with blessing.” Similarly, it is customary to focus on a Torah concept which can give us direction even in the aspects of our conduct which are not directly related to the Torah and its mitzvos.1

Today is the fifteenth of Elul, the night on which the moon is full. This represents a complete state in the service of that month. Elul is a month in which we take stock of our service throughout the entire year. In this instance, this refers to the year 5751, a year in which the letters of its name serve as an acronym for the phrase, “This will be a year when ‘I will show you wonders.’ ” And it serves as a preparation for the coming year, a year in which the letters of its name serve as an acronym for the phrase meaning, “This will be a year when wonders [will be] understood.”

(Herein, there is a connection with the verse “I have given you eyes that see, ears that hear, and a knowing heart,” which is associated with the forty years that have passed since the Previous Rebbe’s death. “Eyes that see” is associated with “I will show you wonders” and “ears that hear” is associated with “wonders [will be] understood” for understanding is related to our potential to hear.2 )

The connection to the Previous Rebbe is more evident because the present days represent the anniversary of the seven days of his wedding celebrations. Similarly, the present day, the fifteenth of Elul, is associated with the founding of the Yeshivah, Tomchei Temimim, of which the Previous Rebbe served as the first director.3 The two are interrelated, for the Yeshivah was founded in the seven days of celebration following the Previous Rebbe’s wedding.

As the Rebbe Rashab mentioned, the students of Tomchei Temimim should seek to develop the quality of temimus, “perfection,” and they serve as “candles that shine,” illuminating their entire surroundings. Moreover, their light will be spread even further by the people they have influenced, for they have surely made their homes representative of Tomchei Temimim, i.e., a microcosm of the Yeshivah. Similarly, the Yeshivah students are referred to as “soldiers of the House of David,” those who will precipitate the coming of Mashiach. The influence of the founding of the Yeshivah also continues until the eighteenth of Elul which is the birthday of both the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.

The above also relates to this week’s Torah reading, Parshas Ki Savo, which begins with the mitzvah of bikkurim, bringing the first fruits to the Beis HaMikdash. This should be reflected in each person’s individual service to “Make this place Eretz Yisrael.”

This will be accomplished by the service of every individual Jew who will be granted a long life from “His full, open, holy, and generous hand.” Long life relates to the Previous Rebbe’s second name, Yitzchak, for Yitzchak lived 180 years, a perfect lifetime.

Yitzchak is also connected with the concept of happiness and the ultimate happiness of the Era of Redemption when “Then our faces will be filled with laughter.” And as mentioned, we can appreciate a foretaste of this at present. Since we are at the threshold of the Redemption, we can taste the joy of the Redemption at the present time.

In particular, this joy is reflected in wedding celebrations. This was seen in the unbounded celebration of the Rebbe Rashab at the Previous Rebbe’s wedding celebrations. By talking of this ultimate joy, we will hasten its actual revelation.4 This is particularly true because each person is charged to serve as an agent to publicize the goal of the service of this generation and thus serve as a shining candle in the present era when, “they have heaped scorn upon the footsteps of Your Mashiach.”5

Indeed, the students of Tomchei Temimim have transformed this into a positive influence for “heaping scorn,” chorfu in Hebrew, is related to the Hebrew word charifus, “intellectual acuity,” displayed by the students in their study. And this brings closer the spirit of Mashiach which is described as “mirachefes (‘hovering’) over the waters” from the beginning of creation.6

And this will be accomplished by the transformation of each Jewish home into a house of deeds of kindness, a house of prayer, and a house of Torah. More particularly, every Jewish house should become a miniature Tomchei Temimim, dedi­cated to the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah.

And this will lead to the era when “Speedily there will be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem... the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride.” And this will be encouraged by the wedding celebrations of the present days.7 And similarly, this will be hastened by accepting the resolutions mentioned previously, including the shlichus to distribute tzedakah at the conclusion of this gathering.

And as mentioned, there is a connection to this week’s Torah portion which begins “When you enter the land.” The Hebrew word Ki can also mean “if,” and indeed, is used in that context at the beginning of last week’s parshah, Ki Seitzei. Nevertheless, in this week’s parshah, its meaning is definitely “when,” for we are assured that ultimately all Jews will enter Eretz Yisrael and bring their first fruits as an offering in the Beis HaMikdash.

And then G‑d will “look out from Your holy dwelling... and bless Your people Israel.” Although in general when the Torah uses the word hashkifah, “look out,” it has negative connotations, in this case, the connotation is positive. Furthermore, even in the other instances, the inner intent is positive even though outwardly it appears undesirable. We see this pattern reflected in regard to the exodus from Egypt. Although our slavery was undesirable, the ultimate intent was positive and thus even in the Era of the Redemption, we will recall that exodus.

This is also reflected in the transformation of the “wisdom of Egypt,” allowing it to be included in the wisdom of holiness. And yet King Shlomo’s wisdom surpassed this wisdom. This has a connection to Mashiach, for the Rambam states that Mashiach will be a descendant of both David and Shlomo.

And thus it has a connection to every Jew, for every Jew has a spark of Mashiach. Indeed, the prooftext used to communicate this concept, “A star shall shoot forth from Yaakov,” is significant. For the Hebrew for “star,” כוכב, can be divided into Ko (כו), the numerical equivalent of the name Havayah and כב which stands for the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This shows how G‑d, the Torah (identified with the alphabet), and the Jews are united in a perfect union.

And with the coming of Mashiach, we will merit the ultimate revelation of “My soul will be redeemed in peace.” This will be accomplished, because “the multitude are with me,” i.e., one has transformed the world at large and established unity. And this will aid each Jew in his individual service and ultimately bring about the redemption.

This is particularly relevant in the month of Elul, the month which consummates the service of the year when “I will show you wonders” and prepares for the revelation of wonders in Eretz Yisrael, in Jerusalem, and in the Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.