1. As is customary every year, we gather together in the month of Elul. More particularly, this gathering is being held in the second half of the month of Elul and on a Tuesday, a day associated with the repetition of the expression, “And G‑d saw that it was good.” Furthermore, today is the day before the eighteenth of Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.

Both the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe were renown for their efforts to spread Torah among children. In particular, in regard to the Baal Shem Tov, before he revealed himself as a leader of the Jewish people, he served as a teacher’s helper. Indeed, when the story of the Baal Shem Tov’s life is related, before the miracles that he wrought are recounted, it is also told that he began as a teacher’s helper. Then, he would remind children to begin their day with the praise of G‑d. This is accomplished by the recitation of Modeh Ani, through which, as his very first act of the day, a Jew acknowledges G‑d’s Kingship.

In this manner, a child not only makes a statement of thanks to G‑d, he trains himself to feel genuine gratitude for all the good things which G‑d has given him. And from that point on, through every moment of the day,1 a Jewish child increases his appreciation and awareness of G‑d’s goodness. For indeed, G‑d gives graciously and generously.

This is particularly true in the month of Elul, when — as the Alter Rebbe teaches — G‑d makes Himself accessible to the Jews as a king in the field. G‑d does not tire and renews constantly all the good which He grants to every child and adult. And in particular, He grants Jewish children success in studying G‑d’s Torah and fulfilling His mitzvos in a beautiful and conscientious manner, inspired by the love of G‑d and the fear of G‑d.

And in the context of our service of G‑d, it is customary in this month that when one meets another Jew, even a Jewish child, one greets him by wishing him a good and sweet year. And one is confident that this blessing will be fulfilled. This is particularly true on the present day, the seventeenth of Elul, for seventeen is numerically equivalent to the word טוב which means “good.” This will bring a good year, and it will include the greatest good, the Future Redemption.

And this is emphasized on the eighteenth of Elul, Chai Elul (“the life of Elul”), when every creation appreciates that it is alive and that the source of its life is G‑d. This awareness motivates him to the service of “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” i.e., his “I” is totally devoted to G‑d, (his “Beloved”).2 And he spreads this relationship throughout the world at large, encouraging the entire world to acknowledge G‑d as Creator and King, as Adam did directly after creation.

Throughout the day, the acknowledgement of G‑d is further expressed through various blessings, recited before one eats, drinks, or derives other pleasures of this world. Indeed, not only Jews, but people of all nations continually acknowledge G‑d’s goodness. And this is reflected in the fact that the phrase “In G‑d We Trust” is printed on the money of this country.

This heightens the awareness that G‑d created this entire country and rules it. And just as a mortal ruler of a country concerns himself with providing for all the needs of his people, so too, G‑d provides for all the needs of the entire creation.

There is also a connection to this week’s Torah reading, Parshas Ki Savo. This Torah reading begins, “When you will enter the land,” which is a reference to the Future Redemption when every Jew will enter the Holy Land which G‑d has promised to the Jewish people. And upon entering that land, the Jews will surely conduct themselves in a manner which will emphasize the holiness of that land and its connection to the Jewish people.

And from Eretz Yisrael, the Redemption will be drawn down throughout the world at large, granting a good and sweet year not only to the Jewish people, but to all nations. And there will be peace and brotherhood among nations as the prophet declared, “Nation will not lift up sword against nation.” And the world will reach an ultimate state of fulfillment when there will be no more war and G‑dliness will be drawn down to every creation in the world.

The coming of this state will be hastened by the Jews’ efforts to prepare themselves to greet Mashiach, studying about his coming and anticipating his coming at every moment. And with his coming, it will be revealed how “G‑d rules forever and ever,” how He is the true King of the world and grants every person a kesivah vachasimah tovah for a good and sweet year in the year to come.

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2. Today is a Tuesday which is connected with the repetition of the phrase, “And G‑d saw that it was good.” This is a lesson for all created beings, Jews and gentiles alike, to spread goodness in their surroundings. And this begins by doing a favor for another person and in this way, conducting oneself in a manner which brings joy and satisfaction to his parents.

And when a child spreads good in the world at large, he elevates the world, both its physical substance and its spiritual state. (This applies to gentiles as well. They also have the potential to appreciate spirituality, and thus to elevate both the physical and spiritual state of the world.)

And when this process is carried out throughout the world at large (the Jews in their portion and the gentiles in their portion), the Jews will gain full control of Eretz Yisrael. And this will lead to the entry of the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael and into the fundamental element of Eretz Yisrael, the Beis HaMikdash.3

This leads to an understanding of our Sages’ statement that in the Era of the Redemption, “Eretz Yisrael will spread out into other lands.” Just as Eretz Yisrael is unique in that sacrifices can be brought from there to G‑d,4 similarly, the entire world will be made suited for such service. This will come about because every created being — Jews, gentiles, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects — will add more life and more fulfillment in his surroundings.

And in keeping with the present date, the seventeenth, everything will be tov, “good” and in keeping with tomorrow’s date, chai, infused with “life.” And this will lead to the coming of the Redemption when G‑d’s Kingship will be expressed through every element of existence. “And G‑d will reign forever and ever,” for all negative qualities will be nullified.

The mitzvah connected with this week’s Torah reading, the first fruits, teaches how we must give the best of everything we have to tzedakah, and by doing so, how in effect, we give it to G‑d. For He is responsible for providing for all the needs of the created beings and all the needs of the different charitable institutions.5

The first fruits are brought in G‑d’s Beis HaMikdash and there a prayer is recited asking G‑d to “Look down from Your holy dwelling... and bless Your people.” I.e., the fulfillment of this mitzvah motivates G‑d to increase the blessings granted to the Jews and granted to the entire world.

To bring this about, when we gather together, children and adults, we perform deeds: prayer, study, and deeds of kindness, that fulfill G‑d’s directives. And we perform these actions together with other children, with ahavas Yisrael and in a manner which brings the other child joy.

The joy of the present days is further increased by the fact that these are the seven days of the Previous Rebbe’s wedding celebrations. At this time, the influence of the Nasi of our generation has increased power and affects all the entities in the world at large.

And at this time, we can see the tzedakah performed by G‑d throughout the world. One of the manifestations of His tzedakah is the very fact that a Jewish child gives of his money to charity and helps the poor. These poor may be of any nation, for as an expression of “the ways of peace,” we are obligated to help gentiles as well. We should also influence them to give tzedakah to others. This is particularly relevant in America for the inhabitants of this country are renown for their generosity.

Three coins will be given to every child of which one should be given to tzedakah. Giving three emphasizes the concept of chazakah, a threefold sequence associated with strength and permanence. And this will impart these qualities to the world at large and cause G‑d to endow the world with even greater blessings than ever before.

3. As mentioned, at the conclusion of this gathering, each of you will be given money to be distributed to tzedakah. You will be given three coins, one for yourselves, one for tzedakah, and one do with as you desire. To the money given to you to give to tzedakah, you should also add from your own funds. This will increase the Divine blessings which each of you will receive, including the ultimate blessing, the coming of the Redemption.

And then “we will come into the land,” in a most literal sense. This will be hastened by prefacing the gifts to tzedakah with a happy melody which is associated with the Redemption.