1. This gathering is associated with the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe and is intended to inspire his followers to remember and to relive those directives which they heard from him, either in person or from their parents and teachers who were taught by him.

This gathering is a unique opportunity to talk about how we can increase our fulfillment of the missions with which each one of us — men, women, and children — are charged both regarding our individual service and regarding our service with others.

Reaching out to others begins with those individuals who are in close physical proximity, but also must involve those who are geographically distant, but share a closeness in ideals, and even those who are distant even in a figurative context. On the contrary, the fact that they are distant and have not heard of the Previous Rebbe obligates us to become involved with them.

Also, the Shlichus with which the Previous Rebbe has charged us includes the activity of “one shliach making another shliach... even one hundred shluchim.” Furthermore, one hundred is not a limit. Rather, one’s sphere of activity must constantly be expanding until the Previous Rebbe’s intent, that “the world be filled with the knowledge of G‑d,” is fulfilled.

Furthermore, even when a person is not sufficiently developed to reach out to others, he must realize that while carrying out his own individual service, he effects the world at large for “He placed the world within your hearts.”1

“Each person is obligated to say that the world was created for him;” i.e., he can influence the entire world either by himself personally, through his emissaries, through his family, or at the very least, through the good deeds which he carries out. This is especially true since each person has a particular portion of the world which is his alone and which he cannot exchange with another person.

To explain: A parallel to this concept exists in regard to Torah study. Although each Jew is obligated to study the entire Torah, each individual has a particular portion of the Torah that relates to him as reflected in our request, “Grant us our portion in Your Torah.” Similarly, in regard to mitzvos, each person has certain mitzvos which are more closely related to him personally. Since everything in the world at large has its source in the Torah — as reflected in our Sages’ statement that G‑d “looked into the Torah and created the world” — it follows that there are portions in the world at large with which each person has a particular connection.

Thus it is improper for a person to leave involvement with the world at large to others. He has his own portion in the world which he must elevate and indeed, he is obligated to say, “The world2 was created for me.” Furthermore, ultimately, the positive effects brought about by his efforts in refining the world will be revealed.

In particular, different individuals have different missions in elevating the world at large. There are those who are directly involved in the service of refining the world and others whose activities involve motivating others to carry out this service.3 These, however, are particulars; in general, however, each individual must realize that he is obligated to carry out the service of refining the world. He cannot excuse himself with a claim that for his spiritual level, it is more appropriate that he devote himself entirely to spiritual activities.4 Conversely, even a person on a low level must realize that he has the potential to effect the entire world. Indeed, there is nothing in the world too great for a Jew to be able to have an effect upon it.

The above also relates to this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Yisro, which describes the giving of the Torah. At Mount Sinai, the entire Jewish people (including the souls of the future) were present. Similarly, Parshas Yisro describes the preparations for the giving of the Torah, preparations which we also must emulate.

Each person must realize that although the world has existed for 5751 years, at this moment, a totally new order is beginning, the world — and the entire order of spiritual worlds — is being renewed.5 When a person decides that his mission in the world is to bring about this renewal, G‑d will grant him all his material needs in a complete and full way and with happiness and joy.

This relates to the purpose of this gathering, that everyone resolve to spread the awareness of the Previous Rebbe’s ideals and activities. These are reflected in his name Yosef Yitzchok. Yosef relates to the service of “May G‑d add on to me another son;” i.e., transforming one who is “another,” estranged from his Jewish roots, into a son.6

Yitzchok refers to the service of happiness and also alludes to the Era of Redemption when, “Then our mouths will be filled with joy.”

The latter verse also indicates the means of bringing the world to this complete state, through the service of “our mouths,” Torah study. When a Jew studies Torah, “the Holy One, blessed be He, studies opposite him.” G‑d’s study renews the world, as it were.

If this applies in regard to every aspect of Torah study, surely it applies regarding studying the description of the giving of the Torah [as reflected in this week’s Torah reading, Parshas Yisro]. Our Sages relate that the giving of the Torah brought stability to the world at large. Thus they interpret the verse “the earth feared and was still,” as follows: Before the giving of the Torah, the world was “fearful,” unstable. Only after G‑d gave the Torah was the world endowed with stability and security. Each year, as we read the story of the giving of the Torah, this process is renewed.

May in the very near future, each Jew merit to openly appreciate this process of renewal and indeed openly see how G‑d brings the creation into being. This will be enhanced by your serving as shluchim to spread the message of the Previous Rebbe, particularly after his yahrzeit which “brings about salvation7 in the depths of the earth.”

This renewal relates to Tu BeShvat, the Rosh HaShanah of the Trees, which relates to the verse, “For a man is like a tree of the field.” This points to man’s potential to continually grow as trees do. Furthermore, Tu BeShvat is associated with the seven species of fruit for which Eretz Yisrael is praised. (In this context, it is worthy to mention the custom of partaking of these fruits during this day.) The seven species include wheat — described by our Sages as food for humans — which refers to the service of our G‑dly souls; barley — described by our Sages as animal fodder, refers to the service of our animal souls; and the five species of fruit refer to the service of pleasure.

May we proceed from the mention of the species for which Eretz Yisrael is praised to the era when we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael8 together with the entire Jewish people. And may the coming of this era be hastened by the tzedakah which will be distributed at the conclusion of this gathering and may this lead to the era of the Third Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

The Yechidus for Bar and Bas Mitzvah Youth

2. In addition to the blessings given above, you are worthy of special blessings because you are now reaching your Bar and Bas Mitzvah, the time when you become obligated to observe the Torah and its mitzvos.

There is a connection between your Bar and Bas Mitzvah and this week’s Torah reading, Parshas Yisro, which describes the giving of the Torah, the time when the entire Jewish people became obligated to observe the Torah and its mitzvos.9

Our Sages explain that the giving of the Torah effected a major change in the world. Before the Torah was given, there was a decree separating spirituality from physicality. When the Torah was given, that decree was nullified and the potential was granted for the spiritual to descend to the physical and the physical to ascend to the spiritual.

This elevated the world at large.10 Thus, our Sages interpret the verse “the earth feared and was still,” as follows: Before the giving of the Torah, the world was “fearful,” unstable. Only after G‑d gave the Torah was the world endowed with stability and security. Indeed, even the gentile nations recognized the stability the Torah endowed the world. This process is relived each year when the Jews read the narrative of the giving of the Torah in Parshas Yisro and the narrative of the declaration Na’aseh V’Nishmah. G‑d “reads opposite them” and thus, endows11 the world with new and essential life-energy.

The radical renewal experienced at the giving of the Torah is paralleled by the renewal that will accompany the Future Redemption. Indeed, this renewal will be so great that the mitzvos which we fulfill at present will be considered merely as “signs” when compared to the performance of mitzvos in the Era of Redemption.

The advent of that era will be hastened by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah to which you should add your own money. As mentioned frequently, it is customary that a Bar or Bas Mitzvah youth, his parents, relatives, and teachers, give generously to tzedakah in connection with that event.

The world is trembling and shaking as we prepare to greet Mashiach. May your gifts to tzedakah cause him to come now, on this very night.

The Yechidus for Grooms and Brides

3. This week’s portion reading, parshas Yisro, is particularly relevant to you, because the giving of the Torah is described as the wedding between G‑d and the Jewish people. This will hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy, “speedily we will hear in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem... the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride.”

May your weddings and the preparations for it be successful and may it lead to children and grandchildren occupied with Torah and mitzvos. The concentration on these matters and carrying out the preparations for a wedding in a manner dictated by the Torah and in a Chassidic manner, contributes blessing in all matters and leads to the ultimate blessing, the Future Redemption.

Since every Jewish wedding is connected with many aspects of Torah and mitzvos, it surely will be able to “tip the balance of the entire world and bring deliverance and salvation” as the Rambam states. This will be enhanced and hastened by your gifts to tzedakah for it is customary that the bride and groom and all those close to them increase their observance of Torah and mitzvos and in particular, their gifts to tzedakah, in connection with a wedding.

The resolution to make these increases will bring Mashiach on this very night and then, we will find ourselves “in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem,” indeed, in Jerusalem, and in the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”