1. Our Rabbis taught, “Begin with blessing.” These blessings are enhanced when Jews gather together in a place which has a threefold positive quality; it is a house of study, a house of prayer, and a house of good deeds; i.e., a place where the “three pillars upon which the world stands: Torah, service [of G‑d, prayer,] and deeds of kindness” are fulfilled.

This adds to the blessings that G‑d grants us which are reflected in the Priestly Blessings, blessings which are divided into three verses. Nevertheless, after those three verses, G‑d grants a single all-inclusive and unbounded blessing, “And I will bless them.”

The constant relevance of the Priestly Blessings is emphasized by the fact that each day, in addition to their mention in our communal prayers, they are recited in connection with the morning blessings by each individual. This draws down blessings on the entire day and indeed, the influence of these blessings extend beyond the day, affecting the entire week, month, and year.

These blessings are particularly relevant in the present month, the month of Adar, “the month that was transformed... into joy,” a month associated with the verse, “For the Jews, there was light and joy, gladness and honor.” When we recall this verse, we conclude with the prayer — and the promise — “so let it be with us,” for the entire Jewish people, in all times and places.”

In the spirit of the conclusion of the Priestly Blessings, “May G‑d... grant you peace,” may we be granted true peace, which will accompany the true and complete redemption. Then we will be granted peace in our Holy Land, in Jerusalem, and in the Beis HaMikdash. From the Beis HaMikdash, this peace will spread throughout the world,1 indeed, reaching every element of existence and revealing how that element of existence was created for the purpose of each individual Jew. This is implied by our Sages’ statement that “Each Jew is obligated to say, ‘The world was created for me.’ ”

There is a connection between the above concepts and this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei. This Torah portion accentuates a twofold lesson concerning the unique potential of each Jew, emphasizing: a) the potential possessed by each Jew by virtue of his membership in the Jewish people as a whole. This is derived from Vayakhel which means “Gather together,” and thus reflects the power of the community (kahal);2 and b) the potential each Jew possesses as an individual. This is derived from Pekudei meaning “account,” i.e., the particular reckoning of each individual element. Each Jew is counted alone and his individual potential is considered. It is with that potential he is required to achieve as reflected by our Sages’ statement, “Each Jew is obligated to say, ‘The world was created for me.’ ”3

A Jews’ service is thus twofold: as he exists as an individual and as he exists as a member of the Jewish people and through both these services, he reveals G‑d’s glory in the world. This twofold service is particularly emphasized this year, when Vayakhel and Pekudei are read as a single parshah. In particular, the portion connected with the present night, the fourth aliyah of the portion, is significant because it fuses together the two parshiyos as one.

The ultimate aspect of both these services will come in the Era of Redemption. Mashiach will gather together every single member of the Jewish people and at that time, there will be the tenth census of the Jewish people, the ultimate expression of Pekudei. Then we will see a fusion of both services for each individual will include within himself an entire congregation of Jews.

In microcosm, this concept is reflected in our acceptance of the mitzvah, “Love your fellowman as yourself” each morning. May Mashiach come even before we make this declaration tomorrow morning and may we proceed together — “A great congregation will come there” — to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.

To hasten this, each one of you will be given money to distribute to tzedakah, which as our Sages declare, “brings close the redemption.” May it be in the immediate future.

Yechidus to the Bar and Bas Mitzvah Youths

2. In addition to the blessings mentioned previously, you deserve special blessings in connection with your Bar and Bas Mitzvos.

This shares a connection with the Purim holiday recently celebrated for the 13th of Adar — a date obviously connected with the concept of Bar Mitzvah — is a date associated with Jewish unity. This was the day on which Haman desired to kill the entire Jewish people, “from the youths to the elders, women and children on one day.” Thus, this day united and drew together the entire Jewish people. Furthermore, the day itself is day of oneness as reflected by the fact that 13 is numerically equivalent to echad, (אחד), which means “one.”

Adar is a month of transformation. Thus, although originally the Jews were described as being “scattered and dispersed among the nations.” Ultimately, this was transformed and a unique oneness was revealed, a oneness which unites the Jewish people even as they exist amidst dispersion. Despite our geographic separation, we are a single and united nation.4

The ultimate source of this oneness is the Holy of Holies in the Beis HaMikdash. From there, this oneness radiates forth to every Jew as they exist within their individual activities within the world, granting them the potential to transform the world into a dwelling for G‑d. Ultimately, this will cause the Master of the dwelling, G‑d, to reveal Himself for indeed, it is within one’s own dwelling that one reveals oneself.

The parallel to this level which exists within a person’s lifetime is realized when he reaches the day of joy, the day of his Bar or Bas Mitzvah. For him, this day is like the giving of the Torah. This point of unlimited oneness becomes revealed in his thought, speech, and action as a Bar or Bas Mitzvah and he uses all these potentials to fulfill the mission with which he was charged by G‑d, to make this world a dwelling for Him. (In this as well, we see a connection to Purim for it was then when the Jews, “carried out what they accepted,” reaffirming their commitment to the Torah.) The above will be enhanced by your making additional gifts to tzedakah on the day of your Bar or Bas Mitzvah. May this hasten the coming of the ultimate and complete redemption.

Yechidus to the Grooms and Brides

3. In addition to the blessings mentioned above, special blessings are conveyed upon each of you in connection with your wedding. Every Jewish wedding reflects the ultimate marriage bond existing between G‑d and the Jewish people. At present, we have merited only the stage of eirusim — betrothal — but in the Era of Redemption, we will merit nissuim, the consummation of that bond.

Our Rabbis taught, “Open with blessing.” May the preparations for your weddings be successful and may all those who have already celebrated their weddings merit continued good and hatzlachah. And may we merit the ultimate blessing, that “speedily... it will be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem,... the voice of a groom and bride....”

May you merit to establish an everlasting structure which expresses the infinite potential which man possesses, the potential to establish an eternal chain of sons and daughters occupied with the Torah and its mitzvos. May your weddings be filled with joy, a joy which surpasses the unbounded joy of Purim and may we merit, even before your weddings, the ultimate redemption.

May we not have to wait for Nissan, but may the redemption come now in the month of Adar, the month of transformation. Of particular significance is the present date, the twentieth of Adar. Esrim, (עשרים) is numerically equivalent to Kesser, (כתר) meaning “crown.” This relates to a groom for our Sages taught, “A groom resembles a king.” May all the brides and grooms enjoy the prosperity of kings and queens and may they receive all possible blessings, including the ultimate blessing, the coming of the redemption. And may it be in the immediate future.