1. Whenever Jews gather together, it is proper to “Begin with blessing.” Surely, this directive is appropriate when many Jews gather together for the increase in numbers also brings about an increase in spiritual power. (This is so because the nature of a Jew is to consider the soul of primary importance and the body as secondary.)

The above is enhanced by the influence of Shabbos Bereishis which recounts G‑d’s creation of the world. This generates the potential for each Jew to begin a new approach to Torah and mitzvos, and to the entire world at large.

This is particularly relevant in the present year, a year when, “I will show you wonders.” This name alludes to two advantages over the previous year which was “a year of miracles:” a) Wonders represent a greater manifestation of Divine power. Thus, in regard to the Messianic redemption, the Prophet states, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.” The redemption from Egypt was connected with “miracles.” However, the Messianic redemption will surpass that level and “wonders” will be revealed. b) The expression, “I will show you wonders,” implies that these wonders will be revealed and perceived by the people to whom they occur.1 [In contrast, there is the possibility that miracles will occur without the person to whom they occur perceiving them.]

Similarly, added positive influence is contributed by the fact that today is the third day of the week.2 This alludes to the unique emphasis on the number three this year when three sets of holidays (Rosh HaShanah, Sukkos, and Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah) were celebrated in a three day continuum because they were followed directly by Shabbos. This is reflected in the three-fold people Israel (Kohanim, Levi’im and Yisraelim) and also the Beis HaMikdash (the ultimate goal of the Jews’ service to establish a dwelling for G‑d in the world) which had three sections.

Similarly, there is a connection to this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Noach, because Noach’s ark was built with three different storeys.3 In particular, the section of Parshas Noach associated with the day which has just begun, contains an important lesson for us. That section contains the command, “Go out from the ark,” i.e., G‑d’s injunction to Noach and his descendants to go out into the world and make the world a dwelling for Him.

In this way, a person does not feel that his acquisitions are “bread of shame.” A person may receive beneficence from G‑d’s “full, open, holy, and generous hand.” Nevertheless, if it is not earned by his own efforts, the gift has the limitation of being “bread of shame.” In contrast, when he “goes out from the ark,” and conquers the world through his own efforts, this does not apply.

The uniqueness of the command “Go out from the ark” is enhanced by the fact that it follows the command, “Come into the ark.” Teivah, the word for “ark” also means “word.” Thus, the Baal Shem Tov interpreted the command, “Come into the ark,” as an instruction to put oneself into words of prayer and study and internalize them. [Thus, a Jew lives, not in the material dimensions of the world, but rather, in the words of prayer and Torah study.] In the cycle of time, this service is reflected in the month of Tishrei4 when a Jew stands above the limits of the world.5

However, after this service, a Jew must begin a new phase of activity and “Go out from the ark,” go out into the world and conquer it for Torah.6 Indeed, on one level, this service begins directly after the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah.7 In this context, our Rabbis have interpreted the two phases in our Sages’ statement, “A year which is stricken with need at its beginning, becomes one of affluence at its conclusion,” to refer to the period before and after the blowing of the shofar. This interpretation is necessary for G‑d would not leave the Jews “stricken with need” for an extended period. Instead, immediately, He will bless them with all forms of material and spiritual affluence.

The above service will be enhanced by distributing money to be given to tzedakah. This will be given to the men, the women, and the children for every Jew, even young children,8 accepts upon himself the fulfillment of the mitzvah, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This, in turn, will hasten the coming of Mashiach when we will conquer, in addition to the land of the seven nations of Eretz Canaan, the lands of the three nations, the Keni, K’nizi, and Kadmoni9 and ultimately, extend G‑d’s Kingship over the entire world.

Yechidus to Bar and Bas Mitzvah Youth

2. In addition to the blessings mentioned above which apply to the entire Jewish people, you are worthy of special blessing because you are reaching — or have already reached — the age in which your fulfillment of mitzvos has the advantage of being performed by one who is obligated to perform them. May you go from strength to strength, taking your part in the service of conquering the world for Torah mentioned above.

This will be enhanced by making each of you an agent to distribute tzedakah. This should come in addition to the custom to be fulfilled by you and your families of giving generously to tzedakah on the day of your Bar or Bas Mitzvah itself. May this tzedakah hasten the coming of the ultimate redemption and lead to the establishment of a Sanctuary for G‑d within every individual Jew and the establishment of “the Sanctuary for G‑d established by Your hands,” the Beis HaMikdash, in the world at large.

Yechidus to Grooms and Brides

3. In addition to the blessings given previously, you are worthy of special blessing for you are preparing to establish a Jewish home on the foundation of Torah and mitzvos. Your efforts will be enhanced by following the custom of giving generously to tzedakah on the day of their wedding and encouraging your families to do so. This is appropriate because a marriage is an “eternal structure.”

This will also serve as a preparation for the coming of Mashiach, when, “Soon, the voice of grooms and brides will be heard in the mountains of Yehudah and the outskirts of Jerusalem.”

May all the blessings that our Sages included in the seven marriage blessings be fulfilled for you. May your weddings be successful and may you merit children who are occupied with Torah and mitzvos with abundant material blessings and physical and spiritual health.

May these cause you to increase your resolution to establish your homes on the foundation of Torah and mitzvos and may this lead to the coming of Mashiach in the immediate future when we will gather in Eretz Yisrael, in Jerusalem, and in the Beis HaMikdash.

Yechidus to the Yeshivah Students

4. May G‑d grant each one of you success and may you merit the blessings mentioned previously for they are relevant to anyone who studies Torah. Thus, the Torah promises, “If you walk in My statutes (interpreted by the commentaries to refer to the study of Torah10 ), I will grant your rains in their season.” The Rambam explains that G‑d grants us material blessings so that we will be able to study Torah with greater happiness and peace of mind.

May you “go from strength to strength” in this service until you “appear before G‑d in Zion.” Zion refers to Jerusalem. These two sites are also related to Torah study as it is written, “For Torah will emerge from Zion and the word of G‑d from Jerusalem.”

This is particularly relevant at the present time, for our halachic authorities have concluded that, “All the appointed the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed,” and he must come in the immediate future. Then, the prophecy, “I will return your judges to their original [position] and your counselors to their former [prominence],” will be fulfilled and “the Torah will emerge from Zion.”

This will be hastened by each individual’s utilization of the time that G‑d has granted him to study Torah to the fullest degree. Through such study, he can hasten the coming of the redemption for all the men, women, and children of the Jewish people. This is particularly true since, “When a person comes to purify himself (and particularly, when he also assists others in their purification), he is granted assistance.”

May you merit to study Torah l’shmah and may this hasten the time when you, together with the entire Jewish people proceed to Eretz Yisrael and to Jerusalem.