(After the afternoon service, children from all over the world recited the 12 pesukim. Chanukah Menorahs were lit in the various cities and the niggun, HaNeiros Hallalu was sung. Afterwards, the Rebbe Shlita delivered three sichos. In the text below, they have been adapted and presented in the form of a single address.)

As is Jewish custom, the Chanukah Menorah has been lit in the synagogue, a place where Jews gather together for prayer. Similarly, in the spirit of Chanukah, whose lights are placed “at the outside of the entrance to one’s home,” we have witnessed through telecommunication, the kindling of the Chanukah lights “outside,” in far removed corners throughout the world.

The Lessons of the Chanukah Lights

The Chanukah candles provide us with a clearly visible expression of the teaching, “A mitzvah is a lamp and the Torah is light.”1 In regard to other mitzvos, the mitzvah’s function as a lamp is not as apparent. In contrast, the mitzvah of Chanukah candles produces discernible light and spreads that light throughout one’s surroundings.

The Chanukah candles are lit for eight days. This does not mean that the same mitzvah is repeated eight times in succession. Just as in a physical sense, new candles are lit each night, in a spiritual sense too, each night represents a new light: a new mitzvah to be fulfilled with new fire.

The newness of the mitzvah is further emphasized by the custom of adding a new candle every night. Beginning from the second night, for seven2 successive nights — once on each of the days of the week — we increase the number of candles we light. This reflects how we must constantly increase our efforts to spread the “lamp” of “mitzvah” and the “light” of “Torah.”

The Chanukah lights also reflect the light of the Jewish soul. As the Tanach3 teaches, “The soul of man,” — i.e., each and every Jew, young or old — “is the lamp of G‑d.” The mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles enables each person to fulfill the purpose of his soul’s descent in the world — to spread G‑dly light, not only in his home, but in his surroundings, and even, as expressed in the Menorah lightings which we have just witnessed, in the furthest removed corners of the world.

Children as Leaders; The Power of Tzedakah

The above is particularly relevant to Jewish children, for they are called Tzivos Hashem, G‑d’s army. This name implies that they have been chosen by G‑d and entrusted with special missions by Him.

Each Jewish child — boy or girl — should know that G‑d loves him or her like a father loves an only son.4 As an expression of that love, G‑d grants him all of his needs and also gives him extra delicacies. Similarly, He entrusts him with special missions to increase and spread Judaism and Torah among his fellow Jews.

The very name Chanukah points to this concept, for it relates to the word Chinuch, which means “education.” We are taught,5 “Educate a child according to his way [so that] even when he grows older he will not depart from it.” Just as we continue to add new light each night of Chanukah, similarly, when the principles of Jewish education are engraved in a child’s heart, he will constantly add new light as he grows and proceeds in life.

In particular, the importance of a Jewish child’s efforts is expressed through the mitzvah of tzedakah. The tzedakah given by a child is superior in a certain way to the tzedakah given by an adult. An adult works to earn his livelihood, and thus can always replace the money that he has given away. In contrast, a child does not earn his own money and has only what he has been given by his parents. Nevertheless, his nature is not to stint, but rather to give generously when he sees a person in need or a worthy Torah institution.

Furthermore, in keeping with the Chanukah lesson of increasing light, he does not remain satisfied with giving once, but continues to give many other times. And, also, and this is of essential importance, he gives with joy, happy at the opportunity to fulfill G‑d’s will and do his share in making “a dwelling for G‑d in the lower worlds.” So happy in fact will he be that his own parents will learn from him how to rejoice in their observance of the mitzvos, and particularly when giving tzedakah.

To enable you to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah, in addition to three6 coins which you will be given as Chanukah gelt, you will be given a fourth coin to give to tzedakah. Our Sages7 teach that tzedakah brings the future redemption closer.

May the tzedakah we give hasten the fulfillment of the heartfelt prayer of the Jewish people — and particularly of Jewish children — that G‑d work miracles for the Jewish people as He did “in those days, at this time.” May we witness, “at this time,” immediately in the present moments — how G‑d will cause the Third Beis HaMikdash to descend from the heavens, and then we, together with the entire Jewish people, will watch the kindling of the Menorah, “in Your holy courtyard.” May this be in the immediate future.