1. As is customary after having spent a period of time together, before each person returns to his own home, we gather together, men, women,1 and children, once more. There is a unique significance to holding such a gathering at the present time since the unity of the Jewish people is one of the central themes of the Purim holiday which we have just celebrated. Thus, when Haman asked Achashverosh for permission to destroy the Jews, he stated, “There is one nation, dispersed and separated among all the nations in all the countries of your kingdom;” i.e., it was the separation that existed among the Jews — which is the source for all exile and negative decrees — that allowed for the possibility of Haman’s decree. Conversely, that decree was nullified through an expression of unity, demonstrating that even if the Jews are “dispersed and separated” throughout the world, they remain “one nation.”

Similarly, in the present context, though each individual is returning to his home, we meet again once more to emphasize the bond of unity we share. At this meeting, each person should accept resolutions to maintain a connection, emphasizing that the separation between us is merely external. On the contrary, this separation generates feelings of love and longing for each other.

Further emphasis on this concept of oneness comes this year, when Purim is celebrated on a Sunday. Sunday is described by the Torah as yom echad, “one day,” interpreted by our Sages to mean, “the day when G‑d was at one with His world.” This oneness should be continued in the coming days. Since today is the third day after Purim, it can be considered that we have established a chazakah, an assumption that can be accepted as fact, in regard to Jewish unity.

2. We can derive a lesson from the fact that it is accepted Jewish custom to read the entire Megillah on Purim. Although it is possible to fulfill one’s obligation by reading only the section of the Megillah which describes “the power of the miracle,” it is a universally accepted practice to begin the reading from the first verse, “And it was in the days of King Achashverosh.”2

Our Sages relate that Achashverosh is a reference to G‑d, “the King who controls the beginning (‘reishis’) and the end (‘acharis’).” Although Achashverosh did several undesirable things to the Jews and did not behave in an appropriate manner for a king to the extent that our Sages described him as “a foolish king,” this foolish king serves as metaphor for G‑d. Though this seems difficult to comprehend, it can be understood based on the concept that every entity in the world exists by virtue of a Divine life-force which maintains its existence every moment. Thus, at every moment, Achashverosh, even as he exists as a foolish king, is brought into being by a G‑dly life force. Consequently, his name can teach us important lessons in the service of G‑d.

A Jew must realize that he must “control the beginning and the end.” This implies that, at every stage, he must be sure that the “end” of a movement be connected with its “beginning.” It is not sufficient that the beginning of an activity be good, its end must also be “controlled” by G‑d. This is the genuine desire of every Jew.

This concept can also be explained to a young child. He should be trained to improve his conduct. The key to such a process of change is the realization that every act has its consequences. Therefore, even when, at the outset, a particular entity appears desirable, the child should be taught to consider the ultimate consequences. Educating a child in this manner will motivate him to improve his behavior without the need for threats and casting fear.

3. This week’s Torah portion has a connection to the entire Jewish people. It begins “When you will lift up the head of the children of Israel,” elevating every Jew, men, women, and children. Although this elevation came about through giving the half-shekel which was given only by adult males above the age of 20, it brought about atonement for the entire Jewish people. Similarly, the half-shekels were used for the sockets for the Sanctuary in which every Jew, men, women, and children, had a portion.

At present, the half-shekel is given before Purim. This year, indeed, it was given on the previous Thursday. Its influence continued on Shabbos, the thirteenth of Adar. Thirteen is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word echad, meaning “one.”3 A further extension was made on Sunday, Purim, and on Monday, Shushan Purim. The latter is also related to the Jewish people as a whole for each Jew is “a resident of Shushan,” i.e., is found in G‑d’s capitol city.

Our parting should bring about resolutions to increase our service of ahavas Yisrael, loving our fellow Jew. At the beginning of the day, we make the statement, “Behold I accept upon myself the fulfillment of the commandment, ‘Love your fellowman as yourself.’ ” This commitment should be continued throughout the day and also expressed at night for a Jew must always be in control of himself even when asleep. This is reflected by the law, “A person is always responsible for his actions.”

The latter is accomplished through the recitation of Kerias Shema before retiring. This generates positive influence to the extent that, at times, a person will awake in the middle of the night and recall certain positive things which he could have accomplished during the day and, as a natural response, will wash negal vasser and complete his service in the middle of the night.

Such actions will cause “the sleep of the King to be disturbed.” The King of kings will recall the positive deeds of Mordechai, the Jew, and realize that “nothing has been done for him” (for whatever the Jews have received is nothing compared to what they are worthy of receiving).

In particular, this is true when the Jews take on the mission of increasing their happiness in all the days of Adar, including the resolution to continue the farbrengens of Purim in the coming days according to the directive, “a good-hearted person is always celebrating.”

In this manner, we will join one redemption to the other and proceed from the redemption of Purim to the ultimate Messianic redemption. While we are standing here in Brooklyn, the last moment of exile will become the first moment of redemption. May it be in the immediate future.

Yechidus to Bar and Bas Mitzvah

4. In addition to the above blessings which are directed to each member of the Jewish people, a unique blessing is appropriate for you because of the special event which is approaching, your reaching the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah. This allows you the privilege and the satisfaction of fulfilling G‑d’s mitzvos. Needless to say, such behavior will lead to increased Divine blessings in regard to everything which you require. These blessings will be given with the full measure of Divine generosity.4

When a person becomes Bar or Bas Mitzvah, they become personally responsible to fulfill mitzvos. Our Sages state, “A person who [fulfills mitzvos] when he is commanded to do so is greater than one who does so when he is not commanded to do so.” Mitzvah, Hebrew for “command,” is also related to the word tzavsa, meaning “connection.” G‑d established a connection with the Jews by commanding them to fulfill mitzvos and the Jews establish a connection with G‑d by studying Torah and fulfilling those mitzvos.5 Fulfilling mitzvos in this manner adds to G‑d’s blessings.

This service should be carried out with happiness and joy. The present month, Adar, adds emphasis to that dimension, as our Sages stated, “When Adar commences, happiness should be increased” and “Happiness breaks down barriers.” In particular, we are in the midst of three successive days of happiness, Purim, then, Shushan Purim, which is also the day the moon shines in its fullness, and then, today, a Tuesday, the day when the expression, “And G‑d saw that it was good” was repeated.

This concept of three (three successive days and Tuesday being the third day of the week) is related to the receiving of the Torah which our Sages also associated with three. This is related to your Bar and Bas Mitzvah, for this is the time when you, as individuals, accept the Torah.

This can be connected to this week’s Torah portion, Ki Sisa which speaks about “lifting up the heads” of the Jews and bringing “atonement for their souls.” This leads to Vayakhel-Pekudei and then to Vayikra.

These portions are associated with the Messianic redemption for, it is in that era when G‑d will truly “lift up the heads” of the Jews.6 Then, Moshe will gather together the Jews (Vayakhel) for “a great congregation will return here.” This will be followed by Pekudei, “a reckoning,” the final census of the Jews, a census which will include the tribe of Levi.7 It will also be, like the “reckoning” described in parshas Pekudei, “a reckoning of the Sanctuary, the Sanctuary of testimony,” for the Bais HaMikdash, which is “testimony for the Israel,” will be rebuilt and it will contain the Ark of Testimony, and within it, the tablets given to Moshe.

This will lead to Vayikra,” G‑d “calling to Moshe.” From the Bais HaMikdash, G‑d will call to the spark of Moshe that exists within every Jew. This will have an effect on their thought, speech, and action. In particular, this will apply to those who have become Bar or Bas Mitzvah, and thus, fulfill mitzvos as individuals commanded to do so. In the Messianic era, we will merit the ultimate tzavsa, connection to G‑d, through the fulfillment of His mitzvos. May it be in the immediate future.

The above will be enhanced by fulfillment of the practice which is gaining wide acceptance among the Jewish people, giving generously to tzedakah in connection with one’s Bar or Bas Mitzvah and similarly, increasing all other dimensions of one’s study of Torah and fulfillment of mitzvos. Thus, we will “go from strength to strength and appear before G‑d in Zion,” with the Messianic redemption. May it be in the immediate future.

Yechidus to Grooms and Brides

5. In addition to all the blessings mentioned above and in particular, in connection with the month of Adar, a month when we “increase happiness,” in your instance, a unique blessing is appropriate. A wedding is itself associated with happiness, a happiness which is boundless in nature to the extent that it should include the entire Jewish people.

The concept of boundless happiness is associated with Purim where our celebrations transcend our intellectual capacities, ad d’lo yoda. This happiness should continue to increase in the subsequent days of Adar, in your case, in the days spent in preparation for your weddings, on your weddings, and afterwards.

A wedding is associated with sheva berachos, seven blessings. These reflect the seven days of the week which are a complete cycle of time. In particular, for a bride and groom, each day is an entirely new experience.

A marriage brings into expression G‑d’s power of infinity as manifest in the birth of children who in turn give birth to others, and thus, continue the Jewish people eternally.

May, in the midst of this eternal chain, we merit the ultimate rejoicing, when, “Soon there will be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, the voice of rejoicing and happiness, the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride,” when we will merit the ultimate marriage, the bond between G‑d and the Jewish people which will be realized in the Messianic redemption.8

The above will be enhanced by giving tzedakah, the money which you will soon be given and additions which you should give from your own funds. This will add to the blessings that will be given to the grooms and the brides themselves, to their families, and to their teachers. May this all be in the immediate future.