1. It is appropriate to use this opportunity to express appreciation for all the blessings sent in connection with my birthday on Yud-Alef Nissan. Though a personal message could be sent to each individual, it is a far greater merit when these wishes are expressed at a public gathering where many Jews are assembled. This is particularly true when that gathering is held in a synagogue (a place of prayer) which also serves as a house of study and center for good deeds, thus, including within it the three pillars of service on which the world — the world at large and also the individual world of every Jew — stands.

Furthermore, the present date, the 13th of Nissan, the yahrzeit of the Tzemach Tzedek, is one of great merit. Both of the names, Tzemach and Tzedek, are references to Mashiach. 13 is numerically equivalent to the echad, meaning “one.” The name of the month Nissan contains two nunnim, interpreted by our sages as a reference to “miracles of a miraculous nature.”

In particular, this is relevant in the present year, 5750 (תש"נ) “a year of miracles.” This is a time when G‑d will show each and every Jew miracles in his personal life in regard to both material and spiritual matters, enabling him to derive satisfaction from his own deeds, those of his family, and those carried out within his surrounding environment.

This is an appropriate time to express appreciation for the blessings as mentioned above. In truth, G‑d has already assured each person of those blessings as the Torah promises, “I will bless all those who bless you.”

May we carry out all the preparations for the Pesach holiday so that it can be celebrated in the fullest possible manner, i.e., together with Mashiach in the complete and ultimate redemption. May this be the last moment of exile and directly afterwards, may we appreciate the first moment of redemption.

Although in these last moments of exile, we are “scattered and dispersed among the nations,” we are promised that G‑d will lead each individual Jew — man, woman, and child out of exile. Furthermore, G‑d, as it were, puts Himself into exile and will not return until He redeems the Jews.

These are the days when the Jews were commanded, “Acquire and take unto yourselves a sheep for the Paschal sacrifice.” The Hebrew word for “acquire,” mishchu, can also mean “turn away from.” Thus, our Sages interpreted this command, “Turn away from idol worship and take unto yourselves a sheep....” That interpretation can be rephrased in a present context, “Turn away from exile.” Exile is “foreign service” (the literal translation of avodah zarah, generally rendered as “idol worship”). It is contrary to a Jew’s true nature, for a Jew, particularly after the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah, is in essence a free man.

May, instead of speaking about the Messianic redemption, we witness it. Then, “G‑d will be blessed forever. Amen and Amen,” i.e., G‑dliness will be drawn down into this world, transforming it into a dwelling for Him. May we witness the fulfillment of the prophecy, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders,” with the coming of Mashiach. May it be in the immediate future.