1. Our Rabbis teach begin with blessing. Thus, it is Jewish custom when meeting a fellow Jew to wish him, Sholom Aleichem (“Peace upon you”).1 This blessing is given to every Jew — including all those assembled here, men, women, and children, — regardless of his standing in the service of Torah and mitzvos.

Sholom is G‑d’s name which indicates that the peace will come in an ultimate and complete manner. Since, however, G‑d, the Master of the world, granted the potential for free choice, it appears that there are many different paths, from which a person must chose the path to peace.

This approach must serve as the foundation for our relationship with our fellow Jews. We must follow the commandment, “Love your fellowman as yourself.” When a person looks at a colleague as he looks at himself, there is no possibility for anything but peace. This should be the manner in which we relate to every Jew, throughout the entire world.

This principle must be the foundation for our entire service of Torah and mitzvos for our Sages taught that “Love your fellowman as yourself” is “a great general principle of the Torah,” and “the entire Torah.” Each Jew is connected with “the One G‑d” and “the One Torah,”2 and from that connection, he derives his entire life-energy — not only the energy he devotes to Torah and mitzvos, but that which encompasses the totality of his existence. Accordingly, the totality of his being will be suffused with love for his fellow Jew.

This concept shares a particular connection to the month of Nissan, the month which commemorates the exodus from Egypt, for the exodus from Egypt represented the redemption of the entire Jewish people. There was not a single Jew who remained in exile.

This is also reflected in the Seder which commemorates the redemption, where all four sons — i.e., the entire Jewish people — join together at the Seder, with their parents and grandparents, and ultimately, with the entire heritage of the Jewish people.

Similarly, the concept is related to the counting of the Omer which also provides us with a lesson relevant to the concept of ahavas Yisrael. When counting the Omer, we don’t say, “Today is the second day of the Omer,” “Today is the third day...,” and the like. Rather, we say, “Today is two days of the Omer,” “Today is three days...” indicating how each day includes within it the service of the previous days.

Ultimately, when the counting is completed, there are two dimensions to each day, its individual importance as revealed by the blessing recited in connection with that particular day,3 and its part in the counting as a whole, the “seven perfect weeks” of the Omer.4

The same must apply in regard to the Jewish people: Each Jew has his own individual service in his particular portion of the world. (And for that reason, we must part to allow each of you to return to the place where G‑d has chosen for you to spread Torah and mitzvos.) But beyond that, we are a single and complete entity regardless of the geographic distances between us. This is expressed in the longing each person has for the other.

The above relates to the concluding verse of Psalm 89 which states, “May G‑d be blessed forever. Amen and Amen.” The Hebrew word לעולם translated as “forever,” can also be rendered “to the world,” implying that all the Divine blessings descend and are enclothed within the world. This is affirmed and reaffirmed by the words “Amen and Amen.”

This is further enhanced by the influence of the month of Nissan, “the month of redemption,”5 from which the concept of redemption is drawn down for the entire year, preparing us for the ultimate redemption which will accompany the coming of Mashiach.

Our present gathering is intended to emphasize the bond between us which is representative of the bond which unites all Jews throughout the world, in a larger sense, all Jews throughout history.6

This will grant each individual the potential to carry out his service with renewed energy. Instead of remaining content with his past achievements, he will increase his service, leaping forward.7 Since each Jew has a soul which is “a part of G‑d from above,” his potential is infinite and he can effect, not only his family and immediate environment, but the entire world.

These efforts will be enhanced by the influence of the present year, the fortieth year after the Previous Rebbe’s passing, a year when “one attains [full grasp] of one’s teacher’s knowledge,” and when we are granted, “a knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear.” Ultimately, this will lead to the Messianic redemption when the oneness of our people will be expressed in the most complete manner. A “great congregation will return there”8 as we will proceed “with our sons and daughters, youth and elders,” to our Holy Land.

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Yechidus to Bar and Bas Mitzvah

2. In addition to all the blessings given previously which are relevant to every Jew, particularly those who are found in the Previous Rebbe’s shul and house of study, you are deserving of special recognition.

As you come of age and become obligated in the observance of Torah and mitzvos, your soul, “the part of G‑d” within you becomes revealed to a greater extent. Accordingly, each one of you — including the girls who are also obligated in Torah study as the Alter Rebbe writes — will surely accept resolutions to increase your study of Torah and fulfillment of mitzvos, going beyond the measure of the law.

The word mitzvah also has the meaning, “connection.” Through the fulfillment of mitzvos, a Jew strengthens his connection with G‑d. This adds energy and vitality to one’s performance of Torah and mitzvos.

This should be reflected in the increased donations to tzedakah which are given — in addition to one’s usual donations — in connection with one’s Bar/Bas Mitzvah. [If one’s Bar/Bas Mitzvah falls on Shabbos or a festival, the increase in tzedakah should be made on either (or both) the previous or subsequent day.

Our Sages teach that “tzedakah brings close the redemption,” the ultimate and complete redemption led by Mashiach. In that era, we will fulfill mitzvos in the fullest manner possible, including also the mitzvos connected with Eretz Yisrael and the Beis HaMikdash. Your gifts to tzedakah can hasten this coming about. Our Sages relate that “In Nissan, we were redeemed and in Nissan, we will be redeemed in the future.” We will proceed to Jerusalem and to the third Beis HaMikdash. May it be in the immediate future.

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Yechidus to Grooms and Brides

3. In addition to all the blessings given previously which are relevant to every Jew, you are deserving of special recognition for you are beginning the establishment of a Jewish home. May it be an eternal structure, based on the foundation of Torah and mitzvos.9 May your chuppah and kiddushin (“consecration ceremony”) be representative of the manner in which G‑d “consecrates His people Israel through chuppah and kiddushin.”

This will be enhanced by following the custom which is spreading throughout the Jewish people that a bride and groom and their families give generously to tzedakah on the day of their wedding to increase their merit.

This increase in tzedakah will bring increased blessings which will assure that the preparations for your weddings, the weddings themselves, and the days which follow will be granted increased blessings. May they be in a Torah manner and in a Chassidic manner. And may they serve as a preparation for the era when “there will be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, the voice of rejoicing and the voice of happiness, the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride.” This will reflect the ultimate wedding bond, the relationship between G‑d and the Jewish people. The giving of the Torah represented their betrothal and the marriage bond will be consummated in the Messianic age.

May the Jews enjoy happiness in these, the last moments of exile, and proceed with happiness, including the marriage celebrations, to the coming of Mashiach.

This will be hastened by your gifts to tzedakah. Giving life to a poor person helps grant life to the entire Jewish people who are considered poor for they lack the ultimate wealth, the Messianic redemption.

May we witness how the last moment of exile becomes the first moment of redemption and proceed together to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash. May it be in the immediate future.