1. The present days are days of preparation for Shabbos Bereishis. This Shabbos has an effect on all the days of the year to come as the Previous Rebbe related, “The way a person presents himself on Shabbos Bereishis sets the tone for the entire year.”

Perhaps the reason why the Previous Rebbe did not explain this statement in detail is because the details of the preparatory steps necessary are particular to the place and year where Shabbos Bereishis is being celebrated. Hence, the Previous Rebbe confined himself to a general statement, granting the potential for all types of services, expecting that in every circumstance, the particular service necessary to develop this potential will be carried out.1

Even though it appears that this year is merely a repetition of the previous year, one must realize that the Hebrew word for year, שנה is related to the Hebrew for change, שינוי, implying that one can approach the new year as a totally new experience.

This relates to the Torah reading of Shabbos Bereishis. The Torah must be studied in a manner in which one regards it “as new.” Since G‑d “looked into the Torah and created the world,” the new appreciation of Torah will awaken newness throughout the creation at large and in every particular dimension of it.

This should also be reflected in the newness of the approach with which one gives tzedakah. Though one also gave tzedakah on the previous days, today, one is giving a new coin and therefore, should give it with new energy and life.2 This surely applies in regard to tzedakah given to a charitable institution. By giving money for the institution to expand — either its actual building or its activities — one in effect, creates a new institution.

In this context, it is also relevant to emphasize the importance of creating new institutions that serve as centers for the “three services upon which the world stands, Torah, service (prayer), and deeds of kindness.”

The above is particularly relevant in a time when we emphasize how “Yaakov went on his way,” i.e., a Jew makes the transition from a month of festivals and spiritual service to the service of the entire year in which he is more involved in material concerns.3

This also involves an emphasis on Ahavas Yisrael as emphasized by the fact that we prepare ourselves for prayer by “accepting upon ourselves the fulfillment of the commandment, ‘Love your fellow Jew as yourself.”‘ Our fulfillment of this mitzvah will enhance the expression of G‑d’s love for every Jew.4 Not only will He identify with their suffering as implied by the verse, “I am with him in difficulty,” but He will grant the Jews true freedom and liberation with the coming of Mashiach. May it be now, immediately.