1. We are now in the beginning of the Nine Days. Thus, it is proper to emphasize again the service which is appropriate at present as summarized in the verse, “Zion will be redeemed through judgment and those who return to her through tzedakah.”

This verse shares a particular connection to the present day. We have already recited the evening service and thus have begun the service of Friday. Among the aspects of the service of that day is the review of the coming Torah reading (Shnaim Mikra, V’echad Targum) and, as is Jewish custom, the review of the Haftorah which concludes with this verse.

“Judgment” refers to Torah study and, in particular, the study of halachah, Torah law. This is fulfilled with the recitation of the evening service which we have just completed which contains the Shema. The Shema is Torah study — (it should not be recited without reciting the blessings before Torah study) — and relates to halachah. The first verse of the Shema consists of a clear halachic statement regarding the acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven.

Similarly, the following verse, “And you shall love, the L‑rd, your G‑d,” is a clear halachic statement regarding the mitzvah of loving G‑d. The Alter Rebbe explains that this mitzvah is the source for — and includes — all the positive mitzvos. Among the positive mitzvos is the mitzvah to fear G‑d which is the source for and includes all the negative mitzvos. Thus, the mitzvah of loving G‑d includes within it all the mitzvos.

We will conclude with tzedakah, the distribution of dollars to be given to charity with the intent that all those who take a dollar will themselves add several dollars for tzedakah. This is surely a significant act. In Tanya, it explains that giving a penny to tzedakah is important for with it, one can buy one’s life necessities. Surely, this applies when one gives many times that amount.

May these activities enable us to dance to greet Mashiach — Then, there will be no questions about dancing during these days and we will “Go from strength to strength and see G‑d in Zion,” proceeding together with the entire Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael,1 to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.2 May it be immediately.3