1. Rosh Chodesh Sivan is distinguished as the day on which the Jewish people camped before Mount Sinai. When describing this encampment, the Torah1 emphasizes that it came, “after the Jews left Egypt,” i.e., after the process of refinement associated with the Egyptian exile.

The parallel to this in our service can be explained as follows: In Torah Or, the Alter Rebbe interprets the counterpart to the enslavement in Egypt as increased effort in Torah study. The mortar — chomer in Hebrew — of Egypt, is reflected in our involvement with Kal Vachomer, one of the thirteen methods of Biblical exegesis, and the bricks, our involvement in Libun Hilchasah, the clarification of Torah law. Through investing effort in such study, one can leave Egypt, go beyond his boundaries and limitations.

The Torah continues, relating that the people came to Mount Sinai after they had been in Refidim, a place where “they slackened their involvement in Torah,” and then corrected their behavior, thus, reaching “the higher quality of light which comes from the darkness.” Mount Sinai itself also has symbolic importance. A mountain indicates the importance of lifting oneself up and carrying out one’s service without inhibitions and Sinai is interpreted to refer to the power to weaken the influence of undesirable factors.

The expression the Torah uses when describing the Jews’ encampment is: “On this day, they came to the desert of Sinai.” In the Torah, the use of the word “this” implies a revelation, something which “you can point your finger at and say ‘this’ ” and day is symbolic of shining light. When a Jew goes through the above mentioned preparatory steps, his true being becomes openly revealed. He comes to the level of “this day,” when amidst open revelation, he can point his finger and show how his entire existence is connected to G‑d and Torah. He also becomes one with G‑d’s essence, for the bond between the Jews and G‑d established through the Torah is one of true unity.

The above describes not only what happened in the past, but also relates to our present circumstance. On the verse, “and these days were remembered and celebrated,” the AriZal explained that when a Torah event is remembered in a complete way, it is celebrated not only as a commemoration of the past, but as a present reality. All the spiritual influences which were revealed originally are expressed at present. Thus, we will relive the revelation at Sinai when, “your eyes saw your teacher,” i.e., G‑d’s essence will be revealed in the midst of the exile and will serve as “a teacher,” guiding the way for every Jew, men, women, and children.

This will also bring about the unity of the Jewish people. In the verse, “And Israel camp before the mountain,” the verb vayichan (“camped”) is stated in a singular form (in contrast to the other verbs in the narrative). This reveals how the entire people camped “as one man, with one heart,” expressing true unity. What brought about this unity? The fact that they were “before the mountain,” close to the giving of the Torah.

This is also connected with the portion of Torah associated with the present day which describes the census of the Jewish people. The literal translation of the command to take the census is “Lift up the heads of the children of Israel,” implying that G‑d will lift up the aspect of the soul which is truly a “head” and cause it to control every aspect of a Jew’s behavior. This is done by Moshe, the spark of Moshe which every Jew possesses within his soul.

As is customary, the present gathering will be concluded by distributing money to be given to charity. Three dollars will be given, emphasizing the threefold nature of the Jewish people and the threefold nature of the Torah which was given in Sivan, the third month. May these activities hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy, “And the sovereignty will be the L‑rd’s” with the coming of the Mashiach, when we will all proceed to our holy land, to Jerusalem, and to the Temple. May it come immediately.