1. It is customary to gather together before each individual returns home, and all such gatherings have a common theme. On the other hand, each takes place during a different time, and therefore has something unique about it. Since we are Jews, we must find its special significance in the Torah, which gives us lessons in how to conduct every detail of our lives.

Every Jew “inherits” the Torah, as it is written, “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Yaakov.” In the laws of inheritance, it doesn’t matter if the child is intelligent, talented, etc. If he was born to a particular set of parents, he automatically inherits their wealth. The same applies to a Jew, who is a son of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, or daughter of Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah. All of their spiritual “wealth” which they accumulated through their lives as tzaddikim became the inheritance of each and every Jew at the moment of birth.

This idea is stressed in last week’s parshah, where Bilaam says (Num. 23:9), “I see [this nation] from the top of stones, and gaze on it from the hills.” Rashi explains Bilaam’s intention: “I see their beginnings and original source, and I see them firmly rooted and strong as these stones and hills, by virtue of their Patriarchs and Matriarchs.” This means that the status of the Jewish people as heirs of the Patriarchs is so clear that even when a non-Jew looked upon them, he viewed them as their children.

The inheritance of Torah therefore takes place at the moment of birth, and is independent of individual choice. One does have the choice, though, of revealing his connection with this inheritance; in fact, as one grows physically, there should be a corresponding spiritual growth by incorporating the lessons of Torah into everyday life. According to this it is obvious that the unique nature of this gathering must relate to Torah and mitzvos.

The primary reason that this group gathered here was in order to be together on the Previous Rebbe’s birthday and the festival of his redemption. On that day it was clearly seen that he had overpowered all obstacles and persisted in bringing up generations of Jews who remained faithful to the path of their forefathers. This showed that the inheritance of the Patriarchs and matriarchs has been passed down faithfully throughout the last few thousand years.

The truth is that the very existence of a Jew provides testimony that this chain has remained unbroken. However, there are Jews who are unaware of what exactly they inherited, or are barely aware that this inheritance exists. Therefore, everyone gathered here — the living testimony to this inheritance in a revealed way — has a holy mission to educate them as to their inheritance.

[Since we are speaking of those who are just beginning to learn, one must be careful to go about it in a proper way. One must explain things well, and do so in a friendly way, with sincere words; one must be patient, and not become fatigued when you see that after answering their question, they ask another question. All the questions must be answered with the proper tone, etc.]

This is the mission placed upon us by the Previous Rebbe, who showed through personal example how much effort must be expended in spreading Torah and mitzvos. And by accepting upon yourselves this mission, one certainly receives great reward. Much more important, however, is that one has the tremendous merit of fulfilling the will of G‑d, the Creator of the world.

Each Jew has the mission of making a “dwelling place for G‑d.” Our Sages explain that every Jew must make a dwelling place for G‑d within his heart. Through this inner transformation, he or she can make the entire home into a “miniature Sanctuary.” And since the Torah compares the dwelling place in one’s heart and home to a “Sanctuary,” it must bear real resemblance to the Beis HaMikdash itself.

The effect of the Beis HaMikdash was so powerful that it brought physical blessing to all inhabitants of the world, even non-Jews. The same occurs when an individual spreads holiness to his surroundings, including Jews with limited knowledge, and even non-Jews. Affecting the latter includes influencing them not to hinder Jews in performing Torah and mitzvos, but instead to help them live properly as Jews, and also encouraging them to keep the Seven Noachide commandments.

Another important aspect of carrying out one’s mission is that it must be done in a joyous manner. Actually, the very fact that one has merited to carry out this mission itself causes the feeling of joy. And it in turn causes one to act with greater enthusiasm, bringing greater Divine assistance and blessings. These blessings are not only in personal matters, but primarily in successfully carrying out G‑d’s mission as clarified to us by the Previous Rebbe. And through better carrying out one’s mission, one merits even greater blessings in one’s personal life, beginning with true Torah and Chassidishe nachas from one’s children, good health and long life.

Positive resolutions made together with a group have an extra strength and special quality. This stresses further the idea of ahavas Yisrael and achdus Yisrael. This is the main idea of our coming together — to stress that we are only separating physically, but we will remember that we remain bound inwardly. In this way, the memory of the time spent together will remain strong, and will arouse a longing to be together once again.

The theme of unity is also seen in the daily portion of Chumash (Num 26:5), which speaks of counting the Jewish people. It would seem that counting them stresses their uniqueness and individuality; especially since there was a separate count for each of the tribes, each family, etc. However, after stressing how they all are different, the section ends with the total count of the entire nation together. And the Torah immediately follows with the splitting up Eretz Yisrael, which teaches us that unity among Jews (as alluded to by their being counted all together) leads to the inheritance and apportionment of Eretz Yisrael with the arrival of Mashiach.

This apportionment of Eretz Yisrael was done, “by the word of G‑d.” As the Gemara explains, this is similar to the way in which G‑d spoke through the Urim VeTumim worn by the Kohen Gadol. This is connected with the section of Rambam studied around this time (Hilchos Klei HaMikdash). He writes that the prophets mention that many, many Jews used to wear an ephod, even though they were not Kohanim Gedolim. The reason they wore them was to show that they also spoke with Divine inspiration just as the Kohen Gadol. This shows the tremendous potential within every single Jew; that he or she is capable of being a vessel for Divine inspiration like that of a Kohen Gadol.

This potential is even more potent since we are shortly before the revelation of Mashiach. In the days of Mashiach, G‑d says that, “I will pour My spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesize.” (Joel 3:1)

Since today is the day preceding the 17th of Tammuz, we should mention something in connection with the fast day. All fast days will be transformed to days of rejoicing in the Messianic Age, as the verse says (Zechariah 8:19), “The fast of the fourth (month, i.e. Tammuz)...shall be for Yehudah joy and happiness and holidays, if you love truth and peace.” The end of the verse provides a clear link with the theme mentioned before at length — that of ahavas Yisrael (“truth and peace”).

The same idea of ahavas Yisrael is therefore reflected in the daily portion of Chumash — the count of the Jewish people — and in Rambam — transforming the fasts through ahavas Yisrael. This lesson, as all matters of Torah, does not apply only for these days, however, but for the entire year. How much moreso for such a central lesson, that of ahavas Yisrael. We even see it expressed directly at the beginning of the prayer service, which starts, “I hereby take upon myself to fulfill the mitzvah, ‘Love you fellowman as yourself.’ ”

There is an additional connection between the splitting and apportionment of Eretz Yisrael and ahavas Yisrael. We mentioned previously that Jewish unity paves the way for the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael. This is hinted to by the previous counting of the Jewish people, first by individual tribe, and then as one unit. This resembles the Messianic redemption, when “A great congregation will return here.” a “congregation” exists only when there are many individuals; but it only becomes “great” (“a great congregation”) when they are united into a single unit. And that is the preparation for the redemption and subsequent return to Eretz Yisrael.

Nevertheless, there is no loss of individual identity. On the contrary — the redemption of individuals brings the communal redemption; as mentioned above, making a “miniature Sanctuary” within one’s heart brings about the building of the Sanctuary for the entire Jewish people.

This connection between individual and community is seen clearly from the redemption of the 12th-13th of Tammuz. The Previous Rebbe’s liberation would seem to be the redemption of an individual; but he said clearly that, “Not only me did G‑d redeem, but everyone who even just bears the name Jew.” He also stressed that everyone strengthens their connection to this redemption by adding on in good deeds, beginning with learning Torah in groups — in the words of the Mishnah, and the famous discourse of the Previous Rebbe, “Ten who are sitting and occupied in Torah.”

The phrase “occupied in Torah” (“oskin”) does not just mean passively listening to the lesson. The same word is used for a businessman, who is actively involved in finding buyers. Similarly here, it means that one delves deeply into the subject, not letting it suffice with what he has heard his teacher say. In this way, even a child can be “a student who makes his teacher wiser,” and can even innovate new Torah ideas.

The Previous Rebbe placed great emphasis on teaching Torah to children, and explained that all enemies of Judaism are nullified through their learning. This applies to those who are open opponents, as well as those who do so secretly, who are even more dangerous. From this we see the great responsibility on every mother and father to ensure that their children receive a proper Torah education.

As is customary in these gatherings, we will conclude by distributing charity. In addition to the profound effect that giving charity always has, it is stronger now since it is taking place in a holy place and in connection with a holy event. It should therefore inspire more good resolutions and more good deeds, thereby bringing the fulfillment of the promise, “To these people I will divide the land [Eretz Yisrael]” — to these very people assembled here.

Good resolutions themselves help that the deeds be actualized. This is because G‑d, “attaches the good thought to the deed,” i.e. gives Divine assistance that it reach the realm of action. The same applies to inheriting Eretz Yisrael — the strong resolution to witness it and participate in it brings it closer to reality.

And since the Beis HaMikdash is already built in the heavenly realm, it only needs to be revealed down here in the physical world. The Jewish people will then be transported to Eretz Yisrael “on heavenly clouds” — without even needing to buy tickets!

Once again, this is the time to stress that all resolutions be made with the greatest strength, liveliness, holiness and illuminating brightness one can muster. This includes a resolution that when one returns home and meets someone who is unaware of the topics discussed in the discourses of the Previous Rebbe — especially those said in connection wit the redemption of the 12th-13th of Tammuz — one will teach them and explain them. This must be done with a pleasant countenance, since it is a form of spiritual charity — and charity must always be given in a pleasant way. Everyone must participate in this — men, women and children — since these teachings involve mitzvos which are not limited to time (such as loving G‑d, etc.), and everyone must keep them.

We see in charity that, “the poor person does more for the rich one than the rich one does for the poor.” The same applies, so to speak, when G‑d behaves charitably towards the Jewish people. He derives “pleasure” from our actions, and in this way we create something Above which would not exist without our actions. May all of G‑d’s blessings be realized speedily, including the main blessing — the arrival of our righteous redeemer.

2. All the blessings mentioned above obviously apply to you as well. But there are additional blessings associated with those reaching Bar and Bas Mitzvah. The Zohar says that the verse (Psalms 2:7), “I have given birth to you today,” refers to the day of Bar Mitzvah. This is because on that day one becomes a true emissary of G‑d, able do Torah and mitzvos, and thereby fulfill one’s true purpose.

All who helped raise and educate the child are included in this tremendous blessing, and all are considered to have “given birth” to the child on this day, as indicated in the words of the Zohar.

This “birth” of the child indicates an entry into a totally new stage of existence; a transformation which the entire world will also experience in the Messianic Age. The Ramban says that the mitzvos performed in the Messianic Age are of a totally different magnitude than those done today. It therefore follows that at that time, the entire Jewish people will be “reborn,” so to speak, just as a child who reaches Bar or Bas Mitzvah.

At this auspicious time, it is proper to make good resolutions for the future. These resolutions take on added force when made in a holy place, the shul of the Previous Rebbe, and he adds his own blessings as well. One’s resolutions should include making the home and everything in it into a “miniature Sanctuary,” in which G‑d dwells as if it was the Holy of Holies. And such a place is certainly full of all sorts of physical and spiritual blessings, including the main blessing — that of being able to carry out one’s mission in Torah and mitzvos which is now, at the time of Bar and Bas Mitzvah, first being given in full.

The blessings are further increased when connected with the mitzvah of charity, which is equal to all other mitzvos put together. In this way, G‑d fulfills all His blessings, including that of “To these people I will divide the land [Eretz Yisrael]” — to these very people assembled here, as explained previously.

And may it be G‑d’s will that you be blessed with success in everything that you do, and that your parents and teachers be blessed in your merit. And may all these blessing, good resolutions, additional mitzvos, etc. bring the speedy redemption with the immediate arrival of Mashiach.

3. In addition to all the blessings mentioned above, which where said to all Jews without distinction, brides and grooms are singularly important. They are a living example of the bond between G‑d and the Jewish people, and receive special blessings in connection with this auspicious time.

May all preparations for the wedding match the future “eternal edifice” of your marriage, and may this eternal edifice be actualized with all the physical and spiritual blessings imaginable — with long healthy years, and sons and daughters who live a life of Torah and mitzvos.

As mentioned above, the relationship between the bride and groom is similar to that between the Jewish people and G‑d. Just as He has set us apart by giving us the Torah, the groom “sanctifies” (through kiddushin) the bride by giving her a ring. In addition to the first giving of the Torah, G‑d does so constantly, as we say the blessing over the Torah in present tense, “Blessed are You, Who gives the Torah.” In the same way, may your marriage always remain as it is in the first moment, and may all the future blessings contained in the first moment be actualized over the years.

You should all participate in the custom, which continues to spread, that the bride, groom, their parents and everyone associated with them, give additional charity before the wedding ceremony. And although G‑d would grant His blessings even without this additional charity, since He is infinite, it has the ability to bring even more Divine blessings.

The law is that every single Jew rejoices when there is a wedding. The bride and groom should likewise continue to influence all Jews throughout their lives. Similarly, the blessings that come to them should bring additional blessing to all Jews everywhere, as seen in the blessing uttered under the wedding canopy, “let there speedily be heard in the cities of Yehudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a bride and the sound of a groom.” And even though the blessing is in future tense (“let there be heard”), it nevertheless says it should be heard “speedily.”

This blessing has an immediate effect on the entire world, because the blessing itself and the response Amen are heard by G‑d, Who responds with an additional measure of blessing for the entire world.

We will conclude with the customary distribution of charity, which “hastens the redemption.” And may we “speedily” hear the ultimate good news, that G‑d is bringing us out of exile with the true redemption.

And knowing all this should increase success in the preparations for the wedding, the wedding itself, the seven days of celebration, and a future full of health, children and long life.