1. We have spoken many times concerning the greatness of the unity of Jews. Which comes to expression in an open manner in a farbrengen of many Jews.

On the other hand each Jew is a being unto himself, also according to Torah. The proof of this being that we see the difference between nine Jews, and ten Jews, until we reach the point where many Jews that gather together increases the honor of the king (Hashem).

In contrast to this we see that there has to be the aspect of unity. There has to be the carrying out of the command “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The truth of the matter being that Israel are one being, like one body.

Also in Torah there are differences: The revealed and the hidden Torah, four levels of pardes, six hundred thousand explanations in Torah.

This difference of six hundred thousand is also connected with the six hundred thousand souls among Israel. Which is why we find differences in the preference of the learning certain parts of the Torah. Some people enjoy pshat others sod etc..

Nevertheless, there is also the matter of unity in Torah.

The point of the matter being that having both differences and unity are not in contradiction one to the other. On the contrary, each one complements the other. In Torah the unifying point is to do all mitzvos with an awareness and fear of Hashem.

However this unity has to be in a visible form. This being through the gathering together of many different types of Jews. People who work, people who learn, and people who learn different things and who do different types of work. This also reaches the point until, as the Alter Rebbe says, “a chassidishe farbrengen can accomplish more than the angel Michael can accomplish.”

In addition to the greatness of unity that we have spoken about, this is more so in a gathering which is held in a time when it is in a opportune time for a gathering of unity.

This is brought out on a holy day. This is when the differences between Jews is nullified. An example being Shabbos compared to the week. Relating to the months, Elul brings out this point.

To preface: There are months that have in them Yom Tovim. There are those that have Yom Tovim from the Torah, and there are those that have Yom Tovim decreed by the Rabbis. But in Elul we don’t find Yom Tovim.

The uniqueness of Elul compared to other months is: Elul is the month that there has to be an accounting for the whole year. This is a fitting preparation for Rosh HaShanah. This fact is applicable to all Jews. Therefore we see that the service of the month of Elul unifies all categories of Jews. Although the accounting is different by each one, nevertheless, the goal of each person is the same.

More importantly, each Jew is given a good sealing immediately on Rosh HaShanah. To explain in more detail the unity of Jews brought about by the service of Rosh HaShanah:

Our sages tell us that a talmid chocham who is involved a whole year in learning Torah, in Elul has to limit the amount of time he spends on Torah in order to increase in prayer and supplications.

In the learning of Torah there are differences in levels of understanding and abilities. Whereas in prayer everyone is equal. In addition to the fact that prayer emphasizes the nullification of ones being to Hashem. All this emphasizes the unity brought out by the month of Elul.

Another matter that is emphasized in Elul is tzedakah. In the month of Elul we are accustomed to increase in the giving of tzedakah. In the giving of tzedakah the aspect of unity is brought out in two ways. The first is that there is a unification between the giver and the receiver. This leads to brotherhood and peace. Unity is achieved between them even though there may be great differences between the giver and the receiver in terms of wealth or in spiritual levels.

The second point is that everyone is equally obligated to give tzedakah. Therefore, even though there are many different levels among the givers of tzedakah, being that the amount given depends on the financial resources of the giver, nevertheless, from the receivers viewpoint it doesn’t matter to him if he receives tzedakah from a very wealthy person or from another poor person who is also obligated to give tzedakah. Regarding this mitzvah of giving all Jews are equal.

The unity achieved through tzedakah is even greater than that achieved through prayer. In prayer there are differences in eighteen blessings, prayers of the three weeks, Shabbos and Yom Tov etc.. This is not true relating to tzedakah. A person can fulfill the mitzvah in the same way the whole year by giving a coin to a poor person.

The matter of unity connected with Elul is emphasized by the fact that the letters that spell out Elul hint to all matters of service. This service being, in addition to tzedakah that was mentioned, the service of Torah and prayer. Also including teshuvah, and the redemption. All these five different things are united by one word, Elul.

In addition, alluding to all the above, the word Elul begins with the letter Aleph (א) which symbolizes unity. This infers that all the matters of Elul are relevant to everyone equally.

The concept of unity in Elul is emphasized on Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh Elul includes and unites all the matters of Elul, and is similar to the head of a person, which includes and unites all the limbs of the body.

Taking into account all the matters we have mentioned regarding Elul we can understand the great significance of this gathering being that it takes place on Rosh Chodesh Elul. This being a very auspicious time relating to the matter of unity.

In addition to the place that this gathering is being held. In a synagogue and Bais Midrash in which are many Jews are unified in prayer and learning Torah. Especially that it is the synagogue and Bais Midrash of the Previous Rebbe who unites all Jews.

Being that action is the main thing each person should make good resolutions that he will actually carry out. Through which we will merit to a good and sweet year in physical and spiritual matters. In addition to the most important thing being the redemption through Mashiach. All these matters should be done swiftly and quickly in our days.

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2. Another point relating to the uniqueness of this year is the fact that this is a Shemitah year. During the course of six years each individual works on his own different fields. Whereas on the Shemitah these differences fall away, and the unity of everyone is seen.

This year the Shemitah year begins on Shabbos, being Rosh HaShanah. As a result, being that Rosh HaShanah includes and connects all the days of the year, thus all the days of this year have a connection with Shabbos. Therefore the unity of Shabbos permeates the entire year.

Relating to Rosh Chodesh Elul being on the third day of the week (Tuesday).

The unique aspect of the third day of the week is that it is the only day of the week that Hashem says that it was good twice. Good for the heavens and good for the earth. In other words this day unites all the different aspects of the creation.

In the lesson of the Torah that is learned today it talks about the matters of the tribe of Levi. Here we also see that even though Jews are separate and divided into twelve tribes they are all united by the songs of the Levites.

Concerning the unifying aspect of the tribe of Levi the Rambam states: “Not only the tribe of Levi alone, but every person that is nullified, and willingly stands in front of Hashem in order to serve Him, this person initiates the holiness of the holy of holies, and Hashem will give him an eternal inheritance.” And he now acquires the merit of the Kohanim, and levities.

Therefore we see that all Jews have the ability to reach the level of the tribe of Levi, and even reach the holy of holies being the level of Aaron the Kohen Gadol. As result all Jews can become united on a supernal level.

All the things mentioned should lead to actual doing.

To begin with the custom of blowing the shofar from Rosh Chodesh Elul onwards. On Rosh Chodesh Elul Hashem told Moshe to go up on the mountain. Then there was the blowing of the shofar in the camp. Therefore the sages made a decree that there should be the blowing of the shofar every year, in order to warn Jews to do teshuvah.

To note, there are different customs of the blowing of the shofar, corresponding to the different opinions of when Moshe actually went up on the mountain. The custom of the Previous Rebbe is already well known that Chabad starts blowing the shofar on the second day of Elul. Nevertheless, we also blow on the first day in order to practice the blowing of the shofar. But even this blowing accomplishes the matters that the blowing of the shofar accomplishes. May this all lead to the blowing of the great shofar when Mashiach comes.

As was explained, in the month of Elul there has to be an accurate accounting of ones actions of the past year. This is in order to repair and complete any lackings. In order that this accounting should be true and complete there has to be set aside a proper time. This being the case, there has to be a lessening of time devoted to other matters, even though they may be in accordance with Shulchan Aruch. It is obvious that this is in order to be able to accomplish the matters that are required by the time, being the month of Elul. This is found in halachah that the involvement of a timely matter pushes away other activities.

Even more so, even a talmid chocham whose main involvement is Torah, has to set aside time from his Torah learning in order to increase in prayer and supplications, including the time to make an accurate accounting. This applies even more to every day matters that need to be set aside in order to make this accounting.

There are those that think that the only time this need be done is during the ten days of teshuvah, which is the most opportune time for teshuvah. Nevertheless, even this time requires a preparation, which is the whole month of Elul.

Therefore there has to be a lessening of other matters in the month of Elul in order to be able to accomplish what needs to be done.

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3. There doesn’t need to be asked of me questions that relate to matters that are found in the Shulchan Aruch. If one can’t find an answer there, he should go to a rav. Concerning other matters one should ask knowledgeable friends. In matters of health a doctor should be asked, or two doctors.

However there are still those that will still ask in order to receive a signed answer to know that I thought about their question. They send a letter and they add on that if they don’t receive a letter, and very soon, they will assume that the answer is such and such. This threat is made including many more conditions.

This threat can only be carried out if the letter is read. But since now we are in the month of Elul this is not the time, not only not to answer letters, but even not to read letters. Therefore this threat will not help. If there ever is a time to read a letter like this.

As the Previous Rebbe said, “there are times when letters cannot be read.” If this was something private why were we informed of it? Rather it is to inform us not to make any assumptions on the not receiving of answers at certain times of the year. One should conduct oneself as we mentioned earlier.

We come to an additional question relating to the traveling here for the month of Tishrei. Especially since it is a Hakhel year.

In regards to this there was already an answer given for many years, and since the answer was based on Shulchan Aruch it won’t change from year to year.

Traveling here is only possible under the following conditions: Travel here will not detract from holy work affecting the congregation. Secondly, one should not go into debt. Even more so if we are talking about a debt that one is in doubt if he can pay. If it is clear to him that he can pay the debt, but he won’t be able to rest because of it, he should ask his rav.

Relating to those who are married, they need to ask their wives if they want to go. The same also applies to children, they should ask the permission of their parents; following the teaching of honoring ones parents. If there is a question a rav should be consulted.

An additional condition for those that live in Eretz Yisrael is that they should ask a rav that lives in the holy land, being that he feels the importance of Eretz Yisrael, if it is permitted for them to leave.

May it be that we won’t need all that was mentioned above since Mashiach will already be here, and we will return to the holy land.

All the above should be done with a very great simchah since Mashiach’s coming is imminent. Simchah is the preparation for Mashiach’s coming because simchah has the ability to break through boundaries, including the boundaries of this exile.

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4. In addition, the service of teshuvah has to also include an increase in good deeds. Through teshuvah a person becomes a new being, therefore teshuvah helps to correct all matters since this is not the same person that sinned. Similarity, the increase in the doing of good things has to be in a new manner. Both relating to the learning of Torah, and the doing of mitzvos. So too one should be aroused in all the services of Elul.

Similarly relating to mivtzoim. One should speak to others relating to all the matters of Elul. This should be in a way of sincerity and from the heart, as this is what will enter the other person’s heart. He should also be a living example, and conduct himself in a proper manner. They also should be told that Hashem through His kindness has given us a whole month in which we can correct the past.

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In this week we can learn that one should transform the lands outside of Israel.

As is stated in Iggeres HaKodesh (4) that prayer is an individual redemption, which is similar to the general redemption. This means to say that after one has done an accounting of himself, and done teshuvah, nevertheless he has to now also affect the outside world.

The Rambam explains (the end of Temurah), “Many laws of Torah where given to correct a persons character, and his actions.” This being similar to correcting the land outside of Israel.

The difference between Israel and the other lands is: Israel shows on a unity with Hashem through doing mitzvos. As it says (Bereishis Rabbah 5:8) “Why is it called eretz, because it runs (ratz) to do Hashem’s will.” Whereas other lands show on a situation of separation, and being far away from Hashem.

Relating to a person’s personal service, Eretz Yisrael represents all matters relating to holiness, being Torah and mitzvos. Other countries represent secular matters. The lesson for every Jew is that he has the ability to transform the other lands (secular matters) into the purity of Eretz Yisrael (make them holy).

A person should also realize that the whole purpose of this exile is only as a preparation of the ultimate redemption (a time of holiness). When we now act in a way of holiness even in lands outside of Israel, we effect their transformation.

As is the custom we will end this gathering with the giving of tzedakah. May it be that the resolution to give tzedakah effect the redemption. As it is stated “great is tzedakah that brings closer the redemption” (Bereishis Rabbah 10:1).