1. There is a general principle that one should always begin with a blessing; it is therefore a suitable time to reciprocate the blessings and good wishes which were sent in conjunction with Yud-Alef Nissan. It is well-known that when one gives a blessing, that G‑d blesses the one that gave the blessing. It is nevertheless proper for the recipient to show gratitude and to offer blessings in return.

It is impossible to answer each one individually, and therefore it must be done in this manner, publicly. But from the very fact that it is impossible any other way we see that it must be unnecessary. On the contrary — when a blessing is given in a holy place, on an auspicious day, and in the presence of many Jews together, it is even greater.

This also applies to answering letters personally. Due to the volume of letters which are received, it has become impossible to answer each one individually. But, as mentioned above, this itself shows that such answers are unnecessary. This general statement shall serve as the acknowledgement that the letters, etc. have been received.

The general and primary answer is that, ‘I will mention it at the gravesite’ of the Rebbe, my father-in-law. In addition, there is a principle in Torah that one should take the advice of others — y’didim meivinim, those who are close to you and who understand the issue at hand. They are still just giving advice, and you need not totally set aside your own opinion. Nevertheless, remember that you are personally involved, whereas they are more objective. In addition, since they are y’didim, G‑d certainly gives them the understanding and insight to give good advice.

2. This is an opportune time to mention a few points which were discussed earlier on Shabbos.

a) One must make one’s home — and every single item in the home — into an object of holiness, a ‘miniature sanctuary.’ We might add that the word ‘miniature’ is used only when comparing it to the real Sanctuary, the Bais HaMikdash. But each object used for holiness, even if it is used only by a small child, acquires a real and powerful holy status — and the word ‘miniature’ is not really appropriate.

b) The ultimate goal of this is to make a dwelling place for G‑d in the lower realms. In this context, we also discussed the necessity of spreading knowledge of the Seven Noachide Laws throughout the world. As we discussed, the only reason this was not done in previous times was because influencing non-Jews in matters of faith involved actual physical danger. Today, when this danger no longer exists, our responsibility to ‘force all inhabitants of the world to accept the commandments which were given to Noah,’ is once more in effect.

Even in previous generations, we find many instances where Gedolei Yisrael went out of their way to influence non-Jews regarding their Seven Mitzvos. The Chidah, for example, related an exchange which occurred during the course of a trip to France:

..I told a certain non-Jew to tell me Who he believed in. He answered me, ‘the G‑d of the Jews.’ I investigated, and it appeared that he was telling the truth. I answered him, ‘If so, you should recite the verse Shema Yisrael each morning and evening; fulfill the Seven Mitzvos; and believe in G‑d alone, without mentioning any other being.’ He accepted this and said that he would pray only to the G‑d of the Jews.

In any case, in our generation there is certainly no danger involved; the President of the United States has even publicly signed a proclamation stating his opinion that all inhabitants of the world should fulfill the Seven Mitzvos. He also stressed — as the Rambam points out — that these commandments were commanded to Moshe by G‑d. This proclamation is especially significant since this country is from the most powerful in the world; and in addition, the leader is elected according to the will of the people, unlike the second ‘superpower.’

c) We also discussed the three signs which characterize a Jew: ‘they are shy, merciful, and do kind deeds.’ This is also connected with spreading the Seven Mitzvos, for when the non-Jew sees that the Jew displays these three signs, he is naturally more open to his words. This is even more important when dealing with one’s fellow Jew, as we discussed at great length.

It is not enough that these signs remain inside: the whole idea of a ‘sign’ is that it be visible to others. We see this in the laws regulating return of a lost object: the lost object must be identified by clearly recognizable signs.

The same applies on a spiritual level — through revealing the three signs which characterize a Jew, everybody’s status becomes clear. This clarification purifies the various sparks of holiness which have fallen down here (‘become lost’) that they should be ‘returned’ to their true source.

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3. The Midrash says that, ‘When G‑d chose Yaakov and his sons, he set aside Rosh Chodesh Nissan as the Rosh Chodesh of Redemption.’ Rosh Chodesh Nissan is connected with the redemption of Pesach, as we see from the fact that Rosh Chodesh Nissan and Pesach always fall out on the same day of the week. The explanation of this is that although the moon first appears on Rosh Chodesh, then it is only slightly visible. Its appearance becomes complete on Pesach, the 15th of the month. This is similar to the Third Bais HaMikdash, which is the ultimate completion of the first two.

Just as G‑d chose Yaakov and his sons, so too He chose Eretz Yisrael from among all the lands. It is therefore fitting to discuss something new regarding Eretz Yisrael. It is actually nothing new, but an extension of what already exists.

The primary focus of the efforts of the Rebbe, my father-in-law, when he was in Russia was Russian Jewry. Even after he left, he wrote explicitly that he was still united with them, and that the physical distance couldn’t interrupt their connection. This constant bond led to his mandating the founding of Kfar Chabad in Eretz Yisrael, which was initially settled almost completely by those who had fled Russia.

The name, Kfar Chabad, is significant. Chassidus explains the difference between the way in which a city dweller and an inhabitant of a kfar see their king. The experience totally penetrates the one from the kfar, and he is deeply affected by it. A city-dweller, on the other hand, is not so deeply affected.

The meaning of ‘Chabad’ is obvious — that the kfar be a source for the spread of Chabad Chassidus, and in a way that is fully understood intellectually.

From Kfar Chabad, other settlements branched off throughout Eretz Yisrael. However, Yerushalayim still has not been reached. True, there are ‘Chabad Houses,’ Chabad synagogues, etc., but until now there has not been a Chabad settlement on the order of Kfar Chabad. Actually, the settlement should be even more permanent than a kfar — more a ‘city surrounded by a wall,’ like Yerushalayim itself.

G‑d clearly shows us when the proper time for something has come. We see this in the case of the Seven Mitzvos, as mentioned above; the public declaration by the President constitutes a clear message that the time has come to be energetically involved in this. So too in this project of a Chabad city within Yerushalayim, there are a number of signs that the proper time has come.

First of all, there are a large number of people who are looking for a place to settle in Eretz Yisrael. There has been a change in the outlook of the Russian government, and they are allowing Jews to emigrate freely. Certainly a considerable number would want to live in Yerushalayim — particularly if they are given the necessary assistance, and when it is explained to them that it is connected with ‘Lubavitch,’ which means ahavas Yisrael. Everything should be arranged in advance that their adjustment should be smooth and easy. The city should be a beautiful place to live, and temporary dwellings should be made available until the permanent dwellings are finished. This will make it unnecessary to make a lengthy move later on.

These are certainly the proper people to move into such a settlement. Russian Jews have acquired the trait of mesirus nefesh as part of their nature. They have not only done so on occasion, but have maintained this self-sacrifice for decades on end.

[A parenthetical statement connected with the meaning of the name ‘Lubavitch.’ There are those who are constantly looking to complain and criticize. The reason for this is because Mashiach is about to come, and they wish to delay his coming, the only thing they can think of doing is complaining, mocking, etc.

Some complain that when speaking about Mashiach, the English word ‘now’ is used — ‘We Want Mashiach Now.’ Why, they say, isn’t the Hebrew word used exclusively, as is Eretz Yisrael? This is similar to that regarding the use of the word Lubavitch — why should the entire movement have such a name, rather than a Hebrew name?

The answer is that as we approach the days of Mashiach, our preparation must match the state of events which will exist at that time. Since the entire world — including the non-Jews — will serve G‑d, our preparation must somehow include them also. This includes spreading the Seven Mitzvos and utilizing their language. For this reason we find such words as ‘Lubavitch’ and ‘Now’ being used.

However, since we do find foreign words written in the Torah with Hebrew letters (such as totafos and y’gar sahadussa), there must be a meaning to the Hebrew transliteration as well. As we once mentioned, ‘now’ (נאו) is written with the letters, nun, alef, vav, which has the numerical value 57. This makes up the Hebrew word zan (זן), as we say in the Blessing After Meals, ‘Hazan es hakol,’ He feeds everyone. It also has the numerical value of G‑d’s names Kel Havayah (א-ל הוי'ה), as revealed in the world. We see that ‘now’ is connected with revealed blessings here in the world.

The same applies to the usage of the word ‘tank’ — ‘Mitzvah Tank.’ When a Jew sees something in the world, he immediately thinks of how it can be used to serve G‑d. We see that ‘now’ is connected with revealed blessings here in the world.

The same applies to the usage of the word ‘tank’ — ‘Mitzvah Tank.’ When a Jew sees something in the world, he immediately thinks of how it can be used to serve G‑d. When he sees something destructive, such as a tank, he realizes that there must be some positive purpose for its existence. We can see this in actuality among some countries which use their tanks for peaceful purposes such as making roads, clearing land, etc. Although these are not actual mitzvos, it is appropriate and sufficient for B’nei Noach.

A Jew, however, wants everything to be used for a purpose which is openly holy. These he can do by making the tank into a ‘Mitzvah Tank.’ And, as mentioned above, the fact that tanks now exist and have come to our attention provide the clearest proof that now is the time to use them in their holy context.

In this case too there is significance to the meaning of the word ‘tank’ in Hebrew transliteration — tes, nun, kuf (טנק). As we once discussed, the sign for the Six Orders of the Mishnah (zeraim, moed, nashim, nezikin, kodshim, taharos) is z’man nokat (zayin, mem, nunnun, kuf, tes). The last three letters are the same as the letters of tank, but in a different order — tes, nun, kuf, corresponding to taharos, nezikin, kodshim.

The explanation of this difference is as follows. As it is in Torah, the proper order is of course nokat (nun, kuf, tes). But as the Torah is brought down to the level of the world — where action is the main thing — the order is tank (tes, nun, kuf). First there must be taharos (Purity), the necessity of purifying yourself in order to be able to affect others. Next comes nezikin (Damages), keeping people away from prohibited things (sur meira) and thereby preventing damage. Finally comes kodshim (Holy Things), corresponding to influencing others in doing mitzvos (v’aseh tov) and increasing holiness in the world.]

Obviously, a large amount of money is necessary for such a project — particularly if it is to be a highly desirable place to live. This brings us to the second sign, the availability of funds. A number of years ago, a group of people joined together to create a special fund for such a special project. In the last year, the amount has reached a level sufficient to fund the building of the foundation, and to actually begin settling those who are arriving from Russia.

Another sign is that there are people already in Yerushalayim who are prepared and capable of undertaking this project, in a way that will be tremendously successful. Having themselves lived lives of mesirus nefesh in Russia, they are particularly qualified to take the leadership role. This is particularly true since they have formed a group of scientists, representing a transformation of unholy to holy, a trait characteristic of all Jews who lived through difficult times in Russia and came out stronger as a result.

An additional sign that this is the right time for this project is the cooperation one could expect from the local government. Among those who have sent their blessings here for Yud-Alef Nissan are those in charge of dispensing land and public funds. At their head is the one in charge of the entire land, who is the son of a rav, etc. Certainly they did not intend to honor me personally, but to honor the entire Lubavitch movement. Especially in view of the fact that they took the initiative in sending their blessings, it is a good opportunity to channel their positive feelings in a constructive direction.

They should be told that G‑d rewards and blesses them; and that the biggest blessing (or at least one of the biggest blessings) G‑d could give is the opportunity to take part in this project, and to do whatever is within their power to see it accomplished within the quickest possible time.

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4. As usual, we will conclude by singing niggunim, beginning with the niggun of ‘Preparation’; the Alter Rebbe’s niggun; the niggun of the Tzemach Tzedek; Lechat’chilah Aribber from the Rebbe Maharash; and She’yibaneh Bais HaMikdash.

There are ‘three pillars’ upon which the world stands — Torah, tefillah, and charity. We have mentioned matters pertaining to prayer and have spoken from the Written Torah and Oral Torah — including works from the rebbeim. We will therefore conclude with collecting charity, and those who wish can write their name with their mother’s name, in order to have it brought to the gravesite of the Rebbe, my father-in-law. Afterwards, dollars will be distributed in order to begin for charity before Pesach.

[After singing the niggunim, the Rebbe began singing ‘V’hi She’omdah’ and then ‘N’yet n’yet.’]