1. Torah teaches us that when Jews come together they begin with a blessing.

The Holy One, Blessed be He, has also assured us that He will bless everyone who blesses another Jew. G‑d turns from His ‘involvement,’ as it were, and bestows His blessings in all areas of goodness. This is true even when two Jews meet and exchange words of benediction, how much more so when there is a gathering of many Jews.

This is all the more magnified when the assembly takes place in a house of G‑d where we pray to the Holy One, Blessed be He, and study His Torah. This enhances the stature of the Jewish people and G‑d’s blessings are further intensified.

When a Jew voices a blessing he also reveals his own soul, the ‘part of G‑d above’ as it invests the words of speech in a mortal mouth.

Actually, all aspects of a Jew’s activities reveal his essential soul, even eating and drinking. For everything was created by the Holy One, Blessed be He, and has the potential to be infused with G‑dliness.

Thus, in a person, the highest level and the lowest level are all united and complement each other to make him, one man.

The unity of the Jewish people may be compared to this. For despite the differences among Jews they all blend together and complement each other to make the Jewish Nation one whole. There are Jews who are of the ‘head’ and others who are the ‘feet’ — together they create one whole entity.

In Talmud Yerushalmi the question of Ahavas Yisrael is explained; how can one person love another as himself — this is unnatural? The answer is that two Jews are like two hands of the same body — each limb of the body must do its function to make sure the person is whole and well.

Since the soul is the overriding reality of Jewish existence we are all the same, with one Father, and we are given one mission and goal to provide a dwelling place for G‑d in the lower worlds. When we gather, our unity is more clearly visible and G‑d increases His blessings to us.

The special theme of this gathering is connected with the completion of a segment of schooling. In matters of holiness, of course, we never end — for G‑d always extends His benevolent blessings for many good long years to continue growing in matters of holiness. Rather, a completion is a commencement — a beginning of a higher stage.

When we complete a tractate of Talmud it is customary to recite:

Just as You have assisted me to complete this tractate, so too, please help me to begin new tractates and other books.

In graduating from one level of school you rise in knowledge and understanding and are able to undertake greater intellectual challenges with great success. For those who will become teachers to educate and train Jewish children, your efforts will surely be with proper feeling and warmth, so that the children will absorb your lessons and be influenced by them to become ‘illuminating lamps’ in the future.

The teachers themselves should see the period of graduation as a time for self-development and growth, to go on to be more effective in training future students.

So, on the one hand at this junction we delineate the different stages of education in order to rise and start anew, and, at the same time, all the distinctions are really one unity — to fulfill the will and mission of the Holy One, Blessed be He, to create an abode of G‑dliness in the world.

We are now in the third month when the three-fold Torah was given to a three-fold people.

Here too, we have diversity and unity, Kohanim, Levi’im and Israelites on the one hand and at the same time one people in which the diversity adds strength. Every Jew has a role to play. There are those who must serve as ‘heads,’ for example teachers and counselors who must guide and educate Jewish children. Others are the ‘feet’ of the nation. Despite these differences we comprise one nation, for all together our goal is to reveal G‑d’s unity in the world.

Each year in the third month Torah once again gives us these powers with new vigor for the coming year — so that every day we accept Torah in the present tense — and every day is infused with the Torah spirit in order to rise and ascend to greater levels of holiness.

Graduation from seminary to go out and teach children has an appropriate connection to this third month. Matan Torah itself was an education, for the Holy One, Blessed be He, trained us to be ‘a chosen people’ — ‘a kingdom of Kohanim and a holy nation’; the world must see our uniqueness and sanctity so that we may influence the world to become a dwelling place for G‑d. This is especially emphasized when Jewish women who are educators gather in the ‘third month’ — they will carry on this mission from Matan Torah to the end of time.

It is important to remember this fact. Perhaps there will be times when your role in life as educators will be difficult and you will be faced with obstacles — remember that the Holy One, Blessed be He, gives you all the powers and potentials to achieve your goals and carry out your mission with great success. Just as He gives the entire Jewish people the power and ability to carry out their role as a chosen people — even in the darkness of the galus with joy and inner serenity. So too, does He give each individual the power to carry out his/her role.

Gladden the soul of Your servant...O turn to me and endow my spirit. (Tehillim 86:4-16)

The third day of the week has the blessing of the double Ki Tov — ‘it was good,’ good for heaven and good for man. In plain words this is the role of one who helps others; he is not satisfied with being good for himself, or ‘Heaven,’ but is also good for other people. It is important however to fuse the two together that every moment and every act should have both qualities.

Last Shabbos we read the portion of ‘Behaaloscha es HaNeiros.’ Chassidus explains the inner meaning of the Menorah:

The soul is referred to as a candle as it says ‘man’s soul is the candle of G‑d.’ The sum total of Jewish souls comprises a Menorah which has seven lamps, the seven levels in Divine service.... Aharon kindles these lamps...to evoke a strong love for G‑d.... (Likkutei Torah, Behaaloscha)

We may emphasize two points:

A) Unity — the seven lamps — seven levels — all unite into one Menorah and all radiate in one direction.

B) Education — Aharon first kindled the candle of G‑d which is man’s soul so that ‘the flame rises on its own.’ Education must bring the individual student to the point where he/she no longer needs a teacher; they become illuminating lamps.

2. This week we will read the portion of Shelach when we are told the story of the spies who were sent into Eretz Yisrael in preparation for the conquest of the land.

In our individual Divine service we must learn to spy out and map out the areas where we must conquer and make those places ‘Eretz Yisrael,’ a holy land, as the Tzemach Tzedek said: ‘Make Eretz Yisrael here.’ Unite all aspects of your life under the banner of your Divine service and make everything Eretz Yisrael.

This is one of the most fundamental principles of education. You must teach children that every aspect of their lives can be permeated with G‑dliness — ‘Eretz Yisrael’ — not just when they pray or study Torah but even when they are involved in mundane matters — eating and drinking, walking, swimming, etc. At that time they must remember the words of the Zohar, ‘Jewish bodies are holy.’ To be healthy and fit is part of serving G‑d.

More recently we have spoken of making our homes mini-Sanctuaries by infusing each mundane thing with G‑dliness. This is the same as making your domain Eretz Yisrael because the holiest place in Eretz Yisrael is the Bais HaMikdash.

Tell the small children to make their rooms a mini-Sanctuary by placing a Chumash, Siddur and Tehillim, as well as a pushkah there. They will do it with enthusiasm and verve, then they will study from the books and give charity and they will actually create Eretz Yisrael and a Bais HaMikdash in their rooms.

In the summer when children will be in camps:

A) All the children should have a Chumash, Siddur and a pushkah in their rooms.

B) You must teach and train the children properly and diligently when they are in your charge, so that when they go back home after the summer they will carry these good lessons with them.

In the third section of Shelach which we study today we find:

If G‑d is satisfied (desires) with us...He can give it to us...Don’t be afraid...they shall be our prey (bread). (Bamidbar 14:8-9)

Here we see how a Jew should never feel incapable or powerless to carry out his/her mission; you can make your world an Eretz Yisrael because G‑d ‘desires us’ and gives us the power to make this world an abode for Him.

The Baal Shem Tov also taught that G‑d’s ‘desire’ and love is in every Jew, for our soul is truly a part of G‑d above — certainly we will succeed in revealing the Eretz Yisrael in our lives.

Do not allow yourselves to be intimidated by apparent difficulties, for ‘they are our bread.’ By carrying out G‑d’s will we are given more power, for we draw from the ‘sparks of holiness’ that exist in all things we come in contact with. When we carry out the mission of the Holy One, Blessed be He, we add more G‑dliness.

In today’s section of Rambam we study the laws of Terumah which is an example of transforming the profane to the holy. By taking a grain of wheat or a fruit which is tevel — ‘no good’ — and dedicating it to G‑d as a terumah — heave offering — all the rest of the grain and fruit in the silo is permitted and may be used by the individual.

In the first of today’s chapters the Rambam teaches the rule that a person may appoint an agent to set aside the terumah. It is because of Jewish unity and Ahavas Yisrael that the Torah accepts the good action of one Jew for another — the agent does the act of setting aside the terumah and the owner of the grain has the mitzvah as if he had done it himself.

In the next chapter the Rambam rules that the terumah set aside for G‑d must be separated from the best selection of the produce.

What do we learn from this?

In our daily lives there are hours which are better than others — the better hours should be dedicated to the G‑dly activities — we must sanctify the best of what we have.

The earliest hours of the day, when the body is rested, is the best time for Torah study, later on you can study secular subjects, and of course only in such a way that the secular will enhance and help the Torah studies.

Here, too, there is an aspect of unity, for when we unite different qualities and different aspects we have true unity.

In the third chapter we study today the Rambam tells us that the terumah which is given to the Kohen may be eaten by all members of his household, even his slaves, even if the slaves run away, for they serve him.

Every Jew is like a servant to a Kohen, for G‑d may be thought of as Kohen. It may happen that a Jew is sometimes influenced by his evil inclination and ‘runs away’ from G‑d’s path. G‑d still bestows His benevolence upon him. For, even though he has sinned, he is still a Jew and he will certainly revert to his previous condition as a true servant of the Kohen. In fact, the sparks of holiness in the sustenance he receives from G‑d will influence him to repent and turn back to the right path and correct any failings. Here, too, we see the unity of the Jewish people and G‑d — so that even though he sinned he is still connected to G‑d.

May G‑d help you all to be successful in your special mission of Jewish education — you certainly have been given all the necessary powers and talents to do your job properly and perfectly — with inner joy and satisfaction.

Your activities in education should be in a manner that:

All who see them shall recognize them. (Yeshayahu 61:9)

So that based on their action and speech even the nations of the world will see Jewish women and girls upon whom the Shechinah rests. This will bring more honor and glory to the Jewish people in the eyes of the gentile nations — they will see that even when we are in galus we are strong and proud in all matters of Yiddishkeit.

May your educational accomplishments speed the end of our work in the galus — for the diaspora is a form of education, as our Sages explain that the observance of mitzvos now is the training for the future. Then we will see the fulfillment of the promise:

All nations which You have made will come and cast themselves down before You O my Master, and shall give honor to Your Name. (Tehillim 86:9)

We are in a synagogue, near the Aron Kodesh which houses the Torah scrolls. This will strengthen your good resolutions on all these matters. You will also take the holiness of this place to your own home, the mini-Sanctuaries and to the summer camps. This will bring us closer to the redemption — to speed this I will give each of you a dollar and make you agents of a mitzvah of tzedakah and this will speed the redemption.

And very soon we will all be taken, together with the camps, on ‘clouds of heaven’ to our Holy Land, and we will go up to Yerushalayim the Holy City.

In these last moments of galus may we carry out our mission with joy and merit a healthy and happy summer and see the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach very speedily, and then we will all have a healthy and happy summer in the Holy Land, and we can prepare to celebrate the holiday of liberation, Yud Bais Tammuz, together with the Previous Rebbe.

May we also see a good sweet year starting with a good summer and with glad hearts we will rise from strength to strength so that:

They stride from strength to strength until they see themselves drawing near to G‑d in Tziyon. (Tehillim 84:8)

With the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach — and so may it be.

A healthy and happy summer.