1. A year has passed since our last Chanukah rally. In addition to growing a year older, all of you, who are members of Tzivos Hashem, have certainly also become wiser. Your newly gained wisdom is associated with the wisdom of Torah which G‑d gave to the Jewish people so that we may be “a wise and understanding nation” (Devarim 4:6).

You should love your fellow as yourself is a basic principle of Torah. (See Toras Kohanim on Vayikra 19:18)

And, therefore, you should also influence your friends to conduct themselves in a manner that is befitting members of Tzivos Hashem. Explain to them that:

G‑d stands over him...and He searches his mind and heart (to see) if he is serving Him as is fitting. (Tanya 41)

During Chanukah we learn a special lesson in this respect. The Chanukah candles must be kindled “at the doorway of the house, outside.” This means that the candles must illuminate the house in such a way that it will also shed its light all around the street “outside.” When this happens the whole world will be illuminated by the light of the mitzvah and Torah, and thereby recognize that: “In the beginning G‑d created the heavens and the earth” (Bereishis 1:1). Having created the world, G‑d continues to keep the world going because of our good actions. In this way we make G‑d happy with His world, and we, too, must rejoice with our Maker by enjoying and fulfilling G‑d’s commandments.

Having studied Torah and acted according to the directive of Torah, and having illuminated your surroundings during the past year, you have certainly gained much wisdom for yourselves and also in relation to helping others.

It is therefore now appropriate for you to receive a “new mission” in your responsibilities in Tzivos Hashem, to illuminate your own homes and outside with the “candle of mitzvah and the light of Torah.”

Every proper army does not remain stagnant, its level of readiness and effectiveness must constantly increase. This is even more true in the case of Tzivos Hashem. The idea of increasing as you advance, which we learn from Chanukah, also applies to all areas of Torah and mitzvos, which must always grow and thereby illuminate the self and others.

Having grown wiser during last year and having increased your Torah study and observance of mitzvos, you are now ready to receive a new mission for the future.

It is appropriate and fitting that you should start the new mission during Chanukah, because the special “order of the day” for Chanukah also stresses the general theme of Tzivos Hashem, to illuminate your home and your surroundings with the light of Torah and mitzvos in an ever-increasing way.

We just lit five Chanukah candles, as we are going into the fifth day of Chanukah. Five candles represent the majority of the eight candles of the holiday. Generally speaking we have the rule: “A majority is like the whole” (Horayos 3b), once you have the majority it is much easier to accomplish the whole thing. So, on the fifth night of Chanukah it becomes easier to illuminate the world with the light of Torah and mitzvos. When we gather on a Tuesday we also have the added strength that Tuesday brings, for it is blessed with the double “Ki-Tov — that it was good” — “good for heaven and good for man” (see Kiddushin 40a). This teaches us to bring light in those areas which are good for G‑d and good for man. With this in mind it is truly appropriate now for you, the members of Tzivos Hashem, to begin the new mission of illuminating yourselves, your homes and the “outside.”

Each of you knows that you are very precious in your parents’ eyes. If you should ask your parents for additional “Chanukah gelt,” and your parents will see that you have a genuine desire for this increment they will surely give it to you.

The new mission for Tzivos Hashem is to request of your parents to give you symbolic “Chanukah gelt”; they should help you make your room and your house a place where G‑d will say “I will dwell in their midst” — G‑dliness and spirituality will dwell in this place. How can this be? When you make your home a house of prayer, Torah and charity. A place where you will pray to G‑d for your needs, where you study and review Torah and from where charity and acts of lovingkindness emerge to assist those people who need help, and those institutions which seek assistance.

If all these good things already exist in the home, then they must be increased. When the parents see how sincerely their children request this “Chanukah gelt,” with such devotion, they will certainly grant them their wish and make their home a place of prayer, Torah and charity.

You children should start by being living examples and bringing Torah, prayer and charity into your own rooms. Start the day with the prayer of “Modeh Ani — I offer thanks,” place a pushkah for charity in your room and have a Siddur and Chumash from which to study Torah. This will motivate your parents to make the whole house a place of Torah, prayer and tzedakah and then your acquaintances and neighbors will be influenced likewise to make their homes, houses of Torah, prayer and charity.

This is the message of Chanukah, we kindle the mitzvah candle at the doorway of the house which indicates that the house must be truly “Jewish,” so that G‑d will say “I will dwell in their midst.” Then, too, the outside of the doorway will be illuminated, and subsequently the great light will illuminate the surrounding houses, near and far. The completion of this mission will come when the whole world will recognize that “In the beginning G‑d created the heavens and the earth,” which leads to the joy G‑d has in His creations.

When your mission is completed, G‑d will also give you more “Chanukah presents,” His blessings and benedictions, so that you will be able to do even more Torah and mitzvos.

This will speed the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach. Then we will see Aharon the Kohen Gadol kindle the Menorah in the greatest house, G‑d’s Beis HaMikdash, from which light radiates to the whole world. Through your good actions G‑d will increase His “Chanukah gifts” to all the Jewish people, starting with the greatest gift of all — the true redemption, through our righteous Mashiach. Truly and speedily in our days.

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2. The Torah portion of the day provides us with an “order of the day” for ourselves as well as others. In the portion of Mikeitz we find that after Yosef, the ruler of Egypt, had accused his brothers of spying and had threatened to prosecute them, they spoke among themselves:

They said to one another, “We deserve to be punished because of what we did to our brother. We saw him suffering when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen; that’s why this great misfortune has come upon us now.” (Bereishis 42:21)

This means, that although they heard from Yosef (whom they thought to be an Egyptian) that he was planning to punish them for being dishonest to him at the present time — they thought that their misfortune stemmed from a sin they had committed against G‑d many years before.

What made them rationalize in this manner? G‑d runs the world and nothing happens by chance. “G‑d stands over him..., and He searches his mind and heart to see if he is serving Him as is fitting” (Tanya 41). G‑d knows all that happened and if a misfortune befell them, they must surely repent. So they introspectively checked the past but could find no sin, save the selling of Yosef 20 years earlier. When they remembered this episode they also realized that they had to repent for their actions, which they did forthwith (see Rashi on Bereishis 42:24). As a result of their teshuvah, although the viceroy arrested Shimon, after they left he released him and treated him well (cf. ibid.). The other brothers who returned to Eretz Yisrael were not only given sufficient grain for their families, but their purchase money was also replaced in their sacks.

The ultimate result was that Yaakov and his entire family came to Egypt, where there was no famine, and settled there in the best land.

We know that whatever happens in life is not by chance, and that the Divine Providence does everything for the good. When something untoward happens the person must search into himself; perhaps there is some shortcoming for which he should repent, or perhaps there was some good deed which could have been carried out better to begin with. Certainly G‑d wants him to take stock and learn to do better.

Does it seem to be an accident? There are no real accidents, everything depends on Divine Providence! The tragic occurrence took place to nudge him a bit closer to teshuvah!

Here we see that when the person follows this approach and makes the honest introspection and admits his shortcomings and repents and resolves to do better in the future, then his repentance transforms the darkness to light in an ever-increasing manner.

In this approach everyone must also be prepared to deal with the “wise guy” yetzer hora who tries to stop him/her from doing teshuvah, from improving, and wants him/her to fail.

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The first mission for you, children of Tzivos Hashem, for the entire year, is not to allow the yetzer hora to fool you and to weaken your Torah study and mitzvos. In today’s Tehillim section we express it thusly: “Free me, O L‑rd, from the wicked man” (Tehillim 140:2), and especially from the wicked inclination. When you pray to Hashem and ask him to free you from the “wicked man” it will cause the “wicked man — inclination” to run away and stop bothering you.

Instead, as we said at the close of Minchah: “Indeed, the righteous will extol Your Name; the upright will dwell in Your presence” (ibid.:14).

Because you are connected to the “righteous nation” you praise G‑d and stay away from any improper action.

At the close of today’s Tehillim section we read that the Jewish people and the Jewish home have a special blessing:

Our sons may be as cultivated plants, brought up to manliness in their youth, our daughters as nooks (sheltered places), formed after the fashion of a palace. (Ibid. 144:12)

How lucky is the nation which has such boys and girls and how lucky is the nation who has G‑d as its L‑rd.

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3. In Sefer HaMitzvos we learn today the negative mitzvah 241:

By this prohibition we are forbidden to take a pledge from a widow, whether she be poor or rich. It is contained in His words, “Nor shall you take the widow’s raiment as a pledge.”

This teaches us the important rule of loving a fellow Jew, and how careful we must be not to hurt someone else, even when it appears that no real damage will be done. Even when you might hurt yourself and even when you have no sinister intention you must still refrain from certain actions.

In the cases related to this mitzvah we find several important rules in Mishneh Torah. One must not cause a person to be reminded of his misfortune. Even a rich widow must not be treated in a manner that will cause her to mull over her loss. This rule applies even if she is rich, even when there is no evil intended and even when the other person involved could come to some loss by treating the widow in a special way.

When we are very careful in caring about the feelings of another person — then G‑d treats us: “measure for measure,” and a lot moreso, for He protects us from the “evil people” and all manner of malevolent occurrences, and especially from the yetzer hora, and we will be able to drive the yetzer hora away completely. This increases the victory of the “wicked in the hands of the righteous,” in an ever-increasing way, which is the lesson we learn from the Chanukah candles. Then you receive much more power to make your home a house of Torah, prayer and charity — and speed the building of the Beis HaMikdash.

The fifth day of Chanukah is observed as a Lubavitcher holiday (see Sefer HaSichos, Toras Shalom p. 84).

In addition to the Torah and prayer we have participated in, we will conclude this rally with tzedakah, and being that it is Chanukah I will give each of you three coins. One should be given to charity of any type, one for charity connected to Chanukah, and one you may use for whatever you wish.

In merit of the children I will also give the adults who are here “Chanukah gelt.” In the spirit of joyous Divine service we will now sing “Ach Tzaddikim,” “Sheyeboneh Beis HaMikdash” and “Nyet, Nyet Nikavo.” Altogether, with many Jews, on the fifth night of Chanukah, we will increase and intensify our joy.

[Two boys brought a stack of signed Pidyonos to the Rebbe and then two girls did likewise. The Rebbe received them and said:]

I will bring these Pidyonos to the graveside of the previous Rebbe and may G‑d grant that very soon you will see the fulfillment of the promise “to appear before G‑d in Tziyon,” and G‑d will show us all His kindness and give us His salvation. And “the glory may again dwell in our land” (Tehillim 85:10), with the true and complete redemption speedily and truly in our time with Mashiach at our head.