1. In the Torah section which we studied yesterday the Torah tells us that “the spirit of their father Yaakov was then revived” (Bereishis 45:27). It has been explained that to bring the spirit of Yaakov to life there must be good actions on the part of his descendants. As the Talmud expounds: “As his seed will be alive, so too, will he be alive” (Taanis 5b). It would be appropriate at this time to crystallize this principle into action and to begin with a concerted effort of giving charity.

When Yaakov went into exile in Egypt G‑d promised him:

Do not be afraid to go to Egypt, for it is there that I will make you into a great nation. (Bereishis 46:3)

Since we stand now in the closing moments of the present diaspora, not much time remains to become a “great nation.” To this end we should be generous in our charity, for, “tzedakah brings the redemption closer” (B. Basra 10a). Men and women, children and even infants should lose no time and increase their benevolence, and then the “great nation” will return to Eretz Yisrael with the fulfillment of the promise “...a great company shall return there” (Yirmeyahu 31:7), to our Holy Land.

Practically speaking, whoever has not yet contributed to charity should now give a donation for tzedakah and attach his/her name and mother’s name. These letters should reach me before I go to the Tziyon (Tomb) of the Previous Rebbe, tomorrow. Put the money in a separate envelope from the letters in order to save the time of separating them here. Since I will not have sufficient time to read all the letters, but only to place them at the graveside — everyone may take the opportunity to write whatever they wish. You are writing your supplications to the Holy One, Blessed be He, through the channel of the Nasi of the generation.

Those who live out of town may bring their letters to the local tombs of righteous people and place their letters there. It is known that all cemeteries are interconnected, and they in turn are all connected to the Cave of Machpelah in Chevron.

At the same time I want to mention again the important project of making Houses of Torah, prayer and charity, where Torah, prayer and tzedakah are encouraged and expanded and where children are raised and inculcated with Torah, prayer and good deeds.

It is our prayer that these actions will engender the state of perfection of the Jewish people. This thought is alluded to at the close of the Chumash portion:

Yaakov came to Egypt with all his descendants. His sons and grandsons were with him. He also brought his daughters, his granddaughters, and all his offspring to Egypt with him. (Bereishis 46:6-7)

The wholeness of the Jewish people may be measured in different contexts and against different absolutes: A) “Avraham was one man” (Yechezkel 33:24) — in a sense he was the total Jewish population. B) According to Chassidus Yaakov’s soul was composed of all the Jewish souls of all the generations; another form of completeness. C) When Binyamin was born the 12 tribes of Israel were complete, and; D) in this portion you find the total population adding up to 70 souls. E) Then of course you have the complete Jewish people comprised of 600,000 souls, each of which subdivides into 600,000 “sparks.”

The context of 70 souls is related to the historic number of the seventy nations of the world. For the Torah says : “He set up his borders of nations to parallel the number of Israel’s descendants” (Devarim 32:8). Rashi states that this refers to the 70 souls who came with Yaakov to Egypt to which the 70 nations were contraposed.

After all, the world was created for the sake of the Jewish people and certainly they must exert some influence on the rest of the world. This also includes the good influence on the nations of the world to encourage them to observe the Seven Noachide Laws, which will give the world a stable social order.

Through Ahavas Yisrael and Jewish unity, while still in the last moments of the diaspora, we will come to merit the return of our people to the promised land when the prophet assures us: “Arise and sing ye that dwell in the dust” (Yeshayahu 26:19). Yaakov will be with them and the Previous Rebbe, too, and then with our youth and elders, sons and daughters, and all their wealth, material and spiritual, we will go with our righteous Mashiach to our Holy Land, with the true and complete redemption, immediately and with joy and gladness of heart.