1. We have all gathered together, the children — and because of them, many of their teachers — in a holy place where Jews pray to G‑d, study Torah, and give tzedakah. These three activities are the three pillars upon which the world stands. Thus, it is easily understood the great holiness of a place where these three activities are carried out each day. This adds importance to this gathering of Jewish children which is intended to strengthen our involvement in these three activities, Torah, prayer, and the fulfillment of mitzvos, beginning with the mitzvah of tzedakah.

The very coming together of so many Jews creates much joy for our Father in Heaven. Surely, this is true when we come together as soldiers with one single goal to defend the place where we are, by standing in constant readiness to fulfill the orders of the Commander-in-Chief (G‑d) as they are communicated in the “Book of Orders” — our holy Torah. We must be prepared for self-sacrifice as a soldier who does not reckon with any difficulty and has only one desire — and carries out that desire in deed and action — to fulfill the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.

This is the mission of all Jews who are called “Tzivos Hashem” — “G‑d’s army”. However, in particular, this title refers to Jewish children. They need not worry how they will be provided with any of their needs. Rather, they receive everything in a prepared manner in order that they are able to totally devote themselves to studying G‑d’s Torah and fulfilling His mitzvos.

Among those mitzvos is, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which is — as previously recited in the twelve pesukim — “a great general principle in the Torah.” Therefore, each one of you has to try to convince your friends to also join Tzivos Hashem and fulfill the orders given them.

The general intent of Tzivos Hashem is that wherever one of the soldiers is found, one can recognize that he is Jewish because his behavior follows the guidelines established by G‑d in His Torah. Thus, when one drinks water, the first thing he does is bless G‑d and proclaim how “everything — the heavens and the earth and everything found within them — was created by His word.” In this manner, G‑d is proclaimed as the “King of Israel,” and the “King over the entire world.” It is He who controls the world and all the creations it contains.

All the above activities must be done with joy as implied by the verse — also one of the twelve pesukim — “Israel will rejoice in its Maker.” When a Jew realizes that G‑d is His Maker, that He created him, he will feel very happy. This happiness will grow when he realizes that G‑d has charged him with a mission — “to make a dwelling place for Him in the lower worlds,” to reveal how each and every place is a dwelling for G‑d. The fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos demonstrates how G‑d is present everywhere and directs everything.

Just as a commander-in-chief blesses his soldiers when he sees them following his orders and gives them all the potential to follow those orders — and rewards them with medals and prizes if they do so, the same applies in Tzivos Hashem. The Commander, G‑d, gives us all the blessings to help us succeed in our mission and to succeed in influencing other boys and girls and thus, bring pleasure to our parents and older brothers and sisters.

Similarly, just as in other armies, from time to time the entire army gathers together to strengthen their commitment and describe how certain soldiers excelled in the performance of their duty, so, too, in Tzivos Hashem. From time to time, at special times in the year, the army gets together and praises children for being successful in their mission of nullifying the Yetzer Hora to the extent that the Yetzer Hora knows that he will not succeed in approaching a Jewish child, for the Jewish child will never listen to him. The child will carry out G‑d’s will as stated in the Torah in every aspect of his daily life.

Thus, the very first thing a Jewish child does when he gets up in the morning is say “Modeh Ani,” proclaiming his thanks to the “living and eternal King,” for returning his soul. In this way, he states to himself and all others in his room how G‑d controls everything and gives him all his powers and energy each and every day.

The present holiday, Sukkos, is one of those times when Tzivos Hashem gets together as an army. Sukkos is the third of the festivals, following Pesach and Shavuos. The order of these festivals is also significant.

Pesach — the season of our freedom — is the first festival, because the first thing we tell Tzivos Hashem is that since they are members of G‑d’s army, they are immediately freed from all types of worries and difficulties. If a person makes a firm decision to become part of G‑d’s army, G‑d will make sure they have no problems, be these health problems, or problems of any other nature.

Afterwards, we come to the second holiday, Shavuos, which celebrates the giving of the Torah to all the Jewish people. Experiencing that leads to Sukkos — the season of our rejoicing — when “Israel rejoices in its Maker,” and “G‑d rejoices in His deeds,” i.e., G‑d is happy that He has children and soldiers like this.

This genuine happiness will make the entire year a year of happiness, which will, in turn, enable us to fulfill G‑d’s commands with greater ease and success and will spread throughout the entire surroundings.

The day on which this gathering is being held — Tuesday, the third day, is also significant. Our Sages note that the expression, “and G‑d saw that it was good,” was repeated twice on Tuesday and explain that this refers to a twofold goodness: “good to the heavens” and “good to the creatures.” This implies that we must each be “good to the heavens” — fulfill G‑d’s mitzvos — and also be “good to the creatures” — by fulfilling the command “Love your neighbor as yourself” and try to influence the other children in one’s neighborhood to do the same.

When G‑d sees that His children are making an effort that every Jewish child become part of Tzivos Hashem, by first and foremost being a living example and then, by doing whatever possible to teach others, His joy will be increased. This will make the army greater, more powerful, and happier, and lead to its victory over the Yetzer Hora and thus, hasten the time when we will all join in the Messianic redemption led by Mashiach, may it come speedily, in our days.

2. The Torah also includes special “orders of the day” for each and every particular day which are taken from the weekly Torah portion, and more specifically, from the section of that portion associated with that day itself. This week’s portion is “Berachah” and the section associated with the present day, the third aliyah.

In general, the portion relates the blessings given to each and every Jew; firstly, as part of his particular tribe, and, afterwards, as part of the entire Jewish people as a whole. In particular, today’s portion describes abundant blessings including “the sweetness of the heavens, of the dew, and of the waters of the depths,” thus, spanning the entire range from the heavens to the depths.

These blessings are given to every Jew — and especially, to the members of Tzivos Hashem who are freed from all difficulties in order to fulfill mitzvos as explained above. Accordingly, they are able to merit all the blessings granted by the Commander-in-Chief, G‑d, in all their needs. Since these blessings are mentioned as the “order of the day” for today, they are strengthened and reinforced.

An added aspect of our gathering is associated with its being held during the holiday of Sukkos and is thus connected with that particular mitzvah. The mitzvah of Sukkah involves living in that structure and performing all the activities that one performs the entire year inside it.

The source for the mitzvah of Sukkah is because “I caused the children of Israel to dwell in Sukkos when I took them out of the land of Egypt.” Thus, when G‑d gave the Jews freedom from the first exile, He gave them the sukkos to dwell in, a structure which totally encompasses a person, his entire body and even his clothes and personal belongings.

Other aspects of the Sukkah are: a) that the mitzvah was given by G‑d as implied by the verse quoted above; b) each year the mitzvah is renewed with new life. Just as each day, we thank G‑d for renewing our souls, so, too, each year, the concept of sukkah is renewed.

The sukkah is associated with G‑d’s “clouds of glory. Thus, even though we are presently in exile, we can realize how, in truth, we are protected by G‑d and His “clouds of glory.” Therefore, when we enter the sukkah — which totally encompasses us, as above — we bless G‑d for giving us the mitzvah and also recite Shehecheyanu,” thanking Him for giving us life and allowing us to reach this time when we can perform this mitzvah which protects us entirely — together with many other mitzvos.

Thus, each year, on Sukkos, we receive new powers and draw down the protection which G‑d grants us for the entire year until we merit a new sukkah in the year to come and renew G‑d’s protection and blessings.

In order to increase G‑d’s blessings, each member of Tzivos Hashem should increase his good behavior. He should not be satisfied with the fact that he studied Torah in the morning, but rather, even later he should continue to study and apply himself to the subject matter.

When the Jews in general and Tzivos Hashem in particular will continually increase their service of G‑d, this will increase the revelation of the “the light of Torah,” and “the candle of Mitzvah” in the world at large. Thus, we will lessen the darkness of exile and hasten the coming of Mashiach and the redemption. May it come speedily, in our days.

3. Generally, these gatherings are concluded with happy songs, surely, this should be the practice at the conclusion of this gathering held during “the season of our rejoicing.”

Similarly, since as stated above, all good things come in groups of three, it is proper to add the giving of tzedakah to the services of prayer and Torah carried out previously. To further emphasize this point, three coins will be given to each child: one to give to a tzedakah connected with “the season of our rejoicing,” one to give to a tzedakah of a general nature, and one to do as one desires.

[The connection between tzedakah and Sukkos is further emphasized by the well-known custom of the Mitteler Rebbe who would freely distribute money for tzedakah on the eve of Sukkos.]

Furthermore, by giving tzedakah — helping another Jewish boy or girl receive their needs — one will not lose. On the contrary, G‑d has promised, “Tithe — so that you will become rich.” Also, included in our efforts of tzedakah should be an attempt to give other Jewish children added understanding about the importance of Torah and mitzvos. Surely, these activities will bring about greater rewards from the Commander-in-Chief.

And with the happy songs with which we will conclude this gathering, we will merit to dance together with Mashiach and proceed, speedily in our days, to Eretz Yisrael, amidst the true and ultimate redemption. May it come speedily in our days.