1. Our gathering today is in connection with the completion of the school year (graduation). However, in all good things and especially matters of Judaism, it would not be proper to say that they come to an end.

G‑dliness is the true soul and life of the world. But even more than a soul which enlivens a body that has independent existence, G‑dliness creates, enlivens and sustains; the utterance of G‑d that is within everything causes it to be.

When we speak of Jewish matters this rule is even more evident. The terms Jew (Yehudi) and Judaism (Yahadus) both contain the first three letters of G‑d’s Ineffable Name, “Yud, Hai and Vav” which indicates eternity and creativity. This fact must not only be intellectually known by a Jew, but it must also infuse and permeate his entire being, so that all his limbs and arteries feel this G‑dliness.

Naturally, in such a case of Jewish matters there can be no end. Rather, a conclusion or graduation only indicates a change which takes place, so that the same G‑dliness is now expressed in a different form.

An illustration of this principle would be the different forms of a person’s Divine service. On Shavuos, for example, we must hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. On a regular weekday we do not read the Ten Commandments. In fact, on a plain weekday we serve G‑d in simple ways, by saying a Berachah (blessing) before eating or drinking. When a Jew declares that G‑d is “King of the universe,” and at the same time “our G‑d,” Who gives us life, then even a non-Jew will understand that all that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created may be used as a medium for Divine service.

Just as one may serve G‑d by studying Torah and observing mitzvos, so too, he/she may serve G‑d by eating and drinking in the proper way and with the altruistic intention of fulfilling G‑d’s command: “You shall guard your lives.”

A Jew must do what he/she can to be healthy and fit, to utilize all his/her powers and talents to reveal how the Holy One, Blessed be He, is immanent in the world and even in the simple aspects of life.

So, when we think of the end of a school year, we speak of the conclusion of one cycle and form, but at the same time a new framework opens up. Once again the ultimate purpose of making an abode for the Shechinah can be effected, with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

This transformation should be connected with Torah, prayer and good deeds (tzedakah).

Upon graduation you conclude one cycle of Torah study and now you assume the role of teaching and guiding others in Torah study and practical observance of mitzvos, especially the education and training of children.

By Divine Providence the coming week will provide you with the opportunity to educate children (in summer camps) and to prepare them for the approaching school year so that they will gain even more than they did in the past.

A Jew is expected to advance in matters of holiness — certainly in the areas of education.

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In speaking of education and preparing children for the coming school year, there is a unique mission delegated to Jewish women and girls — even young girls.

Every girl and especially every married woman has, by nature, the inner, potential powers, senses and attributes needed to educate herself and to train others — it begins with the feminine traits of gentleness.

Proper education must commence primarily with the approach of attracting with the “right hand,” and only then can the elimination of negative traits follow. Remember, undesirable attributes are not an integral part of a Jew’s true essence, they are only superficial and temporary. Women, who were the first to receive the good tidings of the preciousness of Torah, and the directives on how to prepare themselves and their children to receive the Torah, are able to perceive this point and function accordingly.

We see, in fact, that the early stages of child-rearing are completely in the domain of the mother and only later on does the father also take part in the child’s education. Every woman has this innate sensitivity and essential soul-longing to build her own family, blessed with sons and daughters, whom she will be able to raise and educate.

It follows then that a Jewish woman must first make herself a living example so that she may become “the mistress (foundation) of her home,” and, therefore, as she grows and matures she must first educate herself, so that when the appropriate time comes, she will be a living example and illuminate her surroundings and her own children.

How important is the education of Jewish children! When the summer comes and schools close and the kids have more free time, it becomes vitally important that the children’s time should not be empty and wasted, it must be filled with wholesome and meaningful content.

There is a very special way to accomplish this.

Tell the children stories which have moral lessons and pious content. Play a game with them and show them how the game can emphasize and teach the attribute of kindness and consideration for others.

Take for example the game of “treasure hunt.” With this game you can indicate that a Jew must always hunt and search for his/her inner “treasure,” as well as the “treasures” of the world. Remember the analogical epigram of the Baal Shem Tov, on the verse “you shall be to Me a land of desire.” The Holy One, Blessed be He, says to every Jew, you are an entire world and in you may be found precious gems and pearls of spirituality. This is the most precious and valuable thing in existence. The Jew has the G‑d-given mission to reveal this hidden treasure in himself and others.

You must use a gentle approach, attracting with the “right hand,” and making yourself a living example. Even those who are not involved in formal education must also educate themselves and then influence the attitudes of schools, the home and even the environment.

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2. Being Tuesday, we have the double blessing of “that it was good” — “good to heaven and good to men.” This means that each moment must be infused with action that benefits G‑d and man, so that even your action of education should be “with all your heart and all your soul and all your might.”

This week we read the portion of Behaaloscha which represents an important lesson for us in education.

In speaking of kindling the Menorah, why does the Torah use the term “Behaaloscha — when you make the lights rise” (Bamidbar 8:2), it should simply say “when you kindle”?!

Here Rashi enlightens us:

Because the flame rises upwards, an expression denoting “ascending” is used of kindling the lights, (implying) that one must enkindle them until the light ascends of itself. (Rashi, loc. cit.)

The holy Menorah, in the Holy Temple, was kindled by the Kohen in a manner, that after he lit the wick it had to rise ofitself. It not only burned brightly and illuminated, but also rose higher and higher, even after the “kindler” completed his job and walked away.

The analogy in education is obvious. You must teach and train the child so that after the lesson is over the student no longer needs the assistance of the teacher, for he/she has become an illuminating light which illuminates the surroundings. It also carries the power and nature to find other candles, not yet lit, and to kindle them so that their flames will rise higher and illuminate their surroundings.

So, Behaaloscha teaches us this vital lesson in education and in the relationship of one person to another (including also the gentiles who must be taught to observe the Seven Noachide Laws) and especially the “kingdom of Kohanim and the holy nation.” See to it that your students rise of themselves to the heights of G‑dliness and holiness. Your first prerequisite is to be a living example — for then you can influence others even without trying. And sometimes this indirect approach will be more successful and effective.

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3. In the section of Behaaloscha which we study today the Torah speaks of the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni — the second Pesach (on the 14th of Iyar). The previous Rebbe explained that the message of Pesach Sheni to each and every Jew is that “nothing is irretrievable.”

If for some reason a Jew did not act up to par, even if he was “far away” from his suitable level of observance of Torah and mitzvos, and even if the yetzer hora (evil inclination) seduced him to think that this was what he really wanted to do (or how he really wanted to live) — he must realize that “nothing is irretrievable.” And he must demand of Torah: “Why should we lose out?!” (Bamidbar 9:7)

While it is true that his condition is far from acceptable, nevertheless since it was his yetzer hora which pushed him to sin, why should his G‑dly soul suffer?!

When a Jew asks: “Why should we lose out?” the Holy One, Blessed be He, immediately gives him a new and unique mitzvah, which will help him make up for what he lost. So, nothing is really lost, for he is given the opportunity to awaken new, inner and more potent powers. In the case of the Pesach sacrifice, the first Pesach could not penetrate the chametz (leaven); he had to banish all Chametz before offering the Pascal sacrifice. On Pesach Sheni, however, his powers are enlarged, and he can utilize the chametz in carrying out the mitzvah of Pesach. It is similar to the case of the holiday of Shavuos when the “two loaves” presented as a communal offering were made of chametz — even though at other times it would have been forbidden.

Similarly, some acts are prohibited on Shabbos, yet since everything was created for the glory of G‑d we must just form the proper milieu and right approach. Then Torah will tell us how to utilize it for the glory of G‑d. Candle-lighting is a vivid illustration of this rule. On Shabbos it would be a grave sin to light candles — yet on the eve of Shabbos, before nightfall, one of the greatest and most precious mitzvos is to light the Shabbos candles, which will illuminate the whole house.

And by reciting a blessing, you indicate that the Holy One, Blessed be He, has given you His commandments, and put aside all His interests and waits for you, the woman or girl, to kindle the Shabbos lights and thereby carry out His will. As a result, the home is illuminated in a “Sabbatical” way. There are of course several other precepts which were designated especially for women, such as kashrus and family purity, in addition to all mitzvos which apply equally to men and women.

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The unique preciousness of Jewish women is thus enhanced and emphasized. She is given the responsibility and potential to illuminate the world with a G‑dly light, and the light will irradiate the galus and bring the ultimate redemption, when “the night will be illuminated as the day.” And through Torah and mitzvos even the final hours of the galus will be alight and ablaze with joy and happiness. Every Jew will have this light, and we will leave the galus with our youth and elders, sons and daughters, to our Holy Land, there to the Holy City of Yerushalayim and the Holy Mountain and the Holy Temple; may it be with joy and glad hearts, true nachas, Jewish nachas, illuminating nachas, in self and in others.

By accepting the proper resolutions to carry out your actions in the fields of education at this propitious time, “vacation time,” you will see that it is much easier than anticipated and it will bring wonderful results.

We will conclude with a mitzvah that is compared to all the other precepts, you will receive a dollar and become “emissaries of a mitzvah” — tzedakah — which brings the redemption closer, the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt and the true and complete redemption will come through our righteous Mashiach. And then Aharon the Kohen Gadol will be “with us” and we will see him kindle the holy Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash. The seven branches of the candelabra symbolize the different types of Jews as they all combine in one Menorah, as made by Moshe, at G‑d’s behest. From the Beis HaMikdash light will spread out all over the world, which will be an abode for G‑d,

For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the L‑rd to serve Him with one consent, (Tzephaniah 3:9)

speedily and truly in our days.

May your summer be successful in every sense including all we have spoken of with greater zealousness. And speedily may each of you greet Mashiach and we will all “fly” to our Holy Land, to Yerushalayim the Holy City, and the Beis HaMikdash, with joy and glad hearts.