1. In the past separate gatherings have been held for the elderly and for the youngsters of Tzivos Hashem. This is a novelty, that we gather the elders and the youth at one rally.

As every occurrence should lead to increased activity in Yiddishkeit, certainly this gathering should effect an increase in all matters of Yiddishkeit — first and foremost among the participants.

The children who are gathered here have the unique opportunity to fulfill the commandment:

Stand up before a person with gray hair and give respect to the old. (Vayikra 19:32)

If a child sees an elderly person who is not comfortable because of the overwhelming crowd, the child should happily rise and give a more comfortable place to the older person.

The elderly people who are assembled here have the opportunity to give the children of their wisdom and personal experience for:

Days should speak and multitude of years should teach wisdom. (Iyov 32:7)

They have the ability and potential to teach and educate the children to a greater degree than a younger teacher.

It would be important to correct a popular misconception.

There are foolish people who imagine that when one reaches old age he should be less active. The opposite is really true. Although physically he is not so young as ten years ago, however his age has brought him more enthusiasm in the intellectual realm: greater wisdom and deeper understanding.

Chanukah gives evidence to this axiom, for on Chanukah we addlight each night, which shows that as we age we must add another mitzvah-candle; which is the theme of “a multitude of years should teach wisdom.”

Thus, when the elders gather together with the children there is a unique opportunity to utilize their special quality and add to the education of the children, by showing a living example. Although they are advanced in years, they have more enthusiasm and deeper understanding in the value, beauty and importance of Yiddishkeit and therefore they carry their badge of Judaism with great pride.

The children will take the example and in turn will be living models for other children to emulate, by conducting themselves as true soldiers of G‑d’s army. They must fulfill the commandments of the Commander-in-Chief, the Holy One, Blessed be He, as explained in our Torah, the Torah of life and the Torah of light, which illuminates a Jew’s daily life with the light of the mitzvah-candles. This includes the mitzvah of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” the important rule which teaches that they should encourage other children to become members of Tzivos Hashem.

In this rally we have also had the opportunity to actually carry out certain mitzvos in action: lighting the Chanukah menorah, Torah study, prayer and tzedakah — the three pillars on which the world stands.

Regarding the influence of this gathering on other places and other people, I would like to encourage all the emissaries, who are involved in spreading Yiddishkeit with Chassidic fervor in all parts of the world, to establish a “Kollel” for elderly men and women and to form a Tzivos Hashem youth group for boys and girls.

Wherever these activities already exist, they should be expanded, and this should go hand-in-hand with all the other activities of strengthening and spreading Yiddishkeit among Jews of all ages.

In order to join all those who are assembled here in the future activities all over the world, each emissary will receive a sum of money as a form of participation on our part.

Such a gathering could theoretically take place at any time of the year. Chanukah was chosen, and there is an appropriate theme in the story of Chanukah which applies to the children and elderly together.

In the Al HaNissim prayer we just recited we find the idea:

When the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress ... You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few ... and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah.... Then Your children entered the shrine of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified Your Sanctuary, kindled the lights in Your holy courtyards and instituted these eight days of Chanukah.... (Siddur)

In this liturgy we find a combination of the roles of the elders and the youth. “Purified Your Sanctuary (and) kindled the lights in Your holy courtyards,” which refers to the rededication of the Holy Temple, was the role of the elders and leaders; the Kohanim, up to, and including the Kohen Gadol.

At the same time there was the care and involvement in the education of the children, for the Chashmoneans fought heroically against the Hellenists who wanted “to make them (the children) forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will,” G‑d forbid.

Although our enemies were stronger and more numerous, the Jews fought with G‑d on their side, the Creator of heaven and earth (as you just recited: In the beginning ...). Thus, G‑d is the true ruler of the world and therefore the Jews were victorious.

As a result of the victories the Jews were able once again to educate their children in G‑d’s Torah and its decrees — as is proper for Tzivos Hashem.

The joining together of the elderly and the children carries with it another theme of Chanukah.

The name “Chanukah” is related to the word “Chinuch” — education — as well as to the act of “dedication and initiation of the Altar.” Education begins with small children, but it applies all through a person’s life:

Educate the child according to his way even when he will be old he will not depart from it. (Mishlei 22:6)

Even when a person is old he still benefits from the training and learning he received when he was small. And, remember, our sages taught us:

Who is wise? He who learns from every person. (Avos 4:1)

So, we must never stop learning. The best form of education is for the elderly to teach the young. They have wisdom, understanding, and the ability to influence and educate the children better than younger teachers.

May this Torah education bring us to the complete and true redemption, with our elders and our youth. May we leave the galus as a unified people with the complete Torah, to our Holy Land, where “the eyes of G‑d your L‑rd are on it at all times, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year” (Devarim 11:12).

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2. In the system of candle-lighting on Chanukah there is a debate between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel:

Beis Shammai maintain: On the first day eight candles are lit and thereafter they are gradually reduced; but Beis Hillel say: On the first day one is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased. (Shabbos 21b)

The halachah remains according to the ruling of Beis Hillel.

On the fifth evening of Chanukah, when we kindle five Chanukah candles, we have a situation where for the first time since the start of the holiday, those following Beis Hillel’s opinion will light more candles than those following Beis Shammai’s opinion. According to Beis Hillel we light five candles tonight while according to Beis Shammai we will light only four candles.

From this point on — until the end of Chanukah the gap will widen, until, on the eighth night Beis Hillel will light eight candles, while Beis Shammai will light only one candle.

In this phenomenon we can find an important lesson for man’s service to his Maker.

What is the theme of the Chanukah candles? To illuminate the outside, at the entrance of the home, i.e. to dispel the darkness that engulfs the home after the sun has set. How is this accomplished? In two ways: “Turn away from evil and do good” (Tehillim 34:15), through the negative commandments and the positive commandments.

When we speak of education, of ourselves or others, elders or youth, both of these approaches apply.

There are undesirable things which one must reject by carefully observing the negative commandments of the Torah. For example one who has a craving to eat or drink something, must control himself and first find out if the item is kosher. He must then say the blessing and thank G‑d for giving him this food which gives life and health to the body.

We must also endeavor to do good deeds including all the mitzvos in general and especially the mitzvah of tzedakah which is compared to all the other mitzvos.

There is a group of Jews (Beis Shammai) whose main emphasis in Divine service expresses itself in turning away from evil — they are constantly battling the forces of evil and the undesirable elements of the world. There is another type of Jew (Beis Hillel) whose main thrust is in the area of doing good; to increase all aspects of holiness and goodness, and along the way they will automatically neutralize and eliminate any evil.

It is in these two approaches that we must utilize the two themes of “gradual reduction” or “progressive increase.”

Let us see how these different approaches will apply.

In the path of “turn away from evil” — negating undesirable things (Beis Shammai) — in the initial stages of the person’s Divine service, the attraction to the forbidden is overpowering, and a herculean effort is required to neutralize the negative forces. At that stage you need a lot of light — eight candles. Success will weaken the opponent and in the subsequent days the magnetic power of evil will be weaker. Then, to neutralize the attraction of (evil) materialism and physicality it will suffice to light only seven candles. The power of evil, having been weakened, will succumb to a lesser force.

If, on the other hand, the main thrust of his Divine service is in the direction of “doing good,” the increase of goodness and holiness, the “mitzvah-candle” and “Torah-light” (Beis Hillel), then, although we start with only one candle on the first night of Chanukah, nevertheless we “progressively increase.” Each day the appetite for Torah and mitzvos will grow and the “light” will increase.

On the eve of the fifth candle we see, that in addition to the fact that the Halachah has ruled according to the opinion of Beis Hillel, those who follow Beis Hillel have more candles and more light. Their approach was to add light and neutralize the forces of evil; tonight their approach is vindicated and justified.

There is a connection between this topic and today’s Rambam section (for youngsters in Sefer HaMitzvos):

By this injunction we are commanded (that a robber is) to return the actual article which he took by robbery.... This injunction is contained in His words (exalted be He), “He shall restore that which he took by robbery.” (Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvos, positive commandment 194)

How do we interpret this commandment in terms of a person’s Divine service to his Maker?

Everything created by G‑d in the world must really be good and holy. But we see that there are things which are not good and are unholy? We must say that these undesirable elements have been stolen from the precincts of holiness by “the wicked Hellenist government” or the “evil impulse.”

For example: The yetzer hora (evil impulse) may cause a person to miss saying a blessing, or answering “Amen.” It could even detain him from spreading Yiddishkeit for a particular moment. What happened? Something was stolen from the realm of holiness. It should be emphasized that we speak here of robbery and not theft. Theft is done secretly without the knowledge of the owner. Robbery is blatant and aggressive. Since here we speak of robbing the realm of holiness — we can’t use the term theft because,

G‑d stands over him and the whole earth is full of His glory. (Tanya ch. 41)

The mission of Tzivos Hashem is to wage battle against the yetzer hora, to be victorious and to nullify its power. Then, those matters which were stolen must be returned to the realm of holiness.

When you use the power of “I have worked hard,” you will surely see the results, that “I have been successful,” for G‑d gives everyone the ability and potential to carry out the mission.

In this context we must take a special lesson from the way we light the Chanukah candles — progressively increasing — and especially on this fifth day of Chanukah.

When you want to destroy “the wicked Hellenist government,” and the yetzer hora, you don’t have to wage a direct war against them. All you have to do is to increase the light on the side of good by the mitzvos that you do — more and more — and the forces of evil will automatically be eliminated. The key is to act, for the deed is of the essence. Add more light and all the undesirable forces in the world will gradually decrease! By proceeding in this manner you will go “from strength to strength” until you will “appear before G‑d in Tziyon” (Tehillim 84:8). And we will all merit to see the lights of the Menorah of the Third Beis HaMikdash, as the Midrash says:

I will show you the lamps of Tziyon, (Yalkut, Bamidbar)

speedily and truly in our days.

3. There is a connection between the holiday of Chanukah and the liberation of the Alter Rebbe. When the Alter Rebbe was freed from prison on Yud-Tes Kislev he returned to his home in Vitebsk on the third day of Chanukah. Years later when he was once again arrested, he was freed during Chanukah.

The theme of joining the elders and the youth also expresses itself in the works of the Alter Rebbe. The Alter Rebbe formulated the Nussach (liturgy) of prayer when he edited the Siddur. This is something which is equal for young and old. It is expressed in the first prayer of the Siddur: “Modeh Ani,” recited by everyone upon awakening, which emphasizes that the soul is the essence of every person young and old.

The Alter Rebbe also publicized and spread the teachings of Chassidus. When the “wellsprings” are “disseminated,” some-thing which was very lofty and sequestered is spread around and distributed to any and all, even to the small person on the “outside.” So, in the context of Chanukah we understand, that not only must we illuminate the outside with the light of Torah, but we must also spread the fountains of Chassidus to the outside.

In this context I want to encourage an increase in the work of spreading the wellsprings in all places:

(A) The study of the teachings of the Alter Rebbe and all the Rebbeim should be increased, quantitatively and qualitatively; more diligence and effort should be invested to progressively increase this study.

(B) Those who may have in their possession Chassidic manuscripts should forward them forthwith to Kehot so that they may be published. Happy is their lot and great is their merit — for they will add more knowledge of Chassidic philosophy to the masses.

(C) The project of printing of Tanyas in every place in the world should be continued.

For this purpose funds will be forwarded from here to each emissary as a form of our participation in the efforts of the local “Chabad Houses” to encourage the establishment of more “Chabad Houses,” or to increase the work of the existing ones.

Another important theme.

You have just recited: “The Jews should rejoice in their Maker” (Tehillim 149:2). We also read: “May the L‑rd find delight in His works.” Joy is an essential aspect of Torah observance, similarly, in fulfilling the mitzvah of Chanukah we must experience joy.

This is especially so in accordance with the opinion of the Rambam:

The sages of that generation ruled that the eight days beginning with the twenty-fifth of Kislev should be days of rejoicing on which the Hallel is to be recited. (Laws of Chanukah 3:3)

Nowadays, when we see the overpowering darkness of the world it is necessary to put more emphasis on joy, to nullify the power of the undesirable elements completely: “Contrive a scheme but it will be foiled.”

This need for additional joy is really self-evident, for if we institute a fast day in order to get rid of an evil decree how much more so should more rejoicing be effective in nullifying bad forces. [The Previous Rebbe explained that through the joy of Torah and mitzvos on Simchas Torah we accomplish the same good things as the Divine worship of Rosh Hashanah.]

It would therefore be proper and good to suggest and effectuate that on every ensuing day of Chanukah there should be gatherings for rejoicing and they should increase in joy just as the candles gradually increase.

To recap:

On the eve of the fifth candle we clearly perceive the increase in the light of Chanukah. This shows us the superiority of Beis Hillel’s opinion to gradually increase the light. And we must undertake to increase all aspects of “mitzvah-candle” and “Torah-light,” spreading the esoteric teachings of Torah — Chassidus — and increasing our rejoicing in an ever-increasing manner.

A little physical light banishes a great deal of darkness. (Tanya ch. 12)

When we radiate a lot of light, not only is the darkness banished, but it also completely disappears and the darkness is converted to light (See Zohar I, 4a).

All the forces which in the past may have hindered the radiation of the brightness to the outside, will be eradicated by the increase in joy, which pierces the boundaries — no vestige will remain — rather the evil will be converted to good, as Scripture tells us:

But the more [the Egyptians] oppressed them, the moretheyproliferatedandspread, (Shemos 1:12)

with ever-increasing light.