1. The reason for holding this rally, at the beginning of the new year, is because the beginning of the new year is the appropriate time to resolve, with new enthusiasm, a new bond, and a new inspiration, to carry out all the important and good matters required of a Jew. Indeed, the very existence of the new year is based on Torah matters. Just as Torah is that which establishes that ‘In the beginning G‑d created the heavens and the earth,’ so the heavens and the earth are created anew at the beginning of each new year. Thus the principal renewal of the new year is in matters of Torah and Judaism.

The service of renewing one’s service in Torah and mitzvos is not at all difficult, for ‘The thing is very near to you in your mouth, and in your heart, to do it.’ This is certainly true in this case, when G‑d, Who is the one who commands us to be inspired anew in Torah matters, is the one Who renews the heavens and earth at the beginning of the year. He is the one Who gives the strength for this renewal in all matters, especially that the renewal in Torah and mitzvos should be easy and ‘very near to you.’

If the above applies to each Jew and to Jewry in general, it applies sevenfold to those who belong to Tzivos Hashem, those children who have the merit to be members of, and who were enlisted by G‑d in, this special army. What is special about Tzivos Hashem? Of every Jew it is said, ‘G‑d stands over him ... and searches his mind and heart [to see] if he is serving Him properly.’ These words apply to the members of Tzivos Hashem with special force, for they are the ‘army’ which carries out the orders of G‑d, the Commander-In-Chief. They therefore feel and appreciate more strongly that G‑d ‘searches his mind and heart [to see] if he is serving Him properly,’ and that the implementation of their mission causes G‑d to ‘rejoice and be glad in His dwelling place in this world.’ Thus, service in Torah and mitzvos in general, and the special inspiration of the new year in particular, have extra emphasis in relation to Tzivos Hashem.

This, then, is the reason for a rally today: held close to Rosh HaShanah, it is to ponder upon and be reinspired in their role as members of Tzivos Hashem, and to be inspired anew, with new enthusiasm, in carrying out their special mission.

There is also a good reason behind the very assembling of Tzivos Hashem at a rally, uniting the many children who participate. Jews on Rosh HaShanah crown G‑d as their king, — ‘king of Israel,’ and also ‘king of the world.’ This coronation is such that it is expressed in actual deed, when the acceptance of G‑d’s yoke affects one’s thoughts, speech and deed. Now, of G‑d’s coronation it is written, ‘He was king in Yeshurun when the heads of the people were assembled, the tribes of Israel together.’ That is, G‑d is crowned king over ‘Yeshurun’ (Israel) when the Jews are united — i.e., when brotherly love reigns among Jewry. And G‑d’s coronation brings with it all the blessings bestowed by G‑d on each Jew and on the Jewish people on Rosh HaShanah, blessings encompassed in the words ‘a good writing and sealing.’

Accordingly, it is fitting that as a continuation of Rosh HaShanah, Jewish children should assemble together, with the firm resolution to fulfill G‑d’s commandments in a manner befitting Tzivos Hashem. Such an assembly elicits immediately the signing in ‘the book of the completely righteous’: Jews, beginning with small children, and also their parents and relatives, receive immediately and completely all the blessings given by G‑d on Rosh HaShanah.

These blessings, which have special force because of the resolutions undertaken to fulfill G‑d’s mitzvos, have double force when the resolutions are actually carried out. For when a Jewish child increases in his observance of G‑d’s mitzvos, G‑d increases also in His blessings to the child and his family — especially since a child’s proper conduct manifests the successful education given him by his parents.

Further force accrues to G‑d’s blessings when children, besides themselves fulfilling Torah and mitzvos in the best possible way, also influence other children to enter the ranks of Tzivos Hashem. This is accomplished by acting in the manner of ‘The thing is very near to you in your mouth and in your heart to do it’ — i.e., by acting such that all see how the path they tread is the easy and correct way. An example: The yetzer hora (evil inclination) may try to entice a child into eating candy without first making a blessing. A child who belongs to Tzivos Hashem retorts to the yetzer, as follows: ‘You are an old fool! G‑d created the heavens and the earth and this candy, and therefore it is only right to thank Him for it before deriving any benefit from it. Also, just as one wishes to feed the body, so it is also necessary to feed the soul, by reciting a blessing before eating.’ As a result of this recognition, a child understands also that the purpose of eating in general is so that the soul can carry out it’s purpose of learning Torah and fulfilling mitzvos.

Such conduct, as noted above, elicits abundant blessings from above, ‘from His full, open, holy and abundant hand.’

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2. A Jew should search Torah (which means ‘instruction’) to find a directive concerning every event. Scripture states that ‘The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov,’ meaning that everything in Torah is a directive pertaining to every Jew, even children ‘the congregation of Yaakov.’

Accordingly, we should look at the portion of Torah pertaining to today, to find the special directive concerning today’s rally. Today’s portion of Torah, the ‘order of the day’ for Tzivos Hashem, is the second section of Parshas Berachah. The beginning of this section states (Devarim 33:8-10): ‘Regarding Levi he said: ... They shall teach Your laws to Yaakov and Your Torah to Israel.’ Levi’s special mission, in other words, is to teach the Torah’s laws to Jews.

The unique status of the tribe of Levi amongst the other tribes is expressed by the fact that it is called ‘the king’s legion.’ To them was given the task to listen to G‑d’s directives and to carry them out. As a continuation of this trust, they were also given the task to teach G‑d’s laws to the Jewish people.

This task is part of the general function of the tribe of Levi, which tribe, in the words of Rambam (Laws of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years 13:13), ‘was set apart to serve G‑d, to minister unto Him and to teach His upright ways and His righteous laws to the many, as it is said, ‘They shall teach Your laws to Yaakov and Your Torah to Israel....’ They are the army of G‑d ... and He, blessed be He, acquires for them, as it is said, ‘I am your portion and your inheritance.’’

Rambam continues to state: ‘Not only the tribe of Levi, but each and every person of the world’s inhabitants whose spirit moves him ... to set him-self apart to stand before the L‑rd to minister unto Him and to serve Him ... he is consecrated as holy of holies, and the L‑rd shall be his portion and inheritance forever.’

It thus follows that members of Tzivos Hashem, even those not of the tribe of Levi, who freely take upon themselves to be of the ‘army of G‑d’ and to serve Him, are considered part of the tribe of Levi regarding the concept of ‘they shall teach Your laws to Yaakov and Your Torah to Israel.’ In other words, every member of Tzivos Hashem has the mission of influencing all Jews and the whole world, teaching them G‑d’s laws.

Simply put, when the yetzer tries to confuse a child by claiming that a small child doesn’t have the ability to influence the whole world and to teach G‑d’s laws, our parshah provides the answer: ‘Regarding Levi he said ... They shall teach Your laws to Yaakov and Your Torah to Israel.’ Every Jew who is on the level of the tribe of Levi has the ability to teach G‑d’s laws to Israel. Indeed, in the light of that discussed above — that proper conduct by itself provides a living example for others and influences them to follow suit — it is obvious that a Jew can have influence on all Israel. In the words of the verse: ‘The thing is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it,’ which may be interpreted as follows. A Jew’s service in thought, speech and deed (‘in your mouth and in your heart, to do it’) is the ‘thing’ — the teaching of G‑d’s laws and Torah to Israel — and therefore ‘the thing is very near,’ and one need not be confused by the yetzer’s claims.

3. The above also explains the connection between the beginning of today’s Torah section and its conclusion, which states (33:12), ‘Regarding Binyamin he said: G‑d’s beloved one shall dwell safely by Him; He protects him all day, and He dwells between his shoulders.’ When a Jewish child behaves properly, like the ‘tribe of Levi’ — concerning both service to G‑d and influencing others — G‑d says of him that he is G‑d’s beloved one and close friend! Of course, this applied in extra special fashion in the case of Binyamin; but, by proper conduct, every Jew can attain such a level. For proper conduct causes G‑d to ‘rejoice and be happy in His dwelling place in this world,’ and this joy causes G‑d to regard every Jew as His close friend.

The conclusion of the last verse of today’s Torah portion, ‘He dwells between his shoulders,’ refers to the altar which was situated in Binyamin’s territory, and upon which the sacrifices were offered. Sacrifices in Hebrew is korbonos, stemming from the root kiruv, which means ‘to bring near.’ That is, through the offering of a sacrifice, a person brings near an object in the world to G‑d — by bringing it to the Beis HaMikdash and there fulfilling a mitzvah with it. This is the idea behind the conduct of members of Tzivos Hashem (and all Jews): To bring near to G‑d all one’s thoughts, speech and deeds.

Further, just as some sacrifices were eventually eaten by its owner or the priests, so in the Divine service of each Jew, one’s very eating and drinking are sometimes as a ‘sacrifice’ — for one thereby brings near the food and drink to G‑d. As mentioned earlier, one of the tasks facing Tzivos Hashem is to resist the temptation to eat candy before reciting a blessing. A blessing is the idea of a sacrifice, for by reciting a blessing before eating, one thereby openly proclaims that there is a bond between the food and G‑d — that the food is ‘near’ to G‑d. By saying, for example, ‘Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the world, by whose words everything came into being,’ before eating, one proclaims that G‑d is sovereign of the universe and creator of all therein, including this food and drink.

In the same vein, today’s portion of Sefer HaMitzvos deals with the laws of sacrifices, stating that animals used for sacrifices must be both unblemished and the choicest. Each of these teaches a lesson for a person’s service to G‑d, which, we have said, is the idea of offering a sacrifice.

That sacrifices must be unblemished teaches that one must not allow anything forbidden or tainted to be mixed in one’s service of G‑d, thinking that since one is dealing with holy matters, it won’t matter. The yetzer, for example, may try to persuade a child that since he recites a blessing over what he eats, thereby bringing that food close to G‑d, he doesn’t have to check beforehand that the food is kosher.

Torah teaches us in this respect that the animal used for the sacrifice had to be free of any blemish. Since it is being sacrificed to G‑d Who is the acme of perfection, the sacrifice, too, must be perfect. In our case, it is forbidden to recite a blessing over non-kosher food.

That the animal used for the sacrifice must be choice teaches that when performing a mitzvah, (which, as explained above, is considered as a sacrifice) a person should utilize the choicest of his possessions, and the most important of his faculties. When giving tzedakah to a poor person, for example, one should not give from the coins which are left in one’s pocket, or from the part which is left after one has taken the choicest part for oneself. Tzedakah should be given from the best and the most choice. Why? Since giving tzedakah is a commandment from the king of the world, when one gives to a poor person it is as if he is giving to the king of the world, who obviously should be given the choicest part.

The same thing applies to one’s powers and faculties. To Judaism, one should dedicate his best faculties, and at their peak of performance. For example, one should engage in matters of Judaism in the morning, when one’s faculties are refreshed and not yet tired. Indeed, the first thing done upon awakening is to recite the prayer, ‘I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me’ — i.e., the first words uttered upon awakening express the fact that one brings himself close to G‑d.

This service in general, which is similar to the offering of the sacrifices, hastens the fulfillment of G‑d’s blessings for the building of the Beis HaMikdash, in the territory of Binyamin, and there the Levi’im (from whose tribe are the priests) will offer the sacrifices.