1. The Minchah prayer is very lofty indeed, for our sages have said (Berachos 6b), ‘A person should always be careful about the Minchah prayer, for Eliyahu (the one who will being the news about the redemption) was answered only in the Minchah prayer.’ In the Minchah prayer itself, special distinction accrues when it takes place in a congregation, particularly when it is in a place set apart for prayer — a synagogue, and in a place set apart for Torah study — a study hall.

In congregational prayer itself, there is particular distinction in the Ten Days of Repentance, for our sages, on the verse, ‘Seek the L‑rd while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near,’ say (Rosh HaShanah 18a), ‘This verse speaks of an individual; and when can an individual [find G‑d]? These are the ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.’ In other words, an individual’s prayer in the Ten Days of Repentance is equal to congregational prayer the whole year — from which we can infer how lofty is congregational prayer in these days. In the Ten Days of Repentance themselves, special distinction is present in the period after the service of Rosh HaShanah and Shabbos Shuvah.

We find ourselves then, in a most auspicious time indeed, especially in connection with the concept of Eliyahu (who was answered in the Minchah prayer) — who will herald the news of the redemption. Now is therefore the time to once again mention Jews’ plea that the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach come most speedily in our days.

The speedy arrival of the redemption is connected to that spoken yesterday, at the Maariv prayer, about increasing in the building of mikvehs, kashrus projects, and lighting the Shabbos and Yom-Tov lights — the three mitzvos which belong to Jewish women. People have immediately responded — speedily — and have already begun to work on these matters. The tremendously speedy response was certainly on behalf of all Israel, particularly Jewish women and girls, upon whom is placed the primary responsibility for the fulfillment of these three mitzvos.

The connection between these three mitzvos and the speedy arrival of the redemption is as follows. Our sages, on the verse ‘He tells His words to Yaakov, His statutes and laws to Israel,’ say (Shmos Rabbah 30:9), ‘What He Himself does, He tells Israel to do.’ Thus, when Jews work speedily in these three mitzvos, G‑d, too, fulfills these mitzvos speedily — and they are all the concept of redemption.

Purifying Mikveh: Our sages say (Yoma 85b): ‘Who purifies you? Your Father in Heaven, as it is written, ‘I shall sprinkle upon you purifying waters and you will become pure,’ and it is written, ‘The L‑rd is the mikveh of Israel.’’

Lighting the Candles: This is the fulfillment of the prophecy, ‘Arise, shine, for your light is come, and the glory of the L‑rd is risen upon you’ — i.e., the kindling of the light of Israel.

Kashrus: This corresponds to the ultimate in purity in the future era. The preparation to this is our service in the area of kashrus, through which one can openly see that a Jew’s body is holy — which is the preparation to the ultimate in purity in the whole world.

May it be G‑d’s will that through zealousness in the accomplishment of the above, we merit the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach — as speedily as possible.