1. Every rally is connected with the parshah read at the time it takes place, and from which we derive lessons for daily life. For Torah stems from a root meaning instruction, and it shows every Jew throughout the world how to behave in daily life. These instructions are clear and illuminating, for Torah is the “Torah of light.”

Since Torah is the “heritage of the congregation of Yaakov,” given to every Jew, it follows that even a newborn Jewish infant inherits the whole Torah. The Torah and its directives are his, instructions that pertain to him for his childhood years, and also afterwards, throughout the rest of his life. In other words, a Jew’s conduct all his life is according to the directives of Torah, the “Torah of truth” and the “Torah of life.”

When, therefore, the Yetzer (Evil Inclination) tells a child that because he is of a young age he has no connection to Torah and he need not follow Torah’s directives — the child, knowing that the whole Torah does belong to him, and it shows the path he must walk all his life, should reject the Yetzer from his midst.

This is especially so since the child knows that he has the merit to be a member of Tzivos Hashem, G‑d’s Army. It is an army different from all others: In other armies, the generals and commanders are not together with the soldiers; in Tzivos Hashem, the Commander-In-Chief, G‑d Himself, is together with every soldier of Tzivos Hashem. G‑d devotes Himself to search the deeds, words and thoughts of each soldier to see if those deeds, words and thoughts are fitting for one who is close to G‑d (as written: “He looks upon him and searches the mind and heart to see if he is serving Him as is proper,” and “the thing is very near to you in your mouth (words), and in your heart (thoughts) to do it (deeds)”). Knowing this, a soldier in Tzivos Hashem will certainly conduct himself in his daily life consonant with G‑d’s will, in thought, speech and deed.

Likewise, a soldier in Tzivos Hashem will pay no regard to the Yetzer’s claim that no single Jew, and especially a child, can pit himself against the immense world which surrounds him. He knows that G‑d created the world and all therein (as written: “In the beginning G‑d created the heavens and the earth”), and that the purpose of that creation is that “He should have a dwelling place in this lowest of all worlds.” A Jew therefore has the strength and ability to fully carry out this mission, given to him at birth, by learning Torah and observing mitzvos. This includes convincing other children to follow suit, as written: “You shall love your fellow as yourself ... this is a great principle in Torah.”

One thereby causes G‑d to have great joy — “G‑d rejoices with His works” a rejoicing associated with the joy each of you have — “Israel rejoices with its Maker,” meaning, everyone who is of the seed of Israel should rejoice in G‑d’s joy, Who rejoices and is happy in His dwelling place in this lowest of all worlds. Each of you should be joyous that G‑d has chosen you to be in Tzivos Hashem, and has given you the sacred mission of making this world a dwelling place for Him by living according to the Torah’s dictates.

2. Let us now analyze the particular lesson to be derived from the parshah read this week.

Today’s assembly is taking place on Tuesday, the day on which “it was good” was said twice, of the week in which parshas Eikev is read. The opening verse of this parshah states (Devarim 7:12): “Because (Eikev) you will listen to these laws, and you will safeguard them and keep them, the L‑rd your G‑d will keep for you the covenant and the loving kindness which He swore to your fathers.

The word “eikev” means “because,” and this verse is saying that because Jews will keep the Torah’s laws they will receive the reward that G‑d will keep the covenant. However, “eikev” has another meaning — “heel” — and thus the verse can be interpreted, “if you will listen to the commandments of minor importance which a person tramples with his heels.” What does this teach us?

There are some mitzvos which “a person tramples with his heels,” for he thinks that they are unimportant, and it is unnecessary to be careful at them. As noted above, the Yetzer tells a child that because he is young, it is unimportant how he conducts himself. It is no great tragedy, says the Yetzer, if a child once utters something that is contrary to the concept of Ahavas Yisrael, or tells a lie; it is only the speech of a small child, an unimportant matter, something so small as not to catch G‑d’s attention.

Parshas Eikev teaches differently — “If you will listen to the commandments of minor importance which a person tramples with his heels.” Torah says that one must keep even the most minor of mitzvos, even those a person tramples under-foot! Moreover, G‑d regards the fulfillment of these mitzvos so highly that He promises reward for their fulfillment — “The L‑rd your G‑d will keep for you the covenant and the loving kindness which He swore to your fathers.” When a Jew fulfills mitzvos which appear to be minor, he thereby reaffirms and strengthens the “covenant,” the bond between G‑d and Jew, and also elicits the “loving-kindness.” All this is according to what G‑d promised our ancestors, extending to Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah — that when they will educate their children according to Torah, beginning with enrolling them in the ranks of Tzivos Hashem, G‑d will “keep for you the covenant and the loving kindness.”

The above is connected with today’s portion of Sefer HaMitzvos, the work of Rambam learned also by children. It talks of “the commandment ... to swear by His Name ... contained in His words (exalted be He), ‘And by His Name you shall swear.”‘ This means that when an oath is needed, one must swear only by G‑d’s Name.

This is connected with the above noted verse in parshas Eikev — “The L‑rd your G‑d will keep to you the covenant and the loving kindness which He swore to your fathers.” A Jew’s oath and G‑d’s oath are interdependent: Before a Jewish child is born, he is “administered an oath to ‘Be righteous and do not be wicked.”‘ In general, it is an oath to keep all Torah and mitzvos. When a Jew keeps this oath, then G‑d keeps His — “The L‑rd your G‑d will keep for you the covenant and the loving-kindness which He swore to your fathers.” Simply put, you merit the blessings from G‑d’s loving-kindness, and your parents and Jewry in general merit to have true satisfaction (“nachas”) from you, children healthy physically and spiritually, children who add light to the house and who elicit yet more of G‑d’s loving kindness for everything that is needed.

As a result, you will be able to devote time and attention to learning Torah and observing mitzvos, and to be soldiers in Tzivos Hashem worthy of the name. The Yetzer will fear to confuse you, and thus automatically nothing will prevent you from behaving as a Jewish child should — serving G‑d with “joy and a glad heart.”

* * *

3. There is also a lesson to be derived from the date of this rally — the sixteenth of Av, the day after the 15th of Av. In this part of the world, from the 15th of Av on the days start to become shorter and the nights longer. The Yetzer uses this as an excuse to tell a Jewish child the following: You can now decrease in the time you spend studying and increase in your leisure and sleeping time. The proof? The daytime, during which you go to school, is becoming shorter, whereas the night, when you sleep and rest, is becoming longer!

A Jewish child, who, because he receives the Torah (which is G‑d’s wisdom) as a heritage, belongs to the “wise and understanding people,” retorts to the Yetzer: You are the biggest ignoramus, knowing less then a small child — although you are ancient, having existed from the creation of the world, whereas I have just begun to learn about Judaism. How do you have the impudence to tell me how to behave from the 15th of Av on when you know nothing about what the 15th of Av means?!

I have been taught what the 15th of Av means, continues the child. From this time on we begin to increase in Torah study at night. The shortening of the days and the lengthening of the nights is a test of a Jewish child’s conduct: After the school day is ended, and a Jewish child comes home and sees that non-Jewish children go to bed earlier — he utilizes the free time to increase in Torah study! Indeed, during the day, in Yeshivah or cheder, he learns when the teacher learns with him; at home, during his free time, he can learn diligently whenever he wants.

A Jewish child must show that everything in the world should be utilized for an increase in holy matters. This is the lesson and order of the day derived from the 16th of Av, the day after the 15th of Av. Since the nights are now becoming longer, and a child is thus longer at home, the extra time he has should be used to increase in Torah study, such that each day he has an increasing number of free moments in which to learn.

It is also an opportunity to review what he has learned during the day and to prepare for tomorrow’s studies, thereby enabling him to understand his teacher’s words better. In general, one should keep in mind that although school hours are only for a set period of the day, one belongs to Tzivos Hashem a whole day, daytime and nighttime — and thus every free moment should be used for Torah matters.

* * *

4. Because the Yetzer does not want to relinquish the battle with Tzivos Hashem, he approaches a Jewish child with yet another argument. You are occupied in Torah study and observance of mitzvos, the Yetzer says, and do not know what’s happening in the world. I, in contrast, wander the streets and see what’s going on. How, then, can you sit in the synagogue and study-hall and await the redemption, expecting it to come imminently, when there is absolutely no sign of this event in the world. The reverse is true: We are witness to harsh exile in the world, a world containing many nations who do not believe that Jews should be redeemed, and things which prevent the redemption.

A Jewish child responds to this by quoting from today’s section of the weekly parshah, the third section of parshas Eikev. Until now, he tells the Yetzer, I thought you were ignorant just of Mishneh and Talmud. Now I see that you are such an ignoramus that you are unaware of even an explicit verse in Chumash.

The concluding verse of today’s section states (Devarim 9:29): “Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, that You brought out by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm.” All Jews are G‑d’s people and inheritance, and every Jew, beginning with small children, belongs to Tzivos Hashem (Army of G‑d), as written concerning the exodus (Shmos 12:41), “On that very day all of G‑d’s armies left Egypt.”

Because Jews are G‑d’s people and inheritance, He took them out of Egypt miraculously — “by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm.” In the “blink of an eye,” in just one single moment, all Jews, men, women and children, left Egypt “with an upraised hand.” And Scripture explicitly says (Micah 7:15), “As in the days of your going out of Egypt I will show wonders” — just as the exodus from Egypt happened “in the blink of an eye,” so the future redemption will happen “in the blink of an eye,” immediately, “by Your great power and by Your outstretched hand.”

Therefore, the Jewish child says to the Yetzer, enough of your foolish and ignorant arguments that we are in an exile from which it is difficult to leave. Today’s section of the weekly parshah teaches that when it concerns G‑d’s people and inheritance, G‑d delivers them from exile by His great power and by His outstretched hand, and immediately, as we have recited just now at minchah — “We hope for Your salvation every day” — at every moment of the day.