1. “Open with a blessing,” the blessing given by G‑d to each Jew and to Jewry in general. With these words the Alter Rebbe begins his Iggeres HaKodesh, and with this concept we always open, using these words or something similar.

Special emphasis is given to the blessing generated at special times and situations — in our case, an assembly of many Jewish children for the purpose of uniting and strengthening themselves within the framework of their mission as members of Tzivos Hashem. Tzivos Hashem is comprised of “soldiers” recruited by G‑d to carry out His mission of making “a dwelling place for Him in this corporeal world.” This is achieved through fulfilling G‑d’s commands, those which apply every day, and those which apply to special times (the “order of the day”), such as at a “parade” of Tzivos Hashem.

By transforming this world into a dwelling place for G‑d, Jews bring joy to G‑d, as written, “The L‑rd rejoices with His works” — and thereby elicit extra blessings from G‑d. When, therefore, the members of Tzivos Hashem assemble to increase and strengthen in all their tasks — in general, to accept upon themselves even more strongly the rulership of G‑d, the Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem; and in addition, accept upon themselves the mitzvah “Love your fellow as yourself,” to explain to children who as yet have not merited the great happiness of being in Tzivos Hashem, that G‑d has given them, too, the mission to make the world a dwelling place for G‑d — all this adds to G‑d’s joy, thereby eliciting more blessings commensurate with the increase in G‑d’s joy.

The above concerning the elicitation of G‑d’s blessing is especially important at this time, the preparatory days to Rosh Hashanah, when Jews need the very critical blessing of a good writing and sealing for a good and sweet year. It is therefore necessary to increase in all the above, and in the general theme of a Tzivos Hashem rally — the acceptance of G‑d’s sovereignty, and the close brotherhood within the ranks of Tzivos Hashem, which should be manifested in helping one another.

In addition, the place where this rally is being held has special distinction: It is a synagogue and study-hall, where Jews pray to G‑d, learn His Torah, and resolve to observe His mitzvos, beginning with tzedakah. All this further elicits blessings from G‑d.

May it be G‑d’s will that each and every one of you, your parents, relatives and all your family, amidst all Israel, merit G‑d’s blessings for all your needs.

* * *

2. The general theme of a Tzivos Hashem rally — the acceptance of G‑d’s sovereignty and the friendship between the soldiers of Tzivos Hashem expressed by helping one another — is equally present at all rallies. It is for this reason that rallies are mostly held on Tuesday, the third day of the week, which emphasizes both “good for heaven” (acceptance of G‑d’s sovereignty) and “good for creatures” (Ahavas Yisrael, helping one another).

In addition, there are special lessons to be derived from the particular time at which the rally is held — in our case, in the month of Elul, in the week in which we read parshas Nitzavim, on the day on which we learn the third section of this parshah. Let us now analyze the lesson to be taken from each of these.

The Month of Elul

The Alter Rebbe gave the following parable to illustrate the nature of the month of Elul. A king, before he reaches the city to enter his palace, passes through the field. The inhabitants of the city go out to greet him in the field, and all of this time are permitted to go forth to greet him. He receives them all graciously and shows a benign countenance to all.

This has particular relevance to Tzivos Hashem: In the month of Elul, the Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem (G‑d) is together with each member of Tzivos Hashem in the “field.” When the king is in the capital city, especially in his palace, one can enter the king’s presence only with permission — and even then, only a select few of the people. And even they cannot enter without first passing through many guards and ministers. Things are very different when the king is in the field. Then, alt who wish to are permitted to go forth to greet the king, and he receives them graciously and shows a benign countenance to all. Anyone and everyone can approach the king with his or her request, and the king surely fulfills them.

So too in the month of Elul. The Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem is then in the field, and receives each soldier in Tzivos Hashem graciously, and fulfills all their requests — first and foremost the request that a member in Tzivos Hashem merit to fulfill his mission and to be a good “soldier,” one who carries out the Commander-In-Chief’s desires and brings Him satisfaction.

The proper utilization of this period, when the king is in the field, is the appropriate preparation to then accompany the king to the capital city, to the royal palace, to the king’s private chambers — in the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach, when all Jews will go to the capital city (the holy city of Yerushalayim), and thence to the royal palace (the Beis HaMikdash).

Parshas Nitzavim

The word “Nitzavim” in the first verse of our parshah, “You are all standing (nitzavim) here today,” denotes an especially firm stance, as in the phrase (I Melachim 22:48), “nitzav melech,” “the stance of a king.” This teaches that all Jews (“You are all standing”), including children, should stand firm in connection with accepting G‑d’s sovereignty.

Today’s section of parshas Nitzavim, the third, ends with the verse, “For the thing is very near to you in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” This teaches that one should increase, as much as possible and with all firmness, in all aspects of Torah and mitzvos in one’s thoughts (“in your heart”), speech (“in your mouth”) and deed (“to do it”).

By resolving to do the above, and by actually carrying out that resolve fully, one merits all blessings, including, and especially, the principal blessing of the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach. Then all the nations of the earth will see openly that every Jew belongs to Tzivos Hashem — i.e., they will see that “You are all standing here today before the L‑rd your G‑d,” indicating the firm bond and unity between Jews and G‑d. a bond that is “a covenant.”

3. Children participate in the daily study of Rambam’s works by learning his Sefer HaMitzvos. Because Sefer HaMitzvos is part of Torah, and “Torah” means “instruction,” it follows that we can derive a lesson from the mitzvos which we learn about in the daily portion of Rambam.

Today’s portion deals with the mitzvah of shevi’is — the Sabbatical year. When the Jews were living in their land, most of them were farmers. They were commanded “to desist from cultivating the land during the seventh year” (Sefer HaMitzvos, mitzvah 135), as written (Vayikra 25:4): “In the seventh year shall be a Shabbos of solemn rest for the land,” and “The land shall keep a Shabbos unto the L‑rd” (Ibid, verse 2).

Commentators explain the reason for this mitzvah as being “so that the whole year which is free of the work of cultivating the land should be devoted to His service ... that also those who cultivate the land should, when they rest in that year, be inspired to seek the L‑rd.” Although farmers and the like have set daily periods for study even during the six years of cultivating the land, G‑d nevertheless wants that they be completely freed from such work for a complete year, which time they should sanctify to G‑d by increasing in learning Torah and fulfilling its mitzvos with greater zest and understanding — in addition to the quantitative increase.

This mitzvah teaches that when a Jew has free time, he should use it for holy purposes, “a Shabbos unto the L‑rd.” Simply, even outside Eretz Yisrael, where scripturally the mitzvah of the Sabbatical year does not apply, and in Eretz Yisrael during the six years of cultivating the land — one should constantly remember that the ultimate goal is “a Shabbos unto the L‑rd.” Every free moment should therefore be devoted to learning G‑d’s Torah.

There is a special directive for children in this area. Jewish children are not engaged in cultivating the land, or any other means of making a livelihood. All their needs are provided by their parents. In the well-known phrase — “All your work is done,” a phrase which is said concerning Shabbos, and similarly applies to the “Shabbos” of years — the Sabbatical year. The mitzvah of the Sabbatical year therefore applies to children all the time: They have much free time which to devote to matters of Torah and Judaism, beginning with studying Torah, which leads to fulfilling mitzvos, including the mitzvah, “Love your fellow as yourself,” which means the obligation to influence one’s friends to also devote their free time to increase in Torah study and obedience of mitzvos.

Having noted that parents take care of their children’s needs, it is worthwhile to mention another related point. Parents at this time of the year buy new clothes for their children in honor of the approaching festivals. They should be careful that these clothes (their children’s and their own) should be free of shatnez (the prohibition of mixing wool and linen). Likewise, they should be careful that other needs — food and drink, etc. — should be completely kosher, following G‑d’s directives Riven in His Torah.

To return to our point: Today’s portion of Rambam, the mitzvah of the Sabbatical year, teaches that every free moment that a Jew, especially a child, has, should be devoted to Torah study. With such conduct we hasten the time when all Jews will be freed to devote themselves only to Torah and its wisdom, for then G‑d will take care of all their needs. In the words of Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and Wars 12:5): “In that time ... blessings will be abundant ... Jews will be great sages and will know the things which are concealed, and they will attain an understanding of their Creator to the utmost capacity of the human mind.” This will have an effect on the entire world, such that “the one preoccupation of the whole world will be to know the L‑rd ... as written: ‘For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the L‑rd, as the waters cover the sea.’“

This, as noted, is merited by increasing in the study of Torah and observance of mitzvos now, especially the Torah study of children, through which all Jews merit to leave the exile “as in the days of your going out of Egypt” — when “all the armies of the L‑rd went out from Egypt” “with an upraised hand,” with pride and utter firmness (“Nitzavim”).

In such a way we prepare for a renewal of the “covenant” with G‑d, to accept His sovereignty anew — on the coming Rosh Hashanah.