1. A gathering of Jews, especially children, is a joyful event; joyful for Jews, and joyful for G‑d. For when G‑d, our Father in heaven, sees His children gathered together, loving each other and united, it provides great joy to G‑d. It is therefore an auspicious time for eliciting G‑d’s blessings for all Jews, starting with those gathered together.

The distinction of a gathering of Tzivos Hashem (Army of Hashem), then, is that G‑d sees the sons of Avraham, Yitzchok and Ya’akov, and the daughters of Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah, assembled together. Despite their differences, coming from different homes and places, they are gathered together, “as one man with one heart,” for a single purpose — to increase in Torah study and observance of mitzvos — personally, and also to influence others to do so. And, as above, this provides great joy to G‑d, and thereby elicits an abundance of blessings for all one’s needs.

There is a further distinction to a gathering of Tzivos Hashem. G‑d, the Commander In Chief, has given Tzivos Hashem the special mission of doing battle against the Yetzer (Evil Inclination). When the members of Tzivos Hashem assemble together, the army’s might is that much greater, and the victory in the war against the Yetzer is correspondingly more easy and more successful — to the extent that the Yetzer is totally vanquished, and we can then increase in our observance of Judaism free of disturbances.

The above applies to every gathering of Tzivos Hashem. In addition, there are special elements present at this gathering which is taking place before Shavuos, the “Season of the Giving of our Torah.” Our Sages relate (Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:4) that when G‑d was about to give the Torah to the Jews, he asked for guarantors that the Torah would be kept. The only guarantors accepted by G‑d were the children. Thus it is in the merit of Jewish children of that generation that Torah was given to Moshe Rabbeinu and to all Jews!

So too in every generation: Every year the Torah is given anew at the “Season of the Giving of our Torah” in the merit of the children of that generation.

This teaches us a wonderful lesson concerning the mitzvah, “Love your fellow as yourself.” At other gatherings of Tzivos Hashem, one first worries about personally observing Torah and mitzvos, and then, consonant to the command “Love your fellow as yourself,” also tries to ensure that others do likewise. At this gathering, however, which is taking place in the preparatory period before Mattan Torah, the order is reversed. The children first worry about all Jews — that, through the children being guarantors that Torah will be kept, all Jews can receive the Torah; only afterwards do the children worry about themselves.

At this gathering, therefore, Tzivos Hashem must ponder the special mission entrusted to them concerning receiving the Torah. Children must make the proper preparations that they may be worthy of receiving the Torah, which preparations comprise the undertaking of resolutions to do yet more in fulfilling G‑d’s will in one’s daily life — in both studying Torah and observing mitzvos, and also in other activities, “your deeds” and “your ways.” In all these aspects one must fulfill G‑d’s will in such a manner that one can see that “the thing is very near to you in your mouth and in your heart to do it” — meaning, that one fulfills G‑d’s will in deed (“to do it”), speech (“in your mouth”) and thought (“in your heart”) in the manner of “It is very close.”

The second part of their mission that children must ponder at this time is their responsibility to be the guarantors for all Israel — their parents, teachers, counselors, and all Jews wherever they may be — enabling them all to this year receive the Torah anew at the “Season of the Giving of our Torah.”

Pondering the above, and the deeds that result, serve as the proper preparation to receiving the Torah.

Through acting in the above manner, Jewish children prepare the whole world to receive the Torah: The heavens and the earth and all therein help the guarantors to carry out their guarantee fully, enabling all Israel to be ready to receive the Torah. Then we merit the fulfillment of the promise read in the Torah two weeks before Shavuos: “If you will walk in My statutes and keep My mitzvos and do them” G‑d will bestow upon Israel all the blessings enumerated in the passage — including the last blessing, “I shall lead you upright,” meaning, all Israel will walk with head held high, proud of being Jews. Children, especially, take pride from the fact that G‑d accepts them as guarantors, and that in their merit G‑d gives the Torah to all Jews.

This serves as the proper preparation to the total fulfillment of the promise, “I shall lead you upright” — that G‑d leads every Jew upright to greet our righteous Moshiach, in the true and complete redemption, now.


2. The above lesson was derived from the fact that this gathering is taking place in the days of preparation before Shavuos. There is an additional lesson to be taken from the particular day on which this gathering is being held — Tuesday of Parshas Nasso, the 27th of Iyar.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything in this world happens by Divine Providence, and one can learn lessons for service to G‑d from every occurrence. If this applies to ordinary things, then every detail associated with a gathering of Tzivos Hashem is certainly by Divine Providence, and one can certainly take a lesson from it concerning the mission of Tzivos Hashem.

The lesson from the twenty seventh of the month comes from the portion of Tehillim recited today. We recite 15 chapters, each beginning with the words “Shir HaMa’alos” — “A Song of Ascents.” “Ascents” teaches us that a Jew (including a “soldier” in Tzivos Hashem) should not be content with his present state of service to G‑d, no matter how good it is, but must always ascend, go “from strength to strength” and from level to level. A “Song of Ascents” teaches that such service should be done with joy. For since such service provides pleasure and satisfaction to G‑d, the large amount of toil and effort necessary to constantly ascend is worth it — and therefore is done joyfully. And the satisfaction a Jew brings to G‑d elicits G‑d blessings for all Jews, with those actually providing the pleasure foremost in receiving the blessings.

A Jew whose service is in such a fashion (constantly ascending with joy — “A Song of Ascents”) must make a soul-reckoning to ascertain if his service is (and was) indeed worthy of ascending further. And it is very possible that such a soul-reckoning will discover some defects or omissions in service.

Today’s portion of Chumash — the third section of parshas Nosso — teaches what a Jew can do about such defects. It talks of teshuvah, repentance, as stated (Bamidbar 5:7), “They shall confess their sins.” G‑d grants a Jew the ability to rectify any defects or omissions in service by repenting. And since “there is nothing that stands in the way of repentance,” G‑d certainly accepts a Jew’s repentance.

Rambam tells us (Laws of Repentance 7:4) how great is the power of repentance: “Let not the penitent suppose that he is far from the level of the righteous ... This is not so; He is beloved and desired by the Creator as if he had never sinned. Moreover, his reward is great ...” Rambam writes further (7:7) that a penitent “cries [out to G‑d] and is immediately answered, as it is said, ‘It shall be that before they call I will answer.’”

When, therefore, a Jew (adult or child) returns to G‑d wholeheartedly, G‑d fulfills all his requests in the manner of “before they call I will answer.” This includes the bestowal of blessings for success in the preparations to receive the Torah, and success for joyfully going “from strength to strength” in one’s service (“A Song of Ascents”).

Another lesson for service to G‑d derives from today’s portion of the study of Rambam’s works, which deals with a single mitzvah: “It is a positive mitzvah from the Torah to recite a blessing after a meal, as it is said, ‘You shall eat and be satisfied and you shall bless the L‑rd your G‑d.’”

Besides the actual mitzvah involved, this also teaches us that when G‑d fulfills a person’s request and gives him his needs, he must first of all recognize that it is G‑d who has given him his needs. He must therefore offer thanks to G‑d for the good done to him.

In other words, although the mitzvah to bless G‑d which Rambam talks of concerns eating, we learn from it that one must offer thanks to G‑d for everything that he receives from Him. When, for example, a Jew awakes from sheep, he immediately gives thanks to G‑d for returning to him his soul refreshed. He says the Modeh Ani: “I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.” Similarly, one offers thanks to G‑d for giving one intellect with which to study Torah, a healthy body with which to observe mitzvos, etc.

When a Jew recognizes the truth, that G‑d is the source of all blessings, and therefore offers thanks to G‑d, he elicits G‑d’s blessings before he even requests them — “Before they call I will answer.” This includes fulfilling the request “We want Moshiach now” — that very soon we merit to have the true and complete redemption.


3. As at every gathering, we shall conclude with the mitzvah of tzedakah, thereby ensuring that the three pillars on which the world stands — Torah (recital of the 12 verses and sayings of our Sages), prayer (minchah) and tzedakah — are present at this gathering. Thus each of you will be given three coins: one to be given to tzedakah, and the other two to be used for other matters of Judaism.

The mitzvah of tzedakah is associated with the preparation for the “Season of the Giving of our Torah.” There are families which do not have enough money to buy everything they need; and the unhappiness and unease this causes makes it difficult for them to serve G‑d properly. It is therefore necessary to help them, through fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedakah.

This matter is particularly important at this time, for we are now preparing to receive the Torah for the whole year. Thus it is important to remove any obstacles to the full acceptance of Torah.

Children, because they are the guarantors for receiving the Torah, must make particularly great efforts in this direction. The start will be by giving out three coins to each of you, to be given to tzedakah. And because it is being done in a holy place, where people pray and study Torah and resolve to increase in all matters of Judaism, there is a special merit present that these coins for tzedakah will reach those who need it and work their effect. This extends to the principal effect — “great is tzedakah for it hastens the redemption,” the coming of our righteous Moshiach now, even before the mitzvah of tzedakah is actually fulfilled.

4. Since Jewish children are the guarantors for the entire Jewish people, in whose merit the Torah was given, all efforts must be made to ensure that all Jewish children, including newborns, be present in synagogue at the reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuos — when G‑d gives anew the Ten Commandments and the whole Torah to each Jew.

This applies to newborns also, for their souls, which are “part of G‑d above,” hear and understand the Ten Commandments; and the Ten Commandments are engraved in their souls, and thereby in their bodies, having an effect for later life.