1. The children recited the 12 Pesukim.

The unity of the Jewish people is a constant factor. Though they are geographically separated, the unity of the Jewish people comes about through their souls and their souls are not bound by physical limitation. This is particularly true when they are connected by Torah and mitzvos. Indeed, the Jewish people are commanded by G‑d1 to bring about this unity in the mitzvah, “Love your fellowman as yourself.” Since every Jew, particularly Jewish children genuinely desire to carry out G‑d’s commands, particularly this command because it is one of “the great general principles of the Torah,” there is unity among our people.

Nevertheless, that unity is further emphasized when our people join together in the same place. This is particularly true regarding an assembly of Tzivos Hashem — G‑d’s army.2 Every soldier in the army is totally permeated with Kabalos Ol, giving himself over entirely to G‑d, the Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem and thus, there is a stronger emphasis on unity. This emphasis should last even after the assembly and have an effect on your behavior until the next assembly.

Tzivos Hashem does not assemble together every day, only on special occasions when a unique order of the day can be learned from those occasions. Similarly, this assembly is associated with a special occasion, the 15th of Shevat, the New Year of the Trees.3 Hence, it is customary on the 15th of Shevat to eat sweet fruits, particularly the fruits associated with Eretz Yisroel.

There is an obvious lesson that can be learned from, “The New Year of the Trees.” Each year, a tree grows taller, spreads its leaves further, and provides more fruit. A Jew must follow the same pattern and continually add in matters of good and holiness and produce fruit i.e. mitzvos.

This concept is particularly related to children. Once a person reaches adulthood, his body does not grow from year to year. In contrast a child is continually growing, increasing his strength. Since it is clear that a person’s soul and not his body is of prime importance, it can be understood that a parallel process of growth for the soul, growth in Torah and mitzvos, should accompany this physical growth. Surely, a child in Tzivos Hashem who carries out the directives of G‑d, his Commander-In-Chief, will surely be aroused to increase their involvement, to grow in Torah and mitzvos. Hence, all of us should make a resolution towards that goal. The fact that this resolution is being made by all of us together, will cause it to have greater success, for as we see in other armies, the fact that more soldiers join together helps insure a greater victory. Similarly, the increase in the ranks of Tzivos Hashem will cause a greater victory over the Yetzer Horah. Indeed, as the ranks of Tzivos Hashem continue to swell, growing tremendously without limit, and all together decide to increase their fulfillment of mitzvos, then the Yetzer Horah will be totally nullified. There will be need to fight him any longer for he will be frightened to approach a Jewish child.

The knowledge of the above will add joy to the efforts of Jewish children in Torah and mitzvos. Also, it will affect their parents, relatives, and teachers and motivate them to grow by increasing their Torah and mitzvos. Furthermore, it will transform the entire world into a dwelling place for G‑d, for wherever one looks in the world, he will see Jewish children happily studying Torah and fulfilling mitzvos.

2. This assembly is being held in the week of Parshas Yisro and hence, a lesson must be derived from that Torah reading. The portion begins with a description of how “Yisro heard ... all that G‑d had wrought — that G‑d had taken the Jews out of Egypt — and Yisro came ...” that Yisro came to see the people whom G‑d had taken out of Egypt with miracles and wonders in order to give them the Torah on Mt. Sinai; then, in the continuation of the narrative, the portion relates the story of the giving of the Torah.

This story is particularly relevant to Jewish children for, as the Midrash relates, they were the first to recognize G‑d through the miracles of Egypt. Surely, they knew that the purpose of those miracles was to receive the Torah. Each year the entire narrative is relived. Jewish children gather on the Shabbos of Parshas Yisro to hear the Ten Commandments4 and thus, to receive the entire Torah anew. Surely, they and you, as well, will make new resolutions to increase their study of Torah, fulfillment of mitzvos, and activities to influence other Jewish children.

There is an added lesson to be learned from Parshas Yisro: As explained above, Yisro was motivated to come to see the Jewish people because he heard of the wonders wrought by G‑d in Egypt. This emphasizes that even when a Jew is in exile, G‑d is found there together with him. Though in other armies, the Commander-In-Chief remains in one place and sending his soldiers away on missions, the Commander-In-Chief of Tzivos Hashem is found together with each of his soldiers wherever they are found. As stated in the 12 verses which you recited beforehand — “Behold, G‑d stands over him and the whole earth is filled with His glory and He searches his mind and heart, [to see] if he is serving Him as is fitting.” G‑d is together with everyone who is part of Tzivos Hashem and searches out whether he studies Torah, fulfills mitzvos, fulfills his obligations as a soldier in Tzivos Hashem, and works to influence other Jewish children to increase their observance of Torah and mitzvos.

Similarly, G‑d waits, ready for the Jews to conclude their service and then, He will again take the Jews out of exile with wonder and miracles. Just as the miracles of the exodus from Egypt were open and revealed to all, similarly, the miracles connected with the future redemption will be revealed to all. The entire world will see how G‑d redeems each and every one of the Jewish people, beginning with the Jewish children. G‑d will redeem each Jew, as our Sages declared, ‘taking him by the hand and leading him out of exile’ and thus, we will reach Shleimus Ha’am — the complete state of the Jewish people. Each Jewish child will follow the directive of G‑d in the Torah and influence his family to do so. Thus, we will reach Shleimus HaTorah — the complete state of the Torah, and then we will attain Shleimus HaEretz — proceed to the complete Eretz Yisroel the holy land and come to Yerushalayim and see the third Temple. May this happen Now — speedily in our days — with joy and happiness.

Each army has appointed times when it comes together and parades before its Commander-In-Chief. For Tzivos Hashem, it can be understood that an appropriate time for a ‘parade’ is Parshas Yisro when the Ten Commandments will be read. Thus, it is fitting that preparation be made for that parade through an increase in Torah study and the fulfillment of mitzvos. This, in turn, will serve as a preparation for and hasten the coming of the great parade, when Tzivos Hashem will march before Moshiach to Eretz Yisroel in the future redemption.

3. It is customary to conclude each assembly with giving tzedakah. Thus, 3 coins will be given to each of you: 2 (of the 3 coins) to be given to tzedakah — to emphasize how charity must be given open handedly — one to be given in connection with the previous Shabbos — Shabbos Shirah which celebrates the redemption from Egypt and the other to be given in connection with the preparation for the giving of the Torah of Parshas Yisro and the future redemption. Surely, you will increase your gifts to Tzedakah and study of the Torah in the coming days, and thus, prepare for the parade of the giving of the Torah and the parade of Tzivos Hashem in the future redemption led by Moshiach.

In order to emphasize that all the above should be carried out with joy, true joy felt because you are part of Tzivos Hashem, we will conclude this assembly with songs.

Utzu Aitza — the song which celebrates the victory over the Yetzer Horah.

We Want Moshiach Now — to express our desire that the future redemption will come immediately.

Yihi Ratzon — May the Temple be speedily rebuilt. Ach Tzaddikim — which refers to the time when our people will settle in Eretz Yisroel after the future redemption.

May it be G‑d’s will that you, your parents, brothers and sisters and the entire Jewish people be blessed with happiness, health and success in the last days of exile and may we soon leave exile and led by Moshiach, proceed to our Holy Land, now.