1. Our Sages said of every Jew that “I was created solely to serve my Maker;” and this certainly applies when many Jews gather together (as now) to commemorate an event. Since G‑d does not demand of man more than he is capable of, every Jew has the ability to fulfill his task of serving his Maker in the best possible fashion. Hence everyone must utilize the present gathering to increase in the fulfillment of the mission of serving G‑d — and with joy and a good heart.

However, all is not clear: This farbrengen is associated with the Yahrzeit (passing on of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson), an event which is the antithesis of joy. How then can such an event each year inspire and increase in one’s service to G‑d with joy and a good heart?

The Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya (Ch. 26) that sadness has absolutely no place in a Jew’s service, except for certain specified times when bitterness of soul has its function — and then only for the purpose of the true joy which follows. When a person is truly anguished, this anguish produces a strong desire and will to increase in all good things, with joy and a good heart, greater than before. Hence, any event which is associated with bitterness (as in our case, the yahrzeit) has the ultimate purpose of leading to greater joy than formerly.

In addition to the above, every particular event has a unique service attached to it. The concept of a yahrzeit is that the soul is found in the world of truth, the world which is completely good. In that world, the soul is continuously ascending from level to level. Eleven (or 12) months after the passing on, every soul is in Gan Eden, and is constantly ascending the infinite amount of levels therein. Most particularly, the saying of “Kaddish” on the yahrzeit every year produces an infinitely higher ascension even compared to the level produced by the saying of Kaddish the previous year.

This applies to every soul. Certainly then, in the case of a soul as lofty as this one, which entered Gan Eden immediately upon departing from this world, the saying of Kaddish at the beginning of the 11 months is similar to the saying of Kaddish on the yahrzeit at the conclusion of the first year. Likewise, every year sees an ascension from level to level in Gan Eden itself.

A soul in Gan Eden, the world of truth, certainly comprehends the great distinction and loftiness of service in this world. This applies to both Torah study and performance of mitzvos: Although Torah is studied in Gan Eden, nevertheless, its main concept is in this world, where it was given. As our Sages said: “Torah is not in Heaven,” and it is explained in Tanya that questions and Halachah in Torah are decided specifically in this world. In regard to performance of mitzvos, it applies only in this world, for the fulfillment of a mitzvah involves taking physical things and making them holy.

Hence, a soul in Gan Eden comprehends the greatness of service in this world specifically. When the soul was in this world, enclothed in a physical body, the grossness of the body necessitated time to truly realize the effect resulting from Torah and mitzvos. But in the world of truth, where all things are seen in their true perspective, the soul immediately comprehends the effect one good deed, utterance or thought has on all the worlds. Thus the soul in Gan Eden has a great desire to produce an effect in this world, a desire which grows from year to year.

A soul in Gan Eden can realize this desire only with the help of a soul enclothed in a body in this world — through a person engaging in Torah and mitzvos in the merit of the soul in Gan Eden; or when a person engages in Torah and mitzvos as a result of the teaching and direction he received from the person whose yahrzeit it is — by learning his Torah and learning from his conduct. Then a person’s deeds are the fruits of he whose yahrzeit it is.

In the light of the above, we can understand the great merit and responsibility each one has to act as the “envoy” of this soul — knowing the great desire this soul in Gan Eden has to receive the elevations produced by a person’s service in this world.

A further point: In general, one must be careful that one’s service of Torah and mitzvos be untainted by ulterior motives — honor, personal gain, etc. When a Jew does a good deed, he must ensure beforehand and examine himself afterwards to see that the deed was pure and for its own sake, without taint or personal motive. Such service for its own sake demands great effort, and correspondingly is considered an extremely lofty thing. Thus service performed in the merit of a soul in Gan Eden is an extremely lofty one, for personal motives (honor etc.) have no relevance in Gan Eden. Therefore service in the merit of a soul in Gan Eden is a special opportunity to perform a good deed in the purest, most selfless manner.

The above applies to all Jews, in regards to the forefathers (Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov) and mothers (Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah) of the world. The forefathers and mothers are in Gan Eden, and require, as it were, the help of a soul enclothed in a body to gain the great distinction accruing from service in this world. Thus every Jew in this world has the great merit of effecting an elevation in the soul of those who are in the world of truth, including even the souls of the forefathers and mothers who are the fathers and mothers of every Jew. When they see that their descendants are “alive” — fulfilling their mission of serving their Maker in this world — they receive the greatest satisfaction. This satisfaction effects an elevation of the soul in Gan Eden, as we see from everyday experience in this world: When a person is in good spirits he can do greater things than in a state of sadness. Certainly then, the satisfaction a soul receives in Gan Eden can produce an elevation for it.

In the light of the above, we can understand how the anguish of a yahrzeit can bring one to an increase in Torah and mitzvos. The anguish of a yahrzeit is that this soul has been deprived of the opportunity to engage in Torah and mitzvos in this physical world, and therefore requires the assistance of a soul enclothed in a body to acquire the distinction of service in this physical world. Hence, this anguish inspires one to increase in Torah and mitzvos, since it is the remaining opportunity to effect an elevation in the soul — by doing good deeds in the merit of the soul. And although the soul ascends every day of the year, it has special application on the yahrzeit when the ascension is infinitely loftier.


2. As mentioned above, the common mission of all Jews is that each was created to serve his Master through Torah study and performance of mitzvos. In addition to this general mission, there are specific matters which are relevant to each individual Jew’s service, as the Talmud asks “In what was your father most punctilious (in observing)?” meaning that a particular mitzvah was the focal point of his service to the extent that it illuminated all other matters. In addition to general Torah and mitzvos, including the dissemination of Judaism, there is a particular matter in which the main service of a soul is expressed. In this area Jews are divided into seven general categories (corresponding to the seven branches of the Menorah), or the 12 tribes, or in more detail, into 600,000 (corresponding to the 600,000 “root souls”).

In our case, R. Levi Yitzchok was the Rabbi of a large city which was the center for surrounding towns. The function of a Rabbi is to educate the people of the congregation to know “that which is permitted and that which is forbidden.” In addition, R. Levi Yitzchok’s service was with self-sacrifice, defying a powerful government that opposed his efforts in spreading Judaism to the extent of imprisoning him and later exiling him to a remote town. Notwithstanding all these difficulties, he continued in his activities of spreading Judaism.

The special lesson then from R. Levi Yitzchok’s service is the extent to which efforts must be made in education. This applies to both those who young in knowledge and those young in years.

Talking of education, children of pre Bar/Bas Mitzvah age who are present at this farbrengen should now sing “We Want Moshiach Now.” They should preface this with saying “lechayim,” for “Shirah (song) is not chanted except on wine” — since wine “makes joyous G‑d and man.” The adults will certainly join with them in singing they want Moshiach now and that the “Bais Hamikdosh be built speedily in our days.”

May it be G‑d’s will that through the concept of “through the mouths of babes and sucklings You have ordained strength” the conclusion of the verse be fulfilled — “to confound the enemy and avenger.” Then very soon all Jews will go to greet our righteous Moshiach and go to the Bais Hamikdosh with joy and a good heart.

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3. The above concerning Jewish children has particular emphasis in regard to Jewish children living behind the Iron Curtain. This is specially connected with R. Levi Yitzchok, whose self-sacrifice on behalf of education and children was in that country (Russia). Children behind the Iron Curtain can be united with those the world over by now singing a joyous tune with words in their language (Russian). For since joy breaks all barriers, a joyous tune breaks through all the barriers, and unites all of them.

Although this unity has already been effected through the writing of a Sefer Torah on behalf of Jewish children, in which children on both sides of the Iron Curtain purchased letters, nevertheless, to hasten their and our redemption through our unity with them, we must associate it with a joyous song — for joy breaks through all barriers.

Therefore the children who are present here should now sing the well-known song in Russian, whose meaning is “there is nothing besides Him” — G‑d’s is the only existence, and therefore automatically everything is conducted only according to G‑d’s will. And since G‑d is the essence of good, He will certainly hasten to bring the true good for every Jew — the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach.


4. In a few hours time the Bar Mitzvah celebration for the orphans whose fathers fell in defense of our Holy Land will take place in Kfar Chabad in Eretz Yisroel. The celebration will take place amidst a great multitude of people, with many boys who have reached Bar Mitzvah age at this time participating. They will hear words of encouragement and inspiration, to help them not to be down-spirited because of their lack of a father, may G‑d avenge their blood.

Indeed, the remembrance of their father should inspire them and all their families to mightily increase in all matters associated with the sanctity and holiness of the land. This is achieved by connecting the sanctity of the land with the sanctity of the Torah, to the extent that, through their full observance of mitzvos and study of Torah, it is recognizable that the people living in the Holy Land are the Holy People. As a result, we stand firm in regard to the holiness of the land with all its borders, as set by G‑d, the L‑rd of Hosts.

Coming as they are to the age of acceptance of the yoke of the mitzvos, they must accept upon themselves with joy and a good heart that their daily lives be consonant to members of the Holy People. The strength and ability to do so were given at the time of preparation to Mattan Torah, when all Jews were told “You shall be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy people.” When they accept upon themselves to conduct their lives according to G‑d’s will, they cause the greatest satisfaction to the souls of their fathers in the world of truth, when they see that their sons in this physical world, in the Holy Land, are conducting themselves properly.

First and foremost they should accept upon themselves to fulfill the mitzvah of Tefillin — the world-wide symbol of Bar Mitzvah. In addition, Tefillin has the unique power of affording protection, as stated “All the peoples of the land will see that the Name of the L‑rd is called upon you and they shall fear you” — meaning, war with the enemy will be unnecessary, for fear will fall upon them when they see that “the Name of the L‑rd is called upon you.” As a result, the peoples will not only not try to fight with Jews, but will help them to live peacefully and securely. Jews will not only not be ashamed of their Judaism, but their religion will be their entire pride. It is specifically such conduct which earns the respect of the non-Jewish peoples.

Through this we merit the fulfillment of the promise “I will give peace in the land” — true peace, and also peace in the entire world. This is the preparation for making this world a revealed dwelling place for G‑d, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach. And since peace is the vessel for G‑d’s blessings, through it G‑d’s blessings in all things come, and certainly the principal blessing of the true and complete redemption.

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5. In the prophecy of Malachi it is stated that close to the times of Moshiach “He will turn the hearts of the fathers through the sons and the hearts of the sons through their fathers.” This is one of the reasons for the great emphasis on education in these times, more so than in earlier generations — for we are coming closer to the times of Moshiach.

Education in general, and particularly education of very young children, is the special responsibility of Jewish women, the “mainstay of the home.” This also applies to all Jewish girls, who must prepare themselves for their principal function of being the “mainstay of the home” through both populating the world and making it a fit place.

The greatness of Jewish women is found at Mattan Torah, when G‑d commanded Moshe Rabbeinu to first speak to the women and then only afterwards the men — for since the woman is the “mainstay of the home,” explaining to her first the greatness of Torah will help afterwards in speaking to the men.

The above is in connection with the convention of the N’shei uBnos Chabad (Women of Chabad) that took place on Sunday in Eretz Yisroel, where women and girls gathered together to help each other build a Jewish home in which G‑d’s presence can reside — to be a “miniature Sanctuary.”

One of the goals of this convention was to inspire and influence women who do not, as yet, know of the above — that they also should stand in the forefront of Jewish women building homes in Yisroel. Since the convention took place in a great multitude of people, it is certain that the resolutions undertaken will have extra strength to be fulfilled.

In addition, there is special strength given from the day on which the convention took place — when parshas Re’ey is begun to be learned. It states “See, I have given before you today blessing.” “See” refers to actual physical sight, and not just an assurance, or intellectual understanding. “I” refers to the level of “I” said at Mattan Torah — “I am the L‑rd your G‑d.” “Give” indicates generosity, meaning that G‑d’s blessing is given in abundance. “Today” refers to the immediate fulfillment of G‑d’s blessings; one need only the proper “vessel” to receive G‑d’s blessings fully. Since the convention took place in the week in which parshas “Re’ey” is read, it gives added strength to the resolutions undertaken there.

May it be G‑d’s will that the above efforts influence all Jewish women to build their homes such that they will be among those who build “Tzivos Hashem” — generations of children engaging in Torah and mitzvos, and such that “they (the children) recognized Him first.” Our Sages explain that the redemption from Egypt was in the merit of the righteous women of that generation. And similar to that redemption, the future redemption will also be in the merit of the righteous women of Israel.