1. This gathering is taking place in the days of Selichos, a few days before Rosh Hashanah, following Shabbos parshas Netzavim. Parshas Netzavim is always read on the Shabbos before Rosh Hashanah, and therefore the proper preparation to Rosh Hashanah follows the Torah’s directive of that week — “You are all standing steadfast today before the L‑rd your G‑d.” Thus this is the proper time to hold a gathering of Jewish children, for this assembly expresses the concept of “You are all standing steadfast today”, as the rest of the verse continues, “your heads of your tribes ... your children.” This is particularly relevant to Tzivos Hashem, every member of whom emphasizes the concept of “before the L‑rd your G‑d.” Every “soldier” of Tzivos Hashem stands steadfast before his Commander in Chief, “the L‑rd G‑d of Hosts;” and when assembled together emphasize further the idea of “You are all standing steadfast before the L‑rd your G‑d.” The verse then continues “that you should enter into the covenant of the L‑rd your G‑d.” All members of Tzivos Hashem are bonded with their Commander in Chief in “the eternal covenant.” This is especially so since you each have a letter in G‑d’s Sefer Torah, thereby effecting an eternal bond with G‑d.

In the light of the above, we see that when Tzivos Hashem gathers together in these days, the great merit you have of “You are all standing steadfast today before the L‑rd your G‑d ... your children ... that you should enter into the covenant of the L‑rd your G‑d,” effects the greatest joy. The “soldiers” of Tzivos Hashem rejoice that they have the merit to stand before G‑d, their Commander in Chief — “Israel should rejoice in its Maker;” and G‑d rejoices that He has such an army — “The L‑rd rejoices in His works.” This joy of Tzivos Hashem then inspires them to further strengthen their bond with G‑d — “that you should enter into the covenant of the L‑rd your G‑d” — through increasing in Torah and mitzvos.

This is the proper preparation to Rosh Hashanah, when Jews crown G‑d their King. That is, on Rosh Hashanah the covenant between G‑d and Jews is made anew, when G‑d accepts the coronation and becomes “King of Israel.” This in turn effects G‑d’s sovereignty over the entire world, as stated in the prayers of Rosh Hashanah: “Reign over the entire world in Your glory, be exalted over all the earth in Your splendor, and reveal Yourself in the majesty of Your glorious might over all the inhabitants of Your terrestrial world. And may everything that has been made know that You have made it ...”

Hence in these days close to Rosh Hashanah every Jew must prepare himself properly for the crowning of G‑d as King over Israel and the entire world on Rosh Hashanah, by utilizing these times in increasing in Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvos. After such a preparation with joy and good heart, G‑d will certainly accept the crown, becoming “King of Israel” and the entire world — and every Jew merits blessings for being written and sealed for a good and sweet year.

G‑d being crowned as “King of Israel” leads to the redemption, as stated “the King of Israel and his redeemer.” When Jews leave the exile they all come to our Holy land, to the Bais Hamikdosh, and bow down to and serve G‑d in an infinitely loftier fashion than was possible in exile.


2. There is a further lesson to be derived from the particular day on which this gathering is being held — the third day of parshas Ha’azinu. Of the third day (of creation) it is stated “it was good” twice — “good for heaven and good for creatures.” This teaches us that each Jew must conduct himself in the manner of “good” in those things which are between man and G‑d (“heaven”), and also in those matters between man and man (“creatures”). Moreover, these are not two separate things to be done at separate times of the day, but must be done simultaneously the whole day, every minute.

The lesson from parshas Ha’azinu: The Yetzer Horah (Evil Inclination) may tell a Jewish child that since he/she is only a small child, there is no reason to be careful of every thought, utterance or deed — for how important can the doings of a small child be? Parshas Ha’azinu teaches differently — ”Listen, heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.” This verse was said by Moshe Rabbeinu, and since “the Torah which Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Ya’akov,” it follows that this verse applies to all Jews. In other words, when a Jew binds himself to the Torah, he thereby binds himself to Moshe Rabbeinu — and thereby with G‑d Himself. Since G‑d is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, every Jew can effect the concept of “Listen, heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth” — the heavens and earth see and hear every thought, utterance and deed of a Jew. Moreover, G‑d Himself “stands over him ... and examines him to see if he is serving Him as is fitting.” Hence we can see how important every thought, utterance or deed is, and how foolish are the words of the Yetzer Horah.

Through increasing in service to G‑d with joy, in the manner of “good for heavens and good for creatures” — and influencing others to do likewise — we all become one “great congregation,” and merit an increase in G‑d’s blessings — “Bless us our Father all of us together in the light of Your countenance.” This is especially so in the month of Elul, when the King is in the field and receives each person benignly and graciously, giving each Jewish child extra strength to act properly. This hastens the forgiveness in these days of Selichos, which is the proper preparation to receiving a good year and accepting the King’s sovereignty on Rosh Hashanah.

As is customary at every gathering, we will conclude by giving each of you two coins: One to be given to tzedakah, and the other to be used as you wish. Then we will have the three pillars of Torah (the recital of the 12 verses and sayings of our Sages), prayer (Minchah), and good deeds (giving tzedakah).