1. In the prayers on Rosh Hashanah we say (Yeshayah 27:13) “It shall be on that day, that a great shofar shall be sounded, and those who were lost in the land of Ashur and those who were banished in the land of Egypt shall come and bow down to the L‑rd on the holy mountain in Yerushalayim.” Although the sounding of the “great shofar” and its concept refers to the future redemption (“it shall be on that day”), it has relevance also today, as evidenced by its inclusion in the prayers said on Rosh Hashanah even now in exile. For Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as will be explained, are intimately connected, and the single great blast blown on Yom Kippur after Neilah (the final closing prayer) is from the level of the “great shofar” of the future redemption.

The difference between the shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that the sounding on Rosh Hashanah has a definite duration,1 whilst that of Yom Kippur is unlimited and may be prolonged. It is a “great sounding.”2

The general concept of Yom Kippur applies also to Rosh Hashanah, and indeed, Yom Kippur is also termed Rosh Hashanah in Scripture, and is the “soul” and inner vitality of the level of the “head” (Rosh Hashanah — literally “head of the year”). Thus this intimate connection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur indicates that Rosh Hashanah too, similar to Yom Kippur, has relevance to the “great shofar” of the future redemption.

Furthermore, the sounding of the shofar in the Bais Hamikdosh was similar to the concept of the “great shofar” of the future redemption (and therefore was sounded even when Rosh Hashanah was on a Shabbos). Even today, in exile, when we have no Bais Hamikdosh, this level still applies to each and every Jew, on every Rosh Hashanah which falls out on Shabbos. For then, although we do not blow the shofar (unlike in the Bais Hamikdosh), all the effects normally produced by the blowing of the shofar in the Bais Hamikdosh — which were a “taste” of the “great shofar” of the future redemption — are produced by Shabbos itself.

But even when Rosh Hashanah is on a weekday, when the shofar blowing itself does not produce the effect similar to that of the Bais Hamikdosh, our Torah learning about the concept of the “great shofar” is considered as if we actually blew such a shofar. In addition, we have actually said the verse concerning the sounding of the great shofar (“It shall be on that day...”) in our prayers; and during prayer a Jew is as a servant standing before his Master, when his prayer is in the mode of “My L‑rd, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Your praise” — he nullifies himself before his L‑rd (as a servant is nullified before his master). Hence, when a Jew says in his prayers the verse “It shall be on that day that a great shofar shall be sounded,” it is not just himself saying it, but as if G‑d is saying it, since he is nullified before Him — “My L‑rd open my lips and my mouth shall declare Your praise.” And since “the speech of G‑d is considered deed” [as if it has already been carried out], it follows logically that the concept of the “great shofar” has been actually effected.

This is especially so since “in the place where a person’s thoughts (concentration) are, so there he himself is found.” During the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah a Jew’s thoughts are on the hearing of the “great shofar,” and thus he indeed hears the “great shofar” to which his thoughts are directed.

Since “deed is the essential thing,” we must work to ensure that the “great shofar” should be sounded in actuality — to work in doing those things that bring the redemption closer, when the promise of “It shall be on that day that a great shofar will be sounded” will be literally fulfilled.

Indeed, this promise refers to a time before the actual redemption, before the fulfillment of the promise that “You will be gathered one by one children of Yisroel.” For only then are there still those who are “lost in the land of Ashur and those who are banished in the land of Egypt” — Jews are still in exile together with the Divine Presence. And through the sounding of the “great shofar,” the “lost” and “banished” ones will come, and then the true and complete redemption will have arrived.

Hence, in order to effect the literal sounding of the “great shofar,” we must increase the spreading of Judaism and Torah and mitzvos, and the spreading of Chassidus (the “inner” part of Torah) also in Ashur and Egypt. And the fact that Moshiach has not yet come is an indication that this work has not yet reached its full completion. The Rambam rendered the Halachic decision that a person must always see himself equally balanced (between good and bad) and the whole world equally balanced, and through doing one mitzvah (in deed, speech, or thought), he can bring salvation for himself and the whole world. Hence, the work that a Jew does in increasing the spread of Judaism and Chassidus may be the action that will bring salvation for himself and the entire world!

2. Such work includes that done by those who have, with self-sacrifice, travelled to other places to there arrange the Rosh Hashanah prayers, the Torah reading, shofar blowing, and the general spirit of Rosh Hashanah including the study of Chassidus relating to Rosh Hashanah.

Some have come for Rosh Hashanah to the place of the leader of our generation, that place where the previous Rebbe spent ten years of his life in Torah, prayer, and righteous deeds. Hence, the gathering together in this place, and the praying and learning of Torah, is a part of the service which brings the complete redemption. But in addition, there are those who have the additional self-sacrifice for the mitzvah of “love your fellow as yourself,” especially to work for those whose spiritual standing is that of those “who are lost in the land of Ashur and banished in the land of Egypt.”3 These people therefore travel to places to help these other Jews in their Rosh Hashanah service.

To connect their work to this farbrengen I will give them a complete challah from this farbrengen, when many Jews are gathered together in a holy place of Torah and prayer. Although each person can only receive a small piece, the quantity is irrelevant, for each piece contains everything of this concept.4

The work of spreading Judaism and Chassidus through the mitzvah campaigns is especially relevant in these days. For in the Ten Days of Repentance (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), those things which normally require a congregation (ten Jews) to accomplish, can be done by each individual.


3. The Alter Rebbe taught that the portion of the parshah of the week learned each day contains special directives. The portion learned today, Wednesday, talks extensively of the mitzvah of Hakhel. The general content of Hakhel is associated with the spreading of Judaism and Chassidus. It is to “gather together the people, the men, women and infants (even newly born babes)... in order that they may hear, and in order that they may learn... and they shall keep the words of this Torah... all the days that you live on the earth.”

When all Jews are gathered together, including those who are “infants” in Judaism, all “the men and women” acquire perfection, including even the king who is commanded to read the Torah to them. Even further, G‑d Himself (so to speak), acquires perfection from this, since Hakhel was such that it was heard as if “it (Torah) was heard from the mouth of G‑d.” Thus, this day’s portion of the Torah, which is about Hakhel and its goal of influencing Jews “to keep all the words of this Torah,” emphasizes the general directive of spreading Judaism and Chassidus.

The mitzvah of Hakhel is associated with the idea of a Sefer Torah, since all Yisroel heard the reading of the Torah from the king, thus uniting all Jewry — for “the (kings’) heart is the heart of all the congregation of Yisroel.”5 In other words, the king encompasses all Jewry; and thus when the king reads in the Torah — which is called “the one Torah” — unity among Jews results.

This is the idea of “love your fellow as yourself” — to unite all Jews irregardless of the differences that exist between men. For Jews are divided into separate categories, ranging from “your heads” to “your wood-choppers and water drawers,” with different opinions and thoughts. And to unite them into one entity, we must have something that is above and transcends all differences — which is “the one Torah.” Torah contains 600,000 letters, corresponding to the 600,000 encompassing souls in Yisroel — and these souls encompass every individual Jewish soul in all generations.

The Talmud explains that Moshe Rabbeinu wrote twelve Sefer Torahs for each tribe, and an extra Sefer Torah which was placed in the Temple from which all Sefer Torahs were checked. Hence, although each tribe had its own Sefer Torah, there is a thirteenth Sefer Torah which, through it being the one against which all other Sefer Torahs were checked, united all Sefer Torahs in the world. And since the works of Moshe are eternal, also today there is the concept of the thirteenth Sefer Torah which unites all the Sefer Torahs.

4. The way to connect the unity of Jews (achieved through the Sefer Torah) with actual deed, is through the actual writing of a Sefer Torah wherein everyone participates in its writing.

Recently, we have talked of the writing of a Sefer Torah for and in the merit of Jewish children under the ages of Bar/Bas Mitzvah. The idea of unity has greater emphasis in their case than in the case of adults. For adults, according to Torah, have true understanding — and each person understands things differently. Children however, have not yet attained true understanding according to Torah, and thus their understanding cannot be said to differ from each other. Hence, the absence of such differences emphasizes their unity. In addition, they have the additional merit that “their breath contains no sin.” Therefore, the writing of a Sefer Torah for and in the merit of Jewish children effects unity among the general Jewish people. For although a definite, countable number of children participated in the writing of the Sefer Torah, the fact that the Torah contains 600,000 letters, corresponding to the 600,000 encompassing souls, means that each and every individual soul is included in this number.

We have seen that the writing of a Sefer Torah for Jewish children has spread to and been accepted by all Jewry. This shows it is a good and fine project, and that we must continue enthusiastically in this idea. For the Rambam explained that a custom that has spread to and been accepted by all Jewry acquires the force of a mitzvah. And the writing of a Sefer Torah in the merit of all Jewish children has not only been accepted by Jews, but has been received with joy and enthusiasm.

As an extension of this, it has been suggested that a Sefer Torah be written for and in the merit of Jews after the age of Bar Mitzvah. This should be started immediately, still in the year of Hakhel, which extends to the festival of Sukkos. The unity thus effected by the participation of a number of Jews in this Sefer Torah extends through them to the 600,000 all-encompassing souls and all individual souls for all generations.

Our Sages have said that “G‑d looked in the Torah and created the world, Jews look into the Torah and keep the world in existence.” Thus everything must begin from the Torah, and in our case, the participants in the writing of a Sefer Torah for Jews over the age of Bar Mitzvah should be (mainly) “Bnai Torah — Children of Torah” [i.e. Torah students]. For although every Jew is obliged to study Torah, there are different levels: some are pre-occupied mainly in making a living, who have set times for Torah study; and others whose main occupation is Torah study. In simple terms, Yeshivah students do not have worries of making a living, but instead all their energy and toil is in Torah study. Hence, the participants in the Sefer Torah should be Yeshivah students, those after the age of Bar Mitzvah who have, according to Torah, a true understanding which they use for Torah study. Immediately after Rosh Hashanah a special plan should be devised for the Sefer Torah written for “Bnai Torah,” and as soon as possible to start the actual work.

Although there are different types of Yeshivos (such as differences between Ashkenazim and Sefardim), as there were the twelve Sefer Torahs written by Moshe Rabbeinu for the twelve different tribes, nevertheless, there is a thirteenth Sefer Torah which unites the others.

First and foremost, the participants in this Sefer Torah should be the students of Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim (Lubavitch). This means all branches of Tomchei Temimim, including those which have a different name (e.g. ‘Toras Emes’ founded by the Rebbe Rashab). For although they have different names, they still belong to Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim, and are under the direction of the founders of Tomchei Temimim — the Rebbe Rashab and the Previous Rebbe. The first and foremost are those students who are actually learning now in Tomchei Temimim, and through them, also those who learned there in the past, although now they are engaged in earning a living etc. As the Lubavitcher Rebbeim have said: Anyone who has any association whatsoever with Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim (“he who has but put a foot in Tomchei Temimim”), even if only for a day, has an eternal connection with it for the rest of his life. Those who were former students in Tomchei Temimim, and now have families — their wives and children may also participate in this Sefer Torah. [As many Sefer Torahs as necessary may be written to include everyone.]

Practically speaking, immediately after Rosh Hashanah, after Havdalah, the administration of Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim should convene and map out a plan of action to implement the above — to engage a scribe, the parchment, where to be written etc. The Sefer Torah should be started as soon as possible.

Through Tomchei Temimim, this extends to all Yeshivos. For Tomchei Temimim is associated with the study of Chassidus, the inner part of Torah, the soul of Torah, and there are no differences in the soul. Differences are only in regards to the body. The blood, and general vitality and soul are present equally in all parts of the body.

May it be G‑d’s will that this be a good start, spreading to and accepted by all Jewry. And very soon may everyone merit to learn the Torah of Moshiach, in the future redemption, speedily in our times.