1. The Talmud states that “a person should not depart from his friend except with a matter of Halachah, for then he will remember him thereby.” Hence, this farbrengen serves as a “farewell” to the guests [who came here for the month of Tishrei]. When many Jews gather together, it is a very lofty thing, as our Sages said, that “the Divine Presence rests on every gathering of ten Jews” — even when they are not discussing Torah.” Certainly then it applies when the purpose of the gathering is to increase in Torah study, prayer, and fulfillment of mitzvos; especially when it is held in a place of prayer and study; and particularly on a special day like Rosh Chodesh.

Torah, prayer, and good deeds (mitzvos) are the three pillars on which the world stands and exists. In today’s times, everyone can see the urgent need to ensure that the world remains stable and that people work constructively, not destructively. This is achieved through the fulfillment of mitzvos. For non-Jews, this is the fulfillment of the Seven Noachide Laws; for Jews, it is the fulfillment of the 613 mitzvos incumbent on all Jewry.

The idea of “a person should not depart from his friend except with a matter of Halachah, for then he will remember him thereby” is the idea of Ahavas Yisroel, which is a “great principle in Torah” — and one should not break the unity that exists between Jews. However, since each individual has his own mission to accomplish in a certain place, and therefore everyone cannot be physically together, the Torah advises that when they depart from each other “with a matter of Halachah,” they will not really be separated, “for then he will remember him thereby.” Torah is master of the world, and has the ability to change it. When a Jew departs from another with a “matter of Halachah,” then, although physically separate, they remain united through the “matter of Halachah.” Indeed, not only are they not truly separated, but each one “takes” the other with him to his place and receives help in his mission. For when each one “remembers” the other (through the matter of Halachah), and remembers how they were together, learned together, prayed together etc., it helps him to fulfill his mission in the place he is now. This is especially so in the light of the Baal Shem Tov’s dictum that “a person is found where his thoughts are.” When a person thinks about the “matter of Halachah” learned together before he departed from his friend, he is united with him and is found in the same place.

The above unity applies to all Jews regardless of their individual stature or place of residence. There are distinctions between Jews enumerated in Torah — from “the heads of your tribes” to “the choppers of your wood and the drawers of your water.” Likewise, there are differences between countries, beginning with the main distinction between Eretz Yisroel and other countries. In similar fashion, the Talmud tells us that some places are more likely to cause people to do foolish things than others. The Rambam writes that “if a person resides in a country of evil customs and its inhabitants do not conduct themselves worthily, he should go to a place where its citizens are righteous and conduct themselves in the correct manner.” For “it is the way of man to be drawn in his attributes and deeds ... to the ‘Customs of the citizens of the country.” If a person has no other place to go to, then “he must leave and go to [live in] caves and deserts.” In other words, a Jew must have self-sacrifice to leave an evil country even if it is his homeland and birth place — even if it means going to a desert. The only exception is if he has a special mission to convert that place to a “dwelling place for G‑d.”

But although such distinctions between Jews and places do exist, nevertheless, even when each Jew travels to his particular place of residence, they are not really separated, but are “as one person with one heart.” This unity is achieved by a person not departing from his friend ‘except with a matter of Halachah.” In Hebrew, “except” is “Mitoch,” and “toch” means the inner part, the essence. Thus the dictum “a person should not depart from his friend except with a matter of Halachah” can be rendered to mean that Jews, although physically apart, remain united through the “toch” of the matter of Halachah — through the essence, the inner part of the Halachah.

Halachah itself is not reasoning and dialectics, but the plain law of what to do. The inner part of the Halachah (the “toch”), its soul, is the “word of G‑d — which is the Halachah.” It is the fact that the Halachah is incumbent upon a person because it is G‑d’s commandment. This is the underlying foundation that is present in all Halachos equally: that they are all commanded by G‑d (the “word of G‑d”).

Since the “toch” of the “matter of Halachah” is the “word of G‑d,” all Halachos being equally commanded from G‑d — “Who has sanctified us with His mitzvos and commanded us” — the “toch” can then effect unity among Jews, disregarding all differences. For, as the Alter Rebbe writes in Iggeres Hakodesh (Ch. 31), “all the souls of Israel are regarded as the limbs of the Shechinah (Divine Presence) which is called the heart,” and therefore all the souls of Israel must be “attached and bound together.” Since the heart of all Jewish souls is the Shechinah, and the heart gives life to all the limbs, all Jews can be “as one person with one heart.” In other words: a Jewish soul is “verily a part of G‑d Above,” and G‑d Who is One is the heart of all Jewish souls — and hence all Jews are united as one.

In practical terms: When Jews are gathered together in a holy place of prayer and learning, this opportunity must be utilized in making good resolutions in all things of the month of Tishrei that affect the coming year. In this particular case, the concept of unity (“A person should not depart from his friend except with a matter of Halachah”) should be extended to the whole year. This is achieved through the “toch” of the “matter of Halachah” (the word of G‑d), which unites all Jews together through the “toch” (the inner essence) of Jews — the soul from Above, the G‑dliness within each and every Jew.

Through such unity, the true and future redemption is hastened, when we go to welcome our righteous Moshiach. Then we will merit the fulfillment of the promise “the glory of the L‑rd will be revealed,” the revelation of the inner Essence of Above, speedily in our time.


2. In connection with the above dictum that “a person should not depart from his friend except with a matter of Halachah,” there is a “matter of Halachah” that needs to be clarified. Recently, we have spoken many times about the necessity of having all Jews purchase a letter in the Sefer Torah being written to unite all Jews. This is associated with the commandment of writing a Sefer Torah, as stated: “And now, write for yourselves this Song,” meaning write a Sefer Torah which contains this Song. Authorities explain that if it is impossible for each individual Jew to fulfill the mitzvah of writing a separate Sefer Torah for himself, a number of Jews can join together to write a Sefer Torah such that each one has at least one letter. Since the Sefer Torah could not have been written without the participation of each one, it is considered as if each of them wrote a complete Sefer Torah.

This law also applies when a person checks over (at least one letter in) a Sefer Torah to ensure that it has been written properly. In such a case, it too is considered as if he wrote the whole Sefer Torah. This mitzvah of checking a Sefer Torah (so that it can be read knowing it is kosher) is fulfilled even if no mistakes are found. The mitzvah is to check it, and even if no mistakes are found, the mitzvah has been fulfilled.

An example of this principle is “bedikas chometz,” search for bread. This is done on the night before Pesach, when a special blessing is made. Even if no chometz is found, the blessing has not been made in vain, for the mitzvah is to search for chometz on the chance that perhaps some was overlooked. If none was found, it means nothing, and the mitzvah has been fulfilled in its entirety.

So too in our case. The mitzvah is to check the Sefer Torah to see if perhaps there are mistakes. If one checks and no mistakes are found, he has nevertheless performed the required action of checking, and it is now known that the Sefer Torah is kosher.

The same principle applies to the mitzvah of admonishing a fellow Jew for wrongdoing — “You shall surely admonish your fellowman.” The mitzvah is to admonish, and its fulfillment is not dependent on one’s success in influencing the person to improve his ways. A person must do that what is required of him by Halachah to admonish his friend; success is in G‑d’s hands. Sometimes a person won’t be successful, but he nevertheless has fully carried out the mitzvah of “You shall surely admonish your fellow.”

3. Regarding the unity of Jews effected by writing a Sefer Torah, it was mentioned in a previous farbrengen that the previous Rebbe said: “Each and every Jew has a letter in the Torah, and therefore each one has enthusiasm and vitality in the Torah, and is prepared to literally give his life for the Torah. Moreover, not only does it afford him protection, but is the conduit in which and through which the blessing of Above in all good comes to him....”

Seemingly, this has no relevance to the campaign to unite all Jews through writing a Sefer Torah. The above statement of the previous Rebbe concerns the greatness of one letter in a Torah, from which can be understood the greater loftiness of writing an entire Sefer Torah for oneself. In the Sefer Torah campaign however, the emphasis is not on each person writing a Sefer Torah for himself, but specifically to include the greatest number of Jews in a single Sefer Torah.

However, there are two separate concepts involved here: The writing of a Sefer Torah for the purpose of fulfilling the mitzvah of “Write for yourselves this Song,” in which each Jew should try to have as great a part as possible in the writing (since the mitzvah is really to write the entire Sefer Torah). Then there is an additional concept of writing a general Sefer Torah to unite all Jews into one entity, which means including the greatest number of Jews possible in one Sefer Torah — corresponding to the number of letters in a Sefer Torah, each Jew having only one letter. There is no contradiction between the two; they are separate concepts.

Although that said by the previous Rebbe was in regard to the individual letter which each individual Jew possesses (that it gives him life and blessing), it is also relevant to the writing of the Sefer Torah to unite all Jews into one entity. A Sefer Torah is itself a paradox: On the one hand, the essence of a Sefer Torah is that it is the “one Torah;” on the other, a Sefer Torah contains individual letters, each separate from its follow: without each letter present and perfect, the Sefer Torah is invalid. Yet it is precisely when all these separate letters are combined and united together that we have A new entity — the “one Torah.”

Likewise with Jews. There are 600,000 Jews (i.e. the all-encompassing souls from which all other souls derive) corresponding to the 600,000 letters in the Torah. When each Jew purchases a letter in the Sefer Torah, he is connected to and becomes one entity with the 600,000 all-encompassing Jewish souls — just as all the letters join together to become one entity, the “one Torah.” Hence, all things mentioned by the previous Rebbe as being associated with the individual letter belonging to each Jew, apply also to the writing of the Sefer Torah to unite all Jewry — just as a Sefer Torah itself is comprised of 600,000 letters and is yet simultaneously “one Torah.”

In greater clarification: When a Jew purchases a letter in the Sefer Torah and thus becomes united with all Jews into one entity, the inner essence of a Jew which is to be found equally among all Jews is revealed and expressed. This inner essence is the highest level of the soul, the level of “Yechidah.” It permeates into every particular of a Jew’s existence, and through it a Jew has life and vitality in the Torah, and he simultaneously receives “the blessings from Above in all good.”

The purpose of the level of “Yechidah” is to permeate and be revealed in all aspects of a Jew’s service, even to the extent of affecting a person’s physical matters, eating and drinking. The level of “Yechidah” is the highest level of the soul and is one and united with G‑d. A Jew’s limbs must be nullified to and permeated by the “Yechidah” in the soul to the extent that a Jew has no other existence save that of the level of Yechidah. Every part of a Jew, the lower levels of the soul and the physical organs, must be in a complete state of self-nullification, the only awareness being of the level of “Yechidah.” Hence, everything, even a physical action, is done by the “Yechidah” in the soul.

This is illustrated by a story told of a certain group of Chassidim. In a small city in Russia, Chassidim at a farbrengen were talking of the concept of “bitul,” self-nullification. When the Chassidim left to go to their homes, they continued to talk on the way of this concept of “bitul.”

The farbrengen finished very late at night, and their passage through the streets, talking and singing, aroused the suspicions of the Russian police officer of that town who happened to be in the vicinity. This police officer, being the representative of the Czar in that small town, considered himself the “master” of the whole town. Thus, when he saw people walking late at night, talking in a strange language, his suspicions were aroused about their intentions, and called out “Who goes there?”

One of the Chassidim knew a little Russian, and answered: “‘Bitul’ goes!” He had to answer the police officer so as not to arouse his wrath — so he answered the truth. Not being able (or perhaps unwilling) to translate “bitul” into Russian, he simply said the truth — “‘bitul’ goes!”

The police officer did not know what ‘bitul’ was, but didn’t ask too many questions. He considered Jews not to be normal people — after all, they don’t believe in his religion! Having received at least some kind of answer to his question (although not understanding it), he let them proceed unhindered.

The lesson from this story is that even when a Jew is in exile, and he must answer a non-Jew, he answers him “bitul goes” — here walks self-nullification to G‑d! So too in our case: the level of “Yechidah” must permeate every particular of a Jew’s life — “Yechidah goes.” This level of Yechidah is revealed not only in prayer, but also in mundane physical matters such as eating and drinking.

When a Jew purchases a letter in the Sefer Torah, then, notwithstanding his spiritual level, even if his service is on one of the lower levels of the soul, he receives vitality and blessings from G‑d through this letter. He becomes united with all Jews, and through this letter he rises ever higher in his service until he reaches the peak: the level of “Yechidah” is no longer concealed but openly illuminates every particular of his life. His life and vitality now comes from the level of Yechidah, and the blessing for children, life and ample sustenance also from the level of Yechidah.

In the light of the above, everyone must do his utmost to influence all Jews to buy a letter in the Sefer Torah, thus uniting all Jewry. Then we will merit the fulfillment of the promise that “A new Torah will go forth from Me” — the study of the Torah of Moshiach, speedily in our days.