1. On Shabbos, the preceding six weekdays are elevated to the level of completion — the concept of “Vayechulu.” Thus this Shabbos effects the completion and elevation of Rosh Chodesh Adar which occurred during the preceding week. Moreover, Rosh Chodesh encompasses within itself all the days of the month, as seen from its name Rosh Chodesh — the head of the month, — not merely the beginning of the month. For just as the head encompasses and directs the vitality of all the limbs of a body, so too the head of the month (and likewise Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year) encompasses and directs all the following days. Hence, this Shabbos, which is the “Vayechulu” of Rosh Chodesh Adar, also effects the completion of all the days of the month which are encompassed within Rosh Chodesh.

Shabbos not only elevates all the days of the month, but also itself; as it too is one of the regular days of the month. Every Shabbos has two components; it is of a loftier nature than the preceding six days of creation, while simultaneously being part of the “seven days of building,” equal to each of the other six. For on Shabbos, just as on the other days of creation, something was also created, the concept of rest. As Rashi comments: “What did the world lack [before Shabbos]? Rest. When Shabbos came, rest came.” And yet Shabbos is simultaneously unique, set apart, — “G‑d blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.” Thus the lower component of Shabbos — that which is part of the seven days of creation — is, together with Rosh Chodesh (and hence the rest of the month), elevated through the loftier component.

The concept of Shabbos is stressed in this week’s ParshahTerumah. The beginning of this Parshah contains the directive “and they shall make Me a sanctuary,” the first act of which was to make the ark. The concept of the ark was Torah, its purpose being to house the Tablets and a Torah scroll. And since Torah and Shabbos are one — “all agree that the Torah was given on Shabbos” — today’s Parshah, which stresses the concept of Torah, also stresses the concept of Shabbos.

2. The month of Adar Rishon (and its Rosh Chodesh),1 is a leap month, supplementing the deficiency in the lunar year in relation to the solar year. This provides a valuable example in our G‑dly service. Were a person’s service comparable to the “sun,” with the concept of “the L‑rd G‑d is a sun and shield” illuminating him openly and consistently, he would never have to supplement his service, for everything would be perfect. But in reality a person’s service is more comparable to the “moon;” and just as the moon wanes, so too his service is inconsistent and sometimes lacking. Such a person therefore needs a leap month to supplement and perfect the deficiencies in his service. For we live now in exile, not in the time of the Bais Hamikdosh;2 the darkness is exceedingly great and extraneous calculations and thoughts intrude. Such thoughts allow the inconsistencies of the world to affect his service, making it inconsistent and imperfect (and hence a “moon” service and not a “sun” service).

Ideally, the inconsistencies of the world should not affect one’s service, as stated (Yirmiya 10:2) “be not dismayed at the signs of heaven.” Even though the “signs of heaven” are from G‑d, one is nonetheless directed not to be affected by them. For such signs are not meant for Jews, but for non-Jews, as the verse continues “for the nations are dismayed at them.” And although the entire world was created for the sake of Jews, and therefore they must have some connection with the signs,3 their connection is to know that they should notbe dismayed by them. A Jew cannot allow calculations stemming from the “signs of heaven,” from nature, from the world, to influence his service. But since in reality a Jew does let himself be so influenced, the existence of a leap month teaches him that he must repair any deficiencies.

The purpose of such deficiencies is to effect the later ascent that will eventuate from them — “the abundance of light that comes from (prior) darkness.” Indeed, all descents in the service of Jews are for the later ascents that will eventuate from them. It is precisely when a Jew struggles against his Yetzer Horah, when victory comes through hard toil, that G‑d has the most pleasure.4 And it is the leap month of Adar Rishon, whose concept is the completion of any previous deficiencies, which emphasizes this point.

The leap month not only remedies deficiencies of a single lunar year (as compared to a solar year) but those of several years. A solar year has approximately a third of a month more days than a lunar year (to be exact 10 days, 21 hours and 204 subdivisions) ; and thus a leap month supplements the deficiency of two lunar years and the major portion of a third. And since this Shabbos is the “Vayechulu” of the entire leap month, the idea of supplementing deficiencies is stressed now.

Therefore, this Shabbos is the ideal time to remedy anything in our service which is lacking. Those things which may be done on Shabbos should be done now; and for that which cannot be done on Shabbos, good resolutions should be made. Resolutions cannot however, compensate for actual deed; thus those things which can be done on Shabbos should be done now. For if they are pushed off, not only is the resolve to act weakened, but it casts doubts upon those very resolutions.5 Nothing is fulfilled until the action is carried out, for a person’s task is to act, to refine and elevate this world. And a lack of action, when such action is possible, casts doubt upon the sincerity of the resolution to do the action itself.

The above resolutions are applicable to all things, but especially to those actions associated with the Previous Rebbe, which we have named “campaigns” — Ahavas Yisroel, Education, Torah Study, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Tzedakah, Seforim, Shabbos candles, Kashrus, Family Purity. And because now is the time immediately prior to Moshiach, we also include the campaign of “And he will return the hearts of the parents to the children — through the children” — the Army of Hashem, connected with children.

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3. This week’s Parshah, Terumah, emphasizes the idea of the “Army of Hashem” being particularly applicable to children, both boys and girls. The beginning of the Parshah deals with the making of the ark to contain the tablets. To cover the ark, G‑d commanded that a “cover on top of the ark” be made — ”and you shall put the ark-cover upon the ark from above.” Furthermore, “you shall make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shall you make them, at the ends of the ark-cover.” Rashi states that these cherubim “had the form of the face of a child,”6 and the Zohar comments that they had respectively a male and female face. From this we learn that the “Army of Hashem” has special significance for children, both boys and girls.

Further, the purpose of the ark-cover was to protect the ark, and the tablets and Sefer Torah within it. The fact that this ark-cover had to have cherubim on it, shows that the cherubim (also) guarded the ark and tablets, for without the cherubim, the entire ark would not be complete. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for ark-cover, “Kapores,” also means “atonement,” and thus the cherubim, which were an integral part of the cover, were crucial to procuring G‑d’s atonement for any sins. Thus we see the greatness of children, through whose merit protection and atonement are received.

There is another lesson to be learned from the cherubim. They had to be “one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end;” the male cherub was separated from the female cherub. So too in the Army of Hashem. Even though both girls and boys are in this Army, it must be conducted with the utmost “tznius” — modesty, with the boys and girls separate.

There are those who question the propriety of learning lessons regarding children from such a lofty thing as the cherubim.7 But such is the general idea of Torah! Regarding Torah, the verse (Mishlei 8:30) states: “I was daily His delight” and that (Iyov 28:21) “It is hidden from the eyes of all living.” But despite this lofty level, Torah has descended into this physical, corporeal world, enclothed in ink written in a book. Moreover, Torah instructs us that even though in a matter of Torah one may be completely sure that he is correct, and that his opponent is wrong and is putting forward false claims, one is still obligated to fulfill the other’s request to explain and cite the relevant passage in Torah. Thus we see that even though Torah is such a lofty thing, it nevertheless descends to us below, to the lowest levels.

The above helps explain why it is the duty of every Jew to not only learn Torah himself every day, but to influence another to do the same.8 For since Torah descended from its lofty heights to be accessible to every Jew, it is incumbent upon everyone to learn it, and see that others do likewise. This applies not only to the revealed portion of Torah, but also to the esoteric, to Chassidus.

There are those who question the idea of learning such a lofty thing as Chassidus with children, women, and the unlettered. This question has always been raised concerning the general idea of learning Chassidus; but has intensified with its proliferation to all parts — to the “outside,” even in other languages besides the Holy tongue. The answer is along the same lines as the previous one. Every Jew, from birth, is heir to the entire Torah — “The Torah that Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Ya’akov” — including its esoteric parts, and as such, every Jew is enjoined to learn it.

In a similar vein, there are some who wonder at the propriety of discussing Moshiach with children. Moshiach is one of the loftiest of concepts, he is the choicest of all men — and yet we discuss his coming with children, encouraging them with prizes and candy etc?!

Again, every Jew, including the merest babe is a full heir to the entire Torah; and we must educate our children in all its parts, especially in the thirteen principles of our faith enumerated by the Rambam, one of which is “I wait for him (Moshiach) every day that he shall come.” This principle is as important as any other, and our children must be thoroughly educated about it.

It is not enough to merely tell a child about Moshiach as a remote theoretical matter, thinking that as he matures he will learn more.9 For Moshiach is one of the thirteen principles of faith; and we must educate a child to yearn for him, to cry out that he wants him, to sing songs, (even in English) about him — even if only for the reward of a candy! For the Rambam writes that the education of a child must be on his level, meaning that since a child appreciates such things as prizes and candy etc., that should be the inducement offered him. In short, “out of [doing good for] an ulterior motive, comes [the good deed] for its own sake.” And even though one should learn Torah for its own sake,10 because a child is not yet at that level, one must educate him by giving him appropriate inducements — candy etc. And one should do this even to the extent of telling him that when Moshiach comes, he will have sweets in abundance.

Indeed, that the appropriate inducement is necessary to fulfill Mitzvos, is found in the Torah itself. The verse (Bechukosai 26: 3-4) states: “If you walk in My statutes... then I will give you rain in due season etc.” G‑d, in order to ensure the fulfillment of His Mitzvos, promises a physical reward. Likewise, it states in Tehillim (145:16) “You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing according to his desire.” It is explained (Rashi) that G‑d opens His hand to satisfy everyone according to the desire of that individual — what the individual wants.

This throws light upon the Rambam’s words in connection with Moshiach. He writes that when Moshiach comes, “delicacies” (physical foods) will be as “plentiful as dust.” But when Moshiach comes, a Jew’s entire enthusiasm will be in G‑dly matters, in understanding his Creator. Why then does the Rambam mention that one of the benefits of Moshiach’s time will be the abundance of delicacies?

The Rambam is describing the time of Moshiach even to a child, to whom delicacies are an important matter. For a child will not understand if told that in those times Torah will be clearly understood — that is something only comprehensible to adults. To capture a child’s imagination concerning Moshiach, the Rambam tells him that delicacies will be abundant — something that a child understands and appreciates now.11

Giving children candy, or preparing colorful things for them in “Hashem’s Army,” does not mean that they only receive the actual candy or colorful thing (for if so, it would be incomparably lower to the actual thing which these inducements aim at). For everything that contains beauty, does so because there is a spark of holiness within it that is connected with the spiritual concept of beauty. Hence, giving a child beautiful colored things, means that we actually give him the sparks of holiness contained therein. And likewise with candy, which is sweet precisely because it contains such sparks.

An analogy to this is the custom that, when introducing a child for the first time to Torah study, the father or brother (unseen by the child) throw candy on him. The child is told that it is the angel Michoel, the guardian angel of Jews, who is throwing the candy. And we are not telling him a lie. For in fact, the candies do come from the angel Michoel, and he who actually throws them is doing so as his envoy — “the envoy of a person is as the person himself.” Thus when the child receives actual candy, he is also receiving from the level of the angel Michoel. Likewise, the colorful things and prizes a child receives for being in Tzivos Hashem are given to him as physical inducements; but simultaneously he receives the sparks of holiness within them.

Even though the child does not know that these things contain sparks of holiness they still work their effect. The Arizal, on the verse (Eikev 8:3) “for man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the L‑rd does man live,” explained that man lives from the spark of holiness that is contained within the food. And although there are those who are not aware of this concept of “elevation of the sparks,” the food still sustains them. Thus, a spark of holiness works its effect even when man does not know about it.12

In addition, we find a wondrous Medrash particularly applicable to children. On the verse (Shir HaShirim 2:4) “His banner over me was love” the Medrash says: “Even if a child jumps on the Name of G‑d (written in holy books)... the L‑rd declares ‘his dancing upon Me is (received) with love.” Even if children, who, in their natural playfulness before and after learning, climb and spring over holy books which contain G‑d’s Name, G‑d considers such actions with love.13 For they who do it are children who learn the holy Torah, and “Yisroel is a child and I love him.” This Medrash teaches us how important it is to lower oneself to the level of children — even to the extent where G‑d alone allows them to jump on His Names, regarding such actions with love!

The lesson is clear: When someone questions the propriety of “lowering” such a lofty thing as Moshiach to the level of children, the person who is asked must know that first and foremost such conduct is utterly correct! For since this is a mission from the leader of our generation, it is certainly applicable to children of this generation! With such a firm foundation in mind, a few moment’s reflection will tell him that so has the Rambam rendered the Halachic decision, as did Shlomo when he said, “Train a child according to his way.” Then he will realize that he must explain the concept of Moshiach to all children — American, French, English etc — to each in their particular way. And if he does not do so — he is negligent in his mission of education!

May it be G‑d’s will that everything possible should be done to further Tzivos Hashem — the Army of Hashem. They should be taught of the great love G‑d has for children, as seen from the cherubim on the ark, made specifically in the form of children — boy and girl; and that it is upon them that the protection of the Torah depends. It is through talking to children about Moshiach, and their yearning for him, that brings Moshiach, when we will have the third and eternal Bais Hamikdosh.


4. The concept of Tzivos Hashem is eternal; and a soldier must always conduct himself in a fitting manner — not only in actual battle, but also before and after, even within the privacy of his own home. He is always a soldier. Nevertheless, from time to time, different matters should be stressed — a different “attack” is mounted at the appropriate time.14 The common point between these different matters is that they should always be conducted in order to strive for higher levels — “one must ascend in holy matters and not descend.”15

Changes are most appropriate when one period of time ends, and a new one begins. In a year, there are four general seasons: summer, winter, fall and spring. Right now, winter is ending and spring, followed by summer, begins. And there are certain things which must be mentioned regarding the coming summer.

Special emphasis must be placed on the idea of modesty. In winter, people clothe themselves fully as protection against the elements; and modesty in dress does not present such a great problem. But in summer, the severity of the matter is greatly increased.

Modesty in dress does not apply only to women, but also to men. A certain person spent his summer in a bungalow colony, and there wore only shorts (or trunks — literally clothes that cover only “from the loins to the thighs”). Apparently he did not know that modesty in dress also applies to men.16 I was sent a picture of such a person. It is bad enough that he wore such a brief outfit, against the laws of modesty. But why was it necessary for him to publicize it by taking a picture?

That person, understandably, was not dressed like that when women were present, for in such a situation he would certainly dress modestly. And certainly not in front of his wife — she would not stand for it! But outside the house, in the open, (again, in a place where no women were) he wore only shorts, through sheer ignorance of the Halachah.17

While modesty in men’s dress must occasionally be referred to, the main issue we wish to remind people of is adherence to modest dress among women, especially during the summer. There have been recent developments which make it easier for women to conform to this Halachah. The new President of the United States has made known his desire that women (who work in government offices) should wear dresses, and not pants, making it easier for women to adhere to the Halachah.

Some Rabbis, in the mistaken belief that being lenient in such matters will encourage people to come closer to authentic Judaism, allow women to wear pants in their synagogues.18 When I remonstrated with such a Rabbi concerning this, he answered that while he agreed with my arguments, he doubted whether the women in his synagogue would. And, he continued, we must reckon whether the gain incurred in this matter might not be nullified by the losses that could thereby be incurred in attracting people to Judaism. The answer is obvious. It is not his loss, and not his gains to be considered here! Torah has stated the Halachah, and it is our duty to deliver its message uncompromisingly — for from non-Jewish attitudes and deeds, nothing truly Jewish can eventuate.

As for his complaint that it is difficult to influence people in this matter, rest assured that he is in good company. Moshe Rabbeinu himself, when confronted with misdeeds performed by the Jews, said to G‑d “they are almost ready to kill me.” Likewise, before Mattan Torah, in Egypt, Moshe said about the Jews “they will not believe me.” To these complaints, G‑d answered him: How can you suspect Jews of such things? They are “believers, the children of believers.”

So too in our case. When we tell women that they must dress modestly, in a manner that shows that we ourselves truly believe what we are saying then “words that come from the heart enter the heart.”

Just as this matter applies to adults, so too it is relevant to children — “Tzivos Hashem.” As discussed above, a soldier must always act as a soldier; and he or she is recognized as one through one dress. Children must always be recognizable as soldiers in the “Army of Hashem” through their dress: Boys by wearing Tzitzis; and girls by dressing modestly. Tzitzis and modest dress are bound up with one another; for just as modesty in dress stems from the fact that “I have set the L‑rd always before me,” so too Tzitzis remind one of G‑d — “And you shall look upon them (Tzitzis) and remember all the commandments of the L‑rd.”


5. The verse (Terumah 25:31) states: “And you shall make a Menorah of pure gold; of beaten work shall the Menorah be made.” Rashi, on the words “Shall the Menorah be made” comments: “Of itself, since Moshe was perplexed with (how to make) it, the Holy One blessed be He said to him: ‘Cast the mass (of gold) into the fire,’ and it was made of itself; therefore it is not written ‘you shall make’ [but ‘shall be made’ — denoting it will be made of itself].”

There are a few points that need clarification.

1) In the beginning of the very same verse, G‑d commanded Moshe “You shall make a Menorah” — that Moshe himself shall make the Menorah. Why then does it immediately state “shall the Menorah be made” — signifying that it will be made of itself?19

2) If the verse here is telling us that the Menorah was made of itself, why then, when later relating the actual construction, does it say (37:17) “And he (Betzalel) made the Menorah? Furthermore, if Betzalel was able to make it, why did Moshe find it perplexing?

3) Earlier, when commanding Moshe about the general construction of the Mishkan and its vessels, G‑d told him “even so shall you make it” (25:9). Rashi comments on this, that: “in future generations... for example the tables and Menorahs... which Shlomo made ...” We see then, that not only was Shlomo able to make a Menorah, but indeed made several Menorahs (plural form) [ten to be exact]. If he could do it, why was Moshe unable? Especially since Moshe had a) been commanded specifically by G‑d to make a Menorah, unlike Shlomo and b) G‑d actually showed Moshe a Menorah of fire — “and you shall make them after their pattern which is being shown to you on the mountain” — to help him understand what was wanted. Yet, Shlomo, who was not shown such a thing, was able to make it, and Moshe was not.

The answer to the above questions is as follows: That G‑d told Moshe that he should himself make the Menorah, and simultaneously that it will be made of itself, is not a self-contradiction, as it seems at first glance. For as in everything, there is more than one way to carry out a task. Hence, the verse is simply stating that there are two possibilities — either Moshe will himself make the Menorah, or it will be made of itself.20

But then another question presents itself. Why is it specifically in the case of the Menorah, and not any of the other vessels, that G‑d informed Moshe of the two possible ways it will be made? And it is this question that Rashi answers by telling us “since Moshe was perplexed with it (how to make it).” For since it was only with the Menorah that in actual fact Moshe was not able to make it, G‑d in the first place informed him that there is another way — it will be made of itself.

As for the fact that Shlomo was able to make a Menorah, and Moshe was not, there are several reasons for this:

1) It was not so much the actual form of the Menorah that baffled Moshe; rather the fact that being in the desert, he did not have the proper tools with which to make it.21 Whereas Shlomo, being a mighty monarch in his own country, had the necessary equipment (and indeed neighboring countries sent him material and craftsmen).

2) Shlomo had no problem because he had the Menorah from the Mishkan from which to copy; whereas Moshe had no previous Menorah to imitate. And although G‑d showed him (Moshe) a Menorah of fire, it is incomparably easier to copy from an actual Menorah (than from one of fire).

3) Being that Shlomo had the actual Menorah from the Mishkan, it would be very easy to simply make a mold of it, and pour in molten gold. Whereas Moshe was specifically commanded that the Menorah must be of “beaten work,” and as Rashi explains: “all of it should come from one piece, which he beats with a hammer, and cuts with the tools of (his) craft, and separates the branches this way and that.” In other words, Moshe was not allowed to make a mold and pour in molten gold (apart from the fact that he had no previous Menorah with which to make the mold). Whereas Shlomo had no such injunction to make it of beaten gold, and thus could use a mold (especially since he had the Menorah of the Mishkan with which to make the mold).

Finally, the reason why the verse states that Betzalel made the Menorah, even though it was made of itself, is clarified by that which Rashi states concerning the rest of the work. We find that many people helped to make the other vessels of the Mishkan, and yet the Torah gives the credit only to Betzalel — “and Betzalel made the ark etc.” The reason for this, Rashi notes, is “since he set his soul upon the work more than the other wise men, it is called after his name.” So too with the Menorah: Even though it was made of itself, nevertheless, since “he set his soul upon it,” the Menorah was still called upon his name — “and he made the Menorah.”