1. We are in the midst of the excitement and fervor that has inspired the campaign to involve the children in the preparations for Pesach thus “turning the hearts of the parents through the children.” The children must show proper respect to the parents. However, the parents must merit the respect of their children by educating them as they should and doing so with excitement. This then, will arouse the children to “turn the hearts of the parents” and increase the excitement of their parents.1

The above is reflected in the relationship between G‑d and the Jewish people. The Torah declares, “you are sons to the L‑rd, your G‑d” and we refer to G‑d as “Our Father, Our King.” Just as the father must educate his child, G‑d must arouse the Jewish people. However, just as the children “turn the hearts” of their parents, the Jewish people through their service awaken new and higher spiritual forces.2 When the children, i.e., the Jewish people, do not “sleep” despite of the darkness of Golus, “the hearts of the fathers — of G‑d Himself” is turned and we see in a revealed manner how “Indeed, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

The above is connected to Purim, which as our sages noted, “join one redemption — the redemption of Purim — to another — the redemption of Pesach,” is related to the present month. The Talmud relates that the “strength” of the Purim miracle began when “On that night, the sleep of the King was disturbed.” Our sages explain that the word King refers to G‑d, King of the world. The Jew’s service was able to cause “the Guardian of Israel” not to “slumber nor sleep.”

The service which brought about the Purim miracle was connected to children. The Medrash relates that Haman’s decree was negated when Mordechai collected 24,000 children together to study Torah. We thus see the importance of the efforts of the children. There was at first the efforts of the parents — of Mordechai — to educate the children, however, the decree was negated not because of the efforts of Mordechai, but because of the childrens’ studies.3

Since, at present, we are still very close to the days of Purim, we must draw a lesson from that story. Mordechai alone could not annul the decree. It was necessary for him to collect together 24,0004 children and teach them Torah and it was the voice of the children that caused the decree to be annulled.

The parallel between the Purim miracle and our present situation is emphasized by the fact that we are found in the concluding era of the present Golus just as the Purim miracle took place at the conclusion of the Golus of Bavel. However, there is a difference between them. The redemption of Purim took time to unfold. In fact, at first, Haman continued to rise in power. In contrast, the future redemption will come immediately, as the Rambam declares in Hilchos Teshuvah (7:5).

These efforts of the young children is also emphasized by this week’s portion — Parshas Vayikra. The Aleph (the last letter) of the word Vayikra is a small letter thus alluding to small children.5

The Aleph of Vayikra stands for the phrase “Alufo shel Olam — Chief of the worlds.” This expression is applicable to every Jew, since in the words of the Mishnah — “every Jew is obligated to say — the world was created for me.” The efforts of every Jew, especially the children — alluded to in the small Aleph —, in the last days of Golus will hasten the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.

2. Parshas Vayikra stresses a special connection with the education of young children. It is common custom that the first Chumash which the children learn when they enter Cheder is Vayikra. The story is told (and was published by order of the Previous Rebbe and recently published a second time in this week’s Likkutei Sichos) that when the Alter Rebbe brought his grandson, the Tzemach Tzedek to Cheder, he told the teacher to begin teaching him Parshas Vayikra. After the teacher had taught the portion to the child, the Tzemach Tzedek asked the Alter Rebbe: “Why does the word Vayikra have a small Alef?” The Alter Rebbe spent a long amount of time in ‘Devaikus’ (a state of cleavage to G‑d) and then answered his question.

From this story we can see an example of “the hearts of the parents being turned through the sons.” First, as stated above, the parent, in this case the grandfather, the Alter Rebbe, began the child’s educational process. However, that brought up a question for the child, which in turn motivated the Alter Rebbe into ‘Devaikus’ and caused the revelation of a new concept in Torah.

The above story invites a very obvious question: In the beginning of his commentary on the Torah, Rashi declares, “Rabbi Yitzchok said: It was not necessary to begin the Torah, but from “Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem — this month is to you” since this is the first Mitzvah ... And what is the reason that it begins with ‘Bereishis’ — in the beginning — to teach you ‘The power of His works He has declared to His people in giving them the heritage of the nations’...” Hence, we see two approaches to beginning the study of the Torah, from Bereishis and from HaChodesh. However, neither of them coincide with the custom, which was referred to in the abovementioned story, of beginning one’s study with Vayikra.

That question can be answered through a more detailed explanation of the above concepts. The words of Torah are “poor in one place and rich in another.” Every passage of Torah has a unique quality which it contributes to the entire Torah. Hence, in this context as well, there is an advantage that is stressed by Parshas Bereishis. Similarly, Parshas HaChodesh possesses a unique quality that is not shared by Parshas Bereishis.6 There are two possible explanations of the difference between them: a) “Bereishis” refers to the “outer keys.” It involves meditation on the natural order of creation. “HaChodesh” refers to the “inner keys.” It involves meditation on miracles. From this standpoint, HaChodesh possesses an advantage over Bereishis. b) The service of “The power of His works He has declared to His people in giving them the heritage of the nations,” (the acquisition of the land of Israel from the gentile nations) refers to the service of Teshuvah. In Teshuvah, itself, there are two levels: 1) Teshuvah for sins. This involves the desire to escape evil at all costs. Just as someone fleeing from a fire has one thought, to escape the flames, likewise, in a personal sense, one is willing to do anything to free himself from evil. 2) A Teshuvah that is above the negation of sins. Rather “the spirit returns to G‑d, who gave it.” A state of connection in which, the simplicity of the Jew connects to the Ultimate Simplicity of G‑d’s Essence. “The power of His works He has declared to His people” alludes to the second level, connecting a Jew to G‑d’s essence. Hence, it refers to a level of G‑dliness even higher than that revealed through miracles. Hence, in this context, Bereishis possesses an advantage over HaChodesh. In this context, the Torah begins with Bereishis because Torah is a revelation from G‑d. Since Bereishis is higher, it is revealed first. Bereishis deals with the essence of a Jew and the essence of G‑d, levels that are above Torah. However, these levels are also revealed through the medium of Torah.

With this preface, we can answer the original question. The Medrash explains that a child should begin his study with Vayikra because: “Young children are pure (and do not know the taste of sin) and the sacrifices are pure. Let the pure ones busy themselves with (the study) of pure.” That statement relates to the quality possessed by Bereishis, the level above Torah. A child stands above Torah. He relates to the essence of G‑d, a level that is not bound by the limitations of Torah. Just as before the Torah the Jews were not bound by its commandments and prohibitions. Similarly, a child is not bound by Torah. Hence, he is called pure because he cannot at all be effected by impurity.7

Similarly, the term “the pure” refers to sacrifices as they existed before the giving of the Torah. After the giving of the Torah, a sacrifice had to have certain characteristics; male, perfection, etc., but it had nothing to do with purity. [The categories of purity and impurity apply only after an animal had been slaughtered.] However, before the giving of the Torah, in reference to the sacrifices which Noach brought, the Torah uses the word pure (in this context meaning kosher) as the qualifying attribute necessary for sacrifices. Then, none of the qualifications that are necessary after the giving of the Torah applied.

In this context, we can see the advantage a child possesses over an adult. A child’s breath is not tainted with sin i.e. his purity is not a result of his service. In contrast, an adult must work and strive to achieve purity. Therefore, a child, whose purity is an essential factor of his nature, should busy himself with the study of “the pure” i.e. of the sacrifices as they are related to the state of the world before the giving of the Torah, a state that stands above the limitations of Torah and Mitzvos or purity and impurity. Hence, a child begins with this study. As he grows older and his intellectual capacities mature, the aspect of his nature that is essentially pure is less revealed. However, at the age of three, this quality is dominant. Therefore, at that age “the pure should busy themselves with (the study) of the pure.”

The above teaches us a practical lesson. In these days which follow Purim and precede Pesach (both of which have a connection to children) and are related to Parshas Vayikra (whose small Aleph alludes to children), we must motivate8 children to ask their parents “why was I created as a child? If the purpose of my existence is Torah and Mitzvos, why wasn’t I created as an adult, as was Adom, the first man? This will cause the parents to explain to them that a child possesses an essential aspect of purity that is not present by adults. Hence, his service can reach a higher level than that of an adult. Then the child will ask the four questions with more feeling and thus motivating the adults to carry out the Seder with more feeling including its last element the proclamation “Next year in Yerushalayim” thus hastening the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.