[Before the Rebbe Shlita spoke the children recited the twelve verses from the Torah and sayings of our sages.]

1. Whenever Jews, and, in particular, Jewish children gather together, we see that despite the fact they come from different families and have received a different education, the essence remains whole. We all belong to the same people. This quality erases all the differences that separate one from another to the point where we gather together, sharing the same thoughts and intentions.

We came to this gathering from different places, and afterwards, we will go different ways. Each one will return to his own family. However, each one will take with him the oneness shared by all who are here, bringing it to his home and his parents. He will tell his parents of his experience, of how he became one and united with thousands and tens of thousands of children who come from different lands and live in different countries and cities. They have different clothes and foods. Nevertheless, these differences aside, all have become one, united through the one Torah, which is the same for each and every Jew; and surely for each and every Jewish child with no separation or distinction.

Therefore, even if we are used to different foods, all are united; for all the foods are kosher according to the laws of Torah. Even if we wear different clothes, we are still united; because the clothes are kosher without shatnes. Even if we speak different languages, the main aspect of what we say is repeating the Ten Commandments as the verse declares, “and G‑d spoke all these words saying” (What does the word “saying” teach?) that every Jew should repeat these words at all times and in all places (Torah Or Yisro 67b).

The Ten Commandments serve as the beginning of the child’s speech in his daily life. He may speak not only in different languages, but about different things. Nevertheless, everything must be filled with the meaning of the first of the Ten Commandments which is “I am the L‑rd your G‑d.” G‑d is the same G‑d, who took the Jews out of the land of Egypt. He is the same G‑d in every place and in every language. He will surely take each one of us, and all of us together out of the present Golus, just as He took us out of Egypt.

To make this happen more quickly, we, and all other Jews must follow G‑d’s commandments which begin with the Ten Commandments and include the entire Written Torah and Oral Torah, as we have it in our time. All this has been “explained very well;” meaning that it has been translated into all the languages of the entire world. Therefore it can reach children and adults who, at present, can and must speak these languages.

They must know that regardless of the differences of language, country, clothes and food, every Jew is filled with the thought of “I am the L‑rd, your G‑d.” This is true particularly for Jewish children. At the Red Sea, “they were the ones who recognized Him (G‑d) first,” more profoundly than their parents. The Jewish children of that generation have passed on their mission to each and every Jewish child, in every generation, in every place, and in every situation. This mission is to stand firm in the belief that “I am the ‘L‑rd, your G‑d,” to believe and live with the strength that G‑d gives. It is obvious that this leads us to live according to G‑d’s instructions which are in His Holy Torah.

It is this which brings about oneness. Every Jewish child follows the same G‑d, the same Torah, and the same Mitzvos. This unites each and every Jew, those assembled here and those who are in other places. Furthermore, it unites us with all the children and all the adults of all generations since the giving of the Torah, for it is the same Torah and the same Mitzvos.

The children of that generation heard the Ten Commandments and accepted to fulfill the Mitzvos. Furthermore, they became the guarantors of the Torah for the entire Jewish people. They gave this mission over to every child of every generation and in every place. The child’s mission is to accept faith in G‑d, study His Mitzvos and, additionally, to approach his parents and tell them how he has accepted this upon himself anew. This will effect “the hearts of the parents to be returned through the children.” G‑d will grant the children success and they will awaken a deeper faith and a deeper connection with Torah and Mitzvos in the hearts of their fathers and mothers.

This will be expressed in their everyday lives. The children, together with their parents, will live the same life, in the same manner. Although each one will do so with his own language and his own customs, and according to the situation in his particular city or country, they are all united through Ahavas Yisroel (the love of one’s fellow Jew) which is one with Ahavas HaTorah (the love of Torah) and one with “And you shall love the L‑rd, your G‑d” — Ahavas Hashem (the love of G‑d). This in turn, will reveal the love G‑d has for the Jewish people as it is written, “I love you, said G‑d.”

May this be expressed in a revealed manner, in openly visible and revealed good by taking each and every Jew, speedily in our days out of Golus, and may it bring the true and complete redemption led by Moshiach, speedily in our days.

* * *

2. Each event is designed by Hashgochah Protis (Divine Providence). G‑d has designated a particular time for everything to happen so that we may learn a lesson from it. Today’s gathering is connected with the great sage of a previous generation, R. Shimon bar Yochai. He revealed teachings in our eternal Torah which apply to all generations and all places.

Hence, it is apparent that there is a special lesson in the teachings of R. Shimon bar Yochai which is connected both to the present gathering and to the beginning and essence of Torah, the Ten Commandments.

G‑d has promised, and will very quickly fulfill His promise, that “just as in the days of your going out from Egypt, I will show you wonders.” The redemption could be made possible in one of two ways.

G‑d could remain in Heaven, uneffected, directing the fate of the Jews and the world in such a manner that at the appropriate time, and even beforehand, He will take the Jews out of Golus. R. Shimon bar Yochai explains that G‑d is not satisfied with this and feels that it is impossible for Him to remain free, and protect and direct the Jews in all places and times from above, as it says “Behold the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” True He protects them in the time of Golus and hastens their redemption, but this is not enough. It is impossible for Jews to be in Golus and for G‑d to be somewhere else, as it is written “In all their affliction He is afflicted.” Not only is G‑d in His place and feeling for and living through what the Jews live through in Golus from there, but furthermore, as R. Shimon bar Yochai declares (Megillah 29a) “In every place where the Jews were exiled, the Shechinah went with them.” Wherever a Jew is in Golus, whether in the U.S., or in another place outside of Israel, or even now in Israel (which is presently in a terrible Golus,) G‑d’s presence goes with him into Golus, into every country, every city, every neighborhood, every street.

G‑d does not remain in His palace and from there support, protect, and give the Jews everything they need. Rather, as R. Shimon bar Yochai says, He goes with every Jew and remains with every Jew to the last days and last moment of Golus, until the beginning of the true redemption.

And only then does “G‑d return (with) your exiles” — with you. Until the last moment of Golus, G‑d is together with every one of us in every place and in every situation in Golus. He hopes and desires that the redemption of each and every Jew will come; only then will He leave Golus together with the Jews of every land, every street, every house. G‑d will go together with them, with each and every one, to greet Moshiach in the true and complete redemption.

The above also answers the question: Since we are in Golus how can we study Torah and fulfill Mitzvos without considering the difficulties, without considering the “law of the land” even though it may not go against any aspect of Judaism, without considering the fact that even Torah calls the Jews “the smallest of all the nations” in numbers, a minority when compared to the other nations, and to the secular culture?

R. Shimon bar Yochai set the example which demonstrates how we are to deal with such difficulties. The Alter Rebbe writes that “for R. Shimon there was no destruction.” Even though R. Shimon had to hide in a cave for thirteen years because of the Temple’s destruction and the Roman decrees, nevertheless, in all matters that are connected with the Temple, with things that are holy for the Jews, there was no destruction.

This holds true and foremost in respect to the Ten Commandments, to the entire Torah and all its commandments, and surely in regard to the education of Jewish children and their training in Torah and Mitzvos. Therefore, according to the Torah the Mitzvah of educating a child begins as soon as the child begins to talk. Then we are to teach him and have him repeat “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Ya’akov.” The Torah which Moshe taught to us on Mt. Sinai is passed on as an inheritance to every Jewish child. As soon as he begins to speak he has the entire inheritance. His teachers and his parents give him the Torah in a manner in which he can begin to grow with it.

This answers the above question. A Jew is never alone. Wherever he is, even a desert like Sinai, even in a neighborhood or surroundings in which he is the only one connected with Judaism, with Torah and its Mitzvos; heaven forbid to say that he is alone. Even if he is a young child who has just begun to speak, he has G‑d’s Torah with him. Furthermore, through the Torah, he connects to G‑d Himself, as our sages commented on the verse, “Take ‘Terumah’ for Me” — (By taking Terumah) you are taking Me; as R. Shimon bar Yochai stressed, even in the lowest Golus, “G‑d’s presence is with you.” G‑d is together with him.

G‑d is not in a palace but rather “I will dwell within you” among the Jews, within the Jews, in each Jewish heart. Each Jew has a complete Jewish heart. From the moment a child is born, he lives because he has a living heart; and for the Jew the heart is a Jewish heart. This remains complete even in Golus. Even there, their hearts are awake to Torah and Mitzvos. In their hearts, the Shechinah, G‑d Himself, is found, together with all His strength and might.

Thus it is self-understood that when a child (or adult) decides that he wants to follow G‑d’s way in his everyday life although he is in Golus there is nothing that can prevent G‑d from going with the child or the adult on the path which he has chosen. Then they will follow G‑d’s path, “keep the way of G‑d, practicing Tzedakah and justice.” Justice can be interpreted to mean Torah, and Tzedakah Mitzvos, since Tzedakah includes within it all the Mitzvos.

It is only through such an approach that one’s involvement in Judaism will not be affected by all the things around him. We can understand why he is not affected. He knows “G‑d is with him” — and not only with him in the same city and the same street, but “I shall dwell within you — within his own heart.” Then, “the heart spreads out to all sides.” Just as the heart gives life to all the parts of the body, all of his deeds, speech, and thought become filled with Judaism because of his Jewish heart.

This will bring about, in the near future, the fulfillment of the promise “And Zion will be redeemed with justice and those who return to her with Tzedakah” through “keeping the way of G‑d practicing Tzedakah and justice;” each and every Jew will be redeemed.

When one studies Torah and fulfills Mitzvos eagerly, G‑d hastens the time when He will take him, along with each and every Jew, complete, healthy, and happy, “with eternal joy on their heads,” out of Golus with the true and complete redemption led by Moshiach.

* * *

3. There is another point connected with Lag B’Omer. It is one of the days of the Omer, the days which are counted by the Jewish people.

The main aspect of the Mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer is the counting of the days that are connected with “the season of our freedom” — the going out of Egypt — and the holiday of Shavuos — the season of the giving of the Torah, — receiving the Torah which was given as “an inheritance to the congregation of Ya’akov,” an inheritance to every child as soon as he is born. (Even though we don’t teach him this verse until he is able to talk it applies as soon as he is born for he is a Jew and has a Jewish heart, that influences and gives the strength and life to all his limbs.)

In addition, the Mitzvah has a lesson which can be related to what has already been said. Although we have the promise that G‑d will take each and every Jew out of Golus, we pray every day that the redemption come as quickly as possible. In the same way, every Jew, beginning from the time he is very small, a young boy or a girl, should count his/her days. He should not think that it does not matter when he does something, that it is not important to count this day, for instead of doing it today he has time to do it tomorrow. He must know that when we own something precious, we hold it and count it so that, heaven forbid, not even a portion of the precious thing be lost. Even a small portion is dear to him and he treasures every aspect of the thing. A Jew must count his days. When G‑d gives him a day, he must know that “days are created,” that G‑d gave him a precious thing and that he has the free choice to make the day a day of happiness like Lag B’Omer, a day when “G‑d is happy with His ‘creations” (which were created for the Jews as our sages commented, the world was created “Be-Reishit — for Israel who are called Reishit”). This comes about through “Israel rejoicing in its Creator.” The Jews rejoice with G‑d to whom they are connected through fulfilling Mitzvos and studying Torah.

Thus he counts days. This, in turn, brings him to appreciate how precious each day is; how each day can become a day of Mitzvos, as each moment of the days of the Omer is connected with a Mitzvah, the Mitzvah of counting the Omer. He uses these days to come closer to receiving the Torah which G‑d gives to him and every Jew. This is also connected with Jewish children since G‑d gives the Torah to every Jew because “our children are our guarantors” for us, because the children follow the Torah’s path.

Sefiras HaOmer teaches how each day of the year can be filled with Mitzvos as is every day of Sefirah. Through these efforts, the day will become a day of great happiness.

The ones who must begin and show the way are the children. They are our guarantors. Each and every Jewish child in each and every place throughout the generations has been given the mission to bring joy throughout the entire world. The true joy will come when “the L‑rd will return the exiles of Zion,” as we say “then our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with songs of joy,” when G‑d will take the Jews, and also the entire world, out of Golus. As long as the Jews are in Golus, the entire world is in Golus and does not carry on as it should.

The Jews will take themselves out of Golus by acting as free people, as our sages declared “Who is a free man? One who is occupied with Torah, as it is written ‘Charus’ — engraved on the tablets, do not read ‘Charus’ read ‘Cheyrus’ — free.” A Jew is free when he studies Torah and fulfills Mitzvos without any difficulties.

The children must make sure that their parents do not become slaves to Egypt; rather they should be servants to G‑d, serving G‑d with joy.

Through the efforts of a Jewish child, who has freed himself from the exile of his body and from the exile of the non-Jewish children who surround him — for “you are the smallest among the nations,” — the entire world is redeemed from Golus. For the child not only refuses to follow the behavior of the other children but openly shows them the way one should live, “keeping the way of G‑d” in his daily life. He counts the days, which leads him to count also the hours and the moments, and make sure that each is filled with Judaism, with Torah, and with Mitzvos. This, in turn, causes us to leave Golus with joy and happiness.

Then we will have holidays. Even the days that are deeply connected with Golus will be transformed into festivals and holidays. During the counting of the Omer, there are days that are connected with sadness; these too will become days of joy.

The main joy will be the receiving of the Torah with, in the words of the Previous Rebbe, happiness and inner feeling. We prepare for this by counting every day which leads to counting every portion of the day. This causes G‑d to count every deed, every day, and every Jew especially, and causes us to proceed with all the Jews to receive the Torah with happiness and inner feeling.

And even before then, to proceed to the true and complete redemption led by Moshiach. Then we will bring all the sacrifices and fulfill the Mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer as a commandment of the Torah.

* * *

4. [The next section is a translation of the remarks the Rebbe made in Russian.]

The gathering here on Lag B’Omer has a special lesson for all those here today who have come from Russia or similar countries. These Jews have seen, or see even now, how G‑d protects them. Regardless of the fact that they grew up in a regime which for over sixty years has not allowed Jewish education in a widespread manner, they have still come here with their children, or to a parade connected with Lag B’Omer and R. Shimon bar Yochai in other countries. This shows the power of Yiddishkeit and the power of the Jewish people. No matter which Golus they are in or which regime they are under, if they decide with firm resolve to “keep the way of G‑d” — to follow G‑d’s path as shown by the holy Torah, through fulfilling His directives — His holy Mitzvos, they will eventually overcome all difficulties. They will be able to join thousands of their Jewish brothers and sisters who have come together with their children to recall one of the giants of our faith, one of the foremost sages of the Talmud, R. Shimon bar Yochai. He showed Mesirus Nefesh and gave up everything that he had in order to protect Yiddishkeit in his time, and transmit it to the Jews of the coming generations.

From this we can draw the lesson that everyone, particularly those who are here today who have come from Russia, Rumania, and similar countries should proclaim among all the Jews, with Jewish strength and Jewish feelings, that a Jew can live a Jewish life regardless of all the pressures and difficulties. G‑d provides for them, and protects them and their children. This is accomplished by being a living example, here on this side on the Iron Curtain, not only of how they live according to the directives of Torah, but also that they have added to their observance of Torah in order to positively affect the environment around them.

In addition, this mission includes telling all their relatives and all the Jews who are found now in those countries, not to (heaven forbid) lose hope, but to continue holding on to Torah with their full strength and fulfilling its directives and Mitzvos. They have G‑d’s promise that they will eventually be freed from Golus.

Even before then, they must know as R. Shimon bar Yochai taught, that “in every place where the Jews were exiled, the Shechinah went with them.” G‑d is found with every Jew, wherever he is, whether he is on the European part of Russia or the Asian part of Russia, whether he is free (at least relatively so) or whether he has been sent into exile. G‑d is found together with every one of them, protecting them and giving them the strength to overcome all difficulties and the strength to wait for the coming of the redemption, speedily in our days, when the Jews everywhere and of course in those countries as well, will be freed from Golus.

There is another point in this lesson. We must tell all the children who are there that according to Russian law as guaranteed by the Russian constitution, a son or daughter, a Jewish boy or girl can come to his parents and ask them to teach him or her about Yiddishkeit and about Torah and Mitzvos. The Russian law, guaranteed by the constitution, clearly states that it protects the religious rights of everyone and, shows all officials, including even the policeman on the street, that a father or mother can study Torah with his son or daughter in a complete freedom and show them how to fulfill Mitzvos in their daily lives.

Anyone who tries to prevent this, whether he is a high official or a policeman, is acting against the Russian constitution and against Russian law. According to Russian law such a person must be arrested, judged, and punished as befits someone who breaks Russian law. In the future, the official must protect and guarantee that the Jewish father or grandfather, mother or grandmother, can teach their sons and daughters what the Torah says to do without disturbance, and not prevent them from showing them a living example of how to fulfill Mitzvos.

All those who say otherwise, or put out propaganda that says otherwise, speak completely false, as can be proven by carefully reading the Russian Constitution. Anyone who prevents the teaching of Torah is merely taking advantage of the fact that there are those who do not know the Russian Constitution. The time has come to openly publicize that this is the law. I hope that this address is being heard in many places in Russia and that they can either today on Lag B’Omer, or tomorrow, or the next day, look up this law in the Russian Constitution. It is not necessary to study these laws deeply for it is clearly and openly stated that every father mother, grandfather and grandmother, can educate their children as they desire. Anyone who opposes this is a criminal who breaks the Russian laws. They must be removed from their positions and replaced by those who will uphold the Russian Constitution and not only not disturb, but also help and protect the education of the children according to true Judaism, according to Torah and Mitzvos.

This will hasten the time when all of us, together with all the Jews who are in those countries, will go and greet Moshiach in the complete redemption. Everyone will have true freedom in their everyday lives. This is the ideal, for every person to live his own life, according to his own nature and habits, without any persecution or difficulties. Also, the Jewish people will enjoy a freedom that befits the thousands-year old Jewish tradition, a freedom that is fitting according to Torah which was given by G‑d, who controls the entire world. This will come with good health, joy, inner feeling; bringing true joy into our daily lives. Afterwards, it will be perpetuated for generations to come.

Soon we will all greet Moshiach and each and every Jew will proceed together with him to our holy land, the land “which the eyes of the L‑rd, your G‑d, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” G‑d protects it fully every day of the year. We will see how every Russian Jew, who is already in the U.S. or in other similar countries will be a living example of how they are very strongly connected to Judaism, Torah and Mitzvos in their everyday lives, particularly in regard to the education of their children.

Not only will all these children go in “the way of G‑d,” — studying Torah and fulfilling Mitzvos, — but they will come to their fathers and mothers and demand that they increase the Yiddishkeit of the entire house and in particular the Jewish education of their children, and do this with joy, happiness and success.

* * *

5. As mentioned earlier today is a day of great joy — the joy of R. Shimon bar Yochai. On such occasions, each and every Jew must “bring to mind Yerushalayim during his greatest joy.” Wherever there is joy, then at the head of our joy we must remember Yerushalayim. This is also connected with all of Israel since Yerushalayim is Israel’s capital city, the city in which David rested; in the time of Moshiach it will spread out throughout the land of Israel. Therefore, when Jews gather together with happiness, we recall Yerushalayim and place it at the head of all of our affairs.

There is a lesson relevant to our times and the land of Israel that is also related to the teachings of R. Shimon bar Yochai. In fact, it was this teaching that forced R. Shimon to hide in the cave. When other sages spoke of the good things that the Romans did in Israel, the cities bridges, etc., which they built, R. Shimon pointed out that they did these things for themselves, that they were serving their own interests. Even though they had done good things for Israel, since they were motivated only by their own interests, the Jews could not depend on them. For it is possible that another person can come and try to convince them that it is for their betterment not to help the Jews. Therefore, “we have no one to rely on but our Father in Heaven;” realizing that “the hearts of kings and their officers are in the hands of G‑d.” By following the guidelines of Torah, we will ensure that “the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

By strengthening our connection with our Father in Heaven, by studying His Torah and fulfilling His Mitzvos, we become able to “rely on Him and bring about His blessing in abundant measure.” The first step is following what it says in Shulchan Aruch (Hil. Shabbos Chapter 329) that if a non-Jew tries to take something away from a Jew, the Jew must respond by standing firm and showing his true strength (the strength of G‑d and of the Torah). Since this is a Shemittah year, a year which is a “Shabbos unto G‑d,” all of the laws of Shabbos including the above have additional strength.

Through fulfilling G‑d’s commandments, the promise “and all the nations of the world will see that the Name of G‑d is called upon you, and they will fear you” will be fulfilled. When a Jew openly proclaims that he belongs to G‑d, when he studies Torah and fulfills Mitzvos and the non-Jews see this behavior, then they will fear him. Furthermore, “kings will become your foster-fathers, and queens your nursemaids.” The greatest of the nations will serve each and every Jew. Even when we are still under their rule, the Jews will have what they need.

And “I (G‑d) will bring peace to the land” for “If peace is here, everything is here.” There will be true peace in the land which the nations of the world call the “holy land.”

This peace will come about by the Jews “walking upright” standing proud and firm in their Jewishness. In the street, in the U.N. even when surrounded by the envoys of all the nations, they will cover their heads, an act which expresses fear of G‑d. Thus they openly demonstrate that wherever they are, no matter what their place of exile, G‑d is with them and rests among them.

Then, the land of Israel will be an eternal inheritance, given by the eternal G‑d, to His people Israel, an eternal people. Despite all the different exiles, and all the pressures against us, we have emerged with the complete Torah. Soon we will leave Golus with “our youth and our elders, our sons and our daughters,” not one Jew will remain in Golus.

And this will bring about “a complete land of Israel.” G‑d has chosen Eretz Yisroel from among all the lands and chosen the Jewish people from among all the nations. He has declared that Israel will belong to each and every Jew throughout all the generations. Anyone who says that Israel is not connected to the Jews goes against G‑d’s will.

When the Jews conduct themselves with the fear of G‑d in their daily affairs, then the non-Jews will fear them. “Fear and dread shall fall upon them, by the great [strength] of Your arm let them be still as a stone.” There will be no war. They have no power to do anything. The only way they can do anything is if G‑d makes them his emissaries. Even in the last days of Golus, “kings will be your foster-fathers and queens your nursemaids.” They will receive the help, the money, and the arms they need from the gentiles, and the gentiles will do so with joy.

Bending to the gentiles’ will bring undesirable events like those which occurred in Hebron on Shabbos. By holding firm, relying on the strength of G‑d and the strength of Torah, these things will be prevented from happening. Every Mitzvah, particularly the Mitzvos that are connected with the education of children bring the true and complete redemption led by Moshiach. Then, all the nations of the world “will serve G‑d with one intent,” with true joy.

When each and every Jew carries out his assigned tasks to strengthen Yiddishkeit, Moshiach will come and “fight the wars of G‑d and be successful.” Our efforts in fighting for all things that are connected with G‑d, with Torah and Mitzvos, prepares the way for Moshiach. Then, he will “build the Temple in its place” and “I will dwell within you” meaning within the heart of every Jew, young and old.

All the appointed times for Moshaich’s coming are past. Speedily in our days, may G‑d fulfill His promise and bring Moshiach who will build the Temple in its place, gather in the exiles, and then “the kingship will be the L‑rd’s.”