1. Today, is Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the third month, the month in which the Torah was given. This year, a half-day fast was called on this day.

It is well-known that a Jew must be very careful not to cause pain to his body. His body is not his own, but, rather, “G‑d’s property;” and therefore, “A man has no authority over his body at all... (he cannot) afflict it with any pain even by withholding any food or drink.” This is particularly true, since the pain of a Jew causes G‑d pain, as it were. Every Jew is dear to G‑d as an only son. We can understand how deeply He is effected by the pain felt by His only son. Despite these factors, in certain situations the Torah, called the Torah of Kindness, requires a fast (or a half-day fast). Hence, we can be sure the compensation and reward which the fast brings about is unlimited in nature, and outweighs, to the point where there is no comparison, the great pain of the fast.

2. The above applies even to a fast (or a half-day fast) of one individual. It is surely relevant to today’s fast which has been accepted and carried out by many thousands of Jews, both in Israel, “a 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” (Devorim 11:12), and in the Diaspora, which at present contains the largest and most developed Jewish community. (In the near future, after the Messianic redemption, all Jews will go to Eretz Yisroel.) The merit of the many, and the special merit created by their unified efforts in an activity which is based on Torah, adds to the compensation and reward accomplished. Furthermore, since Torah (Pirkei Avos 1:17) declares, “Deed is most essential,” the fast will surely bring about blessings that are evident in deed — abundant blessings is sons, health, and prosperity in a spiritual sense; and then an abundance of sons, health, and prosperity in a physical sense. (For physical blessings come as a result from spiritual ones.)

3. There is an additional factor related to the present fast: In Iggeres HaTeshuvah (Ch. 3), the Alter Rebbe writes that a half-day fast is also considered a fast by the Jerusalem Talmud. It is well-known (HaYom Yom p. 34), that Tanya is a very precise text. Generally, (unless a specific lesson can be derived,) the Alter Rebbe does not cite his references. Hence, in this case, the fact that he does note the source for his statement, the Jerusalem Talmud, alludes to the connection between the concept that a half-day fast is considered a fast and the Jerusalem Talmud. The Hebrew word for Jerusalem — Yerushalayim, can be broken up into two words ‘Yirah’ and ‘Shalem’ — meaning “complete fear.” In addition, to the different merits described above, the fast also contains the merit of “complete fear.”

Another more simple lesson can be drawn from the above connection. The Jerusalem Talmud’s approach to study was direct, without the dialectic method that characterizes the study of the Babylonian Talmud. A similar approach is followed by Pnimius Ha-Torah (Torah’s inner secrets) where “there are no questions and arguments.” Hence, its study is a reflection and serves as a preparatory step for the study of the teachings of Moshiach, in the near future.

4. Added to the above, is the influences of the “meritorious day,” Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan. On Erev Rosh Chodesh, and particularly its afternoon, there is a reflection of the influences of Rosh Chodesh itself. This concept can be derived from the custom of not reciting Tachnun on Erev Rosh Chodesh. Then, the influence of Rosh Chodesh brings about the same effects that would be generated by the recitation of Tachnun.

This is particularly true since today is Rosh Chodesh Sivan, which is distinguished, not only as Rosh Chodesh, but as the day on which the Jews “In the third month... the same day they came (into) the wilderness of Sinai... and there Israel encamped before the mountain” (Shemos 19:1-2). Rashi comments that on that day, all Jews were united “as one man with one heart” in anticipation of receiving the Torah.

Their entity has a special connection to the present fast in which many thousands of Jews are united “as one man with one heart” in an activity that is based on Torah.

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5. We must learn a lesson from everything we encounter. Furthermore, that lesson must apply to deed for as our sages declared, “Deed is most essential.” The lesson which we can derive from the encampment of the Jews “as one man with one heart” is to carry out in actual deed, the directives of the previous Rebbeim: the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, the Alter Rebbe and their successors, in regard to Ahavas Yisroel (the love for one’s fellow Jew). The verse “Love your fellowman as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18) should be interpreted in a simple manner. We must show the same unlimited and unrestrained love that we have for ourselves to others. This love must be extended to every Jew, even one in a far away corner of the world, even one whom we have never seen. Even if all we know about an individual is that he is Jewish, we must realize that he is “our fellow,” and that we are obligated to love him “as ourselves.” Furthermore, we must express this love in actual deed, helping each Jew and seeing to his welfare in both spiritual and physical matters.

6. Since “Deed is most essential,” thus, in addition to the good resolutions each of us will take upon himself in regard to Ahavas Yisroel, we must realize that the resolutions alone (though they are very important) will not suffice, and we must carry them out in action e.g. by receiving every Jew “with a cheerful countenance” (Pirkei Avos 1:15), speaking to him congenially, in a manner that is based on love and lets him feel that love. Also, we must do deeds that benefit each Jew.

7. Each year, all the elements of the first Rosh Chodesh Sivan, repeat themselves. This is particularly true when we recall those events. Then, as the AriZal commented on the verse “these days are remembered and carried out,” through remembering them in the proper manner (which involves, as the Previous Rebbe explains, reliving the events) then, the same elements that were involved in the initial event are carried out and revealed. This is particularly true when Erev Rosh Chodesh is connected with a fast, which is according to the Torah, “a time of will” as the Alter Rebbe explains in Iggeres HaTeshuvah (Ch. 2). These influences are further enhanced by the fact that this gathering is being held in a holy place, a synagogue, “a place where prayer is magnified” and a House of Study, “a place where Torah is magnified” (Megillah 27a). The merit of the day and also of the place, will help carry out all the good resolutions of this day, in this place, completely, in all their particulars.

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8. There is a second aspect connected with this day, — the day the Jews entered the Sinai desert and prepared to receive the Torah. When G‑d gave the Torah, He asked for guarantors and accepted the Jewish children, as our sages (Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:4) commented, “our children are our guarantors.” Hence, now is a proper time and place for educators, and most importantly fathers and mothers, to take upon themselves good resolutions; to use the time between now and Shavuos, — the season of the giving of our Torah, — to speak to children, both boys and girls, about the importance of Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the days of preparation for the giving of the Torah, the holiday of Shavuos itself, and its days of compensation — which last through the twelfth of Sivan. In general, they should speak to the children about the giving of the Torah, explaining to them what Torah is, that it is the Torah of Life, the Torah of Kindness, and the Torah of Truth. The children must be explained that they were the guarantors, in whose merit, the Torah was given initially after the Jews left Egypt. Likewise, it is their merit which causes the Torah to be given each year, — in the season of the giving of our Torah, — and also each day, as our sages commented, “Each day (the words of Torah) should be new in your eyes.”

9. “And He will return the hearts of the fathers through the children”: The children, both boys and girls, will not wait for their parents and educators to speak to them about the above matters. Rather, — as in the exodus from Egypt when the children recognized Him first. Similarly, in regard to the giving of the Torah which comes in conjunction with the exodus — as G‑d promised Moshe “when you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain,” the children are “first;” — they will go immediately to their educators and parents and demand that they be told more about the Torah, how they should prepare to receive the Torah, and in what manner they should afterwards receive it. They will demand that, in the days before Shavuos and in the days of compensation through the twelfth of Sivan, the entire house be turned over in a manner in which it will be permeated with the concept of the giving of the Torah, the receiving of the Torah, and the response of the Jewish people who declared “We will do and we will listen;” placing their commitment to do before their commitment to listen.

10. There must be a specific act that expresses each concept. Hence, in light of the above, it is fitting that in the days between now (Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan), and Shavuos, — the season of the giving of our Torah, — Jewish children should be gathered at least once, and even better twice. The gatherings should be held in a fit place and a fit time, beginning from assemblies in the schools, the places where the children study G‑d’s Torah. There the commitment of “We will do and we will listen” which preceded the giving of the Torah, should be announced and accepted by the children. Similarly, they should, beginning with Rosh Chodesh Sivan, prepare themselves for the giving of the Torah with all the preparatory steps taken by the Jews in that time; as the Torah relates in Parshas Yisro.

11. In Israel, it would be proper to collect boys and girls at the Wailing Wall and at other holy places. Surely, permission will be granted to gather children together at the Ma’aras HaMachpeilah in Hebron, the city of our forefathers, the place where the Patriarchs: Avraham, Yitzchok, and Ya’akov and the Matriarchs: Sarah, Rivkah, and Leah are buried. (This is particularly connected with today’s half-day fast, since the fast is (also) related to the events that recently took place in Hebron.) Also, since our Matriarch Rachel is not buried in the Ma’aras HaMachpeilah, but, rather, in a special place that is connected with the welfare of the Jews in Golus (Rashi, Vayechi 48:7), therefore, it is proper that children be gathered at her grave-site as well. (Thus, completing the number of all four Matriarchs, and arousing the merit of all of them.)

12. Afterwards, on the day of Shavuos, all the children, both boys and girls should gather in the synagogues (a holy place) during the public reading of the Ten Commandments, (with a blessing before and after the reading,) from the Torah. Thus, all the synagogues will be filled with boys and girls for the reading of the Ten Commandments from the Torah on Shavuos.

Together with their parents (self understood the men separate and the women separate), they will hear the Ten Commandments beginning with the statement “And G‑d spoke all these words, saying” which is explained (Torah Or, Yisro, 67b) to mean: G‑d spoke the Ten Commandments in a manner in which every Jew will say them over. This is particularly true each year when we read this verse in the Torah, and especially so when the reading takes place during the season of the giving of the Torah.

Surely, the children will not disturb the reading of the Torah. On the contrary, they will strengthen the fear of G‑d and the fear of the Torah, to the point, where as our sages (Berachos 22a) say, “Just as there (on Mt. Sinai, the Torah was given amidst) awe and fear, trembling and sweating, so, too, here (our study of Torah must also involve) awe and fear, trembling and sweating.” (The AriZal Likkutei HaShas Moed Katan explains that the four terms used, refer to the four letters of the name Yud-Hay-Vov-Hay.)

Whenever we study Torah, and particularly when we read the Ten Commandments on Shavuos, in a holy place, with a congregation of many Jews, and having recited a blessing beforehand and afterwards, we must feel, and even with greater intensity, the same emotions as at the giving of the Torah itself.

13. The Torah reading of this week, — in the fifth Aliyah of Parshas Bamidbar — relates that the tribe of Levi, “the legion of the King” (Rashi, Bamidbar 1:49), were included in the census from the age of one month. Furthermore, as Rashi comments, “that tribe is accustomed to be numbered while yet in the womb.” Therefore, it is proper, if it will not effect the health of the children, to bring children from one month (and if the parents desire from even earlier) and up to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments from the Torah. Thus, at the giving of the Torah this year, the entire Jewish people: “From your heads, the leaders of the tribes,” until “the choppers of wood and the drawers of water”, “all the men of Israel,” even the children will be present.

14. The connection which all Jewish children have (in our times) to the tribe of Levi, “the legion of the King” is as follows: The tribe of Levi is “the legion of the King” chosen from the entire Jewish people. However, in regard to the nations of the world at large, in a situation where our people are “one lamb between seventy wolves” every Jew is part of the “legion of the King.” He is one of, as the Torah declares, “all that go forth to war in Israel.” Therefore, just as the tribe of Levi is “accustomed to be numbered from the womb,” and surely from the age of “one month and up,” so, too, the entire Jewish people, — “the legion of the King” in regard to the world at large, — can be counted from that age, thus becoming part of “all that go forth to war in Israel.”

Even though in a physical sense, to join the army, one must reach the age of twenty (Bamidbar 1:3), — for as the Ramban comments twenty is associated with strength, — however, in a spiritual sense, the Jewish army includes children immediately after birth. This is particularly true after the destruction of the Temple, for “its damage becomes its remedy.” Now, as soon as a child is born he becomes “one who goes forth to war in Israel,” for he is a child about whom it is said “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Ya’akov.” One becomes a heir as soon as he is born. From birth, he inherits the entire Torah which “Moshe commanded us.” Furthermore, in regard to the inheritance of the Torah, every Jewish man is like an only son to G‑d, the Giver of the Torah, and every woman, His only daughter. According to Torah law, an only daughter also inherits everything.

15. We must begin the efforts starting from Rosh Chodesh on, to collect all the children in the synagogues for the reading of the Ten Commandments from the Torah on Shavuos. The children must be “first.”: They must prepare themselves as well as their parents for the Shavuos holiday. This preparation will be noticeable in the manner in which they listen to the reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuos.

Together with the good resolutions made in the days before Shavuos, and those made while listening to the reading of the Torah, — and particularly the reading of the Ten Commandments, — good resolutions must also be made in the days of compensation. They are all meritorious days which will add success to the carrying out of these resolutions.

16. The gathering together of all Jews, including children, on Shavuos, and their listening to the Ten Commandments; will bring about Shleimus ho’Om — the complete state of the Jewish nation with the unity of the Jewish people — “as one man with one heart.” Thus, we can answer the question, “How can Torah demand (and expect) true Ahavas Yisroel when ‘the minds of different people are not alike’.” For we are united with “one heart” and the heart of each and every Jew is awake to G‑d, His Torah, and His Mitzvos (note Yalkut Shimoni, Shir HaShirim 958). The Rambam Hilchos Geirushin (Ch. 2) declares that each Jew, regardless of his situation, wants to carry out G‑d’s will in actual deed. Similarly, the Alter Rebbe (Sefer HaMa’amarim 5710, p. 115) states “a Jew does not want to, nor can he, heaven forbid, cut himself off from G‑d.” A Jew has this true desire as soon as his soul is enclothed in the body. As soon as he is born this will effect his actual deeds.

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17. The above is connected to all Jews wherever they are. Therefore, it is fitting that this message be transmitted to those Jews who are behind the Iron Curtain. Since “The Mitzvah is greater when performed by oneself than by an agent,” I would like to translate the above in the language that they (the Russian Jews behind the Iron Curtain) will understand without any translation, without any envoy as a translator between us.

[The next two sections are a translation of the remarks the Rebbe made in Russian.]

18. Now in the days before the holiday of Shavuos, children should turn to their fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers. They should ask and demand of them, in a manner which will effect them, to begin starting from Rosh Chodesh Sivan, to prepare for the giving of the Torah, — the Torah of G‑d, Master of the world, — on the holiday of Shavuos — the season of the giving of the Torah. These preparations should include the firm commitment to fulfill all the Mitzvos of the Torah, in a manner in which the promise “We will do” is placed before the promise “We will listen” — without asking why we need these Mitzvos and what will we receive for fulfilling them.

Since the Torah was given by G‑d, Himself, to every Jew and to every Jewish child, whether boy or girl, we can be sure that the children will ask, and prevail, that beginning from Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, every father and mother, grandfather and grandmother, will study with them; and thus, add to their knowledge of Torah and Yiddishkeit.

The Jewish children must also ask their parents to go with them together to the synagogue on Shavuos. According to the laws of the Soviet Union, guaranteed by its constitution, anyone who wants may go to the synagogue to pray and hear the reading of the Torah. The police must make sure that no one prevents anyone from going to the synagogues, or from hearing the reading of the Torah or praying while in the synagogue, or from returning home secure and happy, with Yom-Tov feelings.

Thus, the festival of Shavuos as it is celebrated in the synagogue will unite the hearts of all the parents and children and unite them with our entire people throughout the world. Then, all will feel that now, and forever, and everywhere, that Jews are one nation, united with the one Torah which was given by the One G‑d.

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20. May it be G‑d’s will, that we shall accept all the good resolutions now, (on the afternoon of Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan,) including the resolution to give Tzedakah. It is fitting to increase one’s gifts to Tzedakah today (on the fast) just as we have increased the requests in our prayers and recital of Tehillim; and also to increase our study of Torah. The increase of each and every Jew in these matters is based on Ahavas Yisroel, “and you shall love your fellowman as yourself.” Ahavas Yisroel is “one with love of G‑d”, “and you shall love the L‑rd, your G‑d;” that, in turn, includes within it all the positive commandments, among them the command “Fear the L‑rd, your G‑d” which includes within it all the negative commandments. Thus, all the Mitzvos, even the Mitzvah of studying Torah (and the aspect of Torah study that brings about deed), are included [in the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel].

21. Then, our actions and our service, even now in the days of darkness of the present Golus — a darkness which is only in the street, for, “All the children of Israel had light in their dwellings,” and will have light in their dwellings, a light which will be revealed in abundant blessings regarding children, health, and prosperity; — will hasten the coming of the true and complete redemption led by Moshiach.

This is particularly true, since, the third month, the month in which “they came into the wilderness of Sinai... and Israel camped before the mountain,” has already begun. When they camped before Mt. Sinai, our sages (Tanchuma, Yisro 8) relate, all those who had physical ailments were healed. Hence, they were also healed from all their spiritual ailments, (for the physical state results from the spiritual.) Therefore, all the Jews “as one man with one heart” camped before Mt. Sinai, and then all Jews declared “We will do and we will listen,” — “we will do” first. In response, all the Jews were given two crowns (a symbol of royalty) one for “We will do” and one for “We will listen” [and all the Jews received the Torah].

22. From the above, we can derive the lesson that each Jew must feel that not only is he a King’s son, as the Talmud (Shabbos 67a) says, but a King (as explained in Tikkunei Zohar). And therefore, he must act as a king in all matters connected with Yiddishkeit walking upright and proud, even during the Golus.

This, in turn, will bring about the revelation of the era when “Kingship will be the L‑rd’s.” “G‑d will be King over the entire earth; on that day, G‑d will be One and His Name One” (as we just concluded in the Minchah prayer, the most important and precious of prayers (note Berachos 6b). And this will draw down all of G‑d’s blessings in both material and spiritual matters, and material and spiritual fused together. This also includes the acceptance of all good resolutions, among them the resolutions mentioned above. And this will bring about the essential and true good — the good for which we all hope — the coming of Moshiach, with the true and complete redemption, speedily in our days.