1. The Zohar explains that the days of the coming week are blessed from the preceding Shabbos. This Shabbos precedes Yud Shvat, the Yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe. In Tanya it is explained that on a Tzaddik’s Yahrzeit “all the work for which the soul of the man labored in his life...is revealed, and shines forth light...causing salvation in the midst of the earth.” He that blesses possesses a higher quality than he who is blessed. Since Yud Shvat is blessed by Shabbos, it follows that Shabbos contains a quality that surpasses even that of Yud-Shvat, the Yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe. Even though Yud Shvat is a wondrous day, a holy day, as it is said, “the tenth (Yud) will be holy,”1 Shabbos possesses a quality still higher — Shabbos is able to bring about the blessing for the day of Yud Shvat. We may find it difficult to understand how Shabbos can effect a blessing for a day as holy as Yud Shvat. However, the Zohar’s statement: “From it (Shabbos) are blessed all the days,” implies that no matter which days the coming week includes, whether they are festivals such as Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, or days like Yud Shvat, Shabbos contains a blessing for them.

It is possible to explain that the blessings of Shabbos affects all the days of the week equally. However, the ultimate fulfillment of each day is that it carry out “its service,” the unique service assigned to that day. Hence, the blessing of Shabbos must allow for this service. We can see a parallel analogy in our own lives. When a person receives a blessing, he is grateful and thanks G‑d. However, he is much more thankful if that blessing is in an area which affects his life and that particular aspect of service in which he is involved. In a similar sense we can appreciate that the blessing with which Shabbos blesses Yud Shvat is related to the unique service of that day. Although Yud Shvat has not yet arrived — and the Previous Rebbe’s Yahrzeit has not yet arrived — and the Previous Rebbe’s service has not yet been revealed in the manner described by the quote from Tanya mentioned above, nevertheless, the blessing of Shabbos affects that revelation.

Every matter must be expressed in actual deed, because, “deed is most essential.” For this reason, the Previous Rebbe stressed that from all matters it is necessary to arrive at a “be cheyn” — the practical application of a concept.2 It is possible for the becheyn to remain intellectual. For example, Torah has 49 pure perspectives and 49 impure perspectives. (note Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 4:2, Midrash Tehillim 12:6) These perspectives represent the realm of discussion and debate of Torah concepts. If is necessary to establish the becheyn, the Halachah. However, that Halachah is still an intellectual construct. It is a point of Torah and not a point of action.3 What is necessary at present is to reach a becheyn involving practical action.

We must now make good resolutions to proceed with the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus and the spreading of Yiddishkeit.4 Beginning now we must make resolutions and carry them out. Our resolutions and our efforts (at this time on Shabbos) will bring about an increase of blessing for the resolutions to be made on Yud Shvat itself, for, as mentioned above, Yud Shvat receives blessings from the Shabbos.

May these blessings be completely without limitations, and may they bring success to all matters connected with the Yahrzeit — the ultimate success being “those who lie in the dust will arise and rejoice” with the Previous Rebbe among them, may it come about, speedily, in our days.

2. The above is relevant each year on the Shabbos proceeding Yud Shvat. However, this year that Shabbos contains a unique aspect. The Torah portion read this Shabbos, Parshas Bo, is the portion which was read on the Shabbos of Yud Shvat, 5710, the day the Previous Rebbe passed away. Since all revelations come about through the medium of the Torah, it follows that by reading the same portion on Shabbos as was read then, we “recall and carry out” the service connected with that day. The Torah is the “cup of blessing”5 through which we receive all the blessings connected with Yud Shvat.6

[The Torah is infinite in nature. However, there are specific aspects of the Torah that are relevant at particular times] For this reason the Alter Rebbe told his Chassidim that “We must live with the times.” He later clarified that statement by defining it to mean that we must adapt our lives to the Torah portion of the week. All the blessings of a specific time are connected to the Torah portion read during that time. On the Yud Shvat of the Previous Rebbe’s passing we learned, and lived with, Parshas Bo. It follows that by learning, and living with, the same Torah portion today, we recall that event and establish a connection with it. What is the lesson of Parshas Bo? It contains (as do all aspects of Torah) many, (and an unlimited number of) lessons. However, based on the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that an object’s Hebrew name brings it into being and maintains it, we can conclude that the name Bo, communicates the content of the entire portion.

The name Bo shares an intrinsic connection with the Previous Rebbe’s lifetime work. The word Bo means to enter; to come inside. The Zohar (Part II, p. 34a) on the words “come to Pharoah” comments: that G‑d took Moshe into “room after room,” until he came to Pharoah himself. If it was the verse’s intent to relate the command to confront Pharoah, the word “Lech” which means “Go” would have been used. The use of the word Bo implies a process of penetration (as opposed to simple going). The Previous Rebbe demanded such an approach; he stressed the importance of penetrating into the inner aspects of all things. For example, in the realm of Torah study he stressed the importance of, not only studying the Torah, but having the Torah teach you. Also, he taught the importance of “Der Heren” (listening closely; internalizing an idea), as opposed to “Heren” (a more superficial hearing).7

We must follow a similar course of behavior. When studying Torah we must involve ourselves to the point that we become one with the Torah we study. Not allowing a separation to exist between the student and the subject matter, we must penetrate to the inner aspects of the Torah, achieving “a wondrous unity... which has no parallel in the material world.” Our mind must become united with the wisdom of Torah. This union will effect the totality of our beings. We will become a living Torah.

Reading the portion of Bo on the Shabbos before Yud Shvat — the Shabbos from which Yud Shvat is blessed — gives us a special potential to internalize the blessings of Yud Shvat. The highest and greatest revelations can be drawn down, into the midst of our darkness of Golus. This will bring about “Basi LeGani” (the Ma’amar given out to be studied on Yud Shvat) — I came into my garden — (interpreted by the Midrash to mean ‘I cam into my bridal chamber’). The world will become a dwelling place for G‑d, and that dwelling place will be, as is a garden, a place of joy and pleasure, with the coming of Moshiach, speedily, in our days.

3. [The next sicha regarding the preparation of children for Yud Shvat, was edited in the Yiddish original by the Rebbe Shlita and came out in a separate pamphlet than the rest of the Shabbos farbrengen.]

The previous sichas explained that this Shabbos blesses the day of Yud Shvat. In connection with that concept, it is proper to mention certain matters that should be carried out in preparation for Yud Shvat. In this manner, the resolutions to be made on Yud Shvat will be able to be made in the most appropriate way.

Everything which has a unique importance and significance requires preparation. Preparation is necessary, therefore, in every matter connected with holiness. For example, the Shabbos (and Yom Tov) meals require preparation, while regular weekday meals do not. A weekday meal, although a necessity, has no special significance, and, therefore, it does not require preparation.8 An illustration of this concept is found in Talmudic law (note Talmud Beizah 2b). There are times when the day after Shabbos is a Yom Tov. In such cases if we would permit the use of an egg laid on the Yom Tov, it would appear as if the Shabbos had prepared for the holiday meal. (Though the egg was prepared by nature, it is none the less forbidden, Rashi.) Hence, the Talmud forbids the use of such an egg until the holiday has passed. (A similar prohibition exists on all holidays — even when the holiday does not follow the day of Shabbos — in order to insure the observance of this injunction on a Yom Tov that follows Shabbos.) No such prohibition exists regarding an egg laid on Sunday. There, too, it might appear that the Shabbos prepared for the Sunday meal. Nevertheless, there is no prohibition. The meals of a festival are important and require preparation, therefore, the egg is forbidden. The meals of a weekday lack unique significance, therefore, there is no concept of preparation for them nor any prohibition in regard to Shabbos.

Yud Shvat is a day of special importance. Therefore, it requires preparation. Previously I discussed the preparation for the celebration of-Yud Shvat with regard to adults (note Sicha Shabbos Parshas Va’eira). Today my remarks will center primarily on the preparations necessary with regard to children. Here more preparation is necessary. Whereas only a few short moments of preparation are needed for adults, the education of children requires more time. We must explain to them what the Previous Rebbe’s Yahrzeit is, and its significance. Children need a certain amount of time before they will fully grasp and appreciate these points.

Since we may announce “the needs of the public” on Shabbos, it is proper to talk about that process of preparation now. Our efforts should be directed toward reaching two categories of children: 1) those before Bar Mitzvah and Bas Mitzvah who possess a voice (and other qualities as well) that is not tainted by sin (Shabbos 119b). 2) Those after Bar Mitzvah and Bas Mitzvah who possess the advantage of fulfilling the commandments as a response to G‑d’s command. Assemblies should be made in the days preceding Yud Shvat, as well as on Yud Shvat itself. When the children are gathered together, they should be addressed in the manner which Chassidus demands. That is, we must begin with “the right hand that draws close.” The approach of kindness must be stressed, and if there is a necessity for “pushing away;” then it should be done in a manner of “the left hand pushes away” — “the weaker hand.”9

The following points should be communicated to the children: 1) “Beloved are the people of Israel, for they are called children of G‑d.” Each individual Jew must realize that he is “as dear to G‑d as an only son born to his elders in their late years, and even more precious “ (Keser Shem Tov, Hosafos 133).10 The particular name used for G‑d in the statement “for they are called children of G‑d,” Makom, (which means place,) refers to that aspect of G‑d which is “the place of the world.”11 This tells us that man does not only relate to the aspects of G‑d that are revealed in the higher worlds; rather, he relates to the aspects of G‑d which are immanent and revealed, within the concealment of this world. Furthermore, (as the Mishnah continues) “It is even a greater love that it was made known to them.” G‑d desired (and ordered) the Jewish people to be informed (so that they may recognize and feel) that they are called “children of G‑d.”

Inspite of the fact that when one looks around he sees a large world in which the Jews are “the smallest of the nations,12 still, the Jewish people are called G‑d’s children (even in this lowly world where G‑dliness is hidden). This concept is expressed in the blessing we make each morning, thanking G‑d “who has not made me a gentile.”13

2) “Beloved are the people of Israel, for a precious article was given to them” (a continuation of the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos, 3:14). Torah is called an article of G‑d. It is a precious article by G‑d Himself, which brings Him pleasure. He has given this precious article to every Jew, including young children. They are also obligated to learn Torah. Women and girls, as well, must study those laws which they are obligated to fulfill.14 G‑d appeals to every Jew that he “walk in My statutes, keep My commandments and fulfill them,” promising that if so, “I will give the rains in their season...and you shall dwell securely in your land; and I will give peace in the land...and I will be your G‑d, and you will be My people.”

3) “Deed is the most essential.’ All the good resolutions we make must be brought down into actual deed. Through actual deed we grasp the essence of all matters. This concept is particularly relevant with regard to children. The Talmud (Chullin 12b) does not recognize a child’s thoughts and speech in matters of Torah law. However, it does recognize his deeds.

The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya (Ch. 38) that it is possible that a person will have all the best intentions; however if the deed is lacking, the “essential is lacking.” However, if the deed is performed, even without the proper intentions, we have the essential — “for deed is the essential thing” (Pirkei Avos 1:17).

Therefore, all good resolutions must be brought down into deed. We cannot rely on our thoughts and speech alone. It is possible that at this farbrengen (gathering) one will make good resolutions and also express them verbally. However, after the farbrengen they may be forgotten.15

It is therefore proper, that the children’s gathering be connected with actual deed: the study of Torah, as alluded to in the verse, “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment;” and the giving of Tzedakah, as the verse continues, “and its captives with Tzedakah.” The children should learn a concept connected with the weekly Torah portion and/or the 12 verses and sayings of our sages. These two actions, learning Torah and giving Tzedakah, include within them the entire Torah.

When the children are gathered together, it should be explained to them that the gathering is connected with the Yahrzeit of Yud Shvat; that they should make good resolutions that will later come down into the realm of deed. Also, the purpose of the gathering is to learn from the Previous Rebbe’s example of self-sacrifice for the sake of spreading Torah and Mitzvos.16 It is particularly important to stress the great love the Previous Rebbe had for young children. He risked his life, working to provide Jewish children with a Torah education. The deeds of the Previous Rebbe are eternal, as can be understood from our sages’ statement, “the words of a Tzaddik are eternal.” Therefore, the children can learn from his example to increase their service in Torah and Mitzvos, affecting their friends to the point where they will affect others as well. Then, G‑d will bring them success, for they are all standing ready to receive the Previous Rebbe’s blessings, and standing ready to greet Moshiach. We will proceed with great joy to the future redemption “with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters.”