1. On a number of occasions, I have mentioned of speaking words of admonishment that aim at bringing Teshuvah. This is an appropriate time and place to urge that in the coming three weeks we increase — with special devotion and energy — our dedication to the service of “Zion will be redeemed through judgment (interpreted in Likkutei Torah to mean Torah study) and its captives through charity.” We must increase our study of the Torah (of particular importance is the study of Halachah, Torah law) and our gifts to charity.

The obligation to study Torah1 and fulfill the Mitzvah of tzedakah applies at all times. However, greater stress must be placed on those activities during certain periods of the year. The three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av are especially set aside for those activities. Through our efforts in them, “Zion (and its captives) will be redeemed.”

2. In connection with the increase in charity noted above, it is proper to mention the annual appeal associated with Yud-Bais Tammuz. The appeal was not mentioned at the farbrengen because it was taken for granted that the Jews (a nation of righteous people) would want to give Tzedakah. However, since not mentioning the appeal may have resulted in some people’s not contributing, it is correct to give the matter attention now. All those who have already given should contribute more, and those who haven’t given should give now.2 The more one gives, the more he is to be praised.

3. The above-mentioned increase in the study of Torah and gifts to Tzedakah is related to this week’s Torah portion.3 Today is the fifth day of the week. The fifth Aliyah of Parshas Pinchas describes the Tamid offering — the sacrifice brought each day in the morning and evening. The effect that the Tamid offering produces parallels the effects of studying Torah and giving Tzedakah. The two daily sacrifices affected the entire 24-hour period, as the Talmud comments, “The morning Tamid offering atoned for the sins of the night, and the afternoon Tamid offering atoned for the sins of the day.”

The same concept applies to Torah study. Even though the standard requirement for Torah study is one chapter in the morning and one in the evening, our intent must be to spread the effect of this study throughout the entire day. Through these efforts, our entire day will be permeated with Torah.

The same principle operates with regard to Tzedakah. Even though Tzedakah is given only at specific times, its effects are constant. For example, by giving a penny to a poor man, we produce an effect that will continue forever (in his life and that of his children). With that penny he obtained life necessities. Had he been deprived of those necessities, his life would have stopped and the entire continuum that followed would never have occurred.

The Tamid offering has a direct relationship to the 17th of Tammuz. One of the five ominous events that happened to our ancestors on the 17th of Tammuz was the cessation of the afternoon Tamid offering. Through studying the portion of Chumash connected with the 17th of Tammuz, we can rectify the spiritual deficiency which caused the Tamid offering’s annulment.4

4. The 17th of Tammuz is connected with the Shelaymus (completeness) of the Torah, the Shelaymus of the Jewish nation, and the Shelaymus of the Land of Israel. Regarding the Shelaymus of the Torah, Moshe broke the Tablets on that day; also, Afustamus burned the Torah on that day.5

Regarding the Shelaymus of the Jewish nation, the Tamid sacrifice (which was a communal offering) then ceased.

Regarding the Shelaymus of the Land of Israel, the city of Jerusalem was then razed. (This relates to the entire Land of Israel, since in Messianic times, “Jerusalem will spread out and encompass all of Israel.”)

May we be able to increase our gifts to charity and our study of Torah (particularly the laws of the construction of the Bais Hamikdosh). These days are uniquely appropriate for that study. Through our engaging in this study, G‑d considers it as if we built the Bais Hamikdosh and offered all of its sacrifices. Through our efforts we will finish “polishing the buttons,” in preparation for Moshiach’s coming. Then the Bais Hamikdosh will be rebuilt and we will actually offer sacrifices. May it happen speedily in our days.