The Lubavitcher Rebbe

11 Menachem Av, 5738

(Free Translation)

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A special message to the children of the day camps by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita which took place in Lubavitch World Headquarters on Monday, 11 Menachem Av (The day immediately after the fast o f Tisha BeAv which was moved from Shabbos to Sunday — August 14, 1978) after the Minchah services.

(It is customary each year that the children of the day camps to visit with the Rebbe one day in the summer and daven Minchah with him and after the Minchah service there is a short ceremony. This year, the ceremony was highlighted by a special address by the Rebbe himself to the approx. 2,000 children — besides parents — who were gathered at Lubavitch World Headquarters, 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y.)


The program began with 12 children reciting, in turn, the 12 psukim, sayings of our Sages.


Whenever Jews assemble together, it is proper to tie it in with a matter of Torah and Yiddishkeit.

A gathering takes place on a certain day, and every day has an importance of its own that makes it different from the days before it and the days after it. The distinction of this day is that it is the day after the Fast of Tisha beAv. It reminds us of two things: First, that yesterday was the Fast of the Ninth of Av — and we must know and remember why we fasted, what brought about this Fast. Second, it tells us also that it is already the day after the Fast.

Each of these reminders has a lesson for each and every Jew, young and old. And the lesson must not remain in our thoughts only, but must be translated into action in the everyday life, for, as our Sages teach us, “the important thing is the deed.”


The reason why we fast on Tisha beAv — a fast that begins from sunset the day before and ends at nightfall the following day, that is, a full night and day — is to remind us that on this day our Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem of old was destroyed (both the First and Second Beis HaMikdash) and we were exiled (driven) from our Holy Land, the Land of Israel.

And the reason why G‑d allowed it to happen is (as we say in our prayers): “Because of our sins we were exiled from our land.” In other words, what brought about this tragic event was the neglect of G‑d’s Mitzvos — the failure to observe them (fully), and doing wrong and spiteful things — “sins.”

Therefore, every year on the Ninth of Av (unless when it occurs on a Shabbos — as this year, — the Fast is postponed for the following day) we remind ourselves of the reason that brought about this sad day.

The purpose of this reminder being (as mentioned above) not just to feel sorry and sad, but to do what we must in order to lessen, and eventually to remove altogether, the cause that brought about the Destruction and Exile, so that we may see the end of the Exile and rejoice with the Geulah (Deliverance).

This is the lesson of this day, as the day after the Fast of Tisha beAv.

But since this day also tells us that it is already after the Fast, and having made the proper resolutions not to repeat “our sins” of the past — it is also the time to prepare ourselves for the Geulah and deliverance from the Exile, which will come very soon, through our righteous Mashiach.


What has been said above is of special importance to Jewish children.

In the Talmud and in the Midrashim various reasons are given why the Beis HaMikdash and Jerusalem were destroyed. This means that each of these reasons was sufficient in itself to bring about the Destruction.

One of the reasons has directly to do with Jewish children. It is — as the Gemara tells us — that the little children were not given the opportunity to learn Torah.

This clearly underlines the extraordinary importance of Torah-study by Jewish children and their fulfillment of the Mitzvos (which goes with it, for one of the main purposes of learning Torah is to know and observe its Mitzvos) — since the well-being of the children, their parents, and all our people depends on it.

Moreover, the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash and the Geulah are linked with the Torah-study of the children.

Of course, the children themselves depend on their parents to send them to a school where they can learn Torah, and they also depend on their teachers who teach them Torah. But, in the end, it all depends on the children themselves that they should learn Torah, and learn it with devotion, enthusiasm and joy, for then the learning achieves the greatest success.

And when everyone will thus prepare himself (and herself) for the Geulah, doing all that depends on him (and her) to bring it ever closer through learning Torah and fulfilling its Mitzvos.

We will, indeed, go out from the Fast of Tisha beAv into the Days of Consolation that follow it — from the present Exile to the Divinely promised Geulah.


The above is also connected with what we spoke about on a similar occasion last year. When I also suggested and urged Jewish children to do two things. Probably everybody remembers it, and there is no need to repeat it here in detail, except to mention the main points:

That every child (both boys and girls) should have his (and her) own Siddur; and a Siddur has, in addition to the prayers, also sections from the Torah, and

That every child should also have his (or her) own charity box.

These two things — the study of the Torah (included in the Siddur) and the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Tzedakah (which is one of the main Mitzvos) — are the means by which the cause that brought about the Fast of Tisha beAv is weakened, leading to the Days of Consolation that follow immediately after the Fast.

And, as mentioned, this depends, in a large measure, on each and all of the Jewish children — through learning Torah and doing Mitzvos with enthusiasm and joy, and, at the same time, showing a shining example for other children to do the same — in fulfillment of the Mitzvah of “Love your fellow as yourself.


There is the well-known teaching of the Alter Rebbe that one should look into the Sidra of the week for a lesson and guidance in all things.

The weekly Sidra is divided into seven portions, one for each day of the week. The portion for today (the second day of the week) contains a lesson about the importance of the conduct of each and every Jewish child.

In this portion of the Sidra we are told to remember the day when we received the Torah at Sinai, which made us into a Holy Nation, and the great things that will result from it, concluding that Jews “will teach their children” the Torah.

This means that many, many years before the Destruction, and many years before the Jewish people took possession of the Promised Land, G‑d made it the urgent duty of Jewish parents to teach their children Torah, pointing out that in this way will the Jewish people reap the full benefits of having received the Torah.

Even more strongly is this emphasized in the Talmud, where our Sages tell us that before receiving the Torah the Jewish people pledged, “Our children will be our guarantee.” In other words, G‑d gave the Torah to the whole Jewish nation because of the pledge that it would be taught to the children, from generation to generation forever, in a manner that the Torah would become their guide, so that they would conduct themselves in accordance with its teachings.


It has been mentioned above that beginning from the day after the Fast of Tisha beAv we enter into the days of Consolation. Among these days, there is this week — the 15th of Av, of which our Sages say that during the time of the Beis HaMikdash “there was no more festive day than the 15th of Av,” etc.

The importance of this day is also connected with the fact that on the 15th of every (Hebrew) month, the moon is at its fullest; the whole face of the moon is then lit up. (Unlike other days of the month, when, although the moon is all there, it is only partly lit up, or is for the most part dark.)

Here, too, is an important lesson for all Jews, young and old:

Jews count the days and months of their Calendar by the moon. When the moon is full, it reminds the Jew that G‑d has given him a body with a soul, and it is up to him (or her) to make sure that the body and soul are lit up with the light of the Torah and Mitzvos, and light up the darkness all around.

And this lighting should be complete — not like a half-moon, or quarter-moon, but like a full moon,

Should light up every part of the person’s activities: the thoughts, words, and most certainly the actions, so that every thought, word and action is pure and bright, lighting up all the surroundings — the home, the school, the city, until the whole world is full of light.


Again, to connect it with the Sidra of the week, as mentioned above — we find that the portion of the Sidra that belongs to the 15th of Av is also connected with Jewish children in particular.

This portion contains the verse: “And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak them (the words of Torah).”

Here is an indication that teaching Torah to the children comes first, even before the parents themselves speak and learn Torah.

And, since, according to Rashi, “your children” means “your students,” it follows that children, too, can fulfill the commandments of “you shall teach them to your children — students,” by teaching other children what they themselves have already learned, but the others do not know yet.

Note that the Torah says, “teach them diligently,” meaning that the teaching should be in such a thorough and clear manner that the Torah will shine through the student’s thoughts, words and actions.


Thus, the day after the Fast of Tisha beAv also reminds everyone to prepare for the 15th of Av, with its special lesson (this year) of “teach them diligently to your children” and to translate it into action, through diligent study of the Torah in the days before and after the 15th of Av, each child himself, and also teaching a. friend or friends the Torah and Mitzvoth. And this will help bring nearer the Geulah when the celebration of the 15th of Av (in addition to the omission of Tachnun, which is also omitted presently, will be, as in the days of old, most joyous.


We have the Divine Promise that the Geulah, which we are expecting to come very soon, will be “as in the days when you were liberated from the land of Egypt.

Of the liberation from Egypt, King David said that G‑d led the people in the “gentle way of a shepherd leading his flock.”

A shepherd takes full care of his flock. He finds for them the good pasture and provides each of his sheep and lambs with all their needs. Similarly, G‑d led the Jewish people through the wilderness, and took care of them “through Moshe and Aharon.”

Moshe was (mainly) the teacher, who taught the people G‑d’s Torah. Aharon was (mainly) the person who brought down blessings upon the people, as the Kohanim still bless the congregation with the Priestly Blessing: “G‑d bless you and keep you; G‑d light up His face toward you and be gracious unto you; G‑d lift up His face toward you and grant you peace,” to bring peace for the Jewish people, and all other blessings.

The greatest blessing that Aharon brought to the people was that he — as the Kohanim after him — kindled the lights in the Beis HaMikdash, by which Jewish souls were lit up (for “G‑d’s lamp is the soul of man”).

And just as in the time of Moshe and Aharon, when the children of Israel (the flock) were led by Moshe, who taught them the light of Torah and Mitzvoth (“A Mitzvah is a lamp and the Torah is light”), and by Aharon, who lit up their souls (“G‑d’s lamps”), so will the Geulah come through the children’s lighting up their souls with Torah and Mitzvoth,

Including, especially, the girls who light candles every Erev-Shabbos and Erev-Yom Tov, thus bringing into the home the light and holiness of Shabbos and Yom Tov,

And G‑d will brighten up the Mazel of each and every Jewish child, as well as of the grown-ups and of our whole Jewish people,

In a manner of “the moon at its fullest,” illuminating the whole world and serving as a “light unto the nations.”

And this will bring about the fulfillment of the Divine Prophecy: “I will show you the light of Zion (the Beis HaMikdash)” — when Moshe and Aharon will again lead the Jewish people to the Beis HaMikdash, where the Menorah will again be kindled, and where the Torah will be taught.

May our Righteous Mashiach come very soon and bring all this about in our lifetime.

And may we very soon indeed merit to enter “Your house and your gates” (as we say in this week’s Sidra, following the verse “And you should teach them to your children diligently”) — in the house and gates of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and of all the Land of Israel, when every Jew will have his house there.


As we are now entering into the days of consolation and joy, happy days — it is fitting that we should conclude this gathering with a joyous melody (as we did last year).

And inasmuch as we have to nullify all the plans which come from the Yetzer (evil inclination), or from wicked people who want to stop Jewish children from learning Torah and from the fulfillment of Mitzvoth —

Let each and every one of you, and all of us together, together with all the Jewish people, decide (and sing) “Utzu Eytzo Vesufor” — “Let the enemies plan a scheme, but it will be foiled, etc., because G‑d is with us.”

(Everybody sang the song. Then the Rebbe said:)

Since Jews are determined not to listen to the tempting words of the Yetzer — it is certain that G‑d will fulfill with joy His Promise and answer our prayer “Hosheo Es Amecho,” “Help Your people,” etc. So let us now sing the niggun of “Hosheo Es Amecho.”


Finally, the Rebbe asked all present to recite the verse “Torah Tziva” — “The Torah that Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of all the Jewish people.”

And then the Rebbe handed each group leader ten-cent coins, to be distributed to the boys and girls, two coins each, for the purpose of giving one dime for charity and keep the other to be used as they saw fit.