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Gathered In From The Four Corners Of The World
Sichos In English

Eve of the 24th of Adar I, 5752

1. Our Rabbis taught, “Begin with blessing.” The greatest blessing possible is the fulfillment of the promise alluded to in this week’s Torah reading, Parshas VaYakhel, namely, that the Jewish people will be gathered in from all four corners of the world.

A foretaste of the fulfillment of this promise is already being experienced at present, for Jews from many different nations are gathering together in our Holy Land. Furthermore, this ingathering of exiles is being carried out “with mercy and kindness”; instead of having to secretly flee from those countries, the Jewish people are being allowed to leave openly.

There are still countries, however, wherein Jews are not granted permission to emigrate, and they must instead risk their lives in attempt to escape. Nevertheless, the ingathering of those Jews allowed to reach Eretz Yisroel in a peaceful manner has a positive effect on those whose aliya at present involves danger. The spiritual influences generated ensure that ultimately, these Jews will also be released from danger and safely reach Eretz Yisroel, where they can live with prosperity and peace of mind. Indeed, the present immigrants to Eretz Yisroel have found prosperity and peace of mind compared to their standard of living in the countries from which they have left.

Every circumstance in the world at large must also be reflected in microcosm within the personal world of every individual Jew and be applied in his Divine service. Thus, the concept of the ingathering of the dispersed members of our people must be reflected in an inner process of gathering in and unification, binding together our ten conscious powers as a single, holy unit.

This process is alluded to in the Torah reading of the previous week, Parshas Ki Sisa, which is also directly related to the Torah reading of the present week, for the first passages of that parasha are read again this week as Parshas Sh’kalim. Parshas Sh’kalim relates how “atonement for one’s soul” is attained by giving ten geira. Nevertheless, these ten geira are half of “a holy shekel.”

Furthermore, beyond the ingathering of one’s own potentials, there is also a direct allusion to the importance of joining together with other Jews in the spirit of “Love your fellow man as yourself.” For a Jew is required to give only a half-shekel, and indeed, is forbidden to give more: “The rich may not give more...than a half-shekel.”

What is the reason for this command? To teach us that our ten soul powers are only half a shekel, and in order to be a complete entity, one must join together with another Jew.

The half-sh’kalim were given for the census of the Jewish people. A census emphasizes the unique importance of each individual. Together with that emphasis, however, is the concept that every Jew’s true existence is bound up with that of his fellow man. Only when he fulfills the mitzva of “Love your fellow man as yourself” can he reach personal fulfillment. The Alter Rebbe highlights the importance of love of one’s fellow by placing the declaration, “Behold I accept upon myself the fulfillment of the mitzva ‘Love your fellow man as yourself,’” at the very beginning of the prayer service.

The half-sh’kalim were used to bring the communal offerings on behalf of the entire Jewish people. Herein the emphasis is also on completion and perfection, for the offerings and the utensils used to bring them were required to be “perfect and complete.”

This also serves as an allusion to the imminence of the time when we will again bring these offerings in the perfect and complete BeisHaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G-d established by Your hands.” At that time, the communal sacrifices will again be purchased from the half-sh’kalim the Jewish people will then give.

Although we are in exile at present, we can still perform a service representative of the giving of the half-sh’kalim – giving to tzedaka. Indeed, it is customary to give three half-sh’kalim to tzedaka before Purim. This custom is fulfilled by those who are 20 years old and even those who are bar mitzva. And it is fitting that children be trained in its fulfillment and that they give of their own funds for this purpose. (Their parents, in turn, should help them so that they can make these gifts without feeling strained.)

These gifts will hasten the coming of the time when, as mentioned at the beginning of Parshas Sh’kalim, “the heads of the Jewish people will be uplifted.” Similarly, as the conclusion of Parshas Ki Sisa mentions, “Moshe’s face shone,” and since there is “a spark of Moshe within every Jew,” this phenomenon will be reflected in the countenance of every Jewish man, woman, and child in the era of the Redemption. Their faces will shine, and there will be no need for a veil, for G-d’s essence will be revealed throughout the world.

May this take place in the immediate future and may it be hastened by the distribution of money to be given to tzedaka at present, for Friday is a day particularly appropriate for giving tzedaka.

Most importantly, the present time is particularly auspicious — in fact, it is the most appropriate time that could be — for the Redemption. Then “Moshe will gather” — i.e., Moshe, “the first redeemer and the ultimate redeemer” — every single Jewish man, woman, and child: “a great congregation shall return there.” We will proceed “with our youth and with our elders...with our sons and with our daughters” to Eretz Yisroel, to Jerusalem, and to the Third (and threefold) Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.



“Moshe’s face shone,” and since there is “a spark of Moshe within every Jew,” this phenomenon will be reflected in the countenance of every Jewish man, woman, and child in the era of the Redemption.



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