1. Our Rabbis taught, “Begin with blessing.” Although this teaching is relevant the entire year, it is of particular consequence in the days connected with Rosh HaShanah, and especially on Erev Yom Kippur.1 The most appropriate blessing is that with which G‑d commanded the priests to bless the Jews.2 This blessing should be recited quoting the Biblical text exactly and in a loud voice.

This blessing includes all matters of fundamental importance and also, those matters that are not of fundamental importance. The priestly blessings create a new Divine will as we say in the conclusion of Shemoneh Esreh: “May it be Your will.”3 Indeed, we see the importance of these blessings is manifest in that they were chosen — in contrast to the Shema, the Ten Commandments, or any other Torah passage — to be included in the blessings over the Torah recited each morning. {The Rebbe Shlita recited the priestly blessings in their entirely, concluding with the phrase:} “And they shall place My name on the children of Israel and I4 shall bless them.”

There are two interpretations regarding to whom the final word “them” refers: One opinion maintains that it refers to the priests. The other opinion maintains that it refers to the Jewish people,5 i.e., G‑d states that He will fulfill the blessing conveyed by the priests. These blessings, thus, include all possible blessings as obvious from their association with the morning blessings where all the needs of the Jewish people are mentioned.

The power of these blessings are enhanced by the nature of the present days, a time when G‑d “is close” and therefore, all negative matters can be transformed into merits. May this be a year filled with all possible sorts of blessings and success. {The Rebbe Shlita proceeded to recite a series of blessings beginning with each of the letters of the alef beis.} These blessings include all possible blessings.

May it be a year of praise when “Every soul will praise the L‑rd. Hallelu-yah.” This is associated with the Psalm of this year which includes the verse, “I found David, My servant. I have anointed him with holy oil,” and concludes, “Blessed be the L‑rd, forever. Amen and Amen.”

Our Sages associate the latter verse with victory. Generally, our victory in the judgment on Yom Kippur is revealed on the holiday of Sukkos. However, since this is a year of “I will show you wonders,” that victory is revealed at present, on Yom Kippur eve, and in particular, after the Minchah service recited then. Indeed, in that service, we add a special prayer (על חטא) that is also in alphabetical order. Indeed, that prayer mentions each letter of the alef beis twice.

As the Rebbe Maharash (whose yahrzeit is held in the coming days, the thirteenth of Tishrei) explains, the repetition of the letters is connected with the Messianic redemption. {Recently, the maamar explaining this concept was printed and printing, as the Tzemach Tzedek explains, preserves a concept for generations. For this reason, the Mitteler Rebbe made a great effort to print Chassidic texts, explaining in a manner of “the broadening of the river,” the seminal points of the Alter Rebbe’s teachings which were in a manner of “A maskil of Aitan HaEzrachi.” Note the explanations given by the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, and the Alter Rebbe on the latter phrase. These concepts were amplified and explained by the Previous Rebbe.}

These and all other concepts will be revealed in the Messianic age when G‑d will “again (Yosef) stretch forth His arm to take possession of the remnant of His people... [even those] from the islands of the sea.” Furthermore, this will be in a manner of Yitzchok, “Whoever hears will be happy for me,” as the verse states, “Then [in the Messianic age],6 our mouths will be filled with joy.”

May all the above be revealed immediately, even before the Kol Nidrei prayers, even before the meal preceding the fast of Yom Kippur. Indeed, this will serve as preparation for the ultimate feast of the Leviathan and the Wild Ox which will be served in the Messianic age.7 May we already have a foretaste of that revelation just as on Friday,8 it is customary to taste the Shabbos foods.

The above is particularly relevant, in this a year in which, “I will show you wonders;” particularly since it follows “a year of miracles,” which in turn followed a year associated with the release of debts, which in turn followed “a year of happiness” which was also a Hakhel year. May this lead to the time when we will be able to fulfill the mitzvah of Hakhel as commanded, gathering together in the Beis HaMikdash to hear the king read the Torah. As the Rambam writes, this experience was tantamount to hearing the Torah given “from the mouth of the Almighty.”

{The Rebbe again began enumerating blessings in alphabetical order, concluding with the letter Samech,} that it be a year of Sayata d’Shmaya, “help from Above” to understand “the new Torah which will emerge from Me.” There will be aspects that we will be able to understand directly. Other aspects, however, will require “help from Above.”

May all the above be internalized on this the ninth of Tishrei, becoming — to use a metaphor associated with eating — part of one’s flesh and blood. Indeed, in this manner, the ninth of Tishrei complements Yom Kippur and when the two are associated together, we have a fusion of physicality and spirituality.

May the Yom Kippur which will shortly begin be celebrated in the Beis HaMikdash. Then, it can be assumed that we will follow the pattern of Yom Kippur which followed the dedication of the First Beis HaMikdash when the people ate and drank and afterwards, a heavenly voice told them, “You are all assured of a portion in the World to Come.”9

Then, we will partake of the Leviathan and the Wild Ox and will witness the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Those who lie in the dust will arise and sing.” This will include the Previous Rebbe and the entire Jewish people, beginning from the Patriarchs, indeed, including Adam and Chavah10 who are buried together with them in Chebron.

Thus, may the very next moment be — not a moment of exile, but rather — the first moment of the ultimate and complete redemption brought by Mashiach and thus, we will not have to wait for “Next year in Jerusalem.” Instead, immediately, we will all proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, to the Beis HaMikdash, and to the Holy of Holies where the High Priest will carry out his service. Then, Eretz Yisrael will expand and include all the other lands, in particular the synagogues, houses of study, and houses of good deeds established there and may this come about in the immediate future.

There is another point which is relevant to the present occasion. All of the days of the Ten Days of Teshuvah are connected with Teshuvah Ila’ah (the higher dimension of teshuvah). Similarly, throughout the year, Shabbos is connected with this quality. Therefore, when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, this dimension will surely be expressed. This, in turn, will lead to “the age which is all Shabbos and rest forever.”

Similarly, this is connected with tzedakah, for tzedakah brings about the advent of this age. This is connected with the tzedakah to be performed by G‑d. Our Sages declared that G‑d performed an act of tzedakah by dispersing the Jews among the nations. Similarly, He will perform another act of Tzedakah and gather them in, collecting each individual Jew, his family, and his portion in the world.

(The emphasis on family is also connected with the service of Yom Kippur. Although the High Priest was separated from his wife seven days before Yom Kippur, nevertheless, to perform the Yom Kippur service, it was necessary that he have a wife. This will be brought into actual deed through eating the feast prepared by the Jewish wives on this Yom Kippur eve.)

May this feast include the feast of the Leviathan and the Wild Ox and may we, led by Mashiach, proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash. “May our eyes see Your return to Zion in mercy,” when the entire Jewish people — all the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael11 — will return to it, and may this come about immediately.

Blessing of Erev Yom Kippur to the Students of
the Yeshivah before Kol Nidrei

2. {The Rebbe Shlita began by reciting the priestly blessing and then continued:} All the heartfelt blessings conveyed after the Minchah prayers apply to each of you as well. In particular, they are relevant to Yeshivah students who are able to devote themselves entirely to Torah study without any financial concerns. (This is possible because their material needs are taken care of by their parents or the administrators of the Yeshivah so that they would be free to devote themselves to Torah and mitzvos without distractions.)

This approach will cause the natural order itself to assist them. In regard to the promises of material blessing found in the Torah, the Rambam explains that a Jew is given material blessings in order to allow him to involve himself in spiritual activities with greater strength and intensity.

This is particular relevant to Yeshivah students for torasam umanosam, “their Torah is their livelihood,” i.e., every aspect of Torah they study contributes to their livelihood in this material world. Although this world is the lowest of all the worlds, it is within the material existence of this world that G‑d’s essence, the True Being, is found.12 This, in turn, influences and effects our material existence in this world.

Surely, Yeshivah students need no further explanation of these concepts, particularly, since Yeshivah study is always carried out in groups, bringing out the unique advantage of communal study. [Thus, any doubts can be clarified by discussing the matter with others.]13

The above is enhanced by the influence of the present year, 5751, which follows 5750, “a Year of Miracles.”14 Miracles refer to a pattern of conduct which transcends the natural order. This is surely relevant to Yeshivah students whose study of Torah lifts their conduct above the natural order.

The designation of 5750 as “a Year of Miracles” was accepted throughout the Jewish people. Thus, it has the power of a decision of Torah law.15

A further dimension is contributed to our service this year by the fact that Yom Kippur — which the Torah calls Shabbos Shabbason — falls on Shabbos. Shabbos is a day when “all your work is completed.” May this add to the Shabbos-like attitude of calm and fulfillment and thus bring about an increase in the study of Torah.

May this also bring about the ultimate and complete redemption when — to quote Chapter 89 of Tehillim — “I found David, My servant, I have anointed him with holy oil,” and as the chapter concludes, “Blessed be the L‑rd, forever. Amen and Amen.” Our Sages associate this with victory. Netzach, the Hebrew for “victory” is also associated with eternality which will be realized in this world with the Resurrection of the Dead.16

May this be a year when all the blessings associated with the alef-beis as printed in the Siddurim will be fulfilled for every Jew. (Since the Siddur is relevant to every Jew, man, woman, and child, the blessings it contains are also of universal relevance.) And may the entire Jewish people from all the four corners of the world proceed, in the immediate future to Eretz Yisrael, Jerusalem, the Beis HaMikdash, and the Holy of Holies.

After Havdalah on Motzaei Yom Kippur

3. {After Havdalah on Motzaei Yom Kippur, the Rebbe Shlita said:} The Shulchan Aruch states that after Yom Kippur, it should be announced: “Go and eat your bread in happiness.” This is connected with the upcoming festival, the season of our happiness. {Afterwards, the Rebbe began his father’s hakkafos niggun}.