Weekly Letter: Using Gimatria

This week we present a letter from the Rebbe to an individual who suggested the use of ‘Gimatria’ for the Rebbe’s mitzvah campaigns. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s personal trusted secretary, Rabbi Nissan Mindel.

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                                                                                                         By the Grace of G-d

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, 5739

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr.

Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter and previous correspondence.

In reply to your suggestion, a brief introduction:

You surely know the word of the Mishnah ”I was created to serve my master.” As well as the Mishnah,  “All your actions should be l’Shem Shomayim,” both of which are already alluded to in the verse “Know Him in all your ways.” These basic teachings are also the basis of the familiar mitzvah campaigns, to which you refer to in your letter.

As for your suggestion about the gimatria – however significant it may be, and though it may appeal to certain segments – I cannot see how it can contribute to the mitzvah campaigns, or serve as a basis for an additional campaign. One must also reckon with the possibility that to affirm a proposition on the basis of a gimatria might weaken and detract from the obvious and solid foundations on which the mitzvah campaigns rest. Even if the gimatria is to serve as an adjunct to the Shulchan Aruch, there are those who would grasp at the weakest point as an excuse for their attitude. There is surely no need to elaborate to you on the above.

Seeing your interest and concern for the dissemination of Torah and mitzvos, I am confident that you are doing all you can to spread Torah-true yiddishkeit, with emphasis on the essential thing, namely action; that is, the actual observance of the mitzvos in the everyday life and conduct, using the appropriate approach to reach out to fellow Jews that would elicit their best responses.

With blessing,

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The above letter is from a forthcoming volume of The Letter and the Spirit by Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP).

These letters were written originally in English and were prepared for publication by Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel, whose responsibility it was the Rebbe’s correspondence in English and several other languages.

We thank Rabbi Shalom Ber Schapiro, who was entrusted by his father-in-law Rabbi Mindel with his archives and who is Director of the Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP), for making the Rebbe’s letters available to the wider public. May the merit of the many stand him in good stead.

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