Weekly Letter: The Spirit of Yaakov

This week, we present a letter from the Rebbe in which he reflects on our forefather Yaakov in parshas Va’yetze and parshas Va’yishlach, and highlights important lessons for each Jew today in his every day life. 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 Kislev, 5739

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Albany, N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing:

I was pleased to be informed of the forthcoming Celebration and may it be with hatzlocho in every respect.

In keeping with the time-honored custom to draw a timely lesson from the reading of the weekly Torah portion, it is well to reflect on the story of our Father Jacob which is related in the Sedra of Vayetze of the Shabbos immediately preceding the event and continued in the following Sedra Vayishlach.I

The Sedra Vayetze begins with the Patriarch’s leaving his parental home in Be’er Sheva and going into “exile.” Understandably, his heart is filled with apprehension as to what the future holds for him and for the family he intended to raise. But, reassured by G-d’s promise of protection and help, he proceeds on his way in the fullest confidence that he will succeed in his life’s purpose to carry on and transmit the traditions of his ancestors, Abraham and Isaac, and return home safe and sound. Indeed, as we read on, Jacob succeeded beyond expectation and despite the adverse and alien surroundings, he was able ot raise his children in the finest tradition of his ancestors, to become the Divine Tribes of Israel, the progenitors of our people.

In the following Sedra, Vayislach, we read about Jacob’s return with his blessed family, blessed not only spiritually but also with worldly goods. Confronted by his sworn enemy, his prayers were answered again. Foe turns friend and Father Jacob brings his family home – “complete, whole and perfect” in every respect, spiritually, physically and materially.

“The experiences of the Patriarchs are a “sign” for the children,” our Sages declare. The story of of our Father Jacob is an everlasting source of guidance and inspiration for every Jew, not to be disheartened by the fact that Jews are a small minority among the nations of the world, facing seemingly overwhelming difficulties and challenges. For, with the unshakable will and determination to carry on the traditions of our ancestors and to raise our children in the way of the Torah and mitzvos without compromise, we are assured of G-d’s blessings, not only to overcome all adversity, but to come out of it all the stronger and more complete in every respect.

The spirit of our Father Jacob is very much alive in the Chabad-Lubavitch institutions and animates the Lubavitch activists with exemplary dedication to the cause of spreading and strengthening Yiddishkeit. They surely deserve not only the fullest support, but also personal involvement.

I extend to each and all of you prayerful wishes to go from strength to strength in your continued endeavors in behalf of this vital cause, which is also bound to widen the channels and vessels to receive G-d’s blessings in all your personal needs, materially and spiritually.

With esteem and blessing,

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The above letter is from Volume IV 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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