This week, we present a letter from the Rebbe on the importance of accepting the yoke of Heaven – and in general the authority of our leaders – the lack of which leads to the spirit of ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, which the Rebbe addresses in this letter. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s personal trusted secretary, Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
3rd of Adar 2, 5727
New York 24, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
I duly received the photo static copies of the correspondence which you received as well as of your reply, and also the clippings. I trust you will forgive me for the delay in acknowledging same, due to pressure of duties. I also waited for the opportunity to be able to write to you good tidings, particularly in the area relating to your correspondence. Unfortunately there seems to be no abatement in the prekas–ol , which is the very basis and root of all the undesirable phenomena which find expression in the press and correspondence. It is not only a tendency to throw off the ol of the authority of the Gedolei Yisroel, but even the Ol Malchus Shomayim, both of which are, of course, interrelated as it Is written in the Mechilta on the verse, ויאמינו בה‘ ובמשה עבדו… ללמדך שכל מי שמאמין ברועה נאמן כאלו מאמין במי שאמר והיה העולם.
The emphasis on kabolas ol has at all times, and in all places, been a must. It is particularly necessary in this country, where submission to authority is contrary to the very nature of this country which takes pride in the fact that it has been founded on the forces of individualism, trail blazers, pioneers and self-made men etc.
However, I see that it would take too long to wait for a radical improvement in the situation. On the contrary, from day to day we have new undesirable phenomena. And as if we had not sufficient trouble already, we have now a new trouble in the planned convention in the city closest to the Vatican. As might have been expected, this calamity comes also in the guise of Yiras Shomayim, and it has reached a point where any attempt to discourage such a conference in such a place meets with the rejoinder that if it were not held precisely in Rome, it would be a Chilul HaShem, etc. The subject is too painful to be elaborated, and it is surely unnecessary to do so, since you are undoubtedly familiar with all the details.
It is surely also unnecessary to emphasize to you that the above is related to the “Plague not written in the Torah,” namely the so-called spirit of ecumenism, in which certain Jewish circles consider it their sacred duty to outdo everyone else.
The far-reaching dangers of a Jewish convention In Rome should be obvious even if the convention were to be of Jewish laymen, and even if each one were to speak only in his own name. It is compounded many times by the fact that it is in the nature of a Jew (who knows that “one Jewish soul is like a whole world”) to have the desire to speak in the name of the whole Jewish people. Be this sufficient for the wise.
Though the cup of woes runneth over and should have called forth a storm of protest, nothing seems to be done about it, even in a small way.
The purpose of my dwelling on this matter which is well known to you is in the hope that you will use your utmost influence to forestall any meetings or conventions n Rome, and generally to raise your voice against this so-called ecumenic spirit with all its paraphernalia. And although it is but a faint hope that this whole thing can be dropped there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that we see the signs of stirrings among non-Jews who are not afraid to declare that they do not wish to sit with Jews at a round- table conference. Perhaps this may help,
To refer again to the beginning of my letter, I can say that I have indeed not waited in vain for an auspicious occasion, since we are now in the auspicious days of Adar, when we are expected to rejoice in a growing measure, especially this year when we have two months of Adar, the first serving as a preparation and stimulus for the second. And since the Torah expects us to rejoice in a growing measure, it not only means the true kind of rejoicing, but also gives the assurance that there will be a good reason for such a growing measure of true rejoicing.
Hoping to hear good news from you in all the matters mentioned above, and with best wishes also to your son.
The above letter is from 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.