This week, as we begin the month of Elul, we present a letter of greeting from the Rebbe to the king of Spain. In it, the Rebbe points out the significance of the month of Elul, a time when the King of Kings goes out into the field, and a time of preparation for the Day of Judgment for Jews and for all mankind. 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
25th of Elul, 5746
To His Majesty
King Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon
Palace de la Zarzuela
Greeting and Blessing:
It gives me pleasure to acknowledge with sincere thanks receipt of your kind letter.
I appreciate very much the honor and privilege Your Majesty and Her Majesty, Queen Sofia, accorded to my emissary and his wife, whom you graciously received in audience.
While I am, of course, personally most gratified at Your Majesties’ cordiality, I take it as a tribute to the world- wide Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which I have the honor to head. Indeed, a branch of our movement, which has for a number of years been serving the Jewish community as well as Jewish tourists and visitors in Spain, has found fertile soil for its educational and cultural programs, especially for the benefit of Jewish university students and youth.
I am gratified that my emissary had the opportunity of conveying to Your Majesties my warm felicitations, particularly in connection with the 850th anniversary of the great
Teacher, Physician and Philosopher, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, a native of Cordoba. Your government and country has played a keynote role in marking this historic event with appropriate celebrations that were emulated in many parts of the world. The event was particularly meaningful to the Jewish communities of Sephardic (Spanish) ancestry in various parts of the world who still proudly maintain their Spanish-Jewish traditions and affinities.
As my emissary reported to me in detail, he also noted the timeliness of the audience – taking place in the auspicious month of Elul. The Founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, my ancestor, the Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, explains the significance of the month of Elul by his now well known parable of the “King in the field.” The month of Elul is the time when the King of Kings, the Creator and Master of the world, goes out, so to speak, into the field to greet and be greeted by his subjects. At such a time the King is particularly gracious to all and receives everyone’s petitions. For this reason, the month of Elul is particularly auspicious as a preparation for Rosh Hashanah, our New Year, the Day of Judgment for our Jewish people and for all mankind. For this reason we celebrate Rosh Hashanah as the “Coronation Day” of the Creator as King of the Jewish people and King over all the earth.
With the approach of Rosh Hashanah, therefore, when Jews all over the world pray to the A-mighty for a truly good and peaceful year, for themselves as well as for all mankind, I take this pleasant opportunity to extend to Your Majesties and to all the Royal Family, as well as to all the inhabitants of Spain, the prayerful wishes and the traditional blessing for a good and sweet year, both materially and spiritually.
With high esteem and
most cordial greetings,
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.