In this week’s edition of Letter and Spirit, we present a letter from the Rebbe in which he connects the teachings of the Frierdiker Rebbe on Parshas T’ruma – the construction of the mishkan – with our eternal and constant obligation of Torah chinuch and its dissemination. The letter was written in English through the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel, and was made available by the latter’s son-in-law, Rabbi Sholom Ber Shapiro.
This weekly feature is made possible by a collaboration between CrownHeights.info and Nissan Mindel Publications. Once a week we publish a unique letter of the Rebbe that was written originally in the English language, as dictated by the Rebbe to Rabbi Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
Pesach Sheni, 5731
Madison, Wis. 53703
Greeting and Blessing:
I am in receipt of your letter, as well as previous correspondence. I trust that you are utilizing every opportunity to strengthen and spread Yiddishkeit wherever you go, even on a temporary basis.
In this connection, it is well to recall a lengthy talk by my late father-in-law of saintly memory. But first, a few prefatory remarks:
A Jew must, of course, always endeavor to realize in life the Divine promise, “And I will dwell among them.” And although these words, in their plain meaning, refer to the Divine Shechina in the Mishkan and Mikdash, as indicated by the preceding words in the verse, our Sages have noted the significance of the words besochom – among them, and therefore explain it to mean – “In the midst of each and every Jew.” This further means that the dwelling of the Shechina in the Mishkan is bound up with the dwelling of the Shechina in the midst of each and every Jew. From which it also follows that even after the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, the Divine Shechina in each and every Jew remained. Moreover, the presence of the Divine Shechina should be felt even more after the churban. For, inasmuch as the churban came about “because of our sins” (as in the text of Musaf on Yom Tov), our avodas Hashem must be not only to the extent of fulfilling our duty, but more than that, in order to rectify the mistakes and failures of the past which brought about the churban.
After the above prefatory remarks, I will mention the gist of my father-in-law’s talk, in which he discussed the matter of erecting and dismantling the Mishkan during the years of wandering in the desert, on the way to Eretz Yisrael. Needless to say, the Mishkan was an elaborate and complicated structure, and it was no simple matter to have it set up every time the children of Israel made camp in the desert. And although among the various journeys and stops which they made, there were some lengthy ones, even up to eighteen years in one instance, yet there were encampments which lasted only “a day and a night,” and even for such a temporary rest period, the Mishkan was set up fully and in all details.
The lesson is obvious: Wherever a Jew may go, and wherever he may stay, even temporarily, he must carry with him the Mishkan, and help fellow Jews to make them aware of the Mishkan within themselves, so that through the observance of the Torah and mitzvos, they will make G-d’s Presence felt in themselves, in their homes and in their surroundings.
In the final analysis, it is only a matter of will and determination since, as our Sages assure us, “Nothing stands in the way of the will.”
Wishing you hatzlocho, and hoping to hear good news from you,
The above letter is from a forthcoming volume of The Letter and the Spirit by Nissan Mindel Publications. The letters are from the archives of Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel, a personal secretary to the Previous Rebbe and The Rebbe, whose responsibilities included the Rebbe’s correspondence in English.
We thank Rabbi Sholom Ber Shapiro, director of Nissan Mindel Publications and the one entrusted by Rabbi Mindel, his father-in-law, with his archives, for making these letters available to the wider public. May the merit of the many stand him in good stead.