Weekly Letter: Trailblazing in the ‘New World’

In preparation for Yud Beis Tammuz we present a letter of the Rebbe to the chairman of a Chassidic Event – in which the Rebbe refers to the trailblazing activities of the Frierdiker Rebbe here in America and encourages all to be inspired by his boundless dedication and mesiras nefesh. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.

By the Grace of G-d

Erev Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5740

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr., Chairman

Detroit, Mich.

Greeting and Blessing:

I am very pleased to extend to you Mr. Chairman and all Honorees and participants in the notable event, compliments and best wishes.

Since everything is by Divine Providence – especially an event that has for its purpose the advancement of Yiddishkeit and Torah education in the community, its timing is significant. For it is taking place on the day after Shabbos Parshas Yisro, highlighted by the account of Mattan Torah (the Divine Revelation and Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai), and in the month of Shevat, highlighted by the yartzeit of my predecessor, my father-in-law of saintly memory, the 10th of Shevat. Both these events are relevant to each other and to the present occasion.

One of the reasons why G-d gave us the Torah in the desert is to emphasize that the Torah is not linked exclusively with any particular country, not even the Holy Land; that wherever a Jew lives, he has to make a “Holy Land” in his surroundings, through his everyday life and conduct sanctified by G-d’s Torah and mitzvos.

This point comes to mind as we recall the first public pronouncement which my father-in-law made immediately upon setting foot in this country forty years ago: “America is not different!” from any other place, nor from the shtedtel in the “Old World.” A Jew’s commitment to the eternal Torah cannot change with time and place.

And since “the essential thing is the action,” he immediately threw himself into a determined all-out effort to make his vision a reality, without pausing to rest from the scars of the War and Holocaust which had overtaken him and from which Divine Providence had saved him in the last moment, precisely for this purpose, as he was deeply convinced. Indeed, the destruction of the Jewish centers in Europe made it all the more imperative and urgent that American Jewry fill the tremendous void. How well he succeeded, with G-d’s help, in this task is a matter of open record, as evidenced also by the Chabad-Lubavitch institutions and activities in all parts of this country, including your city and state.

I hope and pray that – inspired by his boundless dedication and mesiras nefesh and accompanied by his eternal blessing – you will continue from strength to strength in this vital endeavor and will do so with joy and enthusiasm, in the spirit of the Chassidic Happening. All the more so since, as the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad, declared, “melody and song is the language of the heart,” and the most effective way of giving expression to the deepest Jewish feelings of love of G-d, love of the Torah and love of our Jewish people, and making Torah-true Yiddishkeit  a sublime everyday experience.

With esteem and blessing

For hatzlocho, materially and spiritually,


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.