Weekly Letter: A Living Example to his Friends
In this week’s letter – the Rebbe gives encouragement to one who is a living example to his friends to continue his good work – and reassures him that when giving of oneself to others – rather than depriving oneself in the process, the opposite is true. As we learn from the weekly sidra – of the abundant hatzlacha, materially and spiritually, with which G-d blessed the first Jew, Father Avraham, who gave of himself to those in need of his teachings and inspiration. This letter is from volume 5 of The Letter and The Spirit.
Miss ________ 5730
Brooklyn, New York
Blessing and Greeting:
Your article in the Yeshivon, vol. II–Issue I, has been brought to my attention.
I was gratified to read it, and especially to note the spirit of warmth and enthusiasm that animates the article. For the spirit of the letter is not less important than the letter itself, and as our Sages put it, “Words from the heart penetrate the heart,”1 and eventually have an effect.
Inasmuch as the best form of propaganda is a living example, I trust that the example of your personal life and conduct will have an immense influence on all your friends, who will be inspired by your warmth and enthusiasm for all matters of Yiddishkeit and will endeavor to emulate you. One of the high points of such exemplary conduct is the fulfillment of the commandment of v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha.2 This has always been the great principle of our Torah, particularly so in our day and age, when Jewish youth is much confused and searching for a meaningful way of life. Some are searching but do not know where to find what they are looking for; some are searching without being conscious that it is the truth that they are really searching for; and there are those who do not even know what they are looking for, but only know that they are dissatisfied with their present way of life.
Thus, the time is ripe and most auspicious for the spreading of the light of the Torah and mitzvot. But in order for it to penetrate deeply, it must be permeated with warmth and enthusiasm, which are qualities emphasized by Chasidut. Young people so imbued, being of the same age and speaking the same language, have a special obligation and opportunity to help their less fortunate younger brothers and sisters. However, knowing your father and his work for the public good, I trust it is unnecessary to elaborate any further on this subject.
To conclude, as is customary among Jews, on the topic of the weekly Sidra, especially in light of the dictum of the Alter Rebbe that everything happening in a particular week is reflected in the weekly Sidra: this week’s Sidra tells us 3 about the command which the first Jew, Our Father Abraham, received from G-d, to set out on a journey whose purpose was the spreading of G-d’s name in the world. But since it might be thought that giving of oneself to others may personally deprive one in some way, G-d assured him at once that he would be blessed with extraordinary hatzlacha, materially and spiritually. This is a lesson for every Jew, that by giving of himself to others who are in need of his teaching and inspiration, far from losing anything thereby, the giver will gain much more in terms of personal hatzlacha in every respect.
Incidentally, one of the blessings that G-d gave Abraham was, “And I will make thy name great.”4 Surely Abraham did not seek personal honor and fame, and if G-d nonetheless promised him this, it was not to gratify a vanity, nor to add inducements to Abraham’s acceptance of His command, but it was a necessary ingredient of Abraham’s hatzlacha in his work of spreading the knowledge and belief in G-d. For, when one has to work with ignorant heathens, as Abraham had to, it is clear that they are more impressed by words issuing from the lips of someone successful and famous.
Wishing you hatzlacha in all above, and hoping to hear good news from you,