Friday, October 29, 2010

The Rebbe writes to a College Student

Following a private audience of university students from New York, one of the attendees wrote the Rebbe a letter filled with questions: Why is the dissemination of Chassidism so important? Who – and what – truly benefits? The Rebbe answers, while taking fatherly interest in this writer’s personal life, and explains how Chassidism affects the world in more ways than one.

The Rebbe Archive would like to present a unique picture of the Rebbe entering 770 in the year 1983. Behind the Rebbe is a “Mitzva Tank” that was newly purchased and was on its way to Israel, first making a stop at Lubavitch headquarters.

This email is dedicated to Menachem Mendel HaKohen ben Shifra Aviva, may he have a complete and speedy recovery.

Good Shabbos

Blessing and Greeting:

Your letter of October 4th duly reached me, but owing to pressure of work I was unable to acknowledge it sooner.

I wonder why you do not mention anything about your health. I presume it is a sign that you are enjoying good health, and I trust you will continue to do so.

I trust that you have learned to take your personal problem in stride and you are not reacting to it as acutely as before. In time you will realize that it should never have given you so much anxiety in the first place, and that “This is also for good,” as our Sages said.

With regard to the question of furthering the cause of Chassidism, the first thing that everybody can and must do is to exercise a beneficial influence on the environment. This is so urgent that at times one cannot weigh one’s own merits, but simultaneously with improving one’s self it is necessary to try to benefit the other by spreading the light of the Torah in general and of Chassidism in particular.

Experience has also shown that in endeavoring to enrich the other spiritually, one becomes more receptive to spiritual influence himself. The important thing is that such endeavor should not remain confined to the intellect, but should be translated into practical experience, in thought, word and action of everyday life.

As I told you when you were here, one should not worry too much about personal problems, for we have a great G-d, Whose Divine Providence guides the whole universe, and the small universe (microcosm) of each and every individual. Thus it often happens that difficulties that at first seem surmountable, or goals unattainable, prove an illusion, and achievements are made sometimes even without undue exertion.
Wishing you harmonious wellbeing, and looking forward to hearing from you good news in every way.

M. Schneerson

A Photo of The Previous Rebbe Poland 1938

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Joseph Issac (Yosef Yitzhak) Schneersohn (1880– 1950) was the epitome of self-sacrifice and keeper of the Jewish flame in the brutal Soviet regime that broke him physically but not spiritually. A prolific author and diarist, he spent hours writing his Chassidic discourses and memoirs. The Avner Institute would like to present a dramatic photograph dated 1938 of the Previous Rebbe, who is seated pensively in a hotel, in a suburb in Poland, while immersed in his customary learning and writing.

With special thanks to the Lishinsky family of Ramat Gan, Israel, for sending us this photo in it's original format.

We would also like to present a profound excerpt by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, director of the Ask the Rabbi team of, who quotes the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s admiration for his father-in-law.

Good Shabbos

"He Was Self-Sacrifice"

"Those who seek out self-sacrifice will find it eventually. But my father-in-law didn't seek self-sacrifice—he was self-sacrifice, wherever it was needed, in whatever form it might come.

And so, whether under Russian oppression, among Polish Jewry or in the freedom of America, in all three stages of his leadership, in all he did his entire being was there, to its very core."

(Yud Shevat 5734; Tammuz 12, 5735;
Likutei Sichos vol. 18, pp 300-307)

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman