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Clarity with Regards to Life's Purpose

Clarity with Regards to Life's Purpose

11 Nissan, 5741 · April 15, 1981

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To all those who offered their birthday wishes and blessings, along with those who will yet send their blessings: may each and every one of you be blessed.

In addition, we "Pray for the welfare of the State" where, by Divine Providence, we reside – its government and the individual elected to lead it. He represents the entire nation.

How much more so, then, in addition to the thank you extended to everyone it is appropriate to reciprocate the blessings extended by the President of the United States. Especially considering his medical injury at this time.

The very fact that the recent assassination attempt could actually take place is incomprehensible. The opposite should have been the case. But, in fact, this negative event took place, and by the mercies of Heaven the injury is being treated, and the present recovery will be not only speedy, but also a complete recovery.

Yet though he is still recovering, he sent his blessings, even committing them to writing and signing them. So it is most certainly appropriate, to express gratitude and reciprocate blessings.

Since he is a person "upon whom the public relies" and since, "the hearts of kings and princes are in the hands of G‑d," and through Whom G‑d's will is fulfilled for the good of the public, including the Jewish citizens living in this country and those of the other peoples who live here, he fully deserves, as is stated in the Torah of Truth, the Torah of Life, a special and specific blessing.

In truth, his blessing was intended for the entire movement that was brought here by my father-in-law, the Rebbe, known as Lubavitch, or Chabad. But practically, it was extended to an individual who represents the movement.

As such, it is incumbent to publicly and full-heartedly wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

At the same time, a reminder of his vital duty and responsibility to utilize the possibilities and capabilities and powers that are granted to a person who was chosen by the public, especially in a country made up of many nationalities, who together make their choice according to the majority's will. And the minority, too, then accepts him as their President and representative, authorizing him to administer on their behalf all of their country's affairs, both foreign and domestic.

May the President utilize this power for the public and private good. Torah demands that a true leader advocate for both the community's interest and the individual's interest, and Torah clearly does not demand the impossible. It is thus certain that these two goals can be attained without contradiction between the public interest and the interests of the individual, but such that the two tracks actually complement each other.

A head of state who leads by this principle can be privileged to fulfill the Will of the Creator – Who conducts the world in every particular detail, King of all kings, Almighty G‑d, blessed be He – to fulfill His Will entirely with joy and happiness. When he makes such a decision firmly, G‑d assists him, ensuring that the goals are fulfilled even more completely than could have been envisioned. This approach must be based on the principle that the role and authority of a head of state are endowed by G‑d, Who continues to grant the strength to fulfill them.

This message must be clear to all those whom he influences, the knowledge that his leadership is permeated with a faith in One G‑d, the G‑d of Truth, Who conducts every detail in this world, and certainly "the hearts of kings and princes," and most especially a country which has a central role in the entire world. When his work is based on the simple faith, a complete faith, in the Creator Who conducts the world – a faith that publicly proclaims, "In G‑d We Trust." Not an ordinary faith, but a trust through which one dedicates himself entirely to G‑d, so that it is G‑d Who directs everything, while the mortal is the agent who carries out His Will here below.

Such a faith will surely fortify his spiritual health, and as a consequence, his physical health as well. This will also benefit all his decisions and all his affairs, especially those affecting the entire country, making them doubly good, "good for Heaven and good for mankind."

As mentioned several times, There are those who mistakenly think that these are two separate ideals. In truth, every action for the good of mankind must be permeated by a faith in what is good for Heaven, and whenever one acts for the sake of Heaven, he affects and evokes blessings not only for himself, but also for all mankind.

How could it happen, that a person should take such an incomprehensible action, that contradicts all reason and sensibility?

Historically it has been argued that the root of all crime is poverty, which embitters the human spirit, and, in turn, leads to feelings of revenge…

First of all, this contradicts the Talmud's teaching, which is the opposite: "Be vigilant with the children of the poor, for from them Torah scholarship will spring forth" – precisely because of their poverty.

And this carries over into the world in general: When the children of the poor receive a proper education, the fact that they are financially disadvantaged, on a lower level of the economic ladder relative to their peers, this motivates them to exert themselves even more, with greater determination, to be upright, kind and virtuous, outshining those who are not financially challenged, who are from a middle class or affluent background.

We see in the present case, the person who attempted the assassination was not at all impoverished – to the contrary, he was raised amidst wealth. "His father never scolded him," and apparently he was denied nothing.

So lest it be argued that poverty is the root of crime, this incident makes it clear that to find the root-cause of such deplorable actions we cannot look to the person's economic background, but somewhere else.

Where can the root-cause be found?

The present case points us in its direction: Education.

First of all, "his father never scolded him" – the claim in the name of "liberalism" that one must not interfere in a child's life, and he must be allowed to act freely. As to the verse, "man is born a wild donkey" – "well," the argument goes, "if G‑d created him that way, it's no business of his father and mother to guide him"; they allow him to "pasture" and behave however he sees fit.

It is true that by law schooling is obligatory, but what is the philosophy of the public education system? What is expected of the public schools?

Only to transmit secular knowledge. Not to shape, cultivate or structure the child's inner-self – that he develop good character traits and that he recognize that with all the facts he learns at school, the most important thing to learn is how to do good around himself, and that this is the greatest benefit to himself, as well. This is completely overlooked in the school's curriculum, in its program. And whatever is included, is taught as fear of punishment – that if he is fool enough to be caught by the law, he will be punished.

And this only compounds the attitude that he was taught, that he can roam freely, and his self-interests override all else, so certainly he can devise a scheme to avoid punishment.

And indeed, how can he demonstrate his superiority? By causing pain or damage, proving that he has no fear of those around him.

The concept that above him is "an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears," he has never heard it spoken in a heartfelt manner. And if it ever was mentioned, it was only superficial lip-service. Not only that, but from the first day he went to school, it was made clear to him that it is not the school's role to get involved in his character and ethical growth; rather, he is told that he is an independent person and the school merely offers the opportunity to accumulate knowledge, which he can later use to whatever end he sees fit. Any discussion of ethics is, at best, based upon fear of punishment, and this undermines the student's focus and belief – intentionally or unintentionally – that there is "an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears" all his actions.

If this had been properly instilled in him, then just like if the security man was standing right next to him watching him pull out the gun, he would have been deterred from committing a crime.

But what if he is standing behind the security man? To think about G‑d in Heaven, Who has "an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears"… – no one ever taught him to think about G‑d. So he takes advantage of the wealth and the freedom granted by this country – not to serve G‑d and be peaceful, not to serve the Creator of the world, for he was never taught such things. All he ever heard in this regard was lip service, which immediately turned back to discussions of materialism.

A critically-ill patient can be healed by one of two approaches. One is to wait until he is in grave danger, and then begin to seek a remedy, or he can be sent to a hospital where he will be confined, due to his unstable condition.

But then there is the correct approach: to ensure from the start that "it not befall you all the illnesses that I visited upon Egypt." The disease of crime is a reality, but recognizing that it is real should bring about real change – the immediate reprogramming of the education system, to stop this disease before it manifests.

To summarize:

Firstly, the recent incident is a wake up call for action: True, the process must begin with a resolution, but during the time it takes to be reviewed by committees and to await a vote and for a nationwide referendum to be organized… – who knows what tragedies may occur, G‑d forbid, in the meantime.

The truth is, we are not introducing a "new" resolution; it is based upon the Bible whose values are accepted by all nations, and certainly in this country:

The education of the nation's youth must be predicated upon "I am the L‑rd your G‑d" – that there exists a Creator Who brought into being everything the child has in life, Who is the Source of the child's strength and Who grants the child life in all places and at all times.

Then, when you go on to instruct him: "Do not steal, do not murder…" since the child has already internalized his faith in G‑d, he will actually be deterred. Then there will be no need to deal with this "illness," because it will cease to exist; the state of the nation's youth will no longer deteriorate; certainly not to the point of damaging the lives of others – which of course damages the life of the perpetrator, as well.

This is the other point that the President stresses in his birthday greetings: he holds in high esteem the earnest and intense efforts made by the Movement for the cause of education. Indeed, this has been the fundamental issue that has been emphasized here in recent years – the critical need for upright education. And in recent years, the Presidents have signed proclamations declaring a specific day of the year as "Education Day, USA," a day dedicated to constructive reflection toward upright education – an education that will set the child on the straight path; and even if at first the child won't see it as "his own" straight path, it is only because he is at the early stages of understanding it. There will then be no need to emphasize fear of the law, because he will be educated from his earliest youth – from the very beginning, at home; and this will continue at school, whichever school it may be.

At that point the school's main responsibility begins: to wean each student from the wildness of youth, and develop him into an upstanding human being. This is by focusing on the child's character, making this foremost in the child's mind. And only afterwards explaining to him that to help him become a more productive human being he needs to study the subjects taught at school.

Every child and all children, in this country and in all countries, should begin their school day with a heartfelt reminder from their teacher who is himself a role model and believes this – and this must affect their action – that "the L-rd your G‑d" has "an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears."

Then peace and tranquility will reign in the country – peace between man and man, peace between city and city, and peace throughout the land, spreading to the other countries with which it has dealings. It will be a true peace, because it stems from "He Who grants peace," "Whose name is Peace," making it enduring and all-pervasive.

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