To return to the thread of our earlier argument: If even in the objective Halachah we find differences of opinion arising from the variety in human nature, we will surely find a variety of response to inspirational literature. The Chasidic saying quoted above, that “seeing” (in books—even Torah books) “is not the same as hearing” (inspiration from a teacher), seems quite justified. How then could the Alter Rebbe now propose to offer the Tanya to his followers as a substitute for the personal guidance that he had been giving them until this time?

In answer, the Alter Rebbe states that the Tanya is addressed to his Chasidim, with whom he has a long-standing relationship and whose specific needs for guidance are known to him from their personal audiences with him. They will therefore find the advice provided in the Tanya relevant to their individual needs.

Chasidim would add that this includes all those who study the Tanya: the Alter Rebbe knew them all and addressed himself to each one’s needs in the service of G-d, as though they had spoken to him in private audience. As the Rebbe Rashab phrased it, “To study the Tanya is to converse with the Alter Rebbe.”16

I speak, however, of those who know me well, each and every one of the Anash of our country and those countries nearby,

אַךְ בְּיוֹדְעַיי וּמַכִּירַיי קָאֲמִינָא, הֵם כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מֵאַנְשֵׁי שְׁלוֹמֵנוּ שֶׁבִּמְדִינָתֵינוּ וְסָמוֹכוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ,

with whom affectionate words were often exchanged in private audience,

אֲשֶׁר הָיָה הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁל חִיבָּה מָצוּי בֵּינֵינוּ,

and who revealed to me all the hidden recesses of their heart and mind in matters related to the service of G-d, which is dependent on the heart.

וְגִילּוּ לְפָנַי כָּל תַּעֲלוּמוֹת לִבָּם וּמוֹחָם בַּעֲבוֹדַת ה' הַתְּלוּיָה בַּלֵּב,

To them shall my words seep through, and my tongue shall take the form of a scribe’s pen,17 in these pamphlets entitled Likkutei Amarim (“A Compilation of Teachings”),

אֲלֵיהֶם תִּטּוֹף מִלָּתִי וּלְשׁוֹנִי עֵט סוֹפֵר – בְּקוּנְטְרֵיסִים אֵלּוּ הַנִּקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם "לִקּוּטֵי אֲמָרִים",

being compiled from books and teachers, heavenly saints, who are well known to us.

מְלוּקָּטִים מִפִּי סְפָרִים וּמִפִּי סוֹפְרִים קְדוֹשֵׁי עֶלְיוֹן נִשְׁמָתָם עֵדֶן הַמְפוּרְסָמִים אֶצְלֵינוּ.

The “books and teachers” alluded to have been explained above, in the comments on the title page.

Some of these teachings, the wise (for whom “a hint is sufficient”) will find alluded to in the sacred letters of our teachers in the Holy Land.

וּקְצָת מֵהֶם נִרְמָזִין לְחַכִּימִין בְּאִגְּרוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ מֵרַבּוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁבְּאֶרֶץ הַקֹּדֶשׁ תִּבָּנֶה וְתִכּוֹנֵן בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ אָמֵן,

As mentioned above, the Alter Rebbe considered certain senior disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch as his mentors, especially Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, who then resided in Eretz Yisrael.

Some of them I heard from their saintly mouth when they were here with us before they moved to Eretz Yisrael.

וּקְצָתָם שָׁמַעְתִּי מִפִּיהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בִּהְיוֹתָם פֹּה עִמָּנוּ,

All of them are answers to many questions posed continually by the Anash of our country seeking advice,

וְכוּלָּם הֵן תְּשׁוּבוֹת עַל שְׁאֵלוֹת רַבּוֹת אֲשֶׁר שׁוֹאֲלִין בְּעֵצָה כָּל אַנְשֵׁי שְׁלוֹמֵנוּ דִּמְדִינָתֵינוּ תָּמִיד

each according to his stature in the service of G-d,

כָּל אֶחָד לְפִי עֶרְכּוֹ

so as to receive guidance for themselves in the service of G-d,

לָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשָׁם בַּעֲבוֹדַת ה',

because time no longer permits [me] to reply to everyone individually on his particular query,

לִהְיוֹת כִּי אֵין הַזְּמַן גְּרָמָא עוֹד לְהָשִׁיב לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד עַל שְׁאֵלָתוֹ בִּפְרָטוּת,

and also because forgetfulness is common.

וְגַם הַשִּׁכְחָה מְצוּיָה.

I have therefore recorded all the replies to all the questions

עַל כֵּן רָשַׁמְתִּי כָּל הַתְּשׁוּבוֹת עַל כָּל הַשְּׁאֵלוֹת

to be preserved as a sign and to serve as a reminder in everyone’s mind.

לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת לְאוֹת, לִהְיוֹת לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְזִכָּרוֹן בֵּין עֵינָיו

No longer will one need to press for a private audience,

וְלֹא יִדְחוֹק עוֹד לִיכָּנֵס לְדַבֵּר עִמִּי בִּיחִידוּת,

for in these Likkutei Amarim, one will find tranquility for his soul and true counsel on everything that he finds difficult in the service of G-d.

כִּי בָּהֶן יִמְצָא מַרְגּוֹעַ לְנַפְשׁוֹ וְעֵצָה נְכוֹנָה לְכָל דָּבָר הַקָּשֶׁה עָלָיו בַּעֲבוֹדַת ה',

Thus, his heart will be firmly secure in G-d, Who completes and perfects everything for us.

וְנָכוֹן יִהְיֶה לִבּוֹ בָּטוּחַ בַּה' גּוֹמֵר בַּעֲדֵינוּ:

He whose mind is too limited to understand how to derive advice from these pamphlets,

וּמִי שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ קְצָרָה לְהָבִין דְּבַר עֵצָה מִתּוֹךְ קוּנְטְרֵיסִים אֵלּוּ,

let him discuss his problem with the foremost scholars of his town, and they will enlighten him.

יְפָרֵשׁ שִׂיחָתוֹ לִפְנֵי הַגְּדוֹלִים שֶׁבְּעִירוֹ וְהֵם יְבוֹנְנוּהוּ.

Of [these scholars] I request that they not lay their hand upon their mouth, i.e., not keep silent when asked for advice, for fear of appearing to be proud in their knowledge,

וַאֲלֵיהֶם בַּקָּשָׁתִי, שֶׁלֹּא לָשׂוּם יָד לָפֶה

to conduct themselves with false modesty and humility—for misplaced modesty is falsehood.

לְהִתְנַהֵג בַּעֲנָוָה וְשִׁפְלוּת שֶׁל שֶׁקֶר חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

It is well known how bitter is the punishment of he who “withholds food,”18 i.e., who withholds Torah knowledge from he who seeks it,

וְכַנּוֹדָע עוֹנֶשׁ הַמַּר עַל מוֹנֵעַ בָּר,

and also how great is the reward granted to one who provides such knowledge. This is well known from the comment of our Sages19 on the verse, “G-d enlightens the eyes of them both.”20

וְגוֹדֶל הַשָּׂכָר – מִמַּאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה עַל פָּסוּק "מֵאִיר עֵינֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם ה'",

The verse reads, “The pauper and the wealthy man meet; G-d enlightens the eyes of them both.” The Gemara applies this to a pauper in Torah knowledge and to one who is wealthy in Torah. When they meet, and the wealthy one teaches the pauper, G-d enlightens the eyes of both of them—with a light that transcends them both.

Thus, G-d will cause His face to shine upon them with the light of the countenance of the King [which provides] life.

כִּי יָאִיר ה' פָּנָיו אֲלֵיהֶם, אוֹר פְּנֵי מֶלֶךְ חַיִּים.

May He who provides life to the living grant us the privilege of living to see the days when “no longer will one man teach another…[to know Me], for they will all know Me, […from the smallest to the greatest],”21

וּמְחַיֶּה חַיִּים יְזַכֵּנוּ וִיחַיֵּינוּ לַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר "לֹא יְלַמְּדוּ עוֹד אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ וְגוֹ' כִּי כוּלָּם יֵדְעוּ אוֹתִי וְגוֹ'

“for the knowledge of G-d will fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.”22

כִּי מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ דֵּעָה אֶת ה' וְגוֹ'",

Amen. May this be His will.

אָמֵן כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן: