By the Grace of G‑d
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mrs. ____________
Northridge, CA 91324

Blessing and Greeting:

I received your letter; and may G‑d grant the fulfillment of your heart's desires for good, that you may have good news to report in all the matters about which you wrote.

The zechut of your observance of our sacred traditions—which I was gratified to note in your letter—will surely stand you and yours in good stead in all of the above, including your continued advancement in all matters of Torah and mitzvot. For although this is a "must" for its own sake, in compliance with G‑d's will, this is also the "channel and vessel" through which to receive additional divine blessings in all needs, materially and spiritually.

The above is a particularly timely message now that we are about to celebrate Purim, the highlight of which is the reading of the megillah evening and morning. It is noteworthy and significant that although—as the megillah tells us—both Mordechai and Esther were instrumental in bringing about the miracle of Purim and saving our people, the megillah is not named after both of them jointly, nor after Esther and Mordechai in that order, but solely after Esther ("Megillat Esther"). Here is a pointedly emphatic message for every Jewish woman about her unique role in Jewish life. To be sure, no one can compare to the stature of Queen Esther, but it does emphasize the extraordinary potential of every loyal Jewish daughter to shape the future of her family, with far-reaching consequences for the environment and even for the entire Jewish people.

If this seems farfetched and mystical, the following episode will illustrate what even a comparatively small effort can accomplish.

You may have heard that many of our senior Lubavitch students volunteer their summer vacation to travel to distant places in order to reach out to fellow Jews in need of encouragement to strengthen their identity with and commitment to our people and the Torah way. In the course of this program it so happened that one of the students visited a small, Jewishly-isolated town where he found only a few Jewish families, and, as he later reported, he was disappointed to have accomplished nothing there. But several months later, our own Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch which sponsors this program received a letter from one of the families in that town. The writer, a woman, related that one summer day she happened to stand by her front window when she saw a bearded young man, wearing a dark hat, his tzitzit showing, approaching her door. She confessed that when she admitted the young man and learned of the purpose of his visit, she was not responsive, for she and her family were not prepared at that moment to change their lifestyle. Yet for a long time after that encounter, the appearance of the young man haunted her. He reminded her of her grandfather and had refreshed her memories of the beautiful Jewish life she had seen in her grandparents' home, though the material circumstances were incomparably more modest than she had come to know in her married life. Finally—the letter went on—she decided to make the change. She made her home kosher, and the family began to observe Shabbat and Yom Tov, and she is raising the children in the Torah way. Since then, her home is filled with such contentment and serenity that she decided to write to the Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch and express her profound gratitude.

Now, if all that was the result of a brief encounter with that young man, though unbeknownst to him of its lasting impact, how much more can be achieved by an American Jewish family, whose influence is not limited to a few minutes' conversation, but serves as a shining example of the kind of daily life and conduct that should be the privilege and blessing of every Jewish family?

Needless to say, if, in maintaining the proper Jewish standards, there may be some difficulties to overcome (many of which may even be more imaginary than real), surely such difficulties should be of no significance in comparison to the infinite benefits. Moreover, the effort required is a personal one, while the benefit is also for the many.

With prayerful wishes for a joyous and inspiring Purim and

With blessing,

[Signed: Menachem Schneerson]