On 18 Sivan 5658 (1898), the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of blessed memory (1880-1950), was charged with the task of compiling a discourse on education, by his father the Rebbe Rashab (Sholem DovBer; 1860-1920).

It was intended to serve as an educational guide for two venerable chassidim - R. Chenoch Hendel Kugel, and R. Shmuel Gronem Esterman - who were the mashpi’im, spiritual mentors, in the yeshivot of Lubavitch and Zhembin, respectively.

The yeshivah student body was comprised initially of some twenty students between the ages of eighteen and twenty. Hand picked by the Rebbe Rashab himself, they were all exceptionally gifted intellectually, and were thoroughly versed in many complex Talmudic topics.

Their knowledge of Chassidus, though, was scanty. And in particular, they were unfamiliar with avodah - divine service - as influenced and guided by the spiritual lifestyle of Chassidus.

Much has been written describing the noble goals of Tomchei Temimim, as the yeshivah was later named by the Rebbe Rashab.

But perhaps the yeshivah's objective can best be encapsulated by the cogent reply of the Alter Rebbe to one who questioned him as to why he travelled all the way to Mezritch rather than to Vilna which was considerably closer: "In Vilna one learns how a Jew should study Torah. In Mezritch, however, one learns how the Torah teaches a Jew - so that he himself becomes a Torah."

The Rebbe Rashab provided his son with some of his own writings on the subject of education, which he had penned ten years earlier.

With these papers in hand, the Previous Rebbe - eighteen years old at the time - plunged into his assignment.

After two preliminary drafts, he completed his final version on 21 Elul of that same year. In his diary, the Previous Rebbe records his delight in completing the treatise.

Many years elapsed before this treatise was first published in the year 5704 (1944), as part of a booklet entitled Kuntreis Chai Elul 5703. Subsequently, it was reprinted in the year 5725 (1965) as an appendix to Sefer HaSichos 5703. The footnotes in these editions were not part of the original text, but were added by the publisher, as indicated in the preface to Kuntreis Chai Elul 5703.

This translation includes several additional footnotes, consisting of explanatory notes and supplementary references.

These are enclosed in square brackets. Insertions by the translator in the main body of the text are also enclosed in square brackets. Round brackets, however, have been carried forward from the original Hebrew.

The table of contents, it should be noted, has been translated from the original text.

To facilitate the reader's comprehension of the text, the transliteration of Hebrew terminology has been avoided, though the precise meaning of the original word is sometimes obscured.

For instance, two Hebrew words which have been translated into English throughout, and appear in the very title of this treatise: chinuch and hadrachah, have been rendered as education and guidance.

Traditionally and etymologically, chinuch and hadrachah denote much more than just the transmission of knowledge.

In fact, the critical distinction between teaching or instructing (limud and hora'ah), and educating or counselling, is the focus of an entire chapter (chapter two).

A translation is generally a poor substitute for the original, being perforce an adaptation and a subjective interpretation.

This is true, in particular, regarding the translation of this treatise which despite its brevity, is replete with chassidic concepts and terminology, is interwoven with Talmudic and Biblical phrases, and is rich in subtle and profound nuances.

Yet despite the deficiencies, it is hoped that this translation will aid the reader who seeks a more profound understanding of education and guidance - a field of such paramount importance to Jewish life.

And although the author addresses educators and spiritual counsellors, the new vistas of insight uncovered herein will certainly prove to be of significant practical value to parents as well.

In closing, I wish to record my thankfulness for the painstaking care which Rabbi Yosef Friedman devoted to the editing and production of a book so technically complicated.

I am also thankful to Uri Kaploun for his stylistic suggestions.

I am especially indebted to the masterful hand of Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg who provided the final editing, and to Rabbi Yonah Avtzon of Sichos In English, who polished the manuscript and prepared it for publication.

Y. Eliezer Danzinger

Thornhill, Ontario

19 Kislev, 5751