By way of preface:

A few times a year, in preparation for major Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah or Pesach (Passover), the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, would issue pastoral letters “to the Sons and Daughters of Our People Israel, Everywhere.” These letters were usually written in Yiddish and then freely translated into Hebrew, English and other languages.

Sometimes the Rebbe would present an entirely new insight into an age-old Jewish calendric event, other times he would refer to a matter of current events, inevitably, though, the Rebbe would channel even the loftiest concept into a practical mission or deed for the reader to apply to his or her own life.

In October of 1984 (corresponding to the new Jewish year of 5745 since Creation), toward the end of the Jewish month of Tishrei – i.e., after the completion of both the somber High Holidays and the joyous Sukkot-Shemini-Atzeret-Simchat-Torah holidays, the Rebbe unusually issued a post-holiday letter giving practical expressive outlet to the holy energy of the holidays. (The Jewish calendar of our own new year – 5772 (corresponding to the end of 2011) – is identical to the one of 5745 (1984).)

As a result of the Rebbe’s letter, thousands of new Torah classes were established worldwide, setting into motion an entirely new era of Torah learning.

We present to you here the Rebbe’s letter as it appeared at the time, in free English translation, complete with the scholarly Hebrew footnotes. We’ve also added a few explanatory words in brackets. (Parentheses are part of the original document.) For explanation of the many Hebrew terms that we did not translate, we refer you to the hyperlinked glossary available on each of those words.

May the words of the Rebbe’s timeless teachings find their way into our minds and hearts, and positively affect the deeds of our year to come.




FREE TRANSLATION

By the Grace of G‑d
Motzoei Shabbos Kodesh1,
Isru-Chag2 Shemini-Atzeres-Simchas-Torah
Shabbos3 Breishis4, Mevorchim Chodesh Marcheshvan5, 5745
[corresponding to Saturday night, October 20, 1984]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere
G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

It is human nature that a new thing6 — be it a novelty connected with an occurrence in time, or with a new enterprise, or the like — is usually welcomed with increased interest and, in most cases, also with increased happy expectations, joy, and so forth.

Especially when the novelty has to do with a very important annual event, such as entering7 into the daily life of the new year, after all the festivals of the [Jewish] month of Tishrei8, and starting again9 the regular weekly Torah readings b’Tzibur (in congregation) with the [very beginning of Genesis,] Sedra Breishis (“In the beginning”) on the first Shabbos following Simchas-Torah, etc.

And all the above in accordance with the established custom as designated by the Torah, Toras-Chayim10 (our guide in everyday life), as discussed more fully on various occasions.

Since this human nature has its origin11, like all good things in the world, in the Will of G‑d, the Creator, it is self-evident12 that together with it the Creator has given every human being special capacities to carry out one’s aspirations and good resolutions; particularly where these are concerned with Torah reading13 and Torah learning during the new year in a manner that accords with the basic rule that “action14 is the essential thing,” namely, the actual performance of Mitzvos in the everyday life.

And in light of the general rule that “a (spontaneous) gift15 is given generously,” it is certain that HaShem gives all the said necessary capacities out of His generous Hand, as in the well-known expression16: “from His full, open, holy and ample Hand.”

This year there is an additional significance in that Shabbos-Breishis [the Shabbat when we begin anew to read the Torah scroll from the very beginning] coincides with Isru-Chag [the day immediately following the holiday]. The meaning17 of “Isru-Chag” is that we “bind” the Chag (festival) with the day immediately following it, and, through it, with all subsequent days of the year, by carrying over into them the content and inspiration of the festival, thus animating with this spirit the everyday conduct, day after day, until the festival returns on its annual visit18 to rejuvenate and invigorate all forces and aspects connected with it.

All the more so Isru-Chag of [the holidays of] Shemini-Atzeres and Simchas-Torah, which is connected with the conclusion and starting anew19 of the reading of the Torah, b’Tzibbur (in congregation), with all the teachings that this conveys, including the instruction that learning Torah, individually20 and in groups21, demands the utmost proliferation.


The above is by way of introduction to the intent and purpose of this message, namely, a suggestion and urgent appeal to all of you, men and women —

Women22, too, are obligated to learn the laws of the Torah — all aspects pertaining to Mitzvos which are obligatory on women the same as on men, including the basic Mitzvos of belief in G‑d, fear of G‑d, love of G‑d, etc., which are incumbent upon all Jews without distinction, constantly, every minute23; as well as all the Mitzvos-Lo-ta’aseh ([the] “Don’ts” [of Judaism]), etc. —

To take upon yourselves, in connection with the new year — new (additional) shiurim (regular study periods) in Torah, each one on his/her level; especially those who do not yet have any regular Torah study periods;

And to get involved in this with renewed vitality24, coupled with increased true joy “that G‑d has chosen25 us from all the nations and given us (as “a most generous gift,” as noted earlier) His Torah.”

As for those who, seemingly, have a full schedule of Torah shiurim, surely they will wish to fulfill the rule of ma’alin b’Kodesh26 (matters of holiness should be on the ascendancy), which (also) implies ascendancy to an ever higher level in the quality of Torah comprehension, in greater depth and with greater enthusiasm, vitality and joy.


In light of the Great Principle27 of the Torah v’ohavto lre’acho komocho (Love your fellow like yourself), which, moreover, it is one of the basics28 of the Torah,

And also in keeping with a related teaching that the Torah begins with an act of chesed (benevolence) and ends with an act of chesed29, underscoring the highest importance of helping others even in ordinary needs; how much more so helping others in the needs of the Neshomo (soul) which is truly a part of G‑dliness from Above30 and which vitalizes also the whole body; helping it with eternal matters of Torah and Mitzvos, which are our life and the length of our days

Comes the next suggestion and urgent plea that everyone, men and women, should do their utmost to encourage other Jews, the more the better, to start shiurim in Torah on a regular basis, if they have no such shiurim yet; and those who have such, should increase them. Needless to say, in all matters of Torah and Mitzvos time is of the essence, there should be no delay, since each minute that can be filled with Torah31 and Mitzvos but is missed, is a total loss32, inasmuch as the next free minute and all of them are to be filled with Torah and Mitzvos in their own right, “leaving no time” for making up any loss in the past.


May it be G‑d’s Will that — according to [the great commentary] Rashi’s teaching in the beginning of his commentary on the Sedra Breishis [beginning of Genesis], to the effect that the whole created order which G‑d created (the heavens and the earth, and all their hosts) came to be for the sake of two things called “Reishis”34: The Torah, and the Jewish people (who received the Torah, learn Torah, and keep the Torah and its Mitzvos); hence it is even more understandable why the study of Torah is so vital35; and every additional effort in this direction, with vitality and joy, brings additional blessings from G‑d, the Giver of the Torah36, also in all personal matters, both material (“earthly”) and spiritual (“heavenly”) —

May this be fulfilled in each of us in the midst of our Jewish people, with G‑d’s blessing and Hatzlocho [success], and the year 5745 [from the creation of the world] should be a Year of Torah, a Year of Light, and a Year of Blessing in all respects, with true peace of mind and body, which brings even greater Hatzlocho in the study of the Torah, the kind of study that leads to action37;

And that right from this [Jewish date of] Motzoei-Shabbos-Kodesh Mevorchim Chodesh Marcheshvan should begin the flow of goodness, in the kind of good that is revealed and obvious, and all G‑d’s blessings: from Shabbos into every day38 of the week, and from Rosh Chodesh into every day39 of the month, and from the [Jewish] month of Cheshvan, the first “working” month of the new year, after the month of Tishrei, chodesh hashvii40, the month that is replete with all good, into all the months of the whole year;

Especially including the essential blessing for which we hope every day and all day — the true and complete Geulo [redemption] through Moshiach Tzidkeinu [our righteous redeemer], when all the nations, (the whole world) shall know that You, HaShem, alone, are supreme over all the earth41.

With esteem and blessing
for Hatzlocho
and good tidings in all above

/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/